1st July 1801
Reference Numbert18010701-14
VerdictsGuilty; Not Guilty

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545. JOHN RONALDSON and THOMAS KING were indicted, the first for feloniously stealing, on the 4th of April , five gallons of oil of turpentine, value 35s. the property of John Shuttleworth , and the other for receiving the same, knowing it to have been stolen .(The case was opened by Mr. Knowlys).

JOHN SHUTTLEWORTH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am a manufacturer of the oil of turpentine , in Sun Tavern Fields ; the prisoner, Ronaldson, was my distiller in that manufactory; I had lost near half a ton weight while Ronaldson was in my service.

Q. Do you know the prisoner, King? - A. I think he has dealt with me once or twice.

Q. Is seven pounds the weight of a gallon? - A. Yes; we sell it by weight: On the 6th of June last, in consequence of suspicion, I apprehended Ronaldson; I was attending his examination before the Magistrate, when the account he gave of it was reduced into writing.

Q. Were any promises of savour made to him to induce him to give that account? - A. No.

Q. Nor any threats of prosecution if he did not? - A. No.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. When did the price of oil of turpentine rise? - A. It gradually rose from October till March; before October it was about 5s.

Q. The prisoner does not keep an oil shop, but a large chandler's shop? - A. I cannot say, I never was at the shop.

Q. A person in that trade could not have so large a consumption as a painter? - A. No.

Q.And therefore using it in small quantities, might not be so conversant with the rise of price as you were? - A.Certainly not.(Mr. Rupert Clarke , the Magistrate, proved the confession of Ronaldson to be a voluntary one, which was read).

WILLIAM SEVIER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. How long have you been acquainted with the prisoner, Ronaldson? - A. About ten or eleven months; he came to my house, and we went from there to a public-house; he said he had but 16s. a week, besides some oil of turpentine that was perquisites allowed him from his master, and he wished me to dispose of it for him; I told him I did not like to have any hand in it; he said he was doing right, and swore to it; I told him I did not like to have any thing to do with it; we drank up the beer, and went away; two nights afterwards he came again, and I agreed to look out for a person to buy it.

Q. Did you know the prisoner King? - A.Between three and four months ago, Ronaldson came to my house, and wanted me to go to Mr. King.

Q. What is King? - A. There is written over the door, Thomas King, oil and colourman, about half a dozen doors from the Police-office, Shadwell; I went into the shop, and saw Mr. and Mrs. King; I had on a brown velvet jacket, leather breeches, and an apron.

Q. Had you any trowsers on? - A. Not then; I had when I took it; I asked King if he would like to take it; I told him it was not my own, but belonged to another person.

Q. Did he make any enquiry who that other person was? - A. No, he did not, nor I did not tell him; he asked me if it was good, and if it was safe; I said, it was safe enough, he need not to be afraid; he asked me what it was a gallon; I told him it could not be dear at 4s. 6d.; he said, that was rather too much; I told him it was very good, would he like to see it first; he said, yes; I then went to Ronaldson, and told him what had passed, and he gave me some in a small phial, which I took to Mr. King; he smelled it, and said it had not the smell that his had; then he said he liked it very well, and would give me 4s. 6d. a gallon; either the next day, or the day following, I took some to Mr. King in two bottles, one at a time; the same day King was not in the way, and I called again the second time, and saw Mr. King; he weighed them out, and Mrs. King put down the weight; I don't remember what the weight was, but they took seven pounds and a half to the gallon; then he paid for them at the rate of 4s. 6d. a gallon; then he asked me if there was any more; I told him there would be in a few days; he desired me to bring it.

Q. Do you recollect how much he paid you? - A. No.

Q. When you received the money, how were you dressed? - A. In trowsers.

Q. Do you work in trowsers? - A. Yes.

Q. What business are you? - A. A painter and glazier; I have worked for Mrs. Baker, at Rotherhithe, these four years.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q.You are a painter and glazier? - A. Yes.

Q.And you had no doubt that what you were doing was fair and honest? - A. Yes.

