5th April 1827
Reference Numbert18270405-61

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Before Lord Chief Justice Abbott.

814. LANCELOT COOPER was indicted for that he, on the 26th of March , at St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, feloniously did falsely make, forge, and counterfeit, a certain order for payment of money, which said false, forged, and counterfeited order for payment of money , is as follows:- (that is to say)

£10. No. 4, Brompton, Grove-place, March 26, 1827.

Please to pay to Mr. Taylor, or bearer, the sum of Ten

Pounds sterling, for value received. JAMES COPE.

To Sir William Curtis, Bart. Bankers, Lombard-street. with intent to defraud Thomas Taylor , against the statute, & c.

2d COUNT, for uttering and publishing, on the same day at the same parish, as true, a like forged and counterfeited order for payment of money, well knowing it to be false, forged, and counterfeited, with a like intent, as in the first count.

3d and 4th COUNTS, the same as in the first and second counts, only stating the intent to be to defraud Sir William Curtis , Bart. and others.

5th and 6th COUNTS, the same as in the third and fourth, only with intent to defraud Sir William Curtis, Bart. only.

MESSRS. ANDREWS and BRODRICK conducted the prosecution.

THOMAS TAYLOR . I am a bookseller and stationer, and live at No. 4, Brompton-terrace - I keep a subscription library - I know the prisoner's person. I first saw him about a month or five weeks before the 26th of March - I sent to his house, and he subscribed to my library, by the name of Cope - he then lived at No. 4, Grove-place, Brompton - I have sent books from my library there, and saw him frequently - he often came to my shop twice a day to change books. On the 26th of March, at near three o'clock in the afternoon, he came and asked if I was going into the City, as he did not feel very well, he had a pain in his chest, and thought he had caught cold; he asked if I would get a cheque changed for him - he then looked out a book, and directly said, "If you will give me a piece of paper, I will write the cheque;" I gave him a piece; he came round the counter close to me, and wrote it at my side - I saw him write it (looking at it) - this is the cheque - after he had written it, he said, "Perhaps you can give me something, as it may be some time before you return;" I said certainly, and gave him a 5l. note, first writing on it the name of the gentleman I had taken it of - I went into the City, but being detained on business, I had not time to go to Lombard-street, and called on Mr. Ottley, my brother-in-law, in Fleet-street - I gave the cheque to him, and he gave me the cash for it; this was as near five o'clock as possible - the prisoner said, when he had the 5l. note, that he would have the remainder when he came to the shop again, but he never came again- Mr. Ottley brought me the cheque next evening, and gave me some information about it - I then went to No. 4, Grove-place, where the prisoner lived, but he was gone from there - I presented the cheque myself at the banking house the following day, the 28th - it was refused payment - this writing was on it when Mr. Ottley brought it back to me, but not when I delivered it to him.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. At what time did you go to Ottley's? A. Within a few minutes of five o'clock - it was too late to present the cheque that day -

I myself know of no presentation, till the 28th - I did not see this writing on it till Ottley returned it to me - I saw the prisoner write the whole of this cheque - he could not write on the other side of the counter, on account of a rail, and he came round to me - I made no mark on it when he gave it to me, nor have I made any at all - I speak to it from the writing and the signature, which I noticed - it is written in the usual form of a cheque.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Is the cheque drawn in your favour? A. It is - I kept it in my possession till I delivered it to Ottley.

JOHN OTTLEY . I live at No. 159, Fleet-street. On the 26th of February, about ten minutes before five o'clock, Mr. Taylor asked me to give him the cash for this draft(looking at it) - I have not the least doubt of this being the same - I put it among my cash in my money bag, and kept it till the next day; I then sent my servant Ray with it to the bankers', about three o'clock, or a little after - he brought the cheque back to me, with this writing across the back, which was not on it when I gave it him; I immediately set off to Brompton, and gave it to Mr. Taylor - we went to No. 4, Grove-place, and the prisoner was gone.

Cross-examined. Q. How many other cheques had you in that bag? A. Not any; there was nothing but sovereigns; I put it into my bag as soon as I received it, locked the bag in my desk, and nobody had access to it but me - I did not see it again till next morning, as I had been out all the evening - the desk was locked - I made no mark on the cheque.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. Have you any doubt of its being the same cheque? A. None whatever, from the appearance of it altogether.

