Thursday, April 20, 2006

"You are accusing yourself"

As Sharon Howard points out, the proceedings of the Old Bailey are interesting. I found this while looking for information on the Quaker and Pennsylvanian, Richard Wells. It's the trial of a man accused of stealing from Juliana Penn, one of Lady Shelburne's aunts. Born Juliana Fermor, she married Thomas Penn, a son of the famous William Penn, who had made a fortune in America and returned to England to enjoy it. One source records that the fortune-making was, at best, highly unethical, but that has no bearing on this little tale.

We're often told that eighteenth-century London was "a rough and disorderly age, with mob violence, violent crimes" and the rest {source of quote}, but this case shows quite the opposite. It is the pawnbroker (intended receiver of stolen goods) who takes the thief and accomplice in hand and brings them before the magistrate. And the thief himself is amazingly innocent, not of the crime, but innocent like a child (unhardened, naive, ignorant of the consequences that await him). Read for yourself. I've copied some Hogarthian London at the bottom, followed by a list of Lady Shelburne's family on her mother's side.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 16th October, 1782

DAVID HUGHES, THOMAS DYSON, theft : specified place, theft : receiving stolen goods.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t17821016-3

Original Text:

614. DAVID HUGHES was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 28th of September last, one pair of silver wax candlesticks, value 40 s. a silver half pint mug, value 30 s. a silver cream pot, value 20 s. one piece of a broken silver table spoon, value 5 s. two silver handles of a knife case, value 5 s. and one silver foot of a knife case, value 1 s. the goods of Juliana Penn , widow, in her dwelling house . And THOMAS DYSON was indicted for feloniously receiving on the same day the said silver candlesticks, half pint mug, and cream pot, part and parcel of the said goods, knowing them to be stolen .


I am a pawnbroker in Berwick-street: on the 28th of September, about nine in the morning the prisoner Dyson brought to me to pledge, a pair of silver candlesticks, a half pint mug, and a cream pot; he asked me two guineas on them, I agreed to give him the money and a duplicate, he wanted some things out. There being a crest on them, I desired to know where he lived, he said in Poland-street No. 12, I told him I should go with him and see that they were his, he desired to have either the plate or the money, then he said he lived in St. Ann's court; I then immediately sent for a coach to take him to the magistrate, as soon as the coach came he said the plate belonged to his wife who was in the country, and lived in a gentleman's family; I said I should take them to a magistrate's, he said there was a man at the door could give me an account whose they were; the prisoner David Hughes was then standing in the street, as soon as he came out at the door the prisoner Dyson called David, and I took them both to the magistrate's; the prisoner begged I would let him go; he said he was servant to Lady Penn in Spring-Gardens; he said he wanted to raise some money and that all the things belonged to Lady Penn; and said he would carry them home if I would let him go: at the magistrate's he said Dyson came to him at a public house, and it was consulted that they should be brought to his lodgings.


I am servant to Lady Juliana Penn ; I know the prisoner Hughes, he was servant to my Lady, as butler; I know this plate to be Lady Juliana Penn 's property, it used to be kept in a chest in his pantry, the family were not in town at that time; the plate was used but seldom, I cannot tell how long before it had been used; the prisoner had an inventory of the plate when the other servant left the place which was about a fortnight before; I have lived with my Lady a year and a quarter before she went abroad, and a year since; I do not know the prisoner Dyson, I remember seeing him at my Lady's once on the Thursday night, and he was detected with the plate on the Saturday morning with David Hughes .


The prisoners were brought to the office, I searched the pocket of Hughes, and I found a broken spoon, two handles of a knife case and a foot of a knife case.

William Sherman . The broken spoon and the pieces of the handle are my Lady's property.

Court. Have they any mark? - No, I am sure they are her property, because I have seen the pieces of spoons in the case with my Lady's crest on them.

Court. How do you know these are the identical things? - Because there are some of them upon the knife cases at home just like this, these pieces were broken off, and were laid by.


