Catalogue description Report of William Kenrick, Recorder of Dover on 2 individual petitions (Mary Smith, wife...

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Details of HO 47/56/24
Reference: HO 47/56/24

Report of William Kenrick, Recorder of Dover on 2 individual petitions (Mary Smith, wife of Benjamin Smith; W B Callyer;) and 7 collective petition (65 people, the prosecutors, 'magistrates for the ports', the grand and petty juries and others [x6 are copies]; and 8 people, the mayor and justices of the peace for the town and port of Dover) on Benjamin Smith alias George Williams and Joseph Bye alias James Johnson convicted at Dover on 3 November 1817 for uttering forged Margate Bank notes on 15 September 1817, property of Francis Cobb and Francis William Cobb. Evidences supplied by: Emanuel LevI, John Emary, Luke Nixon, R Shrewsbury William Hopley, Bridger Ludleler? and B? Lewis. Smith's wife's petition describes her husband and the other prisoner as accomplished map engravers, who whilst sailing to in Portugal, to take up lucrative jobs in Lisbon, were seized by a French privateer and imprisoned in France for 4 years until peace was declared in 1814. Lizars employed the prisoner's as journeymen even though they were 'master' engravers. Murray's letter states that 'Bye and Smith shewed great ingenuity in Engraving maps but did not excel in engraving written characters' [necessary for forging banknotes]. There are 3 letters from Francis William Cobb, two mentioning Richard Davison Claringbold, tried for the same crime in Summer 1816 at Maidstone who was sentenced to death but afterwards commuted to transportation for life. The letters mention 'the deepest national grief & affliction', and 'national calamity', dated 14 and 20 November 1817. [refers to the death of Princess Charlotte, 6th November 1817]; also letters from W and D Lizars, stationers, book sellers and map engravers of Edinburgh, (previous employer of Smith and Bye); certificates of good character for the prisoner's from James Lamb and Joseph Duncan, elder; a certificate of respectability for Lizars from G W S Baird, minister of Edinburgh; 2 covering notes from W Kenrick; a note from R Lushington; an unsigned memorandum; letters from John A Murray; William Lizars and Daniel Lizars; Robert Gardiner on behalf of Prince Leopold (on mourning paper). [Sir Robert Gardiner was principal equerry to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, the latter was married to Princess Charlotte.]; Francis Cobb and Francis William Cobb [x2]; John James Wilson [x3]; John Shipden, town clerk of Dover [x2], John Cooper and John Thomson, minister. Grounds for clemency: previous good character, the prisoners are deeply penitent and are not old or hardened offenders, as shown by the inexperienced mode in which they carried out the crime, since their release they have been forced to take employment as menial journeymen, and committed the crime in order to better their station in life, Smith has a wife and 4 small children; Bye has an aged father. Initial sentence: death. Recommendation: none made. Folios: 311-373.

Date: 1817 Nov 19
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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