TAKEN VERBATIM IN SHORT HAND BY E. HODGSON, And Published by Authority.
Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON, No. 13, Pater-noster Row.
NATHANIEL NEWNHAM , Esq; LORD MAYOR of the City of London; The Hon. Sir FRANCIS BULLER , Knt. one of the Justices of his Majesty's Court of King's Bench; the Hon. JOHN HEATH , Esq; one of the Justices of his Majesty's Court of Common Pleas; The Hon. JAMES ADAIR , Esq; Serjeant at Law, Recorder of the said City; THOMAS HARRISON , Esq; Deputy Recorder, and others his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer of the City of London, and Justices of Gaol Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex.
WILLIAM WYNNE RYLAND , late of the Parish of St. James's, in the liberty of Westminster, in the county of Middlesex , engraver , was indicted for that he, on the 4th day of November, in the twenty-third year of his present Majesty's reign , in the parish aforesaid, with force and arms, having in his custody and possession, a certain bill of exchange, purporting to bear date at Fort St. George in the East Indies, the 5th of October, 1780, and to be drawn by John Waterhill , Charles Smith , Hector Munro , and Samuel Johnson , directed to the Hon. the Directors of the united Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies in London, commonly called the East India Company, for payment of 200 l. sterling to Captain Dougal Campbell, or his order in London, at twelve months fight, or in the option of the Court of Directors at twenty-four months fight, paying interest for the last twelve months, No. 97 should be 43, and due the 28th of April 1783, Exchange for 200 l. sterling, or 510 pagodas, at 7 l. 10 s. each pagoda, 22 fanams, and 78 cash, received there of himself, and signed by the said John Waterhill , Charles Smith , Hector Munro , and Samuel Johnson ; he the said William Wynne Ryland, on the said 23d day of November last, feloniously and falsly did make, forge, and counterfeit, and cause and procure to be made, forged, and counterfeited, and willingly act and assist in the false making, forging, and counterfeiting upon the said bill of exchange an acceptance of Richard Holt , thereunto subscribed, purporting to be the acceptance of the said Richard Holt , then being assistant to Peter Mitchell , Esq; then being Secretary to the said united Company of merchants trading to the East Indies; the said Richard Holt then being a person employed by the Court of Directors in the absence of the said Peter Mitchell , to accept bills for the said united Company; the tenor of which said false forged and counterfeited acceptance is in the words and figures following, that is to say, accepted by order of the said court at twenty-four months sight, from the 25th of April 1781, allowing interest for the last twelve months, Rd. H. A. Sr. with intention to defraud the East India Company against the form of the statute
The second Count charged that he the said William Wynne Ryland having in his custody a certain other bill of exchange, and described as before, with a false, forged, and counterfeit acceptance thereon, and described as before, knowing it to be forged, did publish the same, knowing it to be forged, with the like intention.
The third Count the same as the first, with this alteration only, describing it to be a certain paper writing, purporting to be a bill of Exchange.
The seventh Count, the same as the third, only with the same alteration.
The eighth Count, the same as the fourth, with the same alteration.
The second Middlesex Jury.
Council for the prosecution.
Attorney, Mr. Smith,
Council for the prisoner.
Attorney, Mr. Rourke.
Mr. Rose opened the indictment, and Mr. Rous opened the case on the part of the prosecution as follows:
Gentlemen of the Jury.
It is an unpleasant task on my part to open to you the particulars of that charge, and the evidence applicable to it, which has been stated on the opening of the indictment: The part of the charge which will most deserve your attention, is, that of uttering, knowing to be forged, the acceptance on this bill, which is laid with intention to defraud the East India company, and also with intention to defraud the bankers , to whom it was offered. Gentlemen, I shall not say a word on the nature of the crime, the legislature have decided on the punishment annexed to it, your duty is to try the truth or falsehood of the charge, mine is to open to you the nature of the case, and the evidence that is applicable to it: I shall state it with the utmost simplicity; and merely call your attention to the several questions, it is necessary for you to determine, and the evidence which will best deserve your attention in deciding on those questions. The general nature of the case is simply this: The presidencies in India draw bills on the East India company at home, payable at a distant day, and in this instance, it is in the option of the Court of directors, at twelve months after sight, or twenty-four months, paying interest for the last twelve: This bill was drawn in favour of a Captain Dougal Campbell, for 200 l. and was remitted to a gentleman of the same name in London, Mr. Archibald Campbell , in or about May 1782.
The bill was drawn in October 1780, and negotiated in May 1782; the prisoner at the bar having some small sum belonging to the Liverpool water works in his hands discounted this real bill, and possessed it from May 1782, to the 19th of September, in the same year, when he left it at Sir Charles Asgill 's shop, the banker's. On the 4th of November following the prisoner at the bar uttered a forged copy of this bill, exactly resembling it in every part, to Mr. Ransom, and the other partners with whom it has remained till this time: The charge against Mr. Ryland applies to this last bill, that he uttered this last bill, knowing it to be forged; that he uttered that bill will be established by witnesses whose testimony you cannot doubt; of that fact there will be no difficulty in deciding: As little can you be embarrassed with its being uttered by Mr. Ryland, with intention to defraud, provided the other parts of the case are established in evidence, because he actually received money on the credit of this bill: It will be proved to you that the bill was forged, and that the acceptance was forged will also be proved to you; for although Mr. Holt, the assistant secretary, cannot upon inspection take upon himself to determine, that the one is his hand writing, and the other is not; so well is the forgery executed; yet he can speak to this, that he never accepted more than one from the forms of the house; he will relate them, they are these; they extract the bills from the advices, and insert them in a book; they are then referred to the committee of
Examined by Mr. Sylvester.
Do you know the defendant Mr. Ryland? - I do.
Had you any transaction with him in November 1782? - I had not myself, but the house had.
Had any of your clerks? - Yes.
Was you present at any transaction between your clerk and Mr. Ryland? - I was not.
Examined by Mr. Sylvester.
