30th October 1811
Reference Numbert18111030-143
VerdictNot Guilty

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942. MICHAEL CONDER was indicted for a misdemeanor .

RICHARD COLLIER. I am the superintendant of the Philanthropic Institution; this is the act which incorporates our institution.

Q. Had you two boys of the name of Weightman and Smith in your institution in August last - A. We had; they absconded on Monday evening, the 19th of August.

JOSEPH MOORE . I am the master of the taylor's shop in the Philanthropic Society.

Weightman was under my care; previous to the 18th of August I was furnished with cloth for eight coats, it was sent to my shop by Hollroyd and Jackson, to be made up into coats; the Philanthropic Society got three shillings and sixpence a coat for making them, and we received cloth for trowsers; the cloth was charged ten shillings to us, and a shilling making made it eleven shillings for the trowsers. Weightman was my apprentice and Smith was a boy in the Society, and Benjamin Bent belonged to the shoemaker. On the Tuesday morning we missed two coats and three pair of trowsers. On Saturday the 31st we went with a warrant to Mr. Swift's, a slop shop in Rosemary-lane, attended by the officers, Turner and Drinkwater; I saw the defendant at the door, Drinkwater asked him if his name was Swift; he said, it was; he desired him to walk into the shop, and told him he had a search warrant to search the house. I asked the prisoner if he recollected three boys coming and selling him two coats for an old coat and two jackets; he said he knew nothing about the matter. I then asked him if he did not recollect buying a pair of trowsers for half a crown, and out of that the boy stood sixpence to be spent. He said he had no knowledge of it. We then proceeded to search; I found this pair of trowsers that I had lost; Mrs. Swift came in, and said she was very sorry any thing of the sort should have happened, he was but a servant, and she knew nothing of it, we were welcome to search; we searched and found nothing more than the trowsers. We took the prisoner before the Lord Mayor, and the boys were produced, Weightman and Smith. Weightman said that he took one pair of trowsers and two coats to Swift's shop; he sold the two coats for an old coat, and two old jackets, and the trowsers for half a crown. I have never recovered the coats, only the pair of trowsers. The prisoner then said that he had a slight recollection of seeing the boys in the shop. The trowsers are of the value of eleven shillings, and the coats, one at twenty-four shillings, and the other twenty-five shillings, and the coat and jackets the boys had of the prisoner might be worth seven shillings.

WILLIAM DRINKWATER . I am an officer. I went with the last witness to Mr. Swift's, Sparrow Corner; I saw the prisoner, I asked him if his name was Swift, he said, yes; I desired him to walk in, I told him I had a warrant to search the house for some things that had been sold by the Philanthropic Society boys; he said I was welcome to search, he knew nothing about it. We searched and found one pair of trowsers, nothing else was found At the Mansion house the boys said they had sold him a pair of trowsers for half a crown, and sixpence was given back to drink.

JOHN TURNER . I am an officer. Mr. Moore found the trowsers on the shelf. These are the trowsers, they have been in my custody ever since

Mr. Alley. Have you looked at the trowsers - A. I have, there are some splashes on them, they have been worn by somebody.

WEIGHTMAN. Q. Were you one of in August last - A. Yes. I am seventeen.

Q. Is that the dress that you have on of the Philanthropic Society - A. Yes.

Q. Was Bent and Smith with you in the Society - A. Yes. We all left the society and went away on Monday evening, about half past eight, on the 19th of August. I was employed by Mr. Moore, the taylor; I took away two coats and two pair of cloth trowsers, and one pair of nankeen; we took them to Mr. Swift's, the same place where the officer found the trowsers. We all went there together on Tuesday morning.

Q. Did you go dressed in the same way that you are now, with your badge on - A. No; Bent, one of the boys, had his clothes and his badge on; I had not, and Smith had not. We all went past there; the defendant asked us if we wanted to buy any thing; we told him no, we had some clothes. We would make an exchange with him; he told us to come in; we all went in together; we asked him to give us two sailors jackets for a coat, he gave us two sailors jackets for one coat. We told him we had another coat, if he would exchange for another kind of coat; he gave us another coat in exchange. We told him we had a pair of trowsers we would sell him; he said he would not give more than half a crown for them. These are the trowsers he gave us half a crown for, and he asked us for sixpence to drink, we gave him sixpence. I had worn the trowsers on the Monday night.

Q. What became of Bent - A. I do not know where he went to. I returned on the Wednesday, and Smith on the Friday.

Q. What became of the coat you exchanged - A. Smith brought it back, and I brought a jacket with me; these are them, they are both old. I gave the same account to the Philanthropic Society as I have now. I have told the truth.

Mr. Alley. The clothes that you carried to the defendant were the clothes that you stole - A. I stole them all.

Q. How long have you been in that good institution - A. Seven years.

Q. And after having seven years good protection you turned thief and robbed your benefactors - A. Yes.

Q. Where is your comrade Bent, upon your oath - A. He is in Newgate.

Q. How dared you to tell me this moment you did not know where he was - What is he in Newgate for - A. For thieving.

Q.You said that one of the boys that went with you to this man's shop had his badge on - A. No, he had not his badge on, he had the buttons.

Q. Did you ever call a button a badge - A. No.

Q. Then what did you mean by swearing that Bent had his badge on when you went into this wretched man's shop to change the things, was it not false - A. Yes, it was.

WILLIAM SMITH . Q. Were you in the Philanthropic Society on the 19th of August - A. Yes. I, Weightman, and Bent ran away together on Monday evening, the 19th of August, we took two and three pair of

trowsers. On Tuesday morning, between seven and eight we went to Mr. Swift's, this gentleman was at the door, he asked us if we wanted to buy any clothes; we said we wanted to exchange for some; he told us to come in. We asked two sailors jackets for one coat, and a coat for the other coat. Weightman sold him a pair of blue trowsers for two shillings and sixpence; we gave him six pence back; he asked for something to drink.

Mr. Alley addressed the jury in behalf of the defendant.


London jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.

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