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Proceedings of the court of directors and of a secret select committee appointed by the court ... 2d May 1827, to investigate transactions connected with an abuse of patronage; together with a report of the trial in the Court of king's bench online

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PROCEEDINGS



RELATIVE TO



AN INVESTIGATION INTO TRANSACTIONS



CONNECTED WITH AN



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE.



v#



II

PROCEEDINGS



OF THE



COURT OF DIRECTORS

AND OF A

SECRET SELECT COMMITTEE

APPOINTED BY THE COURT,

On the 2d May 1827,

TO INVESTIGATE TRANSACTIONS CONNECTED WITH AN

ABUSE OF PATRONAGE;

TOGETHER WITH A

REPORT OF THE TRIAL

IN THE

COURT OF KING'S BENCH, BY A SPECIAL JURY, BEFORE
THE RIGHT HON. LORD TENTERDEN,

On the 6th March 1828,

The king on the Prosecution of the EAST-INDIA COMPANY,

AGAINST

SAMUEL SUTTON and OTHERS.



LONDON:



PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL COURT, FOR THE INFORMATION

OF THE PROPRIETORS,

J3y J, L. Cox, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's- Inn Fields.



I



1828.






HENRY MORSE STEF«*««HS



x^



AT A



GENERAL COURT

OF THE UNITED COMPANY OF MERCHANTS OF ENGLAND TRADING TO

THE EAST-INDIES,

Held at their House in Leadenhall Street,
On Wednesday, the 28th May 1828.

ORDERED :

That the whole of the proceedings which have been commu-
nicated to the General Court, respecting the cases of Mr, Edward
Drake Back and Cadet Benjamin Bale, be printed for the informa-
tion of the Proprietors.



510646



LIST OF PAPERS.



Page

No. I.
Minute of a General Court of Proprietors, the 19th March 1828 3

No. II.
Minute of a Court of Directors, the 2d April 1828 ib.

No. III.
Minute of a General Court of Proprietors, the 28th May 1828 4

No. IV.
Minute of a Secret Court of Directors, the 2d May 1827 ib.

No. V.
Miuute of a Secret Committee of Correspondence, the 2d May 1827 5

No. VI.
Minute of a Secret Court of Directors, the 4th May 1827 7

No. VII.

First Report of the Secret Select Committee appointed by the Court for the purpose
of investigating the Transactions alluded to in Minute of a Secret Committee of
Correspondence of the 2d May 1827, dated the4th May 1827 8

No. VIII.
Minute of a Secret Court of Directors, the 16th May 1827 9

No. IX.

Second Report of the Secret Select Committee, the 16th May 1827 10



viii LIST OF PAPERS.

Page
No. X.

Minute of a Court of Directors, the 23d May 1827 16

m. XL
Letter from Mr. Prescott addressed to the Honourable Court of Directors, dated the
23d May 1827 17

No. XII.
Minute of a Court of Directors, the 30th May 1827 82

No. XIII.
Third Report of the Secret Select Committee, the 30th May 1827 23

No. XIV,
Minute of Secret Court of Directors, the 6th June 1827 24

No. XV.
Fourth Report of the Secret Select Committee, the6th June 1827 25

No. XVL
Minute of a Court of Directors, the 7th March 1828 26

No. XVII.
Letter from the Company's Solicitor, dated the 7th March 1828 27

No. XVIIL
Minute of a Court of Directors, the 12th March 1828 28

No. XIX.
Letter from the Company's Solicitor, dated the 12th March 1828 ib.

No. XX.
Minute of a Court of Directors, the 12th March 1828 29

No. XXL
Ditto .' the 19th March 1828 , 30



LIST OF PAPERS. Jx

No. XXII. '^

Fifth Report of the Secret Select Committee, the 12th March 1828 .,.., , 32

No. XXIII.
Examinations before the Secret Select Committee, the 2d May 1827 36

No. XXIV.
Ditto the 3d May 1827 45

No. XXV.
Ditto the 4th May 1827 55

No. XXVI.
Ditto the 11th May 1827 62

No. XXVII.
Ditto the 14th June 1827 71

No. XXVIII.

