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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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King's Bench by writ of certiorari, at the instance of Mr. William Andrews,
one of the defendants, came on yesterday for trial at Guildhall, London,
before Lord Tenterden and a Special Jury,

Previously to the sitting of the Court, five of the defendants, namely,
Samuel Sutton, William Andrews, Joseph Tyndale, George Henry Gibbons,
and Thomas Wright, applied to his Lordship for leave to withdraw their
several pleas of " Not Guilty," and to plead " Guilty " to the whole of the
indictment ; an application to which his Lordship acceded, and they all
pleaded " Guilty " accordingly.

Shortly after the Jury were sworn, another of the defendants, James Patten
Anstice, requested permission to consent to a verdict of " Guilty," and a
verdict to that effect was recorded against him.

The trial of the indictment then proceeded against the only two remaining

defendants on the record, viz. John Edward Despard and Charles Elton

Prescott, Esq. It occupied the whole of the day, from ten o'clock in the "!"„„"|,'''^.)
morning until nearly six o'clock in the evening. The Jury did not retire from • •'

the Court, but remained in deliberation in their box for about twenty
minutes, when they returned a verdict, finding the defendant, John Edward
Despard, " guilty," and Charles Elton Prescott, Esq. " not guilty."

Before the next meeting of the Honourable Court, I shall be able to
transmit to you the short-hand writer's notes of the whole of the proceedings
upon the trial. '•

I am. Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

(^Signed) Edward Lawford.
Joseph Dart, Esq.

E 2 No. XVHL



28 PAPERS RELATING TO






No. xvm.

AT A

COURT OF DIRECTORS,



No xvill. *o til'-."' Held on Wednesday, the 12th March 1828.

Court of A letter from the Company's Solicitor, dated this day, transmitting, with

Tjii*^f tors

i2Mar.i82'8. reference to his letter of the 7th instant, a copy of the short-hand writer's
notes of the trial of the indictment in the Court of King's Bench on the
6th instant, being read;

Ordered, That the said letters, and the notes of the trial therewith trans-
mitted, be referred to the consideration of the Committee of Correspondence.

tr.



No. XIX. Sir;



No. XIX.

Drapers' Hall, 12th March 1828.



Letter from With reference to the report with which I troubled you on the 7th

Company s jnstant, I have now the honour to transmit herewith a copy of the short-hand

Solicitor. . ' ^•'

i2Mar.l828. writer's notes of the trial of the indictment in the Court of King's Bench on the
6th instant.*

I am, Sir,
, , Your most obedient servant,

Oi 9IdB . ^ -r. T

„ (Signed) Edward Lawford.

Joseph Dart, Esq.



Mr

* For these Notes »2<fe page 81.

.IIIY>, No. XX.



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. gg



No. XX.

AT A

COURT OF DIRECTORS,

Held on Wednesday, the 12th March 1828. ^^ ^^

A Report from the Secret Select Committee appointed by the Court for the Court of
purpose of investigating the transactions alluded to in a Minute of a Secret Com- i2Mar.l828.
mittee of Correspondence of the 2d May 1827> dated this day, being read ;
adverting to their Report of the 6th June last, in which it was stated, " the
" case of another Cadetship, in which some of the same parties are concerned,
" has engaged much of the attention of your Committee, who are still inves-
" tigating the circumstances of that appointment, they are not prepared to
" make any Report to the Court upon this case ; but they feel that they ought
" to state, that there is matter of such strong suspicion attending it, that the
'• Committee feel it incumbent upon them to pursue that investigation to a
" close." Stating that, in pursuance of the foregoing intimation, the Com-
mittee feel it to be their duty to call the Court's attention to the circumstances
of the case then alluded to, which is that of Mr. Benjamin Bale, who was no-
minated by Charles Elton Prescott, Esq. to a Madras Infantry Cadetship in
February 1827, upon the recommendation of the same Mr. Samuel Sutton who
pleaded guilty to the indictment preferred against him (for selling a Cavalry
Cadetship) in the Court of King's Bench, on Thursday last, the 6th instant ;
explaining the reasons for which the Committee do not recommend the institu-
tion of any legal proceedings against the parties implicated in the present trans-
action ; and stating, with respect to the young man himself, that it appears evi-
dent to the Committee that he paid a sum of money for his appointment, and
that it was obtained by means of a representation which was grossly and wil-
fully false, and that the Committee have therefore no hesitation in recommend-
ing that Mr. Bale be forthwith recalled. The Committee, in conclusion, ob-
serve, that as they have now brought to a close the investigation into the cir-
cumstances



No. XX.



