Richard Hughes, Deception > forgery, 23rd February 1757.

Reference Number: t17570223-26
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

120. (L.) Richard Hughes , taylor , was indicted for feloniously forging and counterfeiting a letter of attorney, signed Benjamin Hughes , purporting to be sealed and executed by him, he being at that time a proprietor of shares of joint stock of South-sea annuities, and for publishing the same, with an intent to defraud . It was laid over again to be done with an intent to defraud Benjamin Hughes : And it was laid also, with intent to defraud persons, to the jurors unknown , Apr. 9 .*

Jeremiah Pratt. I am a clerk for making of letters of attorney, and registering of wills, in the South-sea office. (A book produced.)

Q. What do you call this book ?

Pratt. This is call'd a ledger, for entering accounts for part of the proprietors, under such names, in alphabetical order.

Q. Do you see there the name of Mr. Benjamin Hughes ?

Pratt. I do.

Q. At what time had he any stock there?

Pratt. In the year 1754, the 25th of October, there was transfer'd to him nineteen hundred and forty pounds.

Q. What stock do you call it ?

Pratt. Joint stock of South-sea annuities.

Q. Was any part of that transfer'd ?

Pratt. Yes, there was; on the 19th of October, 1754, 440 l. and in 1756, April 9, 500 l. and the 14th of May following 100 l. and upon the same day another 100 l. and on the 16th of November following 300 l.

Q. Before the 29th of March, 1756, how much stock was there of Mr. Benjamin Hughes ?

Pratt. Then there were fifteen hundred pounds.

Q. Are you the person that, in general, makes out the letters of attorney on these occasions.

Pratt. I am in general, with others.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar?

Pratt. I do.

Q. Did he apply to you at any time for a letter of attorney?

Pratt. Yes, he did.

Q. When was it that he applied?

Pratt. Some time about April, or the begining of May.

Q. Do you remember what he said then?

Pratt. No, nothing more, then that he came for a letter of attorney.

Q. Did he apply to you?

Pratt. I can't say he apply'd particularly to me, there were three of us in the office when he came.

Q. Who did he come with?

Pratt. He came with Mr. Lind the broker.

Q. Did you make the letter of attorney?

Pratt. No, it was made by another in the office.

Q. Look upon the date of this letter of attorney, he takes it in his hand.

Pratt. This is dated the 29th of March 1756.

Q. Do you remember the second time of the prisoner's coming after it was fill'd up?

Pratt. No doubt but he staid and took it with him, when it was made.

Q. Are there ready printed blanks?

Pratt. There are, which we keep on purpose by us.

Q. Is that in your hand one of your letters of attorney?

Pratt. It is.

Q. Where was it deliver'd to him?

Pratt. It was in the office, I know nothing of the returning it after that. The application to us must be in the month of April, because this is dated the 29th of March.

Q. Do you date them the day they come for them?

Pratt. It very often is done, and very often left undone; I apprehend this was fill'd up at the same time, it being the same hand-writing, and it appears to me it was in March he came first.

Cross Examination.

Council. You say on the 25th of October, 1754 there was 1940 l. transfer'd to Mr. Benjamin Hughes ; who was that transfer'd by?

Pratt. By Sir Thomas Birch and others.

Q. By turning back can you see whose it was before it was Sir Thomas Birch 's and others? Did it not belong to one John Hughes , they being left in trust for him?

Pratt. If you would know whose it was before it came into the hands of Sir Tho Birch , I don't know, because we must look into other books for that.

Q. Are you certain the prisoner took the letter of attorney away with him?

Pratt. No, I am not.

Council for prisoner. Where is the other book?

Council for Crown. We have brought the book you gave us notice to bring.

James Ryder . I am in the letter of attorney office, in South-sea annuities.

Q. Look at this letter of attorney, do you know it?

Ryder. I do, the hand-writing of the filling up is mine, I fill'd it up on the 29th of March 1756.

Q. Upon what occasion did you fill it up?

Ryder. By somebody's application to me, I don't know who.

Q. to Pratt. Who apply'd to Mr. Ryder to fill that letter of attorney?

Pratt. Richard Hughes did; he came into the office along with Mr. Lind, and apply'd for it.

Q. Is it usual in your office, when letters are apply'd for, to fill them up in the office?

Ryder. It is.

Q. What is the course of the office in regard to their being attested?

Ryder. They are attested by the minister of the parish where the party lives, and the two churchwardens; or two justices of the peace, that is an order we have.

Q. Did the person take away the letter of attorney who came for it at the same time ?

Ryder. I really believe he did, because we seldom let them lie with us; in general they wait and take them away with them.

Q. What becomes of those letters of attorney when the transfer is made under them?

Ryder. We file them up, where we may have recourse to them at once, upon any account.

