John Macdonald.
15th May 1771
Reference Numbert17710515-18

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342. (M.) John Macdonald was indicted for stealing one green worsted purse, value 1 d. one hundred guineas, one hundred half guineas, four moidores, ten silver dollars, and eleven crown pieces; the property of James Hughes , in his dwelling house , Nov. 15 . *

James Hughes . I am a victualler ; I live in Webb-street, Whitechapel ; I have known the prisoner a great many years; he used my house; he came to my house on the fourteenth of November, with a man with him, between five and six in the evening, and said, he had got the best friend with him that he had in the world; and that he was a farmer at Hatfield; they called for a shillingsworth of punch; he asked me if I would let him and his friend lie at my house; I consented; they went to bed that night; in the morning the prisoner came down in his boots, and had them blacked; breakfast was got ready; he said the farmer complained of his being top-heavy, and did not chuse to get up; and wanted some bread and butter carried up. I went to bed myself; I always go to bed at ten o'clock. When he found I went to bed, Macdonald went up himself, and brought his friend down to breakfast with my wife; they ordered a neck of mutton to be made into broth for dinner. I got up some time before dinner, and dined; the farmer complained again of his head, and begged to go to bed again till his head was better; he asked, whether it was one or two pair of stairs; my wife said to the girl, Go up, and shew the gentleman where he lay last night; she went up and put the bed to rights; she came down, and left him there; Macdonald was up and down very often with him; in that time they picked my door and my bureau, and took the money away; that was the fifteenth; I did not miss it till the day following; there was about 200 l. I can't swear to the exact sum; the bureau was in my bed chamber; I found the door and bureau locked as I left it; so it must have been picked and locked again.

Q. Had you seen your money the day they came there?

Hughes. I saw it the day before.

Q. Had you any body lodged in your house at the time?

Hughes. No, only my wife, a servant and child. I went to Sir John Fielding , and had it advertised. In about a fortnight's time Sir John sent me word Macdonald was taken, and in Hertford gaol, and bade me go down. I went; he was committed for another fact there.

Court to the Prisoner. You was tried last assize there I believe?

Prisoner. Yes, I was.

Hughes. When I came to him I said, Have you any money? he said, No, I have not a farthing. I said, What have you spent my two hundred pounds? he said, There was not quite two hundred of it. He said, Go over to the jailor, and I will satisfy you in every thing in writing; I went over; in the interim there were some friends came to him, and advised him to the contrary.

Cross Examination.

Q. Can you tell with certainty how long it was after the supposed robbery that you found yourself to be robbed?

Hughes. The next day.

Q. Was there not some company dined with you on the 16th?

Hughes. No; I miss'd it in the forenoon before dinner.

Q. Did any body dine with you on the 16th?

Hughes. Not that I know of.

Q. What day did you see this money?

Hughes. The 14th, I suppose; I opened my bureau every day; I saw it every day.

Q. How came you first to discover it was lost?

Hughes. Because I did not see it: I go up to that bureau sometimes eight or ten times a day for change.

Q. How came you to miss it. Did you go up to give change?

Hughes. Yes.

Q. What change?

Hughes. For a twenty-seven shilling piece.

Q. And you are sure that was on the 16th?

Hughes. Yes.

( Sarah Young , who is servant to the prosecutor, confirmed the account given by her master of the robbery; and said that when she went up to make the bed the prisoner said she need not make it, and sent her down stairs.)

Prisoner's Defence.

I am innocent of the affair.

To his Character.

John M'Mahoan. He has always bore a good character.

Q. Was you at Hertford?

Mahoan. Yes.

Q. And say he has always bore a good character?

Mahoan. Yes, to that time: he was brought up a tobacconist.

Q. Has he followed that trade lately?

Mahoan. I cannot say.

Q. How long ago did you see him act as a tobacconist?

Mahoan. Two or three years ago.

Q. How has he lived since?

Mahoan. He depended upon a fortune he was to have with his wife.

- Lowry. I have known him from a child; I never heard any thing laid to his charge before this time.

Q. Have you known much of him this last twelvemonth?

Lowry. I have seen him several times; I never heard any thing laid to his charge before.

Q. Was you at Hertford assizes?

Lowry. No; I was not.

Q. You never heard he was there?

Lowry. I never heard he was tried at Hertford.

Robert Merryman . I am a baker; he bears a good character.

Calcot Chambers. I have known him from a child; he had a good character before this.

Dorothy Madan . I have known him from a child; he has a good character.

Timothy Macdonald . I have known him seventeen years; he bears a good character.

Guilty , Death .

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