30 PAPERS RELATING TO



Court of cumstances referred to them, and as the reasons have ceased to exist for keep-
i2Mar.l828. '"& private the examinations which have been taken from time to time before
the Committee, those examinations are submitted together with the present
Report.

And the Examinations taken before the Select Committee, and submitted
with the Report above-mentioned, having been likewise read ;

It was moved,
" That Mr. Benjamin Bale, who proceeded by the ship Resource as an In-
«' fantry Cadet for Madras, on the IStli March 1827, be forthwith recalled."

Whereupon it was,
Ordered, That the said Report and Examinations, and the Motion now sub-
mitted, be taken into consideration on Wednesday next, the 19th instant.

The Reports from the Secret Select Committee, dated the 4th and 30th May
last, being called for, were read ;

It was then, on a motion.

Ordered, That the Secret Select Committee appointed for the purpose of in-
vestigating the transactions alluded to in a Minute of a Secret Committee of
Correspondence of the 2d May 1827, be discharged from the further considera-
tion of the matter referred to them.



No. XXI.



No. XXI.



AT A

COURT OF DIRECTORS,

Held on Wednesday, the 19th March 1828.



Court of The Court proceeding to take into consideration a Report from the Secret

i9Mar!i828. 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 2d May 1827, dated the 12th instant, and ordered to lie for considera-

ation until this day :

The



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. 91

No. XXL



The said Report was read ; adverting to the Committee's Report of the 6th Court of
June last, in which it was stated, " the case of another cadetship, in which i9Mar.l828.
" some of the same parties are concerned, has engaged much of the attention
" of your Committee, who are still investigating the circumstances of that
" appointment, they are not prepared to make any report to the Court upon
" this case ; but they feel that they ought to state, that there is matter of such
" strong suspicion attending it, that the Committee feel it incumbent upon
" them to pursue the investigation to a close." Representing that, in pur-
suance of the foregoing intimation, the Committee feel it to be their duty to
call the Court's attention to the circumstances of the case then alluded to,
which is that of Mr. Benjamin Bale, who was nominated by Charles Elton
Prescott, Esq. to a Madras Infantry Cadetship in February 1827> upon the
recommendation of the same Mr. Samuel Sutton who pleaded guilty to the
indictment preferred against him (for selling a Cavalry Cadetship) in the Court
of King's Bench, on Thursday last, the 6th instant : — explaining the reasons
for which the Committee do not recommend the institution of any legal pro-
ceedings against the parties implicated in the present transaction ; and stating,
with respect to the young man himself, that it appears evident to the Committee
that he paid a sum of money for his appointment, and that it was obtained by
means of a representation which was grossly and wilfully false, and that the
Committee have therefore no hesitation in recommending that Mr. Bale be
forthwith recalled. The Committee in conclusion observe, that as they have
brought to a close the investigation into the circumstances referred to them,
and as the reasons have ceased to exist for keeping private the examinations
which have been taken from time to <^ime before the Committee, those examina-
tions are submitted with the present Report.

And the Motion which was submitted on the 12th instant for the recall of
Mr. Benjamin Bale, being likewise read ;

It was,
- Resolved by the Ballot unanimoitsly. That Mr. Benjamin Bale, who proceeded
by the ship Resource as an Infantry Cadet for Madras, on the 13th March 1827,
be forthwith recalled.

The Report from the Secret Select Committee was then, on the question,
approved.

No. XXII.



3^ PAPERS RELATING TO

No. XXII.

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 2d May 1827,

^^ j^j^jj Held on Wednesday, the 12th March 1828.

Report of Your Committee, in their fourth Report to the Court, under date the 6th

^ommhfee.' "^""^ ''*^*»* Stated " that the case of another Cadetship, in which some of the

l2Mar.l828. " game parties are concerned," (and to which the opinion of Mr, Serjeant Bosan-

quet, alluded to in the Report of your Committee of the l6th ultimo, adverts)

" has engaged much of the attention of your Committee, who are still investi-

*' gating the circumstances of that appointment. They are not prepared to

" make any Report to the Court upon this case ; but they feel that they ought

• " to state, that there is matter of such strong suspicion attending it, that the

" Committee feel it incumbent upon them to pursue that investigation to a

" close."

