Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 June 2023), May 1779, trial of DANIEL DEMPSTER (t17790519-44).

DANIEL DEMPSTER, Deception > fraud, 19th May 1779.

303. DANIEL DEMPSTER was indicted for obtaining by false pretences, a wooden keg, value 14 d. and a gallon of rum, value 8 s. 6 d. the property of William Cary , December 9th .


I live at No. 21, White-street, Little Morefields. I am in the brandy and rum trade, in the wholesale way ; I sell no less than two gallons. On the 9th of December I was going down to Smithfield with some liquor to a customer; Dempster was standing at a lottery office door, No. 45, in Barbican; he called me across the way, and said the gentleman of that office wanted some liquor; I went in, and saw nobody but Dempster; he went out, and returned with a gentleman, and then asked me if I had any good rum; I said yes; he asked the price of it; I said eight shillings and sixpence; he said that was dear, and asked me to let him have a gallon; I said I would not serve him with a gallon; he said why; I said because I dare not; I told him I would recommend him where he might have a gallon. I went away; Dempster called me back; I thought then they had agreed to have two gallons. He asked me when I should be at home; I said in half an hour. I believe I said my housekeeper has got the key, she can serve you; she will draw it out of the cask next the window, which that price rum was in. He came before I returned, and had a gallon, and said I sent him for it; I told my housekeeper unless he had another gallon not to take the payment. I called at his house two days after and found the lottery-office shut up; I thought they were all gone; I rang a bell, and Dempster appeared; I asked him how he could come to my house for a gallon of rum, when I had told him I would not trust him; he said my maid need not be afraid, he would call and pay for it; he was to call and have another gallon of rum. A master carpenter came to my house about two months after, and said Dempster was at a building he belonged to, and he would speak to him; he told him he was in my power; he said if I meddled with him I should catch cold. I went to the Mansion-house and brought him before the alderman; he confessed there that he had the gallon of rum, and had sold it. He was committed on the Saturday and on the Monday was admitted to bail, but neither he nor his bail appeared; upon which he gave fresh bail last session; neither he nor his bail appeared, at least if they did I did not see them.

Cross Examination.

You would have trusted this man with two gallons? - No, nor yet with a penny.

He was to go however for two gallons to your house? - Yes; but not without money.

Your housekeeper was to take the money of him? - She ought to have done it.

Has she instructions to take money of every body that comes? - No; of strangers she has.

Did you never see this gentleman before? - Yes.

Then you knew him at least by sight? - That is all.

Then you knew he was a housekeeper? - No, I had heard the reverse.

Do you believe or not that he is a housekeeper? - I believe he is not, if I was put to my oath.

Recollect every thing you say is upon your oath, you are sworn to speak the truth, and nothing but the truth? - I am not sworn to that, whether he is or not a housekeeper.

You are upon your oath; which do you believe, that he was or not an housekeeper? - Upon my oath I believe not.

Then he certainly lodged in Barbican? - Yes.

He called to you over the way and talked with you about dealing for some liquor? - That the gentleman was to deal for some liquor.

Did you deal with that gentleman the lottery-office-keeper, to trust him for the liquor? - No.

Did he say he would take the money with him? - Dempster did.

Had you left any particular directions with your housekeeper that she should be paid for every thing? - Not that day in particular.

I believe' you had mentioned a very particular cask, out of which this rum was to be drawn, it was to be the best you had? - Not the best I had.

Had you fixed upon a particular cask? - Yes.

Had not this man offered to pay you over and over again? - I never saw the colour of his money.

You know his money is either white or yellow, gold or silver? - He said he paid for it, but had he offered me payment I I would not take it.

He offered you payment? - He said he would come and pay me.

When did you call at his house to ask what was the meaning of this? - One or two days after.

How long was it before you took him up by a warrant? - Two months after I believe.

Did you ever call upon him in the intermediate time? - I did once.

Did you ever meet him in the street? - I saw him in the street several times.

Court. When was it he said he would pay you? - That same day he said he would bring the cask back, and pay; but I left orders not to take his money unless he had another gallon.

Court. When was the first time you saw him after he bought it? - Two days; he then said he would bring the cask and money.

How happened it, as you never sell less than two gallons, that this man should have a gallon cask out of your house? - I have a great many, twenty score.

As you do not sell a gallon, what do you do with them? - I sell them sometimes seven or eight at a time. In the country they divide them among their acquaintance sometimes.

Now you left this rogue loose upon the publick without going for a warrant? - A cooper that lives in our neighbourhood said he saw Dempster; that Dempster said he would call and have a gallon of Holland's geneva.

Then if he would have taken another gallon you would not have thought of this prosecution? - No; I believe I should not.

Do you remember a little bit of ground this man took just before your house with some fine trees on it that you was fond of? - I do not recollect that he took any.

Do you remember that this man cut down some trees before your house? - He cut down a tree.

You was angry at that, it spoiled your prospect? - I intended to take the ground myself.

This place was very rural, he took it over your head? - He took it before me, I believe.

He was tried for it was not he? - I heard so.

He prevented your taking it? - I cannot tell that.

You wanted to take it? - Possibly I might.

I cannot do with possibly, you can tell yourself you are upon your oath now? - What has this ground to do with this affair?

