TAKEN IN SHORT-HAND BY E. HODGSON, PROFESSOR OF SHORT-HAND; And Published by Authority.
NUMBER II. PART II. (Of the SESSIONS PAPER.)
Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON, No. 13, Pater-noster Row.
KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.
158. FRANCIS PARR was indicted for that he, on the 7th of November last, falsely and feloniously did personate one Isaac Hart , of Windsor, in the county of Berks, Gent, the true and real proprietor, of and in 3900 l. capital stock, and thereby did falsely endeavour to receive, of and from the Governor and Company of the Bank of England , the sum of 58 l. 10 s. as and for half a year's annuity, as if he was the said true and lawful owner of the money, with intention to defraud the Bank .
He was also charged with the same offence in several counts, only varying the description of the stock.
(The indictment was opened by Mr. Garrow; and the case by Mr. Silvester, as follows.)
May it please your Lordship, and you Gentlemen of the Jury, to favour me likewise as counsel on this prosecution. Gentlemen, I am sorry to call back to your recollection, that this is the second trial which you have had this session, for an attempt to defraud the Bank; but it shews how necessary it is that the Bank should be vigilant to protect that property which is so open to the inroads of the public. The case you have now before you is a case which one would wonder is not more often committed, and would be so if it was not for the watchful care of the Governor and Directors, and every person employed in the Bank; the prisoner has been clerk to a broker, and in that way he became perfectly acquainted with the dividends due at the Bank, and was well acquainted with the manner in which they were received; some hours before this transaction, the prisoner had been seen at the Bank, watching, as is supposed, for an opportunity to commit this offence; and about half past two, the time when they are most hurried at the transfer office, the prisoner went to the letter H, the initial H. (as you know Gentlemen, there are letters for each name) he went to Mr. George, who unfortunately, I say unfortunately, because if he had known the prisoner's person, perhaps he might have prevented this fraud; he unfortunately did not know him, and he asked to receive his dividend; Mr. Hart's dividend on 3900; he gave in his name as Isaac Hart ; the clerk asked him this question,
"of Windsor?" yes, says he, of Windsor; he looked for the book, heIsaac Hart ; the warrant for the money was given to him, he likewise signed the name Isaac Hart upon that, he received an order for the interest, 58 l. 10 s; he left the office and went to get the money; the clerk having observed the person had been some time before walking about in the Bank, and that he had a great coat on, but that at the time he came for his dividend he was without a great coat; it struck him as an odd circumstance, that a person that described himself of Windsor, should waste so much time at the Bank without any apparent business, and then come to him; and he went to the book, to see whether the hands agreed, he then went to another person, and he immediately recognized the prisoner not to be Mr. Isaac Hart of Windsor, but to be Mr. Francis Parr , who had been clerk to a very respectable broker; he was immediately apprehended, and on his person was found this very warrant which he received from the clerk. Gentlemen, this is the short case I have to make; it certainly shews how necessary the great vigilance is, which they use at the Bank, and likewise how cautious they should be, even of persons who from their situations are entrusted in the Bank as clerks; that they should be cautious not to pay even them without a certainty of their persons: I am afraid there is not a shadow of defence for this unfortunate man at the bar, because from his situation of life he must know, that if he was detected, he must forfeit that life, and he is not an ignorant man, taken in by persuasion; but in this case, he goes to the Bank, having, by some means or other, whether in the capacity of agent or broker, found out the real sum, and he makes use of that knowledge, either to defraud Mr. Isaac Hart or the Bank: the Bank have, as they always do, made that money good to Mr. Hart, by replacing it. Gentlemen, I think this prisoner can have no excuse, because he must know the offence he was committing; and if the facts which I have stated to you, which are very short, are proved it becomes your duty to pronounce him guilty: if on the other hand, these facts are not proved to your satisfaction, I am sure you will in justice acquit him.
I am a clerk in the Bank.
Do you know the prisoner? - I know him very well by sight.
Did you know him before he applied to you at the Bank? - No, he applied to me on Tuesday the 7th of November, at half past two; I am dividend payer of the three per cent. consols; he applied to me for the dividend in the name of Isaac Hart in the three per cent. consols.
The description he then gave was exact? - Yes.
Did you examine the book to see if there was any stock in that name? - I did.
Did you ask him any questions with respect to the amount of the stock? - He mentioned that himself.
Did he mention the stock? - It is not usual when they come to the book to mention the stock, because it is a place appropriated for the payment of that stock, and upon signing the name in the book it was my business to give him the warrant to receive the dividend.
What dividend was due on the stock at that time? - Half a year's dividend, 58 l. 10 s.
When was it due? - The 5th of July, 1786.
Is that the warrant you delivered to him at that time? - It is.
(The warrant handed up to the Court.)
Nobody but the person whose name stands in the books can receive the dividend, without producing a letter of attorney, I believe? - No.
Did the prisoner offer any letter of attorney, or sign his name as the proprietor? - He signed his name as the proprietor.
You are sure of that? - Yes.
"1786, No. 23255 consols, 3 per cents.
"the sum of 58 l. 10 s. for half a year
"annuities, 3 per cent. per annum, on the
"sum of 3900 l. intituled, an act for converting
"the several annuities therein
"mentioned, &c. 58 l. 10 s. Examined,
(The Receipt Read.)
It appears signed in the dividend book as the proprietor of that stock; I saw him sign the book.
When you had given him the warrant he did not stay longer with you? - No.
