Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 October 2019), February 1767, trial of William Thompson Gilliard (t17670218-52).

William Thompson Gilliard, Theft > grand larceny, 18th February 1767.

187. (L.) William Thompson Gilliard was indicted for stealing five guineas , the property of James Walker , Feb. 5 . ++

James Walker . I keep the Rose and Crown, and Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's church-yard ; I have known the prisoner from last Tuesday was a a fortnight, and no longer; he had been at my house before, as I understood by some of my customers; he appeared decent and very genteel, and said he was private secretary to my Lord Shelburne; I had given him credit from time to time; the first time he came in a coach with a lodger of mine; yesterday fortnight he came, and called me up stairs, and said he would pay me my bill, and wanted me to propose him to be made a free mason, in the society at my house, which is held every first and third Thursday in the month; (he used to tell what passed in the house of Lords.) I went up stairs with him to the next room to the lodge-room, upon the same floor; he asked me to give him two half guineas for a guinea; (it is a general rule to deposit half a guinea when a mason is made) I pulled out my purse, there might be 30 or 40 guineas in it; I put it on the table; the master of the lodge immediately called; the prisoner had given me his guinea; I in a hurry took up part of my money, but I left some upon the table; I can safely say there were five guineas left; I went that moment into the mason's room, I had not time to take it all up; (I had put it down in order to look out two half guineas for his guinea) I was not absent I believe a minute, nor two I am sure; and when I came back, the prisoner and money was gone; I went down stairs immediately; he was got into the bar, in order to take his great coat, as I apprehend since; (he went then by the name of Thompson) I said, Mr. Thompson, did you take any money off the table; he said, yes, I did take five guineas; I said, what did you take it off the table for; he said, I took it only to secure it, as you was gone; he bell rang again, and I ran up stairs; I don't suppose I was absent three minutes, and when I came down again, he was gone with his great coat; that night I took some friends with me and pursued him; I understood he used the night houses about Covent-garden; I dare say I spent more than 10 l in looking for him; I had been there every night; I had mentioned him to a gentleman that knew him, and I found he was a person of very bad character; last Saturday night a person came and said, run out, Walker, he is just gone by; I ran out, and found him in an earthen-ware shop, cheapening some things; when he came out of the shop, I laid hold of him, and said, Mr. Thompson, I want to speak with you; said he, I am in a violent hurry now; I said, I must speak with you; I am in a violent hurry, said he again; I said, I take you up as a thief, you stole my money in my house; said he, what, for them few guineas; go with me into Queen-street, Cheapside, and I'll give you security for your money; I said, no, you shall never be discharged till you come to the Old-Bailey; I took him into my house, and kept him there till I had time to send for an acquaintance to assist me with him to the Compter; when I took him out of the house to go to the Compter, he offered to give me a note of hand for the money; but going along, when he found I had got an officer to take him to the Compter, he swore he would make it a dear taking up, as ever I paid in my life; this was as we were near the pump in St. Paul's church-yard; he said, you villain, did you not give me that five guineas for b - g me; I got him in at the Nag's Head in Cheapside; he went down on his knees, and swore I had served him in that way, and had given him a bad disorder; and this he told the people when we got him into the Compter.

Cross examination.

Q. Was there nobody in the room but the prisoner when you went into the mason's room?

Walker. No, there was not; there was nobody near him but the tyler, that was obliged to stand at the door.

Q. Do you think he took this money from the table in order to secure it for you?

Walker. He could not pretend any thing of that, though he told me so below.

Q. Was all the money gone that you left upon the table?

Walker. It was, there was not a single piece left.

Q. Did you never talk of bringing a writ against him for the recovery of the money?

Walker, No, not for this; I did for a debt that he owed me; I had lent him half a guinea, and hired a horse for him, and he had run some in liquor; the debt was about 53 s.

Q. In what manner did he come the first time you saw him?

Walker. That night he came in a coach; Mr. Gill that lodges at my house brought about three in the morning; Mr. Gill requested he might have a bed at my house that night; I had all my beds full, as all the Chester traders come to my house; I had no bed empty; I said he might lie with me, as I should be up in about two hours time; so he lay with me; I got up in about two hours after; I think he said he had been knocked down in Covent-garden; in the morning, about eight, he had a bason of tea carried up, and about ten he desired a dish of coffee.

