29th October 1806
Reference Numbert18061029-52

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610. JAMES VAUGHAN was indicted for feloniously taking a false oath, with intent to procure letters of administration of John Neason , in order to obtain prize money due to him, as a soldier belonging to his Majesty's ship, Eurus , and

Several other counts, for like offence, only varying the manner of charging them.

The indictment was read by Mr. Reynolds, and the case was stated by Mr. Gurney.

EDWARD BATES sworn. Examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You are deputy treasurer of Greenwich Hospital. - A. I am.

Q. Have you the prize list. - A. Yes, it is here. Producing a book.)

Q. First tell us what you call that book. - A. It is the Eurus prize list, furnished by the agent, Mr. Harrison, and sworn to by him.

Q. Looking at that book do you find the name of Neason any where. - A. Yes, he is supernumerary sergeant, twenty four pounds, one shilling, and sixpence, appears to be due to him on this list.

Q. Does there appear any Christian name. - A. Not any.

Court. It is without any Christian name. - A. Yes, without a Christian name.

Q. It is a list that is transmitted to you in the course of this office, and from which you pay persons making proper applications. - A. Exactly so.

Mr. Alley. The money due to that name is twenty four pounds, one shilling, and sixpence. - A. It is.

JOSEPH EDWARD BUTTS sworn. Examined by Mr. Reynolds. Q. What are you. - A. I am clerk of the commissary general's office; I produce the muster rolls of the eighty-seventh regiment, from the 25th day of June, 1796 to the 24th day of December, 1798.

Court. Is there any thing in the prize list that connects him with the eighty seventh regiment. - A.(Mr. Gurney. It only says Neason, supernumerary sergeant, twenty-four pounds, one shilling, and sixpence, it is the produce of a capture on the 30th of October, 1796.

Q. What is found in this muster roll produced, is the name of Neason found there, by what rank is he described there. - A. As corporal, from the 25th of June to the 24th of December, 1796.

Q. That is his description during the whole of that period.

Mr. Gurney. Do you find him in the beginning of the next year a corporal. - A. Yes, the last half year of 1797 he was promoted to a sergeant.

Q. Can you give us any account of this person in the name of Neesham or Neasam. - A. Yes.

Q. Do you meet with John Neesham as a corporal in the latter part of 1796. - A. Yes, and

there was another man of that name a private.

Q. I am asking you of the muster roll of the latter part of the year 1796, you have produced to me a man of the name of Neesham. - A. It is Neason.

Q. Do you find any name of Neesham there. - A. The clerk of the regiment has altered his name through inadvertency, this Neason is changed into Neasom.

Q. On the second part of the half year how is the name spelt there. - A. Neason is changed into Neasom.

Q. On the second part of the half year how is the name spelt there. - A. Neasom, and he was in the last half year of 1797 promoted to a sergeant.

Q. Now the first half year of 1798, how was his name spelt then. - A. It is spelt Neasom, and the last month of ninety eight Neesham.

Q. The July roll of 1798, tell me how that is - A. July it is spelt Neasom, August it is Neason, in September it is spelt with an M, in October he is spelt John Neesham .

Q. There is no other person's name in the list, Neesham or Neasom. - A. There was a private of the name of Neasom or Neesham, who was left in Europe.

Q. Was that Neasom a soldier in the 87th regiment, at the time this prize was taken. - A. In July 1796, John Neasom was received from the fifty-fifth regiment, and he appears at that time to have been left in Europe.

Court. You have proved that there was such a man as John Neason , a corporal, called a supernumerary serjeant.

SAMUEL HINMAN sworn. Examined by Mr. Gurney. I believe you are a clerk in the Navy office, have you the muster-book of his Majesty's ship the Eurus. - A. I have, 1796 and 1797.

Q. In October 1796 and 1797 of the Eurus muster book, at that time does it appear that there was any company of the 87th regiment actually on board. - A. There are several names borne on the muster book of the Eurus, supernumeraries at the second and third allowance.

Q. Is that the way soldiers are always described when they are on board a ship. - A. Always so described.

Q. Do you find any person of the name of John Neasom or Neason. - A. Here is the name of Neasom borne as a serjeant on the supernumerary list.