How soon might it be afterwards that you apprehended him? - It might be five or six minutes; upon my giving him the warrant to sign I observed that he had wrote a long J. in the name Isaac, and he put his finger over it to make a short I.
Was that in writing it on the book or on the warrant? - On the warrant. (The warrant banded up again.) He went out of the door opposite me.
This circumstance then called up some suspicion on your part? - It did.
What did you do in consequence of such suspicion so raised? - I then referred to the former dividend book to compare the hand writing which I did not immediately find; I was a minute or two before I found it, and I found the hand writing differ very much; immediately on discovering this circumstance, I went to the Pay-office where the warrants were paid, and then enquired of the clerks whether any such warrant had been in to be paid; they told me no; I begged if it came, they would stop the parties; I came back to the book again, and told several of the clerks of it; I saw the prisoner about five or six minutes afterwards; he had his great coat on; he had it off when he came to me; he was in the rotunda at the Bank; I had seen him that morning before with his great coat on.
Had you observed him about the Bank for any time previous to this application to you? - I had sometime in the morning; I cannot say what time; I went out a second time in hopes of seeing him, and I saw him at the rotunda with his great coat on, and as if he was going to receive the warrant; I called to him, Mr. Hart; he said, what? he came back into a little part of our office which is parted off; I asked him then, what sum he had the last half year; he told me, he believed the same, but he could not tell; I looked at several of the clerks that were about, as much as to say, I was convinced it was wrong; I did not make any answer; I called Mr. Vickery to the table, and he came; I desired the gentlemen that were there in take care of him; he said, he knew him.
Did he say so in the presence of the prisoner? - I think so.
Was the prisoner near enough to him to hear him? - I believe he was; Mr. Vickery said he would go and get a constable, which he did, Mr. Vickery came back with the constable, and asked him whether his name was not Parr; I do not recollect what answer he made to that; after that we went into the Court among the Directors; but what passed there I do not know.
Mr. Knowlys, Prisoner's Counsel. Mr. George, I am very sorry to read in a public print, that I had a conviction for perjury against you in my pocket; I think it necessary to declare thus publicly, and for your satisfaction, that I neither know or suspect any thing of you which should induce me to sustain a less worthy opinion
Mr. Morgan, another of the Counsel for the Prisoner. It is very necessary for me to ask you a few questions, to explain some circumstances, not by way of cross examination, or doubting the truth of any thing you have said; you say, when he came up he mentioned the dividend, upon which you turned the book round, and he signed it? - He did.
The book was then open? - I believe it was; I had just been paying somebody else a dividend.
The original book stands thus,
"Hart, Windsor?" - Yes.
You had observed him in the Bank some time before? - Yes, I had observed him in the morning.
Had he been there any considerable time as you recollect? - I do not.
Which way did he go when he received the warrant? - Through the door-way directly opposite to it, which leads into the Transfer-office.
Whereabouts is the Pay-office situated, with respect to your office, the three per cents.? - It is upon the left hand.
He did not go into the Pay-office? - Not as I saw.
How long might it be before you saw him again? - It might be five or six minutes.
Might it not be rather more? - I believe it might; I am not quite sure.
When you first saw him he had his great coat on? - He had.
Do you remember having had any conversation with any body before he came respecting him? - Not at all; I was paying a dividend before he came up to me.
Were not the words that he made use of,
" Isaac Hart , Windsor, 3900 l." were not these the words he made use of? - I believe they were; these are the very words of the book; I asked him first of what place, and he answered, Isaac Hart , Windsor, 3900 l.
Why, I do not suppose there could be half a minute's conversation between you? - Very little.
You will not say positively? - I do not think he did.
When you stopped him, did not you say, I want to speak to you, Sir? - I said Mr. Hart.
Did he see you? - He did.
What did you say to him? - I desired him to step back to the office.
Did he make any the least objection? - No.
But went very readily with you? - He did.
Was not the place where you took him at the distance of fifty yards beyond the Pay-office, from your office? - It was before you come to the Pay-office; but it is in the way to the Pay-office.
Do you know where he had been to get his great coat? - I do not.
Do you know where he had been from the time you gave him the warrant to the time of seeing him again? - No.
He had not received the dividend? - Not that I know of.
Suppose he had gone out to the coffee-house, and given the warrant to any person upon the face of the earth, might not that person have received the money that moment? - I believe he might.
What is your appointment in the Bank? - I am joint chief clerk in the three per cent. consolidated office; I was applied to by Mr. George, on suspicion that this was not Mr. Hart; when I first went into that part of the office, where Mr. George and some more of the clerks were, I enquired what was the matter; Mr. George said, this man has signed our dividend book, and I do not think it is right.
Isaac Hart ; I thought I recollected Mr. Parr's face; I asked him if he wrote that, he said yes; I immediately recollected his voice; I knew him some years ago about the Bank as a clerk to several brokers, and I was sure of his person, and I said I was very sorry for it; I desired them to take care of him, for I knew him.
Did you at that time recollect his name? - Perfectly well.
Do you remember whether you stated it at that time? - No, I did not; I returned with the constable, and found the prisoner where I had left him; I then asked him if his name was not Parr, and he said yes; then says I, Sir, I am very sorry to do what I am about to do, that was to take him into custody.
Did you see him searched? - No.
You did not see any thing produced in his presence as found upon him? - No, I went with him to the Directors of the Bank.
Do you know, and recollect perfectly well that this is the man that you knew by the name of Parr? - Undoubtedly.
