Prisoners' Letters to the Bank of England, 1781-1827. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2007.
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Letters, nos 701-767
701. [F25/12/19–20] Hugh McMahon, Bellerophon hulk, Sheerness, 5 January 1818
Gentlemen I Humbly Take the Liberty of Informing you that it is in my Power to be of Great Service to you to Endeavour to put a stop to the abominable scheme of forgery on your Bank by which so Many Looses their Lives and Liberty of which I am Now Suffering under the Sentence of Transportation to be Banished from my native Country and Leaveing two orphan Children Behind without friends or relations in My absence to be Tortured among strangers which is a Second Death to me in my Present unhappy Situation. I am Particularly well acquainted with the Makers in Birmingham whose names are as follows Mr Lowe Mr Hope Mr Pauls Benjamin Patrick and Mr Shanton that is Liveing in the Neighbourhood of Worcester since his Exit from Birmingham at the time that Joseph Jenings was sent to the [sic] [sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, Warws. spring ass. 1813] I also Can Point out to you a press that is Erected in the Neighbourhood of Liverpool for the purpose of Counterfitting the New Gold Coin when put into Circulation. I Further Inform you that I am Particularly acquainted with the Principal Dealers in Notes that Travels to Scotland and Ireland and the towns Frequent which is Edinburgh, Glasgow & Greenock in Scotland Belfast Dublin and Cork in Ireland since the Bank of England Notes Became a Legal Tender, it is in Power to put a Stop to their Career in which I have seen the Madness and Folly that attends such a Practice by bringing So Many men to shame and Disgrace Sirs, your answer will much oblige your most Obt and Humble Servt Hugh McMahon
NB Please to Direct for me on Board his Majesties Ship the Belerophon lying at Sheerness Harbour
Attached: investigator's notes listing names and addresses provided by McMahon.
702. [F25/12/21] Joseph Armstrong and James Jones, Retribution hulk, Sheerness, 24 November 1817
We Js Jones and Jh Armstrong Jointley agree to solicit Your Honourable Compy for what we are given to Understand you allow to those persons who accept the privelige Your humanity induces You to offer we mean that of pleading, we are Informed that upon leaving the Country You allow a certain Sum which we trust Your Justness and Generosity will not withold from Us we further trust that You will favour Us with an answer and if we have acted imprudently by asking what Your Bounty allows or have been misinformed that your Honourable Company will overlook & Pardon the liberty we have taken we here Subscribe Ourselves Your petitioners Josh Armstrong James Jones
Annotated: £3–19–0 Wrigglesworth & Thorpe Oct 1813
703. [F25/12/23–6] John Oseland, Laurel hulk, Gosport, 10 November 1817, not Bank prisoner, offers information on forgers. Bank solicitors write, 22 Nov. 1817, to town clerk of Portsmouth, Mr Callaway, requesting him to obtain statement even though unlikely Oseland has anything useful to say. Callaway sends, 24 Nov. 1817, long statement from Oseland, advising that if Bank want to interview him they need permission from home office to detain him from boarding transport ship which he is due to do that day. Bank solicitors thank Callaway, 25 Nov. 1817, but say information given is useless.
704. [F25/12/27] Edward Bamford, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, 21 February 1818, not Bank prisoner, asks Bank solicitors to request Captain Steadman of the Leviathan to release him; he has been in fetter'd bondage for three years; they should also apply to Mr Capper, home office, to explain that he has assisted them to catch forgers and will be of future help.
705. [F25/12/28–32] W. H. Brown, keeper of Newgate, 11 February 1818 says he has received letter from prisoner, Lazarus Levy [sentenced for simple grand larceny Jan. 1818], just transferred from Newgate to Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, who wishes to inform on forgers and asks solicitor to come to Portsmouth. Bank solicitors send Levy's letter to Callaway, town clerk of Portsmouth, 13 Feb. 1818, asking him to take statement from Levy but promise no favours. Callaway replies, 15 & 17 Feb., sending Levy's statement [missing from archive], saying since he
has been transported before he knows he will not be favoured but wants to save others' suffering.
706. [F25/12/33] William Shaw, Batavia hospital ship, Sheerness, 16 October 1817
Sir I William Shaw was trid for uteren forged Notes which I pleaded Guiltey to the Same and I understand their is five pounds Given to Each Convict for pleading Guilty for Forgrey and I should be Glad if you will Send the Same if it be Given I ham on Board the Battavy Now lying at the nower Sheirness I ham your humble Servant Wm Shaw
Annotated: Convicted Minor Offence Spring Assizes Lancashire
[BECLS: 23 Oct. 1817, request refused.]
707. [F25/12/34] William Wolstencraft, Batavia hospital ship, Sheerness, 16 October 1817 Identical letter to 706, written in same hand, same spelling, Wolstencraft's name in place of Shaw's. Annotated similarly.
[BECLS: 23 Oct. 1817, request refused.]
708. [F25/12/35] John Outridge, Bedford county gaol, 20 April 1818
Sir The Declaration of John Outridge who is now a prisoner in the County Gaol at Bedford, under sentence of transportation for 14 Yrs for uttering forg'd notes of the Bank of England; being unhappy in his mind for his past unlawful conduct in the instance for which he was prosecuted and anxiously wishes that the crime so injurious to community for which he suffers, and which he knows is so frequently committed, he conscientiously makes this Declaration, in the hope that he may hereby be instrumental in diminishing and checking that hurtful evil; and may also prevent many persons being drawn into the connection of those men, who ensnare the unwary, by engaging them in various ways to distribute their notes. As he was thus ensnared by the men, who he now herein exposes and discovers, he hopes that it may save many others from falling into their hands.
The men whose names he now discovers, are chief and principal offenders in this unlawful traffick, and who engage others under them to go about the Country at the hazard of their lives and liberty whilst they stay at home, and are enriched by the labour and suffering of them. The first and chief person, whom he discovers is William Taviner No 23 of Hatfield Street, Goswell Street, a young man with a wooden Leg, about 23 or 24 yrs of age discharged from St Thomas's hospital about 9 months ago, where his leg was amputated: a stout made man, about 5 foot, 8 inches high – dark brown hair; this man distributes many forged notes and scarcely a day passes without persons going to receive them of him. The mother ... Taviner [sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, OB, Apr. 1818] of the above man who lives with him, pretends to fetch the notes for the persons who go for them, and she is gone about five or six minutes, and those who apply for the notes pay 10s for a 1£ note; and if they are able to purchase 20, they pay 8£. His mother is about 50 Yrs of age, of the middle size. John Outridge look after Wm Taviner's horse; and when he sent another person to sell the horse at
Smithfield, he then sent Outridge to Biggleswade fair to buy him another, and gave him the forged notes which were found upon him; John Outridge say's that if the above persons have any notes by them, they are kept in a backroom where the mother sleeps.
