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 7 of 17)
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of his son ; and upon this communication, which had been renewed in
October, he again abandoned all further negociation, and went back again
into the country.

It seems he remained there in quiet till the month of January 1827. the
end of that month ; and then, from some circumstances in his own family,
he was desirous that his son should obtain this situation. But a thought
came across him that there was something irregular and mysterious in this
mode of acquiring his appointment, and he thought it right, at once, to
direct a letter immediately and directly to the Chairman of the East-India
Company, telling him all that had taken place upon the former occasions,
and asking him, distinctly and openly, whether this was a proper mode by
which the patronage of the Company should be obtained. The natural
consequence of that letter was, that a very confidential officer on the part of
the Company was sent down to Dr. Back. The Chairman and the Deputy
Chairman (they being the persons to whom this letter had been communi-
cated, and thinking it right, in a matter of this nature, that strict secrecy
should be observed), sent down a very confidential person in their immediate
employment to Dr. Back.

i Without troubling you with a detail of what took place, it appeared fit to
the Chairman and Deputy Chairman that, if possible, this opportunity of
detecting what they were afraid was too common, namely, the trade and
traffic in the patronage of the Company by guilty persons leaguing together,
should be probed and sifted to the bottom, and the guilty brought to punishment;
they therefore requested, and made it quite an earnest request on their part,
that Dr. Back, himself an extremely respectable man, should continue in the
negociation, in order that he might, if possible, trace the different steps in it,
from those who it then appeared were most distantly connected with the



Conrt patronage itself, and see whether or no there were any persons in the employ-
Ben^* ment of the Company who were themselves participators in the guilt ; or, at all
— - events, bring to punishment those who thought proper thus to delude the public.
General. Now, after this communication from the Chairman and Deputy Chairman,
you must bear in mind that eVery subsequent step was entirely known to the
Chairman and Deputy Chairman, and considered by them well, and that nothing
was done in the course of this transaction that was not immediately commu-
nicated to the confidential adviser so employed by them. I will now go on
to state to you what took place from time to time, down to the period when
the detection was complete, and shew you what share each party upon this
reisord hafcd in the transaction now before the Court.

.viGentleraen: After Dr. Back had received this information, he writes a letter
to Mr. Wright, whom I have already named to you as the person who had
fixed the price of this cadetship, in a manrier renewing and opening the contract
that had been so abandoned, and lie receives an answer to that letter upon the
27th of February 1827: '

, «* Mr. Wright presents his compliments to Colonel Edwards," (that was the
name under which thevnegociation was carried on on the part of Dr. Back)^
♦? And begs- to . say that the opportunity now exists for opening the treaty
"!*■ alluded to in his note, but that he is going out of town to-morrow for a week,
" or ten days, and wiir commission a friend of his to attend to any communica-
« tion or appointment that Colonel Edwards may think proper to make for that
" purpose, being perfectly conversant in those matters. Mr. W. begs to say,
" that he only came to town on Sunday, which is the cause of Colonel Edward*
" not having had an earlier reply ; and shall feel obliged by his addressing him,
«♦ in future, to No. €3, Upper Norton Street, having quitted his house in
" Alsop's Buildings. Mr. W. will feel obliged by an 6arly reply, as the op*
<* portunity may not last long."

. And he dates this from 63, Upper Norton Street. So that the effect of this
tetter is to identify liimself with the person afterwards found in Q3, Norton
Street : in effect, handing over Dr. Back from any further communication with
himself at this moment, to this person, whoever he tnight turn out to be,
who would he found upon the premises in Norton Street. Accordingly, %
short time after, Ihi Back came to town. Ithink upon the 5th of March after,.



he sent a note to the direction df Norton Street, N0. 63,: ha.viBg addressed court
it to Mr. Wright, \vho he supposes would be either there in person,: ftr to "n^'^h"*

whom it might be forwarded. He receives for answer to it: not ^ny letter from

^r, Wright, but from a Mr. Gibbons, one of the other Defendants, upon this ^JJral^
record. The letter he receives is this : > ;;i;(| -jno ya |nu;

