Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 29 July 2014), December 1750, trial of William Baker (t17501205-75).

William Baker, Deception > forgery, 5th December 1750.

91. (L.) William Baker , sugar baker , was indicted for forging and uttering a warrant for the delivery of three chests of bohea tea, with intent to defraud , March 22 . +

Charles Gastineau . I am a broker. The prisoner at the bar applied to me to borrow a sum of money for him of Mr. Richard Holland in March last, upon eight warrants for tea lying in the East India company's warehouses.

Q. How much was the sum?

Gastineau. It was 1000 l. I went to Mr. Holland and told him I wanted 1000 l. upon eight warrants and a note of hand; I gave him the list of the numbers of these warrants, which security he at first approved of, so I went for the warrants to Mr. Baker, and he delivered them to me with his own hand, and this note of hand for 1000 l. this was what is usual, part written and part printed ; it was filled up by me, and signed by Mr. William Baker .

Q. What did he say these warrants were for?

Gastineau. For tea, lying in the East India company's warehouses.

Q. What did you do with these warrants and the note of hand?

Gastineau. I delivered them to Mr. Richard Holland , and he gave me a draught upon his Bankers (Frame and Barcley) for 1000 l. which I received, and gave to Mr. Baker with my own hand. The note and defeisance put into his hand.

Gastineau. This is what I delivered to Mr. Holland.

Cross Examin'd.

Can you be positive that you took a list of these warrants at that time?

Gastineau. I have got the list here which he gave me at first, and it is the very identical note I gave to Mr. Holland.

Q. How long have you known Mr. Baker?

Gastineau. I have known Mr. Baker upwards of fifteen years.

Q. What did you think of him at this time for substance and honesty?

Gastineau. Had I had money of my own, I had such thoughts of his substance and honesty, that I would have lent it him in my own name.

Richard Holland . Mr. Gastineau applied to me about the 23d. of March for 1000 l. to lend Mr. Baker, and also brought me the security the same day; as to Mr. Baker I never saw him in my life till I saw him in the Compter.

Q. What did Mr. Gastineau bring to you for security?

Holland. He brought to me ( producing the note ) this paper, and eight warrants (the note read in court ) the warrant put into his hand, No. 784. I delivered this warrant to Mr. Deputy Slater with the others, for him to go to the East India house to see if they were right.

Deputy Slater. The eight warrants I received of Mr. Holland, I carried to the East India house to have them examined. About the 15th of Nov. I applied to Mr. Holbrook, who looked and said he could not find the check for them, and that he believed them to be bad, for he could not find the numbers to tally ; then he apprehended the goods were delivered; he looked into the sale book to see if the goods were weighed off, and found in the entry book that they had been delivered for the warrants which I had, so assured me they were bad ones.

Q. What did he mean by bad warrants ?

D. Slater. That are not good for any thing; then he said he had orders from the directors to stop any warrants of this kind; I told him I did not care to part with them, for I had them of a friend whom I had a great regard for; he desired, if I had any objection, I would go to Mr. Chancey chairman of the East India company, which I accordingly did, and Mr. Holbrook took the warrants and went along with me; he sent a servant to Mr. Holland, who told him what had happened ; Mr. Chancey said he'd detain the warrants let the consequence be what it would; their check is so regular that they cannot be imposed upon. Mr. Holland said he believed he could have his money again upon giving up the notes, and that he look'd; upon the prisoner able enough to return it him back; they were all in the hands of Mr. Holbrook till we came to Mr. Chancey, except the 8th, which I had; after we had been there about an hour he ordered Mr. Holbrook to mark the warrants, and some time after he desired me to mark them; said I, they have been out of my possession a considerable time; I marked No. 784, so did he, and declared he had it of me.

Cross examined.

Q. How long have you known Mr. Baker?

D. Slater. I have known him many years.

Q. What has been his general character?

D. Slater. His general character was so good as to substance and honesty, that I would have given him credit for 1000 l. at any time in my way.

Q. to Holbrook. Who delivered this warrant, (No. 784) to you?

Holbrook. Mr. Slater delivered it to me.

