Old Bailey Sessions’ Paper—16 May 1833

1015. HENRY COHEN was indicted that he, on the 20th of March, did receive and have of a certain evil-disposed person, 2 promissory notes, for the payment and value of 10l. each; and 2 promissory notes, for payment and value 5l. each, the property of our sovereign Lord the King, which had been lately before stolen, he well knowing them to have been stolen against the statute, &c.

2nd Count, stating them to be the property of Charles Duke of Richmond.

3rd Count, stating them to be the property of John Pike.

4th Count, stating them to be the property of James Hooper and another.

Messrs, Adolphus and Shepherd conducted the prosecution.

John Pike. I am a cheese-factor, and live at Fisherton, near Salisbury. On Sunday, the 3rd of March, I had occasion to make a remittance to Hooper and Askew—I was to send them one hundred and eighty-five pounds—I gave my wife about one hundred and forty or one hundred and forty-five pounds in Glastonbury notes for that purpose, and desired her to make up the quantity one hundred and eighty-five pounds, and remit it in a letter; on Tuesday morning I had information that it had not arrived.

Sarah Pike. I am the wife of the last witness. On the 3rd of March my husband gave me a letter, which he wrote to send to London, and one hundred and forty-five pounds of Glastonbury notes—I took the numbers of them, and put other notes making one hundred and eighty-five pounds; four of the Glastonbury notes were No. 1435, 10l. dated the 4th October, 1828; 1340, 10l. dated the 21st of August, 1828; 2467, 5l. dated the 22nd of September, 1828; 2055, 5l. dated the 17th of September, 1828—I made the notes up, and enclosed them in the letter which Mr. Pike gave me—I sealed the letter, and gave it to his nephew, John Hooper, to take to the post; I sealed it with a wafer and wax in the middle and at both ends, and directed it to Hooper and Co., No. 168 Upper Thames-street, London; I gave it to him about half-past seven o’clock.

Cross-examined by Mr. Phillips. Q. How many different notes did you send in the letter? A. Twenty-six—Hooper was present and counted them as well as me; this is the memorandum I made at the time; it has the number and the date of each note.

Joseph Hooper. I am nephew of Mr. Pike. On the 3rd of March Mrs. Pike gave me a letter to put into the post; I put it in before half-past seven o’clock in the evening, into the London post at Salisbury.

Alexander Hayward Minty. I am post-master of Salisbury. If this letter had been put into the post before nine o’clock, it would arrive in town next morning; the bag was made up and forwarded to London that night.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you make it up yourself? A. I did that night I am certain.

Mr. Adolphus. Q. Is this letter bill made up in your hand-writing? A. It is.

Arthur Graham. I am a clerk in the General Post Office. On the 4th of March the Salisbury bag arrived safe, sealed, and in its usual state; I opened it.

Cross-examined by Mr. Clarkson. Q. Whether there was a letter directed to Hooper, and Co. you cannot tell? A. No.

Thomas Luff. I am a letter-carrier in the post office. It would be my duty to deliver all letters for Hooper and Co., Thames-street—on the 4th of March I delivered them only one, and that was all that was given to me to deliver—I sometimes deliver them to a boy.

William Crook. I was clerk to Hooper and Co., Thames-street. On the 4th of March I received a letter for them by the general post—I gave it to Mr. Askew—I recollect it came from Hull.

William Askew. I am a cheese-agent and one of the firm of James Hooper and Askew; there is one other partner. On the morning of the 4th of March, a letter was delivered to me by the last witness; I recollect it; this is the letter, it came from Hull—I received no letter from Salisbury that morning, and have never received the one enclosing one hundred and forty-five pounds.

Cross-examined by Mr. Phillips. Q. Is it the duty of other persons to receive your letters?. A. The postman gives them to whoever is present—we have only one clerk; we have a warehouseman and two boys who sometimes receive letters, but Crook is the only one in the counting-house—no third person has any share in our business.