" Mr. Gibbons, on the part of Wright, will meet Colonel Edwards to^mori
" row, at one o'clock, at 32, Walbrook, having an appointment there at tliat
" hour, and as Colonel Edwards desired his letter to be addressed to the Ciliyj
" it probably may be more convenient to him than Norton Street." ; J

So that here is a direct appointment formed between Mr. Gibbons, the
representative of Mr. Wright, and Colonel Edwards ; that is, Dr. !Back, who
was come up to town for the purpose I have already mentioned to you.^u:f.T|

On that day, the 5th of March, or the next day, the 6th of March, a meeting
takes place. Dr. Back goes into the City, to No. 32, Walbrook, which is the
chambers of a respectable attorney, I believe, who has nothing :to do
whatever with this transaction. He there meets Gibbons, that person v^ith
whom, till that moment, he was an entire stranger. Upon meeting Mr.
Gibbons at that place, the conversation immediately assumes tlie forov of a
more direct treaty; for Gibbons, upon that occasion, points out the, neces-
sity of having the money brought forward directly; he again . specifies. the
difference in the price of a cavalry and infantry cadetship ; and he states
that the mode in which these matters are managed, is by dividing a bank-
note in two parts, by leaving one-half with himself or some banker, and
the party so advancing to keep the other half, which finds its way to the
first half when the matter is completed. That is the statement that Gibbons
makes to Dr. Back. Accordingly, Dr. Back being in communication with
the East-India Company, for the purpose of following up the line which has
been so pointed out by Gibbons, does at a subsequent day procure from them
a note for £500, for the purpose of being deposited in the mode I • have
stated : but before they separated, on the 6th March, Gibbons produces to Drv
Back, and puts into his hands a printed form, which I believe is called '* a
" cadet's Form of certificate and interrogatories," in order that Dr. Back
may procure it to be properly filled up, in, order that the intended Cadet may
obtain the situation. I shall have occasion to make several comments upon



Court this as I go on. I shall only now state, that on this day, when the sum was
Bench * ^^^^ upon, this form of certificate was put into his hands by Gibbons.
— - Gentlemen : I think upon the 12th of that month the money was actually

*Gf.neml7 advanced. This printed paper having been put into the hands of Dr. Back,
and as one part of this requires that there should be a certificate of the
baptism of the intended candidate for the office, which requires some time
to fill up if he has been baptized in the country, or in some remote part of
the kingdom, a considerable interval took place. Dr. Back went down to
Little Hampton, and this paper I have in my hand was sent down to Exeter,
to procure the proper entry of the baptism, and the certificate of the baptism
of young Mr. Back, the son of Dr. Back. It was afterwards sent up to Little
Hampton, and was sent by Dr. Back to Gibbons, covered with a letter ad-
dressed to Gibbons. I do not know that I need trouble you with such minute
details j but it is acknowledged afterwards by a letter from Gibbons, and
nothing further that is material takes place till the beginning of April.

Gentlemen : About the 10th of April Gibbons writes a note to Colonel
Edwards. " Sir : I wrote you yesterday, to which I beg leave to refer ; and
** according to what I then wrote, that you would hear from me again this
" day, I have to request you or the young gentleman will meet me at 32,
" Walbrook, on Thursday next, at half-past 11 o'clock, and be prepared to
•• carry the cavalry appointment into effect." The meaning of carrying the
cavalry appointment into effect, was producing, on the part of Dr. Back, the
stipulated sum of £500, which was first to be laid down before the remainder
was advanced. On the 12th of April Dr. Back comes; and having obtained
a bank-note of the value of £500 from one of the officers of the Com-
pany for this purpose, it was cut in half; one is delivered to GibbcMis, to be
kept by him until the appointment is completed, and the other is kept by
Dr. Back : and, upon that occasion. Gibbons gives a regular receipt, that he
has « Received, 12th April, 1827, of Dr. Back, the half of a £500 Bank
" of England note, which I engage to return, in case the appointment agreed
«' upon does not take place."

