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1859 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

Date 1859
Topic Identity of keeper of the Robin Hood on High Holborn used for fraud
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Robin Hood Lane, Poplar.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-16. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-21.


[28 Nov. 1859:]
DANIEL SPALDIND CANNON. I am a tobacco manufacturer, of 98, Mint-street, Whitechapel—I trade under the name of Cannon and Co.—at the commencement of July the prisoner was in my service; I was to pay him 51. per cent, on all orders he obtained—it was his duty to get orders for me, to take the goods out, receive the money when the goods were delivered, and account for the money to me when he came home—on 4th August, he brought me a verbal order from Mr. Arnold, of the Robin Hood tavern, for 6 boxes of cigars—I directed my foreman to give him the cigars, and on the following day, or the day after, he gave me this receipt—(Read: "98, Royal Mint Street, August 4, 1859. To Mr. Arnold, Robin Hood Tavern, High Holborn. Please receive, per favour of Mr. Broughton, 6 boxes Havannahs, from O. E. Cannon and Co. Received by J. Arnold")—I made that out, except the signature—the amount would be about 3l. 15s.—the prisoner never accounted to me for any money—on the 6th, he said he had got an order from Mr. Bennett, of Parrock-street, Gravesend, for four boxes of cigars—I gave them to him with this note, which was then unsigned—(Read: "98, Royal Mint Street. To Mr. Bennett, Parrock Street, Gravesend. Please receive by favour of Mr. Broughton, 4 boxes of cigars. Received, W. Bennett")—the amount is 2l. 2s.—he paid me nothing—on 13th August, he said that Mr. Bokes, of the White Hart, Strand, wanted six pounds of cigars—I gave them to him with this delivery note unsigned—he brought it back next day or the day after; the amount was 3l. 8s.Read: "13th August, 1859. Mr. Bokes, White Hart, Strand. Received per favour of Mr. Broughton, 6 lbs. of cigars in box. Received, M. Bokes").

Cross-examined by MR. COOPER. Q. When did the prisoner first come to you? A. He was introduced to me only a few days before this transaction by a party named Wilson, but I had met him occasionally when he was travelling for a house about a month previous—he came to me; I did not send for him—our agreement was not that he was to have 51. per cent., to be answerable for all bad debts, and that everything was to be placed to his credit—I recollect his taking a box of cigars to Mr. Howard—I do not know that cigars were sold to Mr. Swan, of Thanet-place; it was a box of foreign cigars; they were to be charged 21. 2s.—they were not to be submitted to the Hon. Mr. Howard for 1l. 15s.—the prisoner did not say to me, "Oh, these cigars were for Mr. Howard, but I sold them to Mr. Swan," nor did I say, "It is all right"—he paid me two guineas, and did not say who they were sold to—the invoice went with them—I have got my books here—I credited the cigars on 5th August to Mr. Howard—I have an entry on 25th July to Mr. Howard—the entry of six pounds of Havannahs, 2l. 16s. is to Mr. Arnold—this is a book which I supplied the prisoner with; I was in the habit of looking at it—I made these entries, and gave them to the prisoner in the book—he was answerable for all the goods put in it, unless it was a bad debt; I should have been answerable for that—if Mr. Arnold had not paid him, I should not have looked to the prisoner for payment—he was to be paid his 51. per cent, when the account was settled—I have advanced him nearly 8l.—he has not increased my business at all since he has been with me—before he introduced Mr. Bennett and Mr. Arnold, and Mr. Bokes, I knew their houses by name to be respectable houses—it was within a day or two of my charging him with obtaining goods by false pretences that he brought me back the receipts—I told him in the beginning of September, that I wished the accounts to be settled, as they were considerably over due; I accused him at the commencement of October, and he said that times were very bad, and he never was so unfortunate in getting money in before; that people were continually putting him off—towards the end of the month, I spoke to him again, and he told me some story about having come into some property, and I need not be at all alarmed, as he would give me a cheque for the whole amount—he was with me three months—he did not employ deputies to get commissions for me—I never heard that he employed a person named Lawrence; I never heard the name—I never heard him mention the name of Van Tovey—he had no conveyance supplied by me, nor did he, to my knowledge, go out in a carriage to get customers.

MR. METCALFE. Q. You say he introduced these people; was there any other transaction with Arnold or Bokes except this? A. No; they were new customers to me.

JAMES ARNOLD. I keep the Robin Hood public-house in High Holborn—I never gave any order to the prisoner for cigars or tobacco—this is not my signature—I never authorised any one to sign it for me—I never received any cigars.[1]

Source notes

IRHB has silently regularized the use of spaces before punctuation marks in the quotation and corrected the HTML text at Proceedings of the Old Bailey from the PDF of the original printed edition.


There were (at least) three public houses named the Robin Hood in Holborn: one in Leather Lane, one in the now lost Robin Hood Court, and that at 281 High Holborn. In this case the mention of Mr Arnold as the landlord leaves no doubt that the pub in question is the Robin Hood at 281 High Holborn, for James Arnold is recorded as publican there from 1869 to 1875 at the excellent UK Pub History site, which lists a John Christophers as incoming licensee in November 1854 and a John Woods taking over from James Arnold in 1876.[2] The case summary shows that Arnold was in charge at least ten years earlier.



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