17th September 1800
Reference Numbert18000917-46
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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633. THOMAS CHALFONT was indicted for that he, being a person employed in the General Post-office , on the 18th of April , feloniously did secrete a letter, or packet, directed to Messrs. Bedwells, St. John's-street, and stealing thereout a Banbury Bank-note, value 1ol. the property of Bernard Bedwell , John Yates , Bernard Bedwell , jun. and Philip Bedwell .(This indictment was stated by Mr. Myers, and the case by Mr. Fielding).

RICHARD DEVONSHIR sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I am a shop-keeper at Byfield, near Banbury: On the 17th of April, I sent a letter directed to Messrs. Bedwell.

Q.Shall you know the cover if you see it again?(Shewing him the cover of a letter.) - A. This is my own hand-writing.

Q. Is it in the same state now that it was when you sent it? - A. No; it differs in the word two, and the word twenty; the word two was three, and the word twenty was thirty.

Q. What Bank-notes did it contain? - A. I took down the numbers at the time; I sent No. 3194, 3195, and 3196, for 1ol. each, they were Banbury Bank-notes, all dated the 24th of February; I put it into the letter-box myself, at the Post-office at Banbury, on the evening of the 17th of April, between three and four o'clock; the Post do not pack the letters till an hour after that.

JOSEPH WYATT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I am an assistant in the Post-office at Banbury.

Q. Do you remember the mail being dispatched from Banbury on the 17th of April? - A. Yes; it was dispatched in the usual way, at the usual hour of five o'clock.

Q. That mail should have arrived in London on the morning of the 18th? - A. Yes.

WILLIAM KENT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I am in the General Post-office.

Q. Do you remember the Banbury bags arriving the morning of the 18th of April, at the General Post-office, in the usual way? - A. Yes.

Q. Upon their arrival, what was then done with them? - A. Delivered to one of the clerks in the customary way.

HOGH FERGUSON sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. I am clerk in the General Post-office.

Q. What was the situation of the prisoner on the morning of the 18th of April? - A.Sorter, and charge-teller, at the letter E.

Q. Would the letter E be the particular division to which letters from Banbury would come? - A. I understand so.

Q. Do you know it? - A. It is so.

Q. Explain to us what the business of a charge-teller is? - A. To tell up the amount of the letters for letter E.

Q. After he has gone through that business of charge-telling, would it be his business to sort the letters? - A. Yes, it would.

Q. Would it be in his power, therefore, in forting letters for letter E, to take any of those letters away? - A. Yes.

Q. Did he continue in the same situation the following morning, the 19th? - A. Yes.

Q. Then he would have equally a control over the letters that came there on the 18th, and on the 19th? - A. Yes.

Q. He might either take away or put in any letter?. - A. Yes.

Q. As charge-teller he would have to make the charge of the whole on the 18th, and he would have equally to make the charge on the 19th? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. Do you mean to say he was the only person engaged in sorting those letters that morning? - A. He was the only person appointed that morning.

Q. Do not all the men who have the delivery of the letters assist in sorting the letters? - A. Yes; he was appointed the principal at the table E, and he is to direct the sorting before they are given to his partners.

Q. Beckett, for assistance? - A. He had an opportunity of sorting any letters that were wrong sorted to the letter E.

Q. Had Beckett the delivery of the letters for the St. John's-street division? - A. He had.

Q. Therefore, Beckett, in the usual course of business, would have charge of this letter which was directed to St. John's-street? - A. He ought.

Jury. Q. Do you mean, after the prisoner at the bar had been sorting them? - A. Yes.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. Do you mean to say, that he could not have had them before the prisoner had done sorting? - A. He had that opportunity undoubtedly.

Q. With several other persons? - A. Yes, seven more.

Q. Beckett is employed in the Post-office now, is he not? - A. No.

Q. What is become of him? - A. He has resigned.

Q.Resigned you call it; do you believe it was a voluntary thing in himself? - A. I was informed, that while I was in the country he had resigned.