Mr. Knowlys. You have given your evidence with a great deal of propriety, and I do not ask you the questions I am about to ask you with any intention to discredit that evidence; may I suppose by your saying you was sorry to do what you was about to do, that you knew the prisoner had a good character? - Why, Sir, it was a painful task to me to put any man into custody that I had known.
This man had done business about the Bank? - He had.
Then of course he must be very well aware that he was well known to many people in the Bank? - He might.
Might not he have proceeded immediately to the Pay-office in the bank? - He might.
Did not every moment he delayed going to the Pay-office increase the danger of detection? - A man having done a thing of that kind must be in danger every moment.
He made no difficulty in telling you when you interrogated him, that his name was Parr? - Not at all, he answered me readily to his name.
Have not you said that he might twice have made his escape if he intended it? - I believe I may have said so.
Can you be accurate to the exact time when Mr. George first gave you this information? - I believe between two and three.
You do not happen to know Mr. Parr intimately in business, but only generally having seen him there? - I never did any business with Mr. Parr, only seeing him come to the books, as a clerk belonging to a broker.
You do not know how many brokers he might have been clerk to? - No; after he had received the dividend warrant, he might have gone clear off, because he was out of sight of Mr. George; and in the next place, I remember when he was in custody, he was a great distance from the constable that was behind him.
I am accomptant to the Bank; on the 7th of November, Mr. George, who has just been giving evidence, came into my office with two dividend books, acquainting me, there had been a forgery committed, and that the man was in custody; I asked him to give me the signature, he did, and I compared it with the writing in the two books; and as the man was in custody, I had no doubt but there had been a forgery committed; the other book is here. (Produced) I compared it, it was
Has that 58 l. 10 s. been since paid to Mr. Hart? - It has by order of the Court of Directors.
Where do you live, Sir? - At Windsor.
Are you possessed of any stock in the consolidated three per cents? - Yes, Sir.
How much? - Three thousand nine hundred.
When did you receive the last dividend of your stock? - I received it a little time after last Christmas; some time in last January.
What sum was there due to you in July? - Fifty eight pounds ten shillings, halt a year's interest on 3900 l.
Did you sign your name the last time you received your dividend before this? - Yes, I received a year's dividend then.
Upon how much stock? - I cannot tell you, but not so much as I have now.
Had you made any application to the Bank in November last? - None at all.
Do you know any thing of the man at the bar? - No, Sir, I never saw him but once in my life, and that was when he was at the Poultry-compter.
Court. Who was the broker that purchased your stock? - Sometimes one, and sometimes another.
Mr. Morgan. I submit to your Lordship, that here is not any evidence before the Court to support this indictment; if you please to look at the indictment, and see the offence that is charged; it is in the first place, for personating the proprietor of the stock, and endeavouring to receive an annuity of 58 l. 10 s. then being the money of the said Isaac Hart , for half a year's annuity thereon, at three per cent. per annum; first with respect to the personating, the indictment follows the words of the statute very properly; for the statute enacts this shall be a capital offence, if any one personates any true and real proprietor, &c. and thereby transferring, or endeavouring to transfer the stock, or receiving or endeavouring to receive the money: I submit the offence is not made out as to personating and endeavouring; he has to be sure received the warrant, but there is not any evidence before your Lordship, of endeavouring to receive the money; the receiving the warrant is not endeavouring to receive the money; he may intend to receive it; but I submit he should have gone to the Pay-office, and tendered the warrant, and when he had done that, he would have compleated the offence. Your Lordship sees the obtaining the transfer is not the whole offence; it is going to the Pay-office, and endeavouring to receive it: - There is a difference between them. The second is a charge of procuring a warrant of 58 l. 10 s. to receive the interest. When the Bank was established, an act of parliament was granted to give the King a power to establish a Bank, which was to consist of contributors, to advance money, for which Government was to grant in lieu, annuities; they had a charter granted,
Court. Does not the acts referred to, call it an annuity expressly? - No, my Lord, not annuities.
Court. I have the act in my hand, the word annuities, upon the said annuities, upon repayment to parliament of the whole principal sum, the dividend is the annuity; I do submit it is the stock which is the annuity, and that the other is only the interest.
Court. The principal sum can never be called the annuity.
Mr. Morgan. I submit there is no annuity but that granted by government to stock-holders to divide in quantity as the interest of it.
