10th September 1783
Reference Numbert17830910-31
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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626. JOSEPH SCOTT (a Black without feet) was indicted for that he, well knowing that one Alexander Scott had lately served our lord the King as seaman , on board the Cornwall, and that certain wages was due to him for his service, on the 15th of January last, with force and arms, feloniously did forge and counterfeit, and cause and procure to be forged and counterfeited, a certain letter of attorney, with a certain mark thereunto set, purporting to be the mark of the said Alexander Scott , in order to receive the said wages, due to the said Alexander Scott .

A second Count for uttering the same, knowing it to be forged, with intent to defraud our lord the King .

A third Count the same as the second, with intent to defraud Welbore Ellis , Esq .


I am a victualler, I live in Birch-lane, Spittlefields; the prisoner came to my house about one or two o'clock at noon, I cannot say the day.

What month? - I cannot tell particularly indeed, I did not take notice, it was some time before I went before my Lord Mayor.

What did you go before the Lord Mayor? - I cannot tell, I cannot read writing, I can read a little print.

Did you go before the Lord Mayor? - Yes.

What did you go for? - To have his power signed.

Did he tell you what his name was? - Yes, he said, his name was Joseph Scott , I gave Mr. Phillips the power to fill up and execute, he filled it up in the name of Alexander Scott .

By whose directions? - By the prisoner's directions, he said, his name was Alexander Scott .

Jury. You said just now, he said, his name was Joseph Scott , now you contradict yourself. - He said, his name was first Joseph Scott , but he said, it might be a mistake, it should be Alexander, they called him any thing, he described himself as Alexander Scott , of the Cornwall, I know the man well, he was three months in my house, my Lord Mayor signed the letter of attorney, Mr. Hooper received the money for me, I gave it to him, he paid me the money, it was forty-two pounds I think, and I paid this black fellow, and I took a receipt, he came and made a riot about my door, and brought a hundred people about my house.

Court. What was the amount he paid you? - Forty-two pounds, and I paid it to the prisoner, there is a man here, who asked him over and over, if he was satisfied, and he said, yes, he had got all the money.

Court. You are a victualler in Birch-lane? - Yes.

Do you take people to board and lodge? - I do not make a practice of it.

I think you say the prisoner was with you three months? - Yes.

How came you to receive the prisoner for three months, if you do not make a practice of it? - He was recommended to me by one that was in the hospital.

Who was that person in the hospital, that recommended him to you? - One Swann, he has got his cure and is gone to sea again, as far as I can learn.


You know the prisoner? - Yes, I believe he is the same man, he came to me with

Mr. Cremer, under the name of Alexander Scott.

Did you see him make his mark? - Yes, and the description of the mark is my hand writing, this is my Lord Mayor's hand writing.

Jury. Do you positively swear to that being the man? - Yes.

There are more black men without legs, in the city of London? - That is the man.


Court. I believe you are the gentleman to whom that power was given by Mr. Cremer? - I am.

What is your business, Sir? - An agent.

Did you ever see the prisoner, after you had had that power of attorney? - Not till after I received the money and paid it long.

In what name did he appear to you? - He came to me in the name of Alexander Scott , with a note, enquiring from the books, having found that the money was charged to me, as it usually is to Edward Hooper , for such a one attorney, he came to me with a bit of a remark made on a piece of paper; I cannot say whose writing it was, I opened my journal and said, it is true, I have received forty pounds three shillings and sixpence, and I have paid it.

Then the prisoner came to you from the books, and in the name of Alexander Scott ? - He did.

You had paid the money to Cremer? - I had, as we always do.

Did you tell the prisoner so? - Yes, Sir, and what is very remarkable, I was struck with the man from his infirmity, and I gave a coachman a shilling to drive him to Cremer's that the account might be settled; I am perfectly sure that is the man.

Prisoner's question to Cremer. So far from this being the will and power that I gave to him, this is not the will and power that he drew the money with, but he got another will and power himself and drew the money; pray Mr. Cremer, when you came to me in Guy's Hospital, Swann sent for you to come to me, to receive this money for me, when you asked me my name, what did I tell you? - You told me Joseph.

