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 5 of 17)
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" hand?"

Mr. Sharp confirmed his former statement, as to the transmission of the papers

to Colonel Toone on the Saturday, at Captain Prescott's desire ; and their

subsequent transmission, after being signed by Colonel Toone, to Captain

Prescott's house.

He was then ordered to withdraw.

The Committee being informed that Dr. Back Was in attendance ;

Ordered, That Dr. Back be informed, the Committee do not feel it necessary
Xo detain him in town ; but that they request he will hold himself in readiness
to obey their summons whenever he may receive it.

The Committee adjourned till to-morrow at eleven.



No. XXV.




Fo'r the purpose of investigating the Transactions alluded to in a Minute of a
Secret Committee of Correspondence of the 2d May 1827,

Held on Friday, the 4th May 1827-

Mr. SUTTON attending the Committee.

" Is your name Sutton ?

" The Committee are informed by
" Mr.Prescott, that the nomination of
" Mr. Edward Drake Back to a cavalry
" cadetship was given on your so-
" licitation. They are investigating
" the circumstances of this nomina-
♦' tion, and are ready to hear any
" thing which you may wish to say
" upon it, cautioning you that the
" subject, may undergo investigation
" in a court of justice."

Remembering the caution already

No. XXV.

" Samuel Sutton."

" I have nothing more to state, than
" that I received the appointment from
" Captain Prescott, and that I have
" abused his confidence, because I told
" him an untruth. With respect to
•' answering any question here in your
" Committee; as it may be brought
" forward in a court of justice, I shall
" not, without a legal adviser, answer
" any question. I have deceived
'• Captain Prescott, who has been my
" best friend. If I have done wrong,
" I have been deceived. I do not come
" here to tell a lie."

tions before
Secret Select

Mr, SuUon.

" Perfectly, Sir. If I think myself
given to you, are you willing to an- " justified in so doing, I will answer
swer such questions as the Com- " them. I am not prepared. I might
mittee may put ? " commit

No. XXV.

tions before
Secret Select

Mr. Sutton.



" The Committee are desirous you
*• should in no way commit yourself."

Question. Answer.

" commit myself by one word. This
" may be a serious sort of an event."
" I shall be happy, at a higher tri-
" bunal, to be called and examined as

" you may please I had a good in-

" tent and a good motive, and shall be
" ready to meet a court of justice.
" Unfortunately, Captain Prescott has
" had too much reliance on me. He
" gave me the papers, and said he
'•■ relied upon mefor being correct, and
" wished himself to take them to the
" oflSce and get them filled up. Any
" thing as to Captain Prescott I will
" answer on my oath, but I cannot
" meet him."
Mr. Sutton was requested to withdraw, and the Committee discussed the
propriety of putting further questions.
Mr. Sutton was again requested to attend.

Question. Answer.

Mr. Sutton being again cautioned not " Truly, Sir."
to commit himself, was informed that " With respect to the Cadetship, I
the Committee were ready to hear " said that I wanted it for a most par-
any thing further that he might wish " ticular friend of mine. Dr. Back's
to say. «* son. I did not know Dr. Back or

" his son, and that is the way I meant

" that I deceived Captain Prescott.: — I

" gave it to a third person, who was

, " Colonel Edwards. It came through

" a third person, instead of direct to
" Dr. Back. — The appointment 1 gave
" to Colonel Edwards myself, and I
" saw the young man fill up the paper
" myself, at least that part in pencil,



Question. Answer.

" and the top part in blank, both at

No. XXV.

«' When did you ask Captain Pres-
cott for the appointment ?"

tions before

" the same time. So far I know to Secret Select
" be perfectly correct : that is all I can Committee;

" state." Mr. Sutton.

" It is about a fortnight ago : it
" may be more or less. The papers
" were never out of my possession
" till I saw the boy sign them, nor
" before that time till I delivered them
" over to Colonel Edwards. — It might
** be a week before I delivered over
*' the papers, I cannot exactly say.
" When I asked Captain Prescott,
" he said he had no hopes of being
" enabled to give me a Cavalry Cadet.
" I said, ' when you come into the di-
" ' rection it will be of no earthly use,
*' *as the boy will be too old,' or
" something to that purpose. — ^When
" I gave the certificate to Captain
" Prescott, the whole was fully signed
" excepting the answer to the fourth
" question. — I delivered the papers,
" the last time, to Colonel Edwards
" on Wednesday morning. — The
" petition, when given me, was not
" filled up, either in the first part or
" in the fourth question and answer. —
" I hope all is right. If I had said I
" had given it to a third party in-
" stead of to Dr. Back, I should have
" been as happy as a prince. The
" fourth answer I saw written by the
** boy himself, and I never saw two
I " such

No. XXV.

tions before
Secret Select




that the "

Mr. Sutton. " Who was it told you
" hoy was nearly of age ?"

