George Low.
6th September 1769
Reference Numbert17690906-104

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545. (L.) George Low was indicted for stealing a worsted purse, value 2 d. one guinea, seven half-guineas, and 18 s. in money numbered, a linen bag, sixteen yards of linen cloth, and two dozen pairs of worsted stockings, value 40 s. the property of John Coney , in the dwelling house of William Bray , August 7. *

John Coney . I live in Virginia-street, and am a pedlar . On the 7th of August I was at a shop by the Fleet-market, buying some stockings. When I had done, I was going right across the market: there the prisoner was standing, who asked me if I had any stockings: he said he wanted strong ones to wear under his boots. I told him I had stockings to sell, and would sell him as cheap as I could. Said he, I never buy any thing in the market, so please to come in, and take a pint of beer along with me, and I will buy of you, if we can agree. I went with him to the house of William Bray, the Golden-ball in Cow lane . There we had a pint of beer. There were two other men came in. Soon after we sat down: though they appeared to be all strangers, they fell to talking to one another. One asked what countrymen the others were. One said he was a merchant at Bristol, that he dealt in linen there, and kept a shop: another said he had been on board a man of war, and had received a great deal of money a while ago, and should soon receive a great deal more, and did not care which way he flung his money away. He said he was once an officer on board an Indiaman. The prisoner said he was a farmer's son. They talked thus some time. I thought them the civilest men I ever came near. I thought I should get some of my stockings off among them. The officer would have some brandy, and make me drink a glass. I said I had not been used to drink such strong stuff. I drank a glass. Then they fell to gambling on the table, tossing things about. The officer pulled out a great green purse; there seemed to be guineas in it. At last the others pulled their purses out. They would have me pull mine out. I pulled mine out, and laid it on the table. I had five guineas in mine. They showed their money to one another.

Q. What did you pull yours out for?

Coney. Because I was crazy. The men were civil and good, so I thought there was no danger. The officer and prisoner were employing themselves with knocking halfpence about. I do not know that the merchant did play any. All the while they pretended to be strangers to each other.

Q. What were they playing at?

Coney. They were knocking halfpence up and down. I do not know the sense of it at all.

Q. Did they ask you to play?

Coney. They did not. I think once the officer did ask me to lay my hand upon a halfpenny.

Q. Where was your money then?

Coney. My money was then upon the table. The merchant called me out at the door. I went out with him, and walked down the street. I began to think a little of my money. I came in again, and I caught the prisoner with my pack in his hand at the door. Said he, The sailor has run away with your money, and he would have had your pack if I had not taken care of it. There were sixteen yards of Irish linen, and two dozen pair of stockings in my bag. I gave thirteen pence a yard for the cloth, and about eighteen pence a pair for the stockings, some more, some less. I laid hold of him, and held him fast.

Q. What room were you in?

Coney. We were in a lower room, on the other side the bar. He had brought my bag through two rooms. There was a strange man, who I understand since is one of the gang. He abused me very much, and wanted to take me back into the room, saying, Why do you abuse the gentleman? The prisoner said he would get me my money again, if I would let him go. So I did. Then he said he would put me in the way to a place where I should get it again, so he and the strange man went with me. I walked down the street. They took me into a very dark, ugly, dirty lane, where there came out a mob, and got the prisoner out of my hands, and the strange man held me till he got out of my sight. I had kept hold of him by the shoulder going along. This was on a Monday, and on the Wednesday following a man was going to be hanged. Walking up among the people to Tyburn-road, I saw the officer sitting at a public-house door: he went into the house. I walked up and down the front windows: I went to the other corner, where I looked in, and saw the prisoner and the officer together. The officer got sight of me before the prisoner did, and he got away; he beckoned to the prisoner to come, but he did not see him. I went in, took hold of him and said, Have you got my money now? He pulled out two guineas and a half, and offered me them, and said, That is all the money I have; but go with me, and I will get you the rest. I held him, and said, I would not go home with him for all the money in London. The people in the house desired me not to take the money. I believe they were honest people.

Q. Did you play with them at any game?

Coney. I did not.

Q. Did you lend either of them your purse?

Coney. No, I did not.

Prisoner's Defence.

When I saw this man, I was going to Smithfield market. He was by the top of the market selling stockings and handkerchiefs. I told him I wanted a pair of stockings, a good strong pair; he told me he would sell me as good a pair as any person in London. I said, I will buy a pair or two or three of you. We went into a public-house to drink a pint or a pot of beer, where came in two men; one a sailor, I do not know what the other was. They began tossing up, and hiding a halfpenny under a pot. One said he had lost some money before with somebody, and he would lay he won, let who will hide it. He would lay six-pennyworth of brandy and water, or a pot of beer. I laid a pot of beer he did not know, let me hide it. The man put it under. I happened to win. Then the sailor would lay a shilling. I said, Then let me hide it. He said, No, this man shall. I then lost the shilling. After that he would lay two shillings, but said I shall not hide it myself, he would. I won the two shillings. Then the prosecutor said, I will go your halves. After that he would play for four shillings. The prosecutor and I won that. After that the sailor would not play under forty or fifty pounds. I said I have not so much money in my pocket; I have about fourteen pounds. The prosecutor said, I have got four or five guineas. Another man said, I believe I have got six, seven, or eight pounds. I will go along with you, as you are two countrymen. This man laid his pack: he laid that and all the money we could make against the sailor's money, and we hid for fifty-four pounds; I happened to lose. The sailor was going to take the bag away. I said No, you shall not

go, because we will play with you again, and I stopped the bag, though he had won the money and the pack. I could not stop the man, he was as big as two of me.

Prosecutor. There is no truth at all in this.

Guilty . Death .

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