East India Company.

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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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 11 of 17)
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Mr. Brougham. — You had better prove the delivery of it first.

Mr.Gurney. — If you please, the servant is here.


Examined by Mr. Gumey.

J.WiUiams. Are you servant to Colonel Toone? — Yes.

Do you remember, about April last year, being sent with a letter by him to
Captain Prescott's ?— Perfectly well.

Did you take it to Captain Prescott's house ? — I did.

To whom did you give it? — To a female servant. I knocked at the door,
and gave it to her. . \..:,:,i ,i ..^\.c: :;.>. . :i.-

Did you ever take any other letter from Colonel Toone to C^itain Fifestidtt ?

— No.

Mr. Brougham. — About this letter I know nothing, except that Mr. Prescott
says he never saw it.


Cross-examined by Mr. Brougham.

Col.Toone. You say that you gave him a verbal answer; did you not also, having
received that application in writing, write a letter?

Lord Tenterden. —What has this to do with it ?

Mr. Brougham. — Does not your Lordship see that there was only one let-
ter, and that may be the letter? He says he wrote one.

Lord Tenterden. — The witness left it rather doubtfully as to the first com-
munication, i) .r:ii vi.ft!i

Mr*. Brougham.— We have the letter.
' Lord Tenterden. — How did the letter go ? — I answered the letter.

How did you send it to him ? — I think it very likely, by one of the India-
House messengers. , 4 ,


Are you not sure you did not send it by your servant? — I do not recollect Ccun
sending more than one by my servant. of King's

11 T 1 L Bench.

Are you sure you did not send more than one ? I think it must have been ___
by an India-House messenger. We were upon very friendly terms. Col. J'oonf.

Mr.Gurney (to Williams) — What day did you take the letter?— On Satur- J.WUliams,
day, the 28th of April.

What time of the day ? — In the afternoon part.

Was that after dinner? — Yes. My master wrote the letter before he dined,
and I went afterwards, and it was in broad daylight.

Lord Tenterden. — You were saying that you wrote an answer to Mr. Pres- Col. Toone.
cott, stating that you had received the papers from Mr. Abington : now go on.

Colonel Toone. — And that I had signed the papers. But it occurred to me
that I had not seen the young man, contrary to my practice, and that I had
written to Mr. Abington (for I concluded the papers had gone to Mr. Abing-
ton) to state that I had signed the papers he had sent to me, but that it was
my positive orders that the Cadet should not be presented to pass till I saw
him. That was my positive orders, and I sent my servant with them again the
next morning, too.

Mr. Giirney. — Now read that letter to Mr. Abington, if you please. — The
same was read : dated, " Mortimer Street, Saturday evening, signed " S.
Toone," and addressed to, " Wm. Abington, Esq."

" Dear Sir : — I signed the papers you sent me this evening ; but before
" the matter is finally concluded 1 request you will contrive to let me see
" the youth: and, with that view, I will call at the India-House on
" Monday next, and I will attend there before 12 o'clock, and tell the
" youth to attend at 12 on Monday next."

Did you, on Monday morning, send another letter to Mr. Abington ? — Am I
to assign my reason for sending the second ; I had sent the first by the two-
penny post, and I was afraid it might miscarry, as they sometimes do.

Did you send another ? — Yes, by my servant.

The same was handed in and read: dated " Monday morning, the 30th April,"
Ji'om " S. Toone" to " William Abington, Esq. or his Deputy in his absence,"

" Dear Sir : — The young gentleman nominated to my Madras Cavalry
" nomination, for which I returned the papers yesterday, is not to be
" presented to be passed until Mr. Toone has seen him ; and, with that
" view, Mr. Toone will attend at Mr. Abington's office as soon as possible."

Did you, on that Monday morning, go to Mr. Abington's office at the East-
India House? — Yes. I think I was there exactly at the time I appointed,
ten o'clock in the morning.

Lord Tenterden. — Twelve is the time appointed.





of King's


Col. Toone.

Mr. Gurney. — At the time you had appointed in your letter? — Yes,

Did the Cadet make his appearance? — I never saw him, and never have seen
him. I remained at the office two hours, and he did not arrive.

Did you receive any answer from Mr. Prescott to that letter you sent him on
Saturday evening? — I never received any acknowledgment of it.

