JOHN ROBERTS, otherwise COLIN RECULIST, was indicted for forging, on the 26th of June, a certain promissory note, bearing date, Plymouth, 24th of May, 1795, purporting to be signed under the hand of W. Howard, where by the said W. Howard promised to pay at Plymouth, or at Messrs. Hankey, Chaplin, Hall and Hankey, bankers, London, five guineas, with intent to defraud George Rubery.
Second Count. For publishing and uttering the same as true knowing it to be forged.
Third and Fourth Counts. For forging and publishing as true the like note, with intent to defraud Thomas Heseltine : And,
Four other Counts. For forging and publishing an endorsement of the like note, with the like intentions.
GEORGE RUBERY sworn.
I am a publican, in Spital-fields.
Q. What have you to say, respecting this charge of forgery, against the prisoner? - A. On the 26th of June, last year, between five and six in the evening, the prisoner came in and asked for a pint of beer.
Q. Did you know him before? - A. I had seen him once before he came to my house.
Q. Did you know where he lived? - A. No; he staid an hour and an half, or longer.
Q. Had he more than one pint of beer? - A. I believe he had; I cannot say.
Q. Did any body come with him, or did he come alone? - A. He came alone; he said, I don't know how I can pay my reckoning.
Q. Had he any other liquor than porter? - A. Perhaps he might have sixpennyworth of rum and water, I cannot take upon me to say; he said, he was waiting for a friend of his; but he was not come; said he, I have no cash about me, except a small note; I said, it did not matter, perhaps he would come by that way again; says he, I want some cash, can you change me a five guinea note; I told him I could not, I had not so much cash in the house; he asked me, if I did not know the grocer over the way; there is a grocer opposite; he asked me, if he was a good sort of a man; I told him, he was; he said, may be he will cash it, I want some things in his way; I said, very well; accordingly he and I went over.
Q. Did he produce his note before he went over to the shop with you? - A. I cannot say; I took the note in my own hand.
Q. Then he must have given his note to you before you went to Mr. Heseltine's? - A. It was in Mr. Heseltine's shop that he produced it.
Q. Had he produced it without delivering it into your hand before? - A. No.
Q. Then at Mr. Heseltine's shop, he delivered the note into your hand? - A. Yes; Mr. Heseltine was not at that shop.
Q. Were you directed to where Mr. Heseltine was? - A. Yes; I was.
Q. Did any conversation pass at the shop, respecting the note, before you went to where Mr. Heseltine was? - A. No; he did not say a word.
Q. Where were you directed to find Mr. Heseltine? - A. Within two doors of my house, on the same side of the way.
Q. His other shop being exactly opposite? - A. Yes; his other was repairing.
Q. The new shop, that was repairing, you found him in? - A. Yes; and I asked him to change me a five guinea bank note; the prisoner was with me at that time, and heard me make the application.
Q. Did you say whether this note was for yourself, or any other person? - A. I asked, if they could change this man a five guinea note; I had it in my hand; and Mr. Heseltine desired to look at it; he looked at it, and said, it was not a bank note; I told him, I believed it was a very good one; that it was at Mr. Hankey's, in Fenchurch-street; and, I believed it was a very good house; he asked me, if I knew the man; I told him, I had seen the man before, coming to the house; he said, if he would indorse his name upon the back of it, Mrs. Heseltine should give him cash for it; then the prisoner and I went back to the other shop.
Q. Had the prisoner, before you went back, endorsed any name upon it? - A. No.
Q. What took you back? - A. To get the cash from Mrs. Heseltine; she was at the other shop, where we called first.
Q. Mr. Heseltine did not go with you? - A. No.
Q. What passed there? - A. I told her that the person would indorse his name upon the back, and she was to give me cash for it.
Q. How came you to tell her, that she was to give him cash for it? - A. I told her, that Mr. Heseltine had ordered her to give the cash for it.
Q. Upon telling Mrs. Heseltine this, what passed? - A. He endorsed a name upon it.
Q. Do you recollect what name that was? - A. Yes; John Stevenson; and the day of the month, and the date of the year; and then she put him down the five guineas, and he took it up.
Q. Were the five guineas laid down before he said to her, that he should want something in their way? - A. No.
Q. After having laid down the five guineas, what passed? - A. He said, if that was not enough, he would write more.
Q. Was that said with allusion to what he had wrote upon the bill? - A. Yes; then, he said, he wanted a pound of the best hyson tea, a pound of cocoa, and a pound of chocolate; to tie them up in a parcel, and make out the bill, and he would call at my house in the morning and pay for them; the things came the next morning, and a bill of the prices.