In pursuance of the foregoing intimation, your Committee now feel it to be
their duty to call the Court's attention to the circumstances of the case to
which they then alluded. It is that of Mr. Benjamin Bale, who was nominated
by C. E. Prescott, Esq. to a Madras Infantry Cadetship, in February 1827, upon
the recommendation of the same Mr. Samuel Sutton, who pleaded guilty to
the indictment preferred against him (for selling a Cavalry Cadetship) in the
Court of King's Bench, on Thursday last, the 6th instant.

On the 28d February 1827, Mr. Prescott signed the nomination of Mr. Ben-
jamin Bale, as a Cadet for the Madras Infantry, by which he declares that he
has " inquired into the character, connexions, and qualifications of Mr. Ben-
" jamin Bale, and that in his (Mr. Prescott's) opinion, he is a fit person to

'♦ petition
* rfrffpage'iS.



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. 33

No. XXII.



" petition the East-India Company for the appointment he thereby solicits." Report of
The recommendation is stated to be by S. Sutton, Esq., and the recommen- committ^
datory letter addressed to the Court of Directors is signed by Mr. Samuel 12Mar.I828.
Sutton, in which he declares, " upon his honour, that he received the nomi-
" nation of a Cadet for the Madras Infantry from Charles Elton Prescott,
" Esq. gratuitously, and that he had given it gratuitously to Mr. Benjamin
" Bale, with whose family and connexions he states himself to be well ac-
" quainted."

It is perfectly clear, however, that Mr. Sutton was not acquainted with Mr.
Benjamin Bale or his friends ; for, on Mr. Sutton's examination before your
Committee on the 4th May last (now submitted to the Court), when he was asked
by the Committee whether he had had before any patronage from Mr. Prescott,
he replied, " that he had had a common Cadetship only. That he did not recol-
" lect when, but that it was after the then last Christmas. That he gave it to a
" man of the name of Godwin, and that he did not recollect the name of the
" Cadet. That he (Mr. Sutton) did not ask to whom it was given, but that
" he gave it to a man whom he had known."

Upon your Committee inquiring whether the name of the Cadet was Bale,
Mr. Sutton replied, " that he did not know Bale or his friends, his family or
" connexions. That he had known Mr. Godwin very many years, but that he
" did not know his Christian name: that it might be John or James, and that
" he lived somewhere at Brixton."

Upon the examination of the papers relative to the appointment of Cadet
Bale (who sailed by the Resource on the 13th March 1827), it is manifest that
the answers which should have been written by the Cadet himself are in the
hand-writing of Gibbons, one of the parties who pleaded guilty to the late in-
dictment ; with the exception of the answer to the fourth question, containing
the name of the Director, which name is " Charles Elton Prescott, Esq. ; and
the answer, " S. Sutton," are in a different hand-writing, supposed to be that
of the Cadet.

It appears that the Guardian's Certificate is dated the l6th February 1827,
and is signed by one " James Chamberlin," who describes himself as " guar-
" dian to the Cadet, Barnstaple, Devon."

Your Committee have seen and examined Mr. Chamberlin, from whose tes-

F tiraony



34 PAPERS RELATING TO

No. xxir.

Report of timony it appears that, although he was not, in point of law, the guardian of
^ommfttee' ^^^^> ^^^ ^^^ shortly before attained his age of twenty-one years, he had
i2Mar.l828. been requested by Bale so to describe himself; and that he had, in the month
of February 1827, met Bale and Gibbons in company together in London.

Your Committee have further ascertained, that on the 1st February 1827,
this same Bale drew from his bankers in London a sum of £800 ; £700 of
which consisted of two bank of England notes, the one for £500, and the
other for £200. These two notes were paid into the Bank of England on
Saturday the 24th February 1827. They had been previously cut in halves,
and have no name on them but that of " G. H. Gibbons," evidently in his own
hand-writing.

The note for £500 appears to have been exchanged for twelve smaller notes,
viz. four of £100 each, four of £20 each, and four of £5 each.

Among the notes which were given by the Bank in exchange for the £500
note, it appears that there were four of £100 each, three of which notes were
paid on that same Saturday, by Mr. Samuel Sutton, to a stock-broker, through
whom they passed on that same day into the hands of the stock-broker's
bankers, having, as it appears, been cut in halves and joined together again.

The other of the four notes for £100 has the name upon it of " T. Godwin."
On one of the notes for £20 (which also appears to have been cut in half) is
written the name of " S. Sutton." On another for the same amount, which
had also been cut in half, is written the name of " Goodwin ;" and on one of
those for £5, which had also been cut in half, is written the name of
" Godwin."