JAMES RAY . I am servant to Mr. Ottley, of Fleet-street. On the 27th of March he gave me this cheque(looking at it) - I took it to Sir William Curtis', No. 15, Lombard-street, and gave it to one of the clerks, who took it in to Mr. Curtis, and asked me into the room - I saw Mr. Curtis write this across it - it was then returned to me - I took it back to my master; I am sure it is the same cheque as I received from him.

Cross-examined. Q. How long was it out of your possession, from the time you gave it to the clerk, till it was returned to you? A. About three minutes; I remained in the shop a short time before I was taken to Mr. Curtis; when I went in Mr. Curtis had the cheque before him.

Q. Do you know the difference between a cheque and a bill of exchange? A. I cannot say that I do.

WILLIAM CURTIS , ESQ. I am one of the partners in the house of Sir William Curtis & Co.; Sir William is a Baronet, and the senior partner; I have seen the cheque produced, and have examined our books; no person named James Cope keeps cash at our house - we have no such account- there is no fund in our house, out of which James Cope has authority to draw (looking at the cheque) - I did not write this on it; the witness must have mistaken my person - Mr. Robarts is the person he saw, and this his is handwriting - I was in the house at the time, but not in the room.

Cross-examined. Q. Have you been a partner in the house some years? A. I have; I do not keep the books- all the customers of the house come under the observation of every partner - I speak decidedly, on my oath, that no James Cope has an account at our house - the clerks keep the books, but no new customer is taken without the knowledge of all the partners.

Q. Do you know the name of every customer? A. The greater part of them - I say generally I do - I know there is no such name as James Cope in the books - it is possible the name of one customer may escape me; I attend to the business daily, and see the books daily, in which the names of the customers are entered - there cannot be a customer whose name I do not know.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. Have you looked over every book in your house, in which the name of a customer would appear? A. I have, and if such a name had been in the books, I must have seen it - there is no such a name; no account is ever opened without reference to the firm.

COURT. Q. If a person opens an account at your house, does he write his name in a book? A. He does, in what is called the signature book; the clerks always go to that book if there is any doubt about a cheque.

ROBERT MORRIS . I am a clerk to Sir William Curtis and Co, and am ledger-keeper - here is a ledger which contains the names of all the persons who keep town accounts - I have searched all the books, in which the names of persons having a right to draw on the firm, appear - there is no James Cope - I have searched the signature-book, and no such name appears; if we have advice from a country bank, to pay money to persons in town, their names would not be in the signature-book; I have examined all the authorities from country banks - the name does not appear at all, either by authority or from having an account.

Cross-examined. Q. How many years have you searched back? A. The whole of this year, and for a considerable time back - I will not say that I have looked back all the last year.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. Have you looked sufficiently to know whether, on the 26th of March, James Cope had any authority to draw on you? A. I have - he had not.

GEORGE HOLT . I keep the house, No. 4, Grove-place, Brompton; the prisoner came to lodge there on the 13th of February, and went by the name of Cope - he remained with me till the 26th of March, and went out that day, came back, and went away in a hackney-coach, saying he should be back in two days; I think it was about two o'clock that he went - he never came back.

Cross-examined. Q. You have no reason to believe his name is not Cope? A. No; I did not know him before he came to lodge with me.

PETER LINDYMAN . I am a boot and shoemaker, and live in Oxford-street. I saw the prisoner at my house twice; the first time was about two months before the 26th of March, on which day Mr. Cope, the City marshal, and Mr. Gates called - the second time was the day they called; he left his name as Richards on that day - he gave no name the first time he called; he gave some orders to my servant, but I do not know that he said any thing more to me than, "How do you do? I am just come out of the country;" I had an apartment to let, but the conversation about that did not pass with me, nor in my presence.

Cross-examined. Q. Did he give you the name of Richards? A. No; nor in my presence.

ANN DUROT . I live at No. 5, Southampton-row, New-road. The prisoner came to my house on the 26th of March, in a hackney-coach, and told me that he had just come from the country, and wanted an apartment; he said he had come from Wales; he took my lodgings, and came into them directly - he gave me his name as Cottage; he gave that name to me personally, and brought his luggage with him - he stopped there nine or ten days, till he was taken away by the officers; he went by the same name all that time, and had his books from the library in the name of Cottage - I asked him his name when he took the apartment.

