Trial of Valentine Jones, Esq., sometime Commissary General in the West Indies, for a Misdemeanor; before the Right Hon. Edward Lord Ellenborough and a Special Jury, at Westminster, May 26th:

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtState Trial Proceedings
Judgment Date01 January 1809
Date01 January 1809
Docket Number683
683
683. Trial of VALENTINE JONES, Esq., sometime Commissary General in the West Indies, for a Misdemeanor ; before the Right Hon. Edward Lord Ellenborough and a Special Jury, at Westminster, May 26th : 49 GEORGE A. D. 1809.* THE following is an abstract of the Indictment. 1st Count ChiTga That the defendant held the office oicommissary-general of stores, provisions, and forage, to the kings forces serving in the kings Leeward Caribbee Islands, and the several other islands and countries in the kings possession in the West Indies to the windward of St. Domingo. And also, the office of superintendant and director of forage, provisions, necessaries, and extraordinaries of the said forces (to wit), at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex. That the said offices were offices of great trust and confidence, concerning the providing vessels, stores, provisions, liquors, and other things for the use of the forces. That in respect of the execution thereof, certain reasonable salaries and pay were payable, and paid to the defendant by the king. That it was the defendants duty to provide such vessels, stores, &c., in the most economical manner, and at the least expense to the king, and notto have or receive to himself any part or share of any gains or profits made by any person employed by him as such commissary, superintendant, and director, to furnish or supply such vessels, stores, &c., by or by means of the furnishing or supplying thereof (to wit) at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex. That the defendant, disregarding the duties of his said offices, and unlawfully and corruptly intending to cheat and defraud the king, and to make an undue and unlawful profit and advantage to himself in the execution and exercise of his said offices, did in the execution and exercise of his said office, heretofore (to wit) on the first of May, 1796, at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex ; unlawfully and corruptly bargain ,and agree with Matthew Higgins, that he (Higgins) should pay and allow to him a certain part and share of the profits and gains, to be made by him, by means of his furnishing and supplying under the defendants authority, as such commissary, and superintendant, and director, divers vessels, stores, provisions, liquors, and other things, to be provided by the defendant, as such commissary, superintendant, and director, in the execution of the duties of his said offices (that * Now first published from Mr. Gurneys short-hand notes. Some preliminary proceedings in this case are reported in 8 East 31..:s io sayj that he (LT-iggins) should pay and allow to defendant ono moiety of the said gains and profits. And that defendant, as such commissary, superintendant, and director, did afterwards (to wit) on the day and .rear last, aforesaid, and on divers other days an I times, after the said bargain, employ the sa-rl Matthew Higgins to furnish and supply, and Matthew Higgins did actually furnish and supply under such employment, and under the defendants authority, as such commissary, superintendant, and director, divers such vessels, stores, provisions, liquors, and other things as aforesaid (tc.; wit), at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, and did thereby, then and there, make divers large gains and profits. And that in pursuance of the said unlawful and corrupt bargain, the defendant further disregarding his said duties, and unlawfully and corruptly intending as aforesaid, did in the execution and exercise of his said offices, afterwards (that is to say) on the 31st March, 1797 (to wit), at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, unlawfully and corruptly have and receive to his own use of and from the said Matthew Higgins, a certain large sum of money of a certain foreign currency (to wit), Leeward Island currency (to wit), the sum of 153,2731. 17s. 10d. of such money being of the value of a large sum of money (to wit) of the sum of 87,1791. 5s. of lawful money of Great Britain, on account of his (the defendants) said part and share of the said gains and profits. That in further pursuance of said unlawful and corrupt bargain, the defendant further disregarding his said duties, and unlawfully and corruptly intending as aforesaid, did in the execution and exercise of his said offices, afterwards (to wit) on the said 31st March, 1797 (to wit), at Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, unlawfully and corruptly keep and retain to his own use, out of divers sums of money, then and there payable by him, the defendant, to said Matthew Higgins, a large sum of money of a foreign currency (to wit), Leeward Island currency (to wit) the sum of 153,2731. 17s. 10d. of such money being of the value of a large sum of money (to wit) of the sum of 87,1791. 