JOHN BOYLE.
21st April 1784
Reference Numbert17840421-15
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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390. JOHN BOYLE was indicted, for that he, well knowing that one John Frazer had lately served our Lord the King on board the L'Hector, and supposing that certain wages and pay were due to him for such service on board the said ship, on the 25th of March last, with force and arms feloniously, willingly, and knowingly, did personate, and falsly assume the name and character of the said John Frazer , the seaman aforesaid, supposing him to be entitled to certain wages and pay, in order to receive the same, against the statute .

A Second Count, for personating the said John Frazer , supposing him to be entitled to certain wages and pay, in order to receive the same, due from our Lord the King to the said John, against the statute.

JAMES SLADE sworn.

I am clerk of the Navy Office for the payment of seamen's wages, the prisoner applied to me for the wages due to John Frazer , who had served on board the L'Hector man of war, which was a French prize that we had taken, he said his name was John Frazer ; when the man opened the books, it appeared the man was dead on the books, I told him this, he still persisted that he was the man, and that his name was John Frazer , and that he went by the name of John Frazer the second, in the Marborough; there was two on board the Marlborough, and he was turned over from the Marlborough, and to prove that he was John Frazer , he said he had received pay at our Office on such a day for the Marlborough; now the wages had been paid for the Marlborough a few days before; I asked him what ship he was of, he said the Porteous; there was no such name to be found as John Frazer on that ship's books; I asked him what other ship he belonged to, he said he was paid off in the Hind armed transport; I looked in this book, and could find no such name there; he persisted all along that his real name was Frazer; upon examining the Hind armed transport's books I could find no such name there, I said then to him,

you must have went by some other name in the Hind armed transport, for there is no such name as Frazer in that book; he then said he went by the name of Charles Boyle ; I told him at the beginning, that Frazer was dead in America, he still persisted, and even before the sitting alderman he said his name was Frazer.

Court. Was he on board the Hind by the name of Charles Boyle ? - There was a Charles Boyle on board that ship, and by the money he said he received for that transport, it may be the person; the money against the name of Charles Boyle for that transport agreed with the money which he said he had received; he brought a certificate from a young gentleman who signs his name John Smith , who signs as a midshipman on board the L'Hector, in order to show his name was John Frazer .

Did you know him? - I did not know him at that time, he is in Court.

(The certificate read.)

"These are to certify to whom it may

"concern, that John Frazer served on

"board the L'Hector.

" John Smith , Midshipman."

Prisoner. Mr. Smith wrote me the certificate.

WILLIAM WADE sworn.

I am clerk in the Office, these are the L'Hector books, here is such a name on the books as John Frazer , entered on the 14th of July 1782, and appears to be dead on the 2d of October following, at sea.

Court. There are not two Frazers on board that vessel? - Only one.

Was there any wages due to him on board the L'Hector? - Frazer's wages are unpaid, he being dead.

Mr. Fielding, Council for the Prosecution. Was you in the Office with Mr. Slade, when the prisoner applied to him? - I was.

What did he say of himself? - Upon my word I cannot charge my memory with what passed, I know no more than that he came in, and said his name was John Frazer , he said he came for the wages of Frazer, and on my turning to the books, I saw John Frazer , dead, therefore we suspected him.

JAMES AUSTEN sworn.

I was a sailor on board the Marlborough.

Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - Yes.

What is his name? - John Boyle .

Did he serve along with you? - Yes.

Did you know a man on board the Marlborough of the name of John Frazer ? - Yes.

They were turned over to the L'Hector together? - Yes, I continued on board the Marlborough till it was paid off.

How long was you on board together? - We came on board in the year 1782, and continued till July 1783.

JOHN SMITH sworn.

You was midshipman on board the L'Hector? - I was.

Do you remember the prisoner? - I do.

Do you remember the name of John Frazer ? - Yes; the prisoner met me in Tooley-street, on the 24th of March, I was in a hurry, going upon some business in the street, and he stopped me; he said Mr. Smith, how do you do; I said I was very well; he said, Sir, do not you remember me; says I, I do your face, but not your name; God bless me! says he, do not you, my name is Frazer, I was cast away with you on board the L'Hector; I recollected the face of this man, and I knew there was a man of the name of Frazer on board.

Did he say his Christian name? - He said his Christian name was John, he told me that he was come up from Portsmouth, and I think he said he belonged to the Ganges, and that he coul d not get the wages there of the L'Hector, and could not find any of the officers to give him a certificate, that he was starving in the street, he lay with an old shipmate at Deptford, and had not money for a pint of beer; I told him he must go out to the captain, for

he lived at Richmond, he seemed to be very willing to go, and walked with me as far as the end of Tooley-street; I directed him the way to Richmond, and he told me, Sir, says he, I have not a halfpenny in the world, and the boatswain and other of the warrant officers have given the people certificates, and they have got their wages, and if you give me a certificate it will be the same thing; I said, no, they will not pay it on my certificate any more than on your word; he said, Sir, for God's sake give me a certificate, and if they will not pay me on that, it is only going to the captain at last; from my own good nature and humanity together, and the man's being cast away with me, his request being so very small, I went into a shop, and I wrote him that certificate.

Court. You thought him to be John Frazer at that time? - I did.

Was he cast away with you? - Yes, Sir, he was, he belonged to our main top in the L'Hector.

Was Frazer also? - Yes, he belonged to the ship too; I know no more of him till I got a letter from Mr. Slade, desiring me to go to the Office to identify the man; the moment he mentioned the name, I recollected the person of the man immediately.

Then you are now satisfied that this is not Frazer, but Boyle? - That he went by the name of Boyle; the person of Frazer I do not recollect, he was wounded in the action with the frigates, after he was wounded, he was incapable of duty, therefore, in the middle of our distress, I saw nothing of him, but this man I perfectly remember.

JOSEPH DENTON sworn.

I am boatswain of the L'Hector, I remember the person of John Frazer, I knew the prisoner, his name on board the L'Hector was John Boyle .

What became of John Frazer ? - He was wounded on the 5th of September, and died in the same month of his wounds.

Prisoner. I have nothing to say, I have no friends, I leave it to the mercy of the Court, and your Lordship, I have no witnesses.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the second London Jury, before Mr. Justice NARES.


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