Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 02 April 2023), December 1791, trial of SARAH PARIS (t17911207-38).

SARAH PARIS, Theft > grand larceny, 7th December 1791.

39. SARAH PARIS was indicted for stealing, on the 18th of November last, a printed bound book, entitled and called Bell's British Theatre, vol. 14, value 2 s.; another bound book, called The Political Works of Lord Littelton, with the life of the author, value 6 d.; three shirts, value 6 d. two handkerchiefs, value 12 d. one leather case, value 1 s. one tooth-brush case, value 1 d. one glass decanter, value 3 d. one glass goblet, value 1 d. one glass tumbler, value 1 d. two wine glasses, value 2 d. a desert knife, value 2 d. and a piece of linen cloth, containing two yards and a half, value 2 s. the property of Sir Charles Asgill , baronet .

Mr. Akerman. My lord, this poor woman seems very big with child, and she begs to sit down.

Court. By all means.


The prisoner came to live with me the 29th of January last, as house-maid , and remained in my service till the 11th of June following; I discharged her on my going abroad, giving her permission to stay till she got a place; she behaved extremely well, so well, that I should have continued her in my service, if I had not gone abroad; after my return, I missed things every day, as I wanted them; I did not miss the articles in the indictment particularly; I got a search-warrant, and found some of the things in the indictment at her lodging, in Little Ryder-street; I was present at the search-warrant with Townshend and Carpmeal; the two bound books, and every thing in the indictment, the articles of glass, correspond with those I have in my own house now: the shirts were found on a man that I supposed to be her husband, I do not know whether he is or not; he is servant to Colonel Tarleton ; I found one shirt on his back, and the other in his possession, which he said were delivered to him at my house by the prisoner; his name is William Turnbull ; I am induced to think it was extreme poverty which drove her to it, for she is with child, and has another, and the supposed father was absent; I had the best character with her.


I lived in the service of Sir Charles Asgill ; the prisoner lived in the house with me; I know nothing about this robbery; I always thought her very honest; I went with Sir Charles to search her lodgings, and the articles he mentioned were found there in her box.


I am Sir Charles Asgill 's servant, and had the care of his glasses and linen; there were a great many missing, but I cannot say to what amount; I was not at her lodging.


On the 18th of November, I, in company with Carpmeal, went to a greengrocer's, in Ryder street, to search the prisoner's lodgings; Sir Charles owned someof the glasses, and two handkerchiefs, and a piece of cloth; then Sir Charles and me went to Clarges-street, to Colonel Tarleton 's, and searched a man who we were informed was the husband of the prisoner, and we found one on him, and he readily gave up the other two; he said the prisoner, whom we thought was his wife, gave them to him at Sir Charles's house; the pocketbook I took out of the prisoner's pocket, at Sir Charles's house, which is Lady Asgill's thread-paper: the man's name is William Turnbull ; he is here.

(The things deposed to by Sir Charles Asgill .)


I am a linen-draper; I made the shirts; I keep a warehouse for ready-made linen; I can positively say these three are part of six shirts I made for Sir Charles Asgill the 9th of June last.


I am a servant of Colonel Tarleton 's; I am not the husband of the prisoner.

You cohabited with her? - I have been in her company: these shirts I had from her.

Court. It is impossible for you to accept new shirts, that had never been worn, without knowing that they were come dishonestly by; therefore you might have been indicted as a receiver: you must behave better for the future.

Sir Charles Asgill . My lord, I beg leave to observe, that I was induced to be lenient to this man, in hopes that he will take care of the children.

Court to Turnbull. You appear in a very bad light indeed.

Court. Would the poor woman say any thing in her defence?

Prisoner. I lived at Sir Charles Asgill 's only a month, and made the shirts, and my mother; I was distressed for lodging, and came to Sir Charles's; I made the three shirts in the country; I brought them to Sir Charles Asgill 's house.

Baker. There was a mark of C. A. 1. 2. some are taken out, and here are the remains, a very small part.

Court to Prisoner. You had better tell the truth; it will be of more use to you.

Prisoner. None of my friends knew that I was in trouble.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron PERRYN.

Sir Charles. My lord, I beg leave to recommend her strongly to mercy.

(She was also recommended by the Jury.)

Court. Sarah Paris , you have been indicted and convicted of a felony, in stealing a quantity of linen, and other things, the property of Sir Charles Asgill , your master, who has very humanely recommended you to mercy, as also the Jury have recommended you with equal humanity; your situation influences me to pass on you the mildest punishment that I can pass upon you; and as I have a power, by the late act of parliament, to commute burning in the hand for a pecuniary punishment, my sentence is, that you be fined 1 s. and discharged.