2nd July 1806
Reference Numbert18060702-64
VerdictNot Guilty

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418. ELIZABETH BARNET was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 11th of June , a purse, value 5 s. forty guineas and a half, and a diamond ring, value 36 l. 15 s. the property of John Docke Romney Rouvellet .

JOHN DOCKE ROMNEY ROUVELLET sworn. Q. What are you. - A. A gentleman.

Q. Are you no profession. - A. None at all.

Q. What do you accuse this young woman of. - A. Of robbing me in my room in the Fleet prison in the top gallery; I was there for debt.

Q. How long had you been there. - A. A month or five weeks before the 11th of June, I surrendered the 2nd of May, 1805.

Q. For what sum. - A. There were several sums, about eleven hundred pounds; I continued there until the 19th of May the following year, I then obtained the Rules, then I was removed by habeas to Somersetshire upon a charge of forgery.

Q. When was it your property was lost. - A. On the 11th of June 1805, it was taken out of a red morocco purse that property was.

Q. What property. - A. Forty guineas and a half and the ring, she took the purse and all, she lived there in the room with me.

Q. How long has she lived with you. - A. From the month of August or September 1804; while I was alone in the room I had occasion to go to the purse, and take out half a guinea to give to Joseph Smith , a messenger, I then turned the purse and its contents and my pocket inside out; after Elizabeth Barnett was gone I immediately perceived that somebody had been to the coat.

Q. Where was the coat. - A. Hanging up in the room, it had been pulled down and the nail with it, and there was no one in the room but Elizabeth Barnett ; she went away, as I supposed, to Dorant's hotel; I remained in the room after she was gone about fifteen or twenty minutes; being alone in the room I took the coat myself to put on, when I perceived by the lightness of the coat that the purse and the money were gone, I immediately felt for it and found none; having perceived that, and there being

nobody in the room but Elizabeth Barnet and myself, I did not suppose she took it to keep, but would return it; I expected her return the next day, as she had been accustomed to visit me daily in the Fleet; finding she did not return on the third day, I directed a letter to her, where I supposed she was, in Albermarle-street, to which I received no answer; I then became very alarmed for the safety of my purse and the effects deposited in it; from that time to this I could hear nothing of her till she was arrested (which I think was in July last) in an action of trover, joined in with this Dorant, to which bail was given; I did not hear any more of her until there was a public rumour of an action against her for an assault, that I think was in the latter end of November, 1805; that matter was bailed, I could not discover where she was, Mr. Sewell was my solicitor, he was a prisoner, he had a day rule.

Q. When you had a day rule did you apply any where. - A. I did at Guildhall, and obtained a warrant, which warrant was backed by Mr. Kinnard, she then could not be found, I was removed to Bath; after I arrived at Bath, and was fully committed to take my trial, a writ was issued for the twenty thousand pound, but the affidavit was made in the month of November before; I swore to a debt of twenty thousand pound, in deeds, mortgages, bonds, and bills.

Q. Have you recovered any of your things; has your action ever been tried. - A. Not yet, I have proceeded in it as far as I could; this writ was sent down to Bath by my solicitor, as well as this warrant.

Q. Then you was determined to have her both ways; was she with you at Bath. - A. She was with Dorant at Bath.

Q. Is this diamond ring found or your purse found. - A. I never could find any part of it.

Q. Of course you mentioned it to Mr. Eyles the warden of the Fleet. A. No.

Q. Do you know Mr. Nixon; I suppose you mentioned it to him, what misfortune you had. - A. I do not know that I ever mentioned it to Mr. Nixon; I mentioned it to Mr. Sewell and several fellow prisoners, but I did not mention it to the warden, because I was told he would order me to apply to a magistrate.

Q. Certainly he would. - A. I did make the application to Mr. Nixon, he told me he could not get the alderman down.

Q. When you got the rules of the Fleet why did not you prefer your bill here, you did not ask leave of the warden to come here and prefer the bill of indictment. - A. No, I thought if I mentioned it to him he would have advised me to have a habeas corpus.

Court. He would not, he might have brought you in the rules, it would have been no escape.

Cross-examined by Mr. Cummins.

Q. When did you come to England. - A. In the year 1802 or 1803, I came from the West Indies, I arrived from St. Christopher's, before that I was in St. Lucie, Antigua, St. Bartholomew, and St. Martin's.

Q. And at all these places you followed the business of a gentleman. - A. I hope so.

Where did you reside at St. Martin's. - A. With my uncle, Mr. John Rouvellet , he is a planter there.

Q. Did you live with any body at St. Martin's, as a clerk in the house. - A. No, nor any where else.

Q. Where was you born. - A. I suppose at St. Christopher; and I was brought up in Holland.

Q. What was your father's name. - A. I believe the name that I bear, I never knew my father.

Q. He was dead perhaps before you were old enough to know him. - A. I was told so.

Q. Then I am to understand you, you never lived as clerk with any body in the West Indies; and never was in any business. - A. No business but what was connected with my own; during part of last war I was an officer in the British army, in the eighty seventh regment.