Q. Do not you know that he was suspended? - A. I understood he had been suspended.

Q. And then he gave in his resignation? - A. Yes.

Mr. Fielding. Q. However many there might be who might come to this table E, it was the principal duty of the prisoner to take the charges there, and fort the letters? - A. Yes.

Q. Then Beckett would get letters that had been charged, and forted by the prisoner? - A. Yes.

Q. Beckett was the deliverer in St. John's-street? - A. Yes.

JOHN BECKETT sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding - Q. On the 18th of April, were you letter-carrier for the divison of St. John's-street? - A. I was.

Q. Did you, on the morning of the 18th, deliver any letter to Messrs. Bedwells? - A. I have no doubt but I did; they generally had seven, eight, or a dozen, every day.

Q. Did you deliver all the letters that you received from the Post-office that were directed to their house? - A. I did.

Q. I understand you are not at present concerned in the Post-office? - A. I am not.

Q. What was the reason of your not continuing in their employ? - A. It was the post-master's with that I should resign.

Q. Was it in consequence of this being discovered? - A. I cannot tell any thing about it; I never could learn.

Q. Had you heard of any letter being wrong? - A. It was in consequence of taking a note from the prisoner; it was supposed there was an intimacy between us.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You were requested to resign, I understand? - A. It was the Post-master's wish.

Q.You have been requested, perhaps, to return to the situation again? - A. Not at present.

Q. I understand you, that in the delivery of St. John's-street, you deliver a number of letters almost every day at that house? - A. Yes.

Q. What letters you delivered particularly on that day it is impossible for you to know? - A. It is impossible.

BARNARD BEDWELL sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding. Q. Be so good as state the firm of your house? - A. Barnard Bedwell , John Yates , Barnard Bedwell, jun. and Philip Bedwell .

Q. Mr. Devonshire, of Byfield, near Banbury, is a correspondent of your's? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you receive any letter from him on the 19th of April? - A. I did.

Q. I believe you are the person who opened the letter? - A. I opened the letter.

Q. Look at that, is that the letter that you opened? - A. It is, it contained two notes, No. 3195, and 3196.

Q. Did any thing strike you particularly at that time, so as to lead you to examine the letter more closely? - A. No; the letter laid by for two or three days; we did not examine it minutely till after I had received another letter from Mr. Devonshire; there appears an alteration in the word two, and in the word twenty.

Q. Did you examine the outside of the letter? - A. Yes; we examined the place where the wafer was; there appeared to be two wafers, not exactly one upon the other, but partly so, it appeared to have been opened and sealed up again; I examined the post-mark, and it appeared to me to be a little defaced; Mr. Yates made application to Mr. Robarts's Bank.

Q. Look at these two Bank-notes? - A.These were in the letter that I received on the 19th; they were paid into Bobarts's, with other notes, and some cash.

Q. I observe the letter E is visible in that post-mark? - A. Yes; when I came to examine it more minutely; and it is now in the state in which I delivered it up.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You have known this young man, I believe, ever since he was an instant? - A.I have known the family, as neighbours living within a few doors; I always thought him a steady and an industrious young man; they are a very industrious family.

Mr. Fielding. (To Ferguson.) Q. What does the letter E import? - A. It shews that it was stamped at the table E, and the day of the month.

Q. The table where the prisoner was? - A. Yes.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. That stamp, letter E, is only in the Inland-office? - A. Yes.

Q. The letter E is in a different office from that where he was? - A. Yes.

Mr. Fielding. Q. And it came from there to him? - A. Yes.

GEORGE TAYLOR sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am a clerk in the banking-house of Robarts and Company. The house at which Banbury Bank-notes are payable. (Produces his book).

Q. Turn to your account of the 18th of April last, does it appear by your book whether you paid a Bank of England note, No. 2186? - A. Yes; it is dated that 21st of February, 1800, the entry is in my own hand-writting; I paid it for a Banbury Bank-note of 10l.