Mr. Knowlys. I am sure the Court will indulge me with a few words in support of any objections, which may offer themselves to me in the slight hearing of this indictment. I have to lament an old rule, that counsel for prisoners in cases in which indictments are of a very long and intricate nature, are obliged to pick out from the short reading which they hear of that indictment from the officer of the Court, such objections, as perhaps might be much multiplied if they had the perusal of them. I hope that the few words which I have to say in support of the first part, at least, of this objection of Mr. Morgan's, may have weight with the Court. I do contend for a maxim of law, which has been much too long established, to be shaken by any thing which can be said on the part of the Crown, that acts of parliament which are penal, which inflict a fine on the subject, are to be construed strictly: if there he any difference as to any act which is penal, I am sure that which affects the life of the subject, will be that which will meet with the severest construction. I do contend, that the act of parliament meant to provide against a mischief, and in a case where that mischief is not found, the act should receive the strictest possible interpretation: the act was meant to helter a man's property which is funded in the Bank, from the arts and depredations of designing men; and will the Gentlemen say, that the intent of the legislature shall be considered to extend to any individual which was not in its reach. The act of parliament says, it is a capital offence to personate a proprietor of stock, and endeavour to receive that stock. I submit to the Court, that this offence must be compleat in all its parts, that as well as personating, there must be an endeavour to receive. The act of parliament certainly was meant to prevent persons from obtaining the property of others which is lodged in the Bank; and I say that the act of parliament was intended to meet the mischief of persons having no right to property, funded in the bank, obtaining that property from persons being the real owners of it; and I say, no act falling short of the possibility of reaching that mischief, can be extended to this act of parliament: In this case, no attempt was made at the Pay-office to receive the money, and this statute has clearly marked out the space, in which repentance shall take place, if a man personates another man, he has an opportunity of shewing whether the intention continues; if he goes to the place, and asks for the money, he is certainly within the act; but if he does not endeavour to receive it, God forbid, that the punishment of death should reach him; and unless the intention is carried forward, I have a right to say, it is evident that no such operation was on the mind. This I take to be a case perfectly new in its kind: I stand upon the broad bottom of the act of parliament; and I submit,
Mr. Silvester. If my friend Mr. Morgan had attended either to the indictment, or the act of parliament, I am sure he would not have made the objection; the offence charged in the act of parliament, and in the indictment, is personating another, and thereby endeavouring to receive the annuity; it is not necessary he should actually receive the money; he has done as much as the act of parliament has stated; by personating he has endeavoured to receive the warrant, which entitles him to the money; by personating the character of Mr. Isaac Hart, he has received the very dividend warrant for the money; is not this man personated, has he not thereby endeavoured to receive, he actually endeavoured to receive from Mr. George, and did receive the warrant: if he had only gone to Mr. George, and had said, I am Mr. Isaac Hart , I am come to receive an annuity on 3900 l., I say the offence would have been compleated; and by receiving the warrant, he has certainly compleated the offence.
Mr. Fielding. My Lord, it becomes my duty to follow my learned friend in answer to this objection. In this case the legislature has chosen to punish the endeavour, as soon as ever that endeavour shall be manifested: Mr. Knowlys says, that the legislature has marked out the two extremes, leaving between these two extremes, an opportunity for the defendant to manifest his repentance, and not complete his crime, seeing that the act of personating is not sufficient, but that his inclination to receive the money should be manifested: the legislature could not be supposed to have intended that the individual must go on to the acceptance of the money, or to some application for the money; the act itself of personating, is endeavouring; and under the construction of this act of parliament there is no latitude at all given; the criminal act is manifested by personating, and he has done every thing he could do; and he was only stopped from going to the Pay-office by detection; and it seems to me, that the word thereby precludes all the objections of my learned friends.
Mr. Garrow. It cannot be necessary for me to say any thing on this point, I should only repeat, though not so well indeed, what has been already said; but I take it, if the word thereby had not found a place in the act of parliament where it is, they there would have been a question, whether the Jury should consider it, or not; but the word thereby seems to me to exclude it now from the jurisdiction of the Jury, and that you cannot state it as question to the Jury, whether that was done with intent to deceive. Mr. Knowlys's argument is this; says he, he may go with intention of receiving it, and he may possess himself of the instrument, but he may afterwards have time to repent: but I submit to the Court, the act has cut him off from that; the act of parliament has said, he shall not go to the dividend book; the act has said, he shall not possess himself of that instrument, which is as good as a bank note: it is enough that he has personated in order to receive it: but my Lord, I ask whether he has not received it? for suppose the course of the Bank was, that Mr. George had been provided with a certain quantity of bank notes instead of warrants, and that there was a bank note for the dividend due to Mr. Isaac Hart , for 58 l. 10 s. would it be endured to say, that because he had not gone to receive the money, and got his change, he had not received the dividend: the act of parliament does not go on to say, and endeavour to receive, but personate, and thereby endeavour to receive. The only question is, do you believe, are you satisfied that he described himself to be the proprietor of this stock? all the rest follows of consequence, and his personating is an endeavouring to receive as the proprietor.
Isaac Hart .
I know he made use of words which you understood as asking for that dividend, but what I wish you to recollect is, what precise form of words he made use of; can you recollect what the prisoner said to you, when he came up to the book? - He asked for a dividend in that name.
That was enough between people of business to make you understand what he wanted? - Yes.
Now, the prisoner, a broker's clerk, a person used to business, coming to you at the proper book for receiving the warrant, he knew that in the course of business it was a dividend warrant, and not the money he was to receive from you? - Certainly.
