Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 November 2022), April 1768, trial of Morris Jenkins (t17680413-38).

Morris Jenkins, Theft > theft from a specified place, 13th April 1768.

292. (M.) Morris Jenkins was indicted, for that he on the 24th of November , about the hour of twelve in the night, did steal, pluck up, or dig up, two thousand cauliflower plants, the property of George Wallis , which were growing, standing, and being in the garden-ground of the said George . ++

George Wallis . I live in Old Gravel-lane, Ratcliff highway ; my garden ground is in Old Gravel-lane, there are four acres of it, it is inclosed with ditches; I lost two thousand cauliflower plants out of it on the 24th of November at night, I was informed the prisoner had stole them; he was taken up on Easter Sunday, I charged him with taking them, but I did not hear him speak a word in his defence.

Jeremiah Holloway . I am above fourteen years old, I live in Limehouse; I did live with Mr. Cole at Bromley, he hired the prisoner to get him some cauliflower plants; he went out and got the boat-head full, and brought them home at night, tied over with young Mr. Cole's apron.

Q. What is Mr. Cole?

Holloway. He is a gardener.

Q. When was this?

Holloway. This was at the same time Mr. Wallis lost his plants.

Q. How do you know that?

Holloway. Because Mr. Wallis came down, and saw them fresh planted.

Q. Did you hear Mr. Cole direct the prisoner where to get them?

Holloway. No, I did not; but I heard the prisoner say he brought them from Old Gravel-lane.

Q. What day of the week did he bring them ho?

Holloway. It was on a Wednesday night about nine or ten o'clock, and young Mr. Cole planted them in his father's ground on the Thursday; Mr. Cole kept a public-house at that time; the prisoner would never go in at breakfast time or dinner, without sending me in first, fearing Mr. Wallis was there; next Sunday Mr. Wallis came down and saw them; the prisoner threatened my life if I spake of it.

Q. Did he tell you Mr. Walli's name, or describe him?

Holloway. He told me a gentleman of a middle size. in a light-coloured coat and a blue apron; (such was the prosecutor;) the prisoner left his place, fearing he should be taken.

Michael Towers . I am a gardener, I lived at Mr. Cole's; the prisoner borrowed some money of his young master, I do not know how much, and the next morning he brought home some cauliflower plants, but where they came from I do not know; he planted them out his own self; Mr. Wallis came the Sunday following, the prisoner and I were binding turnips together in the yard near the house; he seeing Mr. Wallis, he took some rods and walked down the garden, and would not be seen by him; there were great enquiring after the plants, but they could not find it out; the prisoner staid with Mr. Cole about a month or six weeks after this, and then went away; when he was charged with it he said he brought no plants.

Prisoner's defence.

There was a gentleman at Low Layton gave my master a quantity of cauliflower plants, these were they that Mr. Wallis saw, fresh planted under the wall; I was not sent to fetch them, they were sent up by a man; I took them down in a basket, and planted them out the next day.

Wallis. These plants were the same as mine; there is as much difference between plants that are raised under glasses and those in natural ground, as there is between a cabbage-plant and a cauliflower; mine were not raised under glasses.

For the prisoner.

William Cole . I live at Bromley, I am a farmer and gardener; the prisoner worked for me, so did the other two evidences; I never saw a plant of Mr. Wallis's in my life; I neither sent the prisoner, nor gave him money to go for any, I had plants enough of my own; I had two baskets of plants from Low Layton.

Q. Was these that came from Low Layton some that had been under glasses?

Cole. I do not know, I never saw them, I am very seldom at home.

Towers. They were never under glasses; when Mr. Wallis came, I shewed him all the plants I had; which might be eight or ten thousand, or more.

William Cole , jun. I live with my father; I never saw the prisoner bring a plant in my life; I had a parcel about November came from Low Layton, this was about a week or ten days before Mr. Wallis came; these were what Mr. Wallis looked at under the wall, they were raised under glasses; the reason the prisoner left us was because he wanted his wages raised, and my father would not raise them; I brought one parcel myself from Low Layton, the other were sent, but I was not at home when they came.

Wallis. When I was down there, Mr. Cole told me he expected some plants from Low Layton, but they were not come then, and these were planted out then.

William Cole , sen. They came at two different times; this boy, Holloway, has been a thief, he used to rob my house; I have catched him stealing eggs, and knives, and things; he has swore I have beat him when I have never touched him.

Q. How many plants might there be in the first parcel from Low Layton?

Cole, sen. I believe there were about two or three thousand of them in all.

Prisoner. The cause of my going away was, my master would not give me more wages; last Monday se'nnight, at night, Mr. Wallis came to me in the garden, and said, Morris, come and take part of a pot of beer; we went into the alehouse together; he said he had a favour to ask of me, he wanted six or seven holes of cucumber-plants; I said, if my master has any to spare he must go to him; I think, said I, it is strange you should come to collogue with me; I went down in the ground to work; He came, and wanted me to go and drink with him again, I did not know his intent; I said I must stay and water, I said I would come; he went away; when he was gone, a gentleman said, go along, Morris, there is a man in the road wants you; I owed a little money, I thought it was the man that I owed it to; I went off into the country a little way, for fear of being taken for a debt.

Q. to prosecutor. Did you go to the prisoner as he has mentioned?

Wallis. I did, and spake to him as he has said; the officer was not with me the first time to take him, I went out for the officer; I was not out two minutes before the prisoner was run away.

Q. Was not there the master of the public-house?

Wallis. The master of the public-house abused me for bringing the officer, and went to the window, and hallooed out, Morris, make off.

Valentine Ludford. I keep a public-house in Virginia-street; the prosecutor was at my house on Easter Monday, he asked Morris about some cucumber-plants; they staid about half an hour, then Morris went to his work, the garden in close to my house; the prosecutor came again in the afternoon.

Q. Did you call to Morris to bid him go off?

Ludford. What should I for?

Court. Answer the question.

Ludford. I did not give him an account of any body being after him.

Court. Answer the question, yes or no.

Ludford. I did not; I was informed he was indebted to a baker, and he is a poor fellow with hardly a shirt to his back, and it was better to get out of the way till he was more able to pay.

Acq.