" You are here voluntarily : the
" Committee will abstain, if you de-
** sire not to have questions put.";

" What is your connexion with
« Colonel Edwards ?"

" By whom?"

" Who was the friend whose name
you declined mentioning ?"

i;" Did you see Captain Prescott last
« night?"



such apparently different hands in

the same paper. I said he was a fine

young man."

Upon my life, I cannot bring to
" my recollection." ::' ; t? : - »»

" I came here unprepared, j f
" know nothing more than what I
" have told you."

" He was introduced to me."

" I did it to oblige a friend. I had
" known some little of Colonel Ed-
" wards some time. I have told you
" the truth, so help me God. I kept
" the paper from the time I got it till
" I gave it to Colonel Edwards. I
" got it from Captain Prescott, and
" told him it was for a very particular
'* friend of mine, and that he was
*' soon of age. Not for ten thousand
" would I have told him a lie."

" At present I am not prepared to
" answer. There may be something
" wrong somewhere. 1 recollect how
" I obtained it, and how I gave it
" out of my hands."

" Yes, about six. He wrote to me.
" I should have answered his letter,
" but was out at six in the morning
" and off to the country. I under-
" stood Captain Prescott had been
" looking for me, and I faithfully
" promised him I would be here this
" morning. — Had Captain Prescott

«« told



-.1 fJ

■1 110

" Did you obtain it originally for
" the young man ?"

' « Who made the application to you
for the cadetship ?"

(jBy the Deputy Chairman.) — " As a
friend and well-wisher to yourself
and Mr. Prescott, and desirous of
maintaining that conduct between
man and man which ought to be
observed, I must state that Mr.
Prescott is put into a very unplea-
sant situation. All you can say in
explanation, which may have the
effect of influencing the opinion of
the Committee with regard to that
gentleman, ought to be given."

No. XXV.

tions before
Secret Select


told me the nature of the business I
should have been more collected."
" Certainly. The certificate was
given me before the appointment. Mr. Sutton.
When the paper was first given me
it was not filled up : the second
time I got it the certificate at the top
was filled up and the answer to the
fourth question."

" I must decUne answering. I know
a httle of Colonel Edwards. I must,
first of all, know why and wherefore
all this examination takes place.- —
I have no objection in any court of
justice, but here I must decline to
answer. I have no objection to state
how I came by the appointment and
how I gave it. I will not tell a lie."
" If there is any imputation on
Captain Prescott, and I can wipe it
off by any oath, I am ready to de-
clare that he is as free as any person
in the Honourable Court. I went
to see his son in the Bench, and I
told Captain Prescott how his name
had been used as to patronage, and
that the son had mentioned that
Mr. Wright had said, if he would
give him a Writership and a Cadet-
ship it would get him released out
of prison. I said, * Tom, you have

* before made use of these expres-

sions ; and before your father
« would give it you, he would see

I 2


No. XXV.

tions before
Secret Select

Mr. Sutton.




" Did you receive the papers from
«• Colonel Edwards?"
" From whom ?"

" Have you had any patronage
« from Mr. Prescott before ?"

" Was the name Bale ?'


' you hung first.' — I regret to have
brought such a slur upon him. I
deceived him, and I have told the
whole truth, so help me God. — The
paper was filled up, except where
the blanks were left, before I made
application for the appointment ;
that is, the first part, and all but
the answer to the fourth question. —
I got the paper filled up. They
had got it already signed. The
gentleman had been looking out for
an appointment for his son."
•♦ From Colonel Edwards, but not
from his hands."

" I have no great mystery about it,
but I must consider. I am not pre-
pared. There may be a set against
me. With respect to Captain Pres-
cott, I am prepared to swear before
a Magistrate : I am prepared to an-
swer any question. There may be an
error somewhere."
" A common Cadetship only. I
don't recollect when. I gave it to a
man of the name of Godwin. I don't
recollect the name of the cadet. It
was after Christmas last. Upon my
life I did not ask to whom it was
given. I gave it to a man whom I
had known."