Court. The inclination of my opinion at present is, that there is evidence enough to go to the Jury; but before they have found their verdict, I never would in any case say more, than that there is evidence enough to go to the Jury, in support of the whole charge in this indictment; but I state that as the inclination of my present opinion; for as this is the first time that this objection has been taken, as far as it has come to my knowledge or recollection, under this act of parliament; and as the act of parliament is certainly penned in a very aukward manner, and differs from many other acts; I do not think the objection is so devoid of weight and colour, as to decide peremptorily against it; therefore I shall certainly leave it to the Jury, upon the evidence, to find their verdict of guilty, or not guilty; if they should be of opinion that he is guilty, I shall reserve the case: at present it strikes me thus, what gives force and colour to the objection is this; this act of parliament is very different in its expression, from both the acts on the same subject, the words
"thereby transferring, or endeavouring to
"transfer, or receiving, or endeavouring to
"receive the money of such true and lawful
"proprietor." Now, I can by no means concur in the extent of the construction which has been taken in answer to this; I can by no means concur that by the word thereby, every thing should be construed into endeavouring to obtain a transfer; for if every personating of the true and real proprietor, was of itself an endeavour to receive; why add those words? there must be something more than the mere personating, something that shall enable a Jury to say, that by the personating he did something else; that he did receive, or endeavour to receive; then the only question is, what degree of evidence will support that something more? for suppose a man was at any other place than the Bank of England, to tell another man in conversation, my name is so and so, and I have so much stock, and I am the true and real proprietor; that would be a personating, and according to their argument, would be endeavouring to receive; that can never be the case; there must be some act accompanying, or following the act of personating, to manifest clearly that act of personating; if the act of parliament had said, with intent to receive, or in order to receive; both of which are used in the acts of parliament for personating seamen; if either of those expressions had been used, there could have been no colour for the objection; for there could have been no doubt that the application to the proper officer for a warrant, which would entitle the party afterwards to receive the money, was evidence of an endeavour to receive the money; but this act states the words, and thereby, that is, by the means of that false representation, either actually transferring, or endeavouring to transfer; and by the same false representation, either receiving, or endeavouring to receive - what? - the money of the real proprietor: Now, the question seems to be this, whether the application for that which will authorise you to receive the money,Isaac Hart ; if they had said, who are you? he might have said, it is no matter who I am, I have Mr. Hart's dividend warrant: and the more I consider this, the more I am confirmed in that opinion, that this is an actual endeavour to receive the money; for the personating being stated, the word thereby becomes material; the personating being stated as the means and instrument, by which that dividend is to be received, the whole act of personating is compleat that moment that the dividend warrant is received; to be sure there is a possible supposition which might perhaps raise a doubt upon it, which is, suppose a man should come and sign the name of the proprietor, without a warrant of attorney, and receive the dividend warrant, and carry that to the proprietor to receive it himself, that is a possible case; then it would be a severe construction of the act to hold that to be an endeavour to receive the money. I confess if I was obliged to give a final opinion now, I should have very little doubt that the personating is an endeavour to receive the money; but as it is a point of very great consequence, first to the prisoner's life, and next of infinite importance to the public; if there is a shadow of doubt, or the colour of an objection, which may be too much to say there is not, that doubt, and that objection being removed by the authoritative opinion of the Judges, will confirm the case more than my opinion; I have very little doubt; but such doubt will be authoritatively removed hereafter, and I think it better to save the point, than give any opinion now; I have said so much upon it, that in the interim it may not go forth to the world, that the construction of this act of parliament has any material and serious doubt upon it, for I do not think it has.
Court to Prisoner. Mr. Parr, do you wish to say any thing in your own defence.
Prisoner. I wish to make my defence.
Mr. Knowlys. Hand it here first that we may see if it is proper to be read.
(Handed to the counsel, and then to the prisoner, who read it as follows.)
My Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury, I ask but a few moments of your attention to my unhappy case: I dare say the gentlemen who are called to give evidence against me, are men of character, and deserve respect: as to the facts they have related of me, I can only say, that I had no knowledge of them at the time, nor have I now any recollection of them, in my present weak state of mind, I cannot argue upon them, you will do that for me, and I am sure you will do it with mercy; in my last voyage, on board the ship Lady Jane, Captain Robert Martin , I had the misfortune to fall over board, and was with great difficulty restored to life; that accident, I am told, has had an unfortunate effect on my reason, or I trust I should never have appeared before you as a criminal. I have lived with my wife in the greatest harmony and affection ever since our marriage, yet I am informed that I have since my last voyage, twice attempted her life, without any provocation, when but a moment before I was behaving with the greatest fondness; of those facts I was so totally ignorant, that I would not have believed them, but upon the solemn assurances of persons who would not deceive me. Captain Martin and the crew of the Lady Jane, would, I am told, prove several instances of my intellects being affected
I follow the sea; I am cook of the Lady Jane, Captain Martin, bound to Antigua; the prisoner belonged to her; he was steward.
Did any accident happen to him on the outer bound voyage? - Yes; by coming along side of the ship; the boat was alongside: he was on the gunwale of the boat; he knocked the temples of his head against the side of the ship, and went right down immediately, and was down the space of twenty minutes; I helped him up, and was at the gangway; in the mean time he was hoisted up by the end of a rope tied round his body; I held the lanthorn; one of the sailors tied it round; when we got him on board, he was given up for dead; and we carried him to the cabin, and pulled his clothes off, and he was laid before the fire, and in two hours time we could hardly find any life; we wrapped him in blankets, but he was not bled; we had no doctor on board; there was some blood came out of his nose; when he came to himself, all his complaint was in his head; the chief of his wound was in his head; after the temples of his head were cut, there was a wound and bruise on his temple; it was not large; the skin was cut, and it bled a little; it was bruised; he did not recover the whole voyage; take one day out of a fortnight he never did two days duty; I came back in the ship with him; we returned to England in the course of seven months; I was frequently in his company during that time.
In what manner did he seem? - He never did seem to be the same man as he was before the accident; before the accident he was a steady, sober, and assiduous man; and a man of sense, and discharged his duty properly on board the ship.
After that accident happened how did he behave as to understanding? - Quite altered; he had no understanding after the accident.
Was the general tenor of his behaviour such as made you think his understanding was affected by the accident? - Yes, it was; and after we got to Antigua the doctor attended him with a blister plaister to his head; he was under their hands for two months and a half while the ship lay in the country; and all the homeward bound pastage he was not able to do any duty; his duty was not of a laborious kind; he was discharged as soon as we came up on that same occasion.
What time did he arrive in the river? - I really cannot recollect; to the best of my knowledge we have been home about four months; I do not recollect the time particularly when we came into the river.
