27th October 1819
Reference Numbert18191027-53
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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1430. JOHN BOOTH was indicted for that he, at the time of committing the several felonies in the first eight Counts of this indictment mentioned, was a person employed by and under the Post Office of Great Britain, in certain business relating to the said office, that is to say, in charging letters and packets brought to the General Post Office in London , at St. Mary Woolnoth , and that on the 24th of November , at the parish aforesaid, a certain letter then lately put into the said General Post Office, to be sent by the post for and to be delivered to a certain person at Saint Mary Cray, in the county of Kent, that is to say, to Thomas Weller , containing therein one bank note for the payment of 5 l., and value 5 l., came to his hands and possession whilst he was so employed; and that he, on the same day, at the parish aforesaid, feloniously did secrete the said letter, containing the said bank note, the same being in force, and being the property of Thomas Glover , against the statute .

SECOND COUNT, the same as the First Count, only for stealing the bank note from and out of a letter.

THIRD AND FOURTH COUNTS, the same as the First and Second, only for secreting and stealing a packet, and for stealing from and out of a packet, instead of a letter.

FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, AND EIGHTH COUNTS, the same, only stating the bank notes to be the property of Thomas Weller .

NINTH COUNT, for stealing from and out of a certain Post Office (to wit), the General Post Office, a certain other letter, then lately before put into the said Post Office, to be sent by the post of Great Britain (to wit), by the post from the said General Post Office, for and to be delivered to a certain person at Saint Mary Cray aforesaid (to wit), the said Thomas Weller , and one other letter.

TENTH COUNT, for stealing from and out of the Post Office a packet instead of a letter, and one other packet.

THOMAS GLOVER . I hold a situation in the Bank of England . On the 24th of November, 1818, I had occasion to send a 5 l. Bank note to Mr. Thomas Weller , at St. Mary Cray, Kent. It was No. 6518, dated October 10, 1818, signed J. Field. I made this memorandum at the time.

Q. Look at this note, and see if it is the one - A. It is the same note, and has my hand-writing on it - here is Rooker, 17 - 11 - 18, T. G. in my own hand-writing. I had received it of him on the 17th of November, 1818. T G are my initials.

Q. The note is now cancelled - A. Yes, it has since returned to the Bank - it was perfect when I sent it. I enclosed it in a letter, sealed it, and paid the postage of it myself, at the General Post Office, Lombard-street.

WILLIAM EDE . I am a clerk at the General Post Office. The Foot's Cray bag was made up by me on the 24th of November, and went regularly - that bag carries the St. Mary Cray letters; the bag was sent that night. The Foot's Cray Post Office delivers the Chisselhurst and St. Mary's Cray letters.

Cross-examined by MR. BARRY. Q. Have you any particular reason for saying that it went that evening - A. My name is signed to the book that evening, as having sent the bag regularly.

SUSANNAH GRAVETT . I am the wife of Richard Gravett , who is post-master of Foot's Cray. The Foot's Cray bag comes to Chisselhurst, and generally arrives about eleven o'clock at night.

Q. Do you remember the bag coming that night - A. Not more than any other night.

Q. Have you missed a bag within the last twelve months - A. No, nor ever. The bag is opened on the following morning by myself; I give the letters to Thornton, the postman. Foot's Cray is three miles from the Post Office.

Cross-examined. Q. How long has your husband had the office - A. Eighteen years.

JAMES THORNTON . I am letter-carrier at St. Mary Cray, and was so on the 25th of November, 1818. I received the letters as usual. Mr. Thomas Weller lives in my district - I know him very well.

Q. If any letter had been in the bag for him that morning, you would have known where to have delivered it to him - A. Yes.

Cross-examined. Q. Is it not usual for people to send for their letters - A. A few persons near the office do. Mr. Weller lives near three miles from the office - it is upwards of two miles; I believe he is not in the habit of sending for his letters. He is the parish-clerk.

THOMAS WELLER . In November, 1818, I lived at St. Mary Cray. On the 25th of November I received no letter from Mr. Glover containing a 5 l. bank note; I expected one from him about that time. I never sent to the Post Office for a letter in my life.

Cross-examined. Q. How many in family have you - A. Nine. I never sent any of them for letters; I have no particular recollection of the 25th of November, but am certain such a letter never arrived; I was out at labour when it should have come. I was at home in the evening. I have no reason to believe that any of my family received it.

COURT. Q. How soon did you know that the letter had been sent - A. Mr. Glover wrote to me two or three days after about it, which brought it to my attention. I wrote to him that I had not received it.

MR. ROBERT THOMAS SEARLES . I am president of the Inland division at the General Post Office. On the 24th of November, 1818, the prisoner was employed in the Post Office as a charger of letters; he was on duty that evening. He was in the Dover division.

Q. The letters are faced, stamped, charged, and sorted all in one large room - A. Yes, for the whole kingdom. Facing, is turning them on their faces, they then are stamped with the date of the month and year, and then taken to tables, and sorted for different places.

Q. Then all the persons that are round the room for the purpose of charging go to the sorting table to take their letters - A. Occasionally; there are boxes all round the room where the chargers sit. Messengers take them, or the chargers fetch them from the sorting table.

