THOMAS WOOD.
1st June 1808
Reference Numbert18080601-11
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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375. THOMAS WOOD was indicted for that he on the 19th of April , one piece of false, feigned and counterfeited piece of money, made and coined to the likeness and similitude of a good and lawful piece of money of this realm, called a sixpence, falsely and traiterously did forge and coin, against the form of the statute and against the duty of his allegiance .

The case was stated by Mr. Knapp.

JEREMIAH SHRUBSOLE . - Mr. Knapp. You are a constable of the city of London. - A. Yes. On the 19th of April I went to Mrs. Harwood's house, No. 3, Fleur de Luce-court, Black Friers, about three o'clock; I had a search warrant against that house; Mrs. Harwood, the prisoner's sister; was not at home; I asked if Mrs. Harwood was at home; her husband said she was not. After I had been there some time there was a knock at the door; I desired Mrs. Jones to open the door; the prisoner at the bar came in; Mrs. Jones said the prisoner at the bar was the man that she had the warrant against; I told him him I wanted him; he asked me what it was for; I told him did not he know that Mrs. Jones had been robbed; he answered what of that, I know nothing of it; he set his fist and put himself in a position as if in a Posture of defence; I told him it was of no use; I took hold of him and tied his hands with a handkerchief; I found nothing

on the premises that led to the robbery that I was in search of; I searched the prisoner when I had secured him; in his waistcoat pocket I found a canvas purse; in it there were four good shillings and four sixpences; there were some halfpence and some keys; I took him to where the robbery was committed, and I desired Mrs. Jones to fetch the little boy down; I took him from there to No. 15, Robin Hood-court, Shoe-lane, where I learned that he lodged; I went up two pair of stairs, the prisoner went up with me; I sat him down in the window; I looked at a large chest that was there; I asked him if it was his chest; he said, yes; I told him I meaned to open it; he told me there was a key in his pocket; I took it out and the key did open it; I could not open it immediately; he told me to weigh heavy down upon it, and it did then open it; the first thing I took up was a drab coloured great coat; in the side pocket I found a crape hat band; in shaking the coat out I perceived a paper drop; I took the paper up; there were nine sixpences in it, and I thought they were of the same sort that I saw in his purse; I asked him if they were his; he said they were his; I took up a waistcoat; I opened it and shook it, another small paper dropped out; I took it up; in it I found some sixpences with a kind of stamp on them; they answered to what I had seen before, but they were brassy, not coloured.

Q. How many sixpences. - A. Eight, and a seven shilling piece with them. There was a velveteen pair of breeches laid folded up in the said chest; when I took the breeches up I found by the side of it another paper, that contains some kind of cuttings that came off these sixpences; I found next a kind of a christmas-box. I asked him what he did with them things; he said it only contained children's play things, it contained different metal watch keys; the next thing that I found was some aqua fortis with the bottle three parts full, but the jolting of the coach has spilled some out of it; it is half full now; in taking the remaining clothes out, I found stamps and punches; these stamps, all but that stamp, was found in a chest; I found that stamp by the side of a box of charcoal; if you compare them with the marks on the sixpences, these stamps correspond to them; I found some metal rolled up in a paper, some brass, and a pair of small scales; I found some sand pa per, some that had been used and some that had not been used; I found in a box some cream of tartar with some shot at the bottom; I found two crucibles, one that had been used, with some metal at the bottom, and the other apparently had not been used; I found an oyster shell with some grease in it; and a small pocket book with some India ink in it; this is all I found that time in the chest. After I searched the other part of the apartment, I found this box on the shelf; I found this cutting punch; when I found these things the prisoner's wife seemed to be very resolute; I searched her in the prisoner's presence; I found nothing upon her but a snuff box and a few halfpence; I did not take her in custody, but she followed me to the compter; going along a little girl stood close to her; when we came to the compter I desired Mr. Leadbetter to bring her in; I went with Leadbetter again to the house in Robin Hood-court; then I brought away two hammers, a kind of a block, two flat irons and this pair of gloves; they looked as if they had been stained with a aqua fortis; I had seen the things the day before, but I did not bring them away, not being upon such a thing before; I compared the cutting punch with the marks on the block, they tallied the same as it does upon the iron; Leadbetter told me that this was a material thing, I should have brought them away; and when I compared the flat iron to the punch I perfectly saw it was marked with it; I went with Mr. Powell on the day following, on the Wednesday; I shewed him the things that I left behind me; Mr. Powell desired me to take away a large mallet and a bench or table; the mallet appeared as if they had been working on that metal, and I found a tag stained and burnt with aqua fortis.

