Dr Mike Baldwin : Organologist : Historian : Researcher : Writer : Harp maker : Restorer
Thomas Arnott, theft of a harp from Francis Tatton Latour, 31 May 1827

Old Bailey Online: T18270531-139


THOMAS ARNOTT was again indicted for stealing, on the 6th of March, 1 harp, value 70l. , the goods of Francis Tatton Latour.

MR. ANDREWS conducted the prosecution.

CHARLES OLIVIER . I am in the employ of Francis Tatton Latour, a musical-instrument dealer, of New Bond-street. On the 6th of March, the prisoner came to hire a harp - he left it to me to select a good one; he gave his name, Mr. Arnott, No. 22, Crescent, Euston-square, and said the instrument was for the use of his brother who he expected in town from Shrewsbury, in a few days. I know we have a customer of that name at Shrewsbury - but do not know his person. I delivered an instrument to Tucker, to carry it there that evening; I did not see it again till the 27th of April, when it was at Mr. Shegan's. Clipston-street, Mary-le-bone - it is worth full 70l.; he only hired it.

Prisoner. Q. Did not you send a note with it, addressed to me? A. No; it was addressed to Mr. Arnott - not to Mr. Thomas Arnott.

ROBERT GODFREY . I am an auctioneer. I was formerly in partnership with Mr. Bousfield. I live in Chiswell-street, Finsbury. I knew the prisoner first twelve or eighteen months ago - he then lived in the Crescent, Euston-square, I believe; I knew nothing of him as a resident there, but he came to me in Chiswell-street, and said he had an instrument to sell, and would I sell it - he said"Mr. Godfrey, you recollect buying some furniture of my mother." I said, "Who was she?" he said "Mrs. Arnott," he said he had something in the musical line to sell. I looked into my book and found the name, and recollected the circumstance.

Q. You never took the trouble to go and see where he did live? A. No; I knew nothing of him, except for selling goods for him at my auction-room. I had sold two instruments for him before, one of Golding's and one of Clementi's - his mother kept a very respectable private house - I bought some furniture of her; the prisoner represented himself as a musical dealer I found the harp on my premises at nine o'clock - I believe Mr. Bousfield took it in - it came about six in the evening - it was not dark - it was darkish. I saw the prisoner there and gave him 12l. on it; it was sold on the 29th of that month by public auction in the evening, for 32l., to Mr. Paine. I paid the prisoner 16l. more; 4l. was the auction duty, commission, and trouble - the duty was 32s.; we sometimes sell by printed catalogues - this was not in a printed Catalogue. I told him at the time, that till we had a respectable sale, we should not get a good price. I have an auction every week - it was regularly advertised.

Prisoner. Q. Did you ever sell any instrument besides these for me? A. No; only these three, but I have sold many without a catalogue.

COURT Q. Have you not heard that this was worth 70l.? A. I did not know the value.

JURY. Q. Who generally pays the duty? A. The seller always does at respectable sales - it was advertised in the Times.

JOHN PAINE . I live in Cornhill. I bought a harp, by Hurrard, at this sale. I shewed the same afterwards to Mr. Olivier.(Property produced and sworn to).

JOHN ARNOTT . I am the prisoner's brother. I never authorized him to apply for this instrument for me.

Prisoner's Defence. I solemnly deny that I ever obtained it for my brother's use, or even used his name - but as a respectable individual, with whom the prosecutor was acquainted. A note accompanied it charging me two guineas a month for the hire - if it was for my brother's use, why send a note to me - I have lost the note. I had been totally out of employ for twelve months, and much reduced. Being arrested for 65l. I was induced, by the persuasion of a friend, to dispose of this instrument to relieve me; I got released the very night it was sold. The law I believe, requires I should have a felonious intent at the time; I was assured by a friend, that it should be purchased and he would give me his acceptance for it.

GUILTY.  Aged 27.

Transported for Seven Years .