Q. By what method do you proceed with them?

Ryder. We have a committee of clerks to see whether they have varied by their hand-writing, or whether properly attested, before the letter is made use of.

Q. How do you know the hand-writing?

Ryder. By finding out the hand of the proprietor (if he has accepted the stock) for he must have accepted the stock before he can transfer it, and that is in our book.

Q. What care was taken with regard to this letter?

Ryder. (Looks at it) This was allow'd by comparing the transfer with it, and being well known to Mr. Lind.

Q. How d o you know that?

Ryder. It is so express'd in writing; there is an examination made the day before, and if there is sufficient evidence, the thing is done.

Cross Examination.

Q. Who apply'd to you for this letter of attorney?

Ryder. I really can't tell. I made all the three out, but don't know the persons; we have so many come of that sort of business, I can't recollect them all.

Council for the Crown. When were the other two made out?

Ryder. I made them out since.

N. B. The second Part of these Proceedings will be published in a few Days.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 23rd February 1757.

Reference Number: t17570223-26

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 23d, Thursday the 24th, Friday the 25th, and Saturday the 26th of FEBRUARY,

In the Thirtieth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1757. Being the Third SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble MARSHE DICKINSON, Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

LONDON:

Printed, and sold by J. ROBINSON, at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street. 1757.

[Price Four-pence.]

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c.

Adam Anderson . I AM one of the committee for passing letters of attorney. They all must be passed by three of the clerks.

Q. What method do you take in order thereto?

Anderson. There are two or three methods, as by comparing of hands by the transfer book, or by having a person of credit that knows the party; these are the two usual methods.

Q. Look upon this letter of attorney ?

Anderson. (He takes it in his hand.) Here is my name, of my own signing, upon it.

Q. What was that put to it for?

Anderson. In order for this man to transfer the stock.

Q. In what method was that judged of, in order to pass it?

Anderson. It was by the hand-writing being compared with the transfer name, and the person well known to Mr. Lind the broker. The pass of it is my hand-writing.

Cross examination.

Q. Do you know who produced the letter, in order to be passed?

Anderson. I can give no positive answer to that. We found it ready in the room to pass. The person that might be the attorney brings it in, and desired it may be passed; that is the customary way.

Thomas Pitt . I am one of the examiners. (He looks upon it.) This is my hand-writing. We of that committee take all the care we can in comparing the hand-writing, and inquiring of creditable people that know the person. I don't know that the wisdom of Solomon could find out a better method for caution than ours.

Q. What becomes of the letter of attorney after it is past ?

Pitt. Then it is filed up in the office.

Q. Is there any similitude in the hands?

Pitt. There is a great similitude.

Joseph Lind . I know Richard Hughes the prisoner.

Q. Do you remember, any time in the latter end of March, your going to the South-sea house?

Lind. No, nothing at all in March, to take the letter of attorney out. On the 8th of April last he met me at the South-sea house, about twelve o'clock, and brought a power of attorney, and said he had a power of attorney to sell 500 l. of his uncle's old South-sea annuities.

Q. Look at this power of attorney.

Lind. I never look'd at it. It is not my business. Said I, you must leave this power of attorney to be properly examined by the clerks of the company, and I'll sell the annuities, and come tomorrow by twelve o'clock, and every thing shall be ready for your transfering it. I went to a person and said, a friend of mine has a power of attorney to sell 500 l. of old South-sea annuities. I went with the prisoner into the office, and saw him leave the letter of attorney, and after that it passed by the clerks of the company, who compare them, to see if they are forged, or the like. I sold it that day to Benjamin Webb , but it was transfer'd to his brother William Webb , the next day. Benjamin brought it for William.

Q. Did you attend the next day?

Lind. I did, and put in the transfer.

Q. Did you see the prisoner transfer it?

Lind. I did.

Q. What are you?

Lind. I am a broker in that way.

Q. When it is transfer'd, what becomes of the letter of attorney?

Lind. It is left in the office. The attorney never has it any more.

Q. Look at the entering in this book.

Lind. (He takes it in his hand.) This name Richard Hughes on it, the prisoner wrote in my presence.

Q. Is your name to it as a witness ?

Lind. It is.

Part of the transfer read to this purport:

' I Richard Hughes , by virtue of a letter of ' attorney from Benjamin Hughes , of Harbourn, ' in Staffordshire, dated March 29, 1756, do in ' the name, and on the behalf of the said Benjamin ' Hughes, assign and transfer to William Webb , ' his executors, administrators, and assigns 500 l. ' of his share in the joint stock of South-sea annuities, ' and all benefits arising thereby. Witness ' my hand the 9th of April, in the year of our ' Lord 1756.

Richard Hughes .'

' Witness Joseph Lind , Benjamin Webb , James Ryder .'

