Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 February 2019), January 1793, trial of WILLIAM IRELAND (t17930109-11).

WILLIAM IRELAND, Theft > grand larceny, 9th January 1793.

133. WILLIAM IRELAND was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 4th of January , eighteen iron curtain rods, value 1 l. 5 s. the goods of Nicholas Finney .

(The case was opened by Mr. Garrow.)


I carry on the business of an upholsterer , in Moorfields ; the prisoner has beenwith me eight or nine years, I had a very good opinion of him, so good, that I gave him 2 s. a week more than any other man I keep; these curtain rods were deposited in the cellar, I lost such, I believe them to be my property.


I had lived with Mr. Finney four years and a half; between the hour of seven and eight on Friday, the 4th of January, in the evening the prisoner came backward, and went down into the cellar, and took the iron rods out of the cellar, and he went out of doors, when we went out of doors leaving off work, he whipped up the court, and took him on his shoulder, this was about eight o'clock, he had left them in that court, it is a private court. I asked him what he was going to do with them, he said, he was going to sell them to make up some rent, he said, he could sell them at three or four places, and asked me to go with him, we went to a house in Petticoat-lane, the man's name was Jones; Ireland offered him the rods to sell, and Jones offered him a penny a pound, the price of old iron, Ireland said, that would not do, he said, he would go up further, and see if he could get more, in the mean time Mr. Armstrong came in, and he asked whose rods they were? Ireland made answer and said, they are mine, he said more than that, he thought it very hard he could not go, and sell his own property, as he wanted money so bad; then Mr. Armstrong laid hold of him, and ordered somebody to take the curtain rods; these are the same that are now secured, they were Mr. Finney's.

Q. Was you to have any share of this money? - No, there was no mention of a share.

Prisoner. William Holland took the rods? - I did not.

Q. He took them out of the house, and carried them to his house? - I did not, upon my oath, Ireland took them out of the house, they never were at my house.

Court. Did you accompany him the moment he took them out of the court to Jones's? - I did.

Q. You knew he was about to sell them for his own use? - He said, he was going to make money for them for his own use.

Q. They were your master's property? - They were.

Q. You knowing this, was not you to have some share of it? - I did not expect any share upon my oath.

Q. It seems to me a strange thing that he should trust you with the secret, except you was to have some advantage by it? - I am sure I was to have none, nor did he mention a word to me about it.


I am a dealer in broken flint glass, I keep a horse and cart, and go about collecting it.

Q. Old iron is a part of that commodity? - All of that kind.

Q. Do you remember the prisoner coming to your house on the 4th of January? - He did, I am in partnership with a Jew, Samuel Phillips , and so there was no light in the shop, because it was Sabbath; these two men came into the shop with the curtain rods, they shut the door, they both came in, which spoke I don't know.

Q. We must take our pens and ink, or I see we shall never get through. - Now who spoke? - I cannot be positive.

Q. Did you know them both before? - I never saw them before, they asked me if I would buy them, I said, it would not suit me, I bought old iron at one penny a pound, but them I would not buy at all, they laid them down on their shoulders, and were going out, and Mr. Armstrong came in.

Q. Did either of them say to whom they belonged when Mr. Armstrong came in? - He asked them, and Ireland said, he was the owner of them.


In the course of my walks I looked in on Mr. Phillips's and Mr. Jones's, on last Friday night between eight and nine, I went by this door, and there was a little hole, and I looked in, and I saw three persons in the shop, I went round to the back door, and knocked at that, and came round to the fore door, and it was opened, I looked in, and Ireland had the curtain rods in his hand, and Holland was standing on one side of him, and Jones close aside of him, I asked Ireland whose these curtain rods were? he said, they belong to me, he had had them pawned, I asked him if he would give me his address, he said, he was an housekeeper, and lived in Christopher's-alley, he said, it was very hard a man could not sell his own property, when he wanted money, I said, I should take him and Holland to the magistrate, and I desired Mr. Jones to put the things on his shoulder, which he readily did, and he went with us to the magistrate, when I came to the magistrate, they said, they would tell the truth, and Ireland said, he found them in a court. (The examination was not taken in writing.) This was when he was waiting in the office to be examined; they were examined, and the next morning Mr. Finney came to the office, and claimed them, this was Friday night they were taken. Holland was admitted an evidence on the Monday following; he was committed on Friday till Monday, and then bail was given for him on Monday night, he has been at large ever since. (The rods produced.)


I am a smith, I made these rods which Armstrong has produced for Mr. Finney.

Court. You make a great many rods I suppose? - I do, these are the same sort and size, I made for Mr. Finney about six weeks ago.

Prisoner. Last Friday night between six and seven o'clock, Holland took these rods out of Mr. Finney's cellar, I was up stairs, when I came out into the shop about eight we came out together, Holland says to me, Ireland I have got a lot of rods, says he, they are at my house, I went with him, and he brought them down from his house, and he carried them on his own shoulder to Mr. Jones's, to Petticoat-lane, and he bid us a penny a pound, and Mr. Armstrong came in, and if Mr. Armstrong had not come in, I should have taken them to my master's house that evening.

Court to Mr. Finney. Did you examine your cellar to find if you had lost any thing? - I have got the fellow rods in my cellar to these now in court, and I missed them out of the cellar.

GUILTY . (Aged 36.)

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.