The Newgate Calendar - SAMUEL OLIVER


A Shop-Boy, transported for Seven Years for committing a Petty Theft

   SAMUEL OLIVER had been some time shop-boy to Mr Thomas Stirderan, a hosier, in Holborn, and had incurred some suspicion of dishonest practices. Mr Stirderan having consulted a friend, it was agreed to mark seven shillings, and to send one Sarah Lock to purchase goods of the prisoner to that amount.

   This being done, some of the articles so purchased by her were omitted in the entry of sales, and two of the marked shillings were found on the prisoner. He was therefore apprehended, and committed to Newgate.

   On his trial at the sessions held at the Old Bailey his master and other witnesses gave testimony against him, to the effect above stated.

   Mr Garrow was his counsel, and pleaded hard to save him. He said that Oliver, being entrusted with the money for the use of his master, was at liberty to exchange it, or put it in his pocket, until called upon to make up his accounts. But the omission in the book of entries being looked on by the judge as sufficient evidence of the intended fraud, the jury without hesitation found him guilty.

   The recorder then passed sentence on him as follows:--

   "Samuel Oliver, you have been tried by a jury of your country, and found guilty of one of the very worst descriptions of theft. You ungratefully betrayed the trust reposed in you by your employer, who paid you to be faithful to him. It is greatly to be lamented that young men, by so mean an offence, should bring themselves into the shameful situation in which you are now placed; and that there is a necessity of proceeding with rigour against a person who had apparently preserved a good character; but yours is a crime which the courts are determined never to treat with lenity. It is in itself hostile to every idea of domestic security. It is so harsh a violation of the confidence reposed, and of every bond of civil society, that, whenever it is proved, it cannot be punished with too much severity. The sentence, therefore, of this Court is, that you be transported beyond the seas, for the term of seven years, to such place as his Majesty shall think fit."

   He was accordingly sent to Botany Bay.

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