DANIEL FORRESTER . I am one of the City constables. I apprehended the prisoner on Wednesday, the 4th of April, in the second floor back room of Mrs. Durot's house, No. 5, Southampton-row; Mr. Taylor and Mr. Stone were with me; when I put my foot in at the door I called Taylor up; he looked in, and said, loud enough to be heard, "That is Mr. Cope" - the prisoner immediately said, "My name is not Cope," two or three times - I said, the gentleman identified him, and he must go with me - if the gentleman was mistaken I could not help it. I delivered to Mr. Cope, the marshal, a trunk which I found in the room - I believe the one produced to be the same.

MR. THOMAS GATES . I am attorney for the prosecution. I saw the prisoner when he was in custody - I was not present when he was apprehended - I asked him his name; he said, I should find certificates or papers in the box which had been taken from him, which would state who he was - I said, if that was the case, and the box was not there, he could have no hesitation in giving his name; he said his name was Lancelor Cooper - I examined this box, and found two certificates in it, signed John Gore, certifying that Lancelot Cooper had served in two different ships of war.

Cross-examined. Q. He told you, you would find certificates which would identify him? A. I have stated correctly what I said to him; I did not say under all the circumstances he might as well give his name - I used no inducement or threat to induce him to give it.

SIR JOHN GORE . I am Vice-Admiral in the Navy. I know the prisoner - he served under me for several years; the signatures to these certificates are my writing - I never knew him by any other name than Lancelot Cooper - I have not seen him since 1814, to my recollection - I had communication at that time with him - he then used that name.

Cross-examined. Q. Have you now a perfect recollection of his person? A. Perfectly so: I recognised him the moment I came into Court; before I saw the certificate - I do not mean to say positively, that I have not seen him since 1814.

These two documents were here read. One was a certificate of the prisoner having served as a clerk in the navy, under Sir John Gore, from July, 1801, to February, 1806, and his good conduct during that time. - The other, as having served as clerk on board the Revenge, from February, 1806, to the 1st of August, 1808, and of his good conduct during that period.

ABRAHAM WILDEY ROBARTS , ESQ. I am one of the firm of Sir William Curtis' house. The writing across the cheque is mine - I think I recollect the boy bringing it to our house - I wrote this at the time (reads), "No account or knowledge of the drawer." No person of that name had any account with us, or any authority to draw on us.

JOHN ANDREWS . I am a bookseller, and live at No. 167, Bond-street. On the 14th of March the prisoner came to my shop, and asked if I let private boxes for Covent-garden Theatre - I told him I did - he asked if I had a box for that evening - I said Yes; and he engaged one; he asked the price, I told him three guineas; he looked down the shop and said, "I bought some books of you last year; there was a copy of Rasselas which I gave to my youngest daughter - I want two more copies of the same book for my elder daughters;" he then saw a complete set of Washington livine - he came to the desk where I do my business, and said, "I have no money in my pocket, will you take a cheque on my bankers?" and from his appearance I agreed to take it - I furnished him with pen and paper, stood by him, and saw him write a cheque and sign it; (looking at one) this is it - it is signed Geo. Crofton.

Cross-examined. Q. Had you ever seen the prisoner before, to your recollection? A. No; he was in my shop, I should think, twenty minutes - I was the only person who spoke to him.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Did you give him any box ticket? A. I gave him this box ticket (looking at it.)

Mr. CLARKSON. Q. What makes you speak to that ticket? A. It is a box which I had to let, and it has my own signature - I never sign two for one night.

MR. GATES. I found this box ticket in the prisoner's trunk.

The cheque uttered to the witness Andrews was here put in and read - it was drawn on Messrs. Praed and Co. Fleet-street, payable to Mr. Andrews, dated the 14th of March, for 10l. 3s., and signed Geo. Crofton.

WM. CURTIS, ESQ. re-examined. Here is our signature book - I have examined it; there is no such name as James Cope in it.

Cross-examined. Q. Have you any other signature book? A. There is one which I have sent for - I have searched through the whole of this, which embraces a period of about twenty years - I have examined the other, which has been very recently taken into use; those two are the only signature books we have.