Another person is Phil Smith [sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, Kent summer ass., 1818], of French Alley, a Corner house, near Hatfield Street, his horses stand at the Black horse Yard, Aldersgate Street, where he may always be heard of, and often seen, at least once a day. This man frequently goes into the Country and takes two or three men with him. He carries the notes, and when they are about twenty miles from London, he gives his men one or two of the notes at a time to purchase articles of various sorts, and they give him the change. The way by which Outridge came to the knowledge of this man was, by his applying to Outridge, and wishing to engage him to travel with him into the Country but Outridge did not agree to his proposals. Phil Smith has his notes from Taviner, the man mention'd before, and whose horse Outridge looked after. John Outridge says that the above men and several others on the same business are always at Smithfield on fridays at the horse market, and go to a public house near they greyhound
Declared by me the mark of John Outridge Witness Henry Goode
709. [F25/12/36] Bank investigator's notes, 31 March 1818, from interviews with Thomas Atkins and Sarah Orton in Leicester gaol, Atkins under sentence of death, Orton awaiting trspn; they give information on forgers.
710. [F25/12/37–9] W. Coles, Oxford Castle gaol, 16 November 1817, debtor, offers information about a horse dealer in prison with him who has forged notes; his letter forwarded to Bank solicitors by governor of gaol, W. Shrubsole, 17 Nov. 1817; 18 Nov. 1817, Bank solicitors ask Henry Taunton, solicitor in Oxford, to interview Coles.
711. [F25/12/40] Hugh McMahon, Lancaster castle, 1 October 1817
Honoured Gentn This is the second time I have to you wrote. [this letter written between 691, 22 Sept. 1817, and 701 5 Jan. 1818] I most humbly desired you to write to me by return of Post. I have waited with the greatest Anxity for some time for an answer, but to no purpose. It is with the greatest humiliation that I thus Presume to address you in behalf of my helpless and imploring Children they are now left Orphaned and destitute of any friends in the World to support them. You must know my time of Staying here is very uncertain. I may be Called away almost any day. And what would become of my poor little ones? I cannot form any idea whatever. My heart is almost burst within me when I reflect upon the awfulness of their Unhappy and distressed Situation. I have as I mentioned in my last been in the habit of Traveling from Town to Town in the Character of a Licenced Hawker, And have done all in my power to support Myself and Children in a just and an honest way. And though I say it no one ever Paid more regard to true honour and discharged their account with more Puntuality than I have done.
Impressed with the tender feelings of a Parent induced me thus to write to you. Not doubting but your honour will Pardon my Presumption in thus soliciting your Consideration.
If their is any Provition made in our Wise and humane Lawes for the support and mentenance of poor helpless and distressed Children left in the manner mine are Please to Condescend so far as to write to me as soon as Convenient Pointing out to me were I am to apply to in behalf of their Succour. In hopes of your compliance to this my request I Remain your most Obedient Servt with all submission Hugh McMahon
Annotated: Comee for Law Suits, 25 Septr 1817 Mr Kaye was Directed to write to Hugh MacMahon and state that the Bank will not interfere
712. [F25/12/41–2] William Stewart, Robert Wardlow and Thomas Currey, Lancaster castle, 8 April 1818
Humbly implore your Honble Company to take into your Most Serious consideration our Dreadful Condition and humbly Beg you will in your Goodness Spare our Lives, in hopes we might become useful Members of Society in a Foreign Country As we are Doubtful of our unprepared State for Eternity
We beg leave to Observe to Your Honble Company that there are three Men and One Woman that have their Lives Spared for the like offence at the present Assizes
We therefore Humbly beg you will intercede with his Royal Highness the Prince Regent to extend to us the Royal Clemency and your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever Pray
Wm Stewart's mark; Robt Wardlow and Thos Currey
Attached: covering letter from John Higgins, governor of Lancaster castle, 8 Apr. 1818, forwarding petition to Bank, adding that Stewart declared that he was never previously involved in uttering, that he was induced to do so and is extremely distressed; Higgins hopes his case will be considered compassionately.
[BECLS: same date, petition rejected.]
713. [F25/12/43] Alice Willcoch, Betty Healey, Catherine Hardacre, and Elizabeth Stott, Lancaster castle gaol, 30 January 1818, to Mr Glover, Bank investigator
Honoured Sir, I hope you Will Excuse the Liberty We unfortunate Wemen take in addressing you Relating to a little Subsistory Money We understand the Governers of the Bank alows to us unfortunate Wemen Which if you will have the goodness to Intercede with the Governers of the Bank of England We unfortunate Wemen Will for Ever be Bound to Pray for you by so Doing the undersighned Will for Ever Pray for you Alice Willcock, Betty Healey, Catherine Hardacre, Elizabeth Stott
714. [F25/12/44] Ann Agnew, Lancaster castle, 25 November 1817, writes further letter [see 692], fearful that, as she has given evidence in Bank cases, she will be subject to revenge attacks in NSW when she is transported [seven yrs for another offence]; she asks Bank solicitors to get her to this nue pleas in London, [presumably Millbank penitentiary].
715. [F25/12/45–6] Ann Lord, Lancaster castle, 28 November 1817
Sirs I have taken the liberty to write this to you, hoping you will excuse the freedom I have taken. I have got a petetion to Lord Sidmouth Secretary of State, signed by all the respectable Inhabitants in and about Newchurch, my native place, the purport and prayer of my petition is that my sentence of transportation for life may be commuted into, and that I may be allowed to be admitted to the Penitentary at Millbank established for the reception of Convicted offenders. I have given you all the information I can respecting forged Bank of england Notes, and shuld any further information come to my knowlidge, rest assured it shall be communicated to you, Sickness and death are light afflictions, nay are blessings when compared to the anguish of the heart, under a sense of being far separated from any communication with my three dear Children, I therfore humbly beg and pray that you will be so kind as assist in forwarding my views and use your Interest in my behalf, with the Bank of england to procure its signature to the Petition (which send herewith directed to them) and forward same to his Lordship and I am sirs your very humble servant Ann Lord
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Lord, 5 Dec. 1817, saying her petition submitted to governors but, consistent with their duty to public, they will not interfere on her behalf any more than they have already done, but will hand petition to anyone whom she directs to apply for it.
716. [F25/12/47] Isaac White, Winchester county gaol, 12 January 1818, to James King Esq., Banbury Oxon. (fowarded by a Mr Haynes to Bank solicitors)
Sir From Your known Benevolence I am induced under my present unfortunate Situation, considering the future happiness of my Wife and Children totally depending on my immediate exertions, to solicit your support, and to point out for your consideration wherein I now consider it in my power to render my Country a piece of essential Service and bring to Justice a Villain by whose artifices numbers of unfortunate Men have been brought into disgraceful punishment. And by due representation of these facts – a Gentleman in your Situation (should you be pleased to support my endeavours) I doubt not, but will convince the Public, that I am not a Man totally lost to the feelings of humanity, and may in a great Measure be a means of Attonement for my past Error in life. My unfortunate and distresfull situation was brought on at an unguarded moment by the Villanous persuasion of a person of Banbury who is a wholesale dealer of Forgeries, and base Coin, and who is daily and hourly in the Vilest practices of seducing great numbers of Young Men to enter into illicit Transactions in defrauding the Public. While I was at Devizes Prison a Young Man was brought there for passing a forged Bank of England Note (Committed for Salisbury Assizes) I asked the Young Man (Taylor his Name) where he took the Note, he told me he had it of his Brother a Horse Dealer, and he purchased them of S–s of Banbury who he said intended to visit the Fairs in Kent and the adjacent counties this Winter. Were you kind Sir benevolently pleased to represent the case to the Solicitor of the Bank of England perhaps I might be permitted to bring convincing proofs that must convict him in his abominable practices. To this Man only have I cause to appeal to a Just God to bring him to that just punishment he richly deserves. You will be pleased Sir no doubt to understand the purpose of my addressing you on this Subject. And intreat you will also be pleased to advise me on the probability of the business being brought forward, and whether you would imagine it would render me any Service in my deplorable situation I am Sir Respectfully Your most Obedt Servt Isaac White
Bottom of letter annotated by its forwarder, Mr Haynes, stating that original recipient wishes it to be sent to Bank.
