Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 March 2021), July 1835, trial of JAMES SEVENCROFT BLOMFIELD (t18350706-1615).

JAMES SEVENCROFT BLOMFIELD, Theft > simple larceny, 6th July 1835.

1615. JAMES SEVENCROFT BLOMFIELD was indicted for stealing on the 12th of June, 1 pair of spectacles, value 20s., the goods of Charles Douglass.

MR. CLARKSON conducted the Prosecution.

CHARLES DOUGLASS . I live at No. 12, Claremont-square, Pentonville—I am not in any business. On Friday the 12th of June, a little before six o'clock, in the evening, I was in my garden—my servant Ruth Whiting, came to me and in consequence of what she told me, I came out of the garden into the parlour instantly—I had been in the parlour and had not left it above a minute or so—I left my gold spectacles on a corner of the table—when I came into the parlour, I found the prisoner there—I am not at all acquainted with him—he was sitting on a chair—he got up—I asked him to sit down—he was about seven feet from where the spectacles lay when I left them—he said he was about publishing a work about as I understood, the interior of the Cape of Good Hope—he showed me a list of names of reverend gentlemen, a great many, as subscribers—I looked at it; and told him I had not the honour of knowing any of those gentlemen—he said that was

very likely, because they were all written with one hand as I understood him to say—he then showed me a pocket book with a vast number of names in it—I told him I was equally unfortunate in that I looked at a great many of them, and said there was none of them that I knew—I then asked him if he could recommend me to any persons in the neighbourhood who had subscribed—I did not subscribe—he left the house instantly—the conversation occupied not three minutes altogether, from the time he came into the house till he was out it—I had not occassion to use; my spectacles again that evening—I missed them next afternoon (Saturday when I had occasion to use them—I saw my spectacles in the Saturday week at Tottenham, in custody and saw my spectacles in the possession of Forster, the officer on the Tuesday, I think or the Wednesday—they were the same spectacles as I had left on the table before the prisoner came these are them, (looking at them)—when I saw the prisoner at Tottenham, the constable brought him out of the lock-up house—I asked him if he knew me—he said, "No—I asked him if he recollected there—I than asked him if he had seen pair of gold spectacles in the the table in my house he said "No" I said that was most extraordinary, because I had left them there when I left my room he then said, when he left my house he had no spectacles in his hand—I said that was very likely; but he might have them somewhere else—he said, "Do not you remember when you came into the room, that my hat was on the table?"—I said, "No; your hat was in your hand when I saw it"—I swear his hat was in his hand when I saw it—he then said, that after he went out of my house he had called at an inn to get some drink, or some refreshment I will not be positive which; that he took off his hat to take his handkerchief out of it to wipe the perspiration off his face as I understood him, and the pair of glasses and a pen tumbled out of his hat—I then asked him what he had done with them he said he had pawned them his hat was in his hand when I came into the room.

Q. Was his hat in such a position as it was possible the spectacles could be swept from the table into it? A. No; I saw a paragraph in the paper before I saw the prisoner in custody at Tottenham.

Cross-examined by MR. PHILLPS. Q. Had you advertised your spectacles? A. No; I went to the police and gave information on the Monday morning—I did not know they were advertised in the "Hue and Cry" then—I now it now—the information I got as to where the spectacles were was from the prisoner himself—I had no notion where they were during the week I missed them I should never have know, unless the prisoner had told me—the constable locked him up at Tottenham in first presented—I did not read them all—I saw the "Right Reverend" to them, and said I did not know them—I cannot tell how many names there were in the pocket-book—I only looked at two or three leaves—I did not read them—I might read some of them but there was none of them which I knew—when he pulled out the two books, he put his hat down on the floor, but not near the table—he put it down out of his hand, when he gave me the book—I did not observe whether he had his handkerchief in his hand—I did not see it—the officer was present at the conversation I had with the prisoner.

MR. CLARKSON. Q. Had the prisoner at any time in your presence been near enough to the table for the spectacles to have fallen from the table into his hat? A. No; I understood from the constable that be went with him to the pawnbrokers—that was after I had charged him with this offence.