Q. At what time of the day was that payment made? - A. I cannot say; I have two waste-books, and this is the last entry but one in one of them, I should therefore, suppose in to be late in the day.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. Are all the entries of cash, paid for Banbury Bank-notes, in that book? - A. I paid two.

Q. Were there no other Banbury Bank-notes for ten pounds changed at your house that day? - A. Yes; I believe five.

TIMOTHY PINTO sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am a clerk in the house of Mess. Robarts and Co.

Q. Does it appear by your book, whether or no your yourself, on the 18th of April, paid a Banbury Bank-note, value ten pounds, No. 3194? - A. It does.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Did you make the entry yourself? - A I did.

Mr. Abbott. Q. Was that note paid in company with any other, or by itself? - A. By itself, singly.

Q. Is it an early entry of that day? - A. It is the last of that day.

Q. Have you on that day entered the payment of any other Banbury Bank-notes? - A. Yes, six more, that morning, paid at the counter, all six together.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Were you present at the time of payment? - A. No.

GEORGE PARKER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am a clerk in the house of Mess. Roberts and Co.

Q. What book is that you have in your hand? - A. The pay-book.

Q. Are the entries there made by you? - A.They are.

Q. Turn to the 18th of April, and tell me if you have an entry of the payment of a Banbury Bank-note of 10l. singly? - A. I have.

Q. Is it an early or a late entry? - A. A late entry.

Q. Have you any entry of any other Banbury Bank-notes paid that day? - A. Yes, six, about one o'clock.

Q. Were those six paid singly, or together? - A.Together.

Q. Your book does not contain the numbers of the notes? - A. No.

JOHN MOSS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Myers. I am a clerk in the Bank of England: (produces a Bank of England note for 1ol.); it came into the Bank on the 3d of May; No. 2186; it has been altered to 2486, dated 24th of February; that is a different date from what it was when it was issued; it was brought into the Bank by Mr. Dickinson, one of our tellers.

Q. Was there any Bank of England note corresponding in number and date with that, in the state in which it is produced? - A. I have examined, and found there was not.

Q. Did the Bank of England ever issue a note for No. 2186? - A. Yes, they did; dated the 21st of February.

Q. Have you any doubt that the note you now hold in your hand is that note? - A. Not the least in the world.

WILLIAM DICKINSON sworn. - Examined by Mr. Myers. I am an out-teller of the Bank of England.

Q. Look at that Bank-note; do you ever recollect having seen that Bank-note before? - A. Yes,

Q. What was the number and the date at the time you brought it in? - A. I cannot say; it is not my department to take notice of the numbers, only the sums; I received it from Mainwaring, Chatteris, and Co. bankers, in Cornhill, upon the 3d of May.

THOMAS CHATTERIS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Myers. I am a partner in the house of Messrs. Mainwaring, Chatteris, and Co.

Q. Be so good as look at your book of the 3d of May; did you pay a Bank-note, No. 2486, to the Bank out-teller? - A. I have not the number as paid to the Bank, but I have the number and date when it was brought in to us.

Q. And the next day you paid the same notes to the Bank out-teller? - A. There were some notes paid to the Bank out-teller, but we have not got the numbers.

THOMAS HAYMAN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Myers. On the 2d of May I paid several Bank-notes to Messrs. Mainwaring and Co.

Q. Do you recollect that you received any Banknotes from a Mr. Ross, of the General Post-Office? - A. On the 1st of May I received forty pounds of him, in Bank-notes, at Lloyd's Coffee-house; I took no notice of the number or sums; and on the 2d of May, twenty pounds more, in Cornhill; all which, except ten pounds, I paid to Messrs. Mainwarning and Co. on the 2d of May.

THOMAS ROSS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Woodsall. I belong to the General Post-office: On the 23d of April, I received some money from the Receiver-General's office; among which was one or more ten-pound Bank-notes, which I paid to Mr. Hayman; Mr. Gibbons brought them to me from the Receiver-General.