5s. of lawful money of Great Britain, on account of his (defendants) said part and share of the said gains and profits. Contrary to his duty as such commissary, and superintendant, and director, as aforesaid. To the great damage and deceit of the king. 2531 for a Misdon. mon In contempt, &c. To the evil example, &c. And against the peace, &c. 2nd Count That defendant employed Biggins to furnish, and that he did furnish vessels, stores, &c., and thereby made great gains and profits. That defendant, in pursuance of an unlawful and corrupt agreement in that behalf, theretofore made between him and Higgins, did receive to his own use from Higgins a moiety of the said gains and profits (to wit) 87,1791. 5s. 3rd Count That defendant in pursuance of a like agreement, did keep and retain to his own use out of monies payable by him to Higgins 87,1791. 5s. As a share of the said gains and profits. 4th Count That defendant bargained with Higgins, that he should be permitted to furnish &c. And that in consideration thereof, Higgins should pay and allow to him a moiety of the gains and profits ; that Higgins did furnish, &c.; and made great gains and profits. That defendant received 87,1791. 5s. on account of his share and retained same out of money payable by him to Higgins, in pursuance of such bargain. 5th Count Similar to the first, including other mercantile transactions. 6th Count Similar to the 4th, only that the defendant should share the profits to be made by Higgins, as well by furnishing ships and vessels, as by furnishing any stores, provisions, or other things for the use of the forces, that he might be employed by defendant to furnish, and by other mercantile transactions. 7th Count Similar to the 6th, only omitting other mercantile transactions, and not charging that his moiety of the profits was in consideration of being employed to furnish the vessels. 8th Count That Higgins had been employed to furnish ships and vessels, and was desirous of continuing so to do, under the permission of the defendant. That defendant corruptly asked and demanded for his own use, of Higgins, _a moiety of theprofits to be made by his being permitted so to do, as a consideration and reward for his permission. All the above 8i counts charge the defendant as holding the offices of commissary, and superintendant, and director. The second set of 8 counts, viz. the 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th and 16th, also charge him as holding both offices, differing from the first 8 only by charging the offences to have been committed under colour of his offices. Whereas the first 8 charge them to have been committed in the execution and exercise of his offices. The third set of counts, viz. 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd and 24th, charge the defendant as superintendant only. And the offences to have been committed in the execution and exercise of that office. The fourth set of counts, viz. 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st and 32nd, the like, under colour, &c. A. D. 1809. [254 The fifth set of counts, viz. 33rd 34th 35th 36th 37th 38th 39th and 40th, charge the de* fendant as commissary only in execution and exercise. The sixth set of counts, viz. 41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 46th 47th and 48th, the like, under colour, &c. The Indictment was opened by Mr. Richardson. Mr. Attorney-General [sir Vicary Gibbs, afterwards lord chief justice of the Common Pleas.] May it please your lordship. Gentlemen of the Jury ; It is now my duty to state to you somewhat more in detail the nature of the charge which is brought against Mr. Valentine Jones, who formerly filled a public office in the West Indies. It is impossible that you can be ignorant of the complaints which are in every ones mouth, of the abuses that have been practised in that part of the world ; I do not refer to them for the purpose of raising any prejudice in your minds against Mr. Jones, but rather to guard you against the effects of any such prejudice. You are to try this cause by the facts which I shall prove; and if I did not think, without taking advantage of such preconceived opinions in the minds of men if I did not think, that by evidence pointing directly at him, I should be able to bring this charge directly home to him, I should never have filed the present information. I desire you will try this cause by the evidence I shall adduce against him, and not by any loose reports you may have heard elsewhere. I hope my learned friends who are of counsel for the defendant, will agree that 1 do Mr. Jones ample justice in the manner in which I desire you to consider his case. Gentlemen, this arises from the very nature of such transactions as those for which Mr. Jones is impeached ; that taking place at a distance from the eye of those who have an immediate interest in preventing any improper \practices, frauds are easily committed; and it is very difficult when they have been committed to detect them, and I am afraid it is in human nature, more readily to engage in fraudulent transactions which have this ease in their commission and this difficulty in their discovery. That I fear you will find to have been the case with Mr. Jones. Now, I will shortly state what his duties were how he published and how he abused them. In the year 1795, he...

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  • R v Jones
    • United Kingdom
    • High Court
    • 26 May 1809
    ...English Reports Citation: 170 E.R. 1105 IN THE COURTS OF KING'S BENCH AND COMMON PLEAS Rex and Jones S. C. 31 St. Tr. 251. Applied, Castro v. R, 1881, 6 App Cas. 229. Explained, R. v. Baskerville, [1916] 2 K. B. 658. Referred to, R. v. Stubbs, 1855, 7 Cox, C. C. 48; R. v. Royton, 1865, Le. ......
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