On the 27th of September, Thomas Dyson sent for me to a public house, the ship, and he called for a pint of beer; I went toview a gif image of the original file
See original him, he said he was going to his place the next day the 28th, in the afternoon, and he was very much distressed and he did not know how to get into his place, he wanted to get some things out of pawn, and he asked me if I had any thing of my own to put into pawn, or any thing to help him out to go into his place, and I said no, he said if I could put any thing in pawn for a guinea or that, I should take it up again and have the duplicate; I said I did not know a pawnbroker, he said he knew of one, then I agreed to take him a few things to have the value of that money.

Court. You are accusing yourself, instead of defending yourself.

Prisoner Hughes. Then I went to the pawnbroker's and waited for the duplicate, I thought it was a long while, I went towards the place and found he was taken and stopped; I did not know the consequence.

Court. The consequence is very heavy on you, perhaps beyond what you expect; when men do bad things they do not know what will be the end of it very often.

Prisoner Hughes. If I had known the consequence I would not have gone up; then they stopped me, and I went to Bow-street.


On the Friday night I was with this young man, he desired me to wait for him, he might want to send me of a message; he came to the house about half past seven, he said he was going to Covent-Garden to raise some money from a friend as he was distressed; being a new servant he did not wish to have it known, that he wanted money for cards, and messages, and letters, and the like of that; we parted, and he said if he got money he should not see me, but if he did not, he would bring me some things to pledge; he was very fearful of losing them.

Court. Did you take it to be an honest thing for him to take his Lady's property to pawn? - I did not know it was his Lady's.

Then you took it to be his own? - He told me the next morning that he had these things from a certain person that he kept company with, which were left with her by her sweetheart, and he wished me to pledge them.

Court to Hughes. Where did you live before? - With Lord Frederick Campbell about four months.

HUGHES GUILTY , ( Death .)

DYSON GUILTY , Transportation for fourteen years .

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron EYRE .
source: The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 16th October, 1782
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: f17821016-1

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON; AND ALSO, The Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex; HELD AT JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On Wednesday the 16th of OCTOBER, 1782, and the following Days;

Being the EIGHTH SESSION in the Mayoralty of The Right Hon. Sir William Plomer , Knt. LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

TAKEN IN SHORT HAND BY E. HODGSON, And Published by Authority.



Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON No. 13, Pater-noster Row.


click to enlarge

Addendum List of Sophie's aunts, uncles, and grandparents on her mother's side:

from: 'Fermor1', a genealogy of the Fermor family

Grandfather: Thomas Fermor, 1st Earl of Pomfret or Pontefract (b 23.03.1697, d 15/08.07.1753)
Grandmother: m. (14.07.1720) Henrietta Louisa Jeffreys (d 17.12.1761, dau of John Jeffreys, 2nd Lord of Wem)

Her mother (Sophia), aunts, and uncles, in birth order:

(A) George Fermor, 2nd Earl of Pomfret (b 25.06.1722, d 09.06.1785)
m. (03.05.1764) Anna Maria Delagard
(B) Henrietta Fermor
m. (1747) John Conyers of Copt Hall
(C) Sophia Fermor (b 29.05.1721, d 07.10.1745)
m. (14.04.1744) John Carteret, Earl Granville (b 22.04.1690, d 02.01.1763)
(D) Charlotte Fermor (d 1813)
m. (09.08.1746) William Finch (d 25.12.1766)
(E) Juliana Fermor
m. (1751) Thomas Penn of Stoke Park
(F) Louisa Fermor
m. Sir Thomas Clayton, Bart
(G) Anne Fermor (bpt 25.05.1733, d 01.03.1769)
m. (15.08.1754) Thomas Dawson, Viscount Cremorne (b 25.02.1725, dsps 01.03.1813)
(H)+ other issue - William (d unm 1714, Captain RN), John (d 1729), Thomas (d young)

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