Q. Was there any thing with respect to the window, - A. Yes; there was a window curtain tacked down that completely hid the window it being a kind of a gauzy nature it let the light through.

Q. At the time that you took the prisoner did you observe any thing with respect to the person of the prisoner. - A. When I took the prisoner he seemed to be very resolute; I told him it was of no use; Mrs. Jones's husband said he would knock his head off if he offered to resist; as he held his hand up I saw his thumb stained, I thought it was bruised; I did not know it was aqua fortis at the time; I asked the prisoner when I took the things out of the chest if they were his; he said they were: and when I took the different things out of the chest he said they were trinkets for the children.

DANIEL LEADBETTER . - Mr. Knapp. You are an officer, you went with Shrubsole. - A. Yes; when we came to the Poultry compter he told me to bring the woman in; she seemed to be wanting to put her hand in her pocket.

Q. Was the prisoner by. - A. He was not. I went with Shrubsole when he took them things away. The next day I found a pair of tongs and this pan on the woman.

Mr. Alley. You are not to give them things in evidence.

MR. CALEB EDWARD POWELL . - Mr. Knapp. You assist the solicitor of the mint. - A. I do.

Q. You are acquainted with the different process by which coining is completed. - A. Yes.

Q. Will you explain to us what is the use of the different articles that have been found. - A. The crucible is for melting the metal; after melting the metal, previous to casting it into the ingot mould, this sort of thing, that is an ingot mould.

Court. That is one thing produced. - A. Yes; after being cast in the ingot mould, the ingot mould would be sent to the flatting mills, of which there are many in this town, and it would be flatted into plates which might be flatted into any thickess it might be wanted for; for instance, for either a shilling or a sixpence. You have some sissel which has been produced on the examination; I matched the sissel with the cutting punch as well as I could, and it appeared to correspond with respect to the circle, it corresponds with the cutting punch, and I compared the cutting punch with the iron; it corresponded with the marks on the iron.

Q. Explain to the jury how this is done - A. This plate is fixed upon that block, and held between the legs; the man sitting and the plate put on this iron; then with the mallet it might be cut out, and if the punch passes through the plate it would leave the marks of the punch on it, there are many marks on the iron;

it appears to have been very much used; by holding the block in that position between the legs it would prevent any particular noise from being heard, any more than the chopping of wood; which I desired the officer to use, by placing it between his legs, and not letting it touch the floor, it appeared like chopping of wood, it effectually answers the purpose; I compared the sissel with the finished money, it appeared exactly of the same metal. After the blanks are cut out by the punch, the edges are smoothed by the file, which was produced by the officer; this file has metal in the teeth of the same sort as the finished money and the blanks; here is sand paper, which is used for smoothing the surface preparatory for the colouring; here is a pair of pliers for holding the piece while these two operations are performing, by smoothing the edge with the file and smoothing the surface, and it might be done on such a thing as that bench, which is produced by constant use; the edge would be wore away in the manner this is; these blanks after being finished in the way I have described, would be heated over a fire made with charcoal, which here is charcoal produced.

Court. For what purpose is that - A. To soften the metal preparatory to the colour, it takes the colour the better; the blanks are then put into a pickle of aqua fortis; and the aqua fortis alone upon a blank of this description, would raise the colour of silver, as the blank contains a certain portion of silver incorporated with the base metal; I satisfied myself in that particular. I took one of the finished sixpences, I entirely divested it of the silver on the surface, and I coloured it again with the assistance of aqua fortis; that likewise fits this punch, apparently cut out of a plate; the blanks after remaining a certain time in the pickle of aqua fortis are taken out and put into cold water, they then appear quite black; the next thing to be used then is cream of tartar, which is here produced; which being rubbed on the surface it takes off the black, and then the silver colour appears; the appearance of the silver being very bright, in order to make it appear as if they had been in circulation, then the grease and blacking in the oyster shell is used to take off the brightness, and to make it appear as if they had been in circulatation. With respect the small letters, that is not at all necessary, it is only to make a greater deception, as many people are in the habit of marking of money.

