Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 30 November 2022), April 1856, trial of STEPHEN STOUT (t18560407-470).

STEPHEN STOUT, Deception > forgery, 7th April 1856.

470. STEPHEN STOUT was indicted for feloniously forging and uttering an acceptance to a bill of exchange for 25l., with intent to defraud.

MR. PARRY conducted the Prosecution.

CHARLES TIOTT JUDKINS . I am a merchant and patentee of sewing machines; I am also the patentee of a gas regulating machine; I carry on my business at No. 98, Fleet-street, and have also a warehouse at Manchester. About Feb., 1854, the prisoner came into my service—he left At the end of July, or the 1st of Aug.—his duty ordinarily was to act as book keeper—about the end of July, 1854, there was an exhibition, or fair, of some description, at Plymouth—I sent one of my sewing machines to that exhibition by the prisoner—I instructed him to sell it if he could, and to take orders for others—he was to stay there one week—I gave him 5l. for his expenses—he returned from Plymouth about 20th July, but I cannot say within a few days—I was in Manchester at the time—a Mr. Dresser

was looking after my affairs for me in town until my return—he was not in my employment—he was doing business for himself, but, as a matter of friendship, he looked after my affairs, as I had no one—I received this bill (produced) whilst I was at Manchester—it came in a letter after the prisoner had returned from Plymouth—the nice of the bill was the same as it is now, with the exception of my name, and these figures at the bottom—I put my name to it, as drawer, after I received it in Manchester—I endorsed it to the Manchester branch of the National Provincial Bank of England—the name of Cross was then on the bill, as it is now—that bill was dishonored—I received communication from, and made inquiries of, Mr. Cross—the prisoner left me at the end of July, or the 1st Aug.—I discharged him—I saw him several times during the succeeding three, four, or five weeks—the last time I saw him might have been something like a week or ten days before the bill became due—I think it may have been the fore part of Nov., but I am not sure—I did not see him after this bill became due till I gave him into custody—that was on Tuesday, the 18th of last month, at Mr. Wilcox's dancing academy, in Westminster-bridge-road, about 10 o'clock in the evening—I had an officer with me, and Mr. Dresser—the prisoner spoke to me first—I simply nodded—he said, "You are a great stranger; I was just speaking about you, about an hour ago, to Mr. Hobbs, at the Institution of Civil Engineers"—I said I was sorry I had had occasion to speak about him within an hour, and that I had been looking for him about eighteen months, and had brought an officer to take charge of him"—he replied, "I know nothing about it," or something to that effect—the officer then stepped up, and said, "You are given into custody by this gentleman, on a charge of forgery"—he requested the officer to let him go home and state to his folks where he was, or that he was locked up for something, he did not know what—the officer told him he could not allow it—I took this bill, as a matter of course, in payment for the machine sold to Mr. Cross; and in my settlement with the prisoner, at the time I discharged him, I asked him if he knew the bill to be good, because he had taken it without any direct authority from me, unless I had known the bill to have been good—he said it was perfectly good; that the gentleman (Mr. Cross) had a large establishment, and also kept a public house there—I believe the body of the bill to be in the handwriting of the prisoner—I would not swear it, but that is my belief—I cannot say that I have any belief as to the acceptance—it seems to be in a different handwriting.

Cross-examined by MR. FRANCIS? Q. You say you believe the body of the bill to be in the prisoner's handwriting? A. I do—it is not at all like his ordinary writing—I believe it to be slightly disguised—it has something of the appearance of his ordinary writing to my mind—I have seen him write very many times—he kept my books for a long time—I arrived at that opinion after looking at the bill at the Mansion House—I had seen it before, but not to pay any attention to it—my attention was not particularly called to it till then—at the time I received it it did not strike me, because I really paid no attention to the writing—it was not till after the charge was made that I began to criticize it at all—it was not returned to me dishonoured, it was returned to the bank—I did not see it afterwards—I do not know that I ever saw the bill from the time I paid it into the bank till it was shown to me at the Mansion House—I cannot say that I never did see it, because in transacting my business with the bank I have often had bills brought to me that have been returned when I have been in to pay the amount—but I very seldom take a bill out of the bank—the banker keeps

