Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 22 September 2019), July 1770, trial of Thomas Davis (t17700711-6).

Thomas Davis, Theft > theft from a specified place, 11th July 1770.

425. (L.) Thomas Davis was indicted for stealing one hundred and ten ounces of musk, value 44 l. three lb. three ounces of castor, val. 22 s. twenty-two lb. of rhubarb, value 8 l. 16 s. five pounds and a half of cake saffron, val. 26 l. 11 s. eleven lb. of hay saffron, value 15 l. 8 s. two lb. six ounces of oil of mace, value 50 s. five canvas bags, and two paper bags, the property of William Kenton and Thomas Vazey , privately, out of the warehouse of the said Kenton and Vazey , June 5th . ++

Tho. Vazey . I am a wholesale druggist in Laurence-lane , in partnership with Mr. Kenton. We lost the things mentioned in the indictment; and more.

Q. What value may the things be altogether that you have been robbed of?

Vazey. To the value of about 130 l. The prisoner was our porter ; he lived with us five months this last time; he lived with us two years together before. He was discharged on the second of June; we missed the things after that; I did not suspect any thing till Mr. Winch came and offered part of the goods to me. Mr. Winch brought me a sample of saffron; as soon as I saw it, I knew it to be ours. I fetched a sample of ours, and compared them together, and they were as much alike as possible. Mr. Winch told me there were three or four pounds of musk and other things offered him. I went next morning to his house in the Hay-market; he was to get the man to bring the goods. I went and saw them; the musk I trimmed up myself, and can swear to it; and I saw the other things.

Q. What were they in when you saw them?

Vazey. They were in paper bags when I saw them at Mr. Winch's; I believe some of the bags were ours. I went on Saturday morning to see the man that had offered them for sale; he was waiting for me. I examined the goods. I said, I shall buy them, and make very few words with you, after I have looked at them. I asked Smith, who offered them to sale, whether the goods were in time, (meaning, whether the duty was paid.) He took me up as short as could be, and said, Yes, they are of my own entry; he knew me very well. I took up the cake saffron, which was manufactured here, and not imported in that state in which it was, and said, Is that in time too? he said, Yes. I said, Do you know me? He said, he knew me very well. I said, I shall stop you and the goods; he then acknowledged that he had the goods of Davis the prisoner. I took Smith before the justice, who committed him. I met Davis in Leather-lane, and took him before Justice Fielding, and he committed him to New Prison.

Q. What account did he give?

Vazey. He said, he knew nothing of the matter. He was very pale, and trembled; he would not believe that I had taken Smith, he thought Smith was too knowing for me. He said before Sir John Fielding , that he delivered them to Smith, but said that he had them of a smuggler. I received this letter from the prisoner on the 4th of July.

Q. Have you seen the prisoner write?

Vazey. I have; I believe it is not his handwriting; it was brought to me by John Johnson . The castor was taken out of the warehouse, and the rhubarb and the musk were behind the compting-house; the other things were in the compting-house.

John Johnson . The prisoner employed me to carry this letter (producing it) to Mr. Vazey, on the 4th of July. The letter read as follows:

To Mr. Kenton and Company.

New Prison, Clerkenwell, July 4th.

"This is to let you know, that Sam. Smith ,

"about the beginning of March last, or thereabouts,

"this man desired me to take the goods

"out of the warehouse, and he received them,

"knowing them to be stolen.

"I am, your humble servant,

" Tho. Davis ."

Johnson. He wrote to me, and said he had forgot to put something in the letter which he had a mind to mention, and wanted it back again.

Q. How do you know this is his letter?

Johnson. I saw it wrote by a person in Clerkenwell Bridewell, by the prisoner's direction. The second letter read.

New Prison, Clerkenwell, July 4th, 1770.

Mr. Johnson, Sir,

"I shall be glad if you will send me that letter

"directly, for I have thought of something

"that I shall be glad to put into it which I forgot

"before. In so doing you will oblige

" Your humble servant, Tho. Davis ."

Johnson. I went directly to him, and asked him what he had got to say; he said, he had forgot to put something into the letter; I told him I could carry it by word of mouth; I went to Mr. Vazey's that night. He told me and his uncle, that this Smith told him several times to take goods out of Mess. Kenton's and Vazey's warehouse; that he told him he would not do any such thing; but that he persuaded him at last to take the goods; that he took them about the beginning of March last, and carried them to Smith's lodgings, and that Smith received them of him, knowing them to be stolen, and that they were Mess. Kenton's and Vazey's. He said that Smith came to him at another time at his master's warehouse, and asked him if he had got any goods; he told him he had not: he said, I can sell the goods very well, and the money will serve us both for pocket-money; but he said that he never received any of the money that Smith sold the goods for.

Q. How became you acquainted with the prisoner?

Johnson. I was formerly a fellow-servant with the prisoner.

Robert Winch . I am a druggist, and live in the Hay-market. Smith came to me on the 5th of June, and brought some samples of saffron, castor, rhubarb, and musk; the other things he only mentioned, but did not bring samples of.

Q. Were the goods Mr. Vazey found at your house, the goods that were brought by Smith?

Winch. They were.

Prisoner's Defence.

I did confess it.

For the Prisoner.

Thomas James . I have known the prisoner four years; he is a Shropshire man, he came up to London with me; I gave him a character when he went first to live with these gentlemen.

Thomas Davis . I have known him about three years and a half; he bore a very good character, as far as ever I heard, before this affair.

Guilty Death . Recommended .