717. [F25/12/48–50] David Morgan, keeper of Carmarthen borough gaol, applies first to Mr Bloome of Messrs Biddulph and Cox, bankers of Charing Cross, 4 April 1818, and then, 18 April 1818, to Charles Kaye of Bank solicitors for premium or reward he believes due to him for his exertions in arrests of four Bank offenders. Charles Kaye responds, 30 April 1818, to say he has already been paid two guineas by the mayor, who was in a better position than he to judge what was appropriate; he believes it ample remuneration but will send Biddulph £1 11s 6d to add to the amount already sent.
718. [F25/12/51] William Hodge, Bodmin prison, 10 June 1818, utterer of base coin, offers information about six people dealing in forged Bank notes. See 729.
719. [F25/12/52] George Eaststaff keeper of Reading county gaol, 23 March 1820 to Mr Salmon, Bow Street officer, informing him that prisoner in his gaol has given information on Mdx dealers in forged Bank notes who were waiting for a new design of notes to be issued by Bank as they are ready to copy and issue them.
720. [F25/12/53–4] Mary Ann Bradney, Elizabeth Bamford, Rebecca Bamford, Amelia Hines, and Frances Hitchens, Warwick County gaol, 28 July 1818
Gentlemen, We the undersigned prisoners Confind in the County Gaol of Warwick and Convictd at the last March Assizes of uttering Notes purporting to be of the Bank of England for Which We receivd Mercy by being allowd to plead Guilty – haveing been in Confinement Seven Months and seeing No prospect of being sent out of the Country (upon Which We are Anxious) – Most Humbly pray to be allowd to Expeirance that Bounty Which the Bank as been Know to allow to persons under Circumstance Similar to Our Own – as by Long Imprisonment Our Means of support is Entirely Exhaustd and We are Individualy reduc'd to the Bare allowance of the Gaol – Could We be allowd the small weekly sum We Shall be for Ever thankfull – Otherwise We pray to be Numberd With the First Women who are sent out of the Country
We remain Your Very Humble and Grateful Petitioners Mary Ann Bradney [own signature; she also wrote letter], Elizabeth Bamford, Rebecca Bamford, Amelia Hinans, Frances Hitchens [these four names written by Bradney, and signed by mark].
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Mr Tatnall, gaoler at Warwick, 3 July 1818, informing him that these women are not fit objects for allowance; date of departure is entirely down to sec./state.
721. [F25/12/55] William Dowding, gaoler of Fisherton gaol, Salisbury, 19 November 1818, reports to Bank that William Sherwood, apprehended at Kingswood for uttering, who escaped from his prison in Mar. 1817, had been gaoled again, in Brecon, for horse stealing.
722. [F25/12/56] James Cannings, keeper of Devizes gaol, 7 December 1818, reports to Bank removal of three Bank prisoners, Isaac White , John Burton [cap. con. Winchester spring ass. 1819], Henry Manners from his gaol to Winchester gaol to await assizes.
723. [F25/12/63–4] James Jelly, Bellerophon hulk, Sheerness, 14 May 1818
Honourable Gentlemen I take the liberty of addressing You in hopes Your honourable company will take it into Your most serious consideration the distressed situation I am now placed in leaving my Wife and family destitute of money and friends; And if Your Goodness would interfere in her going with me as She is anxious to go; And I am doubtful that if I could not be allowed to get her to go with me that poverty would cause her to be guilty of Some Such like crime as mine; And be the means of leaving Six Small children in A Distressed Situation as neither of us has any friends to look after them if She would happen any misfortune which I am Doubtful that by being reduced to poverty as She now is may be the case hir Knowing them that are concerned in Such like as I am hire for I hope that Your Honourable company will consider what I have formerly made Known to you or be the means of sending my wife with me and also that I might gain the liberty of the Island when I reach New South Wales And I and desirous to leave this place as soon as it will be convenient for You to Send me away as I am not of ability to undertake the hardships I have to undergo here
So Honourable company if your Goodness will be pleased to inform me as Soon as possable if I may expect Your Goodness doing any thing in regard of the above mentioned and to be pleased to answer this by return of post and it will greatly oblige Yours &c James Jelley
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Jelly, 15 May 1818, stating governors and directors did not have power to comply with his request, but if his wife would come to London [from Manchester] to petition sec./state, they will recommend her application.
724. [F25/12/57–8] James Jelly, Bellerophon hulk, Sheerness, 4 June 1818
Honourable Company By the encouragement You gave me in your letter inabled me to write to my wife to come; Which now She came here to me; and from here She is going to London Where She will call on Your Honourable Company; And I hope Your Goodness will be pleased to consider what I have done for you and both Her and I are ready any time to lead to Your Knowledge whatever we Know and will be pleased to get her liberty to go with me and that if possible in the Same Ship; And assist and inform her how She Should proceed And by the doing it will Greatly Oblige Your Mo Obedt Servt James Jelly
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Mr Capper, home office, 5 June 1818, saying it is delivered by Mrs Jelly who wants to accompany her husband; they have reason to believe she was involved in Bank note crime and would continue if left behind, thus Bank support her request.
725. [F25/12/59] William Furman, unidentified prison, 1 August 1818, writes to friend, Mrs Knotts of St George's Street, Boston, Lincs., asking her to visit him and bring some of his clothes; he finds it hard to live on bread alone in this hot weather; he hopes to be released in seven or eight months. No trace of this man in Bank records.
726. [F25/12/60–2] Thomas Dale, Batavia hospital ship, Sheerness, November 1819
Dale, barber on Batavia, says that prisoner, Thomas Grey, head nurse on ship, has connections with makers of false notes and coin; the two of them would like an interview with someone from Bank. Grey writes to corroborate this. As no reply received, George Farney  writes, 24 Dec. 1819, to Thomas Atkins [Adkins?], Bow Street police office, with similar information
727. [F25/12/65] John Moore, Bellerophon hulk, Sheerness, 23 December 1819, formal petition
That Your Petitioner is now a Prisoner on Board His Majestys Hulk Bellerophon Sheerness, having been Sentenced to transportation for the term of Fourteen Years.