Q. But, before that, what became of the note, when the cash was given for it? - A. Mrs. Heseltine took the note.
Q. What became of you and the prisoner, after that? - A. He came with me, to our house.
Q. How long did the prisoner stay at your house after he came back from Mr. Heseltine's? - A. It might be about an hour.
Q. Was there any body in his company during that time? - A. I don't know that there was any body except people that I knew; he gave me a guinea, and desired me to take the reckoning out of it.
Q. How much did you take out of it? - A. It was not more than to the amount of one shilling, I think, I am not certain, it was there or thereabouts.
Q. Are you sure that the note that was left with Mrs. Heseltine, and for which she gave five guineas cash, was the same note that the prisoner had, and produced to you? - A. Yes.
Q. How soon after this did you see the prisoner again? - A. I did not see the note till the Saturday following; this was Friday; and I did not see the note again till the Saturday week; Mr. Heseltine brought it to me.
Q. Had you, in the mean time, seen any thing of the prisoner at the bar? - A. No, I had not.
Q. How soon after this had you seen any thing of the prisoner? - A. I cannot exactly say to a day or two; it might be a week, or more, afterwards.
Q. Where was the prisoner when you saw him again? - A. Before the Magistrate of Greenwich, in custody.
Q. Had he called, or sent, for those articles of grocery that were left at your house? - A. No; Mr. Heseltine took them back again.
Q. Had he said how these things were to be conveyed to him? - A. He desired them to be sent to my house, and a bill, and he would call for them in the morning.
Q. You are sure he said he would call for them in the morning? - A. Yes.
Q. When was it that the things were delivered back again to the grocer? - A. I cannot particularly say.
Q. Was it before the grocer called with the bill? - A. I believe they went back on the Saturday night, or the Monday; I am not sure, because I was obliged to go out of town.
Q. Then you heard nothing of this note being suspected to be a bad one, till the Saturday morning after it was paid away? - A. No.
Q. Then how came these things to be delivered back to the grocer? - A. I was out of town at the time.
Q. In your presence was there any deduction made, out of the five guineas, for the grocery sent to your house? - A. None.
Q. Shall you be able, when this bill is produced, to say, whether it is the bill that was cashed in this way by Mrs. Heseltine? - A. Yes.
Q. Do you know any thing more about the matter respecting this bill? - A. No.
Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. It was some time from the period when the prisoner received the cash, before you saw him again? - A. Yes.
Q. Then, whether the prisoner had been indisposed, and unable to call, according to his promise, you cannot undertake to say? - A. No; I don't know the reason.
Q. You have told us, the prisoner was in your house before he went to Mr. Heseltine's? - A. Yes.
Q. Had he any thing to drink with you? - A. Yes.
Q. Did he pay you for that? - A. I told you, he changed a guinea.
Q. At the time he said the prisoner must indorse the note, he did not make any hesitation, but said, he would indorse any thing necessary upon it? - A. He said he would indorse it, and did indorse it.
Q. Did you ask the prisoner from whom he had got the note? - A. No; I did not.
Q. Then, after he had got cash for the notes, he returned to your house, and had something to drink? - A. Yes.
THOMAS HESELTINE sworn.
I am a grocer, in Spital-fields: Upon the 26th of June last, the last witness, Mr. Rubery, came to me, with the prisoner at the bar, to a shop which I have, that was under repair? I have another shop, directly opposite Mr. Rubery's; Mr. Rubery asked me, if I would give him cash for a five guinea Plymouth note, which he produced, for the prisoner, who was with him; he was a stranger to me; and I asked him if he knew him; he said, he knew him by coming to his house; I told him, I knew nothing of the prisoner; Mr. Rubery said, it was a good one, if it was for 1000l.; I told him, I would give change for the note for him.
Q. Did he give you any reason why it was a good one, when he said that? - A. None; I requested of him, for his own security, to get the man to put his name at the back of it; that after he had seen the prisoner indorse it, Mrs. Heseltine might give the person five guineas for it; the prisoner said he should want some tea and sugar, as he was going on board a ship, or something to that purpose; I told him, whatever he wanted, he might leave the order with Mrs. Heseltine; on the Saturday morning I put up the goods, and carried them over to Mr. Rubery's, as Mrs. Heseltine directed me.
Q. Did you see any thing more of the prisoner afterwards? - A. Not till he was apprehended; I saw him at Greenwich.
Q. Were these articles returned? - A. A few days afterwards, I told Mrs. Rubery they had better be sent over to our shop than lie in her bar, they would be safer.
Q. Was this before you had any suspicion of the impropriety of the bill? - A. Yes; above a week before that.
Q. Then the ordering of them back again was accidental, and not from suspicion? - A. Just so.
Q. It was on Friday that you ordered the note to be so cashed upon its being endorsed? - A. Yes.
Q. When did you see that note again? - A. I received it from Mrs. Heseltine the same afternoon, and paid it away the same evening to Mr. Foxley, one of the carriers of the General Post-office, the next door neighbour to me; he generally sends me a parcel of half guineas, and I send him what I have in the room of it; he frequently sends me of a Saturday thirty or forty half guineas.