William Simpson. I am clerk to Messrs. Masterman and Co., who are agents to the Glastonbury bank. On the 20th of March, the prisoner came to our house, and brought two 10l. and two 5l. Glastonbury bank notes, which I produce; we had received a notice about Glastonbury bank notes before that—I at first asked him what he would have for them, and then referred to the book, and saw that they were part of those desired to be stopped by the Post-office solicitor—he said he would have gold for them; I asked his name and address; he said Cohen, Edgware-road—when I found they had been stopped, I went and spoke to one of the principals, and showed him the notes, and Mr. Oxley required Cohen to come and speak to him—he told Cohen the notes had been stolen, and payment was stopped by request of the Post-office—he was then asked if he had any objection to go to Hooper and Co., Thames-street—he said no; I went with him to Hooper and Co., and saw Mr. Hooper, and told him the notes had been presented for payment; he requested me to walk to Mr. Peacock’s office with Mr. Cohen—which we did, and saw Mr. Peacock, and told him what took place, and the prisoner was detained—I asked him how he got the notes; he said he took them from two men who were going to St. Katherine-docks to take a passage to New South Wales; and at Mr. Peacock’s office there was a conversation; a Mr. Ramsay was present, he and I went into Mr. Peacock’s room together; I had shown Ramsay the notes before I went into the office; I met Mr. Hooper at the Post-office—Mr. Peacock, when he first saw the prisoner, seemed very much surprised, and said, “Mr. Cohen, is that you?”—and questioned him how he became possessed of the notes—he said he took them of two men who came to his shop, and bought goods to the amount of 24l. or 25l.—their name and address were not on the notes, but the prisoner’s name and address had been put on since—he said he had them from two men going to New South Wales—Mr. Peacock said that it was, (I think,) the third or fourth time he had had stolen notes in his possession, the prisoner replied that it was only the third time.

Cross-examined by Mr. Clarkson. Q. The notes are payable at your house? A. Yes—I did not know the prisoner before, but his house of business was known to our house, we occasionally had bills accepted by him in our hands—there was nothing whatever written on the notes when he brought them; he went with me willingly to my principal; we had received notice of the notes having been stolen about a week before, or more—he went readily with me to Mr. Hooper, and gave his name and address at once; he observed, as we went to Hooper’s, that he had a cheque on Messrs. Scott, in Cavendish-street, which he wished to get cashed, and when it was proposed to go to Mr. Peacock’s office, he wished to go to the Minories—a 100l. note, and the cheque he spoke of was found on him; these bills of his have all passed through our house—(looking at them) they amount to above five hundred pounds.

Mr. Adolphus. Q. Did any bills of his pass through your house under suspicious or dangerous circumstances? A. Some notes which have been received from him, for his acceptance, had been stated to be stolen—I should not have detained him if he had not gone willingly with me, as his name was known at our house.

James Hooper. I am in partnership with Mr. Askew. On the 20th of March, I remember going to Mr. Peacock’s office in the Post-office; the prisoner and last witness were there, and Mr. Ramsay—when the prisoner was brought in, Mr. Peacock said, “Mr. Cohen, is this you again?” his answer was, “It is”—Mr. Peacock said, “How did you come in possession of these notes?” he said, “I took them of two men, I have not their names; they were going to St. Katherine’s-docks,” that he sold goods for the notes, but did not recollect what kind of goods—Mr. Peacock observed, “It is very strange, you took these notes on Monday; this is Wednesday, and you do not recollect what you sold them for; come, try and recollect”—he said, “Well, perhaps half a dozen pairs of trousers, as many jackets and stockings”—Mr. Peacock said, “How did they take them away?” he said, “In bundles”—Mr. Peacock said, “They must be very large bundles to amount to twenty-three or twenty-four pounds;” and the prisoner accounted for about 7l. or 8l. worth—the prices were asked; I believe he did not mention the prices, but the calculations were made by Mr. Peacock and myself—Mr. Peacock told him, according to calculation, they would not amount to above seven or eight pounds, they would not exceed ten pounds; he stated that to the prisoner—to my best recollection I heard him say so, and then he asked him who was in the shop at the time he sold the goods, whether his shopman was there; he said No; he was asked “where was your shop man?” and said, “Out, collecting”—he was asked, “Where was he gone?” and said, “I don’t know”—“At what time did he go out?” “At two o’clock”—“When did he return?” “I don’t know, I cannot recollect, but I believe it to be about tea-time, about five o’clock”—“Was any other person in your shop?” “There might be part of my family, my children”—he was asked if he could not recollect the men if he saw them—I believe he said, “I did not know them”—Cohen demanded the notes; Mr. Peacock said he should not give them up, it was a case which will require very serious investigation, and Mr. Peacock said, “I believe this is the fourth time you have been here”—his answer was, “It is only the third,” or, “It is the third.”