Q. When does he first appear on the muster book. A. On the 15th of October 1796, he continued on the muster book until the 11th of November, 1796, when he was discharged at Spithead.

Q. Does it state upon what he was discharged. - A. It does not.

Q. Is there are any other of that name, or no other. - A. There is no other on board that ship, neither Neasom, Neesham, nor Neason. I suppose he was put on board another ship.

Q. Does it mean only discharged out of that ship, or discharged from the service. - A. Oh no, only discharged from that ship, he was discharged from that ship allowances certainly.

Court. Is there no list from the war office to prove that this man is dead. - A. Yes, here is the return of the muster roll that he is dead.

Q. Neason, the private, what is the list roll that he appears in. - A. Ninety-six.

Mr. Gurney (to Butts). When do you find him last in the muster roll. - A At the 27th of September, 1798.

Q. When did he first appear in the muster-roll. - A. At the time that he volunteered from the fifty fifth regiment; he appeared left in Europe at that time.

Q. Did his name continue to be Neason, or altered to Neesham. - A. It is altered to Neesham. I know nothing further of him.

Court. That man in 1798 is described as a private, was he promoted to the rank of a sergeant. - A. No.

JOHN PRIOR WARD sworn. Examined by Mr. Alley. I am clerk to Mr. Robert Isherwood , Doctors' Commons.

Q. Do you recollect on the 9th of May last the prisoner coming to you. - A. On the 9th of May last the prisoner applied to me at Mr. Isherwood's office, to obtain letters of administration; he produced a paper signed by major Welch, it was in the form of a letter.

Q. Look at this (a paper handed to witness). - A. I did not mark it, I suppose it to be the same.

Court. Did you look at its contents. - A. Yes, it has the same contents as that which was produced to me, I believe it to be the same hand writing.

Q. Did he say for what purpose he produced it to you. - A. He did not say for what purpose, he applied for a letter of administration.

Q. He produced that as something verifying his claim, that he was the right person. - A. Yes.

Q. He presented this to you in order to make you think that it was correct. - A. Yes, I asked him what relation he was, he said he was the brother.

Q. To whom. - A. To John Neason , the deceased.

Q. Was the circumstance of the deceased mentioned by him. - A. He told me that he died in the West Indies, he swore to it afterwards, he said he believed he died in the year 1796, he did not say what time.

Q. Did he say what Neason, what did he describe him, as a private in the army. - A. To the best of my recollection he said he was a corporal, and that he shared as a private.

Mr. Alley. You are sure that he mentioned the word corporal. - A. I believe he did, I am pretty positive. I then asked him if the deceased died a bachelor, he said he did; I asked him if had left either father or mother alive, he said no; I asked him if there were any other relations in equal degree with him, or any other brother or sister, he said that he did not know that there were any alive, he believed they were all dead; in consequence of which I prepared the usual warrant.

Q. What is that. - A. A warrant which is drawn, leaving the administration; I then described to him what he was to swear, I told him to swear that he believed the deceased died a bachelor intestate, without a parent, that he was the natural brother and next of kin; he accompanied me before the surrogate, the surrogate is the officer who administers the


Q. Who was the surrogate. - A. I believe it was Dr. John Dalby , he is the surrogate.

Q. Was the oath administered. - A. The oath was administered to him, it is a parole oath, the surrogate signs the warrant, certifying that he was sworn before him; there is no written oath. The whole of this warrant, except the name of John Dalby , the number, and the margin, is my writing. This is the warrant or granting of administration to James Neason , that John Neason was a private in the 87th regiment, died intestate, that he was a bachelor, without a parent, that he was the natural brother and next of kin; that was produced by the prisoner and signed by Dr. Dalby.

Q. That is what you call a warrant and the way it is written. - A. Yes.

Q. Repeat the terms of the general oath. - A. The tenor of the oath is, you swear that John Neason the deceased died a bachelor, intestate, without parent, that he was his natural and lawful brother and next of kin, that you will faithfully administer his goods by paying of his debts and making distribution according to law, that you will exhibit a true inventory, and render a just account of your administration, if by law required.