I am clerk to this house, I know Mr. Ryland; about the 4th or 5th of November, Mr. Ryland came to the house in Pall Mall, and asked me, if I imagined the gentlemen would accommodate him with such a sum of money upon his note, leaving certain bills as a collateral security; I took these bills and made up a note what these bills were (the bill shewn him) not having put any mark on them of my own, I cannot swear that this is the bill.
Where is the note that you marked it upon? - 210 including the interest due the 28th of April, 1783.
Are you able to say whether that is the bill on which you took notes? - No, I am not able to say that.
What did you do with the bill after you had it? - There are five bills, these bills being left as collateral securities for the payment of this note, it is usual, I apprehend, upon these occasions, not exactly to enter every bill distinctly, because you are to imagine that the note will be paid, and the bill delivered up.
What did you do with the bill? - I do not know whether I put it into a little tin box that we have.
In whose custody has it been ever since? - I cannot answer for that, it remained there for some time till a circumstance happened in the house, that was mentioned that Mr. Ryland was supposed to have committed some forgery.
Did you then find five bills in the place where you left them? - Yes, these five bills that I have noted down.
Do you know whether that was one of the five that you found? - I have already said that I cannot swear to the bill, there are two bills, and they are so much alike that I cannot say whether it is the bill or not, you are just as good a judge as I am.
What did you do with the bills? - I apprehend I gave the five bills to Mr. Moreland, but most assuredly to one of the partners.
Cross-examined by Mr. Peckham.
I understood you, that Mr. Ryland brought you five bills as collateral security for some money. - He did.
They were not in your possession the whole time? - No, I gave them to Mr. Moreland.
You said just now, they were put in some other place, where any body belonging to your house had access to them. - Of course every partner had a key, they had access, I cannot answer to what was done out of my sight.
Have you known Mr. Ryland for any time? - For four or five years.
What is his general character? - I never heard any but the best of characters.
To Mr. Moreland. Did you receive five India bills from your clerk Mr. Wilkinson? - I did.
What did you do with them? - I took them to the India House, I saw the handbill that had been circulated, advertising that Mr. Ryland had been suspected of forgery, and a reward advertised for apprehending him; a friend of mine, one of the directors was at the house, I asked to speak to him, I went into one of the small rooms that turns out of the avenue of the India House, and begged he would direct the inquiry to be made, whether they were real bills or not, he was so obliging to do it, a clerk took these five bills up stairs.
Do you know whether this is one of those five that you delivered? - I do not, I marked one of the bills, and this is not the bill I marked; the occasion of my marking that bill was that at the same time there was a bill of the same tenor and date that was undergoing an examination in the house, so that I marked it, left there should be any confusion or any mixture of paper; I delivered the five bills that I received from our cashier to a gentleman that put them upon the table, and the gentleman was so obliging to take them up for examination, and brought them down again, I believe it was a Mr. Richardson.
Cross examined by Mr. Fielding.
You did not know the clerk you say. - I never saw him before.
And you gave him these five bills. - Yes, he took them away from me to have them examined; he brought those five bills down again.
Examined by Mr. Rous.
Are these initials your hand writing upon that bill? - They are.
When did you put them there? - I put them there at the India House, when I presented this bill for payment, and they refused the payment of it, the 28th of last April.
Cross-examined by Mr. Peckham.
You put these letters on the 28th of April last? - Yes.
That is all you know, that upon a bill on the 28th of April, you put these letters? - Yes.
What is the character of Mr. Ryland? - I always had the best opinion of Mr. Ryland, otherwise this transaction would not have taken place, if I had not conceived him to be an honest man, I have known him for several years, and have transacted business with him, I always found him very exact and punctual.
Mr. Rous. Where did you take this bill from? - I took it from the tin box, whether it is the same I took to the India House, I cannot tell.
Examined by Mr. Rous.
Had you a bill remitted to you from India, and for what sum? - I had a bill remitted to me of 200 l. payable at twelve or twenty-four months, with letters from a relation at Madrass, which I presented for payment, and it was regularly accepted, and having a long date I kept it in my possession a considerable time, but having occasion to discount it, I applied to Mr. Monro a friend of mine in the city, who was so good as to get it discounted for me.
Court. When was that? - The bill arrived about April, 1781.
When did you discount it with Mr. Monro? - I do not know exactly the time,
Did you indorse that bill? - I indorsed that bill.
Did you indorse more than one bill? - No, that I am sure of.
The bill you received from India, did you carry it to the India House? - I believe i sent it, it was brought back to me accepted.
Can you tell by inspection whether it is the bill or not? - I have seen both these bills before, and my hand-writing is so exactly imitated, that it is impossible for me to swear which is my hand-writing, and which is not, I can only swear that I indorsed one bill.
Cross-examined by Mr. Fielding.
Is your clerk here? - He is not.
Examined by Mr. Rous.
You received a bill from Mr. Campbell? - I did.
Look at these two bills, can you swear, that the bill was in your hands? - Yes, this bill.
How do you know that was in your hands? - I can only tell it by one circumstance, which is particularly in my recollection upon seeing the bill first, when it was presented to me, that the ink sunk, at the time I made the mark on it, and I believe that is my hand writing, that is what I think is my hand writing, the words in my hand writing are 210 l. due the 28th of April, 1783.
You have looked at the other bill - ? I have it is the very same.
Can you distinguish between the two? - I can in that manner, and in that manner only, for if it had not been the same, I could not.
To whom did you deliver this bill? - To a Mr. Crookshank.
Had you ever more than one bill of that sum in your hands? - Never, not at that time, or any time thereabouts.
And that bill you received from Mr. Campbell, and delivered to Mr. Crookshank? - I did.
Cross-examined by Mr. Peckham.
When was it that you wrote your name, or the word April? - It must have been previous.
Speak positively, Sir, pray? - I cannot, but I can tell when I received it, I received it in March, 1782, and I paid it to Mr. Crookshank in the month of May.
Then before the May, 1782, you wrote these words on that bill? - I did.