Q. You yourself never offered this note for payment? - A. No; I endorsed it that afternoon; I saw upon it the name of John Stevenson , and the date, I put my name underneath it; I did not see that note again till that day fortnight; I received it of Mr. Foxley back again; I went to Mr. Rubery's, he was not at home; the next morning he came over to me, I left word at his house concerning the note, that it was returned to me as a bad one; I gave Mr. Rubery the note, and requested him to go to Hankey's, and try it again to satisfy himself and me likewise; Mr. Rubery gave it me back again.
Q. Was that before he was apprehended? - A. He was apprehended before I gave it back to Mr. Rubery; Mr. Rubery gave it back to me after an examination at Bow-street.
Q. How soon after this Friday was it that you saw the prisoner again, and where did you first see him? - A. At Greenwich, and again at Bow-street, I did not see him till he was in custody.
Q. Then you had no conversation with him respecting this note? - A. None; Mr. Rubery acquainted me with it, I was in the country, and I went to Greenwich to see if I should know him; he was then in custody.
Q. Have you got the note? - A. Yes.
Q. Have you yourself made any enquiry about the drawer of that note, which purports to be dated person here that went down to Plymouth to enquire.
Q. You know nothing about the authenticity of this note? - A. I see that it is a Plymouth note, and this is the same note that I had from the prisoner.
Jury. Q. You only know by hearsay, that it is not a good note? - A. No.
Q. (To Rubery.) When was it you first saw this note again, after you had so left it? - A. I cannot exactly say, whether it was the Saturday following, or the Saturday after.
Q. Had you seen it before the prisoner was taken into custody? - A. Yes; Mr. Heseltine brought it to me.
Q. Before the prisoner was in custody? - A. Yes.
Q. What did you do with that note upon its being left at your house? - A. Mr. Heseltine desired me to take it to Mr. Hanke'ys, to see if it was a good one.
Q. Did you go to Mr. Hankey's with it? - A. I did; I asked if it was a good one, and they told me there was no such firm of a house in London as that described in that note.
Q. To what Mr. Hankey's did you apply? - A. In Fenchurch-street.
Q. You did not get any tidings of the drawer? - No; I kept the note till I heard the prisoner was apprehended; he was apprehended at Woolwich, passing another note.
Q. He was not in custody upon your taking him? - A. No.
Q. To whom did you deliver the note afterwards? - A. Mr. Heseltine.
Q. Is that the very same note that the prisoner indorsed and left with Mrs. Heseltine? - A. Yes.
Q. You know nothing yourself of W. Howard, Plymouth? - A. No.
WILLIAM BURDEN sworn.
I am a journeyman carpenter, I live at Greenwich: On the 10th of July, 1795, Mr. Richard Best, linen-draper and wine-merchant, Greenwich, came to me, and asked me if I could go into the country for a few days; I told him I could; I went to Plymouth, by the direction of Mr. Best; there was a man there taken up with some forged notes, and I was to enquire if there was a person there of the name of W. Howard.
Q. When did you arrive at Plymouth? - A. On the 13th; I had a letter of recommendation to Mr. Snarden, a linen draper, at Plymouth.
Q. Is he a man of considerable connections, and acquainted with the place? - A. Yes; when he had looked over the letter, he went with me to a banking-house; I don't recollect the name.
Q. Is it the great Plymouth Bank? - A. Yes; we enquired after W.Howard, and there was not such person.
Q. Did you learn how many banks there were in Plymouth? - A. Two; they said there was no such person there in being; when I had been at the banking-house, I had a letter to go to the Mayor of Plymouth; I went to him, and he looked at the letter; and said he could not tell me of any such person of that name.
Q. What other enquiries did you make? - A. I went to the King's collectors of the taxes, but no such person was known to them; I enquired of the Town-clerk, who keeps the militia list, they overhauled the books in my presence, and there was no such name there; from thence I went to the collectors of the poor's rates, but could not find any such name.
Q. Did you find any such name as Howard in Plymouth? - A. Yes; but; not of W. Howard; I enquired of the most capital inhabitants of Plymouth, but could not hear of any such person; I then employed the cryer of Plymouth, I gave him directions in writing, but no such person was to be found.
Q. Did you yourself hear him cry this? - A. I cannot say I did, but a number of inhabitants told me they did; the Mayor of Plymouth gave me a letter of address to one Mr. Lloyd, I believe, a high constable, in Plymouth dock-yard; I went to him, he being a person of consequence in the yard, he said he knew of no such person of the character of issuing out notes, except one William Howard, in the yard, who had been a gate-keeper, I think he said, fourteen or fifteen years; Mr. Lloyd then asked to see the note, and I shewed it him, and he said Plymouth and Dock notes were quite different; this William Howard was a very respectable character of a poor working man.