Mr. Silvester. Where do you live? - At Mile-end.
Whereabouts, it is a large place you know? - No. 13, in Maps-row.
Are you a housekeeper? - Yes.
Do you follow any business? - No.
Do you go to sea now? - No, I am at home private.
You say you cannot exactly tell us when the ship arrived? - I cannot.
Can you recollect the month, friend? - I think to the best of my knowledge it may be three or four months.
When did you set fail from England to Antigua? - We went away a little before Christmas; I have been a housekeeper in Maps-row that is what I mean, I have been a twelvemonth; I have been out seven months.
Do you recollect the month you failed for Antigua? - No.
Do you recollect the month you arrived in Antigua? - No.
Nor the time you left Antigua? - No.
Nor when you arrived in the river you cannot tell? - No.
How long have you been a seafaring man? - These good many years, twenty-one years.
Can you write? - Yes, a little.
Did you use to write to your family? - Yes, I have a family; my family lived in Map's-row when I was gone.
Before you went where did they live? - In Map's-row.
When did you take the house in Map's-row? - I cannot say I recollect the date of the year, nor the month in the year.
Can you recollect your landlord's name? - I cannot recollected that; I always leave those affairs to my wife.
How many men had you on board the Lady Jane? - Twenty-seven, men and boys.
How many men? - We might have twelve men before the mast.
Who was your mate? - One Hymes.
Did you know any body else's name on board, what was the second mate's name? - He left us in the country.
He had a name had not he? - I do not recollect it.
When did you first see the prisoner? - I saw him when I was shipped on board the ship in the river.
When was that? - What you ask me what day of the month I suppose.
That you cannot recollect? - No.
Nor the month? - No.
Nor the year? - No.
How soon had you seen him since you came home? - Not before to-day.
When did he send to you? - He did not send to me, his brother came.
When was you applied to first? - Last session.
Did you attend here last session? - Yes, I was here; I did not tell you I attended; but I was called upon as a witness.
Who called upon you? - Mr. Parr.
Had you a subpoena? - Yes.
Have you that about you? - Yes.
Is that the last session? - I do not know.
(Hands up the subpoena.)
Can you write a little? - Yes, by all means.
Can you read? - Yes, I can read.
Can you read this? - No, I cannot say I can read this perfect.
Can you read at all now? - No, I cannot read at all.
Court. What do you mean by saying you can write if you cannot read? - I can write my own name, but I cannot understand writing.
Court. Do you mean to say you do not know the landlord's name that you took the house of? - No, I really do not; for my wife always settles the rent of the house; I have paid rent since I came home; I have the receipt; but I did not see the man.
Can you tell the name of the man that gave you this receipt? - Yes; if I thought there had been any occasion to bring him here, I should have known what his name was; I have paid rent this twelvemonth before I knew Mr. Parr; I had it a twelvemonth before Mr. Parr and me were shipmates together.
Where do you live? - At Edmonton, near the prisoner and his wife; about an hundred or hundred and fifty yards; I knew him before he went abroad; I frequently visit them, and have frequently noticed him.
What difference do you think is in his disposition? - I went once, on the 20th of October, with intent to spend the evening with him and his wife, and when I had been there about half an hour, all of a sudden, as in a fit of frenzy, he jumped up.
What had you been doing that half hour? - We had been talking of things that were very agreeable.
Talking quietly? - Yes Sir, talking quietly; all of a sudden be jumped up and took the poker out of the fire, and said, he would knock his wife down; I in surprise, cries oh! Mr. Parr! that was all I was able to do; upon which he said, he would not mind killing her any more than he would the bird in the cage, alluding to a bird that was in the cage.
Before this took place, had he expressed the least displeasure at his wife? - Not in the least.
Did they live on affectionate terms or not? - Yes, Sir, they lived very happy for any thing I knew; this conduct of his, for any thing I knew, was perfectly unaccountable; I immediately went home much sooner than I intended, upon the occasion; I have heard him say ever since he fell in the water, that his head was bad.
Did he do this in a threatening posture? - He held the poker over his wife as she sat at work; I had a firm belief on that account, that he was going to do what he threatened, and I went home directly; I have known the prisoner about four years; I have known his wife from a child, and she and I have been very intimate; they have been married two years and an half, and very affectionate; he always bore the best of characters; and I believe if he had been in distress, there were none around him but would have lent him ten or twenty pounds.
Court. Was he quiet and appeased before you left him? - No Sir, I left him as soon as he uttered those words; I verily thought he was going to use his wife ill; she got up and went out of the room before me. and I went after her.
Mr. Fielding. How near do you live to their house? - In town you cannot measure the way so well as you can in the country; I suppose better than an hundred yards; no body lives in the house but Mr. Parr and his wife; I went home directly and saw my mother; I suppose there is a dozen houses between me and Mr. Parr's; I am acquainted at most of these houses as neighbours.
Was there any public house between Mr. Parr's and your house? - Yes, two.
Did you go to bed when you went home? - It was about seven in the evening; I found my mother there, and neither she nor me went out afterwards, only my mother went out for some beer, but we did not go to Mr. Parr's afterwards.
Now young woman when you saw her in this great danger, and him in that posture, should not you have told it at the public house? - It ended very happy, and I did not like to make my friends distress known to any one.
Did you believe he was in earnest? - Yes.
Then you must know the poor woman was left in a dreadful situation? - I was very uneasy about it, but I did not call on any body at all; I went away directly.
Mr. Knowlys. The wife made her escape into another room before you went away? - Yes.
