Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 19 September 2021), February 1843, trial of REUBEN LIDSTONE (t18430227-1042).

REUBEN LIDSTONE, Theft > embezzlement, 27th February 1843.

1042. REUBEN LIDSTONE was indicted for embezzling and stealing, on the 1st of Oct., 60 screws, value 9d.; and 1 set of dampers, 7s.; the goods of Daniel Chandler Hewitt, his employer.

MR. DOANE conducted the Prosecution.

JAMES WHIPP (police-constable D 86.) On the 17th of Feb. I had a warrant to search the prisoner's house in Grove-street, Camden-town—Mr. Hewitt's pianoforte factory is in High-street, Camden-town—they are both close together—I went to the prisoner's house, accompanied by Mr. Hewitt—I found a brown paper parcel, directed to Mr. Hewitt, in the prisoner's cupboard, the prisoner said that the parcel had been left there by the maker, instead of taking it to Mr. Hewitt's shop—this is the parcel—(produced)—here is written on it "Mr. Hewitt, one set of dampers."

Cross-examined by Mr. WYLDE. Q. This was on the 17th of Feb.? A. Yes—Mr. Hewitt was present, a person named Bonny, and another man, whose name I do not know—I did not take down the words which the prisoner made use of—he might have said that the maker may have left them there, but I do not think he did—he offered no obstruction—he gave me all the assistance he could—he went to the cupboard, and brought these—they were not locked up.

DANIEL CHANDLER HEWITT . I am a manufacturer of pianofortes, on a new principle, in High-street, Camden-town—the prisoner was in my service at this time, and had been for four years; during the last two years as foreman—I employ a person named Hall to manufacture what are called dampers—his dampers have something peculiar about them—the prisoner had no authority to take any of my dampers, or any other property, to his house in Grove-street—if they had been delivered to him in Oct. it was his duty to bring them to my establishment, and place them among my stock—I have seen this book before—(looking at one)—it is called a pass-book—when goods are delivered, the person who receives them signs his name—this book is generally kept at the factory—if Mr. Hall had sent goods, he would have entered them, and the person who receives the goods would sign it—I find the last entry of the prisoner for dampers is on the 15th of Oct.; two sets were delivered then; I have received none since—the prisoner had no right whatever

to have them at his house—I cannot say whether these were ever in my stock.

Cross-exanincd. Q. During the whole of the time he has been with you, you had every reason to be satisfied with his conduct? A. I had some reason to be dissatisfied—these dampers are cut at a different angle to other persons—the prisoner was my traveller as well as foreman—I constantly corresponded with him—there are letters of the 1st of Feb., 1843, from me to him—I had several persons working in my employ—there are no written instructions in my shop as to the course of conduct the men are to pursue—I generally gave the instructions individually; but the prisoner, as foreman, generally gave the instructions—he had considerable discretion as to what the men should do—I have very recently discharged his brother, who had been in my service—the prisoner may be acquainted with the secrets that I had in making these pianos—I have told him many of them, but many I have not—I wished to have his practical experience, and therefore I communicated to him the principles on which I proposed building the pianos—I have sometimes travelled myself, and then he has had the management of my business—I have had no suspicion that he intended to leave me—this letter is my writing—I do not know a person named Grandison—the prisoner behaved in a very extraordinary way, and I suppose he thought I was going to send him away—I had no idea of discharging him—it would be impossible to tell when I had these—the prisoner was in Devonshire, on my behalf about three weeks before the 17th of Feb.

MR. DOANE. Q. Has he availed himself of some of these secrets? A. Yes; he has been travelling for me from Nov. till about three weeks ago.

WILLIAM HALL . I am a manufacturer of small work for pianofortes, and live in Whittam-place, Upper Holloway—I have manufactured dampers for Mr. Hewitt many times—I made a difference in his dampers from those of other manufacturers—the last I made for Mr. Hewitt were three sets at one time, delivered Oct. 10th—I have two persons in my establishment besides my son, Isaac Tarry and Josiah Blanch—they are all the persons who carry out goods—this signature in this entry of the 10th of Oct. is Mr. Hew-itt's—this set of dampers is of my manufacture—they are such as I manufacture for Mr. Hewitt, and different from what I manufacture for others—I have a particular saw which I began to use some time since June—I am able to say these dampers most have been in my manufactory since June—I have myself delivered dampers at Mr. Hewitt's factory—I never delivered dampers, or any other articles, at the prisoner's house—I do not know where he lives—I never gave directions to my son or to my men to deliver any to the prisoner.

Cross-examined by MR. CROUCH. Q. What other work is done to them before they are used? A. They are cut in pieces—these dampers would make sixty divisions; they are cut, and secured with little screws—if I had met the prisoner, I should have hesitated to deliver him a parcel of goods—I never took goods and found the factory shut.

MR. DOANE. Q. Do you call these a set of dampers? A. Yes, it is wood covered with woollen cloth, and there are screws in it—all I have sent have been paid for, except the last delivery, and they are still debited to Mr. Hewitt.

ALFRED HALL . I am son of William Hall. The direction on this brown Paper parcel addressed to "Mr. Hewitt, one set of dampers," is my handwriting—I wrote it for the purpose of being sent to Mr. Hewitt—I have never taken any dampers to the prisoner's house—I do not know where it is—I have

always delivered them at the factory—our parcels are always folded up and sealed in this manner—I cannot state when I wrote this.

ISAAC PARRY . I am in Mr. Hall's service. I have been in the habit, since June, of carrying things to Mr. Hewitt—I never took dampers, or anything, to the prisoner's house, and sever delivered them to him out of the factory.

JOSIAH BLANCH . I am in Mr. Hall's service. I have taken dampers from him to Mr. Hewitt's in Camden-town—I have never taken any thing of the kind to the prisoner's house—I have never delivered any thing to him out of the factory.

Cross-examined by MR. CROUCH. Q. Are you well acquainted with the pianoforte trade? A. I have been in it five years—it is not the custom of persons to take work home to their own house.

MR. CROUCH to MR. HEWITT. Q. If he had attended to his work, and finished it at home, would there have been any objection on your part? A. Yes, decidedly; there was no reason at all why it should be done at home—he might have done some very insignificant things at home.

NOT GUILTY .