The inquiries which your Committee have caused to be made after Mr.
Godwin have been attended with no other success, than that of satisfying
your Committee that he has absented himself on account of pecuniary difficul-
ties in which he was involved, and that there is little prospect of his being
met with.

It does not, however, appear to your Committee, that any legal evidence
exists, except that of his accomplices, Mr. Sutton and Mr. Gibbons (Mr.
Bale, the Cadet, being in India), by which, if he were forthcoming, he could
be proved guilty of a corrupt negociation.

Against Mr. Sutton and Mr. Gibbons the moral evidence of guilt in this

transaction



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE. 35

No. XXII,



transaction is very strong ; but as they are already convicted under the indict- Report of
ment recently preferred, and as legal evidence which might be adduced against committed'
them is not direct, although it leads to the strongest moral conviction of their l2IVIar.l828.
guilt, your Committee do not recommend any legal proceedings against them
in reference to this transaction.

With respect to the young man himself who has thus obtained his appoint-
ment, it appears to your Committee so evident that he paid a sum of money
for it, and that it was manifestly obtained by means of a representation to the
Court of Directors which was grossly and wilfully false, your Committee
have no hesitation in recommending that Mr. Bale be forthwith recalled.

Your Committee have now discharged the painful duty imposed upon them by
the Court. They have brought to a close the investigation into the circum-
stances referred to them ; and as the reasons have ceased to exist for keeping
private the examinations which have been taken from time to time before your
Committee, those examinations are submitted, together with this Report, to
the consideration of the Court.

(Signed) H. Lindsay,

J. Pattison,
Gko. Smith,
J. G. Ravenshaw,
J. Baillie.



p 2 No. XXIII.



36 PAPERS RELATING TO

No. XXITI.

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 Qd May 1827,

No. XXIII. ^^^^ o" Wednesday the 2d May 1827,



Examina- The Chairman stated briefly to the Committee the purpose for which they
Secret Select had met, and proposed, in order to put the Committee in possession of the cir-
Committee, cumstances which gave rise to the present investigation, that a Report made
to the late Chairman, in February last, should be read.
The said Report was accordingly read.

The Company's Solicitor then stated the outline of the measures which had
taken place to the present day : by which it appeared that the sum of nine
hundred guineas had been required to be paid by certain parties for the appoint-
ment of a Cavalry Cadetship to be conferred on Mr. Edward Drake Back, and
that half of two Bank of England notes, one of £500 and the other of £300,
had been lodged with certain parties in furtherance of the object j and the
papers procured from the Cadet Office, shewing that a Madras Cavalry Cadet-
ship given by Colonel Toone to Charles E. Prescott, Esq., and by the latter
gentleman to Mr. E. D. Back, being laid before the Committee by the Chairman,

It was,
Resolved; That Colonel Toone be requested to attend the Committee.

Colonel



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE.



COLONEL TOONE attending the Committee.



37



Question.
«« An appointment, the papers res-
pecting which are now handed to
you, having taken place, and it ap-



Jnswer.
" A few days ago I received a note
from Mr. Prescott, the Director,
requesting that I would accommo-



No. XXIII.

Examina-
tions before
Secret Select
Committee.

Col. Toone.



pearing that your name is aflSxed to " date him with a Cavalry Cadetship,



the papers, the Committee are ready
to hear any observations which you
may wish to make thereon, if you
see fit to make any, remembering
that the subject is one which will
probably undergo investigation in a
court of justice, and that any state-
ment made by you may be hereafter
brought forward."



" and that he would give me one in
" return, the first he might have.
" Prior to this I knew nothing about
" the circumstance of Ensign Frede-
" rick having returned from India, as
" mentioned in the Committee of
" Correspondence last Friday. I
" considered that I was obliging Mr.
" Prescott in an honourable way.—
** When the subject of Mr. Frederick
" had been mentioned in the Com-
" mittee, I immediately wrote a note
" to Mr. Abington, of the Cadet
" Ofiice, desiring that the young gen-
" tleman for whom I had lent Mr.
" Prescott the appointment should
" not pass till I had seen him.

(Colonel Toone peruses the paper
from ihz Cadet Office, to which his
signature was attached.)

" The nomination was a Madras
** Cavalry Cadetship that Mr. Morris
" owed me. I did make an inquiry of
" Mr. Prescott, in consequence of
" what had passed in the Committee
" of Correspondence. — Mr. Prescott
*♦ told me, the young man was a
" gentleman, the son of a most re-
spectable



No. XXIII.

