Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 September 2020), May 1757, trial of Mark Ward (t17570526-2).

Mark Ward, Theft > grand larceny, 26th May 1757.

214. (L.) Mark Ward was indicted for stealing three quarters of a pound of green tea, one tin cannister, three ounces of cloves, and four ounces of nutmegs, the value of the whole, 12 s. being the goods of Francis Morley , May 18 .

Francis Morley . I am a grocer , and live in Cheapside ; the prisoner was my journeyman . On the 18th of this instant May, out of thirteen shillings in half-pence I missed ten pence halfpenny, and upon my making inquiry I perceived the prisoner to change countenance. About an hour afterwards the ten pence halfpenny missing was laid upon a cannister between my shop door and the stairs, which (as I had lost money before) made it reasonable to think some of my servants must have taken it and laid it there; and my other servants much wanting to know who put it there, I thought it prudent to search their boxes, to see who was the dishonest person, to which they all readily agreed. In searching the prisoner's box I found a tin cannister with little more than half a pound of fine tea, and in a lead wrap'd up a little more than a quarter of a pound of tea of about ten shillings per pound, a quarter of a pound tin cannister near full of cloves, and about six or seven ounces of nutmegs. I told the prisoner that as for the fine tea and spices I could not swear to them, but that which was done up in lead was taken out of such a cannister in the shop, which was sold for ten shillings per pound.

Q. How long had he lived with you?

Morley. He had lived with me three or four months; he at first denied it, but at last said he had received seven shillings, which was sent him from Yorkshire to buy tea to send thither, that he kept the money, and took my tea.

Q. Did you charge him with taking the whole you have mention'd?

Morley. No. I only charged him with taking that which was done up in lead, because I could match that, and believed it to be mine.

Q. Did he confess the whole, or only that done up in lead?

Morley. He confessed all the tea to be mine; at first he said he bought them and could tell where but did not.

Q. Did he own the cloves and nutmegs to be your's ?

Morley. No, he did not.

Cross Examination.

Q. How can you be sure the tea was your's, when one quantity of tea may be like another?

Morley. I did not swear to that; but only charged him with taking it from out of my cannister.

Q. What was his answer to that charge?

Morley. He at last said it was my tea.

Q. Do you now swear to that tea?

Morley. I don't positively swear to any thing.

Q. What was he to have per year?

Morley. He was to have 16 l. per year.

Q. Had you a good character with him?

Morley. I had.

William Haverne . I live with Mr. Morley as a journeyman. Upon master's missing ten pence halfpenny, he suspected the apprentice, and talk'd to him about it. A little after that master said, it must be betwixt you four.

Q. What did he mean by it must be?

Haverne. He meant, by laying the halfpence where they were found again. He insisted upon searching our boxes, so I desired him to search mine first. While he was searching the boxes the prisoner said something, but what I can't say; but master's answer was, he would search his box.

Q. Was the prisoner unwilling to have his box search'd ?

Haverne. He was unwilling. Master searched one of the prisoner's boxes and found nothing there; then he searched the other, and I saw a half pint cannister taken out, with tea in it, and after that a piece of lead with tea in it. Master open'd the lead and named the cannister in the shop where it was taken from. The prisoner did not deny it, and when we came down into the compting-house, there the prisoner own'd it was my master's tea. (The goods mention'd produced in court.)

Q. Which of these parcels did he own was your master's?

Haverne. This. ( Taking that parcel in his hand, which was wrap'd up in a piece of lead.)

Q. Did you hear him confess the other tea to be your master's?

Haverne. I was not there then. (He takes a cannister in his hand, in which were the cloves. ) I told him this was master's cannister; then he confessed the cloves were my master's.

Q. What is the weight of the cloves?

Haverne. Here is upwards of three ounces of them.

Q. Did he own taking of the nutmegs?

Haverne. No, he did not.

Q. Was you before the alderman when the prisoner was there?

Haverne. I was; there he bent down his knee, in order to ask my master's pardon, and own'd he took the teas. After we were sworn the alderman ask'd him again, and then he denied it.

Cross Examination.

Q. Who was the alderman?

Haverne. It was Sir Charles Asgill .

Prisoner's Defence.

I bought all these things. I bought a quarter of a pound of tea at Mr. alderman Blackiston's in the Strand, the half pound at Mr. Stall's in Lombard-Street, and the cloves in the Hay-Market.

To his Character.

William Ward . I have known the prisoner ever since he was a child. I never knew any thing of him but what was honest.

Mr. Burton. I have known him about two years, or a little better.

Q. What is his general character?

Burton. It is a very good one. I was the person that sent for him out of the country, knowing his family; I hired him for a year, and he serv'd me, during that time, justly and honestly, and had a good deal under his care. He was with me six weeks after his year was up, till he could get a place. I would have hired him again, but he thought he could get more wages, which he did.

Mr. Scott. I have known him three years, which is the time he has been in London only.

Q. What is his general character?

Scott. I never heard any thing ill of his character.

John Ward . I have known him from a child.

Q. What is his general character?

Ward. He has a very good character, that of a very honest man.

Guilty .

[Branding. See summary.]