10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-20
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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516. JAMES SMITH , alias LACEY , was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 21st day of December, 1785 , one chesnut gelding, price 8 l. the property of Jonathan Pegrim and Edward Campion .


I lost a horse on the 21st of December, 1785.

Court. How came you to come so late with this prosecution? - Because I did not meet with the man before; my horse was lost from No. 64, London Wall, from my stable; the prisoner hired my horse to go to Croydon.

What time of the day? - I believe it might be about nine or ten.

You keep an inn there? - Yes.

He came into the yard there? - Yes.

Was you present? - I was.

What did he ask for? - He wanted a horse to go to Croydon for the day; I let him have one; the horse never returned from that time to this.

Did you know him before? - No.

How came you to let an entire stranger have your horse? - He gave me a very good information where he lived, his name and place of code, he gave his name James Smith, he lived at No. 1, Cable-street, Wellclose-square.

Did he tell you what he was? - No, he did not.

Did you ever make any enquiry for him there? - I did.

When did he say he would be back? - At night.

He did not come? - No.

Did you make any enquiry at the place where he directed you? - I went to the shop, and the shopman said he did not know whether he was within or not, and I found they knew him.

Did you ever get your horse again? - Never, I never saw the horse since; I never saw the prisoner, to know him, till he was taken up; they sent for me according to the advertisement.

When was that? - It was some few days before the last sessions; I came here then about it.

Can you undertake at this distance of time to swear positively that he is the same man? - I am very sure he is the same man.

How long might you talk with him in the yard? - Ten minutes perhaps; he came into the counting-house and wrote his name; I am very sure he is the same man.

Did you know him as soon as you saw him again? - I knew him directly.

He was shewn you by the officer? - No, he was taken up.

Was there any description of him that he was taken up by? - The man came and told me that he thought it was the man; he was taken up not on my business.

Then he was shewn to you as the man that stole your horse? - He came out, I knew him directly.

Did you say any thing to him then, or ask him any qustions about it? - No, I did not.

Did he say any thing? - No; only he said once he could prove he was not there at the time, at another time he said he could prove that he was there at the time.

Mr. Knowlys, Prisoner's Counsel. Why this is a very long time ago? - It is so.

Are you in partnership with Mr. Campion? - Yes these ten or a dozen years.

Are you partners in the horse dealing line? - No, we do not deal, we are in the job way.

How many livery horses may you have, thirty or forty? - More than that, they are gentlemen's horses.

But riding horses; how many have you to let out? - two or three.

This is pretty near three years at Christmas? - Yes.

JONATHAN PEGRIM , jun. sworn.

I was in the counting-house at the same time; I took particular notice of the man, we always do of stranger; I suppose he was there about ten minutes while they were getting the horse ready; I am sure this is the same man.

Can you undertake to swear positively to the person of the man at two years and a half distance, that you never saw but once? - He has a large mole on the left side of his face, which I took particular notice of at the time; he has that mole now.

Mr. Knowlys. Can you tell us how this man was dressed? - He had a great-coat on.

A pretty large great-coat? - Middling about that, with a pocket on each side.

I take it he had a round hat on? - He had.

Did you never happen to mistake one man for another in the course of your business? - No, sir, I do not know I have.


I had a warrant against the prisoner, to apprehend him for an indictment in Surrey; I found him on Tower-hill, I told him; he immediately up with his stick and knocked me down; I recovered myself, and got up again; he repeated his blows several times; I cried out stop thief, and secured him and took him down to the Borough and let Mr. Pegrim know that there was such and such a man in custody that answered the description I had heard; I was at the apprehending of another man, one Jacob Hobbs, a long while ago, and I heard Mr. Pegrim describe such a sort of man as I thought Mr. Lacey was, and when I apprehended him I thought fit to send to Mr. Pegrim.

Did the prisoner say any thing to you about this horse of Mr. Pegrim's? - No.

Prisoner. If it will not offend my Counsel I wish to ask a single question of young Mr. Pegrim; Whether that advertisement of the mole on my cheek was in the papers? - He was not advertised at all.

Prisoner. If you recollect, the elder Pegrim swore there was an advertisement.

Pegrim the elder. Hobbs was advertised and the other man was advertised, it was in the Hue and Cry.

Was this man advertised? - No, I do not think he was; I rather think he was too.

Where is that advertisement? - I do not know whether he was or was not.

Did it mention the mole on his face? - I do not know; I do not think it was.

Court to Bear. What description did Pegrim give you of the man? - A tall slim man of swarthy complexion; he did not give me any particular mark.


I was unfortunately at this time out of the kingdom that they have sworn to, and have been but a very little time in London;

I have several respectable witnesses to my character.

The prisoner called eight witnesses, who gave him a very good character.

GUILTY, Death .

He was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury, on account of the distance of time.

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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