Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 09 December 2023), September 1762, trial of George Warren Arthur Clark (t17620917-37).

George Warren, Arthur Clark, Theft > grand larceny, Theft > receiving, 17th September 1762.

266. (M.) George Warren , was indicted for stealing two wooden casks, commonly called butts, with iron hoops thereunto. value 10 s. the property of Sarah Hucks and Arthur Clark , for receiving the same, well knowing the same to have been stolen , March 1 .~

James Hester . I am a soldier now, and am by trade a cooper. Warren and I have been acquainted ever since last Christmas; he and I took two casks that stood at the Boar and Castle door in Oxford-road , and rolled them to a little bye-alley; this was about January or February last, about ten at night, then I was going to Mr. Clark's house with them; I told him I had a couple of butts; he opened the gates and took the butts in, and sold them to him for sixteen shillings; he gave me half a guinea then, and the next day he gave me the remainder: They were very good butts, worth 16 s. each; they were the property of Mrs. Hucks: I know them by the mark.

Jonathan Southall . I am waiter at the Boar and Castle; we had two of Mrs. Hucks's vessels missing from our door the latter end of last February; but I know nothing who took them away.

James Besely . I am cooper to Mrs. Hucks; I found some staves belonging to casks, and two pieces of heading at the house of the prisoner Clark, my mistress's property [Produced in court with the marks on them]; we never sell any butts, it is not usual with brewers so to do; the coopers all know, it is a general custom throughout the trade, that when they come to be rendered unserviceable, they are knocked down and made up into small vessels.

David Jones . I was present when these things were found at Mr. Clark's; they are the property of Mrs. Hucks.

Mr. Cox. I was before Justice Fielding, and heard Mr. Clark say, he had frequently bought casks of Hester.

Mr. Mason. I was by before Sir John Fielding , and heard him acknowledge the same.

Warren's Defence.

I never had any correspondence with Hester in my life; I once catched him in Drury-lane meddling with casks, and desired him to let them alone.

He called Mr. Robinson, who had known him two years; and Mary Hill, about four, who said they knew no ill by him.

Clark's Defence.

I was destitute of a cooper, Hester came and offered himself to me; I employed him about three weeks or a month; but he not behaving as he should do, I discharged him; after that he came to me, which was about the beginning of January, and said, a person that he worked with, named John Wicks , had a parcel of old barrels, and wanted to sell them; he said he had bought a parcel of old staves, and had made them up into barrels; I never saw the man before; I said, if he came honestly by them, I would give him a market price for them; accordingly he brought them; I gave him eight shillings a piece for them, which at that time was more than the real value considerably; as to buying butts, the property of madam Hucks, to the best of my knowledge I never did; I never saw any thing of her property in my yard: Hester came to me some time after, and said, Mr. Clark, I have got a couple of butts; I said, where did you get them? he said he had them of Mr. Frime; he brought them about three in the afternoon; there were no sort of marks upon them at all; several of the chines were broke, and the hoops almost eaten up with rust; he asked a guinea for them; I gave him sixteen shillings; they lay open in the yard without any mark upon them a good while; then I ordered my cooper to get them sweet if he could; he took some staves out and put others in, and sweetened them; then we used them. This thing against me seems to be a contrivance amongst this honourable company of brewers; I advertized to sell porter at twenty-four shillings a barrel, which at that time I could afford to do: They seem to want to hurt me as much as lies in their power; I hope my character will stand as fair as any man's, be he who he will, and I desire to stand or fall by my character. These are a set of men that would even devour me! When I heard what had happened, I went to Mr. Fielding's, and asked Mr. Brogden, if there was a warrant against me? he said, no. I sent for the constable to know if there was any, conscious to myself of my innocency; the constable sent word for me to come about ten o'clock; I went to Mr. Fielding's; there I saw the company; I was hurried from thence to Newgate: my case is extremely hard, considering the credit I now live in. No person can touch my character.

For Mr. Clark.

Thomas Collins . I am a cooper, and have lived with Mr. Clark twelve months, within two or three days.

Q. Do you know Hester?

Collin. I do.

Q. Did you ever see him bring butts to your master?

Collins. I have known him bring divers butts; I work from six in the morning to six at night; I have heard Mr. Clark deal with him for these butts, when other people have been by, may be twenty of his customers.

Q. Did he use to take him by himself?

Collins. No, never; he bought them openly, and paid a full price for them; I know all the branches of the trade. Mr. Clark has said to Hester, did you buy these honestly? Hester would say, Sir, I hope you will not deny my character. He has asked 12 s. 13 s. 14 s. for them; Mr. Clark has offered him so much; Hester has said, Sir, if I sell it, I will get sixpence or a shilling by it.

Q. How often have you heard Mr. Clark speak to Hester in that cautious way, in asking him if the goods were his own, and honestly come by?

Collins. Mr. Clark never objected to it but the first time.

Q. What were they, vessels or butts?

Collins. I can't positively recollect that.

Q. How long is this ago?

Collins. It may be three or four months ago. There were people by at all times.

Q. Where did your master put them?

Collins. He put them in the open yard, days after days, and weeks after weeks publickly; some might stand there three days, some a week; more or less.

Q. How many did you see brought in at a time?

Collins. I never saw any brought in; I have seen them on the next day, the same as you or any other gentleman might.

Q. How do you know they were brought then?

Collins. I know the casks were not there the day before; the yard is not so large, but what I could see.