That Your Petitioner has a Wife and Four Children, three of them Your Petitioner is induced to believe will be provided for by the humanity of Your Petitioners relatives; the Youngest of them, with its Mother are totally destitute, and without the least prospect of a Provision being made for them
That Your Petitioners Wife is in possession of a recommendatory Letter from Sir John Jackson M.P. to Lord Sidmouth soliciting his Lordship to send her to New South Wales on Your Petitioners arrival there, but Your Petitioner being aware of the great lapse of time that must necessarily intervene before that event takes place, is anxious that She may be allowed a Passage in the earliest Female Convicts Ship that leave this Country Your Petitioner has therefore to Pray You will be pleased to aid with Your influence with Lord Sidmouth her being permitted to do so; whereby a recurrence to crime may be prevented, which her helpless and unprotected state might otherwise urge her to the commission of
And Your Petitioner will ever Pray
[BECLS: 30 Dec. 1819, refuse to support petition.]
728. [F25/12/66–71] Henry Hobhouse, superintendent of convicts, home office, 28 December 1819, sends extract, at request of sec./state, from letter from master of Retribution hulk who has heard about forging activities through prisoners on board, Leeson and Ferguson. Home office authorise Bank to deal with this as they wish and will give support. The master's letter, 27 Dec., gives details of forger, Ellis, and his agents in Birmingham and London. Bank solicitors reply, 3 Jan. 1820, that they have engaged a prisoner, John Wales, lately discharged from hulks, to assist in detection; they require a forged letter purporting to come from Leeson to introduce Wales to Ellis; they ask Hobhouse to organise this, and to ensure that Ellis does not know that Wales has been a prisoner. W. H. Capper's clerk in home office writes to Bank, 31 Jan. 1820, sending first attempt at forged letter, 2 Feb. 1820, which was turned down by Bank solicitors; second attempt sent, 25 Feb. 1820.
729. [F25/12/72–3] James Chappie, gaoler of Bodmin gaol, 20 May 1818, sends statement made by prisoner, William Hodge,  about counterfeiters of coin; Bank solicitors forward this, 26 May 1818, to Messrs Vernon and Franklin of Lincoln's Inn, solicitors for royal mint.
730. [F25/12/74–5] Thomas Cole, Chelmsford gaol, 17 January 1820 to Mr Archer, clerk to magistrates at Chelmsford
Sir I have taken the liberty of wrighting theas few lines to you hoping thay will find in a good state of helth as it leves me at presant thank god for it and Sir if you pleas i will turn everdens of the Bank of Forged knotes I Thomas Coal is in Confinement in Chelmsford Goal now and if you will Com down to me I will tell you ware the place is to get them and how i was let in to the like of them and how is Consarned in them for I my self can nather reed nor wright so i hope you will come to me your Self for I dont like to trust to mouch to other pepul for i think it the bes way to aquaint you of it so i hope if you dont Com you will send me a letter and let me know ware you will Com or know so no more at presant from your Humble Sarvant Thomas Coal
Attached: copy letter, 20 Jan. 1820, from Bank solicitors to Mr Archer, asking him to see Cole and take down in writing his information.
731. [F25/12/76–9] John Yates, Coventry gaol, 5 May 1818, held for possessing sixty-one counterfeit shillings, claims they date from time he was employed by Bank to detect dealers in forged note and coin and requests their help in getting released. Bank solicitors reply, 7 May 1820, that they will not interfere as they understood he had given up to the constables all counterfeit money he collected. Yates asks, 20 May 1820, for compensation for his efforts for them and his expenses. Bank reply, 22 May 1820, that they will consider his request after his trial provided he is acquitted and can show he is going to earn an honest living.
732. [F25/12/80–1] Charles Boutcher, keeper of Devon county gaol, February 1820, sends copy of arrest warrants for Samuel Johns and James Bennett, jr., to be brought to London for trial.
733. [F25/12/82] Thomas Dudley, Horsham gaol, 1 October 1819, not Bank prisoner, provides formal statement about activities of Benjamin Patrick, die sinker, Handsworth, Birmingham.
734. [F25/12/83–6] J. Velton, high constable of Bray, Maidenhead gaol, 8 March 1820, to Henry Hase, chief cashier of Bank, telling him of suicide in the gaol that morning of a young man, James Baxter, held on suspicion of dealing in forged Bank notes. He draws attention to words written in chalk in his cell: Pray let my dear Wife have the Money the man has got – Mary Baxter, 24 Bryanston Street, Portman Square and My Clothes. Velton suggests that Mary Baxter be investigated. Further letters, 9 & 10 Mar. 1820, from Stephen Westbrook, Baxter's victim, who had him charged, who says he recovered a piece of torn paper when Baxter was apprehended, containing names and addresses which Bank might find useful. Bank solicitors respond to Westbrook, 10 Mar. 1820, advising they will pay for information if he finds someone to work on the case; they call the deceased Henry Paxton, formerly a gentleman's servant. No trace otherwise of Baxter/Paxton in BECLS records.
735. [F25/12/87] James Grime sr, James Grime jr, and Soloman Mather, Lancaster castle, 21 February 1819
Honoured Sir We they undernamed, do most Humbly Solicit you, to let us have some Money that was taken from us on the 13th day of September last, we was apprehended for Passing Notes, which we understand You Know about, it was taken from us by they Constables of Bolton, who refuses to Deliver it to us their names is Thomas Barrett and others, and we having no other means of Making our Defence but by getting this money makes us take the liberty of writing to you, hoping that you will have the goodness to give us an Order to get it and by so doing You will Entirely Oblige Sir your obedient James Grimes, James Grimes, Soloman Mather
N.B. the Money they took from us is Viz. Old Grime £12 – 0 – 0 Young Grime £1 – 13–0 Soloman Mather £2–4–0
[BECLS: 25 Feb. 1819, decision not to interfere.]
736. [F25/13/1] Alexander Sinclair, Boulogne gaol (France), 10 March 1819, offers information, but says Bank will have to act quickly as he is about to be moved into the interior of the country. No information given as to why he is in prison.
737. [F25/13/2] James Moxham, Retribution hulk, Sheerness, 12 August 1819
That I the above mentioned is transported for the space of Fourteen years for utering Forged Notes which was Denominated to Be of the Bank of England Has been Informed of the humanity that many individuals have received from the bank after thair conviction in Respect of haveing Remited to them a small premium to render them some thing extry to Subsist on when being convei'd to New South Wales and I petitioner most Humbly prays that if this assertion be a Fact and would return many Sincere Thanks for a trifle of money What you would be pleased to consider nesesary to render me some assistance on my passage as I am destitute of all friends Whatever except my wife which I have Left to lament my unfortunate situation
I am your Most Obedient and humble petitioner as I Duty Bound Does Ever pray James Moxham
738. [F25/13/3–4] John Fear, Retribution hulk, Sheerness, 14 January 1819, formal petition
That your Petitioner was (on his own confession) convicted at the Old Bailey in June Sessions last, for having a forged one Bank Note in his possession without lawful excuse & was sentenced to fourteen Years transportation for the same
That your petitioner begs leave most respectfully to state, that he has a Wife & 3 small Children dependent on him for support and which by his conviction are reduced to great distress
Your Petitioner therefore most earnestly intreats Your Honors will be pleased to take his situation into consideration, and recommend his case to Lord Sidmouth as deserving of his Lordships interposition with His Royal Highness the Prince Regent for a mitigation of his present Sentence And your Petitioner will ever pray &c John Fear
Attached: copy letter, 15 Jan. 1819, from Bank solicitors to Henry Hobhouse, home office, advising that Fear wishes to petition for remission of sentence which governors and directors of Bank recommend as his wife was principal means of bringing William Weller and George Cashman, notorious dealers, to justice [both cap. con., OB, Sept. 1818]; Bank had enquired into Mrs Fears' character, then employed her under supervision to purchase notes from Weller. Further note on separate paper, in more modern script, undated, Request for financial assistance £5 given, ref F1/ 38A, which is likely to relate to payment made following 739.