When did you first see it again from the time of your so writing? - I saw it when Mr. Smith called on me with both bills, on purpose to identify which I thought was the one in my hands.
How long was it, what distance of time? - Above a twelve month.
Then at the distance of twelve months, I am sure you will not say positively that upon a piece of paper, you can recollect a blot? - That is the only reason now I can give for supposing it to be the same.
You speak like an honest man, suppose Smith had not brought you two bills, and had not told you, and had brought you the first bill again? - If he had brought me the bill that does not sink, and asked me if it was my hand writing, I could not have said but it was.
Suppose the next question Mr. Smith had asked you, was not that the bill that was in your possession last April, would not you have said it was? - I have said, I believe it was.
Will you positively take upon you to swear now? - I positively swear to the circumstance of the ink sinking through the paper at the time I wrote that, I swear it was perfectly in my recollection, and by that only can I distinguish one from the other.
How could you recollect so trivial a circumstance, you that wrote your name so many thousand times; why in the name of God could you recollect this circumstance in particular? - I can give you no reason for my recollecting it, but that I actually do.
So without any reason at the time,
But it is just the same as the other? - If I had been shewn the other, I should have said it was my hand writing.
Mr. Rous. You are positive however, that you received the bill from Mr. Campbell? - Yes.
Examined by Mr. Rose.
Did you receive a bill from Mr. Munro, to be discounted? - Yes.
Was that the bill or not that you received? - I cannot tell, I received one bill, I only received one from Mr. Munro.
To whom did you deliver it? - To Mr. Goddard.
Was the same bill that you received the same that you delivered to Mr. Goddard? - It was.
Mr. Peckham to Mr. Munro. Was that bill in your possession all the time you have been speaking of between March and May? - I do think it was, I am pretty sure it was.
Consider a gentleman's life is at stake? - Most assuredly I consider that, I think it laid in my possession that time, but I will not swear positively to that, I have no partner, I gave it then to Mr. Crookshank, it might have gone out of my possession a day or two, or have lain at the banker's for a week.
It might have been, and you do pretend to sav it was not? - I do not.
Examined by Mr. Sylvester.
Did you receive a bill from Mr. Crookshank? - I did.
What did you do with it? - I gave it to Mr. Ryland at the bar, he gave me the money for it.
Should you know the bill again? - I should not, all I know is that I discounted that bill with Mr. Ryland, it was the 6th of May 1782, it was for 200 l. and 10 l. interest the company were to pay.
Did you ever discount more bills than that upon the India Company? - Not upon the India Company I have not, but several others, I have seen these bills before, and I cannot identify which of the bills he gave me cash for.
Can you tell whether it was either of them? - I cannot.
What did Mr. Ryland tell you he was? - I knew without asking that he was a very eminent engraver.
Mr. Mingay. Have you not been in the custom and habit of applying to Mr. Ryland to discount bills? - I have.
How long have you known him? - Several years, but two years particularly in a most eminent degree.
For what? - For perfection and uprightness.
In all instances? - In all instances that ever I heard of.
You cannot say which is the bill of these two that you took to Mr. Ryland, nor you do not know either of them, nor can you distinguish the one from the other? - I cannot tell.
Have you not to a considerable amount got Mr. Ryland to discount bills for you? - I have applied for 10000 l. and 7000 l. and 4000 l.
In all these transactions, as well as in every other, and in all that you have ever heard or known of him, you say he was eminent to a great degree of perfection for honesty and uprightness? - Yes Sir.
Mr. Sylvester. Do you mean to say that Mr. Ryland discounted these large bills? - I proposed one to Mr. Ryland, for 10,000 l. he did not discount that.
RICHARD HOLT sworn.
Examined by Mr. Rous.
You was Assistant Secretary at the India House? - Yes.
Do you remember accepting either of these bills (the bills shewn him)? - I do not remember the particular act of accepting, but I believe one of these is my handwriting, but which, I really cannot say.
But can you say certainly whether you accepted more than one of that description? - Never.
Then you can say with certainty you did not accept more than one of that tenor and date? - I can.
Tell the court the nature of your forms and proceedings which enables you to speak with certainty to that fact? - The examinations which bills go through in our office, make it impossible, except by downright roguery, to accept more than one bill.
Can you speak with certainty that you accepted but one from the forms of your office? - I can.
Had you at this time of acceptance authority to accept? - I had; on the 29th of August 1781, an order for my accepting bills that were ordered to be accepted by the court that very day the acceptance was to take place, from April preceding, the order is at a Court of Directors held the 29th of August 1781, on motion, ordered that
Mr. Rous. I see on the bill that the terms of acceptance are expressed, whose hand-writing is that? - Mr. Cobb's, I believe the 200 l. was one of the bills that was ordered to be accepted.
When was that bill accepted by you? - I cannot say exactly, perhaps the next day or the day after, or even longer.
Court. Was that one of the bills that lay for acceptance at the time you had the order? - Most certainly, my Lord.
How long had it laid for acceptance? - I presume about the 26th of April, it is the custom of the office to accept bills from the first court-day after they are left at the office; that is the custom of the office.
Court. How many may you accept of a day of these bills? - It is quite uncertain, I have accepted 300.
May it not possibly happen that two bills of the same tenor may be brought, and in that hurry you may accept both? - I have no conception that it could happen.
Mr. Rous. State to the court your mode of proceeding in accepting bills? - When general letters are received that contain the advices of bills, those parts of the letters that respect bills are always extracted and entered in what we call a bill book, which is now in court, after that it is examined by the Secretary, or, in his absence by myself, to find that they correspond and are copies of the original; after that the bills occasionally are presented, and as they are left in the office, they are presented to the Court of Directors from court to court; when presented, they are always referred to the Committee of Accounts, who examine the Company's advices to see that they are properly advised; that is the department of the accomptant; after that they are reported from the Committee of Accompts to the Court of Directors, to be accepted from such and such certain times, which times in general are, as I observed, before the first court-day after they are left, upon that the bills themselves are handed to us from the Accomptant's office, and when so done they are read exceedingly careful, nothing can be nicer done it with more attention, they are read by the clerk of the secretary or myself, in case I should be ordered to accept in his absence, after that they are read once more by the same person; they are read twice by way of a better check; we check them with the report of the Committee of Accompts.