Proceedings on the Trial of an Indictment in the Court of King's Bench, Guildhall,
hy a Special Jury, before the Rt. Hon. Lord Tenterden, on the 6th March 1828 ... 81



H



EXAMINATIONS BEFORE THE SECRET SELECT COMMITTEE.

Colonel Toone u."««""..» 37, 65

C. E. Prescott, Esq. 4...... ...i. •• 39, 41, 45

Mr. Abington 50, 62, 68

Mr. Haldane 39, 63, 67, 70

Mr. Sharp 40, 53, 66

Mr. Sutton 55

Mr. Chamberlin 73

— Salter, a Commodore 68

— Sullivan, a Messenger , „ »*•



No. I.






AT A

GENERAL COURT

OF THE UNITED COMPANY OF MERCHANTS OF ENGLAND TRADING TO

THE EAST-INDIES,

Held on Wednesday, the 19th March 1828.

The Chairman acquainted the Court that a prosecution having been in-
stituted by the Court of Directors, in the Court of King's Bench, against cer-
tain parties for the sale of a Cadetship, the trial came on in that Court on the
■fith instant ; and the Chairman then laid before the Proprietors the short-hand
writer's notes of the proceedings at the trial.

Vide page 81.



No. I.

General

Court,

19Mar.l828.



No. U.



AT A



COURT OF DIRECTORS,

Held on Wednesday, the 2d April 1828.



No. 11.



Resolved Unanimously, That the whole of the papers which have been Court of
laid before this Court, regarding the case of Mr. Edward Drake Back and that 2A rin828
of Cadet Bale, whom the Court have resolved to recall from Madras, be laid
before the first General Court of Proprietors which shall be held after the
passing of this Resolution.

B 2 No. III.



12 PAPERS RELATING TO

No. III.

AT A

GENERAL COURT

OF THE UNITED COMPANY OF MERCHANTS OF ENGLAND TRADING TO

THE EAST-INDIES,

Nj, III^ Held on Wednesday, the 28th May 1828.

General The Chairman acquainted the Court, that the Court of Directors had felt

28Mayl828. ^* **^ ^® their duty, in reference to recent proceedings in the Court of King's
Bench against certain parties for the sale of a Cadetship in the Company's
Service, to lay before the Proprietors the whole of the papers which have been
laid before the Directors regarding the case of Mr. Edward Drake Back, for
whom the Cadetship in question was intended ; and also certain papers relating
to the case of Cadet Benjamin Bale, whom the Court of Directors have resolved
to recall from Madras, in consequence of its having been proved that his
appointment was procured by corrupt means.

The Chairman then laid before the Court the papers relating to the cases
of Mr. Edward Drake Back and Cadet Bale.



No. IV.



.11' •: AT A •

SECRET COURT of DIRECTORS,

No. IV. Held on Wednesday, the 2d May 1827.

Secret Court The Chairman from the Committee of Correspondence laid before the

oP Directors

2 May 182?! Court a Secret Minute of the Committee held this day, on the subject of the

appointment



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. V jo

No. IV.

appointment of a Cadetship having been offered and obtained for a sum of Secret Court

of Directors,
"loney. - 2 May 1827.

The said Minute of the Committee of Correspondence having been read,

It was, on a Motion,
Resolved Unanimously, That in accordance with the recommendation of
the Committee of Correspondence, a Select Committee be appointed, to
consist of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman and the Senior Member of the
Committees of Correspondence, Buying and Warehouses, and Shipping, viz.