Then possibly you did treat for this piece of ground? - No.

Did not you want to purchase it or rent it? - No; the landlord treated with me for it.

Then you wanted it? - I do not know that.

Court. You can tell whether you wanted it or not? - I had some thoughts of building a house there.

Court. You must give your evidence fairly - Did you or not want to take this piece of ground? - I had a mind to take it.

Why did not you take it, was it not that this man had treated for it, and purchased it? - I never heard he had purchased it.

What did you believe then upon the subject? - That he had a mind to take it.

Do not you believe that he is the owner of it? - No.

Court. Were you glad or were you not that that tree was cut down? - Neither glad nor sorry; it was quite indifferent to me.

Court. When was that tree cut down? - I do not know the day.

Court. When you met Dempster two days after the rum was bought did he produce the money, or promise to pay you at a future day? - He did not produce the money, but said he would come at a future time to pay me.

Court. Whether you think the proprietor of that ground would have permitted you to cut down the trees before you bargained with him for the ground or not? - I do not think he would; it was in his option whether he would permit me to cut down the tree or not.

But do not you think he would have permitted you to cut down the tree till you had taken the ground? - I should suppose not.

ANNE COX sworn.

I am housekeeper to Mr. Cary.

Do you know the defendant - Yes, by sight.

Do you sell rum for him in his absence? - Sometimes.

What is the smallest quantity you are permitted to sell in his absence? - Two gallons.

Did you sell on the 9th of December one gallon to Daniel Dempster ? - I did it inadvertently; he said Mr. Cary had sent him for it.

Was it contrary to your master's orders, or how? - I do not know that any body had come to me for so little as two gallons before.

Had you any orders to sell less than two gallons that day? - I do not know that Mr. Cary gave directions to sell less than two gallons.

Did he produce any written order from Mr. Cary? - Not at all.

What were his expressions when he said he came from Mr. Cary? - He said he had seen Mr. Cary that day at his house, and that he had ordered him to come for a gallon of rum.

Did you make any difficulty about one gallon? - I did not think any thing about its being one gallon.

Cross Examination.

How many of these little gallon casks had you filled? - I do not know; several of them had gallons of brandy and gallons of rum; he often sells a gallon of rum and a gallon of brandy, or two gallons of rum and a gallon of brandy, or so.

Was there any more kegs than one of rum? - I cannot tell.

Had Mr. Cary been at home after he went out in the morning? - He had been at home at dinner.

Had he returned before this man called? - He had been at home at dinner.

At what time did this man call? - I think it was candlelight.

Had not Mr. Cary, upon your oath filled out that gallon for him? - I do not know.

Do not you remember giving the man a gallon, and saying, you believed it was all brandy? - Yes; and I tasted it and found it was all brandy.

Did he not say he would not have it unless it was all rum? - Yes, he did.

For the Defendant.

- PALMER sworn.

We had bought some rum at different houses in the neighbourhood which was not so good; I mentioned it to Dempster; he said there was a friend of his would help us to some cheap; I said I should be glad to see that man. I was out one day, when I returned I saw this man, Mr. Cary there; when I came in, Dempster said, Mr. Palmer, this is the man I spoke to you about the rum; at the latter end of the lottery I did not wish to have any; I said I would have a gallon; he objected to that; he said I should have two gallons; he said have a gallon of brandy and one of rum; I would only have a gallon of rum; I thought that good enough for a lottery-office; I called him back, and said, if you will let me have a gallon of rum that will do; he said, I will not bring it, but I will manage it; that struck me at the time; Dempster stood by and said O I will fetch it in a keg; I said I had no bottles.

Then his words were, he would manage it? - Yes, his express words were he would manage it. Dempster said he would bring it, and be answerable for the cask. What struck me was, I thought the man was a smuggler till he said he would manage it.

Prosecutor. May I be permitted to ask why he did not send the money? - I did send the money.

Prosecutor. It was never tendered? - I paid Dempster for the rum; when the rum was brought I thought it not of so good a quality as it ought to have been, as I paid eight shillings and sixpence for it, and saw others advertise at seven shillings and sixpence. He said tell Mrs. such a one, if I am not at home, to draw it out of the farthest cask.

So Dempster was to have it if he was not at home? - Yes.

When this rum came it was not so very good as you expected? - Dempster and my wife tasted it, they asked my opinion, Dempster corked it up; he said he would take it back again; he had it under his arm; I said no, it is a friend of yours; I took it from him partly by force. I looked upon them as two friends at that time.


You are the wife of the last witness? - I am.

Was you present when Mr. Cary was talking about the price of some rum, and selling some to your husband? - Yes.

How much did they agree for? - My husband agreed for one gallon only; Mr. Cary wanted him to have two gallons; to that my husband objected; he said one gallon would be sufficient; with that Cary went out of the office. My husband or Dempster, one of them, I cannot tell which, called him back again; my husband said, if you will let me have one gallon I will. Mr. Cary stood a minute or two, then he said I will not bring it, but I will manage it. Dempster stood close by; he said I will fetch it; Cary said very well, I shall be at home in half an hour or an hour's time. Dempster said he would call in two hours time; he said, if I am not at home my housekeeper will draw it out of the farthermost cask.


Tried by the London Jury before Mr. DEPUTY RECORDER.