JOSEPH FORSTER . I am a constable of Tottenham. I saw the prisoner on Saturday, the 20th of June in the custody of John Fowler, a constable of Tottenham—I saw Mr. Douglass about an hour after I first, a saw the prisoner—I had heard of his loss, and seen an advertisement in the Times newspaper—when Mr. Douglass came, I took him to the lock-up room, and soon as the prisoner came out of the room, I asked Mr. Douglass if he knee him he said, yes, he did Mr. Douglas asked him if he knew him, he said no he could not recollect him—Mr. Douglass asked him if he remembered being in Claremont square, on the 12th of June; he said, yes, he remebered it Mr. Dougless asked him if he knee any thing of his spectacles he said, when the left Mr. Doug lass's house he had know spectacles in his hand—Mr. Douglass said, "That is very likely but you had them somewhere else"—the prisoner said, he went to an inn, some time after leaving Mr. Douglass's house and he pulled off his hat to take his handkerchief out to wipe his face for he was very hot and a pair of spectacles and a pen dropped from his hat on his feet, on the ground—I then asked the prisoner what he had done with the spectacles—he said he had pawned them—I asked him where the

duplicate was—he said he had lost it—I then asked him where he had pawned them—he said he did not know the person's name—I then asked him in what name he pawned them—he said he pawned them in the name of Brown—I asked how far from Mr. Douglass's house he had pawned them—he said he thought about a quarter of a mile—he was remanded to Clerkenwell on Saturday night and on Monday I went round to find the pawnbroker's but did not that day—on the Tuesday after, as I fetched him from Clerkenwell prison he took me to Mr. Burgess's and I there found them.

Cross-examined. Q. Then you had no great chance of finding them, unless he himself had gone with you? A. I should not have found them—there was no evidence of his taking them except the account he himself gave of it—he answered every question plainly and frankly—I said I never knew a man convict himself so well as he did.

JOSEPH BURGESS . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Chichester-place Gray's-inn-lane. On Friday evening the 12th of June the prisoner pawned these spectacles—no conversation passed between us about them—he gave his name a Mr. Brown, Regent-street—I advanced him 10s. on them—I was not at home when he first came with the officer—he came twice—I delivered the spectacles to the officer.

Cross-examined. Q. They are very light spectacles are they not? A. Extremely light.

The prisoner being called on for his defence made a long and unconnected address the purport of which is as follows:—That on Mr. Douglass entering the room, he (the prisoner) had his hat in his hand—upen Mr. Doug lass asking what was his pleasure, he put his hat on the table; and during part of the conversation, Mr. Douglass, whom he understood to have been affected with palsy, stood shaking something in his hand (he could not tell whether it was the spectacles or not) very near the edge of his hat, appearing much agitated and angry and treated him very unkindly—the prisoner stood, with his hat on the table and took his handkerchief from his hat (as was his invariable custom when he went into a room) to wipe his face, and either placed his handkerchief on the side of his hat or into it the prosecutor then wiped at his book, and treated him very abruptly—on which the prisoner immediately left and he belived he slammed the door harder than he should have done, feeling displessed at his reception—that he had been calling for two hours and a half on other gentlemen in the neighbourhood for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions; and called at some houses afterwards—In an hour and a half or two hours he called at a public-house for a glass of beer, and on placing his hat on the table took his handkerchief from it and wiped his face and the spectacles dropped out—whether Mr. Douglas had accidentally placed them there, are whether he (the prisoner)had taken them up with his handkerchief (they having single arms) he could not tell; but he had since tried the experiment, and at the very fast trial they clung to the handker chief that upon finding them, he called and some of the houses in the neighbourhood he had been to, but could not find an owner for the spectacles; being unacquainted with the neighbourhood, he did not know all the places he had been to—he immediately went to the first pawnbroker's shop which was not above One hundred yards and pledged them not because he was in want of money, but knowing he was coming to the neighbourhood again, he thought he should be able to find the owner-that on arriving at home he stated these circumstances to his wife and gave her

the half-sovereign to keep, stating his intention of advertising them—that her illness had prevented his going out for two or three days, and the had omitted doing so.

JOSEPH BURGESS re-examined. As near as I can say, they were pawned from six to half-past six o'clock in the evening.

JURY to MR. DOUGLASS. Q. Did you, in looking at the list of names, use you spectacles? A. No; I had them not in my hand.

GUILTY . Aged 41.— Transported for Seven Years.