739. [F25/13/5–6] John Fear, transport ship Grenada, Sheerness, 30 April 1819
Gentn I hope you will excuse the Liberty I have taking troubling you with Letter but if you will take my unfortunate case into your consideration I am sure you will do all you can for me, I think it very hard that I should now be sent out of my countrey after serving Twelve Months of my time at the Hulks Now I am going away and have not one Shilling to help myself with and what is Wores than all my Wife and family is in the greatest distress and totely out of there Power to assist me therefore I hope you will supply me with a little Money to obtain me a little Sea Stores and if you would give me a Letter of Recommendation to Some Gentlemen in the Countrey I am going to I shall ever be in duty bound to Pray John Fear
Attached: copy letter, 6 May 1819, from Bank solicitors to Mr W. Bentham, solicitor in Sheerness, asking him to pay enclosed £5 to Fear on Grenada and tell him his letter of 30 Apr. received but governor and directors can do no more for him; they request advice of payment; letter from Bentham to Bank advising payment made and message delivered.
740. [F25/13/7–9] Thomas Porter, Retribution hulk, Sheerness, 13 July 1819
Sirs I hope you Will Pardon me taking the Liberty of Writing to you these few lines to You as my situation his Realy Distressing as I Expect Every Day to be Sent to Botany Bay and if you Will be so Good as to Send me a Trifle of Money to Enable me to Get my Self a few Nessary things for me take With me as I am Very Bad of haveing no one to Give me any Thing in the World but Depending on Your Goodness I am in Duty Bound Will Ever Pray Thomas Porter
Annotated: £5 to Jnn Fear 5 May 1819. 23d July 1819 £5 Sent to Mr Bentham Solr Sheerness for Thos Porter by Order of Law Commee. Thomas Porter has already given much Information, & has ever since his Conviction evinced a strong desire to be serviceable to the Bank JR Added to letter, undated, not in same hand, possibly Porter's own: Sir Enny informasion i can give you i will beg a few lines to me be for i go – if Common garden market is Atended on Saterday morning you may be sur to see sum of them i told you pleas to go it mund the Cuntrymen as thay go thair Names Jack Peacock Bib Sammon and Olds Wells besides 6 or 7 woman Sir if you dont send me A penny i will tell you all the same Further annotated: 23 July £5 sent to Mr Bentham Solr Sheerness for Thos Porter by order of Law Committee and note that Thomas Porter had given much help and wanted to be serviceable in future to Bank
Attached: copy letter letter from Bank solicitors to Mr Bentham, solicitor, Sheerness, 23 July 1819, requesting him to take enclosed £5 to Porter and tell him that his letter of 13 July received; letter from Bentham to Bank, 24 July 1819, reporting he had done as requested.
741. [F25/13/10] David Crawley, Retribution hulk, Sheerness, 14 January 1819
Honrd Gentlemen With Submission I humbly Petition your Clemency stating my Destressd & Deplorable situation having a Poor Wife and a helpless Charge of Two Children being compelld During my Imprisonment in Newgate to Dispose of every useful necessary even my Wearing Apparel to supply the cravings of Nature & prolong a Burthensome Existance in Keen Distress. Now I Can Learn your honours are Impartially kind to allow the unhappy Convicts who are under a Similar Conviction to myself a trifle to buy some necessaries on the Long passage, and my being Destitute of friends to help my Distress or yield the least Consolation to my poor Wife and family, which induceth me to write these lines hoping your Honrs Clemencies will Grant to me the same Indulgence, my Prayers shall be to the Celestial Deity for your honours Eternal Felicity
Your Humle Petnr in Duty bound shall ever pray David Crawley
742. [F25/13/11–12] John Jackson, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, 21 March 1819
Sir I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken in writing to you, but I should not think I did my Duty to my family if I was to leave the Country without disclosing something to you, which will be of great service to the Bank of England, and as I hope and trust I shall go very shortly, if you think it worth while to send some Person down to me I will upon Conditions, disclose to him particulars affecting the Bank which will be of infinite service to it, and the Publick in general, the Condition I do not wish to affect my own releasement, as it is my particular wish to go to the Bay by the first conveyance.
I am Sir Your obedient Servant John Jackson
PS I was prosecuted by you last Sessions at the Old Bailey
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to T. C. Callaway, town clerk, Portsmouth, sending copy of Jackson's letter, asking him to receive communication from him, but not to discuss conditions; they also say that a material Bank witness for prosecution pending at next Surrey ass., has removed herself to Portsmouth, so they wish Callaway to locate and interview her.
743. [F25/13/13–14] John Jackson, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, undated in March 1819
The communication which I stated in my Letter of the 21st instant, is simply this, to inform the Bank, the name of the Person who supplied me with the Notes, his name is Henry Dart [sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, OB, Apr. 1819] who is supplied by a person of the name of Crowder, who lives, I think, at No 9 Pear Tree St Goswell Street Road. Henry Dart is a young Man who did use the Coach and Horses, in Fann St Goswell St but, I believe he now uses a house a few doors one way or other from Fann St. I mean a Public House, Crowder is a Person who has before been transported, but the other is not.
The Conditions that I named are simply these, that I may be sent in the first Ship that goes to the Bay, and that as soon as I get over and write back, my Wife may be sent over to me, and any trifling sum, by way of an outfit you may think proper, but my principal object is to go as soon as I can to the Bay the above is the whole of what I have to say, as to the main facts I have the honour to be Gentlemen Your obedient Servt John Jackson alias Tarbox
P.S. Henry Dart has a Brother of the name of John, who gets his living by uttering and there is another Person of the name of James Bentley who is always with him for the same purposes. I hope this will be kept a profound secret, as any thing said would be the occasion of very serious consequences
Henry Dart is a thin young man, about 23 years old, and Chas Crowder is a very stout man about 35. Any pecuniary Sum you may think I deserve I would be glad if you would transmit the same to me here
Attached: copy letter, 27 Mar. 1819, from Bank solicitors to Mr Callaway, town clerk, Portsmouth, who forwarded above letter to Bank, saying information given already known to Bank; Jackson well-known to them and he only wanted money; should he contact Callaway again, he should be ignored; they thank him for locating the witness for Surr. ass. [see above].