I am brother to the prisoner.
What was his general temper of mind before his last voyage? - Very lively, chearfull, and good natured; diametrically opposite to that since last voyage; I never heard but his wife and he lived with the greatest unanimity.
Have they any family? - She has one child.
She is with child again, I believe? - I believe she is.
Mr. Garrow. I will not trouble you with any question, Sir, as you are brother to the prisoner.
I have been a seafaring man twenty years, but have left off two years, and keep a baker's-shop, in Virginia-street; I have known him twelve years, and believe he is a very honest man indeed; I know all the Captains that ever he failed with.
Court. Have you known him since he came home the last voyage? - Yes, he came in; Dresden says he, how do you do? well, says he, I am going to the custom-house; and I am discharged; and I shall do you if you go to sea any more; oh! says he, I shall do you; I shall do all them that used to smuggle in the trade; so he went away and came again in ten minutes, and said he was going to the custom-house.
Do you know if he had any view at the custom-house? - None that I know of; I thought him quite stupid, and not like the man he used to be.
What did you understand from his talk about the custom house at that time? - I thought he was out of his mind.
The Rev. Mr. GOULD sworn.
I am a clergyman at West-end; have known the prisoner twelve years and upwards, a very honest upright man; as for a man of parts he was so in every sense; I have not been acquainted with him since his return from his last voyage; he was very ready when I knew him; I never saw any thing to the contrary of his being a very sober, upright, honest man.
The Rev. Mr. COTTINGHAM sworn.
I belong to Oxford; have known him upwards of eleven years, a very just and very worthy man, as far as ever I knew.
Have you known him since he came home? - I have seen him once; I did not know he had received any damage; and I went to see him in Newgate; I was perfectly convinced there was something the matter with him; I was quite confirmed in it when I came to consider the whole of his behaviour to me; I went with my brother, and I said to him, I was convinced he was disordered in his mind.
Mr. Silvester. What college do you belong to? - Edmund Hall.
NATH. BOATFLOWER sworn.
I am a stock broker; I live in Harpur-street, Red-lion-square; I have known the prisoner twenty years.
During that time, what has been his character? - It is a great while since I saw him; when I knew him his character was extremely good; a very clever fellow he was reckoned always.
I have known the prisoner upwards of twelve years, a very honest, and very sober man.
Mr. Knowlys. My Lord, I have eighty-four witnesses in point of character; I will call them all if you please.
Court. In point of character you cannot carry this matter any further; if you have any more in respect to the state of his mind you may examine them.
- DOWLING sworn.
I have known the prisoner about a year and four months.
Have you observed any thing in particular
I have seen the prisoner since his return from his last voyage, and before his confinement in Newgate several times; I have seen him several times act in a very indiscreet manner, not like a man that was in his senses.
How were his looks? - Very wild.
Upon the whole appearance of his conduct, and manner, and behaviour, what was your observation of him? - I took him to be very strange and not in his senses; he would come into a place where he had no right to come in, a house where are public news-papers, and take up a volume of magazines and lay down his hat.
Mr. Garrow. Will you describe some acts of indecent liberties that he took in your shop? - Such as I think no man in his senses would take.
Are you able to decide whether his behaviour was more like a distressed man or a man mad? - I cannot say; it did not strike me as to his being in distress; I do not imagine he was in distress.
Then I ask you from his conduct, were you able to form a decided opinion whether that proceeded from madness or distress? - I did not imagine he was distressed.
Suppose it was stated to you that he was very much distressed and embarrassed in his circumstances? - I should have expected he would have been more sullen than he was; we could not form any idea whether he was mad or distressed.
When did he return from the last voyage? - I cannot say; I observed these symptoms the latter end of September or October.
How early did you see him after his arrival? - I cannot tell, I do not imagine I had seen him before September; I observed him once or twice, or thrice, opening drawers that he had no right to do, and taking liberties that no man in his senses would do.
I have known the prisoner about eight years; I have never seen him since his return from his last voyage, till I went to see him in Newgate.
What was his character before? - He always bore a very good honest character; he married a farmer's daughter whom I knew before; I have kept his daughter these seven years, and a gentleman that was like his brother went into Newgate to see him; we went in together; he did not know this gentleman at all.
I saw him once before his commitment to Newgate; I keep the Antigallican coffee-house behind the Change.
Will you tell us what you observed? - I have known Mr. Parr for twelve or fourteen years; I have not seen him for these three or four years, till within this fortnight before he was taken up; he called for a dish of chocolate; he got up half a dozen times, which he had no occasion to do, and looked round the room very wild; I took particular notice of him; I found him an altered man by conversing with him; he gave strange quick answers, very odd as I thought.
Court to Vickery. You knew this man by sight, and had known him before? - Yes.
When you were called to him and questioned him in this manner, did any thing particularly strike you in his manner? - I thought it a little strange he did not hesitate to answer.
He answered you without any hesitation? - Yes, he did.
Did you observe any thing about his look or about his eyes, different from what you had known before? - No Sir, I did not.
You had not any subsequent conversation? - No.
Court to Mr. Edwards. You knew this man before? - I knew him from a little boy, only by coming to the Bank; I have no acquaintance with him.
When the prisoner came to you, and addressed himself to you before the constable, did you observe any change in him? - Very much so in his countenance, so much that I did not know him at first.
In what kind did that change appear to you? - It appeared to me to have arisen from some distress of mind, or circumstances, and by his having committed this act, I attributed it to distress; I had not the least idea at that time of disorder.
