22nd February 1781
Reference Numbert17810222-31

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157. CATHARINE DICKS was indicted for obtaining by means of a false oath letters of administration to receive the wages of Richard Wallather , a seaman , on board his majesty's ships the Boyne and Grafton, against the statute .


I am clerk in the Navy-office. I have here the books belonging to the Boyne and Grafton; ( refers to the book of the Boyne). Richard Wallather entered on board the Boyne the 1st of July 1777, and continued as a seaman to the 2d of May, 1778.

Is there any other Richard Wallather entered in that book? - No; there is no other of that name; (refers to the book of the Grafton.) I have his name here entered as a seaman on the 26th of May, 1778; and he died the 23d of July 1779.

Does there appear to have been wages due to the same man? - Yes; there is no sum, it is only a muster book which is returned to the office every two months.

Is the name Dicks in that book? - Yes; in the Grafton as an able seaman; he was in her from the 6th of January 1778 to the 27th of September, 1779, when he was discharged as an invalid.


I am a proctor. (A warrant for taking out letters of administration shown the witness). This is my hand writing; I attended before Dr. Ducarel when this warrant was granted. I don't recollect the person of the prisoner. (the letters of administration were read).

You was present when the person attended and took the oath? - I was; this warrant contains the form of the allegation laid before the doctor when they had taken the oath.

Is the oath administered without any writing? - Yes.

Dr. DUCAREL sworn.

I am surrogate to the prerogative court.

You have power to administer an oath? - Yes viva voce; the oath is administered according to the evidence given (looks at the warrant). I administer the oath and then sign the warrant; this is signed by me; it is signed underneath by the proctor.


I know the prisoner; I attended with her and her husband at the Commons on the 25th of February last, in order to assist or give directions in taking out administration to one Richard Wallather , who she said was her brother and next of kin. I asked her if he had a father or mother, or wife or child? she said no; and she was his only sister.

She took that affidavit before Dr. Ducarel? - Yes; I was present.

Cross Examination.

How long had you known the prisoner? - I never saw her until the day before, when she and another woman came to me.

Did you go into the office where Dr. Ducarel was? - I went in and entered into a bond with her husband as a surety, which is a ceremony in that court; there was an oath administered, I do not know by whom.


I am clerk of the register office in the prerogative office; (produces the register).

Did you see the parties sign that register? - Yes.

Do you know the parties? - No.

To Sherring. Did you sign that register? - (looking at it). Yes; that is my hand writing.

You was present when the prisoner was there? - Yes.


I am an agent in the navy. The prisoner applied to me on or about the latter end of May, or the beginning of June, in the last year; she and her husband brought me this administration (producing it). [The letters of administration dated the 26th of February 1780, were read]. They came afterwards and brought a certificate of the parish in which they were inhabitants which is required in the office, and desired me to get the wages due to her brother on that administration; accordingly on the 21st of June 1780, they called on me, and I having received the money for the Grafton. I paid them nine pound eighteen shillings, and this is her receipt (producing it) signed with her mark (it was read). The Boyne was then abroad. When I heard she was come home, in the course of business, I sent that administration down to Plymouth. I received advice of the money to be paid. Catherine Dicks applied to me, I think on the 28th or 29th of December last, and asked me whether I had received the wages of the Boyne. I turned to my book, and saw I had received the advice, and told her her husband should come and give me a receipt. They came on the 30th; I paid the money and they both signed the receipt (producing it) for seven pounds nine shillings and six pence (it was read in court).

JOHN KEYS sworn.

Did you see the prisoner sign those two receipts? - I did.


Richard Wallather was my husband; we were married at St. Nicholas church, at Cork in Ireland; he was on board the Boyne; I was eight days on board with him. I got an account of his being on board the Grafton afterwards.

Do you know any thing of the prisoner? - No, I never knew any thing of her till I came to London.

Cross Examination.

You do not know of your own knowledge that he was on board the Grafton? - No.

When did you hear of him last? - About three years ago, he was stationed for the West Indies.

He may be in the West Indies now for what you know? - No, I have received proper accounts to the contrary.


I live in Wentworth-street, in the parish of Whitechapel.

Do you know Mrs. Wallather? - Yes.

Did you know her husband Richard Wallather ? - Yes.

Do you remember his entering into his majesty's service? - Yes.

Do you know any thing of their marriage? - No, only seeing their certificate and their living together as man and wife.

Do you know any thing of the prisoner? - Only of her being examined at Guildhall.

Did you know any of the family of Wallather in Ireland? - Yes, I knew his father; he left four children, John, Margaret,

Johanna, and Richard. They are all alive now except Richard, unless they have died lately.

Is the prisoner one of them? - No.

Cross Examination.

How long is it since you left Ireland? - Eight months.

How long did you know the family? - Twenty-five years.

To Eleanor Wallather . Did you know your husband's sisters? - Yes.

Is the prisoner either of them? - No, she is not.


Did you know Wallather the husband of that woman? - Yes.

What family had he? - Two sisters and a brother.

Is the prisoner either of the sisters? - No.

Did you know both the sisters? - Yes, and the two brothers too.


I had a brother of the same name; I received an account of his death, my maiden name was Catherine Wallather ; there were plenty of men in the ship heard him acknowledge that I was his sister. The ship is not at home now.

GUILTY ( Death .)

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Justice BULLER.

(She received sentence of death before her husband was put upon his trial.)

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