744. [F25/13/15] John Jackson, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, 31 March 1819
Sir, Since writing my first Letter of the 14th instant, a Gentleman has been here to me, but was not empowered on the part of the Bank to offer, as he said, any conditions to me, neither did I expect he would, but I have been waiting, with some anxiety, since Tuesday week last, the day on which Mr Law [Callaways's clerk] called on me, for an answer to the Letter, which I then sent to you, but without success, which I am very sorry for, as I should like to have some kind of an understanding previous to my leaving England, which may be in a few Days, indeed it is a thing expected and I should like to know if I have any chance of my Wife coming to me, which would be done, by a mere recommendatory Letter, as I am told, from you to the Secretary of State, after I am over at the Bay, and am settled there, which I hope will not be long first, and as I have no children the expence would be trifling
Sir, I should be extremely glad if it meets the approbation of the Gentlemen of the Bank, if they would, as I am very poor, make me a present of any sum of money if they think I deserve any, for the information I have given you, by way of an outfit, before I go to sea, as I have no means of getting a Shilling, without getting it from my Wife, who cannot spare it, but who will endeavour, by her industry to keep from the Parish, 'till I get her over to me, I am a good mechanic myself, and shall do well there I have no doubt trusting to the well known generosity of the Gentlemen of the Bank I am, Sir, Your very obedient humble Servt John Jackson, alias Josh Tarbox P. S. I might have named two or three who go out regularly with John Dart, & Bentley, there are two more who do go the name of one is George Mason, the other is – Branch [Josiah Branch, sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, OB, Apr. 1819], a man who hops with one leg; Henry Dart also supplies a great many with notes, to go to him for that purpose I should like to have a speedy answer and please to pay the Post, as I have no money myself
745. [F25/13/16] John Jackson, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, 14 April 1819 demands reply from Bank, still wanting to organize his future, requesting money to do so.
746. [F25/13/17] John Jackson, John Barry transport ship, Spithead, 23 April 1819
Gentlemen, It is with reluctance that I have taken up pen to write to you again, but it appears to me so very extraordinary that I should not be able to get an answer of any description from you that I am induced to send this my fourth letter to you, requesting an immediate answer to my former Letters, as I am now on board the John Barrey, of Whitby, Captn Ellerby, at present lying at Spithead, but in a few days shall, no doubt, put to sea for the Bay;
Gentlemen, I think you have used me extremely ill in not sending before, you had better direct to me, on board the Leviathan, where we came from as I shall be able to get it better, and please pay the Postage
I am, Gentlemen your very humble Servant John Jackson, alias Tarbox
747. [F25/13/18–19] John Clark, Lancaster castle, 1 April 1819
Gentleman of the Bank I have receved a Letter from the Bank stating that the Enformation that I have given is of no kind of use to you But I hope that the Enformation that I have given to the Bank and likewise to Mr Naden the pelece offeser in Manchester of people that he never nowed on and Likewise I have Informed you the Maker of them which I Could do at aney time for he will mete me at aney distenss with aney number of notes. Besides I have the opertuney of nowen always when he goes to make them being as I slepe in the house with him and if he had no dowen of me I mite now where the plase was that they maid them at But-if had any dowen of me it would onley Be for a week or two so I am shure I Could dow him and them when they were at work Besides I could do Mrs Smith at aney time and doing hir will Be Better then dowing aney of the makers Because She Serves the whole of the wholesale delers in England and if you Could relese me to do them I would be willing to do aney thing to save my Life and I would do aney wholesale delers in England that you wished and I would be honerable in Everey respect in doing them as fare as lay in my poer which there is not one man in England has the opertunety of dowing them as well as I with the Correspondence that I have had with them and being as I was not allowed to plead Guilty I hope you will consider and spare my Life and Banesh me into another Country where I may hide my Fase and mite take my Famely with me which I hope you will Be merciful to me through my Wife and Children Being as I will Leve a wife and Seven Children that is quite helpless in the world which I hope you will spare my life through taken pitey of them as otherwise I am not worthy of pardon From your hands although I have given you Everey Enformation that Lay in my poer Likewise to the pelese which I Could do aney thing that I propose if I was at my Liberty which you can Liberate me on account of the 20£ note being marked with Red Ink as for me it was as my Witness swore if you think I Can be of aney kind of use to the Bank I hope you will spare my Life as I was not allowed to plead guilty being as there was onley the note against me for payeing which I may be Come a good man and Be baneshed into another country and repent at my Former doings and there is not aney of the priseners that nowes aney thing of me Given you aney Enformation concerning aney people that is in the note way which cannot give you any more information onley on traveling people and I now that is of no kind of use to the Bank and as I do not mene to say aney more then I am shure to preform Because it is of no kind of use me mention things that now Can not Be of use But if you spare my Life and Banesh me I shall pray for you untill my dying day and Reflect on my former ways which I hope You will be merseful to me a siner John Clark Your humble prisener Lancaster Castle
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors, 5 Apr. 1819, to Clark saying they cannot interfere.
748. [F25/13/20–4] Thomas Le Breton, keeper of Cardiff gaol, 16 April 1819, sends covering letter to rambling statements giving information about dealers making a fortune, from prisoner, Morris Morgan, sentenced to death [for uttering, Glam. spring ass. 1819, resp. to life trspn]; Le Breton was sure Morgan would not be executed as judge told him, before leaving Cardiff, that there would be no executions in his area. Le Breton states that Morgan is not an old offender and did not warrant severe punishment.
749. [F25/13/25–6] Mr Bridle, keeper of Ilchester gaol, 12 May 1820, gives information passed to him by prisoner in his gaol about George Philips, major note dealer in Birmingham. Bank solicitors pass letter to Spurrier and Ingelby, solicitors in Birmingham, 18 May 1820, requesting them to pass this information to police.
750. [F25/13/27–8] Edward Hunt, keeper of Portsmouth gaol, 2 May 1820, gives information about David Cunningham, apprehended in Lymington for uttering, but discharged; Cunningham had been re-apprehended and was in Portsmouth gaol; he attaches statement from witness.
751. [F25/13/30–3] William Howard, Newgate, 19 October 1820
Hond Sirs relying on your generosity and Goodness to Pardon this liberty I have taken in Intruding myself upon your notice – I expect we are going away this night and I should not wish to leave this Country before I have fully satisfied you what I know on those very people that brought my wife [Mary Howard] in it are the very people that deserve to be punished also I can inform you of our Master Tradesmen that have long been paying this man with them and was so daring to pay them in a Banking House and they will soon know it there If you will Condescend to Call on me or send any Gentleman to me I will inform you of everything I am in Possession of these People's Names where they Live and when they have Passed them as I should be very sorry to Leave this Country before I have Disclosed the whole I have already given one Gentn Information of the person who Pass'd a note at his house
I am sir Your most Obt Ser W Howard
Attached: copy letter, 20 Oct. 1820, from Bank solicitors to Mr Callaway, town clerk, Portsmouth, sending copy of Howard's letter as he had left Newgate and was on Leviathan hulk where they wished Callaway to interview him; letter from Callaway to Bank, 24 Oct. 1820 with statement from Howard, adding that Howard was now lame from two paralytic attacks; he claimed innocence, induced to plead guilty to accompany his convicted wife to NSW.
752. [F25/13/34–7] John Gregg, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth harbour, 8 October 1820, to Mr Ruff, Bow Street officer (forward by him to Bank)
Sir I have taken the Liberty of writing to You Wich I hope you will excuse me in so doing I am Sir now on Board a prison ship att Portsmouth Wich my sentence is for 14 Years for having In my Preshion forged Notes wich Sir I should Be very much obliged to you if you Could But make itt aney way convenite In comming down to Portsmouth as I have Some thing to relate to you wich I cant In Letter, of great consequence, I was tried at the Warrick March Assises wich I hope Sir You wont fail in cooming Down if You Please
I Remain Your Most Humble & Obedient Servant John Gregg
Attached: copy letter, 10 Oct. 1820, from Bank solicitors to Mr Callaway, town clerk, Portsmouth, sending copy of Gregg's letter, asking Callaway to interview him; Callaway responds, 16 Oct. 1820, with statement from Gregg, detailing people and places, taken down by Callaway's Clerk, Mr Blyth.