George Smith, Esq. M.P.
J. G. Ravenshaw, Esq.
J. Baillie, Esq. M.P.
for the purpose of forthwith investigating the circumstances alluded to in
the minute now read ; and that the Select Committee be authorized to adopt
such measures for bringing the offenders to justice, with the advice of the Law
Officers of the Company, as the Committee may see fit, and to report to the
Court when the Committee may deem it expedient.



No. V.



AT A

SECRET COMMITTEE of CORRESPONDENCE,

The 2d May 1827. No, V.'

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman feel it necessary to call the serious Secret Com-
and immediate attention of the Committee to a matter of great delicacy and ^Mly^l&n.
importance.

Early in the month of February last, the late Chairman received a letter
from a gentleman in the country, a stranger to him, stating that he had re-
cently received the offer of a Cadetship for a sum of money : that he was him-
self ignorant of such matters, but that, from circumstances attending the ne-

gociatiOD,



\4:^ PAPERS RELATING TO

No V.

Secret Com- gociatioti, he was induced to think the proposed transaction not altogether as
2 Ma'Ts-i? ^^ should be. That if it were right and fair, he should endeavour to avail him-
self of the offer : that if otherwise, he should be obliged by being so informed,
when he should, of course, relinquish it.

The circumstances thus brought to the attention of the late Chairs, and
the plain and ingenuous manner in which they were stated, appeared to them
to render it an imperative duty to lose no time in taking measures to investigate
the facts to which allusion had been made ; and, with that view, a confidential
officer of the Company was directed to repair immediately to the writer of the
letter in question, for the purpose of obtaining from him all the information
which he could afford, in reference to the means which had been proposed to
him for the accomplishment of the object.

; The circumstances which were detailed in consequence of the interview
which ensued, led to such an irresistible presumption that a traffic, of the de-
scription suggested, was systematically pursued or pretended, by parties of a
greater or less degree of apparent respectability, that the late Chairs felt it in-
cumbent upon them to pursue such measures as appeared to them most likely
to lead to a knowledge of the guilty parties ; and with the advice and assistance
of the Company's Solicitor, who has communicated from time to time with the
Company's Standing Counsel, the late and present Chairs have pursued a course,
by which they are now in possession of the undoubted fact of the appointment
of a Cadet having been obtained, in consequence of the deposit and expected
payment of a large sum of money.

The Chairs forbear to trouble the Committee, in this stage of the case, with
any detail of the proceedings which have taken place, or of the circumstances
which have been disclosed ; but they submit to the judgment of the Committee
the expediency of recommending the Court immediately to appoint a Select
Committee, for the purpose of investigating the case, and of adopting such
. i .1. - measures for bringing the offenders to justice, as, under the advice of the Law
Officers of the Company, may be deemed expedient. AV^hereupon,.

It was, on a Motion,
Resolved Unaminously, That it be recommended to the Court to appoint a
Select Committee, for the purpose of investigating into the transaction alluded
to in the statement now made to the Committee by the Chairman and Deputy

Chairman



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. 15

No. V.



Chairman, and to adopt such measures for bringing the offenders to justice, as. Secret Com-
under the advice of the Law Officers of the Company, they may deem expedient. 2 Mav^igg?
The Committee immediately adjourned to attend the Court of Directors.



No. VI.



AT A

SECRET COURT of DIRECTORS,

Held on Friday, 4th of May 1827. ^^

The Chairman presented to the Court a Report from the Secret Select secretCourt,
Committee that was appointed on the 2d instant, in which the Committee 4 May 1827.
state that, in pursuance of their appointment, they proceeded on Wednesday
last to investigate the circumstances connected with the transaction adverted to
in the Minute of the Secret Committee of Correspondence which was laid
before the Court on that day. That the said investigation was continued
during yesterday and this morning. That, from the documents and evidence
which have already been submitted to them, they are unanimously of opinion,
that a sum of money to a considerable amount has been demanded, and in part
received, as the consideration for procuring the appointment of a Cavalry
Cadetship ; and that, in the exercise of the powers vested in them by the
Court, they have instructed the Law Officers of the Company to submit the
names of such of the parties implicated in this transaction as they may deem
it expedient to proceed against j adding, that they purposely forbear, in the
present stage of the proceedings, from entering into any of the particulai^
which have been elicited in the course of the investigation.