Cross-examined by Mr Phillips. Q. Do you mean to represent, that Mr. Peacock mentioned the particular sum?. A. He said it would not exceed ten pounds; the prisoner was in the room, but I don’t know whether he spoke to him—I have no doubt he heard it, but cannot be certain; he was a few yards from Mr. Peacock, who addressed himself to all who were present, not the prisoner in particular, it was a general observation—I believe it was said that was but a small proportion; he said he kept no books—we did not ask him the price of each article; I made a calculation being competent to do so—according to the things generally sold in such shops, which are usually a low sort of things; I was never in his shop; I fixed a very low price.

Q. Did you understand them to be second-hand clothes? A. No, but low-priced, as it is a clothes-shop—I never dealt in clothes; I once bought a low-priced top-coat for a person at one of these shops; he said he sold them to two men, and it is natural to suppose, if he called them men, they were not gentlemen—I believe Edgeware-road is not a very respectable place, not the part I am speaking of—I live in Guildford-place, Wilmington-square.

Mr. Adolphus. Q. Was the observation about the goods not exceeding ten pounds made by you or Mr. Peacock? A. I believe Mr. Peacock said so, or within a very few minutes I made the observation; Mr. Peacock said, “Don’t you keep books?”—he said, “Not for daily taking, but for accounts.”

Robert William Peacock. I am brother to the solicitor of the Post-office. I assist him in his business—I was present on the 20th of March, when the prisoner was brought before him and examined respecting the notes—I took down in writing what passed—I only made memorandums, but not of every thing that passed.

Mr. Phillips. Q. Did you not take down what you thought principally made against him? A. Not exactly; I took down what I thought right to refresh my memory.

Court. Q. Refresh your memory by these memorandums, and state what passed? A. On his entering, the solicitor said, “Mr. Cohen, is that you?” he said, “Yes, it is”—”Have you presented these notes at Masterman’s?” he said, “Yes, I have”—”How did you become possessed of them?” he said, “I took them on Monday afternoon last of two persons,” that he did not ask their names, they had come in to fit themselves out, and were going to New South Wales; they purchased different kinds of articles—he was asked to enumerate them, and said he could not—Mr. Peacock said “You must recollect this was only last Monday”—he said, There might be half a dozen pair of trousers, stockings, and shirts, and he could not recollect any thing more—he was asked what amount the goods came to; he said about twenty-three or twenty-four pounds—it was suggested to him that these articles could not amount to that, but he could not recollect any others which he has sold—Mr. Peacock said, “Mr. Cohen, you must remember this is the fourth time stolen notes have been traced into your possession”—he immediately answered, “No, Sir, it is only the third”—he said he made no entry in his books, and could not give us the particulars of the articles, that his shopman was gone out collecting debts at the time, but he could not recollect where; that he had written several letters, he did not know to whom; that nobody was present but his wife, or some part of the family—he afterwards said, the two persons had other notes in their possession; it was remarked to him, that the articles he had sold must be very large to amount to twenty-three pounds—he said, they were rather heavy, that he made them up into two parcels of brown paper; he gave one to each, and he understood they were going in an omnibus—I afterwards went with an officer, and searched his premises, and found several letters.