753. [F25/13/38–40] J. H. Capper, home office, 17 July 1820, forwards information sent to him, 16 July 1820, by Mr Briant, Master of Leviathan hulk, obtained from Bank prisoner, Samuel Lester, via another prisoner; Lester, convicted of possession at Bury St Edmunds, Mar. 1820, provides information that £1 notes can be obtained from William Bullock at the Coach and Horses, Drury Lane, London at 7s. a note.
754. [F25/13/41] Abraham Wade, Lancaster castle, 10 April 1821, formal petition
That Your Petitioner was tried and convicted here of uttering forged Bank of England Notes last Lent Assizes. That Your Petitioner received the sentence of death and is now waiting the time appointed for his execution, which is the 21st of this month. Your Petitioner acknowledges the Justness of his sentence, but having had the plea of Guilt offered him, and not being aware of the Consequence of not accepting it humbly implores your clemency – Your Petitioner is 67 Years of age; has a Wife and four Children who with Your Petitioner humbly beg for a mitigation of the awful sentence to banishment for life
Oh, save then the life of Your unhappy Petitioner – and Your Petitioner will to the remotest period of his existence, for your extending mercy – offer up his prayers for your eternal and everlasting happiness as in duty bound ever pray Abraham Wade his mark
755. [F25/13/43] Letter, 17 April 1821, to prisoner Jemima Burton, held in Ilchester Castle gaol, from T. Holyland, police officer, Bow Street, London, in which he asserts that Burton, used as a witness in Bank case in Bristol, in which he had been an investigator and witness, had given false or incomplete evidence, the case had failed, and he had been ridiculed under cross-examination; he is indignant that she led him into error and harmed his character as an experienced police officer; he cannot understand her motives.
756. [F25/13/42] Jemima Burton, Ilchester castle gaol, 19 April 1821
Sir, If the Bank of England will give me my Liberty I will Engage to put Robinson once more in their hands, before the Comeing assize and to do it without their assistance so Effectually that the ends of Justice shall be answered I am Sir your Huble Sert J Burton
757. [F25/13/44] Jemima Burton, Ilchester castle gaol, 9 May 1821
Sir, Long have I hesitated fearing to give offence but at last have ventured to address you, feeling that the Law of Nature allows to every human Being, however their Situation, the priviledge of Justifying themselves when they are wrongfully accused, not for the purpose of endeavouring to Intreat anyone with Respect to my Liberty do I write but merely to vindicate myself from the aspersions Mr Holyland [Bow Street police officer] in the enclosed [see 755] hath Cast upon me, that Waldon [discharged] knew of Thornleys [illegible word] I was aware otherways he could not possibly have engaged to detect them, but that he or his wife was connected with him in the way that Mr Holyland seemed to express I am quite Ignorant of, nor can I ever be persuaded that Waldon deserved the odure thrown on him, I consider myself Bound by every tie of gratitude for the part he took in the Late transaction, nor have I doubt that the plan would fail of success, and that it did, shall ever attribute to mismanagement, as to the Expence that Mr Holyland speaks of I proposed to a Gentleman in the presence of the Governor that Waldon should have of me what money was wanting on the occasion, therefore it cannot appear that I wished to Impose on the Bank of England by engaging them, in a needless pursuit, on Mr Holylands Discernment, that I am obtrudeing on your time I know but Believe me Sir it will be a meritorious act to hear the justification of an unfortunate (and so far as Regards Mr Holylands letter) an Injured Woman, from my Situation my Veracity may be doubted but I can appeal to the Searcher of hearts that I have made use of no Deception in any Information I have given concerning myself Waldon or Thornley [acquitted on cap. ch., Bristol ass., spring 1821] and if the Bank Directors will trouble themselves to Consider the Confession I made before trial they Cannot for a Moment Conceive that I substituted falshood for truth as the statement I made must operate much to my disadvantage, but I pay as great a Regard to truth as Mr Holyland and Consider however fallen above the pitty of those that entertain so foul an opinion of me, as to my Conduct since here Mr Bridle [gaol keeper] will do me justice I know, I was told that on the Commencement of the plan respecting Thornley a Request was made for me not to be sent off if I am Rightly Informed and Such a Request was made to the Secretary of State I must particularly desire that the [illegible word] may be Removed, to keep me longer here will [illegible word] me into the Lowest Abyss of misery tho I am not far Removed from that at present, allow me to present to your Imagination four fatherless Children their mother Situated as I am the little property that I had nearly exhausted from Impositions practised on me since my Confinement, every passing hour teeming with the fate perhaps of one or other of my Children the Recollection of whom drives me to Madness, to desperation, to discribe my feelings Language falls Short, in mercy hear my prayer may I be sent with my family to my place of Destination by the first ship that sails is now my most ardent wish, mine are fine healthy children my own health good – there comes circumstances in human Life by which Individuals however situated are Constrained to pass by the formalities of custom and assume a tone that may appear too familiar or wanting in Respect, this is the predicament in which I now stand and I have no Excuse to offer but my situation and a wish to clear myself of Mr Holylands Accusations. I should be most thankful for it to be known to those who are now the arbitrators of my destiny that its my particular wish for the Sentence awarded me to be Carried into Immediate Effect and for the priviledge of takeing my Children (for from them I cannot be separated) I will devote the Remainder of my Life to Government I care not how hard I work Nothing will be a Hardship to me if permitted to be with my little helpless family with every respect
I Remain Sir Your Humle Sert J Burton [letter written in own hand]
758. [F25/13/45–9] Robert Wood, Chelmsford gaol, 26 July 1821
Formal petition requesting to plead to minor offence. Bank had already taken decision, 25 Apr. 1821. Attached: sub poenas for witnesses for Bank in this case, demands from one witness for reimbursement of her significant expenses, and local solicitor's requests for more witness money.
