A Report from the Committee appointed to Enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom. Relating to the King’s Bench Prison (1730)
When, on January 13, 1730, the House of Commons began its new session, it was for a while uncertain whether Oglethorpe’s committee would be reactivated. Soon after Parliament reopened, Oglethorpe made a motion that might well have stopped all the committee’s further inquiries, for it seemed an insult directed at Lawrence Carter, Baron of the Exchequer and a member of Parliament, who had presided at the trials of William Acton and had sat on the bench at several other trials of the accused wardens. As Knatchbull recorded in his diary for January 26, 1730,
A motion by Oglethorpe and Vernon about having trials printed upon the prosecution order by Parliament last year for Bambridge and his officers, upon a supposition that they had not fair trials and that the House was now concerned in it, and hinted as if the judges had been partial, for that Carter had been desired by them to have them printed, and he answered he would not subject his judgment to the appeal of the people, for it was different from the judgment of the House, and so it might since the evidence was different, which might arise from the evidence, having swore one thing before the committee and another at the trial, so the House seemed no way to countenance it and it dropped.1
On February 15, however, Oglethorpe spoke to Sir John Percival
of restoring the Committee of Gaols, and said it was necessary for our reputations, being vilified in the world for proceeding so zealously last year, that the same oppressions continue, and the judges acted strangely in commanding Gambier, the new Warden of the Fleet, to restore the dungeon there, which Gambier had of his own accord pulled down; that there are several prisons remaining to visit, for which we had not time last year, and that we had not brought in a bill for regulating all the gaols of England, as we were directed by the House last year. I was not very willing [Percival commented] to revive the Committee, because I knew the ill will the Administration bore it, and the weight of the judges and Court against us.2
On February 16, finally, a group of some thirty members of the House met privately and “agreed to move to-morrow for reviving the Committee of Goals.” On the following day a new committee of eighty-eight members was named.3 On February 21, twenty-one of these made their first visit to the King’s Bench Prison. In late April and early May, however, the committee found itself entangled in investigating the conduct of Lord Chief Justice Sir Robert Eyre, on the charge of his visiting Bambridge in Newgate while the warden was awaiting trial, presumably before him.4 Only after Hughes had made his report exonerating Eyre did Oglethorpe finally present his report to the House.5
In its visitations the committee found at the King’s Bench no such starvation and brutality as it had discovered in the Fleet and the Marshalsea. Apart from the possible mismanagement of charity monies, the warden received a clean bill of health and even the recommendation of being charitable and compassionate. What Oglethorpe and his committee did find and develop was collusion in the escape of some affluent debtors from the rules and thus from their creditors. Such was the complicated pattern of ownership and management of the King’s Bench Prison that it was virtually impossible to establish financial responsibility for escapes. Neither Sir John Lenthall’s heirs (the proprietors), their trustees, the marshal, the deputy marshal, or the deputy’s deputy thought themselves financially responsible for any escapes; and it was actually in the interest of the acting deputy to promote them—to charge high fees for permitting debtors to live within the rules. Even the law of 8–9 William III, cap. 27, laid no restriction upon the marshal in giving this permission.
It was at the King’s Bench particularly that Oglethorpe perceived that the state of the prisoners depended more upon the vigilance and integrity of the responsible judges who supervised the prison than upon the character of the warden. Thus the prisoners at the King’s Bench “had heard of terrible Oppressions formerly,” but none since the advent of Lord Chief Justice Robert Raymond, “who not accepting of any Presents, or Fees from the Marshal of the said Prison, hath kept the Marshal strictly to his Duty.” Chief Justice Raymond’s conduct, the committee thought, should set the standard. Not only should wardens be prohibited from accepting bribes for permitting prisoners to escape, but the judges and their clerks should be forbidden to accept any fees or gifts from the warden or his subordinates.