them until the end of the year, or whenever I call for them—I hare several thousand pounds in that way now which hare been paid, and some not—I do not know that I went to the bank to make inquiries about it when I was told it was a forgery—I made inquiries about it by letter—I did not see the bill at that time, I was in London—I did not have the bill sent up to me, it remained in the banker's hands, and the banker delivered it at the Mansion House—I cannot tell the day I received it—it was some time between 18th July and 1st Aug.—I received it in a letter from Mr. Dresser, I believe—I keep a bill book, it is at Manchester—I have not thought it necessary to bring it here—I generally enter all bills in my bill book—that bill was entered—I have not been to Manchester since the examination at the Mansion House—I have been in communication with several parties at Manchester—I suppose I have a business there—I cannot say what business is doing—I keep a place, for which I am paying 130l. a year rent—it is about a fortnight since I was examined at the Mansion House—the letter in which the bill was enclosed is at Manchester, if it is in existence—I have been asked before where that letter was, and I made a statement—I have not caused any search to be made for it—I thought it was not necessary, as the writer of the letter was present—the prisoner came into my service about February, 1854—I cannot state the day without referring to my books, those books are at Manchester—he came for 30. a week salary—I think for the first day or two I made a bargain with him to give him a less sum, and a small commission upon what business he could do—I cannot say what the commission was, without referring; but subsequently we arranged it at 30s. a week, in lien of the commission—he was bookkeeper and salesman—he left before the middle of Aug.—that was after I had received this bill—I kept an account with the bank, the bill was discounted for me there, it was paid in to my account, and I had credit for it in the ordinary way, leas discount—the conversation I have related with the prisoner was after my return from Manchester, before he left—I cannot say whether I remained at Manchester three or four days or a week after I received the bill, but it was a very short time, and this conversation occurred immediately after my return to London—I told him 1 had received a bill accepted by Mr. Cross, and asked him if it was good—I believe he did sell a sewing machine to Mr. Cross—I believe Mr. Cross to be a very respectable man—the prisoner was only instructed or authorised to stop at Plymouth a week—I received letters from him repeatedly while he was there, I think up to within a few days of his return, which was about 19th or 20th July—he had been absent about four weeks—I had recalled him by letter when he had been there a little over his time, I think a letter was written by Mr. Dresser for me—that was before I went to Manchester—there was a reply to that letter—I do not know that while the prisoner was at Plymouth, he was engaged in endeavouring to sell my machines—several machines have not been sold there on my account or for me—I am a merchant for the sale of these machines—I also sell gas regulators, and a variety of things—Mr. Dresser is at present working for a Mr. Wandsworth, selling sewing machines, but he is also travelling soliciting orders for me for gas regulators and sewing machines—I have never had a partner that I am aware of—I do not know that I have had a partner since I have been in England—Mr. Dresser never was my partner nor Mr. Harris—I have never done business in the name of Judkins and Co., in England, or Dresser and Co., never in any name but my own—Mr. Dresser baa been engaged in the sale of sewing machines—I sold him some, the same as other persons, and I let my place at No. 2, Lawrence

lane, to Mr. Dresser, and took premises at No. 23, Cannon-street West we were not both carrying on the same business there at the same time—I have sold him machines, and I may have borrowed some back from him, if I was out of them; if I did I always paid for them, or returned them in kind—there have been a good many monetary transactions between me and Mr. Dresser at different times, all the way through, he owed me money at the time I received this bill, and so he has a great deal of the time since he has been in this country—I never pressed him for payment—he has accepted bills for me, not for my accommodation, but to cover the amount he owed me, in payment for the machines—I do not recollect that I was receiving bills with his acceptance about this time, I might and I might not—my circumstances were not very flourishing at that time; they were not bad—I have had the misfortune to become bankrupt about twelve months after the prisoner left me; I wonder I had not sooner—I discharged him for improper conduct, I swear that—there was no difference between us, or any ill feeling that I was aware of when I discharged him—I talked to him as I would to a brother, I was sorry he had kept bad company, and hoped he would try to redeem himself—there was no lady in the case that I know of—I do not know that he ever alluded to a lady to me, except on one or two evenings, when he asked me to let him go earlier, as he wanted to take his wife to the Panopticon, or some place of amusement, which I always allowed him to do—there was never any quarrel between us as to that matter, I swear that—I never spoke to his wife twice before he left me—I have been connected a good deal with bills of exchange—I do not know that I have discounted bills for other parties—I know Mr. Chandler—I never took bills from him to get discounted—my bankers hold his dishonoured bilk for 200l.—they were bills given to me to get discounted by Mr. Paul, he wanted me to take them to my bank, to see if they would discount them, and gave very respectable reference to Mr. Chandler, describing him as a merchant in a large way of business, and a very respectable man—to oblige him I said I would take the reference and forward the bills to the bank, and if they were willing to do them upon the reference, I would get them done—I sent them to my bankers aft Manchester, bat before I had any reply, Mr. Paul wanted to purchase thirty sewing machines from me; I agreed if he took the thirty, fee should have them at 20l. each; he had then made an arrangement with Mr. Dresser, to carry on business as A. P. Dresser and Co.—Mr. Chandler was to be partner with them, and was to furnish some money, so Mr. Paul said, and those bills then went as a setoff for ten machines that were then delivered, and that was all the payment I had for the machines—I afterwards delivered machines to that firm to a large amount, and I believe there is a large balance due besides those bills that lie dishonoured—the bills are indorsed by Mr. Paul—I know that the machines were traced into the possession of Mr. Chandler after Dresser and Co. gave up business at Broad-street-buildings—I do not know who finally had the proceeds of them or anything about them—since the prisoner's committal, his wife has called upon me—I have not since the committal made an offer to retire from the prosecution, if the prisoner could pay me 40l.—I swear that, not at any time—I did not know where the prisoner was, until I gave him in charge; but I frequently heard that he was in France—Mr. Dresser informed me that he had met him in the street two, three, or four weeks before—he did not tell me that he had given him his address—I asked him if he thought he could find out where he was, and I have been on the look out for him since, I had no reason to doubt that he was in Paris at