Q. Is this a correct plan of the office - A. It is - (looking at it).

(The plan was then handed to the Jury.)

Q. Is it in the power of any of the chargers to secrete a letter belonging to his own division, or any other - A. It is in their power. It occasionally happens that a charger finds a letter in his place, which does not belong to his division, and each sorter has what is called a blind box, to put the mis-sorted letters in, and they are then resorted.

Q. This letter ought to have gone to the Rye division - A. Yes, it could more naturally be mis-sorted to the Dover division than any other.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. There are a great many men employed in that room - A. A great many - this letter did not belong to the prisoner's division; he would not have received it into his division if it had been sorted correctly. The charger occasionally goes to the sorting table, and has an opportunity of taking any letter.

Q. How do you know the prisoner was in attendance that night - A. I refer to the attendance book, which I keep myself, and find that he was in attendance that evening - his name is signed by himself in this book as being in attendance, and countersigned by me. He leaves the office at eight o'clock.

SARAH FRANCIS . In November last I lived at No. 25, in Flint-street, Blackfriars-road, nearly opposite the Magdalen Hospital. I have known the prisoner, unfortunately, four or five years. I did not know his name or residence.

Q. In November last, did he call on you - A. Yes, on a Wednesday evening, between eight and nine o'clock at night, About half an hour after he came he gave me a 5 l. bank note to change, and told me to buy any thing to drink. I went to Mr. Hicks, who keeps the Bell, public-house, in Friar-street, and applied to Mary Ann Bridgeman for change. I saw her take a pen and ink in her hand when I gave her the note, but did not see her write. She gave me the change, which I took to the prisoner with the liquor.

Q. Did he make any purchase of you that evening - A. Yes, he bought a pug dog of me that evening for 1 l.

Q. Sometime after, did a gentleman call upon you from the Bank about the note - A. Yes, with Mr. Hicks - I think it was on the Saturday before Christmas day - I did not then know the prisoner's name or residence. After that I saw him go by the top of Flint-street, and told him that a gentleman from the Bank, had told me to send for Mr. Hicks whenever he came again. He told me he had been extremely ill - he appeared ill, and I told him I thought it might be his death to be taken by surprise for passing a forged note, which I then supposed it to be. He said he was very much obliged to me for not doing it, and that he would behave like a man of honour, and come and pay me the note on Friday week, but he never did. I did not see him again until I saw him at the Post Office on the 9th of August - he was then taken into custody. I was ordered to attend there.

Q. Were any other persons in the room when you saw him at the Post Office - A. Yes, a number of other gentlemen - about a dozen, I should think. I knew him again. He has called on me a great many times in the course of the last three years.

Q. Have you seen your pug dog since - A. Yes, Vickery shewed it to me. I knew it again, and the dog knew me.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. You say, unfortunately, you have known the prisoner four years - A. Yes, I often had money from him - he made me a present out of that 5 l. note. Nobody was present when he gave it to me.

Q. Had you a 5 l. note from any other person about that time - A. No. I have not seen any of the notes that I got in change for it.

A. Then you know nothing to ascertain that he gave you the note, except your own statement - A. No. I often change notes at that public-house. I have changed 5 l. notes more than once for gentlemen.

Q. Was it not odd that you should ask money for the dog - A. I told him it was promised, and he asked me how much I was to have for it? I said 1 l., and he gave me a 1 l. note for it - it was quite a pup.

Q. How often had the prisoner seen you with it - A. Never before to my knowledge; he had seen me with other dogs.

COURT. Q. How long before had you seen him at your lodgings, was it after the dog was pupped - A. No, my Lord.

MR. GURNEY. Q. Did you give Bridgeman the same note he gave you - A. Yes, I had received no other from any one about that time, and had no other.

MARY ANN BRIDGEMAN . On the 25th of November I lived at the Bell, in Friar-street. I knew Francis then, and long before.

Q. Look at this note, and say if you received it of her - A. Yes, I received it of her on the 25th of November - here is my writing on it.

"November 25, Mrs. Francis, 25, Flint-street." I have not put the year. I wrote this at the time I received it. I always mark the notes before the people leave the house.

Cross-examined. Q. Had you changed any other 5 l. notes that day - A. No, I had one brought in while she was standing there, but I could not change it, and never had it in my hand, I am sure. I was obliged to give 1 l. in silver for this note.

Q. How soon after did you see this note again - A. Near Christmas.

COURT. Q. Did you give Francis any 1 l. notes - A. Yes, four 1 l. notes, and the rest in silver.

Cross-examined by MR. ALLEY. Q. Have you often changed notes for her - A. Yes, I think I did not change her any other 5 l. note afterwards, because she was ill.

JOHN VICKERY . I am an officer. On the 9th of August, at night, I apprehended the prisoner at the Post Office, and went with him to his lodgings in Prince's-square, Kennington, and found a small pug dog there, with a black face, running about the house. I did not ask him whose it was. Francis saw it at Bow-street.

MR. THOMAS GLOVER . I am an inspector at the Bank, and have been so for twenty-six years. The note was a good one when I sent it - it is now cancelled.

Prisoner. I have nothing to say, my Lord.

GUILTY. - DEATH . Aged 33.

Recommended to mercy .

London Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.

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