Do you refer to the report of the committee of accounts, and the bill book when you accept? - Yes, always.
What caution do you use to prevent the
As you cannot remember, how do you know that that identical bill had been accepted? - I was always so nice in matters of acceptance, that if I had been called away occasionally from the bills that were by me, I always used to lock them in a drawer.
Did you make any entry or memorandum? - We make a red mark, a little red stroke as we read them over.
Do you always make that mark? - Always.
Do you ever accept without referring? - Never.
Then you take upon yourself to say, that you could not accept the second bill? - I verily believe so.
Cross-examined by Mr. Fielding.
I understand at present you have a pension of 200 l. a year from the company? - I have.
Then you do not continue in office? - My reason for leaving the office, was my being afflicted with a very strong nervous complaint, which made me unable to attend the duties of the office.
Is there any particular part of you that is effected more than others by this unhappy disorder? - My head.
And this disorder disqualified you from the exercise of that office? - It has since February.
I understand you, that bills are brought in numbers, and lay there for acceptance? - Yes.
On the day when you suppose this bill to have been accepted, there were a great many others accepted? - Yes.
Who has the custody of these bills that lay for acceptance? - They are put, sir, into a kind of forril, to be carried down into the court after they are carried there, they are carried by one of the clerks of the accountants office to our office.
Then they are out of your custody? - Yes, the bills are lodged sometimes for months from us.
Upon the first lodgment of that bill, there is an examination with your book? - Never.
What makes them lay so long without acceptance? - It often happens there is no advice, a bill is received one, two, three, or four months before the letters of advice; often the gentlemen of the committee of accounts have not time to go into that business; after we have accepted the bills, they are put into a forril, and upon people coming to the office, and describing them, we deliver them.
You say you cannot distinguish, which is the bill that you signed? - I cannot.
Your hand is so nearly forged or counterfeited, if it be so, that you cannot distinguish it? - I cannot.
I should be glad to know how it is possible that you can swear, either one or the other to be the bill that you accepted on that day? - I only accepted one.
Why cannot you swear to one more than the other? - I cannot.
Court. How many people have you, and who to assist you when you accept the bills? Only one.
Have you been in the habit of accepting bills only often for the company? - No, my Lord, I always made a point of it never to accept bills, but in the absence of the secretary.
Who assisted you when you accepted these bills? - Sometimes one, and sometimes another.
Do you recollect which clerk assisted you? - I cannot.
Is there any thing, and what, that enables you to say whether a bill of the same tenor might have been accepted twice on that day, what check have you on a bill after it is accepted; suppose in point of fact these two bills which precisely correspond with each other had been brought to you on the day, when you took up the first, you would have recourse to your bill-book, and seeing it with a red mark, you would not have accepted it? - Upon reading over with the clerk, a red mark is made, it is just by the acceptance, we read all the bills before we accept one.
Court. And as you read them all over, you mark them in that book? - Yes.
Then the case is, every bill is marked in
Supposing two bills of that tenor had been left among two or three hundred; suppose you had found another parcel in the same form, would you have had any check? - As soon as they are read over, I lay them flat on my desk: then we examine them in the order they are reported from the committee of accounts.
If you had two, you would by looking back have discovered, that there had been another bill of the same tenor and date? - Yes.
Examined by Mr. Silvester.
You are a clerk, I believe in the India-house? - Yes.
Do you remember any bills being brought there in April to be accepted - I do.
Look at these bills, and see if you recollect which of them was brought for acceptance? - This is the bill, which from several circumstances, I am firmly persuaded was brought to the India-house for acceptance, and accepted by their order.
What are those circumstances? - The figure No. 97, in the corner, and the No. should be 43, for on comparing it with the register I found it to answer to the same number, I myself wrote this should be 43, I firmly believe I wrote it, because it is agreeable to my manner of writing, and the other is not; also, because there are marks on that bill, because; when it was in my possession with several others, I sewed it together with several others, and the mark of the sewing is still remaining thro' the letter D. and the word Company, I sewed a number of them together.
Have you the other bills there? - I have all that were in that class; I know by the past in which this is sewed that this is the bill, because I always sew them exceedingly near, and these bills will be found to correspond, I have no doubt, with these marks; I never sewed them in that corner; I have seen the marks in the other bill, which appeared to have been a pin mark.
Compare them with the other bills of the same class? - All these fourteen I have tried, and I find them to agree exactly with a pair of compasses; that was altered from 97 to 43, which I am well persuaded is my hand writing, I have here several others which were accepted on the same day, and which I altered in the same words, and which I believe correspond.
Prisoner's Council. Which is the bill through which the two holes are? - That.
Then that is the place where you make the holes, is it?
Council for the Prosecution. See whether these bills correspond. - It appears to agree with that.
Upon comparing the hand-writing, are you able to swear, that one is an accepted bill, and the other is not? - It is certainly a very possible thing that though this agrees with my hand-writing, and that there are holes in this, an ingenious person might have observed the holes.
Prisoner's Council. Do not reason about it, but say that you do or do not believe it, are you able to distinguish the one from the other? - Certainly I am, Sir.
Mr. Peckham. I understand this bill that is wrote No. 97, should be 43, then you say, that you sew your bills and put them on a kind of file. - To sew a label to them.
Have you any reason for doing it at one particular place or distance? - I have generally done it at one part of the bill in preference to the other, that it might not cover the body of the bill, but I have not made it an invariable rule.
To be sure it would be most ridiculous if you who have a great deal of business to do, was to take a pair of compasses to mark out the distances, all you want to do is to take a needle and put a label on it, and not to put it on any of the writing? - I am aware it is upon the writing, but it is the body of the bill I am speaking of.