Q. And King was induced by you to believe he was doing that that was fair and honest? - A. Yes.

Q. You brought them in open noon day, I believe? - A. Yes.

Q. How far was this from the Police-office? - A. Six doors.

Q.Under the nose of the Police-officers? - A. Yes.

Court. Q. How much had you for this job? - A. About five shillings or five shillings and sixpence; I received from King a one-pound note, a guinea, and two or three shillings.

Q. You had been disposing of a great deal before this? - A. Yes.

Q.Will you swear that then you thought it was a fair and honest transaction? - A. Yes.

Q.After having dealt in this way for eight months? - A. Yes.

ANN RUNSLEY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. Your daughter married Ronaldson? - A. Yes.

Q. Was Sevier acquainted with Ronaldson? - A. Yes, he has come to the house several times.

Q. Did you hear their conversation together? - A. No; they always went into the yard to talk together.

ANN CULLEN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. Do you know Sevier? - A. Yes; he lodged at my house; Ronaldson was acquainted with him and used to call upon him; I have let him in several times; he generally called between six and seven in the evening.

Q. Did he bring any thing with him? - A. Sometimes; generally a stone bottle and flask bottle confined in a basket.

JOSEPH HAYNES sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am one of the officers attending the Police-office, Shadwell; I went with a search-warrant to the premises of King, on Saturday, the 6th of June, in the morning; I told Mr. King I had a search-warrant to search his house for some oil of turpentine that had been stolen from Mr. Shuttleworth; he told me to go down in the kitchen; I went down, and he shewed me some in the kitchen; it was like a warehouse; he said he had bought it of a sailor that said he came from Liverpool; he said he had given four shillings and sixpence a gallon for it.

Q.What was the quantity you found? - A. A carboy full; he said he had bought some of Mr. Shuttleworth, and he had put it altogether; Mr. Shuttleworth's clerk was with me and Elby, the officer; a sample of it was taken by Mr. Shuttleworth and his clerk; we then secured him.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. - Q. King's shop is within a few doors of the office? - A. Yes.

Q. Could any man answer you more readily and more fairly every question you put to him? - A. He behaved as an honest man; he shewed us every place about.

Q. And told you part he had bought of Mr. Shuttleworth and part of a sailor-looking man? - A. Yes.

Mr. Gurney. (To Shuttleworth). Q. Look at that signature, (shewing him a bill and receipt)? - A. That is my clerk's hand-writing.

Q. That is dated October, and it was then five shillings a gallon? - A. Yes.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. Do you ever allow perquisites? - A. Never.

GEORGE HILLERY sworn. - I am clerk to Mr. Shuttleworth; I took a sample of the oil found in King's house, (produces it); it is very good oil.

JOHN CRUCHFIELD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am an oil and colourman, at Holborn-bridge.

Q. Three or four months ago, what was the price of oil turpentine? - A.The lowest price in April was about seven or seven shillings and sixpence.

Q.From thence back as far Christmas, would it be lower than that? - A. Not lower than that.

Q. Then, from April up to the beginning of June, what would it be? - A. Rather less.

Mr. Alley. Q.This is an article varying like other commodities? - A. Yes.

Q. And of course it is only known to the wholesale dealer in general whether it has varied or not? - A.They must know, of course.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. Is the man who sells it by retail likely to know as well as the wholesale dealer? - A. I believe every man that deals in oil of turpentine knows the price.

Court. (To Haynes). Q. What sort of a shop is this, a small or a large shop? - A. A small shop, like a chandler's shop; I saw some maps, some brooms, sand, and things of that sort, like a chandler's-shop.

Q. How long has he been in business? - A. About two years; I never saw any thing bad of him; I have lived close by him all that time.PRonaldson's defence. I have been led away by Sevier; three parts out of four that he has said is false.

King's defence. The last I bought of Mr. Shuttleworth I did not give any more money than I did to this man; I did not know there had been any alteration in the price.

Court. (To Sevier). Q. Did you say any thing to King about Liverpool? - A. No.

The prisoner King called eighteen witnesses, who gave him an excellent character.

Ronaldson, GUILTY .

Transported for seven years .


Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Rooke.

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