Q. Upon this transfer was there any money paid ?

Lind. Yes, there was.

Q. Who paid that?

Lind. It was either paid by me or Mr. Benjamin Webb ; I can't be clear in that. It is common when I have sold a person some stock for them to give me the money to pay it. I either saw him pay it, or paid it myself.

Q. Who was it paid to?

Lind. It was paid to Richard Hughes , the prisoner at the bar, as the purchase-money.

Q. How much was paid?

Lind. Four-hundred and forty-eight pounds, fifteen shillings. It was sold for 89 3-4ths, that was then the market price.

Cross examination.

Q. When was this found originally created?

Lind. I don't know.

Pitt to the same question. It was in the year 1723. Then there were sixteen millions in old annuities.

Q. to Pitt. Can you tell whose this was before ?

Pitt. I can't on my own knowledge. I heard say it was Sir Thomas Birch 's before.

Council for the crown. We have here Mr. Benjamin Webb , and Mr. Ryder, the two other subscribing witnesses; but as there will be no occasion we will not call them.

The reverend Mr. Thomas Green is call'd.

Q. What is your name?

Green. My name is Thomas Green.

Q. Look upon this letter of attorney. (He takes it in his hand.) You see the name Green there, what do you call that?

Green. It is here Edward Green, rector.

Q. What are you?

Green. I am vicar of the parish of Harbourn.

Q. Is that name, Edward Green, your handwriting?

Green. No, it is not.

Q. Are not you rector ?

Green. No, I am not.

Q. Do you know any one of the name of Edward Green, that is a rector?

Green. No, I do not. I am the only person of that name there.

Q. How long have you been vicar there?

Green. More than twenty-four years.

Q. Do you know the other two names that purport to be churchwardens.

Green. I know neither of them. There have been no churchwardens of those names in my time.

Q. How do you know that?

Green. I generally enter the names of the churchwardens in the book myself upon Easter-day, which is the time of electing churchwardens in that parish.

Q. Do you recollect who were churchwardens the time of the date on the letter of attorney, which is 1755?

Green. The churchwardens in the year 1755 are churchwardens in the year 1756; for they are so till the other churchwardens that succeed them are sworn into the office. Thomas Anson and Richard Smith were churchwardens at that time and for two years.

Q. Were there any such parishioners as the names on the letter of attorney?

Green. The names here are George Philips and Edward Halsey . There are no such parishioners as I know of.

Q. Do you know Benjamin Hughes ?

Green. I do, and have a great many years.

Q. Have you seen him write?

Green. I have.

Q. Look upon the name, Benjamin Hughes , on the letter of attorney.

Green. I really can't say whether this is his hand-writing or not; it is wrote very much like his.

Q. What do you judge about it?

Green. I can judge nothing at all.

James Richards . I know Mr. Benjamin Hughes .

Q. Where do you live?

Richards. I live at Harbourn, in the county of Stafford.

Q. How long have you been acquainted with Mr. Hughes?

Richards. Above forty years.

Q. Have you seen him write?

Richards. I have often seen him write, and have been acquainted with his hand writing for eight years.

Q. Look at that name, Benjamin Hughes , on the letter of attorney, do you believe it to be his hand-writing ?

Richards. I do believe it not to be his handwriting.

Q. Have you often had occasion to see him write?

Richards. I have had particular occasions to see him write, by writing receipts for him, to which he has signed his name.

Q. What are you?

Richards. I am a schoolmaster.

Cross examination.

Q. Is not this something like his writing?

Richards. It is not at all like his hand-writing. Some part of it is something imitating his writing.

Q. What part of it is not like his hand writing?

Richards. The first E next to the letter B is not like his; he never makes such an S as this at the end of Hughes.

Q. What is he?

Richards. He is a country farmer.

The letter of attorney read.

'' Know all men by these presents, that I Benjamin '' Hughes, of Harbourn, in the county of '' Stafford, do hereby make, ordain, constitute '' and appoint Richard Hughes; of St. Clement's-Dane, '' my true and lawful attorney for me, in '' my name, and on my behalf to sell, assign, '' &c. &c.

'' Seal'd and deliver'd being first duly stamp'd '' in the presence of Geo Philips and Edw Halsey , '' Church-Wardens; Edward Green, Rector''.

Q to Green. Can you distinguish any difference in these two letters Mr. Richards has mention'd?

Green. I don't pretend to speak to his name.

Q. How old is he?

Green. He is betwixt 70 and 80 years of age, he is here in court.

Here the evidence for the crown closed.

The prisoner in his defence produced a letter of attorney sign'd by Benjamin Hughes of Harbourn, in the county of Stafford, farmer, and William Harris of Birmingham, toyman; two of the executors to the will of Richard Hughes , taylor, of Salisbury court, London, deceased, father to the prisoner: Wherein they constituted and appointed Richard Hughes , taylor, in the Strand [the prisoner] their lawful attorney, &c. to demand any sum or sums of money payable to them by right of the will of the prisoner's father, in the common form of a letter of attorney, dated July 24, 1754.