Does it necessarily follow, that because
You see how attentive a man ought to be, before he could positively to swear to any thing, look at these two things, and tell me whether there is not a manifest distinction in the holes that are made in the two bills, there is a hole through the word the, the next hole is under the word for? - Yes.
Now in that you see the hole is directly through the word company? - Yes, in the letter n.
Now if you look over this you will see two holes that are not upon any writing? - Yes.
Mr. Sylvester. The bills you had then of that class were they all sewed together? - They were put together, and then sewed.
Therefore if this had been of that class must it not have been sowed with the rest? - It must.
Do they correspond? - They do, I have tried them by the compasses.
Mr. Peckham. I suppose if you was to few them to morrow, you would not sew them in that place? - No, Sir.
Now this other bill that appears to be of that time and class, has it any mark as if it was sewed at that time? - It has not.
Examined by Mr. Rous.
Mr. Ryland brought some bills to your house, are either of these one of the bills that he brought to your house? - That is the bill that he brought to our house.
When was it brought? - It was on the 19th of September, 1782; I know it by the initials of my name, and the mark on the back, there is W. N. in the front, on the 19th of September, 1782, we advanced him 3000 l. on three bills, one of which that is.
Court to Wilkinson. Did you receive from Mr. Ryland on the 4th of November, a bill of that tenor and date? - I believe if you look at the back of that note, you will find a bill of that tenor and date.
Court. All that is stated on that note is, that you received a bill for 110 l. which became due the 28th of April, 1783? - I have no other memorandum than that.
Court. Have you any other knowledge of the bill? - No other my Lord.
Court to Hammersley. When did you put your mark on that bill? - At the time it was presented for the payment.
Examined by Mr. Rose.
Look at this bill? - This bill was put in my hands at the India-house by Mr. Hamersley, desiring I would demand the payment of it, which I did in the accomptants office; this is the bill; there is my mark on the back of it: J. S. N. P.
To Hammersley. Have you proved that bill under Mr. Ryland's commission? - The bill itself was not exhibited, but the protesting of the bill, the East-India Company particularly desired they would leave the bill with them, but the protest was exhibited.
Court. That does not apply; I do not see that that identifies it at all.
I did not expect to be called on this business; here are two letters which I believe to be mine, they are my initials.
Who was that bill brought to the India-house by? - I believe, Sir, by this circumstance, it was delivered into my care by Mr. Sutherland.
Examined by Mr. Rose.
What are you by profession. - A paper maker.
You have been a long time I believe in that line of business? - Upwards of twenty years.
Look at that paper; from the knowledge which you have of paper, and the making
When was that paper first made? - I have carefully examined my books, and the mould in which this sheet of paper was made, was received at my mill on the 25th of February, 1780; they were not made use of for making of paper till immediately after the Christmas holidays of that same year; but the day they began, was the 28th or 29th of December, 1780, after the Christmas holidays, when they were first applied to making paper; they were worked with from that time to the 27th of April, 1781, having then made 955 reams.
When was the first paper sent out? - The first paper sent out by me to London, of these particular moulds, was the 27th of April, 1781.
Look at this bill? - I have very carefully examined it twice yesterday, with very great attention.
And this bill was from the paper made by that mould? - Certainly, I undertake to say so; the mould during that parcel was in a good state, and had not received any injury, which I can prove by the samples now in Court, by a sample which I have now in my pocket of the second parcel; the parcel made from these moulds, which was begun to be made the 14th of January 1782, and finished the 16th of March following, having then made 572 reams; the first of the second parcel, out of which I take upon me to say this bill was part of, was sent to London the 3d of May, 1782, by this sample sheet now in my hand, in my clerk's own writing, who likewise made the sheet of paper, it appears by his name being here, he is here in Court; this sheet of paper was made at the mill, on that particular mould, it has a defect on it; on the 21st of January, 1782, of the same mould of which this note is now shewn me, I made this sheet of paper; there is a defect of the mould, either by an injury it has received, or in consequence of the quantity of paper made on it, the bill has the same defect; and there is likewise a defect which the bill has not, so that the sheet of paper on which the bill was written, was made from that mould. This could not happen in the same places, and situations in any two moulds; this is a sample made by my clerk for my inspection.
Prisoner's Council. It happens to be torn at the places where the defects are? - Yes, but they are very fair for all that, the watermark is so exactly similar in this bill, whether it is forged or not, I know it is so truly similar to the sample sheets that I have, that I can venture to say with confidence, that it was made of that particular mould; there is not the smallest variation in any turn or twist of the wires, which were all turned by it.
You have not two moulds alike? - I never saw one; and on this particular occasion, I have taken uncommon pains, as you may suppose I would.
Court. Was that date of the second paper, the time of its setting out, or arrival at London? - It goes first in my own waggon to Maidstone; then I put it on board a brig afterwards, and loaded in a hoy.
Court. What came of it from Maidstone? - It was put on board a brig, from the brig into a hoy, from thence conveyed into a wharf in London, and by the carts to the wholesale stationers; I send it to three stationers, to Mr. Alderman Wright, Messrs. Fourdrinear, Bloxham and Co. and Mr. Woodmason, of Leadenhall-street, they take all the paper I manufacture.
Court. Which is the usual time of the conveyance from your house to London? - Every Friday constantly, they sometimes are stopped a day or two by floods, and it is sometimes a week, and sometimes a fortnight, or three weeks.
Court. Which parcel do you suppose this paper was from? - The second undoubtedly.
You have a third, in which there is still a greater defect? - There are still greater defects in the third and fourth.
Court to Homer. Is there any other bill that either was, or was pretended to have been accepted by the East India company,
There was only one brought to you, which you suspected? - Only one that I know of, we have no books that will prove how many bills have been out.
Q. Your books tell you whether you did or did not pay any other bill for 210 l. from the 23d of April, 1783? - That book will not shew when the bills were paid.
Court. Is there any bill that is not paid? - None that I know of have been offered or paid.
(The two bills and the paper handed up to the Jury.)
