18th September 1820
Reference Numbert18200918-83
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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981. THOMAS FULLER HARNETT was indicted for that he, on the 2d of August , at St. Martin the Fields, having in his custody and possession, a certain bill of exchange for payment of 20 l. (setting it forth, dated the 26th July, 1820, at thirty days after date, drawn by Thomas Fuller Harnett on Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, Fifth Dragoon Guards, Manchester), feloniously did falsely make, forge, and counterfeit upon the said bill of exchange an acceptance thereof , which is as follows: -

"Accepted. Arthur H. Gordon . Payable at Messrs. Greenwood and Co.'s, Craig's-court" - with intent to defraud Thomas Thompson .

SECOND COUNT, for feloniously uttering and publishing as true a like forged acceptance of a like bill of exchange, with a like intention, knowing it to be forged.

THIRD AND FOURTH COUNTS, the same, only stating his intention to be to defraud Arthur H. Gordon .

THOMAS GEORGE THOMPSON . I am the son of Thomas Thompson , who is a linen-draper , and lives at No. 29, St. Martin's-lane . I have frequently seen the prisoner at my father's. I believe he has been a Captain in the Army. On the 2d of August he came - he had been there on the 17th of July, and purchased about 2 l. worth of goods; he did not pay for them, but bought other goods at different times to the amount of 14 l., which he proposed paying for by a bill accepted by Colonel Gordon. On the evening of the 2d of August he brought me that bill - (looking at it) - this is it. I gave him 5 l. and some silver in change. The acceptance was on it then as it is now. On the same day, before he gave me the bill, he gave me a slip of paper to enquire about it; this is the paper - (looking at it,) read -

"Draft accepted by Col. Gordon, 5th Dragoon Guards, at thirty days, payable at Cox and Greenwood's, for 20 l." He gave me this to enquire at Cox and Co.'s, if a bill so accepted would be paid. He came in the evening, and in consequence of what passed I took it. He afterwards bought more goods, which he proposed paying for by another bill; he bought part of them that day, after he had delivered me the first bill. A few days after, he bought other goods, and on the 9th more. On the 10th he gave me another bill, and said he would send his man for the change, or come himself for it. He had had goods and cash together to the amount of 8 l. 19 s.

THOMAS THOMPSON . On the 2d of August my son gave me the bill; I paid it away to Bath and Co. on the 3d.

GEORGE PHILIP WYETT . I am clerk to Messrs. Greenwood, Cox and Co. Lieut. Col. Gordon was in the 5th Dragoon Guards - our house are agents to the regiment. I know his hand-writing - (looks at the bill) - I believe the acceptance not to be his hand-writing. I have seen him write, probably, from six to a dozen times - it bears some resemblance to his hand. He keeps cash at our house. If it was a genuine bill it would be paid. I do not know the prisoner.

Cross-examined by MR. BARRY. Q. Are you in the habit of paying his acceptances - A. I pay bills drawn by him, I never saw him accept a bill. I never noticed any difference in his hand. The first time I saw the bill was at Cox and Co.'s. I believe it was the day before I went to Bow-street. It was not presented for payment. The acceptance is in a different hand to the body of the bill.

COURT. Q. What is Col. Gordon's name - A. Arthur H. Gordon ; I am not acquainted with his second name. The bill was brought to our office to ascertain whether the acceptance was genuine.

Q. If it had been due then should you have paid it - A. I should consider not.

CHARLES HUMPHRYS . I am a Bow-street officer. Mr. Thompson applied for a warrant on the 11th of August, and I apprehended the prisoner in bed at the Bull and Bush on the other side of Hampstead - I told him I had a warrant against him, and told him what it was for. He said it was all his own doings, that his servant had nothing to do in it, and he must suffer. I had told him I took him for obtaining goods from Thompson by a forged acceptance on Col. Gordon. Mr. Thompson came in directly with the prisoner's servant, whom I had apprehended. When I told the prisoner he was in custody for this offence, he said he thought it was his servant's doings - the servant said nothing. The prisoner immediately said it was his own doings, and his servant had nothing to

do with it, and that he himself must suffer for it. He then said to Mr. Thompson,

"If you had remitted me the change I should have gone to Bath, then to Bristol, and from thence to Ireland."

THOMAS THOMPSON re-examined. I went into the room with the officer - the prisoner, I believe, was asleep. Humphreys touched him, he jumped up and said,

"What do you want with me?" he said,

"I have a warrant against you" -

"At whose suit?" said the prisoner; Humphrys said

"At Mr. Thompson's." I immediately shewed myself. Humphreys said,

"It is for obtaining goods from Mr. Thompson, and paying with a forged acceptance of 20 l." He got up in bed, and said

"Good God! I am undone. It is all my friends' fault that they did not relieve me." He began to dress himself. He swore at his servant, and sent him for water to mix with some laudanum. He took a bottle out of his pocket, which he called laudanum - I asked him how many drops he wished to have? he said thirty - I told his servant to give him thirty. I left the officer and my son with him while he dressed himself, and we brought him to town.

THOMAS GEORGE THOMPSON re-examined. I was in the room nearly all the time - the others were not in above two minutes before me. I think the prisoner asked for soda-water and then some gin to take some laudanum in, which he had in a phial. I heard him say if he had got the money he intended to go to Bath and Ireland, and and would have sent us the money from Ireland. He had sent his servant for the change of the second bill.

Q. Do you know the hand-writing of the body of the bill - A. I think it is the prisoner's. I saw him write the particulars of the bill - I cannot say it is the same.

(The bill was here put in and read.)

Prisoner's Defence. My Lord, it was my intention to have left my defence entirely to your Lordship's mercy, but when I hear that brought against me which is devoid of truth I cannot avoid speaking. A circumstance has been mentioned which may operate very much against me. I broke a blood-vessel about two years ago - it was not my intention to use the laudanum improperly when it was given me by the doctor. I leave the rest to your Lordship and the Jury, with only this observation, that from the suddenness of the prosecution, I have not been able to call on the most respectable families in England to give me a character.

GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 27.

Recommended to Mercy by the Jury and Prosecutor.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Best.

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