Q. Is it an unusual thing for a brewer to buy a cask?

Collins. No, it is not unusual.

Q. Whereabouts would be the price of a butt, if brought to you?

Collins. When he brought a cask, it was according to the goodness of it he set his price. Mr. Clark strove to buy as cheap as he could, and he strove to sell as dear as he could.

Q. Did you ever know him buy a cask half a crown or three shillings less than the real value.

Collins. No.

Q. Had there been any quarrel between Mr. Clark and Hester?

Collins. Yes, there was; Hester was never Mr. Clark's servant since this transaction.

Cross Examination.

Q. Have you lived with Mr. Clark since the 24 th of September last?

Collins. I have; I once lived with Mr. Taylor adjacent to King-street; I served my time to a cooper, and I know the affairs of brewers in all respects.

Q. How long have you known Hester?

Collins. I have known him three years.

Q. Is he a common soldier?

Collins. I thought him a common soldier; I never knew he was a soldier no farther than his garb, in wearing soldier's clothes.

Q. How long has he been a soldier?

Collins. I don't know that he is a soldier at all.

Q. How long has he wore soldier's clothes?

Collins. Ever since I knew him.

Q. Has Mr. Clark often dealt with his soldier?

Collins. Yes, he has to my certain knowledge; Hester would get as much as he could, and Mr. Clark would buy as cheap as he could.

Q. Tell the highest price Hester has asked, and lowest Mr. Clark has offered?

Collins. Mr. Hester has asked twelve shillings for a butt, and Mr. Clark has called me and said, cooper, look at these butts; I have knocked the hoops off. You cannot tell what a butt is, if you look ever so well, till they are examined under the hoop; then I have said, this is worth so much, and this so much.

Q. How much less than you have told Mr. Clark a butt was worth, have you known him offer for it?

Collins. I cannot tell.

Q. What is the price of a new butt?

Collins. A new butt is worth at this time about 30 shillings.

Q. Did you ever know Hester to bring a new butt?

Collins. No; I never saw a new butt upon the premises.

Q. How much may a butt be worth after it has been used half a year?

Collins. It may be damaged as much in half a year, as others in three years.

Q. What is a butt worth made of such staves as these produced here?

Collins. [He takes one in his hand]. I look upon it it would not be worth a crown without the hoops, and about 8 s. 6 d. with them.

Q. Have you known Mr. Clark to buy butts pretty nearly new?

Collins. No, I never did.

Q. Had they been greatly damaged?

Collins. No, some had not; I never saw any but what had been used six, eight, or twelve months.

Q. Did you ever see any that your master bought of Hester, that was worth a guinea?

Collins. Let me see - I must recollect - That requires time to think on. I'll recollect, because I know very well what Mr. Clark bought. I never knew one worth a guinea.

Q. Did you ever know him give above twelve shillings for a butt?

Collins. I have known him give half a guinea and twelve shillings; I can't say, but he might give twenty for some, but I have not been an eye witness.

Q. Did you never see marks on them?

Collins. No never, only upon these staves here [There were produced in court staves, some marked with the mark of Mason, some Gyfford's, and others]. I have said to Mr. Clark, May be this man may have got these things so and so.

Q. What do you mean by so and so?

Collins. I mean not honestly; he has demonstrated where he got them. Truth is like the sun; it displays itself in open day-light.

Counsel. Your candle is lighted up, and we shall have it burn gloriously - You talk well - What made you think Hester had not come by the casks-honestly

Collins. I have no circumstantial reason.

Counsel. Sure you can give some reason?

Collins. Because other people had spoke of it, that it was not common for brewers to sell butts; I enquired into the thing, and found the man came by them honestly; he said, he bought them of a brewer somewhere towards Tyburn; I don't know his name; I went to the place more than once, but could not see the master; I understood it to be one Green or Freem; I went to a man at Bayswater; he said, he knew nothing of the matter.

Q. Did you never see any with a brand mark brought in?

Collins. I never examined them; I have seen casks brought in by day-light by Hester, and Mr. Clark has agreed with him for them.

Q. Is there not always the brewer's mark on brewer's casks?

Collins. Yes; but I never saw any brewer's mark upon any cask he brought.

Q. Was there any thing to shew that a name was cut out on any cask that Hester brought?

Collins. Yes; I have seen some that the marks were cut out.

Q. Did not that lead you to some suspicion?

Collins. No; I never asked him any questions farther than the first time.

Q. How often have you seen casks brought in by Hester with the marks cut out?

Collins. I can't say; I have seen such more than once.

Q. At what time of the day or night were they brought in?

Collins. In the day time.

Q. How long ago?

Collins. It may be two or three months ago.

Q. Upon your oath, did you never see marks cut out after they were brought in?

Collins. Yes, I have; I have cut marks out.

Q. By whose order?

Collins. By Mr. Clark's order.

Q. Upon your oath, did you never see marks cut out after they were brought in by Hester?

Collins. I do not remember any; there might, but not to my knowledge.

Counsel. I'll pay you the compliment, of saying you have been a most excellent witness for your master.

He called Mr. Webster and Mr. Groves, who had known him 7 or 8 years; Mr. Bruce, 10 or 11; Mr. Grimes, 8 or 10; Mr. Kitchiner, 6; Mr. Barrel and Mr. Vaughan, 2; Mr. Bass, 3; Mr. Green, 4; Mr. Toping, Mr. Glover, and Mr. Mills, ever since was a brewer, who all gave him the character of a honest man.

Both acquitted .