Q. You are sure that the oath in these terms was administered. - A. Yes.

MR. W. BERRY sworn. I am clerk to the seal keeper of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. I produce the warrant.

DR. DALBY sworn. Examined by Mr. Reyonlds. You are a doctor in the Prerogative court. - A. Yes.

Q. As such do you administer the oath to persons coming to get letters of administration. - A. Yes.

Q. Dr. Dalby see whether that signature is yours. A. Yes.

Q. Did you administer the oath to the prisoner. - A. I have no recollection of the person.

Prisoner. I only wish him to swear positively whether I was the person that administered, because I was not the man that administered. - A.(Mr. Ward) I can swear that it was to him that the oath was administered.

Court. Was there any other person with him. - A. There was another person with him.

THOMAS CHARLTON sworn. Examined by Mr. Alley. I am one of the registering clerks in the Prerogative office.

Q. Have you any thing to produce. - A. I have a bond of James Neason to produce, that he is the lawful brother and next of kin to John Neason , late of the city of Dublin, a private in his Majesty's 87th regiment of foot, on board the Eurus frigate.

Court. (to Ward) Did you see the prisoner execute this bond. - A. This bond was filled up by me and executed by him.

RICHARD SMITH sworn. Examined by Mr. Gurney. I believe, sir, you are a clerk to the Check at Greenwich hospital. - A. I am.

Q. On the 10th of May last did the prisoner make application to you at the Check office, Greenwich hospital. - A. Yes, he did, he stated himself to be James Neason , the brother of John Neason , who was a soldier in the 87th regiment, and was in the Eurus when she captured a prize, that he obtained letters of administration, which he had lost out of his pocket coming down to Greenwich. It was on the 12th of May that he came down, I asked him why he did not come to the office at the time; he stated that it was on the Saturday preceding that he had lost it, this being on the Monday he stated that he was ashamed to come without the administration, and that he immediately went back to London to give notice, in order that he might obtain a duplicate.

Q. Did he tell you what the proctor had directed him to do upon his hearing the loss. - A. He told me at that time the proctor desired him to give notice at my office, that no other person might receive the money.

Q. Did you give him any information of any application having been made to you by any other person - A. I told him that another man had been at my office on the Saturday preceding, on the day which he had lost this letter, and had produced the letter of administration to this Neason, stating himself to be James Neason ; that I had declined causing him to be paid the money, having some suspicion of his being an impostor.

Q. Did you ask him for any reference. - A. I asked him how long he had left Ireland, in consequence of his having stated that he came from there (it is stated in the letter of administration too); he said he had left Ireland about six weeks. I asked him where he was born, he stated in Merrow in the county of Cork, that he had left that place at the age of three years with his father, and dwelt himself in Dublin, that he was by trade himself a tailor, that it was also his father's trade, that he had lived at James Gate street, Dublin, and was well known to Mr. Mac Gennis , a brewer in James Gate street, that he was well known to Mr. Curran, an attorney at Dublin. I then told him that I should write to Dublin to make enquiry, that he must come again on the Saturday sennight, at which time probably he might have an answer.

Q. Did you ask him any questions respecting the person that he represented himself to be. - A. I asked him about the brother's name, whether he was born in Dublin or Merrow.

Q. Did you ask him what he had been in the regiment. - A. I do not know that I did; he produced this letter from major White. I am not certain whether it was on that day, but he did produce it; he came to me again on the 17th of May, he produced a letter from Mr. Ward, the witness that has been examined.

Q. Look at that letter. (The letter read in court.)

Sir, - The bearer of this letter, who was sworn to be the testator of John Neason , deceased, he having lost the letter of administration, this is to have the same effect as the letter; I am not personally acquainted with the man, only know that he was sworn.


- A. That letter he produced to me on the 17th.

Q.(to Mr. Ward) Is that letter your hand writing. It is my writing.