the Exhibition—I did not know that he was honorary secretary to the British exhibitors there.

MR. PARRY. Q. Did you know anything about him at Paris? A. I heard that he was in Paris, and that he was in and out of the Exhibition—I do not know that he held any office there—I did not go to Paris, on account of the expense—I know nothing of my own knowledge of his character at Paris—I have heard that he was discharged from the first situation that he went into—I have had various dealings with parties in endeavouring to push the sale of my invention, and I have owned patents jointly with other parties—there have been deeds drawn up between us in all cases, in which it was expressed that we should not be partners in any way—I am by birth a citizen of the United States—I do not understand what the law of partnership may be here, but I understand that a division of profits constitutes partnership—I had discharged the prisoner's predecessor for dishonesty, and he knew it, and that he had made false entries in my books, and been drinking instead of attending to my business; and I found that the prisoner formed a very intimate attachment to him—I talked to him about it, and hoped he would keep better company in future—that was the reason I discharged him—I have never received one farthing from the prisoner as having been paid to him by Mr. Cross—this bill was the only thing I had in payment of the machine from him, or from any one.

MR. FRANCIS, Q. Did he not tell you that he had received 10l.? A. He never told me that he had received anything, and I did not know it until the bill was dishonoured—I did not suppose that he had received a penny towards it—5l. was not all he received for his expenses at Plymouth—I lent him 3l. 10s. afterwards, as he told me the bailiffs were in his house, and his wife in great distress—I settled his expenses with him after he came back—I cannot recollect the exact amount I paid him—it was not much, because he was usually in advance of his wages.

MR. PARRY. Q. Did you receive this letter signed by him? A. Yes; it is his handwriting, addressed to Mr. Dresser—(read;"Globe, Plymouth, July 16th, 1854. Dear Sir: I received yours this morning, having been posted too late on Friday. I should have come up on Saturday, but a good bargain I have in view, suggested my remaining until Monday, when I hope to do something very beneficial to all of us. Excuse haste, I am only just in time for post.")

ALBION PARIS DRESSER . I am at present a traveller for Mr. Judkins; I was in business for myself as a merchant. I remember the prisoner being in the employment of Mr. Judkins—I knew him from about 1st June, 1854, as Mr. Judkins's bookkeeper—I remember his going down to Plymouth with one of the sewing machines—I was at that time acting for Mr. Judkins in London, attending to his business during his absence—I received this letter of 16th July, from the prisoner while he was at Plymouth, in answer to one that I had written to him—he afterwards came to town, and I saw him—I told him that Mr. Judkins had requested me to receive the amount he had received, and forward it to him at Manchester, and he presented me with this bill of exchange, purporting to be accepted by Mr. Cross, of Plymouth—he said that Mr. Judkins had instructed him to receive good paper in case he could not get the money, and he had received this for the sewing machine—I forwarded it to Mr. Judkins, at Manchester, in an envelope—I saw the prisoner, I may say, every day until about the last of Aug., after which I saw him frequently until some time in Oct.—I did not see him then until about six or eight weeks ago, when I met him

on this side Blackfriars-bridge—I spoke to him and asked what he was doing, or what he had been doing—he said he had been at Paris—I said nothing to him about the forged bill—he gave me a circular, where his name appeared as honorary secretary of the Paris Exhibition, where he said his address was in London I cannot say, but he gave it me—I informed Mr. Judkins of having met him—I cannot say whether I told Mr. Judkins the Address the prisoner gave me or not; I think not.