Q. Where has it been ever since you went with Mr. Deputy Slater to Mr. Chancey?

Holbrook. It has never been out of my possession since, here is my mark upon it. It is read to the following purport;

Mr. Holbrook, (No. 784) you are desired to deliver to Mr. Robert Sedgwick per Anth. Hotchkins, or his assigns, by indorsement hereof to bearer, giving a receipt upon the back hereof, the following goods, viz.

Dragon.

Folio 110. N. 113 to 115 3 chests bohea tea, containing 966 pounds and 1/2 at 3 s. 3 d. per pound.

Sold him by the united East India company in Sept. sale 1749, he having paid for the same 146 l. 17 s. for which a receipt of this number and date is given.

London this 22d day of March. 1749.

John Sedgwick .

William Webb .

Q. to Mr. Holland. Tell us whether you gave Mr. Gastineau any sum of money.

Holland. I gave him a draught upon Mess Frame and Barcley, bankers, for 1000 l. and he delivered the warrants, Mr. Baker's note, and defeisance to me.

Q. Is the draught paid?

Holland. It is paid.

Cross examined.

Q. Were all these brought to you as a joint security for 1000 l.?

Holland. They were, there was this note, and the others as a collateral security; I really believe, had there not been this prosecution carried on, we should have had our money.

Q. Do you think he had an intention to defraud you?

Holland. I don't know that he had, and, by circumstances I have heard since, I don't think he had; I have heard he has paid Mr. Moryton and others, and I believe he would have paid me.

Q. Did you then apprehend these eight warrants to be good ones.

Holland. I did then.

Q. Should you have lent him the money on his word alone?

Holland. I should not.

Mr. Holbrook. I am warehousekeeper to the East India company. I made a thorough search to see if these warrants were forged; I turned to my sale book in order to see for the number, and found it; there is the letter of my journal put down, to which I referred, and found the goods were delivered; then I immediately thought these warrants were forged.

Q. Did you search about No. 784 in particular?

Holbrook. I cannot say I did that more than the others; I particularly searched every one, but did not look for the receipt, which we generally check the warrants with, for that night it was too dark to do any thing of that kind; our journal is at all times so correct, that I was very certain it was a forgery; since that time I have looked to see for the receipt that will check with it, but have none that will.

Q. Whether or not if these are honest good warrants, there is a receipt which is cut through the marble part that runs cross that will check with the warrant?

Holbrook. Yes, sir, there is.

Q. And when the warrant is real and good you try it by checking it with the receipt.

Holbrook. That is the way we examine them.

Q. What was this warrant for?

Holbrook. For three chests of bohea tea described under particular Numbers.

Q. Did you find that these quantities of goods had been delivered out?

Holbrook. Yes, they were.

Q. When did it appear they were delivered?

Holbrook. They were delivered the 15th of Feb. 1749, to Mr. William Heater .

Q. Are you acquainted with the hand writing of Mr. William Webb ?

Holbrook. He is the company's joint treasurer.

Q. What is John Sedgwick ?

Holbrook. He is an officer employed by the company to assist the joint treasurers.

Q. What ship did the goods delivered to Mr. Heater come by?

Holbrook. By the Dragon, I have the ori ginal warrant.

Cross examined.

Q. Do you know any thing of the delivery of these goods, in February?

Holbrook. Yes, I do, by having the warrant; the persons who deliver them, write down the two initial letters upon it; the warrants are never deliver'd back to our custody, till some part of the goods are deliver'd; this is a warrant, number 676, Ship Dragon, Robert Sedgwick , per William Heater ; Defeisance 110, No. 113, to 15; three chests of bohea tea, at 3 s. 3 d. deliver'd 15th. Feb. 1749, sign 'd, T. P. that is the person that wrote the warrant off.

Q. How came you by it?

Holbrook. The person that came to take the goods brought it, that is the usual method; there is a receipt given on the back of the warrant; the receipt is in this manner receiv'd, the 15th of February, 1749; the full contents for William Heater : this was given by Mr. Toby Chancey , he was Mr. Heater's apprentice.