The said Report was read.



No. VII.



»|fi PAPERS RELATING TO

No. VII.

AT A

SECRET SELECT COMMITTEE,

APPOINTED BY THE COURT

For the purpose of investigating the Transactions alluded to in a Minute qfa Secret
Committee of Correspondence of the 2d May 1827,

Held on Friday, the 4th May 1827.



Report of Your Committee report, that in pursuance of their appointment, they
Secret Select proceeded on Wednesday last to investigate the circumstances connected with
4 May 1827. the transaction adverted to in the Minute of the Secret Committee of Corres-
pondence, which was laid before the Court on that day. That the said
investigation was continued during yesterday and this morning ; and, from the
documents and evidence which have already been submitted to them, the Com-
mittee are unanimously of opinion, that a sum of money to a considerable
amount has been demanded, and in part received, as the consideration for pro-
curing the appointment of a Cavalry Cadetship.

Your Committee, in the exercise of the powers vested in them by the
Court, have accordingly instructed the Law OflBcers of the Company to sub-
mit to your Committee the names of such of the parties implicated in this tran-
, saction, against whom they may deem it expedient to recommend the adoption

of legal proceedings.

Your Committee purposely forbear, in the present stage of the proceed-
ings, from entering at all, in this report, into any of the particulars which have
been elicited in the course of the investigation.

(Signed) H. Lindsay,
J. Pattison,
Geo. Smith,
J. G. Ravenshaw,
J. Bailue.



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. ,g



No. VIII.

AT A

SECRET COURT of DIRECTORS,

Held on Wednesday, the l6th May 1827. No. VIII.

The Chairman from the Secret Select Committee appointed by the Court Secret Court
on the 2d instant, laid before the Court a second Report of the Committee, i6Mayi827'.
unanimously agreed to this day, detailing the further proceedings which they
had seen fit to adopt, in pursuance of the powers vested in them by the terms
of their appointment, and stating, that the Law OflScers of the Company have
been instructed to prefer bills of indictment against the parties therein alluded
to forthwith.

The said Report was read : whereupon C. E. Prescott, Esq. withdrew.

A motion was then made ; and the question thereon being put,

It was,

Resolved Unanimously, That the thanks of this Court be given to the
Secret Select Committee, for the manner in which they have discharged the
duty imposed upon them, in their proceedings as detailed in the Reports now
before the Court ; and the Court desire to assure the Select Committee of their
determination to afford every aid, in the prosecution of an inquiry so deeply
affecting the honour and character of the Court of Directors, and of its Mem-
bers individually.



No. IX.



10 f»APERS RELATING TO



No. IX.

AT A

SECRET SELECT COMMITTEE,

APPOINTED BY THE COURT

For the purpose of investigating the Transactions alluded to in a Minute of a
Secret Committee of Correspondence of the 2c? Mat/ 1827,

No. IX. Held on Wednesday, the l6th May 1827-

Report of Your Committee, on the 4th instant, reported to the Court their unanimous
Committee, opinion, that a sum of money to a considerable amount had been demanded,
l6Mayl827. ^^^ -^^ p^j.^. received, as the consideration for procuring the appointment of a
cavalry Cadetship ; and that, in the exercise of the powers vested in your
Committee, they had instructed the Law Officers of the Company to submit
the names of such of the parties implicated in the transaction, against whom
they may deem it expedient to recommend the adoption of legal proceedings.

Your Committee have now to report, that in consequence of the instructions
so given, the Company's Solicitor laid before your Committee an opinion of
Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet, dated the 10th instant, which is as follows :

" I have attentively read and considered the collection of papers referred to
" me by the Select Committee, and I am of opinion, that they prove a nego-
" elation for obtaining a Cadetship to have been carried on by several persons,
" in the immediate expectation of pecuniary profit, and that such a negocia-
" tion amounts to a misdemeanor, within the provision of the 49th Geo. III.,
" cap 126, sec. 4."

