22nd June 1796
Reference Numbert17960622-39

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424. JOHN JAQUES was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 22d of March , five pair of silk stockings, value 3l. the property of William Clarke , privately in his shop .


I live in Leicester-square , I am a haberdasher and hosier: On the 19th of March, in the evening, the prisoner came to my shop and asked me if I dealt in silk stockings; I told him I did; he said he wanted a parcel of stockings, if I could sell them upon good terms he would deal with me, if I would make an allowance in taking a parcel; I told him I would; he said he had another gentleman that he must consult, and he would call upon the Monday

morning and make the purchase; he did not come on the Monday morning, but came on the Tuesday and made an apology for not coming; he then desired me to show him some stockings; which I did; I showed him some white first, a parcel in which there were twelve pair; he looked out what he thought proper, and then desired to see some others; I showed him a dozen of patent ribbed; he looked out some of them, and then I showed him some others, such as white and coloured silk; after he had done with the silk, then he wanted some women's white cotton, very fine, and then he wanted some women's coarse at 2s. 6d. or 3s. the pair; he then wanted some boy's random two sizes, and he looked out silk and cotton boy's ones to the amount of 18l. odd; he desired the silk to be packed up very carefully in strong paper, for that they were going into the country, and to prevent them being rubbed in cartridge paper; the other sort he was indifferent about the packing, but if I would get them ready in half an hour, he would call and settle for them; this was about half an hour after eight in the morning; I told him that was too short a time to get the bill ready and all, if he would wait till ten o'clock I would then be ready for him; he said, that would suit him just as well, and desired I would have them ready; I packed them up agreeable to his desire, the bill was made; he did not come; I kept them packed all that day, and the day after; the third day I opened them, convinced in my own mind that he was a bad man; I opened them, and upon examining what he had bought, and what I knew I had, I found that he had robbed me of two pair of white silk and three pair of coloured patent ribbed; I knew he had robbed me, because I knew there were twelve in the parcel, and when I examined them, and what he had looked out, there were two deficient.

Q. Was that deficiency in the parcel reserved for your own use, or in the parcel that you had packed up? - A. The deficiency was in those that were put back again, and the same with the patent silk; there were twelve pair in paper.

Q. How many of the patent had he agreed for? - A. He had not agreed for any,

Q. What was the quantity he had fixed upon for packing up? - A. He took out what he liked and laid them in a heap; when my back was turned to show him some others, he must have taken them.

Q. But there was that deficiency? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever see those stockings again? - A. No, never.

Q. I don't understand you with respect to the white and patent silk stockings, there was a dozen of each; did he direct you to pack the whole dozen? - A. No.

Q. What did you do with those that he did not order? - A. I made up the paper myself, and put it aside.

Q. This paper you did not examine till two days after he had left the shop? - A. No; not till the third day.

Q. What is the value of those things? - A. Between three and four pounds.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. In the first place, are you quite sure he is the man? - A. I am very sure he is the man.

Q. He ordered you to pack up some stockings? - A. He ordered me to pack up the silk carefully by themselves.

Q. Do you know how many pair you packed up? - A. I really don't know; I know the whole amount of the stock that he looked out was 18l. odd.

Q. Then the only ground for your supposing he took those things is, that three days after, when you came to calculate your stock, there were five deficient? - A. Yes.

Q. I take it for granted your shop was not shut up those three days? - A. No; certainly not.

Q. And those things have never been found since? - A. No.

Court. Q. Did the parcels that you put back appear to you to be in the same state the third day, as when you put them back? - A. They were; I am sure they never had been opened.


I am son of the last witness; I was in the shop at the time the prisoner was there.

Q. Did you see him the time that he first called? - A. Yes; I was there the whole of the time, though not behind the counter.

Q. Did you see him the second time? - A. No; he only called once.

Q. Yes, he did? - A. Yes; I believe he called on the Thursday morning first, and on the Friday morning the second time.

Q. However you saw him both times? - A. Yes, I did.

Q. Do you know the quantity of stockings that was shown him? - A. Yes; I am confident there were twelve pair in each bundle.

Q. Did you examine the bundles upon their being taken down, when you suspected some had been stolen? - A. My father did in my presence; there were three pair deficient in one bundle, and two pair in the other.

Q. Are you in the habit of serving in the shop? - A. Yes.

Q. In the interval of the time between his coming and choosing the stockings, and your examining them afterwards, had you taken down those bundles? - A. I had not.

Q. Has your father any other servant that serves in the shop? - A. He has not.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. You were in the shop the first time that he came? - A. Yes.

Q. Your's is a shop of very good custom, I believe, and a great many people coming in? - A. Yes.

Q. It happens in the hurry of business, when customers come into your shop, that you pull down a great many bundles in your anxiety to serve your customers? - A. It might have happened so, but these things I am positive were not taken down.

Q. But in the hurry of business you or your father might have done it? - A. I must have recollected it, if it had been so.

Court. Q. You are certain you took down in that interval neither of those bundles? - A. I am positive of it.

Q. (To the Prosecutor.) In the internal between your showing him these stockings and examining the bundles, had you shewn them to any body? - A. I am sure I never had, for they were patterns I intended to return, the patterns not being agreeable to me.

Mr. Ally. Q. Is there any other servant in your shop? - A. There is a shop-woman attends occasionally.

Q. You have left somebody there, I take it for granted, to take care of your shop? - A. Yes; Mrs. Clark.

Q. She serves occasionally? - A. Yes.

Prisoner's defence. My Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury, in the defence that I meant to have set up, I intended to prove an alibi, but was advised to the contrary; if I had not, I should have been able to proved myself to be near 100 miles off at the time, at Bury St. Edmund's; but it would have been a very great expence to have subpoened witnesses so far to give evidence; I think it is not necessary for me to trouble your Lordship long, and therefore shall say but very little; that I am innocent of the charge is all the defence I can make; it is not very likely that twelve gentlemen-remember, gentlemen, my life is at stake-it is not likely that twelve gentlemen, as honest men, would take away my like in such a case as this; a shop that is open to all comers and goers; the prosecutor said, three days afterwards he examined the parcels; is it possible, that upon such evidence my life is to be taken away? I shall trouble you no longer, gentlemen, you will remember my life is at stake.

GUILTY . Death . (Aged 30.)

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

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