Now so the matter stands, I think, up to that day. On that day a new
person is introduced upon the stage ; for upon that day a person of the name
of Tyndale (Joseph Tyndale), one other of the defendants, is introduced
I'^i by


by Gibbons to Dr. Back; to the very great surprise of Dr. Back, he found Court
that, although only two days had passed since the deposit of the half of Bench."
the £500 note, by some means or other, that £500 note has got shifted 7 .

Mr. Solicitor .

into the hands of Tyndale, or at least that Tyndale produces an engagement General.
that he has in his hands, that he only retains the ^500 until he has per-
formed his engagement with Gibbons ; thus getting one link further, as if
he was the party to receive the money, or was to procure some other person^
this Tyndale, for instance, upon the present occasion, who was to receive^,
the money if he procured the appointment, or a part of it, or what agreement
was made between them, we know not, and it was immaterial to inquire ;
but the agreement entered into with Gibbons was, by some means or other,
transferred to Joseph Tyndale. This man,, Tyndale, seems to express some
degree of disappointment that the whole matter has not been concluded,
and promised very largely that a very little time should elapse till it is. At - ^
the same time, as he naturally supposed that Dr. Back would begin to be- a-
little impatient, as his money had been lodged, he endeavoured to put him
off for some time, upon the impracticability of it being then immediately
concluded, on account of the existing state of things ; stating, that the ministry
being unsettled, there was a great difficulty in getting this Cadetcy appointment.
What part of the ministry he alluded. to, I know not; but, I believe,' that was
as; true as many other statements I shall have to refer to. . I need not remind
you, that that was exactly the time when there was a change effecting in the
administration of the country.

So, Gentlemen, the matter rests, considerably to the apparent disappoint-,,-
ment of Dr. Back, who was urging the completion of this matter, till the ^<J5th ;
and then it is stated, that the matter will very soon be brought to a close,,
and another person is introduced. Captain D.espard, another of the defen-
dants. He comes in, and states his great surprise that a matter of this sort
has been allowed to be under the conduct of Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Tyndale ;
he does not wonder that this disappointment has taken place; but he says,
" I will put you into a way to get it completed directly — I will, introduce
" you to a partner of a great East-India house, Mr. Anstice," who is one
of the defendants.

But before Captain Despard makes his appearance, which I think was in the

N afternoon


Court afternoon of the day, there has been an application made to Dr. Back to fur-
*'^^"'ss nish the remaining part of the money which was to be the payment for the

Cadetship. You recollect, only £500 have been already advanced. It is

Mr.Sobcttor gja^g^j ^jjat not a single step can be taken further in the progress of this matter,
unless there is another note of £300 treated in the same way, cut in two,
and deposited one-half with Mr. Gibbons, and the other kept. That is done
on the 25th of April j so that now you perceive, that all the money that was to
be forthcoming on the part of the purchaser, has been parted with by him
and put into the hands of Mr. Gibbons, who appears to be the stake-holder.
I have told you that Captain Despard affected a high tone ; he speaks with the
same disrespect of Mr. Tyndale that Mr. Tyndale had expressed towards Mr.
Gibbons, and that now the money had been advanced, there could be no
excuse for not carrying it into effect. *' I will take you to a person, and the
matter shall be managed immediately ;" and he accordingly takes him to Great
St. Helen's, where Captain Anstice has a counting-house, and when he gets
there he finds Captain Anstice, stating to him that he has had in his custody
for some time the half of that £"500 note, and when the other is applied to it
there will be no difficulty in carrying the arrangement into effect. So that this
money forms the connecting link between three of the persons I have men-
tioned to you, between Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Tyndale, and Captain Anstice ;
and that Captain Despard is the person who cements and links together all
three, being the medium of introduction of the one to the other. During this
time Captain Despard is as full of his promises as the preceding persons. He
states, a little difficulty has arisen, in consequence of the Director he named
not being in town j that that Director, or another he named, are the persons
from whom it is to be obtained. I do not mention the names at present :
if their names should appear, they are in court, and they are ready, upon
their oaths, to deny having any share in its participation. In short, it is only
the means by which these inferior persons who are gulling the public, in endea-
vouring to impose upon their betters in society and obtaining an introduction
to Directors, it is only the mode by which they carry their base intentions into

We then come down, Gentlemen, to the 25th of April j and that is the
most important part of the case, because upon the next day it is that, for the



first time, Captain Prescott will be brought forward to your notice. — Gentle- Court
men: I will now trace out, because it will be more convenient to make the g u*

matter clear to you, after observing that upon the 25th of April the name of

Captain Prescott is brought forward, — I will goon and trace the remainder of General!'^
the parties up to the time when the detection takes place ; but I will refer back
to this 25th of April, to shew how far the evidence will implicate Captain Pres-
cott in a guilty knowledge, or means of knowledge, of this transaction.