Cross-examined by Mr. Clarkson. Q. Did you take down the number of articles he said he had sold? A. No, I have taken down jackets, shirts, and trousers, I believe I before mentioned stockings instead of jackets—I believe he mentioned four articles; on a second conversation with him going to Bow-street, he told me the number of the articles he had sold; I am not aware that much more passed than I have taken down, but I was not in the room all the time—I am not aware that I have omitted any thing in his favour—a cheque and [sic] a hundred pound note were found on him, and some sovereigns which I did not count—I have spoken to one person who lives in his neighbourhood, but did not take him before any Justice—he was a Post-office letter-receiver, living within a short distance of him; I only asked him respecting certain persons supposed to reside in that neighbourhood—the prisoner’s is a large shop.

Court. Q. What, in your judgment, is the value of articles exposed for sale there? A. Some, I should think, not worth more than one shilling and sixpence; there were coats as high as fifty shillings; it appeared a new and second-hand clothes shop.

Mr. Adolphus. Q. It was in the course of your duty to make such inquiries in the Edgeware-road, as you thought proper? A. It was; I only formed an opinion of the value of the articles—I believe as I left the office, my brother was putting a value on the different articles which the prisoner had said he had sold—the prisoner has surrendered here to take his trial; he was bound under a recognizance of one hundred pounds, and four sureties of one hundred pounds each; the prisoner said he had sold goods to the amount of twenty-three or twenty-four pounds for the notes; I understood him to mean that he had given change for the rest, but he did not say so.

Thomas Porch. I belong to the Glastonbury Bank. These notes are duly issued and signed; there are no more of that number or date issued by the bank.

