Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 20 February 2019), October 1751, trial of MAry M'Carty Margaret Johnson (t17511016-47).

MAry M'Carty, Margaret Johnson, Royal Offences > coining offences, 16th October 1751.

599, 600. (M.) MAry M'Carty , widow , and Margaret Johnson , were indicted for making a false, feigned, and counterfeit piece of coin, in imitation of the current coin of this kingdom, called a shilling , July 31 . ||

Jane Schulchus . I keep a chandler's shop in Rose-street, St. Martin's-in-the-fields. M'Carty came to my house the 31st of July for a farthing-worth of small beer; she gave me sixpence to change, saying, if I did not like it, she would give me another; I did not like that; she gave me another bad one, so I kept them both; I ordered a constable to be sent for to take her up: she was carried before Justice Fielding; I produced the two sixpences; she acknowledged they were the two I had of her, and that she took them in Covent Garden ; he ordered her to be searched; she was taken out into the yard, there we found upon her three shillings and two sixpences wrapped up in some powder, paper, and rags all together; there was also a piece of leather; the rags seemed to have been rubbed. The justice ordered her commitment to be wrote; while it was writing there was an Irishman talked a great deal of Irish to her, and desired her to confess. Then she said to me, and Mr. Clark the constable, in the fore office, (the Justice then being backwards) she had lodged with Mrs. Johnson, who learned her to make this bad money; that she had followed the practice three or four years that she used sometimes to buy bad counters, and they made it their business to go both together; one stood at the door while the other went into a shop to pass the money off; sometimes one went in, and sometimes the other: she said she could not file them so well as Mrs. Johnson. I was two days at the Justice's; the second time Mrs. Johnson was there; they scolded together; one said, you gave me the the money; the other said she did ; thus they accused one another.

Q. What did you understand by their thus talking?

Schulchus. I understood they had both put off bad money; they both said they had. The two sixpences were produced in court.

Henry Clark . I am constable of St. Martin-in-the-fields; I was sent for by this witness to her house, who charged me with the prisoner M'Carty ; I carried her to Justice Fielding, where the two sixpences were produced; the Justice asked her, whether she knew any thing of them; she said, yes, she took them in Covent Garden in exchange for old clothes. The justice ordered me to search her; I took her into the yard, searched her, and found three shillings and two sixpences, some rags a powder like pounce, and two pieces of leather; then I took her again to the Justice, and shewed him the money; she was confounded and could say nothing for herself. Mr. Fielding ordered me to take her into the fore room while he wrote the mittimus. When I had got the mittimus in my hand, I said to her, she must go to goal. An Irishman talked a great deal to her; he told me she would tell me somewhat; so I went with her up in a corner of the room, where she said one Margaret Johnson and she had made it together, and that they followed it three or four years; the last witness was by at the same time. Mr. Fielding granted a warrant against Johnson; we found she lodged at the corner of Russel-street, Drury-lane, at a chandler's shop. I went there and searched the room, where I found a little more powder and a King Charles's farthing. Johnson was not there; we took her up at a cook's shop in Drury-lane and carried her to Justice Fielding on the 31st of July. Then M'Carty was in the office; she said, that is the woman that was concerned with me; there they accused each other; M'Carty accused Johnson with passing two shillings to a pawnbroker. The pawnbroker was sent for; his name is Rotchford ; he came and brought two had shillings. He was asked who put them off to him; he said Johnson did. When I carried M'Carty to the Gatehouse the first day, she said in the coach, she had filed the money but once, and not doing it well she did it no more; but Johnson did that, and she used to whiten them; that they made them of counters or halfpence.

William Anderson . I am one of the beadles of St. Martin's-in-the-fields. At the time Mr. Clark was sent to search M'Carty's lodgings, the Justice had her in his office; she then told him there was a place where they used to rub the bad money, to make it smooth, in the lodgings of Johnson; so I was sent to Johnson's lodgings, with M'Carty and other people with us: she shewed me the place on the floor; there being sand in the room, I brushed away the sand with my handkerchief: there was a smooth place on the floor, which looked as if it was done by such practice; behind a little turn-up press-bed, we found a file, and a short tobacco pipe which had been burnt in the fire, and it looked as if something had been melted in it. This lodging was in a garret at the house of Patrick Reynolds , at the corner of Russel-street.

Walter Rotchford . I am servant to William Johnson , a pawnbroker in Bridges-street, Covent Garden. The prisoner ( Johnson ) has been a customer there several times; on the 19th of Nov. last she brought three handkerchiefs to pawn for 1 s. 6 d. on the 24th she brought a shift for 1 s. 6 d. on the same night she came for them both; she laid down 1 s. 6 d. and a penny for the shift : the shilling was a bad one. Then I was going to deliver the handkerchief. She laid down one shilling and sixpence, and a penny more; that shilling also was bad. When I told her they were bad, she said she had good money in her pocket, and gave me two good shillings. I likewise kept the two bad ones. I shewed them to my master, who ordered me to go and get a constable; she then ran out at the door, and I never saw her again till she was before Justice Fielding. There she said M'Carty gave her them to put off, and that M'Carty stood at our door at that time.

Q. Did you see M'Carty at the door?

Rotchford. I did not, my Lord.

Patrick Reynolds . I live in Russel-street, Covent-Garden. Margaret Johnson lodged at my house about thirty or forty nights; she went out every day, locked her door, and took the key with her I did not know what her business was, nor I never had any reason to suspect her of this; she went then by another name. The other prisoner used to come every morning to her. They said they cried old clothes about town.

John Sandal . I am porter and deputy weigher at the Mint. I am concerned in the coining. [He is shewn one of the bad sixpences, which he rubs on sand.] This appears to be a farthing filed. [ He is shewn two bad shillings, and he rubs them a ] These appear to be brass, made very likely of counters. They are counterfeit, both with respect to the substance and form, but made to look like an old worn-shilling. [He is shewn the powder. ] This is not the powder they use to whiten with, I take it to be the powder of pumice which they rubbed them with, to smooth them.

M'Carty's Defence.

This woman took these pieces out of her pocket and bad me put them off for her, before I came to her room again, and to keep them in that powder, or they would turn yellow.

To her Character.

George Blake . I have known M'Carty this half year and better. She and her husband came to lodge with me on Midsummer-day, and abode there till taken up. I never saw any thing but civility by her. She had liberty to go all over my house, (and I have very valuable things about ) but I never missed any thing.

Margaret Johnson 's Defence.

I never saw any thing of the money; nor was I ever withinside the pawnbroker's shop in my life.

To her Character.

Anne Smith . I live in Drury-lane, in the same house where Margaret Johnson lives. I never saw any thing by her but what was very honest. She worked very hard for herself and child.

Dorothy Smith . Johnson was my bedfellow about a year. I live in Cow Cross. I think she is as honest a woman as any I know. I have left her in my shop many a day. She owes me now twelve shillings for lodging.

Both acquitted .