31st May 1786
Reference Numbert17860531-90
VerdictNot Guilty

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550. JOHN BINGHAM was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 28th of April last, a cloth great coat, value 20 s. two silk waistcoats, value 20 s. a pair of silk breeches, value 20 s. a pair of velveret breeches; value 20 s. the property of James Chambers , and one cloth coat, value 30 s. a shag waistcoat, value 5 s. the property of Robert Chambers ; in the dwelling house of William Blake .


I am a taylor ; I lodge in the house of Blake in the one pair of stairs back room, other people lodge in the house; we go in at one common street door, the prisoner is a taylor , he lodged in the same room with me; we had one bed; and my brother lost the things mentioned in the indictment; he came to town about three weeks before, and put the box into my room; the great coat I value at twenty shillings, the two waistcoats, twenty shillings, the two pair of breeches forty shillings; I had the breeches on the Sunday before; they were locked in my box in the morning; the box was broke open in the room; and the next day I went to the publick office in Bow-street; and the prisoner and my brother went with me; I did not suspect the prisoner at that time; they advised me to go among the pawnbrokers, but I found nothing of them; we went into Rag-fair, and the prisoner said he had a cousin there he had not seen a long time, he would go and see him, and have a pot of beer; we staid there till night, he would not leave the place; he said it was of no use to see after them, for they were not there; I went with him, and staid at a publick house with his cousin; I believe we might get there about two, and staid till seven or eight at night; coming through Rag-fair we saw nothing of them; but I heard of them last Monday; the prisoner continued to lodge in the same house till last Monday, but I suspected the prisoner two or three days afterwards; two or three days afterwards, Mrs. Blake asked me whether I had found my clothes, and the prisoner said, d - n it, I hate to hear a d - nd parcel of women meddling with what they have no business with.

Mr. Garrow, prisoner's counsel. He was drunk then? - I think he made himself worse than he was; I heard of my things last Monday; I was looking in my drawers where the prisoner's breeches were, and there I found his waistcoat with something hard, like cards or duplicates in the breeches pockets, I put my hand in and took the duplicates out, and there were four or five duplicates, and I gave them to my brother to read, I cannot read writing properly; I put the rest in again; (read) three coats, three waistcoats, three pair of breeches, value 1 l. 16 s. and John Wright was upon it; there was a coat and a pair of breeches belonging to himself in that duplicate, I went to Litchfield-street office, and shewed it to the clerk, they told me where it belonged to, and directed me to go to Cursitor-street, the pawnbroker's name is Conner, they were pawned in the name of John Wright ; the pawnbroker has had the things in his possession ever since; I was going to look at them, and the pawnbroker said, Sir, if you are not going to take the things out, I will be glad if you will pay the interest of them before you look at them; the interest was one shilling and threepence, I laid him down one shilling and sixpence, and he gave me threepence, I then claimed the things belonging to me, a coat, two waistcoats, and two pair of breeches; the constable and my brother was by.

Mr. Garrow. How long have the prisoner

and you lived together in the same house? - A twelvemonth.

He worked for Mr. Fell? - Yes, and had done so for some time.

You did not work for Mr. Fell? - No, I was in employ.

You have succeeded him? - Yes; he went out first, and left me at home, and I locked the door, when I returned, I found the door locked, but I could not find the key, I put the key under the mat when I went out; the prisoner still continued at his work, and still continued to lodge in his room till he was apprehended; I found this duplicate about a month after I lost my things.

Was that drawer locked in which you found the prisoner's breeches? - No.

No person was present but you and your brother? - No.

I believe you are better situated at Mr. Fell's than you was when you first went to him? - I do not know for that.

Tell us the name of the young woman you and the prisoner paid your addresses to? - Her name is Frances Payne .

I believe the prisoner had the good fortune, or the bad fortune as it has turned out, to make rather more advances in Miss Payne's affections than you did? - No, my Lord, no, he did not.

A little piece of jealousy? - She and I fell out about three or four months ago.

That was about the time of the trial of the Brighton taylor I suppose? - I do not know.

Was not the reason that Miss Payne and you fell out, because she liked him better? - I did not know of it then, I found it out since.

Had you any sort of enmity to the prisoner at the bar? - I never had till now.

You never declared that you had? - No, I never said I should hang him or transport him.

What did you say to Mrs. Blake and Mrs. Crosby about hanging him for making love to Miss Payne? - Nothing that I know of, I do not know that I said any thing about hanging him, to Mrs. Blake nor to Mrs. Crosby, I will say so.

Was Mr. Conner one of the pawnbrokers that you went to when you lost your things, did the prisoner go with you to that shop? - We did not go to that shop, it did not fall in my way; we went from ten o'clock till night.