EDWARD PURDIE . I am assistant to Mr. Austin, jeweller, of Oxford-street. The prisoner came to the shop on the 12th of February last; I did not see him there myself on the 12th, but a few days before that he bought some goods there, and I heard him order them to be sent to No. 39, Claremont-square, Pentonville; he gave a written paper to pay for them - I received this cheque (looking at it) from his own hand; he wrote it in my presence; he said he would call for the change, but never did.

COURT. Q. You said you did not see him at your house on the 12th? A. No; but I took the goods on the 12th to his dwelling in Claremont-square, and saw him write it there.

This cheque was here read - it was dated 12th February, 1827, for 100l. in favour of J. J. Austin, or bearer, on Sir Wm. Curtis and Co., and signed Edwd. Geo. Cook.

JAMES PAUL PERRY . I am clerk to Mr. Hopkinson, coach-builder, of Holborn. The prisoner came there several

times in February last; he called to purchase carriages; he gave me the name of Edwd. Geo. Cook, of Frampton-house, near Leeds, Yorkshire; he did not say what he was; he purchased a carriage, which he was to pay eighty guineas for; I saw him write this paper which I have here; after he had written it, I saw Mr. Hopkinson give him sixteen sovereigns, being the difference of 100l.; the carriage was to be sent to Messrs. Rivis and Co., at Hull, but we did not send it.

This paper was here read, and purported to be a cheque for 100l., payable to Mr. Hopkinson, or bearer, dated the 12th of February, 1827, upon Sir William Curtis and Co., signed E. G. Cook.

JAMES PAUL PERRY re-examined. He wrote this on the day it is dated - I never saw him afterwards till he was in custody.

EDWARD GILBERT . I am the son of Mr. Gilbert, jeweller, of Oxford-street, who is now dead. I saw the prisoner at our house in Oxford-street on the 22d of March last; he bought a diamond ring, the price of which was sixteen guineas, and on the 24th he offered to pay for it by a written paper, which I have here (producing it); I saw him write it - he gave me his name on the 22d, as Captain E. Jackson, Thomas' Hotel, Berkeley-square; here is the direction which I saw him write - I also saw him write the other paper - the goods he bought came to 18l. 15s.; he bought an onyx ring on the 24th, which brought it to that sum; I gave him 1l. 5s. as change.

These papers were here read - the direction was Captain F. Jackson, Thomas's Hotel, Berkeley-square. - The other was a cheque dated from Thomas Hotel, Berkeley-square, upon Messrs. Coutts and Co., drawn in favour of Mr. Gilbert, or bearer, for 20l., and signed E. Juckson.

MR. CLARKSON to JAMES PAUL PERRY. Q. Are you perfectly certain you saw the prisoner write the paper which you have produced? A. I did; I supplied him with pen, ink, and paper, and stood by him all the time he wrote it.

GEORGE WATSON WOOD . I am shopman to Mr. Hamlett, a jeweller. The prisoner came to our shop last September, and purchased goods to the amount of 57l. 7s., and gave a cheque in payment, which I saw him write - I produce it - he wrote it on the day it is dated - he gave no address that day, having previously given one to our shopman, but not in my presence.

This cheque was here read - it was dated Thomas' Hotel, Berkeley-square, the 6th of September, 1826, payable to Thomas Hamlett , or bearer, for 57l. 7s. upon Joseph Dennison and Co., 106, Fenchurch-street, and signed, Thos. Edwd. Crofton.

JOHN SHEPHERD . I am employed by Mr. Hawley, a jeweller, in the Strand. I know the prisoner by the name of James Allison. On the 3d of March, 1826, he bought goods at our shop amounting to 64l., and paid for them by a cheque, which I saw him write myself; this is it, it is dated the 3d of March; he came in a hired chariot, without a number, and took the goods away with him.

This cheque, for 64l., was here read - dated the 3d of March, 1826, payable to Thomas Hawley and Co., or bearer, on Messrs. Curries, Cornhill, signed Jas. Allison.

The forged instrument was here put in and read, see indictment.

Prisoner's Defence. I am very sorry to see the evidence so much against me; but I have to say, that I served his Majesty fifteen or sixteen years, and after the peace served in official situations, and acted honourably in them. I was the first person who gave information of Buonaparte's escape, and communicated about it till he arrived in France.

The prisoner also stated, but not in a very audible voice, that he had rendered some service to his Majesty's government, at Venice, Malta, and Gibraltar.

SIR JOHN GORE . He behaved very well while in my service.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 57.

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