Thursday, March 23

The Trial of William Bradford

The Old Bailey, 1808
1097. WILLIAM BRADFORD was indicted for that he, on the 3rd of June , at St. Mary Le Strand , feloniously did falsely make, forge, and counterfeit, a certain bill of exchange , to the tenor and effect following, (that is to say,)

"868 l. 9 s. 6 d. Sterling,
"His Majesty's ship Acasta, 27th of March, 1815.
"GENTLEMAN, Thirty days after sight of this my first of exchange, my second and third of same tenor, unpaid, please to pay unto Mr. Jonathan Gaine , or order, the sum of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence sterling, for value received in provisions, purchased for the use of his Majesty's ships, Acasta, Newcastle and Leander, as per vouchers, to be transmitted by,
"GENTLEMEN,
"Your humble servant,
" JOHN TREVARTON , Purser."
"The Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy, London."
"I do hereby certify that the above bill is drawn for the services therein expressed, and by my order,
"A. R. KERR, Captain."
With intention to defraud our Sovereign Lord the King, against the statute.

SECOND COUNT. For feloniously uttering and publishing as true a like forged bill of exchange, with the like intent.

THIRD & FOURTH COUNTS. The same as the two former, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud John Clark Searle , esq. George Philip Towry , esq. Nicholas Brown , esq. Thomas Welch , esq. John Aubin , esq. Frederick Edgecumbe . esq. and Robert William Hay , esq. Commissioners for victualling his Majesty's Navy .

FIFTH & SIXTH COUNTS. The same, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud Alexander Robert Kerr .

SEVENTH & EIGHTH COUNTS. The same, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud John Trevaston .

NINTH COUNT. That he having in his custody and possession a bill of exchange as described in the first count, feloniously did falsely make, &c. upon the said bill of exchange, an indorsement thereof, as follows, (that is to say,)

"G. Guy" with intention to defraud our Lord the King.

TENTH COUNT. That he having in his custody and possession a like bill of exchange, upon which was a like forged indorsement thereof, feloniously did utter and publish as true the said forged indorsement of the said bill of exchange, with the like intention, he knowing it to forged, against the statute.

ELEVENTH & TWELVETH COUNTS. The same as the ninth and tenth, only with intent to defraud the persons named in the third and fourth counts, viz. The Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy.

THIRTEENTH & FOURTEENTH COUNTS. Only with intenth to defraud Alexander Robert Kerr.

FIFTEENTH & SIXTEENTH COUNTS. The same, only with intent to defraud John Trevaston .

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS. The same as the former sixteen other counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange putting
"perv hers," instead of
"per vouchers" and
"Commissioners," instead of
"Commissioners."

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS The same as the first sixteen Counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange, putting
"dates" instead of
"date."

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS. The same as the second sixteen counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange, put
"dates" instead of
"date."









WILLIAM BOWKER . I am a clerk in the bill department at the Victualling Office, Somerset House. When bills are drawn by his Majesty's officers, they are left in a box at the office for acceptance. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) I look at this, and remember to have found it in the the box, as I described, on the 2nd of June. I find an entry made upon it, of
"the 3rd of June," which entry I made myself. (Reads.)

"On the 3rd of June, ordered to be accepted from the 2nd of June, and charged as interest against Captain Kerr." This entry is made upon the bill for the purpose of ascertaining whether an examination is made to see whether the duplicate and triplicate are paid. There is another
"not paid," and my initials,
"W. B." are affixed to those words; there are also the initials
"T. R." which I believe to be the initials of Mr. Richardson; he checks my examination, and these initials are indicative of his check,
"W. Gosling, ordered to be accepted," is also written on the bill; that is his hand writing; I have also,
"5th of June, V. O." I believe that to be Mr. Evitson's writing. - No; I am corrected; it is not so.

- HOLDFORD. I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. I look at the forged bill, and see
"5th of June, V. O. 1147." V. O. means Victualling Office; the last means that it is registered on the 5th of June, and that the number of the entry is 1147.

JOHN EVITSON . I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. I look at the forged bill, and see my initials on it. I wrote them for the purpose of signifying that I checked it off; I mean by that, that I had heard the case read off against the bill.

