Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 03 June 2023), April 1763, trial of John Williams , otherwise Botamy (t17630413-36).

John Williams, Deception > fraud, 13th April 1763.

186. (L.) John Williams , otherwise Botamy , was indicted for feloniously, knowingly, and designedly personating James Burgess , with intent to receive his wages due to him , March 18 . +

The prisoner being a foreigner, an interpreter was sworn.

James Hubard . I am chief clerk to the treasurer of the navy. ( He is shewed two seaman's-tickets.) One is for wages due on board the Tyger hulk, and the other the Panther; the first is for 7 l. 3 s. 11 d. the other 22 l. 17 s. 4 d. On the 16th of March the prisoner came with them for payment, and said, his name was James Burgess , and that he was on board the Tyger-hulk and Panther; he having some few days before come to demand wages as a seaman on board the Reasonable, which was in the West-Indies, and the Tyger-hulk and Panther were in the East-Indies; there were ten men there that did belong to the Tyger, all declared there were no such man on board. (The prisoner was a black.)

James Burgess . I am a seaman. I went out in the Panther, and was turned over to the Tyger; there was never another James Burgess on board either of the ships but myself. (He is shewed the two tickets.) These are my property, I delivered them to Mr. Hooper to get them registered at the Navy-office for me ready to receive my money. I never had them in my possession after, nor gave any body any order to call for them. I went down to Rochester after I had delivered them to him.

Edward Hooper . I am a receiver. I keep an office in Crutched Friars to receive wages and prize-money for sailors that can not attend. About six weeks ago Mr. James Burgess came with his uncle to me and delivered these two tickets to me, that they might be parliamented; the dublicate not being come home, I delivered them in the office, I do not know who took them out of the Navy-office. I was at the Pay-office when there were a great many men belonging to the Tyger, I heard Burgess's name mentioned; I went in, there was the prisoner at the bar, I declared James Burgess was then at Chatham, where I had directions to send for him. The prisoner was questioned with regard to his property in these tickets; he declared, after several times being asked, that his name was James Burgess , and that these tickets were his property, and that he had served in the Panther and Tyger-hulk; after some time he began to prevaricate and said, he belonged to the Reasonable. The tickets can never be delivered to any body but the parties themselves; it is my opinion he certainly had some body to assist him in it.

The prisoner, in his defence, said, a baker that lives on Saltpeter-bank, delivered the tickets to him, and that Mr. Hooper was with the baker at the time, and that the baker gave him a shilling and desired him to go and receive his wages for him.