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The Trial of Joseph Husband

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Date: 22 Jul 1851
Location: Lincolnshire Assizesmap
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The Trial of Joseph Husband

Lincolnshire Assizes. July 19, 21, and 22.

CROWN COURT.— Before Justice Maule.
The following gentlemen were sworn on the GRAND JURY.
Hon. Wm. John Monson, foreman.
Sir Robt. Sheffield, Bart.
Anthony Wilson, Esq.
Sir M.Cholmeley, Bart., M.P.
Jos. Llvesey, Esq.
Sir Thos. Beckett, Bart
Wm. Elmhirst, Esq.
Geo. Hussey Packe, Esq.
John Fardell, Esq.
Wm. Hutton, Esq.
Wm. Parker, Esq.
Hy. Bacon Hickman, Esq.
Geo. Nevile, Esq.
Ayscoghe Boucherett, Esq.
W. H. Smith, Esq.
Chas. Chaplin, Esq.
Hy. Smythe, Esq.
Chas. Allix, Esq.
Geo. M. Monckton, Esq.
G. T. W. Sibthorp, Esq.
Edw. Wright Esq.
Weston Cracroft, Esq.
C. H. J. Mundy, Esq.
His Lordship delivered brief charge. He remarked that he should not under the necessity of detaining them beyond a very short time, as he did not find in the cases to come before them anything requiring particular comment or explanation. The cases were not very numerous, and with few exceptions he found nothing of a very serious description in the charges. The smallness of the number, and the lightness of the offences, indicated, he hoped, besides activity in the prevention of offences, that the predisposing causes to crime did not exist to any great extent. He did not find any one case likely to present difficulty to gentlemen so conversant with the duties of the Grand Inquest as those whom it was his privilege to address; and accordingly they could at once commence their labours.

Tuesday July 22
Obtaining Goods under False Pretences.
Jos. Husband, was indicted for having, on the 18th of January, at Scothern, uttered a forged order for the delivery of some goods, with the intent to defraud Wm. Dawkins. Mr. Flowers prosecuted: the prisoner was undefended. Husband presented at the shop of the prosecutor an order for a quantity of grocery goods, calico, stockings, etc.; it purported to have been written by Mr. Wm. Clayworth, farmer, of Nettleham, father-in-law to the prisoner.[1]—The prisoner's mother was called, who said that she had given her son no orders to obtain any goods from the prosecutor; and in answer to questions by the accused, Mrs.Clayworth stated that her husband occupied between 300 and 400 acres of land, and he always allowed her son to be at home when he was out of situation.—Mr. W. Clayworth was shown the order for the goods question, and said he had neither written it nor given anybody instructions to write such order.—On being called upon for his defence the prisoner produced a long and well-indicted defence, which he read to the Jury: the substance of it was, that when he procured the goods he had no intention whatever to defraud Mr. Dawkins, and that he expected his mother would pay for them, which she promised to do. He said he had been brought up to the business of chemist, and had lived in several situations --one for 8 years, another for 4 years, and a third for 3 years, in each of which he had conducted himself in a manner to the satisfaction of his employers. About 18 months ago his last master had died; and it being a disadvantage to a chemist's assistant to be married with reference to obtaining situations, he was not successful in getting another, and went home to his father-in-law's at Nettleham, his wife and family going home to her friends. After a lapse of some time his wife, thinking she was a burden upon her friends, endeavored to prevail upon his relatives to advance something towards their maintenance, particularly as he (the prisoner) received nothing but his board although be himself worked on the farm as a labourer. When his mother married Mr. Clayworth her pecuniary circumstances were equally good as her husband's: nothing whatever had been given from their common stock for his benefit, and even the money which had been given for his apprenticeship premium was advanced by his grandfather. His mother had repeatedly allowed him to procure shop goods, which she had paid for, and she would no doubt have paid Mr. Dawkins had she not been ill when the money for the articles (which amounted to about 17s.[2]) was applied for.—The Jury found him guilty, but recommended him to mercy.— Three months' imprisonment.[3]

England and Wales Criminal Registers confirm that the trial was held at The Castle of Lincoln and that Joseph was sentenced to three months imprisonment for "forging a request for delivery of goods."[4]


  1. Clayworth was what today we would call Joseph's stepfather.
  2. Online calculations place this as approximately $130 US in 2017 funds.
  3. The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Friday, July 25, 1851, pg. 1.
  4. Home Office: Criminal Registers, Middlesex and Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales; Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security, and related bodies, Series HO 26 and HO 27; The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England, Class: HO 27; Piece: 96; Page: 325, Lincolnshire, 1851.

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