CHARLES SMITH . I am also a clerk in the Victualling Office. (Turning to his book.) I have an entry of the delivery of a bill, on the 13th of June; it is

"on the 13th of June, to George Williams, for George Guy , 7, Montague-street, Russell-square." That entry refers to the bill No. 1147, registered 5th of June, the amount eight hundred and sixty eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence. (Forged bill put into the hand of the witness.) I think that is the bill. By the entry in my book, I am enabled to say, that I delivered the bill to a person named George Williams , for Mr. Guy; that is, that the person who came for the bill called himself Williams, and said he came from Mr. Guy.

RICHARD BOWER. I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. It is my business to deliver out what is termed the case.

LORD ELLENBOROUGH. Then the case is a proecipe to the cashier, for the payment of the bill.
Mr. Attorney General. Yes. Richard Bower . (Reads.)

"Case, 5th of June, date of assignment, 4th of July." I mean by the date of assignment, the date for the order for payment. (Continues to read.)

"eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence, bill delivered on the 5th of July, to George Williams, for George Guy , 7, Montague-place, Russell-square." The latter part of the entry enables me to say that the person who called for the bill, called himself George Williams , and said he came from George Guy . (Forged bill and case thereof, put into the hands of the witness.) There are the bill and case to which my entry relates; I annexed the bill to the case, and delivered them to Williams.

CHARLES TWEDIE . I am cashier of the Victualling Office. (Bill and case thereof, put into the hands of the witness.) That bill and its case were delivered to me for payment. on the 5th of July last; I recollect that it was past two o'clock considerable; that was after the hour of business, which closes at two. I recollect a reason for my giving a draft; the person who brought the bill said it would be a matter of consequence, as he came a considerable distance. I accordingly paid him with this draft upon the Bank of England. (Producing the draft.) The name of " George Williams ," is on the back of the bill; that is the name of the person who brought the bill, and by whom, by that means it was discharged.
Mr. Attorney General. Then John Nokes brings his bill to you, and you having given him a draft upon the Bank of England for the amount, he puts his name upon the back of it, and by that means discharges it - A. Exactly so.

Q. I observe that there is an endorsement on the back of the draft
" George Williams " - 
A. I did not see it then.

Q. Was it written at your office - 
A. I know nothing at all about it.

GEORGE JAMES WILLIAMS . I am in the employ of the East India Company, as a rider in the home department. I have been acquainted with the prisoner for the last three years. He called at my father's house, and requested I would call at Somerset House to do a little business for him; he told me to come between twelve and two. I went. He gave me a particular bill, and told me to go to a certain apartment for a bill; he pointed out the particular apartment to which I was to go; he gave me some instructions; he told me to say I came from Mr. George Guy , Montague place, Russel square. He assigned as a reason for his not doing this, that he, being a clerk in Somerset House, was not allowed to do agency business. He said, the bill had been sent to him by a friend, a lieuteuant, in the Country. He shewed me a part of a letter, which had an import to that effect. So instructed, I went to the place which he directed me; I was asked the questions which he pre-supposed to me that I should be asked, and I gave the directed answers. I got the bill; I gave my name in, George Williams , for George Guy ; the bill then purported to be accepted. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) That is the bill; my signature is affixed to it, which I did when Mr. Twedie gave me the draft upon the Bank of England for the payment of the amount. When I so received the bill, I gave it to Bradford; he, and I, then walked into the City together; then we parted. He called upon me, on the 5th of July, at my father's house, and requested I would call upon him that day at Somerset House, before two o'clock. I went accordingly to his request. He then gave me that bill, and directed me to go into a certain apartment for a case. I did not then know what the case meant. He pointed out the appartment. I went, and gave in the bill, and got it back affixed to the case; the bill was wafered to the case. (Case put into the hands of the witness.) That is the case to which the bill was wafered when delivered to me. I was then directed by the gentleman from whom I got it, to go to Mr. Twedie, but I went to the prisoner, who accompanied me to the outside of the door of Mr. Twedie's office, and as it was past two o'clock, directed me, if Mr. Twedie should object to pay the bill on account of its being past the hour of business, to say, he would oblige me by paying it at that time, as I came a considerable distance. I then went to Mr. Twedie; he made the objection, on account of its being past two o'clock; I made the directed reply, and received the draft from Mr. Twedie to prevent my having the trouble of calling again. On my coming out, Bradford was in the hall, and I gave him the check.