Gentlemen: Upon the 27th of April Dr. Back attends again, according to
appointment, at Captain Anstice's office, which is at St. Helen's. He is
informed that nothing as yet is accomplished. He begins to be extremely
anxious ; perhaps, not so anxious as if the money was his own : he would
probably then have urged with a greater degree of vigour the completion of
the contract ; but he shewed sufficient to induce them to promise to put into
exercise all their powers to get it completed. He calls there two or three times
in the course of the day, and nothing takes place. At last Captain Despard,
who is still appearing upon the stage at Captain Anstice's, and is the con-
ductor of Dr. Back, Captain Despard states he had sent to Regent-street, to
have some intercourse with the gentleman who was to procure the appoint-
ment. This is very much to the surprise of Dr. Back, who had never before
heard of any person in Regent-street. He asked, " Why do you introduce
" a new person to us ? I thought you told us that A, B, or C, at the head of
" affairs, was the person to whom you looked ; why do you now say, a stranger
" is the person from whom you are to obtain it ?" — He could get no answer to
the question ; but, on the following day. Captain Despard called again, and
said all was finished. He said that at first ; but he corrected himself, and
said, " all will be completed immediately ; there is no doubt that all will be
" immediately right." Still nothing came. The morning of Saturday, the
28th of April, was wasting away ; Dr. Back calling from time to time, put off
for half an hour, and then calling again. Nothing comes forward in the
course of that morning, until at last Captain Anstice, being tired out, says,
*' We will go together to a gentleman at Waterloo-place, Regent-street, and
" we will see what is to happen there." Accordingly Dr. Back, accompanied
by Captain Anstice, goes to the office of a gentleman of the name of An-
drews, in Regent-street, who is another of the defendants upon the record.

N 2 He


Court He does not see him when he gets there ; Mr. Andrews was absent, but had
"' ^'"Ss left word he should be there at a certain time. Although they wait long

beyond that time, Mr. Andrews does not make his appearance. Then it is

^GeneralT agreed, that the very next morning Dr. Back shall call upon Captain Anstice
at his private house, and they shall go together to Mr. Andrews at
his private house, and see what was going on as to this appointment.
That will be on Sunday ; and accordingly on Sunday, the 29th of April, Dr.
Back and Captain Anstice call upon Mr, Andrews, and saw Mr. Andrews,
and a conversation takes place. The precise purport of the conversation will
be explained to you by the witness when he comes: the effect of it was, that
every thing would be completed on the following day. At the same time a
great caution is given to him not to say any thing upon the subject to any
body; that it is extremely important that no one should know what was going
on ; and that it was no fault of his that it was not completed, for his client
was in great want of money at that time, and it would be of great importance to
him to receive it. So that now I have introduced another defendant to you,
Mr. Andrews. Gentlemen : Monday was the 80th of April ; and that Mon-
day, the 30th of April, had been fixed by Mr. Andrews and Captain Anstice
for the purpose of fully completing the transaction. Still there is some delay,
and some fresh excuse why the appointment does not come forward. You will
hear the reason why, when I come to state to you what was going on with
respect to the appointment at the East-India House, between the nominating
and recommending Directors.