Toby Chancey . I am apprentice to Mr. William Heater ; he is dead.

Q. Do you know of any goods that were deliver'd out of the East-India warehouse, for him?

Chancey. Yes, sir, I do. [The original Warrant is put into his hand.] The goods were deliver'd to Mr. Heater accordingly; I have the receipt here, and I also sign'd the receipt on the back of this warrant; they were bought at the company's sale, Feb. the 15th 1749, by Robert Sedgwick ; the warrant is to Robert Sedgwick , for William Heater . [Here the Jury compare the false, with the true warrant.]

Robert Sedgwick . I am a broker; I transact business at the East-India company's sale; I remember being employ'd by Mr. Heater, to buy these goods for him; I gave him a written order to receive these very goods.

Q. Did you not buy goods under this description, for Anthony Hodskins ?

Sedgwick. No, I never did; this, in our book, is set down to Mr. William Heater , 137 l. 16 s. 4 d. if our principal request it of us, we fill it up.

Q. After you have fill'd them up, what examination is there on the behalf of the company, to know that they are really fill'd up?

Sedgwick. None, as I know of; sometimes they take time to take them out of our sight, before the delivery of them; sometimes an hour, and sometimes a day.

Q. Is there a note brought, which they call the clearing note, from the accomptant's office?

Sedgwick. The use of that is, upon orders given to the warehouse keeper, to weigh any goods; he delivers a printed paper, as this, Mr. William Heater , so much goods put down. We call one a weighing note, and the other a clearing note; the accomptant keeps the weighing note, and he likewise signs the clearing note to us, when we carry it to see whether the clearing note, and the warrant agree.

Q. Are the warrants fill'd up by the officer, or the bearer?

Sedgwick. I believe they are seldom fill'd up by the company's officers; there are such great numbers come in on the prompt day, it is not practicable for the Clerks to fill them up that day themselves; the quantity is so great.

Q. Look upon this, [he had the real one put into his hand.] Who fill'd this up?

Sedgwick. A clerk in our compting office.

Q. Who fill'd up the other?

Sedgwick. I don't know that.

William Webb . I am joint treasurer to the East-India company; it is my duty to sign the warrants; I generally do it upon receiving the money.

Q. Look upon this warrant, and tell us whether it is sign'd by you? [This is the false warrant, William Webb at the bottom.]

Webb. It is not, my lord. [The original one is shew'd him.]

Webb. I wrote the William Webb here.

John Sedgwick . I am assistant to Mr. Dorrington, who is one of the joint treasurers; when warrants are deliver'd in, they are sign'd by Mr. Webb, if Mr. Whitehall is busy, the countersigner.

Q. What is Mr. Whitehall ?

Sedgwick. He is the counter-signer.

Q. Look upon this, and tell us whether it is your own hand writing, or not? [That is the false one]

Sedgwick. I believe not, my lord, here is an R. I don't think to be like mine.

Q. Look upon the name William Webb , is that Mr. Webb's writing?

Sedgwick. I have seen him write many hundred times; I believe it is not.

Cross examined.

Q. Can you be positive your name there is not your hand writing?

Sedgwick. I am certain it is not.

Q. How come you to be certain, you was not just now?

Sedgwick. There are the letters k, e and S, and the n in John, are not like mine.

Q. Is the whole name of your own hand writing, as it there stands, or is it not?

Sedgwick. I am positive it is not.

Q. to Anthony Hotchkins . Look upon this paper, is this your hand writing? he is shew'd the forg'd warrant, the indorsement sign'd, Antho. Hotchkins.

Hotchkins. This is not my hand writing, and the goods were not bought by me, nor for me.

Q. Do you frequently buy goods of the company ?

Hotchkins. I do, at all sales there.

Counsel for the Crown. Thus we think we have prov'd the forgery, and the publishing of it.

There were 13 Gentlemen of great Character and Honour, spoke well of him, as to his Substance and Honesty, till this Affair broke out.

Guilty .

Death .