Q. What is on the back of the draft, (putting the draft into the hands of the witness,) 
- A."Received for George Guy, 7, Montague place, Russel square. George Williams." When I delivered that draft to the prisoner, no such writing as that was upon it. There is no part of that my hand writing. We then went to the Bank together; I saw him write something upon a piece of paper, which I supposed was the description of the notes he wished the check to be paid in; I remember he received a five hundred pound note, for I heard the clerk say what notes he wanted. After he was paid, we walked together as far as the end of Leadenhall-street, and there we parted. I never have received any gratuity or recompence in any way whatever for this business which I transacted for the prisoner.

Cross examined by Mr. Alley. I am positive I received the bill in Somerset House, and not in the City. I believe this bill to be the same I left for acceptance; it was out of my possession for a considerable time, from the middle of June to the 5th of July; but under all circumstances, I believe it to be the same.
Be-examined by Mr. Attorney General. When I delivered the bill to the prisoner after I received it again, he did not make any objection that it was not the same bill.

PETER BENTLEY. I am a clerk in the Bank of England. (Check put into the hands of the witness.) On the 5th of July last, that check was entered for payment; I look at the back of it, and by that means am enabled to say that it was presented on the 5th of July; on its being presented, I requested the person who presented it, to write a receipt on the back of it, as is customary; that person did so, and I gave him an order, a voucher on the cashier for payment. I hold in my hand the order I gave the presenter for eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds, and a separate order for nine shillings and sixpence.

THOMAS WRAGG . I am pay clerk to the Bank. On the 5th of July, an order was sent to me by the last witness, for payment of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds; the bank notes in which I paid it were checked by Mr. Bonquet.

JAMES JOHN BONQUET . I checked the notes which were paid by the last witness, in satisfaction for that draft; among others, I paid a five hundred pound note, dated the 20th of June, 1815, and numbered 5327; also a twenty pound note, dated 26th of May, 1815, number 3747, and also a ten-pound note, dated 7th of June, 1815, number, 12,553; I also paid two hundred pound notes; I paid to the amount of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds.

MARY HEDGES. My husband keeps a public-house, called the Nelson, in Nelson-street, Hackney road.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar - 
A. Yes. I recollect his calling upon me some time in the month of August last, to pay a small debt he owed, not exceeding four shillings; he paid it in a twenty-pound note, which he endorsed with his name, and which endorsement, I subscribed,
"at Mr. Sharp," that being the place where the prisoner lodged.
(Bank of England note for the payment of twenty-pounds, number 3747, was here put into the hands of the witness.)

Q. Is that the note - 
A. It is, I believe.

JOHN VAUGHAN . I am a journeyman to Mr. Fielding, pawnbroker, of Whitechapel. I recollect a person coming to our house, on the 5th of July, in the present year, to redeem a silver watch, which had been pledged; the principal and interest of which amounted to one pound nine shillings and seven pence; he tendered in payment this note, (producing a note,) which I changed, deducting the amount, and delivering him the watch, together with the change; he put on the front of the note, Mr. Smith, 7, Oxford street, Whitechapel, and that was the name in which the watch was pledged; (turning to a book.) The number of the watch was 2698, and the name of the watch maker was James Rollinson , London.

Cross examined by Mr. Alley. 
Q. When was that name and number entered in that book - 
A. On the day the watch was pledged.

Q. Who made the entry? did you - 
A. No.

Q. Is the person here who did make it - 
A. No.

Mr. Alley. Then my lord, I submit that this will not do.

COURT. Q. To Vaughan. Did he describe the watch? did he produce a duplicate - 
A. Yes, and I gave him that watch for it. (Both duplicates produced.)

Mr. Attorney General. The reason it is called a duplicate, is this; two tickets are made out, one is affixed to the article pledged, the other, which is a facsimile of it, is delivered to the pawner, who upon wishing to redeem the pledge, presents you that ticket; you then have recourse to the pledge; on your observing a correspondence, between the ticket given you and the duplicate on the back of the pledge, you know it to be the same, and deliver it to the pawner, on the payment of the principal and interest - A. Exactly so.

Q. Was this done in the present instance - 
A. Yes.

LORD ELLENBOROUGH . That will do.

Mr. Abbot. Then what was that note - 
A. A ten pound note, number 12,555, 7th of June, 1815.
(Watch produced to witness, by Vickery, the officer.)