Do you recollect saying after you lost your things, that you wished that if they were pledged any where, that the person who pawned them would put the duplicate under the mat? - I said, if I got them again, I would forgive them; Mrs. Blake said to me, should not you wish to have the duplicate put under the mat where the key is put? yes, says I, I should.

Was that in the hearing of the prisoner? - No, it was not.

How many people went into this room where this drawer was? - As many as pleased, when the door was open.

How many had access to the key? - There were four, the landlady, my brother, myself and the prisoner; I do not know whether Mrs. Crosby knew where the key lay, every body knew where the key was laid after the things was lost; I do not know how many people live in the house, there are many lodgers.

At the distance of a month used your clothes to be kept in the same box? - Yes.

Might not it happen very well that a person having got that duplicate intending to restore it to you, might put it into these breeches, supposing them to be yours? - I do not know that.


I am brother to James Chabers ; my box was left in my brother's lodging about three weeks before the robbery, when I came to town, I set it in there, it was locked; my box was broke open, at the same time I lost an old coat, and a shag waistcoat, I valued the coat at twenty shillings, and the waistcoat at fifteen shillings; I went with my brother to Mr. Conner's, the pawnbroker's,

that was Monday last; we went with the constable; I did not go in at first; when I went in, I saw my coat and waistcoat.

Mr. Garrow. I suppose you know Miss Payne? - I have seen her since we came here.


I am a pawnbroker in Cursitor-street, Chancery-lane; this duplicate is of my own hand-writing; here is the fellow to it.

Who pawned the things? - The prisoner at the bar, on the 28th of April, in the morning, between ten and eleven; I am confident of the prisoner; I never saw him before.

Court to James Chambers . What time did you go out on the 28th of April? - About ten minutes past six; my box was not then broke open; I did not return till ten at night, when I came home, thinking to find the key; says I to the landlord, perhaps the child has got it; then he got two bunches of keys, and tried to get in; we could not; and tried to get in at the window, and could not; then I sent for a blacksmith; the key was not found at all.

Conner. I lent the prisoner three pounds sixteen shillings; I asked the prisoner how he came by the things; he said, the grey coat and the thickset breeches were his own; the others, he said, he pledged for a friend; these things have been in my custody ever since.

( James Chambers deposes to two silk waistcoats, a great coat, and a pair of velveret breeches, and a pair of silk breeches.)

Court. Do you swear these clothes to be worth four pounds? - Yes.

Mr. Garrow. You have preferred two indictments against this man, I understand there was a mistake in the first, it was in a wrong name? - I did not know it, till after it was taken up to the Grand Jury.

Did not the clerk to the indictments tell you, before it was taken up? - I did not know it.

You was not told it by the clerk? - I do not know whether I was told so or no; I cannot say whether I did, or did not.

Why did you increase the value in the second indictment, to what it was described to be in the first? - I valued them at four pounds in the first; the clerk wanted me to put down more.

Mr. Garrow to Conner. Is your shop partitioned off? - There are two boxes; the person who pledged them came into one of these boxes; he was a quarter of an hour in the shop; no other person was in the shop at the time.

What size is your shop? - A small shop; it was originally a parlour, it is light.

Look at the witness James Chambers , and the prisoner? - The prisoner is the man.

Will you venture to swear that James Chambers was not the man that pledged the things? - I swear the prisoner is the man.

How was he dressed? - I cannot ascertain his dress particularly; there was that heaviness in his eyes that appears now.

Look at the heaviness in James's eyes, is there any thing else? - Nothing else.

Cannot you describe any part of the man's dress? - Not any part of it; but to the best of my knowledge, it was the dress he has on now.

Then, you believe it was a blue coat and a black waistcoat? - I believe it was; I cannot swear it, I believe it.

If you had seen him now in a white coat, should you then have recollected he was in a blue one? - I cannot say that.

Court. You are sure that is the man? - I am confident, I swear it.

Then, you are sure it was ten o'clock? - It was early in the morning, it was between the hours of breakfast and noon, and I believe about ten.

Court to Robert Chambers . Look at these things, and say which is your's? - This waistcoat and this coat is mine; this was the prisoner's coat and waistcoat; I know them to be the prisoner's.

Mr. Garrow. Had you got into place before this happened? - Yes.

Are you in the same place? - No; I am with my brother; my brother and I both left that shop that the prisoner worked in.

Prisoner. I leave it to my counsel.