Q. Then you know a colonel Joseph Romiley of the eighty fifth. - A. No.

Court. How long was you in the army. - A. I think four years and a half.

Mr. Cummins. Do you know a person of the name of Romiley. - A. I am told a relation of mine had that name.

Q. Do you know Mr. Hope, of Harly-street, Cavendish square. - A. Yes.

Q. By what name did you introduce yourself to him. - A. As myself, as a gentleman, as Mr. Rovellet, of St. Martin's; I was sent when a child to Mr. Hope's house, at Amsterdam, he managed part of the family concerns for a number of years.

Q. Have you any property in this kingdom. - A.No.

Q. No acquired property in this kingdom. - A. None, I have my remittances from the West Indies; in the year 1803 and 1804, I resided principally in Lancashire and Liverpool, in 1805 I came into London.

Q. You was quite a gentleman, having your remittances from the West Indies. - A. Yes, they were remitted to me in Liverpool by Mr. John Bolton and Mr. Stevens.

Q. Where were they remitted to you in London. - A. They were to be remitted to Mr. Hope but they have not, my family have suppressed them since last January.

Q. Then you have never been in business here. - A. No.

Q. How many places had you remittances from. - A. From St. Christopher, and St. Lucia.

Q. What may your annual expences in this country be. - A. They used to be about a thousand pounds a year; my remittances were in sugar or bills of credit, and sometimes in cotton to that amount.

Q. Who were they sold by. - A. By Mr. Thomas Stevens , a merchant in Liverpool, and sometimes I had bills upon my house, or upon the credit of it by Mr. Stevens, or Mr. Bolton, or upon those; I had credit to draw a thousand pound.

Q. Had you any one permission to draw upon any merchant in London. - A. I had permission to draw upon Mr. Hope in the month of February or March 1805; I drew several bills upon him for three or four hundred pound, they were drawn upon Mr. Hope's house, Amsterdam, payable in London.

Q. Did you send them to Amsterdam - A. No, they

were to be paid in Harley-street.

Q. I think you told me just now that you drawed upon Mr. Hope two or three hundred pounds at a time, how much did you draw upon him in the whole. - A. I think altogether six or seven hundred pounds.

Q. Upon what house. - A. Upon the house of Arnold and Co. in the Old Jewry.

Q. In January, 1805, you introduced yourself to Mr. Hope, as Mr. Romney Rouvellet, and that you expected large consigns of sugar. - A. At the time that I visited Mr. Hope, he asked me whether I had any expectations, I told him I had on or before August.

Q. You do not know any men of business in the city. - A. I do not.

Q. How were you introduced to Mr. Arnold. - A. As Mr. Hope's correspondent.

Q. You, expecting of having sugar to the amount of fifty thousand pound, you got Mr. Arnold to get an insurance to that amount, what was the insurance paid for that cargo. - A. I believe the instructions were given by Mr. Hope; I expected eighty or ninety hogsheads to arrive on or before the month of August.

Court. What value might you put upon them. - A. That is uncertain, I cannot say, because the value fluctuates according to the current price.

Q. That is not an answer to my question. - A. I cannot say exactly what sum we insured for, nor how many hogsheads we insured.

Q. The sugar never arrived. - A. No, not one hogshead.

Mr. Cummins. On your coming from Liverpool, you went into the first hotel, you being a gentleman. - A. I went to the first hotel, I was driven to the York hotel.

Q. You introduced yourself as Mr. Rouvellet and lady. - A. I introduced myself at the hotel by paying the bills.

Court. Did you go to the hotel and pass her as your wife. - A. I cannot say that I said to any body so, she certainly did pass for that.

Q. What name did you address her by. - A. Perhaps by the name of Betsy.

Q. Did you introduce her there as your wife. - A. I believe I did; I kept no company at the hotel, I was only there for my own convenience, I never saw the master of the hotel.

Q. Perhaps you like to see the servants better, did not you both live there and pass as man and wife. - A. We did.

Q. Did not you call her your wife repeatedly. - A. Perhaps I might.

Mr. Cummins. How long did you live there. - A. From the beginning of January to the middle of March.

Q. By what name did you mostly pass at the hotel. - A. Mostly by Romney Rouvellet .

Court. Did you ever go by the name of Romney Rouvellet , upon your oath. - A. I did.

Mr. Cummins. Did you ever pass by the name of colonel Romiley of the 85th. - A. Perhaps I did.

Q. What is your real rank in the army. - A. I was first ensign, and afterwards captain, when I passed into a colonial volunteer corps; I do not think that ever I called my self colonel Romney, I might have called myself captain Romiley.