759. [F25/13/50] Simon Evans, Leviathan hulk, Portsmouth, 2 February 1821, to Charles Pole, governor of Bank
Sir, Pardon the Leberty I have Takon in writing to you to enform that I have been the Dupe of A Hartfull villan woo Was a Compnion of james Gardnor [cap. con., OB, May 1820] woo sufferd the Last May for Selling Thes distinctive Bad Notes but he Never Could bee Pervaled on me Till that unfortnight Munday Night wich he gave me the Bad Ten pound Note & shood me the Brothell ware him and wife had Been the Sunday Night beefore and gave a Bad five Pound Note an if I would go with the Ten I Should have the Half of it I Bee Came Akuented with these Men throw Living in a Publick House ware thay Both used and I Lodged in the Same to my Misfortune His nam is John Frier and thare is a Nother deler in this wicked Prectis with im the Name James Seath Who Lives in Vine Street Shandos St and A Cusen of the Same Name in Chaple St N° 8 Oxford Rode and Maney Others of thare Akwentans wich I now suffer for and Labor under Rumatick Panes in my Limbes and very Sory to hear that my Aged Mother 80 years old Lies very ill as I ham the youngest Son and the first that ever disgrast the famley and am now 40 years of Age and Can Prove at the furst Boot Makers Shops in London to the very Hour that I holwas folwed my Employment for my Living I have Worked Last for Mr McNoughtion Mount St Mr Hoby St jamess St and Mr Ladlow Coventrey St and Mr Burn Pickdilley wich will ancor for my Carector Ever Sence I have been in London and the man that as been My Roun as Lived in this wicked Pracktis this 3 years as is wife as 2 Women that goos with him [several words illegible under ink blots] Pasing thes Bad Noats Beiong Furneter to furnich a House for to make into it A Brothell and he Lives in Marabone ner the New Roode and goos to the [illegible word] Ship in Wardor St [illegible word] and Cooles him Self York Shire jack Pardon this Liberty I have Takeon your humbell Servent Simon Evans
760. [F25/13/51–2] James Holman, Maidstone gaol, 24 February 1821
Mr Glover, Sir, Pardon the liberty I have taken for soliciting your interference in my behalf – I am one of the unfortunate individuals who was taken in custody at Greenwich for uttering forged Notes.
My present awful situation I feel with all its force and am truly Repentant for having offended against the Laws of my Country and wish to make every reparation within my power, so that in return the Gentn of your establishment may extend their mercy towards me.
Should the Honble Governor and Company of the Bank of England think proper for you to wait on me I feel confident my information will ensure their most gracious indulgence, and Protection, and that the Country at large will be most essentially benefitted – Your representation of the above statement to the said Honble Company will be for ever imprinted upon my grateful heart and acknowledged by myself and unfortunate Wife I remain My dear Sir Your most Obt Humble Servant James Holman
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Burr Horn & Burr, solicitors, Maidstone, requesting they visit Holman and take down his evidence, making no promises to him.
761. [F25/13/53] James Holman, Maidstone gaol, 14 March 1821
Gentlemen Since my last letter to you I have been considering the great advantage that would be derived (not only the Bank of England but the Publick in general) by having communication with a person who has a Knowledge of the Agressors of crimes particularly those which I have Related in my former correspondence and what I herein state. Viz Manufacturers of Base Coin, Forged Stamps &c &c I make no doubt but this information as well as the former can be accomplished, it therefore remains with you – and the Honble Governor & Company of the Bank of England wether dependancy can be placed in such individuals I Remain Gentlemen Your very Obt Humble Servt James Holman
762. [F25/13/54] James Holman, Maidstone gaol, undated between February and March 1821, formal petition
That Your Petitioner was born of respectable parents, who education your petitioner, and brought him up with the prospect of his becoming a worthy and useful member of Society by placing him with Mr Hebb of the Borough aforesaid Tobacconist as a Shopman, and upon Mr Hebb retiring from Business, your petitioner commenced the Business of a Tobacconist for himself at Saint Margarets Hill in the Borough aforesaid That your petitioner was unsuccessful in Business owing to his having connected himself with persons whose circumstances afforded them an opportunity of living in a Superior Stile to your petitioner, and your petitioner therefore became involved and was at length compelled to quit his Business which had been the Total Ruin of him and led him to the Commission of the Crime with which he stands charged
That your petitioner was committed early in the month of February to take his Trial at the approaching Maidstone Assizes for uttering forged & counterfeited Bank Notes a Crime for which the Laws of this Country punish with Death which your Petitioner is anxious (not only on account of himself but for the sake of the reputation of an affectionate and virtuous Wife) to Avert
And therefore most humbly prays that the Governors & directors of the Bank of England aforesaid will be pleased to seriously consider his Case and permit him to plead Guilty to the Minor Offence, and prevent the forfeiture of Your Petitioners Life, so that he may yet live to make reparation for his offences
And your petitioner will as in Duty bound ever pray &c James Holman
Attached: page of twenty-nine signatures, names and addresses of inhabitants and housekeepers of the Borough in support of petition.
[BECLS; 31 Jan. 1821, lesser charge to be put.]
763. [F25/13/55–7] Edward Johnson, keeper of Norwich castle gaol, 8 March 1821, informs Bank that George Fryer, Bank prisoner, also head of gang of dangerous housebreakers, escaped from gaol the previous day but had been recaptured [sentenced to fourteen yrs trspn, Norfolk summer ass., 1821]; another Bank prisoner, John Upcroft, was still at large. Copy of printed notice for Upcroft's recapture under reward enclosed with letter. Both men heavily ironed and desperate; Johnson feels that Bank prisoners should not be held at castle prior to trial but in county gaol. Bank solicitors write to John Skipper, Norwich under-sheriff, 14 Mar., informing him that they have many cases coming up all over country and do not have capacity to move prisoners in Norwich castle to county gaol. When current cases are over, they will obtain writs of habeas corpus to move prisoners.
764. [F25/13/58–9] J. E. Hudson, keeper of Chester castle gaol, 28 February 1821, writes to John Lloyd, solicitor, Stockport, informing him that a prisoner can tell where to find a cache of printing plates for notes, and £4,000 worth of notes already made; a reward required. Lloyd forwards his letter to Bank; Bank solicitors, 5 Mar. 1821, thank Lloyd and approve letter he wrote to Hudson.
765. [F25/13/60–1] Eli Mills, 'Robinhood & Little John', Broad Street, Portsmouth, 13 March 1821, sends copy of threatening letter from J. A. Johnson, attorney, held in Winchester gaol for debt, but carrying on business there. Johnson acts for Bank prisoner, James Stilbee, in same gaol.
Mills holds, at Bank's request, a forged Southampton Bank £5 note taken from Stilbee; Johnson demands its return to his client otherwise Mills may meet with injury. Mills says note is of no value, asks Bank what to do, adding that the £2 they have already paid him for work on their behalf is not enough. Bank solicitors, 14 Mar. 1821, tell Mills, since note is of no value, to return it to Stilbee to avoid further trouble. When hearings are over they will report to governors and directors who may authorise payment to him. [Stilbee acquitted, Southampton spring ass. 1821.]
766. [F25/13/62] Joseph Franks, Winchester gaol, 10 March 1821
Gentlemen I most humbly entreat that you will be pleased to communicate to the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, that I am most gratefully obliged to them for having excercised their Mercy towards me on my recent conviction – I beg to assure them as well as yourselves, that I feel that I am indebted to them and you, for a Life which has been generously spared – I hope my future Conduct will prove that the Contrition I feel, is such as will lead to sincere Repentance and Atonement
I am an Old Sickly Man, and from having a severe rupture, cannot endure the Miseries of Confinement equal to others who are free from Infirmities; for which reason (if it is consistent with propriety) I shall feel an additional Mercy confered on me, if I could be removed to the Hulks at Portsmouth, where my Wife and Children could supply me with such trifling Assistance, as may alleviate my distress
I am Gentlemen Your very grateful humble servant Joseph Franks
767. [F25/13/63] A 'stray' letter, written 30 November 1840 by William Styles, Duncan hulk, Sheerness, informing Bank of forgery activities in Birmingham and suspicious activities on board ship.