Do you rememhcr having had any other conversation with Mr. Prescott re-
specting the cadetship than you have mentioned? — I do not think I had. I had
the fullest confidence in Mr. Prescott, and did not enter fully into it. I had
the greatest regard for him.

Mr. Prescott did not give you any answer to that letter, either by a letter or
calling upon you? — Never. I had never any answer from him.

Did any thing more come to your knowledge upon the subject until the matter
came before the Directors, on Wednesday the 2d of May? — Unless what I may
have now stated may be considered as part of it, the precautions I took to
prevent the thing passing.

When you attended two hours and found the young man did not come, did vo<i
give any directions? — Yes, positive directions that he should not be passed on
any account whatever, as he had not been presented.

That he should not pass at all, or not till something was done? — That he
should not pass till I had seen him.

You did not know of any orders that the Chairman or Deputy-Chairman had
given? — No, I knew nothing about it ; I was quite ignorant of it.

Cross-examined by Mr. Brougham.

When Captain Prescott made the apphcation to you, did not you say there
was no man in England, Scotland, or Ireland, you would more readily oblige
than Captain Prescott ?^I really believe I said those words: that was what
I felt at the time.

Lord Tenterden. — It is the same thing he said just now : " I had the fullest
confidence in him."

Mr. Brougham. — I am now coming to the last letter you have spoken of to
Mr. Abington to stop the appointment. The first letter you sent to Mr. Abington
was by the Twopenny-post ? — Yes, late onSaturdaye vening.

You believed, of course, he put it into the Twopenny-post on theSaturday even-
ing ?•— I doubted it very much. The Twopenny-post letters had constantly mis-
carried, and I sent my own servant with the second on Monday morning, that
he might be there by nine o'clock

But when you wrote the letter to go on Saturday, did you not give it to your
servant to put into the Twopenny-post that evening ?— Yes ; it was not eight




But you will find they were not put in till Monday morning.

Mr Gurnet/. — They are not marked till Monday morning when they are put
in late.

Lord Tenterden. — It is the time of delivery ; it is the time at which you
ought to receive them.

Mr. Brougham. — It means the eight o'clock delivery. «

Mr. Gumey. — They do not mark them on the same night.

Lord Tenterden. — It is the time you are to receive them.

Col. Toone. — I sent it hefore six o'clock in the evening.

Lord Tenterden. — You do not get them so soon as they are marked.

Mr. Brougham. — No, there is always a little friction in the machine of the deli-
very. Do you not know that the presentment of the appointment never was
made to the Committee ? — I do believe it never was. I never heard that it was ;
I have no reason to believe that it was.

It may either be, as I understand, presented to the Directors at their usual
meeting on the Wednesday, or to the Committee that meet daily ? — Certainly,
any other day : auy day but Saturday.

I do not ask you to the particulars at all ; but there was a good deal of inquiry
among the Directors respecting the whole of this matter? — A very considerable

There are dinners held of the Directors from time to time? — Yes ; but not on
Monday, on court days.

I suppose you did not attend any dinner at which Captain Prescott was after
that inquiry had been made ? — I really had been indisposed, and I do not believe
I had attended any dinners for two or three months.

You were very right. Were not you present at a Court of Directors that was
held after that inquiry : you were present ? — I certainly did attend there : it
was my duty. I did attend.

The Committee that had made inquiry had made a report to the Directors
before that meeting ? — Yes, I perfectly recollect it.

After that report had been made, do you recollect at a meeting of the
Directors and prosecutors, one of them putting a question and receiving an
answer, that none of the Directors were implicated ?

Mr. Gumey. — I object to that.

Mr. Brougham. — I have not finished.

Mr. Gumey, — It had reached far enough to be objectionable.

Mr. Brougham, — I have one of the prosecutors in the box.

8 Jjord


of King's


Col. Toone.




of King's


Col. Toone.

Lord Tenterden. — You may ask him.

M7\ Brougham. — That he, being one of them, was present, and heard the
question put and the answer given, and made no objection.

Lord Tenterden.— Y^s, as far as regards himself.

Mr. Brougham. — Yes, I cannot ask it in any other way. — Did you not hear
Mr. Mills put that question, and the answer given by the Chairman?

Mr. Gurney. — I object to this. He was not a member of the Committee of

Lord Tenterden.— ^ on cannot tell what motives might influence persons in
putting questions and giving answers.

