Illustration: King Robbing a Jewish Pedlar
The offence of which this man was convicted, was attended by a fraudulent misrepresentation of his character, which we should have imagined would have made him a fit object of severe punishment.
At the time of his conviction he was fifty-two years of age, and appeared to be a person of some respectability. He, however, declined giving any account of himself.
He was indicted at the Bridgewater assizes, on the 7th of August 1831, for assaulting Elias Cashin upon the king's highway, putting him in fear, and taking from his person and against his will a box containing twenty-four gold seals, forty-five brooches, and a variety of other articles of jewellery.
The robbery was alleged to have been committed at Huntspill, on the 10th of March, and Cashin, who was a member of the Jewish persuasion, stated, that on that day he was offering his wares for sale at Huntspill, when the prisoner came up to him, and representing himself to be an inspector of pedlars' licences, demanded to see his licence. He admitted that he had none, upon which the prisoner seized his box containing his jewellery, and took him by the collar, saying, that he must accompany him to a magistrate's. They went together to the house of a Mr. Rockett, where the prisoner behaved with much violence, in consequence of which Cashin rung the bell. Young Mr. Rockett appeared, who said that his father was not at home, and the prisoner then desired the Jew to meet him on the next day, at the house of a Mr. Phippen, another magistrate, residing at a short distance off. Cashin begged for his box, but the supposed inspector refused to give it up, and the poor Jew was at length compelled to go away, leaving his property in the hands of the prisoner.
On the next day he was faithful to his appointment, but neither the prisoner nor his box was to be seen; and Cashin added, that he could never meet him afterwards, until a short time before the trial, when he accidentally ran against him in Bristol. He now, in turn, became the assailant, and seizing the prisoner by the collar, demanded his box. He at first denied all knowledge of him, but then finding that the Jew was determined to take decisive steps against him, said that he had been robbed of it himself. Cashin, however, called in the aid of the police, and upon the prisoner being searched, a pair of spectacles was found upon him, which had been in the box, when he had carried it off.
The jury at once declared the prisoner guilty, but of the mitigated offence of larceny only, negativing the capital charge; and he was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.