Q. Do you know Mr. Adwell, a merchant. - A. Not a merchant, he is a bankrupt.

Q. Had you any account with him. - A. I believe it was a debt account concern.

Q. Do you know Mr. Owen in Purple lane. - A. I believe they are agents.

Q. Will you just condescend to look at that (a paper handed to the witness), is that your hand writing. - A. I do not believe it is.

Q. Perhaps it is a forgery imposed upon you (another paper shewn to the witness, a third paper shewn him). - A. I think that you shewed me last is my hand writing. (The paper read in court.)

Q. I believe you lived together at Liverpool. - A. We did.

Q. When you were in the Fleet you had a chum there, perhaps you do not know the meaning of a chum. - A. I do.

Court. How long did the young woman live with you in the whole. - A. From June 1804, to the 11th of June 1805.

Mr. Cummins. Can you tell me who was your worthy chum. - A. I had no chum, because an apartment was hired for me, I had a man with me of the name of William Cummings , he was with me but a few weeks.

Q. I believe he quitted your room on the 14th of June. - A. I believe he did.

Q. Till the 11th of June that young woman came backwards and forwards. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell your chum Cummings that she was your wife, what name did you call her. - A. Mrs. Rouvelet.

Q. On June the 11th 1805, you were in a room on the top gallery in the Fleet prison; I think you have described you went to your purse, took out half a guinea, carried it to the man at the door, then you put your purse in your great coat pocket again. - A. I did.

Q. Is that the great coat that you have got on. - A. It is not; I did not say a great coat, a loose coat pocket.

Q. What sort of a purse was this. - A. It was a purse of two compartments, one side was the forty guineas and a half, and the other side the diamond ring.

Q. Do you often wear a diamond ring. - A. I never wore it in the Fleet.

Q. I believe you have not had any correspondence with Mr. Hope since the consignment of the sugar failed. - A. I have not had any correspondence with him since the failure of the consignment of the sugar was known.

Q. You missed the purse about twenty minutes after that young woman went out. - A. I did,

Q. Mr. Cummings was with you till the 14th or 15th of June. - A. I think on the Friday following he went out.

Q. What day was this the purse and diamond ring was lost. - A. I cannot say what day in the week.

Q. Did you mention it to Mr. Cummings. - A. I did not.

Q. There was a separation between you. - A. She did abscond, I never saw her afterwards till she was


Q. Did not you say to Mr. Cummings, that you would not hesitate to do any thing to be revenged on her, meaning the unfortunate young woman at the bar, and lamented that you could not make a charge of felony against her. -

Court. Upon your oath did you or did you not. - A. I cannot charge my memory with it.

Q. Did you ever say any thing like it. - A. I think not.

Q. Did you ever find your purse or the contents again. - A. I did not.

Mr. Cummins. I ask you upon your oath whether Mr. Cummings did not on the 12th of June find your purse and money, and that under your bed. A. He did not; I recollect some days previous to that he did.

Court. The question is whether after the 11th of June a person of the name of Cummings did not find a purse with the contents under your bed. - A. I do not recollect it; I was going to say that some day after I got up out of bed, Mr. Cummings making up the bed, took out the purse and gave it to me; I think that was before the 11th.

Mr. Cummins. Did you not then say, Cummings this is what I have deliberated. - A. I do not recollect it.

Q. On the 14th or 15th of June Cummings, your chum, left the prison. - A. I think it was the latter end of the same week.

Q. Did you give him that order (a paper handed to the witness). - A. I gave him a letter, I believe, to Mrs. Rouvellet.

Q. With an order for two or three guineas. - A. Very probably I did.

Q. Did you give him any authority. - A. That I cannot say.

Q. This is your hand writing (shewing him a paper). A. I recollect something of the kind.

I will just read a part of it to you. - I hereby empower and authorize Mr. William Dorant and Elizabeth Rouvellet , my wife, jointly or separately, to sell by public auction or private contract, any of my effects now or hereafter.

Court. He said that she lived as such and passed as such, and here you have it under his hand writing as such.

Q. This is the man that you brought the action of trover against. - A. Yes, for perjury.

Q. When does that trial come on. - A. On Monday.

Q. Is the prisoner a witness on Monday. - A. I know she is no witness on my side.

Mr. Cummins. I ask you upon your oath whether that young woman was ever in your room in the Fleet after the 6th day of June. - A. I think she was, two or three times.

Q. Was she there between the 6th and the 11th. - A. I dare say she was.

Q. Were you here last sessions in May. - A. I do not believe I was, but the session before I was here, and came too late for the grand jury to prefer the bill.

Court. That was in April when you was here, you say the grand jury was discharged. - A. Yes, I came too late, I came in company with the tipstaff, I think that was in April.

Q. You was here then either in April or May. - A. I was.

Q. How came you positively to swear you could not come here because you was a prisoner in the Fleet, you told me you never was here, what you then swore was false.


London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

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