I am a taylor; I worked with the prisoner two years and a half; the morning when these clothes were taken, some time after six, the prisoner came to work at Mr. Fell's; he staid all the morning; in the course of the morning, he said he wanted to go Smithfield in his dinner hours, and asked me if he could go there and back, and get his dinner at a public house; I told him I thought it possible he might; he went off, but whether he went to Smithfield or no I do not know; he was his hour gone, and dined in the shop when he came to work again, and he seemed very much fatigued, as if he had been running hard.

What time did he go from his work? - Twelve o'clock; I had no further conversation with him then; in the course of the next week, the prisoner had wrote to his brother-in-law, informing him he had lost his clothes; he had lost his clothes as well as the prosecutor; his brother came to town; I had a trifle to make up, and I asked a man to lend me half a guinea; he said it was not convenient; the prisoner put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out some money; there was gold and silver, I cannot tell how much, and pitched half a guinea into my lap as I was at work.

Mr. Garrow. So that from six to twelve he continued working with you? - Yes.

How long had the prisoner worked for Mr. Fell? - I do not know; he was out of town some time, he worked there before I came.

What has been his general character as to honesty? - I never heard any thing amiss of his character at all.

Where does Mr. Fell live? - In St. Martin's-lane.

Court to Conner. You say, you cannot exactly say to the time? - It was between breakfast and dinner time.

What time do you dine? - Between one and two, nearer two.

Mr. Garrow. Do you keep a regular book? - We do not make any entry before the afternoon.


I worked with this young man, the prisoner, at Mr. Fell's; the prisoner related to me, that since the robbery was committed, it would be the last day he should work with me; that was about ten days after the robbery was committed; it was his own conversation to me; he worked with me after.

Court. That applies to nothing.

Mr. Garrow. How long have you been a shopmate of his? - Better than two years; I never heard any thing dishonest by him.


I am foreman to Mr. Fell; I know nothing respecting the robbery, I am come with the time-book.

Prosecutor. That is to shew how much time he lost lately.

Mr. Garrow. He lost time in courting Miss Payne, and that gave you pain.

Court. This book is nothing at all.

Mr. Garrow. Was not he remarkably industrious, and employed in carrying work home? - Yes; I have been with Mr. Fell eleven years; I have known him four years, I never heard any thing amiss of him.

Was you at home on the morning of the 28th of April? - I do not recollect.


The prisoner and Mr. Chambers both lodged at our house.

Do you remember Chambers going out on the 28th of April, in the morning? - They go out early in the morning, before I get up; the prisoner came home that day between twelve and one.

Had you any conversation with him? - Yes; he came into the shop a little after twelve, and put his hand, as usual, to take the key down; the key used to hang up in our shop, they put it under the mat at the foot of the stairs, when they got up,

that I should get it to make their bed when I got up; when I had made the bed, I used to hang it up in the shop; the shop was not open in the morning when they went out; I said, Oh, Mr. Bingham, I thought you was in your room, for I have not had the key to-day; I did not find it under the mat that morning.

Mr. Garrow. Your Lordship recollects that Chambers went out last that morning, and locked the door.

Mary Blake . I told Mr. Bingham, perhaps Chambers is up stairs, not well; then he went up to the door, and came down again, and said the door was locked; I then said, perhaps the key may have been left on the three pair of stairs; he came down again in a little time afterwards, and I said, have you found the key; and he said, no; I said, I thought you had, because you staid up stairs; and then he said he got into Mrs. Barker's room, in the two pair of stairs room, and had been chatting with them.

How long did he stay up stairs? - I cannot say; it was more than ten minutes, but I cannot say.

At that time, had he any bundle with him? - None at all; I saw him have none; at night he came home, and could not get in, and they sent for a man to break the door open; then they found the boxes broke open, and the things gone; Mr. Chambers told me he suspected Bingham, and he told me he did not chuse to lodge with us, if Bingham staid; I told Mr. Chambers, if it was disagreeable, and that he suspected Mr. Bingham, I would give him warning to quit; Chambers said, I will tell him first that I suspect him; I did not give Mr. Bingham warning, because Chambers told me he would speak to him first: the prisoner had lodged with me upwards of a twelvemonth; I always looked upon him an honest, industrious young man, and as such I always found him, I never heard any thing to the contrary; I did not see Chambers go out on the morning of the 28th; when he came home at night, he said he had put the key under the mat, as usual.

Do you know Fanny Payne ? - I have seen her.

She was a sweetheart of Chambers's? - God knows, I do not know, for I do not trouble my head about sweethearts; Mrs. Barker is a lodger of mine, and Elizabeth Crossby is her niece.

Court. Can you tell whether the prisoner had been in any other part of your house, before he came into your shop? - I cannot tell; it was a little after twelve.

Mr. Garrow. Does the street-door open into the shop? - It is just by the shop; perhaps I might have seen him, perhaps not.