" I am not acquainted with Bale or
his friends. I have known Mr. God-
win very many years. He was once

" acquainted


" Did you inquire whether there
" was any acquaintance between Mr.
" Godwin and Mr. Bale?"

No. XXV.

tions before'
Secret Select


" acquainted with a person by whom
"I lost a good deal of money."

" Upon my word, I did not. I do

" not remember who signed the paper Mr. Sutton.
" to the cadet. I can send my friend.
« (Peruses the printed papers, 'which
•' certify that he knows the parties.)—
" It is true, but I was not ac-
" quainted with the writing of the
** young man. I believe I came with
" him. (Looks at questions and an-
" swers.) The name of Sutton, at the
" Question No. 2, is not my writing.
" — Upon my life, as to the Cadet's
" writing being in his hand to the
" answers, there is in the other papers
" a circumstance, as to the fourth
" answer, which makes it impossible
" for any one to answer as to hand-
" writings. I do not know Mr.God win's
" christian name. He lives somewhere
" at Brixton, It may be John or James.
« — I don't know the family and
" connexions of Mr. Bale. My
" friend brought his friend for whom
' " the appointment was obtained. I

" remember that I came with Mr.

' " Bale ; I don't know whether they

" were not busy in the office, so I

" sent the note."

" Do you know Mr. Godwin's " Yes, I have many notes of his. I

writing ?" " don't know Sutton of Taunton."

Mr. Sutton withdrew.
The Committee adjourned till Friday, the 11th instant, at eleven.



'. -/:;;'• AT A ,



For the Purpose of investigating the Transactions alluded to in a Minute of a
Secret Committee of Correspondence of the 2d May 1827f
No. XXVI. Held on Friday the 11th May 1827.

Examina- • The Chairman stated, that he had received a letter from Captain Prescott
Select S^ecret dated the 10th instant, expressing his anxious wish that the most unreserved!
Commttee. scrutiny be made regarding the mode in which he lias disposed of his patron-
age since he became a Director.

The said letter was read, being as follows, viz.

" East-India House, May the 10th 1827.
" My dear Sir :
" As I learn that the Secret Committee meet again to-morrow, I am desi..
" rous, through you, to express my anxious wish that the most unreserved scrU'
:♦• tiny be made, in any way the Committee may deem best, regarding the
" mode in which I have disposed of the whole of the patronage that has been
.*f allotted to me since I was chosen a Director.

"I have the honour to be,
" My dear Sir,

" Your humble servant,
.h** To the Hon. H. Lindsay, {Signed) " C. E. Pkescott."

" Chairman, &c. &c."

nw wo . — — —

Mr. ; Mr. ABINGTON. attending the Committee.

Abington. Question. Answer,

" Are the Committee in possession « I think so ; but some were writ-
" of all the notes senttothe Cad et- " ten, or indeed most, whilst I was
" office by Colonel Toone?" " absent, from indisposition.'*

Mr. Abington was desired to withdraw.




Mr. HALDANE caUed in.


" The Committee desire to know,
whether, oji the Friday afternoon,
the 27th April, you had any written
or verbal communication from Colo-
nel Toone ?"

" What was the first communica-
tion from Colonel Toone to you ?"
" Had you any personal communi-
cation with Colonel Toone ?"

No written, before I received this



tions before
Select Secret



" I think it was a written docu-
" ment sent into the office."

" I saw Colonel Toone three or four
" times on the subject, though I really
" cannot say when. It was in the
" middle of the day, the first personal
" communication. (Looks at the note*
*' dated Saturday the 28th.') This was
" not the first written communication.
" Previously to my receiving this
" Colonel Toone saw me, and said,
" • Do not pass the gentleman till I
** * see him.' This was on the Satur-
" day, about twelve in the day."

" It came in so suddenly, and so
" soon after I saw Colonel Toone,
" that I cannot exactly tell."

" The verbal one was the first, and
" received about twelve ; the written
" one an hour after, and on the same
" day."
Mr. Haldane was desired to withdraw.

" When did the written communi-
cation come in, and was it from
Colonel Toone's house ?"
" Try and recollect which was the
first communication, and when r"

COLONEL TOONE attended the Committee.