Court to Homer. Had you any other bill in your tin box for 200 l. payable the 28th of April, 1783, besides that you received from Mr. Ryland? - Not payable by the East India company, there might be other bills of that sum.
Are you sure you have no other of the East India company for 200 l? - I am very sure of that.
Examined by Mr. Silvester.
Where do you live? - I lived in the Borough, now I live in Stepney, the beginning of April -
Look at Mr. Ryland, do you know him? - Yes.
Did he at any time come to your house? - Yes.
For what purpose? - A gentleman came and took a room for a person that was in a decline, the gentleman's name was Mr. Lawrence.
Who occupied the room afterwards? - The prisoner.
How long did he live with you? - About a fortnight.
What name did he come in? - The name of Jackson.
Did any thing particular happen while he was at your lodgings? - Nothing particular?
How came he to leave the lodgings? - The occasion of leaving it, was by having his shoe mended, one of the gentleman's shoes; he sent it down stairs to be mended; and I saw something wrote on it, and what was wrote I could not read, - I shewed it to my wife, and she said it was Mr. Ryland; before that he had all along gone by the name of Jackson, I thought it was my duty to let the officers of justice know.
Was you present when he was apprehended? - I was below stairs.
Prisoner's Council. Did Mr. Ryland go out frequently while he lodged with you? - Three times.
Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - He was at my house in April, under the name of Jackson, I brought down a shoe which Mr. Jackson gave me, my husband looked in it, and there was wrote in it Mr. Ryland, I was below stairs when he was taken away.
- BAYLEY sworn.
Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - Yes, and very unhappy I am to see him there.
When did you see him? - The last time I saw him was when he was taken, I received a letter, dated the 14th of April from Mr. Smith, dated from Draper's hall; I went to Stepney in a coach, where Fielding's people were, and I was desired to go up first; and if it was Mr. Ryland, I was to call the people up; if it was not, I was to come down again; I went into the room, and looked about, but saw nobody; at last I heard something like a spewing, or noise in the throat; I looked down, and saw Mr. Ryland with a bason under his throat, and I saw he had cut his throat; then I called the men up, and I went to get a surgeon.
Court to Nightingale. How came this to be refused? - It was presented to the East India company, it was refused payment, because there was a bill of the like sum. It was sent for payment by one of our clerks, and being refused they wanted to have the bill left with them; I was there
Prisoner's Council. Does not Mr. Ryland keep money at your house? - Yes.
What is your opinion of him? - I have the highest opinion of his abilities and integrity, he was intimate in our family, and we had a great respect for him, I never had any conversation with him, since the affair happened.
Prisoner's Council. If Mr. Ryland had applied to you for the value of that bill, would you have advanced the money? - I certainly would on his word, having that high opinion of him, I have advanced him that sum merely on his word; this was a part of a security for 3000 l.
The PRISONER desired his Defence might be read, his Throat being so sore.
The Defence read by Mr. Reynolds.
I AM now called upon to defend myself against a charge preferred by the East India company, supported by all the ability of their servants, but with a candor that shews they deserve their situation, notwithstanding which, the weight of such a prosecution is sufficient to dismay the most resolute, without having called to it said those circumstances which may be a proof of timidity, but have been this day perverted into evidence of guilt.
The humanity of the law presumes every man to be innocent, and the good sense of the jury will suppose that there must be an inducement for the commission of a crime. I stand before you accused of, knowingly, uttering a forged bill, an accusation you will not easily credit, when you shall be told by witnesses who will command your belief, that my character through life has been irreproachable. - I defy my bitterest enemies to assign a cause for my supposed guilt.
Poverty and knavery are the parents of forgery - both my creditors, and my friends will bear the most ample testimony, that I am not connected with either.
In a former part of my life, I was in partnership with Mr. Bryer, a series of misfortunes occasioned a commission of bankruptcy. - My creditors signed my certificate, while their debts were yet unpaid. - My subsequent conduct proved me not wholly undeserving of their favour, for when the law had discharged me from all their demands, I still found myself bound by my conscience; and in obedience to that bond, I have long since paid my creditors to the uttermost farthing - That action was the comfort of my life; it may now be the protection of it. I hope I ask not too much, when I request you to suppose my principles were honest, which induced me to pay those debts, that my certificate had before discharged. As therefore my principles are honest, of which I will give you the most unequivocal proofs, poverty alone could impel me in violation of these principles, to be guilty of the crime imputed to me - That I am not poor, you yourselves shall judge, that I am rich beyond temptation, I pledge myself to prove: Though my creditors have made me a bankrupt for absconding from my dwelling house, which my prosecutors say, is a proof of my guilt; but under this commission I cannot only pay 20 s. but 20 l. for every pound I owe, My gracious sovereign, the liberal patron of the arts, rewarded my poor abilities with a pension of 200 l. a year, which I at this moment enjoy.
The bounty of Mr. Jordan, who died about four years since, gave me twenty-two shares in the Liverpool water-works, worth above 7000 l.
My stock in trade is worth 10,000 l. and the net produce of my business, falls little short of 2000 l. a year. - With such a fortune, let me ask you what could tempt me to commit a forgery? I next shall ask what proof there is that I have committed it?
I have for some years past been in the practice of discounting bills, this is a fact that rests not on my own assertion, but on the evidence of bankers and brokers of established credit.
But sufficient be it for me to observe that there is no proof of my having knowingly uttered a forged bill. As the prosecutors have not proved it, you will not presume it. That the bill was in my possession, was my misfortune, which claims your pity, but not your vengeance.
But you are desired to believe it, because I fled from justice; my answer is, that when Mr. Downe informed me, that a bill of mine was forged; instead of absconding, I immediately searched after Mr. Hagglestone, to trace from whom he had received it, in the broad face of day, in the Royal Exchange, in half the public streets of London; but when my enquiries proved fruitless, when I had reason to believe the man, who alone could vindicate my innocence, was escaped, when I was told the officers of justice were in pursuit of me, when I had all the horrors of a prison in my view, in compliance with my own fears, (for the most innocent knows not the strength of his resolution,) in compliance with the tears, the intreaties and prayers of a beloved wife, I fled - unfortunately fled! For had I voluntarily surrendered myself to justice, I would not have been made a bankrupt, my innocence would have been established, and I should now have been free.