Mr. Brougham. — Then I will not press it. — Something had occurred with
respect to a gentleman of the name of Frederick, of which you say you knew
nothing whatever that implicated Captain Prescott in it ? — I did not say that.

Mr. Brougham. — Mr. Gurney said so.

Mr. Gurney. — I told you we did not mean to suggest any thing from that.

Mr. Brougham. — Had it any thing to do with any sale or traffic of any
appointment? — Nothing of any sale or traffic.

Is not Colonel Frederick first cousin to Captain Prescott ? — I do not know.

Mr. Gurney. — He is no colonel.

Mr. E. D.



Examined by Air. Carter.

I believe you are the son of Dr. Back, the gentleman who has been here ?—
I am.

Do you recollect being with your father in town, the latter end of April and
the beginning of May, 1 827 ? — I do.

Do you recollect going, the morning of the 22d of May, to No. 8, Waterloo
Place?— I do.

Mr. Andrews's ? — Yes.

Did you see Mr. Andrews there ? — I believe I did.

Any other person but him ?— I believe I saw Mr. Sutton.

Some person there besides ? — Yes.

Be so good as to look at these papers (handing some to the witness), and say
whether you saw those papers there, and who produced them to you ?— I did
see those papers there.



Look at both of them. — Yes. of King's

Who produced them to you, Sutton or Mr. Andrews ? — It was a gentleman I Bench,

did not know. Mr~KD.

One of those two ? — Yes, it was. Back.

Look at this gentleman, sitting on the floor, and say whether that is the one
(pointing to Mr. Sutton) ? — Yes, I beUeve it is.

Mr. Gurney. — That is Mr. Sutton.

Mr. Carter.' — Upon the papers being produced, did either of those persons
direct^ you to do any thing to them ? — They directed me to fill up what was

Were there any marks in pencil in places where you were to write ?— Yes.

Lord Tenter den. —Those are the papers, A and B ?

Mr. Carter.— Yes, A and B.

Just look at this paper. Look at Question 4, was that one? — Yes.

Did you fill up the answer to Question 4 ? Turn over. — I did.

Were those words, " Charles Elton Prescott," written in pencil for you to
write in ink ? — Yes.

Lord Tenter den, — You wrote the words "Charles Elton Prescott?" — Yes,
I did.

It was all in pencil ? — Yes, it was.

Mr. Carfer.— Had you, before that time, heard the name of Captain Pres-
cott, or did you know him ? — No, never.

Just look at the second paper. Did you sign your name to that ?

Lord Tenterden. — He signs his name to the other.

Mr. Carter. — After the end of Question 8, was that your signature ? —
Yes, it was.

Now look at paper B : " Edward Drake Back," is that your signature? —
Oh yes, certainly.

Signed at the same time and place ?^— Yes.

Having signed the papers, did you leave them with the two persons that
were there? — Yes, I did.

Did either of them then say any thing to you, directing you what to do ? —
Nothing more than I was to fill up the papers.

After you had filled them up ? — No. They merely said I was to go to the
Monument Coffee-house, and they would be there almost as soon as I was.
Did you return to the Monument Coffee-house ?— Yes.

s 2 And



Court And afterwards waited about the India- House for your father ? — I did.

of King's pjfj yQy afterwards go into the India-House, into the Cadet-Office, with

Bench. ci^ :, i vj
your rather ? — 1 did.

^^'^'iP' ^'^ ^"y body there, a servant of the House, desire you to go into any room
to see a gentleman? — I do not know whether it was a servant; but some person
desired me to go in, and said I was to go in to be introduced to Captain

Did you go in to see the gentleman ?— I did.

Do yon see Captain Prescott here, the gentleman you saw upon that occa-
sion ? — I saw him for so very little time I cannot say. I did not see him long
enough to have any recollection of his face again.

Did any body introduce you at the time you went in, or named the person
you were to see ? — I believe one of the waiters did.

What did he say when he introduced you? — Mr. Back.

That was the person desirous of your going in to see Captain Prescott ? — Yes.

Did that person ask you any questions ? — ^That one that desired me to go in ?

No, the one you saw when you went in. — He merely asked me my age.

Did you tell him ?— Yes, and he asked me if I liked to go where I was
going, and if I had ever been in the army.

Was that all he asked you ? — Yes, all.

Had you, to your knowledge, ever seen that person before ?— Never.

Cross-examined by Mr. Pollock.