Q. Are some of these marked with the small letters that was found - A. Yes; I compared them with some of the little punches, I found them to correspond upon examination; I accompanied Shrubsole upon the third search, as he mentioned some things, which I thought were material to be produced, as this bench, which appears to have been worked by some person, with this coin that has been produced.

Mr. Knapp to Shrubsole. Produce the coin that you took out of the prisoner's pocket - A. That is the coin that I first took out of the prisoner's pocket.

Mr. Powell. The bench appears to have been used with aqua fortis, which has been used in colouring of metal.

Q. Now looking at that money, Mr. Powell, tell me whether these three sixpences are finished for circulation, are they such as a coiner would make compleately for circulation - A. Certainly.

Q. Now look at these others, here are seven others - A. They are finished for circulation; they have the blacking upon them, which I mentioned to be the last process; they appear to be recently done; they have never been in circulation.

Q. Are these of the same sort of the three that were produced before - A. Yes; save only the appearance of the blacking, they are exactly the same.

Q. Now look at the others - A.These are blanks in a preparatory state for colouring; they are sixpences which are quite prepared for the colouring; here are two which are not in quite so forward a state; six are perfectly finished for colouring, and the two which are not in quite so forward a state, having only the edges filed, but not the surface scoured.

Court. What are all this coin - A. They are all sixpences.

Q. Could the purpose of coining be compleatly carried on by the articles found - A. Yes: the whole is compleat.

Q. Those that are finished, and those in a less finished state - do they all appear to be done from the same materials - A.They do.

Q. Those that have the appearance of grease upon them, do they appear to have been recently done - A.They appear to have been very recently coloured.

Mr. Knapp. How long have you been acquainted with this process that you have been describing - A. About fifteen years.

Q. Are you perfectly acquainted with it - A. Perfectly so; I have seen a great many hundred cases.

Court. Are they such as would pass current for good sixpences - A. Certainly.

MR. JOHN NICHOLLS . Q. You are one of the monier's of his Majesty's mint - A. Yes.

Q. Are these counterfeits or not - A. They are counterfeits.

Q. How many are there - A. Six; here are eight in an unfinished state, and a counterfeited seven shilling piece, which is not perfectly finished.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. There are none of them that would deceive you - A. Not if I looked at them attentively.

Q.You are the monier of the mint - could you have been deceived with these - A. I have been deceived before; I certainly might have been deceived without I had paid great attention to them.

MARY WILSON . Q. Where do you live - A. I live at No. 15, Robinhood court, I occupy the one pair of stairs; the prisoner occupied the two pair of stairs.

Q. The two pair of stairs that he occupied is the room that the officers came and searched - A. Yes.

Q. How long has he lodged there - A. About a twelvemonth.

Q. Do you know what business he followed - A. I know nothing of him but an honest hard working man.

Q. That is not an answer to my question - do you know of your own knowledge how he got his living - A. He used to work for a brass founder in Shoe lane.

Q. Do you know whether he carried on any business in the room that he occupied - A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Are you much at home or a good deal out - A. I am a good deal out.

Q. Have you made any observation to the noise that you have heard him make in his room - A.Nothing but that of chopping of wood, or breaking of

coals.

Q. Have you heard it frequent - A. No.

MARGARET WEST . Q. Where do you live - A. At No. 15, Robinhood court, Shoe lane.

Q. Look at that iron - A. That is my mother's.

Q. Did you ever lend that iron - A. Frequently; I was in the habit of lending it to Mrs. Wood, the prisoner's wife; I have lent it her several times, and she has been in the habit of using it many times since she has been in the house.

Q. Have you ever made any complaints how it has been used - A. Yes; she told me the children had been knocking buttons on it - I live in the three pair of stairs.

Q. Do you know what business he carried on - A. He worked at a shop in Shoe lane; he had been out of work for about five months.

Q. How was he with respect to his being at home during that five months - A. Sometimes he was at home and sometimes he was out.

Q. Have you been disturbed by any knocking in the room that he occupied - A. He frequently was up in the morning early; I frequently heard knocking. I never went into the room no further than to get a light.

Q. Did he let you go into the room - A. No; he always took the candle and gave it to me out; I frequently found the door locked when I went to it, when he was at home.

Prisoner's Defence. I never made any bad money in my life; it was the least of my thoughts of ever thinking of trying to do such a thing.

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

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 43.

London jury, before Mr. Recorder.


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