29th May 1828
Reference Numbert18280529-11

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1087. STEPHEN WELCH was indicted for stealing, on the 8th of May , 11 ozs. of cochineal, value 8s., the goods of Henry Kirk and another, his masters .

HENRY KIRK. I am in partnership with Richard Knight . The prisoner has been about twelve months in our employ, and had a guinea a week; this cochineal is usually kept on the first floor; we do not sell less than about 1 cwt. On the 8th of May, about eleven o'clock in the morning, Cavanagh, our porter, who resides on the premises, gave me information; I went to the second floor, and found 11 ozs. of cochineal, concealed by the side of an old fender by the fire place; a quantity of brown paper was put over it; it was taken from a bag down stairs, but was too small a quantity to be missed. I determined to watch, and went on 'Change, desiring that no person should be allowed to leave the premises; I returned from 'Change, and found it in the same place; I placed myself in the inner counting-house, which leads to a back stair-case, and about six o'clock, when the men were leaving work, I placed the counting-house door a little ajar, and heard the prisoner creeping up stairs; I opened the door, and saw him - I ran round through the first counting-house, and told Cavanagh to stop whoever came down; I then ran up, and found the cochineal was gone, but a little canvas bag, in which it was concealed, was put aside, and the brown paper strewed about; I came down stairs, and found the prisoner had been stopped; I accused him of having the property on his person - he called God to witness that he had not got it; I felt his pocket, and found he had got it - I put my hand in, and produced it before him - he did not then deny it; it is worth about 8s. I sent one of my clerks for a sheet of paper, to put the cochineal into. An officer was afterwards fetched, and took him in charge. I only took 9 ozs. from him; two more ounces were afterwards found by the officer.

Cross-examined by MR. CLARKSON. Q. How many persons were in your employ? A. Two clerks and four porters; the porters had all been about eighteen months with me, and Cavanagh has been there nearly twenty years - the prisoner has been about twelve months in the concern, and was in my brother's employ about fourteen years: I believe he has a wife and five children; the men work without their coats; I do not myself know where his coat hung - everybody who was on the premises when this took place, is here to night, except the senior clerk - two of the porters had left.

Q. I thought you had given orders that nobody should leave? A. That was in the morning, before I went to 'Change; they were there when I returned from 'Change, and left afterwards, with my permission, at the usual time - the prisoner denied all knowledge of it till I produced the cochineal in my hand.

Q. On your oath, when you produced it, did he not say it must have been put into his pocket? A. He said nothing of the kind; he told the Lord Mayor his coat had been hanging up; he did not deny it after it was produced: he might have said something in the tone of a guilty man - he was agitated, and I thought he would have fallen.

Q. When you produced it, do you mean to say he did not deny knowing how it came there? A. He did not.

JAMES SEWARD FIELD . I am clerk to Mr. Kirk. I took some cochineal from the prisoner's pocket, in Mr. Kirk's presence; he did not say how he came by it till after the officer had searched his lodging; I then heard him say the devil had tempted him at the moment; this

was after the officer had found 2 ozs. more in his pocket - the cochineal I took from him weighed 9 ozs.

Q. Had your master discovered it before you took it from him? A. Yes, he called me for the purpose of taking it from his pocket; I knew nothing of it before he was stopped.

Cross-examined. Q. Was your master present, and did he hear him say the devil tempted him? A. Yes - it might not have occurred to his recollection to mention it - I went before the Grand Jury, but they said there was no occasion to examine me - I was not called till after Mr. Kirk had seen it in his pocket, and I emptied it out; he did not say he did not know how it came there; I do not exactly know where his coat had hung - he used to hang it in the second floor room; if any man was wickedly disposed he might have put it into his pocket.

BRYAN CAVANAGH . I have been many years in the prosecutors' service. On the 8th of May, about eleven o'clock in the morning, I found this cochineal between the fender and the edge of the fire-place, in a canvass bag, under some brown paper - I placed it there again, and told Mr. Kirk, who came and looked at it; I live in the house. I was on the watch about six o'clock, when the men left work, and saw the prisoner come into the back warehouse, to brush his clothes; two other men did the same - the two men went with me and shut up the warehouse - I then told them they might go; I did not see the prisoner again till he came down to go out - Mr. Kirk said he wanted him - I told him so, and he said, "What does he want with me? I saw him a few minutes ago;" I said, "Perhaps he wants you to go to the dyers;" Mr. Kirk came down, and said, What is that you have in your basket?" he said, "Nothing at all;" then said Mr. Kirk, "You must have something about your person;" he said he had nothing at all; I told Mr. Kirk he had better search him, if he had any doubt; Mr. Kirk put his hand on his right-hand coat pocket, and asked what was there; I cannot exactly say what answer he gave, but Mr. Kirk pulled out some cochineal, and sent Field for some clean paper to put it on - 9 ozs. were found; I went with him and the constable, and saw 2 ozs. more found in the same pocket - he said the devil tempted him to do it, and it was the first act he had done.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you tell the Magistrate that he said so? A. I do not know; I answered what questions were put to me; I do not think I did mention it - I have heard Field state it here, and I also heard the prisoner say it - my master serve dyers with goods. I never myself knew the prisoner to be in Mr. Russel Kirk's employ; his coat hung in the room where the cochineal was found; there were books in the kitchen on purpose for the coats, but he hung his in that place - he was asked what he meant to do with the cochineal, and would not give an answer. I never heard him say he did not know it was in his pocket.

JOSIAH EVANS . I am a constable, and was sent for: 9 ozs. of cochineal were given to me, which they said were found on the prisoner; I searched him afterwards, and found 2 ozs. more in his coat pocket; he did not say it had been placed there by anybody else.

Cross-examined. Q. You heard nothing about the devil, did you? A. I cannot recollect it, but will not say he never said so.

Prisoner's Defence. When I went to the warehouse I drove a nail for my hat and coat, and always hung it on that nail; I do not know who put the cochineal into my pocket.

GUILTY . Aged 45.

Transported for Seven Years .

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