Allow me to see the papers you signed ? — {Theywere handed to Mr. Pollock.)

You know nothing about the arrangement your father has spoken of to day ?
—Very little.

Do you know any thing. I took it for granted you did not ?— I merely knew
that the business was going on for the purpose of detecting those people, and
that was all I knew.

You knew that, as far as you were concerned, this was not real? — Certainly.

And, in answer to the question, " Do you beheve that any person has received,
" or is to receive, any pecuniary consideration, or any thing convertible in any
" mode into a pecuniary benefit on account of your nomination r" you put
" Certainly not" ? — Yes.

When were they put ! — What ?

Lord Tenterden. — The answers to the different queries.

Mr. Pollock. — That is your answer, " certainly not ?" — Yes, certainly, that

IS ipy wntmg.




When did you write that " certainly not?" — Upon my \vord I hardly know.
If you will have the goodness to let me look at it again. (7%e paper was again
handed to the fVitness.)

Mr. Gurney. — The fourth cannot be filled up till the Director is known.

fVitness. — I wrote it at Little Hampton.

Mr. Pollock. — -Where ? — I do not know where.

Mr. Solicitor Get2eral. — Look at the date.

Mr. Gurney. — There is no date.

Lord Tenterden. — Is that very material ?

Mr. Pollock. — No, perhaps not.

Lord Tenterden.— He says this was going on to detect these people.

Mr Pollock. — On Wednesday you were at the India-House ? — I believe so.

You believe? — Yes, I took no notes of any thing.

You are not certain of the day ? — No.

You understood you had been sent for in order that you might be seen ? — Yes.

Rc'Cxamined by Mr Carter.

I understand you went to the India-House with your father, the same day you
went to Waterloo Place and signed the papers? — Yes.


of King's


Mr. E. D.



Examined by Mr. Solicitor Genei'al.

I believe you are a clerk in the India-House? — Yes.

In what particular department ? — The Cadet-office.

Do you recollect Mr. Prescott applying to you upon any occasion in the month
of April 1827?— Yes.

What day was it, in the first place, you are about to speak to ? — I cannot
exactly recollect the day : it was between Thursday and Saturday.

What did he apply to you for? — He sent for me from the office to receive
instructions from him, and put into my hand a letter.

Did you go to his room ? — Yes, I went to his room.

Did he put into your hand a letter ? — Yes.

What did he say at the time ? — He merely asked uie if I understood it.

What is become of that letter ?— I gave the letter to Colonel Toone.

Lord Tenterden.— CoXoneX Toone did not speak of the loss of any letter.


F. Haldane.




of King's




Mr. Solicitor-General. — He was asked whether he had written a letter to the
same effect as the conversation he had had. He said he was not quite certain.
Lord Tenterden. — A letter by the two-penny post.

Mr. Gurney. — No, in answer to the first application that was made : that part
about England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Mr. Solicitor General. — In consequence of that, what did you do with the
letter ?— I took it to the office, and deposited it in the case where it is usual to
deposit such letters.

Lord Tenterden. — At the Cadet-office ? — Yes.

Mr. Solicitor General. — Did he tell you at all precisely what you were to do ?
— No, merely to write it off.

What is the meaning of that phrase at the India-House? — To mark it in the
Cadet Book,

Mark what ? — Mark off the appointment.

Lord Tenterden. — I do not know what that means. I suppose it means that
Colonel Toone's appointment was filled up.

Mr. Gurney. — It is marking the exchange.

Mr. Solicitor-General. — What do you mean by that. Did you do so?— Yes.

(Mr. Abington produced a book which was handed to the fVitness.)

Mr. Solicitor-General. — Can you explain it ?— This is not the book.

You wrote it off? — Yes.

What did it shew when you had written it off?— The nomination was put to
the Director to whom it was transferred.

Did it purport that this was a transfer from Colonel Toone to Mr. Prescott ?—

Did you, on the following day see Colonel Toone at your office or afterwards ?
—I cannot say it was the following day.

What day in the week was it ? — I saw him on the Monday following.

Do you recollect whether you saw him on the Saturday ?— I think I did see
him on Saturday.

Did he come to your office ? — Yes.

What did he come for : what did he say ? — He lamented the circumstance of
having lent Mr. Prescott the nomination ; but directed that the gentleman was
not to pass until he saw him.