Cross-examined. Q. You are quite clear that he gave you his address when you met him? A. He did, I communicated to Mr. Judkins that same day that I had met him—I do not know whether I told him that the prisoner had given me his address; I believe not, but I am not sure—I knew at this time that the bill was said to be forged—I think it was four or five weeks before he was taken into custody that I met him—I was not particularly anxious to find him, so far as I was concerned—I was then traveller for Mr. Judkins—I do not know whether Mr. Judkins made any effort to find him—I called on Mr. Judkins the evening the prisoner was taken, and he told me he had heard that he visited a dancing house near Westminster-bridge, and asked me to accompany him there, which I did—when the prisoner came back from Plymouth he told me that he had got this bill for 25l. for the machine—he said he had sold it for 25l. and had received this bill for it—I believe this to be the same bill—I never received but that one bill from him—I can swear the bill I received from him had Mr. Gross's name upon it, and was for 25l.—he gave it to me at No. 2, Lawrence-lane, I should think between 3 and 5 o'clock—no one else was present in the private office—he did not then, or at any other time, tell me that he had received 10l. on account of that machine—I swear most positively he did not tell me that he had received 10l., that 5l. was to be paid in three months, and the rest was to be taken out of the amount of the commission; nothing of the kind—I did not know that Mr. Cross was to receive a commission upon the sale of machines I wrote three or lour letters to the prisoner while he was at Plymouth—I am not aware that other machines have been sold there—I hare not sent any there—I did not make a copy of the letters that I sent the bill in—I posted the letter myself in company with the prisoner—I have no books here—I do not know whether Mr. Judkins has a letter book—I believe he had at that time—it was not my business to enter any letters I sent—I was not employed by Mr. Judkins beyond looking after his business, I had business of my own as well—Mr. Judkins has never told me that there were unsettled accounts between the prisoner and himself—I cannot fix the date at which I sent this bill, I think it was about 20th July—I believe I owed Mr. Judkins money at that time, I have owed him money several timeshe was not pressing me for payment—I was not giving him my acceptances at that time—I have given him my acceptance—I have been a witness before—I do not know that the jury were not disposed to believe me, they did not tell me go—the Judge did not ask the jury, nor did they say in my presence that they could not believe me—the first time I saw the prisoner on the day he delivered the bill to me, was, I think, about 11 o'clock, from 10 to 12 o'clock—he was there nearly all day—'there was not much business done, but he was there in the office with me—I cannot swear to the handwriting of the hill, I think if it is Mr. Stout's, it is disguised—the acceptance does not look to me to be the same handwriting—I cannot say whether it is or not.

MR. PARRY. Q. Have you any belief as to the handwriting of the body of the bill? A. I believe it to be Mr. Stout's disguised—it has something of the appearance of his handwriting, and yet it is not his natural hand-writing

writing—I have accepted bills for Mr. Judkins—they were for sewing machines which I had from him—I was not told by a jury that they could not believe me—there was a witness in the same case named Kendall, I believe they told him they could not believe him.

BENJAMIN CROCKER CROSS . I am a tailor and outfitter at Millbay, Plymouth. In July, 1854, I bought a sewing machine of the prisoner—I should think it was about the 14th July—it was to be sold for 30l.—I am quite sure it was not earlier than the 14th, he had called at my establishment before, but had not seen me—I think the day on which he sold me the machine was about the 17th—he told me that the selling price of the machine was 30l.—he called two or three times, I objected to purchasing at first, but he held out certain inducements—he stated that they wanted an agent for the West of England, and if I took that agency he would allow me 5l. on each machine sold—I still refused, having previously been offered a machine of the same make for 15l.—he said if I would give him 20l. for it he would sell it—I afterwards said if he would sell it for 25l. with the commission off I would give him 15l. in cash, and the two first commissions when two were sold in the district—he agreed to those terms—at the same time I bought of him a gas regulator for 2l. 15s. nett—I gave him this cheque (produced) for 11l. 15s., that was 10l. in part payment of the machine and 1l. 15s.; with a sovereign that I gave him for the gas regulator—these are the receipts he gave me on 17th July—he represented himself as coming from Mr. Judkins, of London; I knew that, by the machine being sent to a public exhibition—(The papers were here read, receipted by the prisoner)—I saw the prisoner again on 18th October, 1854, at my house at Plymouth—he had not up to that time sent me any gas regulator—I paid him 2l. 5s. in cash, which made up the 15l. for the sewing machine—this is the receipt he gave me—that balanced the transaction—the 2l. 15s. that I had paid him for the gas regulator was to go towards the sewing machine—the acceptance to this bill is not in my handwriting, nor the body—I never knew or heard anything of this bill until it was presented to me for payment—it is a forgery—I never authorised any one to draw a bill upon me.

