16th February 1803
Reference Numbert18030216-96

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314. MICHAEL ELY was indicted for that he, well knowing that Murty Ryan had served our Lord the King, on board a ship, called the Audacious, on the 9th of December , did personate and assume the character of the said Murty Ryan , in order to receive the prize-money due to the said Murty Ryan, as a seaman on board the said ship .

FRANCIS SAWYER sworn. - Examined Mr. Knapp. I am clerk to Mr. Tyson, of Woolwich, who is the prize-agent; I pay the prize-money of the Audacious, for Mr. Tyson.

Q. Have you got this prize-list, by which it appears that Murty Ryan is entitled to any prizemoney? - A. This is a copy of it, the original is at the Navy-office, it is a list by which we pay the prizes.

Court. Q. Is it signed by any body? - A. No, there is only one original, this is a copy of it, I had it from the Office.

Q. Does it appear that Murty Ryan was entitled to any prize-money? - A. Yes; 1149, Murty Ryan, 1l. 12s.

Q. That is the money Murty Ryan was entitled to? - A. Yes, for the capture of the Genereaux, by the Audacious; the Audacious is a seventy-four gun ship, the Genereaux is a seventy-four.

Q. Do you know the prisoner? - A. Yes, perfectly well; he came to me the 9th of September last; he produced me a paper, signifying he was Murty Ryan, and it appeared to be signed by the officer of the Audacious.

Q. Have you got the paper here? - A. No, we mark it when we pay the money, and return it, it was signed Henry Tuckness; I told him I knew his name was not Murty Ryan, his name was Michael Ely.

Q. You knew Murty Ryan? - A. No, I knew the prisoner; he owned it, he said, he had deserted from the ship he belonged to for bad usage, and afterwards was pressed again, by that means, he changed his name, because he would not be detected again.

Court. Q. That is no uncommon thing, I believe? - A.Quite common, I told him the danger of it, in case he personated, and was not the right person; he said, he was very well aware of that, and was nut such a fool; I paid him one pound twelve shillings, and marked the certificate, and gave it him again, with the sum paid on it.

Q. When did you see the prisoner again? - A. Not till I was summoned last week before a Magistrate.

Court. Q. Do you know him to be the person?- A. Yes, I was near two years and a half with him in one ship.

Q. You have no doubt at all of his being the person? - A. Not the least; I made a note of it directly, that he had formerly passed by the name of Michael Ely , on board the Fortitude.

HENRY TUCKNESS sworn. - I am carpenter of the Audacious.

Q. Were you carpenter at the time of the capture of the Genereaux? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know whether there was, at that time, a seaman on board, of the name of Murty Ryan? - A. Yes, I knew him very well; he was on board at the time of the capture of the Genereaux.

Q. Was he entitled to a share of the prize-money ? - A. To be sure he was : On the 3d of September last , I gave a certificate to him , at Lewisham , in Kent , to certify that he was an able man on board the ship , and entitled to a share of all prizes taken by the ship .

Q. Did you see him after he had the certificate ?- A. No.

Q. Have you seen that certificate since ? - A. No.

Q. Do you know Murty Ryan ? - A. Yes, very well.

Q. Is the prisoner Murty Ryan ? - A. No, he never was on board the ship .

Q. This man was never on board the ship at all, and was not entitled to any prize-money ? - A. No.

Q. Is he like Murty Ryan ? - A. Not at all .

Q. Did you give the certificate to Murty Ryan, and nobody else ? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever give a certificate to the prisoner ?- A. No.

Q. How many men were there on board the ship? - A. Six hundred .

Q. Are you sure this man was never on board your ship by any name whatever ? - A. He never was on board the ship .

Q. Sometimes there are two men in a ship of the same name ? - A. Yes; then we call them first and second.

Q. You had not two persons on board , of the name of Murty Ryan ? - A. No.

Sawyer . A person of the name of Murty Ryan came afterwards with the last witness's certificate , I refused to pay him till I could find the prisoner .

Prisoner's defence . I was just come out of an hospital, a man came to me , and gave me five shillings to go and get the money , and I did, it was a man of the name of Meger , he was before the Magistrate , he owned he gave it me, and five shillings to get it.

Sawyer . He is sent into the country to be tried on a like charge .

Q. Are you sure you cautioned the man in this way - What was you on board of a ship with him?- A. A pursur's steward .

Q. He knew you? - A. Yes.

Q. Where was it you had this conversation with him? - A. No. 34, Arundel-street .

GUILTY , Death .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant .

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