Question. Answer.

Colonel Toone is requested to state The latter end of the month of last

the circumstances attending the com- April, about the 26th, I received a note

munication, verbal and written, which from my friend Captain Prescott, with

a request
* For this note, see page 69.

Col. Toone.



he made to the Cadet Office, in rela


tions before , . . n ^ t -n ^

Secret Select tion to the nomination of Cadet Back.

Col. Toone.

a request that I would accommodate
him with the loan of a Cavaky Cadet-
ship, and, if in my power, it would
much oblige him ; that he would return
it to me, the first which should fall to
his lot. I had a Madras Cavalry nomi-
nation in my power, and I was most
happy to oblige him, and immediately
writ a note to Mr. Abington, the gen-
tleman in charge of the Cadet depart-
ment, to request he would give my
Madras Cavalry nomination to Captain
Prescott's order. I received the papers
from Mr. Abington, filled up with the
name of Edward Drake Back, Mr.
Prescott's nomination, which in full
confidence I signed and returned to
him by the messenger who brought
Mr. Abington's papers to my house,
most anxious not to lose a moment to
meet the wishes of Mr. Prescott, and
which I did contrary to my general
practice of seeing the gentleman so
named by my friend, as he informed
me the youth had but two months be-
fore he arrived at the age of twenty-
two years, when he could not be ap-
pointed. Captain Prescott had in-
formed me that he was a very fine
youth, the son of a respectable clergy-
man in Devonshire, with whom he
was acquainted. Immediately after
despatching Mr. Abington's messenger
and his papers signed by me, it oc-


Question. Answer.

curred to me that I had not seen the




" Do the Committee understand,
that after you received the pa-
pers they were sent back to Mr.
Abington, and that you desired Mr.
Abington not to pass the Cadet till
you had seen him ?"
" Do ypu, know the messenger who
brought the papers on the Satur-
day ?"

tions before
youth. I therefore instantly writ to Secret Select

Mr. Abington by the penny post, to Committee.
request that the young gentleman so Col. Tome.
nominated by me must not be pre-
sented to pass for a Cadet until I had
seen him, and with that view, I should
attend at his office on the Monday
morning, and I writ a note and sent
it by my servant to Captain Prescott's
house in Curzon Street immediately,
advising him that I had received the
papers from Mr. Abington, signed
them, and returned them to his office,
but that the youth was not to be pre-
sented to pass as a Cadet until I had
seen him, and with that view I should
attend at Mr. Abington's office on the
Monday morning with a positive order
that the youth should not pass until I
had seen him. I attended and re-
mained in the office until twelve, but

I did not see the youth or Captain

Prescott, nor receive any reply from

Captain Prescott.

" Certainly ; and I directed the

" papers to William Abington, Esq.

" I wrote to him or his Deputy not

" to pass him."

" I do not; nor did I, I think,

" see him. The papers which I re-

" ceived on the Saturday by the mes-

K " senger


NcjiXVI. Question. Answer.

Examina- " senger were directed by me to

slTretSct " William Abington, Esq., and sealed

Committee. . t' up. \ ^as not at all aware that

ColTnone. " they were to go to Mr. Prescott, or

" that they were taken there. I de-
" sired them to be taken to Mr.
" Abington. I don't know how that
•« could occur, it was a very extra-
" ordinary circumstance. I will take
" my oath I sealed up the papers,
" and desired they might be given
" to Mr. Abington the same even-
«• ing. It occurred to me imme-
" diately, that I had done wrong in
" signing the papers before I had
" seen the young man, and I there-
" fore sat down directly, and wrote
" to Mr. Abington by the twopenny
" post, not to pass the Cadet till I
" saw him ; and I wrote again to the
" same effect on Monday, and sent
" that note in by my servant."

Mr. Sharp. Mr. SHARP called in.

Question. Answer.

" By whom were the papers as to " By desire of Captain Prescott."
" Cadet Back sent to Colonel Toone ?"

I'otf' Who was the messenger ?" " I can ascertain of the commo-

" dore."
« What instructions did you give ?" " The papers were enclosed to

" Colonel Toone. I desired that the
" man who took them to Colonel
" Toone should, after receiving them
" back from Colonel Toone, take

«« them




" Through whom did you give the
" instructions to the messenger?"

" Do you know who was the com-
" modore on that day ?"

