Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 August 2018), January 1767, trial of Elizabeth Merchant Anne White (t17670115-11).

Elizabeth Merchant, Anne White, Theft > theft from a specified place, 15th January 1767.

96, 97. (M.) Elizabeth Merchant and Anne White , spinster , were indicted for stealing one guinea, twelve half guineas, and 30 s. in money numbered, the money of Charles Letterman , in the dwelling-house of the said Charles , Dec. 27 . ||

Anne Letterman . My husband is named Charles; we keep a public-house in Red-lion-street, Whitechapel, the sign of the White-lion : last Saturday fortnight the two prisoners came into our house between nine and ten at night; I stood talking to them about two or three minutes; I gave a person change for a shilling out of a red barrel box, called a Christmas-box, and presently I went out; going cross the way to a butcher's, I put my hand in my pocket and missed my box.

Q. When you stood talking to the prisoners, how near to them was you?

A. Letterman. I stood close to them; I ran back and asked the maid in the kitchen if she had seen my box; she said, no, then I said, I am ruined; at my coming in White ran out of the house; the maid came out into the tap-room; the prisoners had called for a pint of brandy hot, but Merchant went out and left the liquor; there was 9 l. within about a shilling in the box; I advertised it.

Q. What sort of money was it?

A. Letterman. There were twelve half guineas, one whole guinea, and about 30 s. in silver, in such a box as mentioned in the indictment; among the silver there were two half crowns, and half a six-pence. On the Tuesday following Elizabeth Haines came to my house, and said she heard I had had a great loss; she produced the half six-pence; I said that was what I had lost with my money; she told me she had it of the two prisoners; then they were taken up; these are the rags they had on when they were at my house, (produced in a handkerchief) but they were dressed out when taken up.

Q. Had they used to use your house?

A. Letterman. I never saw them there before to my knowledge; Merchant proffered to give me a note to pay 5 s. a week for the money, rather than to part with her new clothes, but at last said she would not, she should stand the chance.

Anne Mills . I am servant to Mrs. Letterman; the Saturday night this happened, my mistress went to go to the butcher's; I was called out of the kitchen into the tap-room; my master was in a box by himself; the two prisoners were by the fire; they desired me to make a pint of brandy hot; I put a pint of twopenny on the fire, and broke an egg and put it to the sugar; they wanted change for a shilling; I gave them 5 d. in change; they drank once apiece; my mistress came in; White immediately went out; my mistress said she had lost her box, with about 9 l. in it; she ordered me to light a candle and look about; then Merchant got up and walked out, and left about half the brandy hot behind them. On the Tuesday morning Mr. Brebrook brought the prisoners, and asked me if I should know the people that we suspected; I looked at them and said they were the people, though they were in different clothes, I picked them out from four other young women that were with them, all strangers; they were taken before the Justice; there Anne White said, Merchant desired her to pick my mistress's pocket for the box and she owned she did it.

Q. Was Merchant prisoner at the time?

A. Mills. She was. Merchant said did not value it, they could not hang her. When they were in our tap-room Merchant said she was willing to pay my mistress a crown a week if she would let her have her clothes that she bought with some of the money: they were kept at our house from eight till two; and when going to go before the Justice, she proffered give us the clothes she had on.

A. Letterman. White would have delivered her clothes up with all her heart.

Elizabeth Haines . Last Saturday fortnight, between nine and ten, or thereabouts at night, the two prisoners came to my house; I keep a woman's clothes shop in Rosemary-lane.

Q. How far is your house from Mrs. Letterman's?

E. Haines. It is about half a mile distant; the prisoners asked me if I sold gowns; I said, yes; I sold each a gown, a pair of stays, an upper petticoat, a shift, a pair of stockings, a hat, a pair of shoes, and aprons; they had ragged clothes on, but they looked very smart about their heads; I found they had been at a milliner's shop, and got-each a new cap, and a new coloured silk handkerchief.

Q. What did they lay out with you?

E. Haines. I think the things came to about 6 l. 7 s. 6 d.

Q. What did you take them to be?

E. Haines. I thought they were girls of the town; such often come to clothe themselves at our shop; I thought they had had a good spark.

Q. What sort of money did they pay you with?

E. Haines. There were some half guineas, and one or two guineas; they paid for the things separate as they bought them, two at a time. One of them had a Christmas-box, such a one as Mrs. Letterman has described; the other took her money out of a housewife; White had half a sixpence in her hand, which she dropped; she said she took it just before and it would not go again; she said she would fling it away; I said, give it to me, it will go among old silver, so she gave it me; this is it which Mrs. Letterman has swore to. I hearing of this robbery let the prosecutrix know of the prisoners, and shewed her the half sixpence.

White's defence.

This young woman (meaning her fellow prisoner) and I were coming up Red-lion-street, we went into that house, and called for a pint of brandy hot; I could not stay, and going away by a stocking shop, I kicked a box before me with some money in it; this was in Red-lion-street.

Merchant's defence.

I had been drinking with two girls; when I went out of the house, I saw White find the box; I cried, halves.

Both guilty of stealing, but not in the dwelling-house . T .