Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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Jeremiah Garfield

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Jeremiah Garfield; Transported Silversmith

by Trevor Downes

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Figure 1
A typical pair of fiddle pattern tablespoons with hallmarks for London 1819, but these are anything but ordinary spoons, they are the conclusion of a several year long hunt for just such examples..

The spoons are the work of Jeremiah Garfield (Grimwade 1817), a silversmith that I became interested in some years ago, but to find an example of his work was to prove a difficult one and at times, seemingly impossible. Occasionally a piece would appear on an online auction together with a poor photograph of a hallmark with a maker's mark 'JG', but without exception they proved to be worn examples of the remains of a Joseph Goss mark from Exeter, but the task was stuck too, and eventually this particular elusive fish was finally landed and they were everything that I hoped they would be...Fakes!

Old Bailey Sessions House, 1812
Jeremiah, or Jeremy as he was known, Garfield was born c.1780, the son of Thomas Garfield a butter factor late of Clerkenwell in the County of Middlesex, he served his apprenticeship under John Hudson (Heal p.179) of 35 St John's Square, Clerkenwell as from the 7th August 1793. Garfield was granted his Freedom from the London Company on the 7th October 1800 and entered his first mark, as a plateworker of 25, Bridgewater Gardens, Cripplegate on the 9th August 1813, this was followed by a move to 4, Badger Road, Red Lion Street and a second mark undated in the Company's books. A third mark and a move to 1, Vineyard Gardens, Clerkenwell occurred on 25th September 1820 and a final move, according to Grimwade, was to 17, Little Knightrider Street, Doctors' Commons. The last address however, would not have been that of Garfield's workshop, but that of his lawyers. Doctors' Commons was the home of the Court of Civilians where lawyers practised civil law in London.

Old Bailey Trial c.1824
On the 12th September 1821 Jeremy Garfield appeared at London's Central Criminal Court, Sessions House, The Old Bailey, before Mr Baron Graham. He was 'indicted for feloniously exposing to sale certain twelve silver spoons, with a counterfeit mark thereon, resembling the mark used by the Goldsmith's Company, knowing it to be counterfeit, with intent to defraud'. Added to this was a second charge of 'was again indicted for feloniously forging and counterfeiting a stamp or mark on certain articles of plate, with intent to defraud our Lord the King' with a second count of 'for uttering and publishing the same, as true, with the like intent'.

Garfield pleaded guilty to the first offence and no evidence was offered on the other charges and consequently he was found not guilty of them. He was sentenced to fourteen years transportation, later reduced to seven years.

Transport Ship "Eliza"
It was after reading the report of the Old Bailey trial that I became really interested in Jeremy Garfield. What happened to him? Was he ever to produce work in silver again? Did he rise like a phoenix from the ashes and go on to great things? I started to dig a little and piece by piece I came across a story of a rather strange individual who appears to have led an unhappy existence and his story links together with some names of better known silversmiths.

Jeremy Garfield arrived in New South Wales aboard the convict ship 'Eliza' on the 22nd November 1822. A skilled tradesman and described as a working silversmith in the convict details, he became immediately available to work as an assigned convict, and just four days later, on the 26th November 1822, Garfield was selected for employment by the silversmith and former convict Jacob Josephson (1774-1845).

A Government Jail Gang, Sydney 1830
Josephson it may be remembered from previous posts on the Silver Forum, was a Breslau born Jew who trained as a silversmith in Hamburg. An extremely complex character, he arrived in England in the early 19th century and converted to Christianity. Following a crime spree, he was convicted and sentenced to fourteen years at Oxford Quarter Sessions in 1817 and transported to New South Wales arriving on the convict ship 'Neptune' in 1818. By proving that he had sufficient assets at his disposal he was freed and opened his business at 3, Pitt Street, Sydney later that year and it was in this establishment that Josephson thought he could use Garfield's skills.