On this day, the 30th of April, another of the parties we had long since for-
gotten in the transaction steps forward again. Mr. Gibbons sends a note on
this day : — " Sir, I am quite in the dark" (this is to Dr. Back) " as to what is
" going on. I went to Mr. Anstice's at three o'clock, being told you were to
" be there at that time; but did not meet you, and after waiting half an hour
" was told you had been and gone. I was desirous of knowing what was
" likely to be done, as I am keeping an infantry appointment open, and the party
" complains of my not giving an answer I shall expect to see you in the
" morning, and will call here about eleven." A pretty good intimation of
the necessity of making these inquiries, when Mr. Gibbons talks so quietly
that he is keeping an infantry appointment open, and he desires to know
what is to become of it, as the owner was impatient. I think it was high time



for the Company, when they discovered anything of this sort, to probe it to court
the bottom, and see who were the guilty parties. However, I only introduce "o^'"^*

this to shew that, on this day, Gibbons steps forward again, who supposes

that this has got into some other train, and that he shall not receive the money ^ cenemL^

he expects. It is only one proof, among others, that the parties cannot trust

each other, and that they are introducing link after link, in order that you

may not be able to trace it out.

. That brings us to the next day, Tuesday the 1st of May, when a letter arrives

from Captain Anstice addressed to Colonel Edwards, a nom de guerre while

he was conducting this business, stating that he must either come by himself,

or send his son by himself, to Mr. Andrews' office in Regent Street : that

he must come the following morning, either by himself, or send his son by

himself. Matters are now arriving very closely to their ultimate termination,

for on the very following day, Wednesday the 2d, the whole of the scheme takes

effect, and the evidence we bring forward will be complete. Accordingly, the

following day the son goes early by himself to Mr. Andrews' house, and there

he discovers a stranger he had never seen before, but who turned out to be

Mr. Sutton, one other of the Defendants upon the record.

What does young Mr. Back go there for ? He goes for the purpose of
filling up one part of this printed form, which it was necessary he should till
up himself, and which had been left unfilled up till that moment it is put
into his hands in the office of Mr. Andrews by Sutton, with a pencil mark
upon it denoting the manner in which it is to be filled up : in fact, containing
the name of the Director who had recommended him to the preferment. So
that there you have a new person in that stage introduced, you see, at the last
moment, Sutton : but at the most important stage, because it is just preceding
that time when the £300 and £500 notes are to be made complete, and when
they would be efficient in the hands of the bearer

As soon as that is done. Dr. Back is told to repair to the East-India House,
and that Mr. Sutton and Captain Anstice will be there as soon as he is. Accord-
ingly, on the 2d of May, they both proceed from the west end of the town,
first to the Monument Coffee-house, where Dr. Back had appointed to be
present, before all the parties repaired to the India-House to pass the young
man. They proceed to the Monument Coffee-house, and there they find Dr.



Court Back, and a conversation takes place as to the remaining halves of the two
*Bench ^ notes, the parties (that is, Andrews and Sutton) insisting that they would have
— - both the halves of the notes delivered to them before they would stir a step
General^ further J but Dr. Back, who seems to have some intelligence upon this subject,
saying, " no, it is quite sufficient if I trust you with the half of the £300 ; I
" will not give you the half of the £500 until the young man is actually passed.
" We will all go together, and as soon as he is passed, the half of the other
" shall be put into your hands." At last it is so agreed, a considerable discus-
sion having taken place. The half of that note having been delivered to
Sutton, who is to apply for the other half to Captain Anstice, they proceed
together to the India-House ; and when they come there, the papers then
being completed and filled up, they are put into the hands of a clerk, a Mr.
Haldane, one of the clerks in the Cadet-Office, it having been previously
arranged and orders given, that the moment the papers came in they
should be handed up to the Committee of Directors. In consequence of that,
I need not state the young man was unable to pass, and the whole thing
is blown up. Sutton is found at an opposite house very much alarmed, to
which Dr. Back goes back. He finds Sutton alone, or Sutton and Andrews
together, and stating he should be a ruined man if this matter was discovered,
and then stating he was Sutton, and giving his direction ; and I believe it
will appear at a subsequent period, that he goes down to Dr. Back to make

On the same day, I should state that Gibbons is found, just at the time
the parties enter the India-House, watching in the office to see what was
going on, knowing that the passing of the young man will take place that
day, to take a share in the plunder. — Dr. Back asks, " what do you Ao
" here ? we have had nothing to do with you for the last six months."

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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 7 of 17)