Court. When was it he told you his name was Joseph? - The first time I was acquainted with him, when he first asked me to get his business done.

Court. Then he told you his name was Joseph? - Yes, then I went and told him there was no such name as Joseph Scott , then he said, it might be a mistake in the ship's clerk, says he, my name is Alexander Scott .

How long had he lived with you under the idea, that his name was Joseph before he contradicted himself? - About a month or two.

He lived with you a month as Joseph Scott ? - Yes.

Then how came you to go with him to the Lord Mayor afterwards.

He said that how it was a mistake of the clerk that belonged to the ship, that they might put him down so, that was the reason, that is all I had to go by, that they made mistakes often, and put down their names wrong.

Jury. Then his name is Joseph, is it? - I do not know what his name is, he has gone by several names, he has been an imposter this twenty years.

Prisoner. When he got them will and powers from me, it was signed Joseph Scott , I gave it to him, and he went to the Navy Office and overhauled the books, he came back and said, Joseph, there is no such name, and he told me, I must turn my name to Alexander Scott , or else I should not get this money? - No such thing my Lord, I said no such thing, he said, it was a mistake in the ship's books.

Court. How came you to go with a man to the Mayor, and so easily assent to the man's signing his name Alexander Scott , who had so long been known to you by the name of Joseph Scott , merely by his telling you that it might be a mistake, did you mention before the magistrate that this man had passed by that name? - I did not mention it, I was not acquainted with that business.

Court. And till this occasion, till he wanted to receive this money, he always went by the name of Joseph? - Yes.

How long is it since you have heard that this man, as you say, had a bad character; as a common imposter? - It is about three weeks, the man is here to relate what was told him.

Have you heard he has had a bad character this three or four months? - No.

Swann, you say who recommended him to you is gone to sea? - Yes.

Had you heard any thing to his prejudice at the time he was recommended to you? - No, I did not, I have only heard it within this month, since he took the money and went down to Portsmouth, he went by the name of Joseph Scott at Portsmouth, and has been making of powers there to a Jew.

Jury. Did he owe you any money? - Yes, I advanced him some money.

How much? - I cannot say particularly.

Endeavour to recollect? - I have lent him in the hospital a few shillings at a time.

How much in the whole? - I gave it to him all, and he gave me a receipt as nigh as I could calculate.

What balance did you pay him? - The last money was five guineas.

How much did you receive of Mr. Hooper? - Forty pounds.

How much of this money did you actually pay the prisoner? - I paid it him all, five guineas was the last payment, and before I gave him six guineas, and two guineas he got of my wife while I was at Portsmouth, he came and borrowed it, and the rest in expences that I think, to the best of my knowledge, he has had the whole money.

What, was the debt incurred by lodging and boarding with you, how much money? - I charged him half a guinea a week for his board and beer, he had besides to the amount of eighteen pence or two shillings a day.

Jury. You did not take a particular account? - No.

Jury. Do you mean to say that you cannot give an account how much your bill amounted to? - My wife and me calculated it up.

Court. How much did the man owe you when he went to the Mayor to receive this money? - About a dozen or fourteen shillings to the best of my knowledge.

How long had he been with you then? - Not at all, he was in the hospital, I used to carry him two or three shillings to help him.

How long did the prisoner live with you after signing this power of attorney? - It was some time, a great while before he came to live with me.

How long did he lodge with you after receiving the money? - As nigh as I can calculate it was near three months.

Prisoner. How many months did I board with you? - Three months.

Prisoner. I can make it appear it was only three weeks; you only say this Mr. Cremer to save yourself, but though I am a black man and a prisoner, I will speak the truth, I only boarded with him three weeks.

Court. How long did he board with you? - Three months.


Did you see that receipt signed by the prisoner at the bar? - By all means.

Did you? - He is the man that signed the receipt.

Did he sign it by the name of Alexander Scott ? - Yes, he put his mark to it, and I read the receipt to him two or three times.

Who wrote Alexander Scott to that mark? - I wrote it.

Did you write the name of Alexander Scott by his direction, and with his privity? - He was sensible of it.

Give me a direct answer? - I did not know his name whilst he told it me.

Did he tell it you?