Prisoner’s Defence (written). On the 18th of March last I was at Mr. Flint’s auction-rooms, a few doors from my own house, when my son came and told me that two men at home wanted to purchase some clothes. I asked him if James (meaning the shopman) was at home; he said no. I then left the rooms; when I came home there were two respectable looking men in the shop, who said they were recommended to me to purchase some goods, and that they had come from the country: they each selected goods to about 11l. or 12l. They each paid me a 10l. and 5l. note of the Glastonbury bank, payable at Masterman and Co.: after referring to my Directory, I found them to be good. I had no hesitation in taking them, I gave each of them their change. I then packed the goods in large sheets of paper, and they took them, saying they were going to St. Katherine’s Docks, and they would take the omnibus: they each took their parcels, and left the shop. I then returned to Mr. Flint’s auction-rooms. On the Wednesday following I was going to Leaf, Son, and Co., Old Change, to purchase a quantity of shawls, when I went with the notes in question to Masterman and Co. to get them changed. I presented them to Mr. Simpson, he asked my name and address, which I gave him; he then left me at the counter several minutes, when one of the principals came out and said he was sorry to inform me, but that these notes were stolen from a post-office letter, and Mr. Peacock had stopped the payment of them: he then asked me if I would accompany Mr. Simpson to Mr. Hooper in Thames-street, I said certainly. Mr. Simpson and myself went in together to Mr. Hooper, and on the way Mr. Simpson asked me how I came in possession of the notes. I told him as above stated: when we came to Mr. Hooper’s, Mr. Simpson informed him I had tendered the notes for payment. Mr. Hooper said he could not say anything to it, but that we had better go to the Post-office. We then went together. Mr. Peacock asked me a great many questions how I came in possession of the notes, which I answered him in the same way as I did Mr. Simpson; he then put a great many more questions, which I answered, not knowing he intended to make my answers evidence against me, and to detain me; if I had known that I would have reserved my answers until I came before a magistrate. Mr. Peacock then asked me if I had any objection to be searched, I said I had none. An officer was sent for, he found in my possession nearly 200l. for which I gave a satisfactory account, and it was returned to me. Mr. Peacock then asked if I would allow an officer to search my house, I said I had no objection; and I gave Mr. Peacock the key to my desk. Mr. Peacock with an officer took me to Bow-street, and left me in custody at Bow-street. They would not tell any of my family where I was, until they had done making the search, which took some time; but what I had said at the Post-office was confirmed by my family at home, although none of them knew where I was at the time. Mr. Peacock and the officer returned to Bow-street. I was then taken to a private room before Mr. Minshull, and without being asked one single question as to the possession of the notes, was remanded to the House of Correction, and there kept in solitary confinement, at the request of Mr. Peacock, until the Saturday following; when after the evidence being gone into, the magistrates were inclined to discharge me; but Mr. Peacock said, if the magistrates would not remand me, he had no doubt he could bring further evidence against me; upon that the magistrates remanded me for a week. At the next examination Mr. Peacock failed to bring any further evidence against me, but requested the magistrate to hold me to bail to answer any charge that might be brought against me, when I was held to two sureties of 50l. each. A day before the last sessions Mr. Peacock called on me, and said it was their intention to prefer an indictment against me. I rendered at the last sessions, and at a great expense I put off the trial, using every means in my power since to trace the guilty party implicated, but have failed to do so. Gentlemen, I have taken these notes in my business, and I am entirely innocent of any guilty knowledge; if I had I would not have gone to Messrs. Masterman and Co. where I must have been well known, having paid at that house monies at different times to a large amount, for bills of exchange accepted by me. I have been in business upwards of twenty years; during that time I never let a bill go unpaid, and up to this present day my credit in the City of London is unlimited; so that I could, at a very short notice, obtain credit to a large amount. If I had been disposed to be dishonest, I could have done that which this court could not have interfered with me for. I return in my business between 4000l. and 5000l. per year, how then can I avoid those impositions being practised on me? If I refuse to take notes, I may as well shut up my shop, as some weeks I take 60l. or 70l. in notes; and am in the habit continually of taking country notes, living near the Paddington-canal, where boats come from all parts of the country, and coaches also. I usually look to my Directory, and if I find the bank good, and the notes payable in London, I never hesitate taking them. I had witnesses at the Bow-street office that would have proved my innocence, but the magistrates did not consider it a case to send to a jury, therefore I had no defence to make. Mr. Peacock summoned two persons from my neighbourhood to give evidence against me at Bow-street—when they came there Mr. Peacock examined them privately, and finding their evidence went to serve me, he did not call them. Would anybody but a madman have gone himself to the house of Masterman and Co. knowing the notes to have been stolen, and have given his own name and address? 2ndly. Would I have waited, when I had many opportunities of going away, never being in custody until Mr. Peacock had arrived some time? I could easily have left Mr. Simpson, but I willingly went, after I was informed by Mr. Hooper that the notes were stolen. I trust, gentlemen, that these facts, with my character, will at once satisfy you of my innocence, and restore me to my wife and ten helpless children.

Charles Barker, hair-dresser Edgeware-road; Isaac Cohen of Great Alie-street, Goodmans-fields; John Dent, linen and woollen draper, 31 and 32, Crawford-street; John Unit, baker, 112, Edgeware-road; George Bates, Edgeware-road; William Maynard, baker, Upper Lisson-street; Alexander Jones, tailer, 10, Old Kent-road; William Webster, London-street, Edgeware-road; Matthew Weedor, Lisson-grove; John Higginbotham, gentleman, Charles-street, Lisson-grove; Myer Myers, hat manufacturer, Houndsditch; William Grub, plumber, Harrow-road; John James, gentleman, Harrow-road; Thomas Kingham, mercer, Portman-place; Henry James, baker, Stor-street, Edgeware-road; John Chambers, glass-cutter, Lisson-grove; John Lindsey, Edgeware-road; Abram Ackroyd, Exeter-street, Lisson-grove; Henry Charles Bell, clerk of Trinity district, St. Marylebone; and Abraham Harris, King-street, Tower-hill, gave the prisoner a good character.

GUILTY. Aged 43.—Transported for Fourteen Years.


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