Q. Is that the watch of which you have been speaking - 
A. Yes.

JOHN VICKERY . I am an officer. I saw the prisoner in custody after he was apprehended. He directed me to go to his father-in-law's, Mr. Sharp's, No. 10, Nelson street, Hackney-road; he told me, I should find the five hundred pound note and the two one hundred pound notes in a drawer under a press bedstead, in the front room, in which he lodged, at his father-in-law's house; he said, the notes were wrapped up in a piece of paper, under a quantity of old newspapers. This is the five hundred pound note in my hand, which I found as he directed, and the place answered in every respect his description. It is a five hundred pound note. (read)
"No. 5327, dated 20th of June, 1815." The watch was produced to me by Mr. Sharp; I had my reasons for asking for it.


ALEXANDER ROBERT KERR . I commanded his Majesty's ship Acasta . On the 27th of March, she was between three and four hundred miles to the Windward of Barbadoes; I was then on board; I never received any supplies on the 27th of March; it is the custom of the service when provisions are required, for the purser to draw a bill upon the Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy, at the bottom of which bill, I signify that it is well and duly drawn, for the consideration therein mentioned. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) The name of our purser is Trevaston; the signature of this bill,

" John Trevaston ," is not his hand writing.

JOHN TREVASTON . I am purser of his Majesty's ship Acasta; that vessel was at Say on the 27th of March. This signature affixed to the bill in question, "A. R. Kerr," is not his hand writing.

JOHN ROSS . I was acting lieutenant of his Majesty's ship Acasta. I have examined the signatures "John Trevarton and A. R. Kerr," affixed to this bill. I am well acquainted with Captain Kerr's and Mr. Trevarton's hand writings, and neither the one nor the other of these signatures is either of their hand writings.

________ TULLY. I have had various opportunities of observing Captain Kerr and Mr. Trevarton write their signatures. Neither of these names written on this bill is either of their hand writings.

[Special Research note: The above named Mr. Tully (with no first name given in the Old Bailey records) could potentially be the Acting Master John Tully as originally learned about in a REAL CREW post made Dec. 1st 2014. His biography states that he served aboard "Acasta 40, Capt. Alex. Robt. Kerr, until presented, in Aug. 1815, with a Lieutenant's commission…", so the timing would be right, not to mention as the acting master, Tully WOULD have had 'various opportunities' to observe the Captain and Purser sign their names.  --Albert]

MARY SHARP . The officer, Vickery. came to my apartments for a watch; it was Mr. Bradford's watch; he used not constantly to wear it about his person. I saw the officer search the drawer under the bedstead Mr. Bradford occupied the apartment where that drawer was, in which the note was found. Mr. Bradford slept in that room the night previous, and went out at the usual hour in the morning.

THOMAS MOORE . I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. The prisoner sits in the next desk to me; I have known him and his hand writing for three years. I look at the indorsement on the order for payment, and the words,

"received. 5th of July, George Williams, for George Guy ," are the prisoner's hand writing.
Mr. Alley. Objected that in this indictment, in setting forth the bill, stated,

"that the bill was for provisions purchased for the use of his Majesty's ship Acasta. Newcastle, and Leander, as per vouchers, to be transmitted by, &c" Now, on the face of the bill, no such word

"as vouchers," occured; for there was only

"as" of some letter or other, and the letters

"hers," and therefore that statement was not maintained.

LORD ELLENBOROUGH. This has been the case by the application of a wafer, and I don't think it is a defect at all. I am endeavouring to find a word of which this can be a fragment consistent with the context, and there is no other word than "vouchers." Without that, it would be rank nonsense.

Prisoner's Defence. I received the bill from Guy.

Eight respectable witnesses gave the prisoner a good, character for integrity and assiduity in his official duties for five years previous.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 23.

First Middlesex Jury, before Lord Ellenborough.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 22 February 2014),
October 1815, trial of WILLIAM BRADFORD (t18151025-116).

2 comments:

  1. That's a fascinating look into how bills of exchange were processed and paid!

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  2. Really interesting...

    I note that George James Williams, an employee of the Honourable East India Company, would be a writer not a rider - I must presume this is a clerk's error in the original document rather than a transcription error. The HEIC used the term writer to mean a clerk, which is what Mr. Williams would seem to be by the information given in his testimony.

    ReplyDelete