" Do you say that the papers were
*• not at the house till on the Monday
" or Tuesday ?"

" Are you sure that they were in
" the office between the Saturday and
« Wednesday?"



" them to Captain Prescott, and that Examina-

^ _ tions before

" by Captain Prescott's particular de- Secret Select

,, • .. Committee.

" sire.

" In whose hands did you see them
" first on the Wednesday ?"

Mr. Sharp was desired to withdraw.

" Through the commodore."

" Yes. — I did not see the papers
" again till I got them from Captain
" Prescott : there was then no cover
" on them."

" It was between Monday and
" Wednesday: but I cannot say to a
" certainty."

" I think it was on Wednesday that
" I first saw them after the Saturday,
" and I believe that they were with
" Captain Prescott from the Saturday
" till the Wednesday."

« Mr. Haldane's."

Mr. Sharp.

Mr. HALDANE called in.
" When did you receive the cadet
papers as to Mr. E. D. Back?"

" Did you see the papers between
" Saturday and Wednesday?

** On the Wednesday. I took them
" myself from a tall stout gentleman,
" who came with Mr. Back, the ca-
" det."

" No, not at all ; I thought they
" were with Captain Prescott during
" that time, as Mr. Sharp said he
" gave them to Captain Prescott,"
Mr. Haldane was desired to withdraw.



K 2


tions before
Secret Select







" Colonel Toone wrote to you a
note when he originally transferred
the Cavalry appointment to Cap-
tain Prescott, where is it ?"
" Did you inform Captain Prescott
that he had a Cavalry appointment
in his gift, when he asked about
that from Colonel Toone ?

" How long has Mr. Campbell's
name been against it ?"

Mr. ABINGTON caUed in.

" I have not been enabled to find
any. I do not recollect one." ,

" Captain Prescott looked over his
" own patronage, and was aware that
" he had a nomination in his own gift.
" There was a name against it in
" pencil of Campbell."

" Above six months, I do not know
" who he is."

Mr. Abington. was desired to w\tbjira,^«

The COMMODORE called in.

" What is your name ?"
" Refer to your book, and inform
" the Committee who was the mes-
" senger that took a packet to Colonel
" Toone on the 28th April?"

What orders did you give him ?"

" Salter."
" Messenger No. 4."


" That he was to carry the packet to
" Colonel Toone, and to take the an-
" 8wer he mightgetat Colonel Toone's
" to Captain Prescott's. Mr. Sharp
" gave me such orders J it was either
" him or his messenger."
The Commodore was desired to withdraw.

The MESSENGER called in.
Question. Answer.

«« What is your name ?" " Sullivan."

" Did you receive the packet on " Yes, I did, and I was ordered to

" take

Saturday the 28th April from the
Commodore for Colonel Toone ?"

" How was the letter you received
from the Commodore directed ?'*
" To whom was the answer you
received from Colonel Toone direct-
ed, and was it sealed?"
" To whom did you deliver it in
Curzon Street?"

" What did you tell her to do with
it, and what did she state ?"

" "Who told you ?"

T R O N A G E. 69

" take the answer to Captain Prescott,
*♦ No. 3, Curzon Street : the Commo-
" dore told me so."
« To Colonel Toone."

" It was directed to Mr. Abington,
" and sealed."

" To a woman who opened the
" door."

" I told her to give it to Captain
" Prescott. I got a verbal answer,
" which was, ' there was no answer.' —
" I was told Captain Prescott was
*' at dinner."

" The woman who took the letter.
" She appeared to be the woman of
" the house."


tions before
Secret Select


The Messenger was desired to withdraw.

The opinion of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet on the whole of the proceedings was
then read ; by which it appeared, that, for the reasons therein stated, he
submitted an indictment should be preferred before the Grand Jury against the
several parties named therein, including Mr. Prescott.

The Chairman then stated, that the Deputy Chairman and himself had fully
considered the subject. That it involved matter so vitally affecting the
character and conduct of a Member of the Court of Directors, that whilst he
entertained the highest possible respect for the opinion of the learned Serjeant,
he felt, in a matter of so grave a nature, that it would be a source of consola-
tion to himself, to the Deputy, and to the Committee, in so far as respects
the proceeding affecting the Director, to have the opinion of the Law Officers
of the Crown, together with that of Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet, before the
Committee reported the same to the Court ; and added, that such a desire

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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 5 of 17)