Francis James

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 27 September 2011), May 1842, trial of FRANCIS JAMES (t18420509-1494).

Dated: 9th May 1842

Francis JAMES was indicted for stealing, on the 16th of March, 4 watches, value 31l., the goods of Benjamin Edwards.

MR. BALLANTINE conducted the Prosecution.

BENJAMIN EDWARDS . I am a watchmaker, and live in High-street, Shoreditch. About half-past six o’clock in the evening, on the 16th of March, the prisoner came to my shop, in the uniform of the police of the Eastern Counties Railway Company.  I had seen him on duty there, and knew him as an inspector of their police, he came to me in a hurried manner, and said, “Mr. Hall requests you will send a sample of your best silver watches, with the lowest tender, as it is their intention to supply the police on the line with silver watches; you are to send a sample with the price you will do them at.  He told me to seal them up, and direct them to Richard Hall, Esq., Carnarvon Hall, Essex.  I gave him four watches, all different, for the purpose of being shown as samples.  I did not consider they were sold, I thought one would, be selected, and an order given perhaps for a dozen, they were invoiced at 31l., but they were ticketed higher.  I enclosed the invoice in the parcel to Mr. Hall.

RICHARD HALL . I reside at Carnarvon Hall, Stratford, Essex. I am manager of the Eastern Counties Railway.  The prisoner had been employed in the police on the railway, he left about three months ago.  He had no authority from me to go to Mr. Edwards for any watches, and no watches were produced to me.  He had no right at the time he went to Mr. Edwards to wear the dress of the railway police, but it was his own dress, and we could not take it from him.

ARCHIBALD WHITE M’CONACKEY . I am an inspector of the Eastern Counties Railway police. I took the prisoner into custody, on the 19th of March, at the Lord Nelson public house.  He was sitting in the parlour, I called him out, and told him he was my prisoner.  He asked what for, I told him for felony.  He made no answer.  I took him to the station, I found this one watch on him, a duplicate of another watch, and three watch-bags, and I saw taken from him 5l. 0s. 11d., and the bill of parcels of the watches.

WILLIAM GALILEE SAVILLE . I am shopman to Mr. Tilly, a pawnbroker. I produce a silver watch, pawned by the prisoner on the 17th of March, for 2l. 2s.

CHARLES JAMES MERCER . I am shopman to Mrs. Avila, a pawnbroker, in Mile End Road.  I produce a silver watch, pawned on the 17th of March, by the prisoner, for 3l.

JOHN EASTBROOK . I am shopman to Mr. Savage, who is a pawnbroker in Whitechapel. I produce a watch pawned by the prisoner, on the 16th of March, for 1l. 15s.

MR. EDWARDS re-examined. These four watches are mine, and are what I parted with to the prisoner.

Prisoner’s Defence. The watches were obtained by me through a bet made by me and some friends, that I could not obtain the watches without money; I went and got them, and certainly pawned them, but had I not been taken so soon as I was, I should have got them out, and made every thing right.

MR. HALL re-examined. The prisoner’s character was so good, that he was made inspector, and continued so till two or three weeks before he left, he had our utmost confidence a long time.

GUILTY . Aged 28.  Transported for Seven Years.


WebMasters Note:

Further research by Ed Thompson has revealed this additional information about the transportation of Francis James:

  • Title: Francis James, one of 296 convicts transported on the Cressy, 28  April 1843.
  • Details: Sentence details: Convicted at Central Criminal Court for a term of 7 years.
    Vessel: Cressy.
    Date of Departure: 28 April 1843.
    Place of Arrival: Van Diemen’s Land. Now known as Tasmania, Australia.
    Source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 91, Class and Piece Number
    HO11/13, Page Number 284
  • Author/Creator: Great Britain. Home Office. ; State Library of Queensland.
  • Publisher: Canberra
    A.C.T. : Australian Joint Copying Project
  • Is Part Of: Criminal : Convict transportation registers [HO 11]