Cross-examined. Q. All you actually gave for this machine was 15l.? A. Yes, in cash—I am in a large way of business—I constantly have bill transactions—they vary in amount from 200l. or 300l. down to 25l. or 30l.—25l. is not at all an unusual amount—I carry on business as "Cross & Co."—I have no partner—I am not a great deal in the business; for some hours in the day, not wholly; I have a responsible managing man—in my absence he takes a responsible part in the business—I never saw this bill till I saw it at the Mansion House—I always sign my name B. C. Cross, not Cross & Co.

MR. PARRY. Q. What is your responsible man? A. A foreman—I pay him wages, 30s. a week—I never authorise him to accept bills for me—this bill is not at all like his writing; he never pays any bills of any amount for me.

COURT. Q. What passed when the prisoner came to you in October? A. He told me that he had left Mr. Judkins and taken a certain amount of sewing machines out of the firm for his part of the capital that was put in it—he represented himself as one of the firm; he said he had been one of the firm, and they had dissolved partnership, and he was going on by himself—he did not say why he came to receive this money, I thought he was authorised to come down and settle all the affairs, as is usual—he did not say so.

MR. PARRY to MR. DRESSER. Q. When the prisoner returned to town did he say anything to you about having sold a gas regulating machine? A. Some days after he did, from the fact of having received a letter from Mr. Cross as to the machine, in which he stated that he had not heard of the gas regulator—the prisoner said he had sold him one, but had not received the money for it—I told him I had received a letter from Mr. Cross; the letter was addressed to the Sewing Machine Company, and I opened it—when he gave me the bill he said he had received it from Mr. Cross.

MR. FRANCIS. Q. Did not he say it was on account of the machine? A. He said it was for the sewing machine that he had sold to Mr. Cross—he said he had sold the sewing machine to Mr. Cross for 25l. and received this in payment for the same of Mr. Cross—he did not mention the regulating machine then—perhaps it was a week after that I spoke to him about it—I showed him Mr. Cross's letter—the letter did not state that the gas regulator was paid for.

HENRY DYER . I am the prisoner's brother-in-law. I remember his returning to town from Plymouth in July, 1854—I saw him the day after his return, it was somewhere about the 20th—I am not positive as to the date—I met him accidentally—I said to him, "You are come back at last, then t"after being away for three weeks, or a month, leaving his wife in a most anxious state—he pulled a bill of exchange out of his pocket, and said, "I received this bill for the sewing machine"—I said to him, "Will you go and have a glass of ale?"—he said, "Yes, T do not mind if I do, but I have no money in my pocket;"and I took him into a public house at the corner of Bath-street, City-road, and gave him a glass of stout.

Cross-examined. Q. When were you spoken to about this matter? A. I was not spoken to—I saw the account in the paper, and I went to Mr. Judkins's warehouse—the prisoner showed me the bill—I read the words, "Four months after date," and no more—it was for 25l.—I am quite sure of that—I do not know whether it had the drawer's name to it, he held it between the two lines, and I never took it out of his hand—the prisoner married my wife's sister—he never told me that Mr. Judkins owed him money, nor that he could never get a settlement with him—he did not mention Mr. Cross's name—he said the bill was for a sewing machine—he never had any sewing machines on his own account—it was in Bath-street, City-road, that I met him, about half past 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning—it was the day after he came from Plymouth.

MR. PARRY. Q. Did he say he had had this bill for a sewing machine that he had sold there for Mr. Judkins? A. Yes.

ALBION PARIS DRESSER re-examined. At the time I received the bill from him, it had no drawer's name on it; it was in blank.

GUILTY of uttering. Aged 26.— Transported for Fourteen Years.

(It was stated on the part of the Prosecution that the prisoner had been previously convicted of embezzlement, and imprisoned for twelve months; and that he had got into the prosecutor's employment by means of a false character, he having been discharged from a former situation for dishonesty.)