Examina-
tions before
Secret Select
Committee.

Col. Toone.



38 PAPERS RELATING TO

Question. Answer.

" spectable clergyman in Devonshire,
" and that I might depend, upon his
•' honour, that all was right : that he
" knew the gentleman was as fine a
" young man as any in England, and
«* that he knew his father. I knew
" no one but Mr. Prescott.

(Colonel Toone peruses the 'written
answers in the paper.)

** Immediately that I heard some-
" thing might occur as to Frederick,
" I determined to see the young man,
and to write into the city to order
" that he should not pass till I had
" seen him. This is all I have to
" say. I particularly wrote he was
" not to pass without my seeing him.
" I not only wrote, but went to the
" Office, and desired that the appoint-
" raent should not take place without
" my seeing him, and I desired Mr.
" Abington to speak to his Assis-
" tants."

It was then stated, by the Chairman, that he had arrested the papers in their
progress, to prevent the youth being sworn.

" What made you apprehend any " Mr. Frederick's business; in con-



" thing unpleasant in the transac
" tion?"



" sequence of which story I asked
" the Chairs whether they saw any
" objection to my lending the ap-
" pointment."
Colonel Toone then withdrew.
It was then
Resolved, That C. E. Prescott, Esq. be requested to attend the Committee.

Mr.



ABUSE OF PATRONAGE.



Mr. PRESCOTT attending,



39



No. XXIII.



Question.
" An appointment, the papers re-
" specting which are now handed to
" you, having taken place, and it ap-
" pearing that your name is affixed to
" the papers, the Committee are ready
" to hear any observations which you
" may wish to make thereon, if you
" see fit to make any, remembering
" that the subject is one which will
" probably undergo investigation in a
" court of justice, and that any state-
" ment made by you may be hereafter
•' brought forward ?"

The Deputy Chairman. — " In what
" degree do you suppose me to be
" intimate with Mr. Sutton ?"



Answer.
" This is an appointment I borrowed
" of Colonel Toone, to give to a very
" particular friend of mine, Mr. Sutton?
" whom Mr. Pattison, the Deputy
" Chairman, knows. I know nothing
" of the parties whatever ; and I give
" you. Sir, my honour, that I have
" never received one farthing for any
" patronage that I have given since I
" have been in the India-House. — I
" am ready to take a solemn oath. —
•« I declare to God, that I have never
" taken one shilling for any nomina-
" tion, either directly or indirectly."

" You know he canvassed for me,
" and I have been asked to give him
" the Cadetship. — I can say nothing
" further. I can only add, that I am
" as free from selling any patronage as
" any gentleman here."
Mr. Prescott withdrew, at the request of the Committee, who discussed the
propriety of putting to that gentleman some further questions.



Examina-
tions before
Secret Select
Committee.

Mr. Prescott.



Mr. HALDANE, one of the Assistants to Mr. Abington in the Cadet-
Office, was called in, and was informed by the Chairman that he was to consider
what passed in the Committee as secret, and was cautioned not to divulge the
same.



Question.
" Are you acquainted with the paper
signed by Captain Prescott ?"
" State when these papers were
given to Captain Prescott."



Answer.
" I have seen the paper before.

«« By Mr. Sharp, to Captain Pres-
<• cott, on Saturday, the 28th April.

** I know



Mr.
Haldane.



No. XXIII.

. Examina-
tions before
Secret Select
Committee.



40



Question.



Mr.
Haldane.



Mr,



PAPERS RELATING TO

Jnywer.
" I know this from Mr. Sharp. — To-
" day is the first day I have seen the
" papers since they were brought by a
" young gentleman whom I had never
" seen before. — Mr. Sharp filled in
" the papers. — The answer to the
'• fourth query was left blank when
" taken away : it was not filled up on
" Saturday, when I parted with it.
" —Mr. Sharp had it."
Haldane was desired to withdraw.



Mr. Sharp.



Mr. SHARP, of the Cadet-Office, was called
Chairman in the same manner as Mr. Haldane.
Question.

" Look at the papers, and state in
" whose hand-writing they are filled



in, and cautioned by the



up



3»»



Answer.

" They are filled up in my hand-
** writing.— Captain Prescott desired
" me, after Colonel Toone had signed
" them, to send them to his house. —
" The papers were with Captain Pres-
" cott from Saturday till this morning.
" I did not see them till this morning.


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

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 3 of 17)