Q. Plymouth, and Plymouth Dock-yard, are very distinct? - A. Yes; it is four miles distance from each other.
Q. No, it is not so much as that; but, however, they are distinct places? - A. Yes.
Q. No such person then ever was heard of? - A. No.
Q. Had you the note with you at the time? - A. No; I had another with the same indorsement of W. Howard, dated at Plymouth; that is all I know.
Q. The distance is four miles, you say, but that must be a mistake? - A. I am not certain; I never was there but once.
Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. You have told us that, in the town of Plymouth, you did not meet with a person of the name of Howard? - A. There were several of that name in the town, but none whose Christian name began with the letter W.
Q. At the dock-yard you did meet with a person of that name? - Q. Yes.
Q. Though the town and dock-yard are separate, you don't mean to say, that they don't go under the same denomination of Plymouth? - A. No, they don't; they told me that they were quite different; he shewed me the dock notes, and the Plymouth notes are quite different.
Court. Q. But the places are perfectly distinct? - A. Yes; at the post-office at Plymouth, they told me they had no correspondence with the banking-houses in London.
Q. Who has got this note? - A. Mr. Heseltine.
Mr. Heseltine produces it. This is the note delivered to me by Mrs. Heseltine.
Mr. Rubery. I can swear this is the note that the prisoner produced to me, and left with Mrs. Heseltine; I can swear to it from the writing.
Q. Did you ever hear the prisoner say what was his name, except from writing upon it? - A. No.
Mr. Ally. Q. In consequence of seeing him write, you swear that to be the same note? - A. Yes.
Q. Suppose any other man had gone with another note, and written upon it in the same way, you would have sworn to that note as soon as this? - A. No; I am very sure that is the note.
Court. (To Rubery.) Q. Did you take notice of the number of the note, or the date? - A. No.
Q. Have you put your name upon it at all? - A. No.
CHARLES STEVENSON sworn.
I am clerk to Messrs. Hankey, in Fenchurch-street.
Q. What is the firm of that house? - A. Joseph Chaplin Hankey, Stephen Hall, Robert Hankey, Richard Hankey, Augustus Robert Hankey, and George Garthorne.
Q. But what is the partnership firm? - A. Hankey and Co.
Q. In May, 1795, were the partners the same? - A. Yes, they were.
Q. Do you know any other firm in London of Hall and Hankey, bankers, that can apply to any house but your's? - A. I know of none.
Q. If there were any such other firm under the description of bankers, must you not have known it? - A. Undoubtedly.
Q. Look at that note in your hand; it appears to be drawn upon a check, dated from Plymouth, May 24, 1795, and signed by W. Howard, for five guineas; had your house, at that date, any correspondence at Plymouth with any person of the name of Howard? - A. No; no correspondence at Plymouth at all.
Q. Was that note ever presented at your house for payment? - A. I cannot say.
Q. But if it had been presented, it would not have been paid at your house? - A. It certainly would not.
Court. Q. Is there any person here who knows that, at any time, he had taken the name of John Roberts, otherwise Colin Reculist?
Mr. Best. I was my Lord.
RICHARD BEST, junior, sworn.
I am a wine-merchant and woollen-draper at Greenwich, in Kent; I was present before the Magistrate a fortnight or three weeks previous to the 16th of July, he was before the Magistrate several times, when the Magistrate, at Greenwich, asked him his name, it must have been the latter end of June, or beginning of July, I am not certain which.
Q. You knew nothing of him before that time? - A. No.
Q. Did you hear what he said his name was then? - A. He said his name was John Roberts ; in consequence of what passed there, I sent the young man to Plymouth.
Q. Did he ever own to the name of John Stevenson ? - A. No.
Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. That might have been mentioned when you was not by? - A. No.
Q. I suppose, if a man gets into trouble before a Magistrate, he is not desirous of its being known to his friends? - A. Certainly.(The note read.)
"No. 932, £.5 5s. May 24, 1795.
"I promise to pay to Bearer, on demand, here, or at Messrs. Hankey, Chaplin, Hall, and Hankey, Bankers, London, Five Guineas, value received. W. Howard.
"Five Guineas, on demand. Entered."
Endorsed, "John Stevenson, June 16, 1795; and Thomas Heseltine ."
Prisoner's defence. I am unable to prove my innocence, by my trial not being put off; if I could have got the person that I mentioned, my innocence would have been clearly proved.
Court. You have no reason to complain of that, man, you have had ever since last October sessions.
Prisoner. I humbly thank your Lordship, and the Gentlemen of the Jury, for all the indulgence I have received.
GUILTY, Death. (Aged 34.)
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron THOMPSON .