" The persons directly shewn to be concerned in such corrupt negociation
« are named Sutton, Anstice, Andrews, Despard, Tyndale, Gibbons, and

" Wright.

" Of



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. H

No. IX.

" Of the propriety of prosecuting these persons, unless any one of them Report of

" should be disposed to save himself by giving valuable information, I commUtee.

" entertain no doubt. A most important question, however, remains: how l6Mayi827.

" far a Director, through whose agency the nomination was obtained, is

" implicated in the corrupt negociation which has been carried on? No

" suspicion whatever appears to me to attach to the nominating Director

" (Colonel Toone) : but the person through whose immediate application the

" nomination was obtained was himself a Director. Whether he did, or did

" not, expect to participate personally in any pecuniary profit to be made by

" the appointment, is immaterial, if he knew that any of those whom he

" assisted in endeavouring to obtain the appointment, were acting in the

" expectation of making money by it ; the Act of Parliament having declared

" all those guilty of a misdemeanor, who wilfully and knowingly aid, abet,

" or assist others in such a negociation. Of the existence of a corrupt nego-

" ciation, and of the effectual assistance rendered immediately to Sutton

" by Mr. Prescott, the Director, there is no doubt : the only question is,

" whether such assistance was rendered with a knowledge that the nego-

" ciator, Sutton, was acting in expectation of a reward. Direct evidence

" of this knowledge is hardly to be expected. The proof of it must be

" sought in the conduct of the individual, and his acts with reference to

" the whole transaction must be examined, for the purpose of ascertaining

" whether, upon a fair and just review of all the circumstances, his conduct

" appears to have been that of a Director intending to confer his patronage

" upon an honourable friend, but having been imposed upon by that friend, or

" that of a person voluntarily allowing his friend the opportunity of abusing

" the patronage conferred upon him to his own advantage.

«' The first material feature in the case is the declaration signed by Mr.
" Prescott, as the person procuring the nomination from the Director, Colonel
•• Toone, by which he declares, upon hishonour , that he has received the nomi-
" nation gratuitously, and given it gratuitously to Mr. Edward Drake Back, with
" whose family and connexions he is well acquainted : it being clearly established
" and admitted, that Mr. Prescott is an absolute stranger to the young man and
" his family, and never saw any one of them in his life, till he saw the young
" man himself at the East-India House, just before the appointment was

c 2 " stopped.



12 PAPERS RELATING TO

No. IX.



Report of " stopped. This declaration of the person recommending is the principal

Committee, " Security provided against an improper disposal of appointments. The

l6May 1827. t< nominating Director relies, as he necessarily must do, upon the honour of

" the person recommending, for an assurance that the appointment is given

" by the latter to a young man whose family and connexions he knows. But

" if the appointment may be given upon the representation of a third person,

" who signs no declaration, the object of the intended security is totally

" defeated. Whatever excuse might be made by any other person, on the

** ground of mistake or incaution, such excuse can hardly be admitted on

" behalf of a Director, who must necessarily be acquainted with the nature

" and object of the declaration, and who, if he places himself in the situation

•' of a person recommending, instead of nominating, as a Director, upon the

«* recommendation of another, is bound to take care that he is in a situation

" to give all the same assurance upon his personal knowledge, which is

" expected from those who recommend to a nominating Director. In the

" present case, however, Mr. Prescott has not merely signed the printed

" declaration, containing an assurance directly contrary to the truth, but has,

" in personal conversation with Colonel Toone, according to the testimony

" of that gentleman, declared that the young man was a gentleman, the son

" of a most respectable clergyman in Devonshire, and that Colonel Toone

*' might depend, upon his honour, that all was right. That he knexv the

*' gentleman was asjine a young man as any in England, and that he knew his

" father. The father, in fact, had not lived in Devonshire for eighteen years ;

" the son does not correspond with the description here given of him j and Mr.