John Gill . I was bred to the sea, and lodge at Mr. Walker's; I have known the prisoner about seven weeks; he came once to Mr. Walker's, and sat opposite to me, I had a suit of uniform on; it came up in conversation about Capt. Thornhill *; he said he had been making interest for him to Lord Shelburne; he asked me if I was in any employ; I said, not at present, but I expected I should soon; he said it was a pity such a young fellow should be out of employ, and proposed he could do something for me; after that, one night he came home with me to Mr. Walker's, in a coach from Covent-garden; he wanted to borrow half a crown of me; he said he had been abused and struck by a person there; he pretended he could not get in at his lodging, so he came home with me; I went to Mr. Walker, and said, here is such a gentleman, I beg you will let him have a bed here; he said he could let him have no other than to lie with him, and he should be up in an hour or two, so he went to bed; the next morning when he came down stairs, he told Mr. Walker he was going to petition Lord Shelburn on my behalf, and said he would be proposed a mason; I went out, and came home at eleven o'clock, and Mr. Walker told me, that gentleman has stole five guineas from me that you recommended; then I went to Lord Shelburne's to enquire after him, but could hear of no such person there.

* Capt. Thornhill, capitally convicted in December Sessions. See No. 42.

William Oliver . I am an officer belonging to the Marshalsea court; I went to Mr. Walker's house to-morrow will be a week at night; there was the prisoner there; Mr. Walker said, I sent for you, for this is the fellow that robbed me of five guineas; then I said, charge him as a thief; said he, I do; he had the prisoner by the collar; the prisoner wanted sadly to get from him at the door; the prisoner said, don't lead me in this manner, charge me as a gentleman; Mr. Walker said, you know you took the five guineas; the prisoner said, I know that; just as we came to the pump in St. Paul's church-yard, said he, do you know, Mr. Walker, what you have done; yes, said Mr. Walker, I have done justice, as every man ought to do. Ah! said the prisoner, no, you have not; do you know what you gave me the five guineas for; said Mr. Walker, I gave you none at all: the prisoner clapped his hands together, and said, (turning to me) he gave me this five guineas for b - g me; and to make you more satisfied it was so, I will make it appear before surgeon Sharpe; said I, this is very hard to say this against a man of such credit; the mob rose about us; the prisoner desired to go in at the trunk-maker's; we went in till the mob dispersed; after that, who should come but Mr. Pain; said I to Mr. Pain, I think you have a right to take charge of this man; said he, I had rather not, but am willing to aid and assist, for I have heard what he has said all the way you came, for I kept close behind you; we went from there, then the prisoner begged to go into the Nag's Head; there be made use of such expressions as was a shame to mention; he said he would send for surgeon Sharpe, but he would not, nor did not; he acknowledged the taking the five guineas, and said he would give a note or satisfaction if we would go to the bottom of Queen-street, Cheapside.

Q. Can you swear to these words, that the prisoner said he took the money?

Oliver. Yes, I can.

Prisoner's defence.

I went to Mr. Walker's house on Thursday the 5th instant; he took me up stairs; I told him there in the room, I had not money then to be made a mason, what I had was but 3 s. 6 d. The reply to me was, he would lend me any money that I wanted, and pulled out a sum of money from his pocket, and offered me five guineas into my hand; said he, I will make you a present of this money, if you will not mention the case that was when you lay with me at five o'clock in the morning; after this, I told him I would not accept of that sum of money upon any such terms, but if he would lend me the sum of five guineas, I would be much obliged to him, and pay him very honestly; upon this, he consented and lent it me; I took a guinea out of them, and desired two half guineas; he took it and gave me two half guineas, and then took one of the half guineas and went into the lodge-room to propose me as a mason; after he had been into the club-room, he came out to me, and told me he had proposed me; he went down stairs with me; there I staid some time in the bar, and then told him I could not stay any longer; I wished him a good night, and went away.

To his character.

John Taylor . I have known the prisoner about two years; all that I could ever understand of him he was very honest; he lived with my mistress, Mrs. Pollard, and went from her to Col. Naprer .

A gentleman present informed the court that this witness was not named Taylor, but John Jones , and that be then stood indicted in the Crown-office by that name.

Edward Jeffreys . I am a publican in Long acre, I have known the prisoner about nine months; the prisoner frequented my house when he first came to town.

Q. In what way of life has he been?

Jeffreys. He said he was by the way of a cook.

Council for the prosecution. As the prisoner has called to his character, I have a witness here that can give an account of the prisoner.

William Pain . I was subpoened by the prisoner to give evidence for him; I know not how it came about that I was not called. I have known him 20 years, his name is Swain; he served his time to a pastry-cook, at the bottom of Bell yard; I served my time in Bell-yard also. I happened to come by at the time the prosecutor had him in custody; when the money was spoke of, the prisoner offered to make Mr. Walker satisfaction, if he would go down to Queen-street with him; I asked Mr. Walker whether or no the prisoner took the money; I understood Mr. Walker said he saw him take it; I asked him over again; he said he knew he did take it before he went out of the house; I told the prisoner of it, and he owned to me that he had it. His character is a very bad one, it is that of a thief; I could point out particulars.

Guilty . T .

The prisoner was capitally convicted in Surry for a robbery about five years ago, and through friends obtained his Majesty's pardon.