This was not Josephson's first venture into the acquirement of assigned convict labour. Some time earlier he procured the skills of the ageing former Dublin bucklemaker Walter Harley. Harley is noted on page 699 of Jackson's, he was registered with the Dublin Company in 1784 from an address of 15, Coles Alley, Castle Street. A serial offender in Dublin, he was transported in October 1814 and after a ten month voyage (the convict ship 'Francis and Eliza' had been detained by an American privateer off the coast of Madeira), the then 57 year old Harley arrived in Sydney in August 1815. He was originally assigned to the former Dublin goldsmith John Austin but re-assigned to Josephson, perhaps due to Austin's retirement or demise. Walter Harley was granted a conditional pardon in early 1820 and left the employment of Josephson to set up on his own account later that same year in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. This partial freedom however was not to last long, as he died in May of 1822.

Josephson Advertisement
Sydney Gazzette, Nov. 1819

Jacob Josephson must have thought that he had landed on his feet when he discovered that the latest convict intake to arrive at Sydney contained a 'working silversmith' surely an ideal replacement for the departed Walter Harley, he was however to be very disappointed in his new acquisition.

On the 5th November 1823 Jeremy Garfield sent a petition to the then Governor of New South Wales Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane. This document reads as follows:
"The Humble Petition of Jeremy Garfield, a Prisoner Under Sentence of Transportation for Seven Years.
Most humbly sheweth that your petitioner was convicted in Sept. 1821 for selling twelve silver teaspoons with a counterfeit duty mark on them and was brought to this Colony on Nov. 22nd 1822 in the ship Eliza Capt. Hunt and was consigned to Mr. Josephson of Pitt Street, Sydney in whose service he is at this present time.
Your petitioner begs leave to state he was consigned to Mr. Josephson as a working silversmith being described as such in the description list of the prisoners. Your petitioner begs leave to say he served a regular apprenticeship in London to silver tea tray making but for the last nine years have not followed that trade having been fully employed as collector and messenger to two public charitys the Bloomsbury Dispensary and the Lying in Charity with a character down to this unfortunate affair as was born testimony to by the Honble Lady Booth of Cotterstock Hall Northamptonshire in a letter addressed to your Excellency which was presented by Surgeon Rae at the time the prisoners was inspected in the Gaol Yard at Sydney.
Your petitioner begs leave humbly to say he feels conscious he has no claim whatever for any indulgence more than another prisoner, but feels confident that his case will meet with every consideration that your Excellencys impartial justice and well known humanity can possibly bestow. Your petitioner begs leave to state that from the time of his being consigned to Mr. Josephson Nov. 26th 1822 being the day he landed in this Colony he has been obligated to pay three shillings and sixpence per week as a tradesman agreeable to the established laws of the Colony which obliges every man working at his trade or calling, so to do. Your petitioner begs leave to state that as a working silversmith he is not capable of following that employ as working silver generally and silver tea tray making is totally different in their nature and operation and as your petitioner was brought up a silver tea tray maker and not a working silversmith it is impossible for him to earn one penny during the time he must remain in this Colony.
Your petitioner begs leave to state it is utterly impossible to make a silver tea tray in this Colony, for this reason, there must be a sheet or plate of silver flatted out by flatting mills in the same manner as sheet copper is flatted out in England and while there is no flatting mills in this Colony, it is impossible to make a silver tea tray consequently it is impossible for your petitioner ever to earn one farthing in this Colony at his trade as he is a silver tea tray maker, and not a general working silversmith.
Your petitioner therefore most humbly hopes your Excellency will condescend, so far as to take his case into consideration, and under all its circumstances, and the situation which he is in and must continue namely as house servant during the period he must remain in this Colony except your Excellency should think proper to order any alteration relative to your petitioners situation. Your petitioner humbly trusts your Excellency will be pleased to order that the sum of three shillings and sixpence per week shall not be demanded from him as it is impossible for your petitioner as a tradesman or working mechanick to earn one penny in this Colony.
Should your petitioner be so fortunate to meet your Excellency approbation so far as to grant the request now humbly solicited it shall be his chief study by his conduct on all occasions to prove himself not unworthy the favour conferred and your petitioner will as in duty bound ever pray etc.
Jeremy Garfield servant to
Mr. Josephson No.3 Pitt Street, Sydney. Nov. 5th 1823."
It would appear that Garfield's pleas fell upon deaf ears and in his ever increasing frustration on the 23rd December 1823 he wrote again to Governor Brisbane:
"I venture to say my case is singularly severe. As a tradesman it is impossible for me to earn one penny during the time I must remain in this Colony. I certainly was brought up a silver tea tray maker and that only it is utterly impossible that a silver tea tray can be made in this Colony that I can prove beyond all doubt. I am and have been employed as a cook and house servant to Mr. Josephson and have been in that capacity and no other ever since I came to this Colony. Mr. Josephson can prove if called upon that I have not made nor attempted any kind of work whatever but have been constantly employed as a house servant. In consequence of being obliged to pay the sum of three shillings and sixpence weekly which I do pay out of ten pounds per year that leaves me not in possession of fourpence farthing per week for clothes, washing and other necessaries. This renders my case extremely severe...."

