top of page

Joseph Lawrence, Theft of a harp, simple larceny, 18th September 1837


Old Bailey Online, t18370918-2180.


Joseph Lawrence was indicted for stealing, on the 4th of November, 1 harp, value 147l., the goods of John Frederick Grosjean.



MR. BODKIN conducted the Prosecution.


THOMAS FREDERICK GROSJEAN. I am a harp-maker, and live in Soho square. On the 4th of November last, the prisoner came to my shop and selected a harp from among my stock, value 147l.—it was one of my most expensive instruments—he had it on hire at a guinea and a half a month—I have got a memorandum of it in this book—(reads)—"Nov. 4, 1836, No. 10016. Mr. Joseph Lawrence, Jun., of New-square, Cambridge, agrees to hire the above harp of Mr. Grosjean, for two months certain, at a guinea and a half a month.—JOSEPH LAWRENCE, JUN. "—he represented himself to be a solicitor, in New-square, Cambridge—he gave me a reference to Mr. Judkins, in Hatton-garden, whom he represented as his agent in London for his profession—I did not go there—I sent my clerk—I consented to the harp being lent on those terms—the prisoner ordered it to be sent to the Golden-cross, but they would not take it in—the prisoner called at my house the morning after, the 5th, and it was sent to another office, which he mentioned, directed to "Joseph Lawrence, Esq., New-square, Cambridge"—I saw him again in about a fortnight or three weeks—he told me the harp had arrived safely at Cambridge—a few days before the expiration of the hire, he came again, and then proposed to enlarge the time of hiring—I had written to some person at Cambridge, and had an answer—in consequence of that I declined his proposition, and told him to let it be returned—I saw him again in March or April—my clerk stopped him in a gig and horse, and brought him to Soho-square—I began remonstrating about his using me so ill, and told him he must take the consequence—I had offered a reward in the "Hue and Cry," for his apprehension—in January last I heard of my harp being advertised to be sold at Oxenham's—I went there and saw the harp—in consequence of what I heard, I sent my clerk to Mr. Barnes.


Prisoner. Q. Is your clerk in Court? A. No, he is in Norwich—I recollect the 22nd of last March, there was no arrangement made at all then—I did not agree to take 15l. that Mr. Barnes had paid.


JOHN COOMBS. I am in the employ of Mr. William Blackman, a pawn broker, at No. 62, Middleton-street, Spafields. The prisoner pawned a harp with me in the name of" John Long, 4, Winchester-street," on Saturday evening, the 5th of November, for the sum of 10l.—after that he came to me with Mr. Barnes, for the purpose of redeeming it—he paid the money, and took the harp—it was on a Saturday evening in December, I think.

Prisoner. Q. Do you swear that I am the person that pawned the harp? A. I do; you came to the private door.


GEORGE ADAMS BARNES. In the latter part of last year the prisoner came to my shop, Nos. 16 and 17, City Terrace, City-road—heproposed to sell a harp which was in pawn—when I got to Winchester-street, where I supposed it was, he said I must go with him—I went to the pawn broker's and saw the harp, and three or four days after I agreed to buy it for 15l.—I sent it to Oxenham's to be sold—I gave it up to Mr. Grosjean, with an understanding that he should prosecute this man whenever he found him.


Prisoner. After a call that was made by me on Mr. Grosjean, did not you hear him say I had been at his house on the 22nd of March, and made an arrangement with him to hand over the harp? A. Never; I heard Mr. Grosjean say that he had been in your company, and drank a bottle of wine with you; and I thought it wrong in him to drink with a thief after he had taken the harp from me—I heard Mr. Grosjean say that you had called and offered him a chaise for the harp, and he would not accept of it—he said, he told you to go and get him the money or the harp, which he would have.


JOHN NESBITT. I am an officer. I found the prisoner in custody—I found where he had been living—I traced him to the Queen's Arms, and got him at last at the Wool Pack—I there found some bills, and a letter offering a reward for his apprehension—I took them from a box in a room which was pointed out as being his.


GUILTY. Aged 28.

bottom of page