JOHN GIBBONS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Woodsall. About the 23d of April I received some

notes from the Receiver-General's office, which I gave to Mr. Ross; I don't recollect what the notes were.

JAMES COCK sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am clerk to the Receiver-General in the Post-office.

Q. Look at that note: (shewing him the Bank of England note;) was that note ever in your hands? - A. I believe it was.

Q. From whom did you receive it? - A. From Thomas Chalfont , I believe, on the 23d of April.

Q. Upon what account did he pay that note to you? - A. On account of his revenue as a letter-carrier.

Q. Are you acquainted with the hand-writing of the prisoner? - A. I have seen his writing very frequently.

Q. Are you, from having frequently seen his writing, able to speak to the character of his hand? - A. I cannot swear to it.

Q. What do you believe, with respect to that endorsement upon the back of the note, "Thomas Chalfont, April 23, 1800"? - A. I believe it is his hand-writing.

Q. Is there upon that note the words "D. Syer"? - A. There is.

Q. Is it in such a state as to enable you to say who is the person by whom it is written, or any part of it? - A. I cannot say; I do not know the hand.

Q. There are also the letters, great D and little d, and the word "Jones" following it? - A. Yes.

Q. Can you say, as to your belief, whose handwriting that is? - A. I do not believe it is the handwriting of Jones, the letter-carrier; I have seen his writing frequently.

Q. Have you any belief as to the person by whom that endorsement was made? - A. No; I cannot say.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q.Did the prisoner at the bar ever make any secret of having endorsed that with his own name? - A. No; it is customary to endorse their names.

Q. Therefore he knew he would be expected to endorse his name upon that note? - A. Certainly.

Q.And he paid it in, I think you say, on the 23d of April? - A. Yes.

Q. And he has written 23d of April upon it? - A. Yes.

Q. Those people do not receive as much as ten pounds for any one letter? - A. I cannot speak to that.

Q. You do not know of any such instance? - A. I do not.

Q. When letter-carriers borrow I do not know whether you know that they write upon them the name of the person from whom they have received them? - A. I have heard that they are directed to do so.

Mr. Moss called again. - Examined by Mr. Abbott.

Q. You have two other Bank of England notes? - A. Yes, 1299, 1st of March, 1800, for ten pounds; endorsed, B. Syer, D. Jones, J. Beckett, T. Chalfont; at the other end of the note, Mr. White to Thos. Chalfont, April 22, 1800; the other is No. 9435, dated 22d March, 1800, for ten-pounds; endorsed, B. Syer, D. Jones.

RICHARD KENTISH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am clerk to Williams and Co.

Q. Mr. James Mitchell keeps cash at your house? - A. Yes; on the 18th of April I paid James Mitchell himself one hundred pounds; sundry notes to the amount of ninety pounds, and ten pounds in cash.

Q. Among those notes are there any Bank-notes of the value of ten pounds? - A. Yes, five.

Q. Is one of them numbered 1299, dated 1st of March, 1800? - A. I have the number and the date, but not the year.

Q. Have you another, No. 9435? - A. Yes, I have, dated 22d of March; I paid that also to Mr. Mitchell.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. You paid them with three others of the same value? - A. Yes.

JAMES MITCHELL sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. On the 18th of April I received from my banker one hundred pounds; ninety pounds in Banknotes, and ten pounds in cash; I took these notes for the purpose of paying my people the following morning; I gave either the whole or a greater part of them to my son, James Mitchell , to pay Mrs. Syer, for the purpose of paying my workmen.

JAMES MITCHELL , Jun. sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. On the 19th of April I received a sum of money from my father to give to Mrs. Syer, in Bank-notes, to the amount of ninety pounds; I paid the whole to Mrs. Syer the same day, Saturday the 19th.

Mrs. MARY SYER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I live at Limehouse: On the 19th of April I received from Mr. Mitchell, the last witness, ninety pounds.