Jury. Did not Mr. Cremer tell you his name was Alexander Scott ? - Both of them positively.

Did the prisoner receive five guineas? - He did.

Court. Remember you are upon your oath, this is a very serious charge, affecting a man's life, and it is necessary that the whole truth should come out, the prisoner may not be at all less guilty, for any par

that Mr. Cremer may have taken in this business, but it is necessary the jury should know the whole of this business? - I am upon my oath, Mr. Cremer possibly might say his name was Alexander Scott , but before ever the prisoner signed the receipt, the receipt was read over to the prisoner in the name, and it was wrote Alexander, and as such he signed it.

Was the receipt read over to the prisoner by the name of Alexander Scott ? - It was so.


You put your name to that receipt? - Yes.

Was you present when the prisoner made his mark to it? - No, Sir.

What did you witness then my lad? - I will tell you, Mr. Cremer called me in by accident, and so I went backwards, and there was the prisoner at the bar and two or three more, and I asked the prisoner, have you got your full demands for the money, or whether this was his mark, I did not see him take the money, nor I did not see him make his mark, I read it to him, I would not sign my name to it till such time as I was convinced it was right.

(The Receipt read.)

"Received July the 21st, of Mr. Henry

"Cremer, the sum of 5 l. 5 s. in full of

"demands by me Alexander Scott , his

"mark, George Palmer , Wm. Witwell ."


I am a clerk in the Navy Office.

That is the book that these payments are made from? - Yes.

Is there any man of the name of Alexander Scott in the Cornwall? - There is one, his wages appear to be paid as seaman 40 l. 3 s. 6 d. paid to the twenty-six of February, 1783.

" Edward Hooper , for Henry Cremer attorney."

Was there any seaman of the name of Joseph Scott , belonging to the Cornwall? - I have looked diligently over, and I do not find any.

Alexander Scott being not considered by the Court as a competent witness, did not give evidence, only appearing in Court to identify his person, and shew he was not the person that signed the power.


Was you on board the Cornwall? - Yes, all the time she was in commission, I was quarter-master.

Do you know Alexander Scott ? - Yes, he was forecastle-man, an able seaman, this is the very man.

(Pointing to Alexander Scott , the man just mentioned.)

Council for the Prosecution. That Alexander Scott was not the man that executed the letter of attorney? - Certainly not.

Council for Prosecution to Harper. Look at the prisoner as you belonged to the Cornwall, was that man on board the Cornwall? - No, Sir, never, unless he was stowed among the casks.

Prisoner. You never saw me on board the Cornwall? - No, nor any thing like you.

Jury to George Palmer . Did you write the name of Alexander Scott at the bottom of the receipt? - I wrote the name myself.

And did he know what name he made his mark to? - The reason of my writing the receipt was, neither party could write, I read the name once or twice to make him sensible of what he was going to sign.

(The written defence read.)

My Lord, your humble petitioner, Joseph Scott , served the navy seven years, first on board the Antigua and Favorite sloop of war, afterwards on board the Cornwall, Captain Edwards , and in an engagement had the misfortune to loose his feet, and the use of his limbs, and being a native of the West-Indies, he hopes his case may be taken into consideration; I was in the hospital, one Henry Cremer came to me and enquired the particulars, and employed a man to draw up the power, he

fetched me in a coach, and I signed my mark in order that he might obtain my wages and prize money; he came to me in the hospital, and told me, my name was not in the book, but the name of Alexander, and that I must alter my name to that of Alexander Scott , and let nobody know of it; I positively refused to alter my name, he went and got a fresh power, and used the name Alexander Scott , without my knowledge, he came to me and brought me fifteen shillings, and said, it was my prize money, he said, he had found my name on the books, I went to his house, and he gave me six guineas before I went to Portsmouth, I came to London, in order to obtain a further cure, I went to the Rotation-office, the Magistrate sent a constable, and he gave me six guineas more, and I was apprehended by an advertisement, and was committed to the Compter for the forgery; I am intirely innocent, I know nothing of it.

Court. Have you any witnesses to your character? - I know my own character very well, I had a bad character since, I know myself from a child till now.

GUILTY Death .

He was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. DEPUTY RECORDER.

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