" Prescott, at that time, had never seen either of them.

" It is here, moreover, to be remarked, that Colonel Toone's caution had
*' been awakened, by hearing that a person of the name of Frederick, formerly
" appointed by Mr. Prescott, iiad been found unfit for the service, and that
" these assurances of Mr. Prescott were made in consequence of the impres-
" sion produced by that circumstance to satisfy Colonel Toone's mind ; so
" that Colonel Toone could not fail to believe that, in making such represen-
" tation, Mr. Prescott was speaking of matters within his personal knowledge.
" It appears, also, that Colonel Toone, on Saturday the 28th April, directed
" Mr. Abington, of the Cadet-Office, to pass Captain Prescott's youth without

. . " delay.



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. 13

No. IX.



" delay, as he was near twenty-two, saying that he would sign the papers on Report of
" Wednesday ; and in a postscript, that he would sign them that afternoon if Commiue^e
" sent to him. Colonel Toone has not expressly stated that this representation i6Mayi827.
" respecting tlie age of the cadet was made to him by Mr. Prescott, but he
" does not speak of any communication upon the subject with any other per-
" son ; and if Mr. Prescott pressed the passing the Cadet on account of his
" age, it is an additional circumstance of suspicion, since the youth will not
" be of the age of twenty-two till October next, as appears by the papers
" themselves.

" Colonel Toone afterwards forbade the passing of the cadet until he should
" have seen him. Within little more than two months before the nomination
" in question, Mr. Prescott had given another cadetship to the same Mr. Sut-
" ton, in favour of a young man of the name of Bale ; and by the course
" which has been taken, of making Mr. Prescott the person recommending,
" instead of Sutton, the name of the latter in the papers at the Cadet-Office is
" kept out of sight upon this second occasion, though he is, in truth, the person
" upon whose representation alone Mr. Prescott professes to have acted. The
" circumstances under which the nomination of Bale was obtained do not
" fully appear; but there is much reason to suspect that it was disposed
" of by Sutton, in conjunction with some one, at least, of the persons
" concerned in the present negociation. It is certainly remarkable, that
" Mr. Prescott having so recently given a Cadetship to Sutton, which he
" borrowed of another Director, should again apply for another to Colonel
" Toone, and that the mode of appointment should be so managed as to avoid
" the repetition of Sutton's name. In this last appointment, Mr. Prescott
" appears to have been particularly[active ; for, besides tiie verbal representation
" made to Colonel Toone above-mentioned, it appears that Mr. Prescott, con-
" trary to the usual practice of the East-India House, obtained the papers from
" the office on Saturday the 28th, after they had been partially filled up, and
" that they were not returned until Wednesday following, and then not by him.
" The papers were put into the hands of Sutton, and the use made of his pos-
" session of them was to endeavour to obtain a delivery of the remaining
" halves of the two bank notes for £500 and £300, and actually to obtain a
" delivery of the remaining half of the latter.

« For



14 PAPERS RELATING TO

No. IX.

Report of " For the active interest which Mr. Prescott has taken in obtaining this
CommiueT " second appointment for Sutton, no particular motive is assigned.
16May 1827. « All these circumstances being taken into consideration, does it appear that
*' Mr. Prescott, in his part of this transaction, which was clearly corrupt in
" its origin and progress, conducted himself as a Director would act, who be-
" lieved that he was disposing of the appointment in a fair and honourable way,
" in behalf of a person who was to receive it gratuitously, or as a person


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Online LibraryEast India CompanyProceedings of the court of directors and of a secret select committee appointed by the court ... 2d May 1827, to investigate transactions connected with an abuse of patronage; together with a report of the trial in the Court of king's bench → online text (page 1 of 17)