Does any thing strike you now upon recollection, that had an appearance that was ambiguous? - I cannot say that, unless you will permit me to add, his so readily delivering me the warrant, which was evident condemnation.
Court. Of that we can all judge? - He gave me the warrant instantly upon my asking for it, and said, it will be of no further use to me now.
Court to George. Do you recollect how you were yourself employed when the prisoner first came to your desk that day? - I was paying some other persons dividend, and he came directly on their going away.
Does your book contain all the alphabet, or does it contain only a part? - No, only a part.
Do you happen to recollect whether the man who received the dividend immediately before the prisoner, who was receiving it when he came up to the desk, whether, he was in the same book with Hart or not? - I cannot recollect.
It appears already that the page of the book in which Hart's name was, lay open? - Yes, but there were two books on the same desk, but I do not recollect whether the page of the book that had the name of Hart in it, lay on one side, I do not recollect whether I opened the book myself or not.
Did the prisoner come up to your desk while you were paying the other? - That I cannot think was possible, I do not think it was possible, because the other dividend I was paying, was a very small sum.
If the other was a small sum, and probably was in a different book; now if this book was laying open by the side of you, might not the prisoner come up and cast his eye on the book, and see this name; - I think it might so happen.
Mr. Silvester. We wish to call Mr. Hart.
Did you ever learn from the prisoner himself, for otherwise it will not be evidence, how he came to the knowledge of your name, and the sum you had in the Bank? - Yes, my Lord, when he was in the Poultry-compter I went to see him, and asked him how he came to the knowledge of my name and property, and he said by walking backwards and forwards by the side of the desk and counter, and seeing the book lay open, he saw the dividend book.
Court to Jury. Gentlemen, the prisoner, Francis Parr , is indicted for personating Isaac Hart , the true and real proprietor of 3900 l. three per cent. consolidated annuities, and thereby endeavouring to receive half a year's annuity due thereon; that being the money of the said Isaac Hart ; as if he had been the real and true proprietor thereof, with intent to defraud the Bank. This is a capital offence, and the indictment pursues the wods - of the acts of parliament, which describes the offence to be,
"Whoever shall falsely and
"proprietor, and thereby (that is by the
"personating) transfer, or endeavour to
"transfer the stock, or receive, or endeavour
"to receive the money of such
"true and lawful proprietor, as if such
"offender was the true and lawful proprietor
"thereof:" And you will now dismiss from your consideration what you have heard with respect to the legal effect of the evidence as to this charge, for though my own opinion is, that the act of personating, and thereby of obtaining a warrant to receive the stock, is evidence of an endeavour to obtain the money upon it; yet, I shall on account of the importance of the case, certainly give the prisoner, if you should be satisfied that he is guilty, the benefit of that objection, in case there should be any difference of opinion by the Judges, or the majority of them; because I shall pronounce no judgment on him now, but take down your verdict, if it should be your opinion that he is guilty, subject to the opinion of the Judges. - The evidence is this: (Here the learned Judge summed up the evidence, and then added) Gentlemen, it is proper to inform you, that the prisoner has twice applied to have the testimony of Captain Martin, and some of the mariners of the ship Lady Jane, and in fact his trial was put off last session, and there was a similar application this session, but the affidavit was not quite satisfactory. You will first consider the evidence on the part of the prosecution, reserving the prisoner the benefit of the objection; and I am sorry to say, that evidence as proved by these three gentlemen, is such, as there is no reason to discredit, and that it goes all the length of convicting the prisoner. If the evidence for the prosecution appears to you as it does to me, you will proceed to consider the nature and effect of his defence: first, with respect to character, it has been established by a number of very respectable witnesses, that this unfortunate man has been a man of excellent character; but it is my duty to tell you, that if the facts are clear, the character is such as cannot, or ought not to avail in a Court of Justice; but if your opinion on the evidence leaves any room for doubt, the prisoner certainly ought to have the benefit of that character in a strong degree. Then the other branch of his defence is of a different nature, the defence is that of insanity; upon that, it is my duty to tell you before I observe on the evidence, what in point of law that defence ought to amount to; and it is certainly true in point of law, as well as justice, humanity, and reason, that a man who is so far disordered in his mind, as to be utterly incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, good and evil, and the necessary tendency of his own actions, is not responsible for those actions; he in truth is not a moral agent, and he is not answerable personally, because his actions want that which is the essence of any crime, which is the felonious and criminal intention; but it is not every degree of mental disorder, it is not every derangement of mind, arising from distress of circumstances, or from temporary causes, that will amount to that kind of justification; for on the one hand, though it would be both cruel and unjust to punish a man that was not able to distinguish good from evil; yet on the other hand, it would be highly dangerous to the public, if every suspicion of a disordered mind; if every circumstance that shewed not a regular, an orderly conduct, should be admitted in extenuation of such crimes; as such circumstances are easily produced by perturbation of guilt, more especially in people who have led good lives, and who cannot deviate far without great perturbation of mind; it is therefore the business of good sense to judge whether at the moment of committing that fact he was not a moral agent, capable of discerning between good and evil, and of knowing the consequences of what he did: if in your opinion, weighing all the circumstances, it amounts to that, there is not a doubt, but however, clear the evidence is against him, if you had with your
GUILTY , Death .
He was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury.
Court to Jury. I think you have done your duty to the public, gentlemen, and I certainly will communicate your recommendation to the King; but I would not wish this unfortunate man to flatter himself, with hoping too much is to be expected from it.
Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.