John Smithson, alias Smith, alias Potter, alias Douglas

Yesterday at a court of Aldermen, Robert Bakewell, Esq. Barrister at Law, of Greasley in this county, was elected Recorder of this Borough; William Wright, Esq. our late worthy Recorder having resigned that office.
++Saturday last the assizes ended for the county of Leicester, when four persons received sentence of death, viz. John Smithson, alias Smith, (as mentioned in our last for Forgery). John Smith alias Porter, alias Douglas, for returning from Transportation. Thomas Day and Thomas Derrey the Younger, for Sheep-stealing. Mary Cornfield who was to have been tried for Perjury on the trial of Townsend at our last Assizes, died in gaol on Tuesday se’nnight. — Samuel Galloway to be whipt. John Guilford and mary Darlow acquitted. Smith for Forgery is ordered for execution on Saturday next. Douglas reprieved for one month, and Day and Derry respited till the next Assizes.
++John Smith alias Porter alias Douglas, was indicted for returning from Transportation before the expiration of his time, and pleaded Not Guilty. The council for the crown produced the record of his being transported from Rochester, for stealing a silver tankard, at Lent Assizes 1757, by the name of John Smith, labourer. William Mariden, a clerk to Sir John Fielding, and who was concerned in the prosecution at that time, swore to the identity of his person with his remarkable affirmation, that not a single feature of his face had received the least alteration, only that now he wore his hair tied, and before it was too short for that purpose. — He said nothing in his defence, or attempted any ways to prove that he was not the person mentioned in the indictment. — This unhappy young man about 2 years ago came to reside in Leicester, where he married the daughter of a reputable inn-keeper, and has since upon the death of his father-in-law, kept the said inn, with reputation, as appeared by the testimony on his trial of two worthy clergymen, as well as many tradesmen, his neighbours, persons of character and reputation; during the time of his residence here, he was a zealous observer of his religious duty, a punctual honest man in his dealings with mankind, and of which there appeared one remarkable instance in the payment of some money, in which he had it in his power to have defrauded a tradesman, without any danger of being suspected. He also had the character of a most affectionate husband, a tender parent, and was remarkably kind to some poor relations of his wives. — These circumstances appearing upon his tryal, together with his affecting behaviour, greatly moved the court to compassion and brought tears from many indifferent spectators. The jury were much affected therewith; though the fact was proved in the clearest manner, they nevertheless debated a quarter of an hour, before thy would bring him guilty; after which the Judge observed to ’em, that they had discharged their duty like honest men, that he was glad to find when the overflowings of compassion were in some measure abated, that justice had taken place; adding that if the Prisoner had been an Angel from Heaven he must have been convicted. He was dressed in a white broad cloth coat, trimmed with black, and a black silk waistcoat; is about 30 years of age, and a personable well looking man. After the trial was over, the prisoners council admitted that he was the person swore to as above. We hear application is intended to be made to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to consider him as a proper object of mercy; and from his general character during his residence here, there is no doubt but the town in general will sign this petition. We also hear that he has made several discoveries, which may be means of apprehending others belonging to the gang of villains (part of which are now in Coventry gaol) and of which it is said there are 300 not yet apprehended.