Figure 8
What is to be made of the information that Garfield has supplied? Certainly it does not appear to be the whole truth. His statement that he had not worked in the trade for nine years was blatantly untrue as during that period he had entered marks on three occasions and did he really serve a seven year apprenticeship and only learnt to make one product and not attempt to turn his hand to anything else? Jeremy Garfield was a strange man and there is more evidence to confirm that.

Jeremy Garfield's net income, in his own words, was fourpence farthing a week, he either couldn't or more likely wouldn't earn any more and was in dire circumstances, but research into his finances reveal that all through this period he had funds deposited in no less than the greatest financial institution in the world, the Bank Of England. On the 10th October 1821, less than a month after his Old Bailey trial, Garfield's lawyers deposited an unknown amount into a 'Consolidated Long Annuities' fund. This no doubt was result of the sale of his assets following the trial, they gave his address as Little Knight Rider Street, Doctors Commons and his occupation as 'Gentleman'. Garfield chose not to take the money with him to Australia nor to arrange for it to be sent on, although both arrangements could have been made even at this time. Convicts were encouraged to have savings accounts and allowed to use the funds to 'purchase a more comfortable life during their period of servitude'. This deposit, presumably a substantial amount as it was still being advertised in unclaimed money publications at least sixty years later, appears to have never been touched and information about it never passed on to Garfield's family, who we will learn a little about later.

Garfield was granted his Certificate of Freedom on the 27th November 1828, he left the employment of Josephson and enrolled as a policeman at Bathurst. Thankfully this change of career brings to light further details of our object of interest for Garfield's evidence as an expert witness was presented to the court in the trial of the Scottish born silversmith Alexander Dick. Dick, who had started his apprenticeship in Edinburgh under James Mackay II and was then turned over to Charles Dalgleish in 1818 were he joined another dubious apprentice John Sutter. Dick arrived at the Colony, of his own free will, on the 16th October 1824, but was now indicted on the 26th May 1829 on a charge of receiving twelve dessert spoons, previously stolen from the residence of the then Colonial secretary, Alexander McLeay. Garfield as a policeman and former silversmith was earlier asked to examine the spoons that were by now considerably altered, and give an opinion as to whether they were colonially made. In a letter to the court, dated 2nd March 1829, Garfield stated the following:

Figure 9
"Agreeable to your instructions I have examined the silver dessert spoons said to be the property of the Honble Col. Secretary. Upon the examination of Dick at the police office who is now committed for trial, two persons were examined on behalf of the defence - namely Mr. Robertson of George Street who keeps a watchmakers shop and Mr. Clayton of Pitt Street who keeps a silversmiths and jewellers shop each and both of them did not agree or prove in their depositions if the spoons were made of English manufactured silver or colonial. If I have not been wrongly informed neither of them ever manufactured silver plate. They are in fact dealers and not makers.
I beg leave to state I have not the least shadow of doubt but that the dessert spoons are manufactured of English standard silver - that they had and still retain the marks and impression of the Goldsmith Hall Duty Marks which marks have in part been defaced but not completely obliterated upon a strict examination with a magnifying glass it will be seen most clearly that the English Duty Mark or at least part of it remains although in part defaced by another mark being struck upon the original stamps.
The spoons when in England were finished by polishing but since that they have gone through a process with fire after which they have been in a pickle and have been softened and burnished. They have had some ornament on the front of the handles which has been removed by filing or scraping (or both) before they went through the process with fires - they have also been spread wider in the handles by hammering that has rendered them much thinner than when they were first finished.
I feel no hesitation in saying the spoons are English standard silver and are not colonial made. Colonial silver is Dollar silver and is far inferior to the standard of English plate.
Some of the spoons bear the remains of an impression also of 'RP' that is the maker's mark and denotes that Richard Pearce was the original maker of the spoons in London - he no doubt sold them to a shop keeper in London from whom the Colonial Secretary purchased them.
I am sure you will believe I can speak with confidence when I say I had 25 years experience in melting, preparing and making silver plate of all description in London and must with shame add I was sent to this colony for seven years for defrauding the Government in the Revenue Duty on plate by preparing forged counterfeit marks similar to the stamps used by the Goldsmiths Company in London and marking silver plate with same."
Here we have a very different picture picture painted by Jeremy Garfield, this time much more likely to be the truth, and one can only wonder why he stated the things he said in the petitions to Governor Brisbane and what was behind his strange behaviour.

The next we hear of Jeremy Garfield is of an incident that occurred late at night on the 14th July 1832 and reported in the Sydney Gazette of the 1st November 1832. Garfield, who had risen to the rank of Conductor in the police force was called to fight between some Irish families and accompanied by two constables, the trio attempted to restore order. The watching mob then turned on the police and inflicted such a terrible beating that Garfield was left for dead, indeed it was only after a considerable stay in hospital with his life hanging by a thread, that he finally pulled though and though the skills of a certain Dr. Mitchell that his sight was saved, for it was long thought that the assault would have left him blinded.

Apparently this was the last straw for Garfield, as an advertisement from the Colonial Secretary's Office that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 2nd April 1833 gives notice that Jeremy Garfield resigned his position as Conductor as from the 9th March 1833. He presumably never recovered sufficiently from his injuries to return to his duties.

Some time later Garfield became a publican and took over the licence of the Albion Wine Vaults in Paramatta Street, Sydney. There is a report in the Sydney Gazette of the 21st April 1836 of the theft of a gallon of rum from him. He stayed on at the Albion until April 1839 when the Sydney Herald reports that Garfield had transferred the Licence to one Francis O'Meara.

Jeremy Garfield appears in the 1841 Sydney Census as living at Elizabeth Street, Alexandria, Cumberland, Sydney. He had a wife, Elizabeth, a son, William who later moved to Brighton, Melbourne, and at least two daughters, the second of whom name was Anne who died in Old Street Road, London on the 1st February 1854.

Jeremy Garfield died at home in Elizabeth Street on the 15th August 1842. He was aged 62 years. The price paid for counterfeiting the marks on a few spoons was a heavy one, resulting in years of torment and unhappiness.
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Review of the Marks

It is not so much the marks themselves that give the game away but more the application of them. The maker's mark has been struck with a confident steady hand, as would be expected, for Garfield would have done this on many occasions, but the striking of the counterfeit hallmarks were a different matter. One can almost feel the trepidation, the anxiety as the blow was struck and the crime committed. The result is the shake or chatter as the blow is made, either from the first impression being poor or perhaps allowing the hammer to bounce from the recoil of the first strike and allowing it to strike the punch again.
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Hawkins, J. B.
19th Century Australian Silver
Antique Collectors Club, Suffolk, 1990

Grimwade, Arthur G.
London goldsmiths, 1697-1837
Faber, London, 1976

Bank of England
The Unclaimed Dividend Books of the Bank of England
W. Strange, London, 1851

Public Record
Unclaimed Money Register
De Bernardy Brothers, London, 1883

Old Bailey Court Trial Transcripts

State Records of New South Wales

New South Wales Government Gazette

The Sydney Gazette

The Sydney Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald

Related Pages at

British Hallmarks Explained
London Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Birmingham Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Chester Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Exeter Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Newcastle Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Sheffield Date Letters & Maker's Marks
York Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Edinburgh Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Glasgow Date Letters
Dublin Date Letters
British Import Marks

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