Court to James Chambers . You went out last on this morning, on the 28th? - Yes, as far as I know, without he concealed himself in the house; my brother went with me; I put the key under the mat, as before.


My aunt's name is Mary Barker , she lodges at Mrs. Blake's; I saw the prisoner on the 28th of April, about twelve, in my aunt's room, up two pair of stairs; Chambers lodges in the one pair of stairs; he staid in our room, as near as I can recollect, about twenty minutes talking.

Had he any bundle at that time? - Nothing at all; after he went out of our room, I heard him go up to the one pair of stairs, and knock at the door; there was no one at home; he came down stairs, and went away.

Court to Mrs. Blake. Did the prisoner used to come home in the middle time of the day? - Sometimes.

How far is your house from Mr. Fell's shop? - Our house is in Little Windmill-street.

Did he come home often in the middle of the day? - No; sometimes he did, and sometimes Mr. Chambers did.

Mr. Garrow. There was nothing extraordinary in his coming home at that time of day? - Nothing at all.


You are acquainted with the prisoner? - Yes; I have known him a year and four months; I saw James Chambers from Mr. Bingham's bringing him to me.

Mr. Chambers, Madam, took it into his head to make love to you? - I first saw the prisoner at a person's house that I know, a friend of mine, who had known the prisoner four years; I went to service, and in Bond-street I was taken very ill; the prisoner went to get me a coach; I asked who he was; she gave him an exceeding good character; we became intimate, where I have been three or four days; he told the prosecutor he saw a person from the town where he came from, and he wished him to go and see me; Mr. Chambers and me continued friends till about three months ago, a person who had got acquainted with the prisoner persuaded me to quarrel; the prosecutor got the prisoner to write to me.

Then Chambers wished to be his successor in your affections? - Chambers did every thing in his power to make himself agreeable, but I could not find him so; I let the prosecutor come and see me at times as an acquaintance of Mr. Bingham's; before I dropped acquaintance with the prosecutor, he told me, if ever I was going to be married to any person, let him be whomsoever he would, that he would prevent it for a little, if not for a constancy.

Upon your turning off Chambers the prisoner came into favour? - Yes; on the 20th of last February, I left my place and went down to North Shields to my sister, who is here, I returned last Wednesday was a week; I went down with a promise of marrying the prisoner upon my return, and Chambers told me when I returned again the day after the prisoner was taken up, he was taken up after I came to town, Chambers knowing I was to be married to him on my return last Tuesday; when the prisoner was taken up the Monday before; on the Tuesday night at seven o'clock, the prosecutor came with Mr. Dexter, who is here, to me.

What business did you follow? - I have been a nursery maid from twelve years old.

Are you in service now? - No, I was down in the country seeing my friends, and when I came up, I took a room with intent of being married to the prisoner; Chambers told me, he came to inform me out of friendship what the prisoner was taken for; that he had taken up the prisoner; he asked me if I was married to him, but I did not answer him, he said, he pittied me; then he told me he always respected me, and was glad for my sake that I was not married to him, he certainly would prosecute the prisoner as far as he could, and for my sake he would not wish to see him hung, but would prosecute him as far as he could, and transport him, if in his power; he said, if I was not married, he was glad, if so he should be sorry; one of the witnesses here, gave him a letter to bring to me; the prisoner had given another person a letter, and the prisoner had desired Dexter to come and tell me, Chambers chose to come with him, and Dexter had not leave to speak.


I am a taylor; I know the prosecutor and the prisoner; I work at Mr. Fell's; upon the prisoner's being taken up, he desired me to go to Miss Payne to inform her; I did not desire Chambers to go with me, Mr. Chambers being with me at the Bear when the prisoner was committed, desired I would learn where Miss Payne lived; when we came there, the account Miss Payne gave, is strictly true; I have known the prisoner four years.

What has been his general character as to honesty? - I never heard any thing amiss of his character; on the 28th of April last, from six in the morning or a few minutes after, I saw Mr. Bingham till twelve; he returned to work at one, and continued there till eight; I went out with him from Mr. Fell's at half past eight, and we went across the way to a publick house, then he went on his master's business, and carried

some clothes to the Rev. Mr. Smith's, by Portland-chapel, and to another place in Oxford-road, and we both returned to the publick house, and supped together, he stopped with me till half past ten, and then went home.


I am a taylor; I work with Mr. Fell, the prisoner overtook me as I was going to work in the morning, he went with me and continued till twelve.

Mr. Baron Perryn. It appears it was very imprudent to leave these duplicates in a drawer that was unlocked, exposed to other persons at the distance of a month.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILLES.

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