Was that the Monday ? — I think it was the Monday he came.

Lord Tenterden. — What day did he tell you that?— He told it me on the




Lord Tenterden. — So I thought.

Mr. Solicitor General. — Do you remember the papers being brought into
your office on the second of May ? — Yes.

What did you do with them ? — I took them immediately from the office and
gave them into the hands of the Deputy Secretary.

That was Mr. Auber ? — Yes.

Had you received any directions from Mr. Auber to that effect ?— Yes.

(Some papers were handed to the witness). Are those the papers ?— Yes.

Is that the hand-writing of Mr. Prescott ? Look at the recommendatory
letter. — It is signed by Mr, Prescott.

Does his name occur elsewhere ? — No.


of King's




Examined by Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet.
Are you a clerk in the Cadet Office at the India-House ? — Yes.

In consequence of any message, did you attend on Mr. Prescott, the Director,
on the 28th of April, in his room ? — I did

Did he produce to you any papers ? — He produced a note from Colonel

Intimating a compliance with his wish to give an appointment? — Yes, and for
the papers to be sent up to Colonel Toone for his signature.

Did he also produce the paper A? — Yes, this is the one that Captain Prescott
produced to me.

What did he say upon the subject of that paper when he produced it ? — He
asked me if the paper was complete.

What did you say ? — I said they were not complete.

Did you state in what respect they were not complete ? — I said that the first
part was not completed ; the letter of recommendation was not complete.
In what respect was it incomplete ? — It was not filled up.

In what other respect was the paper not complete ? — The fourth question not

Were the other parts filled up ? — Yes, the other parts were filled up.

What further was said upon that : did you inform him how they ought to be
filled up ? — He first asked me — If you will excuse me for half a minute.

Recollect yourself. — Captain Prescott asked me^ in what way the first letter
should be filled in.


Mr, Sharp.




of King's




The letter of recommendation? — Yes. I answered, that if Colonel Toone
signed the nomination. Captain Prescott ought to sign the first letter of recom-

Did he make any observation upon that ? — Captain Prescott said, *' is not
that irregular?'' I answered that it was; but that since Colonel Toone was to
sign the nomination, it was necessary for Mr. Prescott to sign it, as I presumed
Colonel Toone knew nothing of the other parties. I also filled in the fourth
question, by the desire of Captain Prescott, as a Cadet, for a guide, in pencil.

Lord Tenterden. — Did Captain Prescott then sign the letter ? — Yes.

Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet. — The letter was filled up and he signed it, and the
question filled in by his dictation ? — Captain Prescott asked me to fill it in in
a proper way.

Was there any other mode suggested, or any other papers lying by ? — I re-
commended Captain Prescott to allow me to write a note to Colonel Toone,
saying in what way the papers ought to be signed.

What answer did he make to that ? — Captain Prescott desired me to fill up
the nomination, and to send it to Colonel Toone for his signature.

You say you recommended a note to be sent to Colonel Toone, saying that
Captain Prescott ought to fill up the nomination ? — Yes.

What did he say in answer to that ? — He said, in consequence of the note
he had received from Colonel Toone, he would not give him any further
trouble, but desired me to fill up the nomination and send it to Colonel Toone
for signature.

If Captain Prescott had signed the nomination himself, and the recommen-
dation had been signed by the person to whom it was given, would that have
given Colonel Toone any additional trouble ? — No, it would not : it was only
transferring it to Captain Prescott.

In that case, would it not have been less trouble ?

Mr. Pollock. - No, that is not a proper question.

Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet. — What would Colonel Toone have had to have done
with the papers in that case? — He would have had nothing to do with them.

You say, you promised to write to Colonel Toone ? — Yes.

Were you desired to do so ? — No.

What was it that would have given Colonel Toone trouble if the papers had
been in any different form to what they are now ? — If they had been in a dif-
ferent form, they would have been in a form that Captain Prescott would have
had to sign them.

Would that have given Colonel Toone none ? — None.




Did you prepare any draft of a note to be sent to Colonel Toone ? — Not Court
upon that subject. of King's

Did you prepare any draft of a note and shew it to Captain Prescott after

the papers were signed ? — After I had filled up the nomination, Captain Pres- Mr. Sharp..
cott desired me to write a note transmitting them to Colonel Toone.

Did you do so accordingly ? — I wrote a note in Captain Prescott's name to

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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 11 of 17)