Q. Do you know David Jones of the Post-office? - A. Yes, he married my niece.

Q. I need hardly ask you if he is acquainted with your Christian name? - A. Oh, yes.

Q. Had you occasion to send to him any of the notes you had so received from Mr. Mitchell? - A. Twenty pounds, in two tens.

Q. On what day did you send those two notes to Mr. Jones? - A. On the 20th; I sent them by Charles Walters, to get twenty pounds worth of silver; he was in the habit of procuring me silver for notes.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. It is a very common thing for all the post-men to give change for notes? - A. I do not know; I only know that my nephew did it.

CHARLES WALTERS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am nephew to the last witness: On the 20th of April I received from her two ten-pound Bank-notes, which I took to David Jones.

DAVID JONES sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott.

Q.You were some time ago a letter-carrier in the Post-office? - A.And sub-sorter.

Q.At what table were you employed on the 18th and 19th of April? - A. At G. table, and had been three or four years; I have been employed in the Post-office between twelve and thirteen years.

Q. I believe you have since been suspended? - A. I have; and the Hon. the Post-master General has since re-instated me.

Q. In consequence of a suspicion respecting a ten-pound Banbury note? - A. No, a Bank of England note.

Q. Are you acquainted with Mary Syer ? - A. Yes, and have been between twelve and thirteen years; I married her niece. On the 20th of April I received from Charles Walters two Bank of England notes for ten pounds each.

Q. Look at these two notes? - A. These notes have been both in my possession; I cannot swear to the numbers.

Q.First of all, be so good as take into your hand No. 1299; upon that there is endorsed, B. Syer? - A. Yes, and D. Jones; the word Syer is my writing, and D. Jones is my own hand-writing; but not the B, nor the small d.

Q. Were you at that time acquainted with the Christian name of Mrs. Syer? - A. Yes, her Christian name is Mary.

Q. Now be so good as look at the other note, No. 9435; there is endorsed upon that the words Syer, and D. Jones? - A. Yes; the whole of that endorsement is my writing.

Q. Are you able to say in what manner you disposed of these notes, so as to distinguish one from the other? - A. I cannot; I disposed of one to Mr. Shakel, of the General Post-office; and the other I paid in myself at the General Post-office, on the 23d of April; I paid the other to Shakel on Monday the 21st.

Q. Now look at the other Bank-note, No. 2186; upon the back of it are the words, B. Syer, and D. Jones? - A. It looks so; it is rather blotted.

Q. Is D. Jones perfectly legible? - A. Jones is.

Q. Is any part of that endorsement your handwriting? - A.Not at all.

Q. You have told us just now, that you had the misfortune to be suspended, on account of a suspicion that attached to you upon this transaction? - A. Yes.

Q.Be so good as look at that paper; (showing him a printed hand-bill, offering 100l. reward for discovering the offender)? - A. That was done by my direction.

Mr. Knowlys. That is only wasting time; nobody has impeached him yet, that I have heard.

Mr. Cock called again. - Examined by Mr. Abbott.

Q. Be so good as look at the Bank-note, No. 1299? - A. I believe it has been in my possession; I received it from a letter-carrier of the name of Beckett; but it does not appear on what day.

Q. Upon that note are the words, B. Syer, and D. Jones? - A. There are; I think Jones is the writing of David Jones ; but the other I cannot speak to.

Q. Now take the note, No. 9435; do you know whether you yourself received that of any body? - A. I believe I did, of David Jones .

Q. Do you know whose hand-writing the endorsement, Syer, and D. Jones, is, upon that note? - A. I believe the whole of it is David Jones 's.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. When you speak of No. 1299, you speak of the Bank of England note, and not a Banbury note? - A. No; a Bank of England note.

Q. And the precise time you received it you cannot tell? - A. No.

Q. What did you do with those notes? - A.They. were either paid to the Receiver-General's banker, or to some person in the office.

CHANDOS HOSKINS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Woodsall. I am clerk to Messrs. Esdaile.

Q. Look at your book of the date of the 23d of April; did you receive on that day any 10l. note? - A. Yes, we received two; one is 9435, dated the 22d of March, and 1299, dated the 1st of March, from the Receiver-General's office at the Post-office.