But my guilt is to be presumed, because I made an attempt upon my life, I reflect on it with horror, with shame, and with contrition; but I could not have supposed that would have been dragged into judgment against me.
It pleased the Almighty to spare that life, which in the moment of phrenzy I was about to destroy. Let not the attempt then operate on your minds to my destruction; insanity is an excuse for every crime; let it not then in my unhappy case be brought forward as a proof of my guilt.
But my guilt is to be presumed, because I am supposed to have had at different periods, at the distance of more than a month, in my possession, two bills of the same sum, and for the same date; both of which all the witnesses say are so exact, that no man can say that either of them was forged; and each of them has been in so many different hands, that the identity of neither can be proved. Will you therefore suppose that these bills have been indentified, when not one of the witnesses can swear it. - Will you suppose that either of them was forged, when Mr. Holt might have made the mistake by accepting both these bills, and then no forgery has been committed.
I beseech you, Gentlemen, to recollect, that till this dreadful misfortune, I was respected by my friends as you are, my character was unblemished, my honesty not doubted. Let not then a well-spent life of inoffending innocence be sacrificed to presumptions, which may be traced to other causes, nor to the incorrect remembrance of Mr. Holt, who may easily make a mistake, when his infirmities are so great, that he has been dismissed the service as superannuated.
Before you can in your consciences convict me, you must be certain that the bill was forged, that I actually uttered it, knowing that it was forged, and that this bill which is now produced against me, is
WITNESSES for the PRISONER.
How long have you been acquainted with Mr. Ryland? - I fancy these twenty years.
What character does he deserve from you? - I always believed him to be a very honest man.
Was he indebted to you, Sir, on his first commission of bankruptcy?
Court. You must not go into particular facts.
From your knowledge of him your opinion is, that he is a perfect honest man? - I always thought so.
- MATHIAS sworn.
I know Mr. Ryland, I pay him a pension of 200 l. a year; I always understood that he was an honest man, and I know nothing to the contrary.
I have known Mr. Ryland for thirteen years last, or thereabouts, during which time I have been very intimate with him; I called on him various times, whenever I met him at home he was following his business.
What is his general character in life, and what the reputation of his substance? - I ever looked upon him as a man of property and would have lent him more than that; his character has been extremely good through life, I think no man ever had a better, I was so intimate with him as to have a knowledge of it.
You have been acquainted with Mr. Ryland from the latter end of the year 1777? - Yes, I have done business for him as a solicitor.
Before this last commission was he a man of property? - I always looked upon him as a man of very good property, and I have applied to him in negociation of money; he has discounted bills for clients of mine for large sums.
Do you know Mr. Lidius? - Yes.
Had he given any orders to Mr. Ryland, for the receipt of any particular sum? - Yes; Mr. Lidius was as well known as any man.
Did you know Mr. Haggerston, or have you ever seen him? - No, Sir, I have heard there was such a man.
Was it then known that this bill was supposed to be a forgery? - I have heard that there was such a thing and after I heard it I saw Mr. Ryland, he seemed when he came to me, to be uneasy about the report, because he said, he was apprehensive, he should lose money by it, by being imposed upon.
Was he then searching after Mr. Haggerston? - He told me so, I saw no more of him afterwards; I always took him to be a man of the best of characters, I never heard any man say to the contrary, scarce any man that applied to him for a favour went without it, to my knowledge, if it was in his power to oblige.
Council for the prosecution. Do you know where this Mr. Haggerston lived? - No.
I am a broker, I have had dealings with Mr. Ryland, many a time in the bill way.
What is his general character, what have you ever heard or known of him? - I always understood him to be a man of great integrity, and I never heard or know any thing to the contrary.
I am a clergyman, I have know Mr. Ryland five, six or seven years; he is a very upright honest man.
I am in the house of Prescott Grose and Co. I have known Mr. Ryland for ten years, and done business with him, his character was always particularly good.
I have known Mr. Ryland about twelve years.
What character are you warranted to give him? - The best character of any man I know.
What has been the reputation of his substance through life? - I thought he was in a great way of business, and had a great property in the Liverpool Water Works, and as good a creature as I ever knew.
- BENSON sworn.
I am master of the Virginia Coffee-house , I have known Mr. Ryland twenty years, he has done business at our house, a great many times, in discounting bills; he bears a very extraordinary character indeed.
I am a Wine merchant, I have known Mr. Ryland fifteen years and upwards.
What has been his general character, since you have had the knowledge of him? - I never knew but he was an honest man.
- WARD sworn.
I suppose, I have known Mr. Ryland best part of twenty years, and have been intimately acquainted with him for ten years, he lived next door to me, at Kensington Gore; he had a very good character, and I have found him an upright honest man, in all the dealings I have had with him.
- PIGON sworn.
I have known him nineteen years, I never knew any person have a better character, I would have trusted him with all my fortune, without being afraid in the least.
I have known Mr. Ryland sixteen or eighteen years, I always understood him a very honest man, and very amiable man in every other respect.
- HOLFORD sworn.
I am a Banker, I have known Mr. Ryland twelve or fourteen years, he bore a universal good character.
I am Clerk to Messrs. Downes and Pell, Bankers, I have known him about ten years, a very honourable just man, we always supposed him to be.
- LANSDOWN sworn.
I am a merchant; I have known him about fifteen years; he always bore a very amiable good character, as far as ever I knew; I have had a great many transactions with him in discounting bills for him; I always found him both honest and regular.
- VALLEY sworn.
I am a merchant.
You are a proprietor of the Liverpool water works? - Yes.
Is Mr. Ryland considered as a man of property? - Yes.
He is a proprietor too? - Yes.
Is he a man of character? - A very good character, as far as I ever knew; I always knew him to be a very honest man.
