Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.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...."
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:
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.
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.
Hawkins, J. B.
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