Q. Were these notes taken about that time to the Bank? - A. They were taken to the Bank on the 24th.

JOHN BECKETT called again. - Examined by Mr. Myers. Q. Look at that Bank of England note, No. 1299; did you ever see that note before? - A.Yes, I paid it at the Receiver-General's; I received it from the prisoner; I believe the same day, I cannot be certain.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. Might you not have received it over-night? - A. I thought possibly I might; but it is almost impossible that I should.

Q. Was there a time when you underwent serious questions at the Post-office? - A. Yes.

Q. You were desired to give an account in writing at the Post-office? - A. I did, to the best of my knowledge.

Q. Then you thought over and over again, where you had received it? - A. I did not recollect that I had received a ten-pound note at all from him till I saw my hand-writing upon it.

Q.Did you not write to the gentlemen that you received it either the 22d or 23d? - A. Yes; and I was asked which I thought was the most likely; and I said the 23d was the most likely; what I stated was to the best of my knowledge.

Q. Then you wrote down that you thought you must have received it on the over-night? - A. I did.

EDWARD SHAKEL sworn. - I am a letter-carrier in the General Post-office.

Q. Do you know David Jones ? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you at any time receive a ten-pound note from him? - A. Yes, on Wednesday morning, the 23d of April; I never received any other ten-pound note of him in my life; I have been in the habit of collecting silver for David Jones ; I carried him six pounds in silver, and asked him to let me have the use of two pounds, to make my payments good at the Treasury; upon that he shewed me a ten-pound note; I gave him the silver into his hands, and went again to my seat and threw off a few letters, and went back again and received a ten-pound note from Jones; I saw him write something upon it, it appeared to me to be his own name; I did not observe any thing else wrote upon it; I immediately delivered it to the prisoner at the bar; he was counting up his money, and I asked him for change, that I might send the exact sum that I owed; I gave him the note, and received the change; at the conclusion of his telling up his money for the Treasury, he said, Mr. Shakel, you have not put your name to it; I said, no, I have not; I have just received it from David Jones; he might put my name upon it if he would; what he wrote upon it I do not know, for I did not see it afterwards.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. This note was No. 1299? - A. I did not look at the number.

Q. You said you had received it of Jones? - A. Yes.

Q. The prisoner desired you to put your name upon it, and you told him he might? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you any doubt that he wrote your name? - A. I saw him put his pen to it, but what he wrote I cannot say.

Q.Look at that note, No. 2186? - A. This has some part of my name.

Mr. Abbott. Q. Are you sure you had it upon the 23d of April, from Jones? - A. Yes.

Q. You never had but one from Jones? - A. No.

Q. Did you make any payment on the Monday? A. Yes; three or four pounds.

Mr. Knapp. Q. And on the Wednesday how much? - A. About eight pounds.

Mr. Abbott. (To Mr. Fergussion.) Q. You were at the table E. on the 18th and 19th of April? - A. Yes.

Q. Was Jones at that table on either of those mornings? - A.No; his employment was at table G.

Q.Had he the opportunity of obtaining any letter that came from table E.? - A. Not coming in its regular course.

Prisoner's defence. I declare that I received two notes, one from Mr. Shakel, and the other from White, of Fleet-street, as I have endorsed it, which it was my duty to do; the rest of my defence I leave to my counsel.

EDWARD COOPER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You are a person employed by Mr. White, a bookseller, in Fleet-street? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - A. Yes, he used to deliver letters to us; I have several times given him a Bank-note for change.

Q. Do you keep any account of the Bank-notes that pass through your hands? - A. No.

Q. Mr. White is I believe in a large way of business? - A. Yes, he is.

The prisoner called six other witnesses, who gave him a good character.

GUILTY Death . (Aged 17.)

The prisoner was recommended by the Jury to his Majesty's mercy, on account of his tender age, and good character.

Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Baron HOTHAM.

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