Which was read in court, and Mr. Brown who drew it up, deposed it was executed in the prisoner's house in the Strand, the day it bore date. But there was no mention made in the letter of attorney of any authority to transfer stocks, and likewise it was made as appear'd by the date about three months before Mr. Ben. Hughes began to apply for stocks, which was on the 25th of October, 1754.

William Harris on his cross examination deposed there was no stock in the name of Richard Hughes , at the time he sign'd the letter of attorney, as one of the executors. So could not avail the prisoner.

To his character.

John Howe . I have known the prisoner about eight or nine years, he is a taylor.

Q. Where does he live?

Howe. In Arundel-street.

Q. What is his general character?

Howe. When I dealt with him I look'd upon him to be a very honest man. I have dealt with him for 140 l. or 150 l. a year. When he has wanted a small matter, I have lent it him, and he paid me very honestly.

John Foster Lampless . I have known the prisoner about a year and a half.

Q. What is his general character?

Lampless. He bore a very good character before this.

John Frip . I have known the prisoner upwards of four years, he was a house-keeper, and bore a very good character, and was in a good way of business.

John Price . I have known him about seven or eight years, during which time he bore a very good character; he has work'd for me as a taylor, and was in a good way of business. About two years ago he was a little distress'd as to his circumstances, but as to his honesty, I believe he is a very honest man.

Edward Satchell . I have known him four or five years; he was a very honest man till this thing happen'd. I am in the woollen-drapery way, he deals with me, and has paid me very honestly.

Richard Robson . I have known him I believe twelve or fourteen years.

Q. What is his general character?

Robson. He bears a very good character, he has work'd for me several times.

Henry Smallwood . I have known him about two years.

Q. What is his general character?

Smallwood. A very good one, I have done business for him, and he paid me very honestly. I never heard any thing ill of him in my life before this.

Q. What is your business?

Smallwood. I am an upholder, and furnish'd his house.

Mr. Abbot. I have known him about twenty years, but have not been acquainted with him till about two years ago. I never heard any ill of him in my life before this.

Mr. Southall. I have known him betwixt five and six years.

Q. What is his general character ?

Southall. I have work'd for him that time; he has always paid me my money, when I have carried my bill to him; he always bore a good character.

Mr. Sepley. I have known him about twelve years.

Q. During that time what was his general character?

Sepley. A very honest dealing man as any I ever knew in the world.

Benjamin Remnant . I am a bricklayer. I know him exceeding well; he has been a neighbour of mine almost fifteen years.

Q. Have you been acquainted with his character?

Remnant. I have very well; he has an extreme good one. I never heard any thing dishonest of him in my life.

Q. What is his general character ?

Remnant. He had a misfortune about three years ago, he fail'd; but his character is as honest a one as any man could wish to have.

Mr. Trotter. I have known him fifteen years, he liv'd in Salisbury-Court, where I now live.

Q. What is his general character?

Trotter. I know nothing but that he is a very honest man. I always look'd upon him as such.

Q. Did you never hear of his failing?

Trotter. That was since he left Salisbury-Court.

Q. Did you know his uncle Benjamin?

Trotter. I never saw him before this day.

Q. Where is he?

Trotter. He is now in court.

Samuel Price . I have known him six or seven years, and have been intimately acquainted with him.

Q. What is his general character?

Price. I never knew any thing or saw any thing by him otherwise than honest.

James Owen . I have known him about seven years, he is an honest man. I have done a great deal of work for him, and he always paid me very honestly.

Thomas Atkins . I have known him between three and four years.

Q. What is his general character?

Atkins. He has a very good one. I have had dealings with him, and he paid me very honestly.

Q. Look at this letter of attorney, he takes it in his hand.

Atkins. I was a witness to this, I saw his uncle and Mr. Harris execute it in the prisoner's house. Mr. Brown was another witness to it.

Mr. Brown. I have known him almost ever since he has been in trade, which is about twelve years; I never heard any thing amiss of him.

Q. What is his general character?

Brown. The character that I have heard is a very good one, I never heard to the contrary.

Mr. Heath. I have known him ten or eleven years, I never heard any otherwise than a good character of him.

Guilty of publishing it , Death .

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 23rd February 1757.

Reference Number: t17570223-26

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 23d, Thursday the 24th, Friday the 25th, and Saturday the 26th of FEBRUARY,

In the Thirtieth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1757. Being the Third SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble MARSHE DICKINSON, Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

LONDON:

Printed, and sold by J. ROBINSON, at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street. 1757.

[Price Four-pence.]

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c.


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