Mr. Justice Buller then addressed the Jury as follows.
Gentlemen of the Jury,
The prisoner William Wynne Ryland stands indicted, for forging an acceptance of the name of Richard Holt , the assistant to the secretary of the East-India Company, to a bill of exchange drawn on the Court of Directors by Charles Smith and others, and the indictment charges him first, with forging the acceptance, and secondly, with uttering a bill so accepted, knowing it to have been forged, with intent to defraud: that intent is laid in two different ways, first, that he intended to defraud the East-India Company, by negotiating this forged bill; and secondly, that he intended toDougall Campbell or his order. Mr. Morland the first witness says, (here the learned Judge summed up the evidence on the part of the prosecution, with great accuracy) this is the evidence on the part of the prosecution: the prisoner has delivered in a written defence, which I think deserves your attention for its good sense, as well as the circumstances mentioned in it: he has also called many witnesses, who have all given him a most exemplary character, most of them having known him the greatest part of twenty years; he has possessed as fair and as honest a character as man can deserve; besides that, they have told you that they have considered him as a man of property, and indeed it appears as strongly by the witnesses on the part of the prosecutor; that he was a man of undeniable character, and of great credit; that he might have had money for asking, from very reputable people who would have advanced it him, even upon his word. Gentlemen, this is the whole of the case on both sides, and the three points which are essential for you to consider, are those which the prisoner has very properly stated in his defence; the first question is, whether this bill was forged, and if it was, whether you are satisfied that the prisoner knew it was forged, and if you are satisfied of that; thirdly whether the bill which is now produced in evidence is the same which was uttered by the prisoner: These are the three points which he has stated in his defence, and stated very properly, because you must be satisfied of all the three points bef ore you can find the prisoner guilty; he has desired to call on your attention to his situation in life, and to see whether there could be any inducement for him to commit such a crime; his character and his fortune have appeared before this to be very good, but it is impossible for us to penetrate so far into the heart of man as to know what his inducements are, and if the facts appear clear, it is not necessary or incumbent on us to ask what was the inducement: There is another point which the prisoner wishes you to consider, which is, whether there might not be a mistake made by Mr. Holt in accepting both bills: These are the points on which the case must turn; now from that evidence which has been given, you find that there are two bills brought to the India House, and it is sworn by the witnesses that they never received advice of more than one, and Mr. Holt swears he never accepted more than one, and he has given you a very particular and minute account in what manner the bills were accepted; if his account be true, there does not seem to be any probability, nor even a possibility that the second bill should have been accepted by him, because he says they were all laid together and called one by one, and marked with a red mark, and therefore if there had been a second bill brought to the East India House for acceptance, when called over it must have been discovered by the red mark; if he is accurate in that, there is no evidence to contradict him; then there could be only one bill accepted by him; if so, one must be forged, and if one is forged, the question is which, because in this case it is essential before you can convict the prisoner, to be satisfied that the bill which was delivered by the prisoner to Ransom and Co. was the forged bill: Now it is material to see how these two bills have been traced: Both the bills have been negotiated by the prisoner: As to the true bill it is drawn and so is the other on the 5th of October 1780: Now what is the evidence that one of these bills is forged? It is first the evidence given by the clerk, and by Mr. Holt that he accepted but one, and that it is impossible from the nature of their business, and the manner of carrying it on, that he could have accepted the other: You have also the proof of the identity of one of the bills from the ink having run; if this was so, it Archibald Campbell from India, accepted by the Company about the 29th of August 1781, and one of those bills which is now produced is ascertained to be that which was received by Archibald Campbell , by two circumstances; first the figures at the top, secondly, the circumstance of their being all sewed together by the witness Homer. These facts if true, distinguish that bill from the other; the other has not such a mark as this has by the sewing, and though it has the same words upon it, yet the witness says, that is not his manner of writing, and he can take upon himself to say, that it was not his manner of writing: this true bill is proved to have been in the hands of the prisoner and had until after that 16th of May, 1782, there is no evidence that more than one bill existed: as to the forged bill, there is no account of it whatever, nor is it ever seen till the 4th of November, 1782, on that day the prisoner left such a bill with Ransom and Co. therefore you see at this time, the prisoner has negotiated two bills of the same tenor and date, and one cannot help asking what account is given by the prisoner how he got the two bills, because, he is proved to have had both, but how he became possessed of both the bills there is no evidence at all: if it is proved that he has negotiated both, and one is false, that is a strong degree of proof that he knew how it was made, because it is proved that he had the the other bill, and knew how, it was made. The only remaining question is, whether the bill now produced, is the same with that which was given by the prisoner to Ransom and Co. a bill was delivered to Messrs. Ransom and Co. drawn on the East-India company for 210 l. payable the 28th of April, 1783; and another bill was delivered by the prisoner at the bar; and Mr. Morland and his clerk both swear they had no other bill of 210 l. payable the 28th of April, 1783, but this bill which they received from the prisoner, and which they put into the tin box where they usually kept their bills; now with respect to keeping this bill amongst others in a tin box, is it not the constant course of trade; do not all bankers keep their bills in the same manner? and they afterwards took out a bill of the same tenor and date, and for the same sum from the tin box; and they swear they never had any of that tenor, date, and sum, but from the prisoner; one of the witnesses carried it to the India-house, and there he delivered the five bills to the clerk, whose name was Richardson, they were carried by Richardson up stairs to be examined; and a clerk, as I understood him, carried them out of his presence when he went up stairs, and he brought him five bills again: that clerk has not been called; there is therefore that chasm in the case; for it is not positively identified that the five bills brought down
The Jury withdrew for about half an hour, and returned with a verdict.
GUILTY of uttering the acceptance knowing it to be forged ( Death .)
Trials at Law, Arguments of Counsel, &c. carefully taken in Short-Hand, and copied with Dispatch by E. HODGSON, Writer of these Proceedings, No. 35, Chancery Lane.
Short-hand taught at Home and Abroad.
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