A nip of rum too many – Bell’s New Weekly Messenger 04 April 1847:

Joshua Walmsley

Sir Joshua.

A BAREFACED THIEF.-An Irish lumper (docker), named Thomas Maguire, was brought up before the Liverpool police Magistrate on Saturday, under the following circumstances:-

The prisoner, with others, had been discharging rum from the ship “Rover,” and after they had finished their work it was found that two puncheons (containers) had been broached, and a portion of their contents abstracted.

Mr Shaw, the shipping clerk, offered a reward of 10s. for the discovery of the thief, whereupon Paddy, as soon as he had got his comrades away, said that if the promised douceur (financial inducement) were handed over he would give the required information.

Mr Shaw immediately began to count out four half-crowns; but, before giving them, and in order to make “assurance doubly sure,” he asked, in another whisper, “You’re certain, of course, that you know the right man?”

“Oh! begor, I am as certain of it,” was reply, “as I am of my own existence; I know him better than I know my brother!” Mr Shaw was satisfied; and in less than half a minute the half-crowns were jingling in Maguire’s pocket.

Mr Shaw then listened for the grand revelation, and Maguire speedily satisfied and astonished him by exclaiming: “You see the thief afore you. I am the man. Me own four bones broached the casks and drank the rum; and faix, betune you and me and the wall, blow the betther gallon of it I had for the last twelve months! It’s not my saying alone; all the neighbours in the street will tell you the same thing; for they all had a nip.”

Mr Shaw called a policeman, and the fellow was given in charge; and, on being brought to Bridewell, the turnkey booked him as being drunk.

Sir Joshua Walmsley said he had never heard of a more barefaced act in his life, and ordered him to pay a fine of 5s. and costs.

The fellow was about to pay the 5s. out of the 10s he had received from Mr Shaw, when the latter claimed the money as his property.

Sir Joshua Walmsley said he had no power to order it to be refunded; and Maguire, having paid the fine out of the reward, was discharged.