Q.(to Mr. Smith.) Upon his producing this to you what did you direct to be done. - A. I then told him that I had not heard from Dublin; as it appeared

to be a question to come before the board of directors, and not to be decided by myself, I desired him to write a petition to go before the board; (the petition read in court) I saw him sign it, after he had signed it, I told him that he must wait a few days longer, that he had better come the next Saturday, as I had directed him first to do, in order to receive an answer from my letter. On Saturday the 24th of May he came and produced a duplicate of the letter of administration, on that day, the 24th, I told him that I had received an answer from Dublin to my letter, by which it appeared that the person he had referred to knew nothing of his family or person.

Q. Which of these persons. - A. Mr. M'Gennis, (our agent to whom I wrote to did not think it necessary to apply to Mr. Curran,) he did not know any such person as James Neason, or any of the family. He affected much surprise, and said that Mr. M'Gennis knew his family very well, for that he had worked for him a long time, he then gave me other references to persons in Dublin, one of the name of Figgeny, a mealman, and one Flood, that kept an eating house in Dublin; I told him that I would write to Dublin again, that he might attend in a few days, but as I had every reason to believe him an impostor, I referred him to a board that is put up in my office, stating part of the act of parliament, and several persons annexed to it who had been convicted under it; I told him if he was not sure that he was the real brother of Mr. Neason not to let me see him again; he persisted in it still that he was the real brother, and asked me if I thought he would come so often if he was an impostor; he then went away, I told him to come again some day, he came again afterwards; at that time I had another letter from Dublin, I told him the contents of that letter.

Court. What time did he come afterwards. - A. I do not know exactly the day.

Q. Was it time enough for the return of the post. - A. It must be in the beginning of June I think, I then told him I had another letter from Dublin; that one of the men he had referred me to, Mr. Figgeny, the mealman, had been dead six years (he had told me that he had left Dublin six weeks); he described Mr. Figgeny as a person then living, and had referred me to him for his character; I told him that Mr. Flood, the other person that kept the eating house, was dead near ten months, and the widow kept the house still, never heard such a name as his; he seemed to be surprised as before, and begged that I would write again to Mr. Curran. After that he came twice upon the business, once with a letter from an attorney, requesting to know why the money was not paid, and the second letter was to know why the letter was not answered; the first letter came by the post, I believe.

Q.At either of the times that he came did he see the secretary. - A. He did, one Mr. Dyer; I took him down to the board, in course the secretary, Mr. Dyer, spoke to him, I was with him all the time he was before Mr. Dyer.

Q. Did you afterwards see the prisoner when he was taken in custody. - A. I saw him in the Poultry Compter.

Q. Had you any conversation with him. - A. I had.

Q. Did you make use of any promise or any threat to make him confess. - A.Certainly not.

Q. Did any other person. - A. Not one.

Q. Did he then tell you whether he was the person that he represented himself to be. - A. He told me that he was not; he said that he was not the brother of John Neason , and he knew nothing about him.

Q. I believe you afterwards saw him examined. - A. I did, and I have heard him repeat it; I have two letters in my hand which were intercepted while he was in custody, I have shewed him them, he said they were his hand writing, and that was his name that was written at the letter, James Vaughan . (One of the letters read in court, signed James Vaughan .)

JOHN DYER sworn. Examined by Mr. Alley. I am secretary to Greenwich Hospital.

Q. Did you see the prisoner at the bar at any time. - A. I saw him twice at Greenwich, at the latter end of May or the beginning of June.

Q. Did he produce any certificate to you. - A. Yes, after that the prisoner was brought into the room to me.

Q. Did you mention any thing about the person that has been mentioned. - A. The clerk of the check having stated in the first instance to me that he believed him to be an imposter; John Neason 's name was mentioned in the board to him by me, he told me that his brother had been a sergeant, that he believed at the time the capture was made he was a corporal; I asked him what became of his brother, he told me that he heard that he died in the West Indies.

Prisoner's Defence. Mr. Smith knows that one George Smith sent the other man for the money, they are both in custody; he sent me some time afterwards, and made me say I had lost the administration; when the man was refused the money, he applied to me to go there, that is all I have to say; Mr. Smith, clerk of the checks, knows that it is true, and George Smith , a prisoner, was to pay me for my going; Mr. Smith has stated in his evidence that another man went before me.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 47.

London Jury, before Lord Ellenborough.

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