Committee, 10th April 1783
Now appear Thomas Fitter, Deputy Patent Searcher, and Robert Hodgson, Deputed Searcher, belonging to the Custom House, who acquaint the Committee that one William Stevenson, of Lombard Street, London, Silversmith, one of the people called Quakers, has entered a box of silver plate at the Custom House for exportation, and has made his affirmation before the proper officer that all the plate contained in that box is of the proper standard, and has been tried and marked at Goldsmiths’ Hall ; but that, upon some suspicious circumstances arising, the box has been stopped, and opened by the said Thomas Fitter, and upon examination several of the silver wares therein contained appear to be worse than standard, and to have never been assayed or marked at Goldsmiths’ Hall ; and that His Majesty’s Commissioners of the Customs have directed them to attend the Committee for their advice and assistance. And Mr. Rushforth, the Senior Assayer, also attending, acquaints the Committee that he has assayed several of the articles, which have no Hall Mark upon them, and has found them to be worse than standard. And the Committee having taken the premises into consideration, a motion is made, and the question put, “That this Company will give every assistance in their power to His Majesty’s Commissioners of the Customs in their prosecution of William Stevenson for perjury and fraud ” ; and the same is resolved in the affirmative unanimously, and ordered accordingly.
It is ordered that the Senior Assayer do make the necessary assays of the several articles of plate contained in the said box, which shall be sent to him from the Custom House, and which have not the Hall Mark upon them, and report the same to the Standing Committee.
Ordered that the Clerk do forthwith send to the said William Stevenson the proper notice of prosecution, as directed by the Act of Parliament.
Committee, 24th April 1783
Now appears William Stevenson, of Lombard Street, London, silversmith, who acquaints the Committee that he has received notice from the Clerk, as directed by the Act of Parliament, and that he accordingly attends the Committee to express his great sorrow for having sent divers silver wares to the Custom House for exportation without having duly examined them ; that he had bought most of those which were worse than standard at public sales ; and that he would take the greatest care in future to avoid offending against the laws ; and he humbly prays that the Company will pass over this his first offence upon his consenting to have the wares broken. The Committee, being informed by Mr. Fitter that the Commissioners of the Customs do not mean to prosecute the said William Stevenson, order the several wares which are worse than standard, and unmarked, to be broken, and delivered back to the said William Stevenson ; and at the same time they severely reprimand him for his misconduct.
Source: Memorials of the Goldsmiths' Company; Being Gleanings from their Records Between the Years 1335 and 1815 - by Walter Sherburne Prideaux - 1896