Oglethorpe did not spare even the decisions of the chief justices. One foolish ruling followed the action of Samuel Woodham, Justice of the Peace for Surrey, when he arrested two prisoners who were living within the rules, for their violent attack upon a woman. When they were unable to provide security, Woodham committed them to the county jail. For this action he was accused by the deputy warden of rescuing them from the King’s Bench Prison and was forced by the court to pay more than thirty pounds in costs! In another ruling, the late Lord Chief Justice John Pratt had held that the justices could enlarge the rules—the boundaries—of the prison “in such Manner as they should think fit.” Oglethorpe retorted, “If this be Law, all England may be made one extended Prison.”
Although he later conducted another parliamentary investigation of the King’s Bench, with this report Oglethorpe’s penal investigations came to a virtual end. The exposure of brutal wardens was embarrassing enough to those who administered justice, but they could not tolerate revelations of the corrupt judicial supervision that was responsible for prison corruption. They could not permit more investigations and exposure of such eminent (and questionable) judges as Lord Chief Justice Sir John Eyre. Half a century later John Howard was to become known as the great philanthropist of prison reform. Oglethorpe, not Howard, deserves that reputation. He began the process of reform and understood and attacked the forces that stood in its way.
Publish’d by Order of the HOUSE of COMMONS.
Printed for Richard Williamson near Gray’s-Inn-Gate in Holborn. MDCCXXX.
AR. ONSLOW, Speaker.
Appointed to enquire into the State of the GOALS of this Kingdom.
Veneris 8 Die Maii 1730.
MR. Oglethorpe, from the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom, acquainted the House That they had agreed upon a Report of their Proceedings, to be made to the House, when the House will please to receive the same.
Ordered, That the Report be received upon Monday Morning next.
Lunæ n Die Maii 1730.
Mr. Oglethorpe, from the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom, made a Report (according to Order) of the Progress the Committee had made in their Enquiry into the State of the King’s-Bench Prison; with the Resolutions of the Committee thereupon, and he read the Report in his Place, and afterwards delivered the same in at the Table, together with an Appendix to it, containing at large those Examinations and Papers which are referred to in the Report.
Ordered, That the Report be taken into Consideration to Morrow Morning.
Martis 12 Die Maii 1730.
The Order of the Day being read, for the House to take into Consideration the Report from the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom:
The Report was read, and is as followeth, viz.
The Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom, having entred into an Examination of the State of the King’s-Bench Prison, have thought it proper to lay their Proceedings before the House, viz.
It appeared to the Committee That the Prison of the King’s-Bench doth belong to the Court of the King’s-Bench, and the Keeper of the said Prison is styled Marshal of the Marshalsea of our Sovereign Lord the King, before himself being; which Office of Marshal formerly belonged to the Earl Marshal of England, as appears by an Inquisition taken in the Eleventh Year of Henry the Sixth, on the Death of John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, which sets forth, That it had been separated from the Office of Earl Marshal,6 but in the Twentieth Year of Richard the Second, by Letters Patent, confirmed by Parliament, was reunited to the Office of Earl Marshal, and granted to Thomas Mowbray, then Earl of Nottingham, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, and the Heirs Male of his Body, to be held in Capite;7 and that the yearly Value of the Office of Marshal of the King’s-Bench was Ten Marks.
That the Heirs Male of the said Duke failed, and the Office devolved to the Crown.
That William Lenthall Esq; mortgaged certain Manors and Lands for Seven Thousand Pounds, to Sir John Cutler Knight, and for the further securing of the said Seven Thousand Pounds, and the additional Sum of Three Thousand Pounds, he, by Indenture bearing Date the Twenty fourth Day of February One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Four, mortgaged the Office of the Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison, to the said Sir John Cutler,8 by a bare Covenant to stand seized of the said Office, subject to the Payment of the said Ten Thousand Pounds and Interest.
Whether the said William Lenthall Esq; had any or what Title to the said Office, and under what Limitation it was granted from the Crown, doth not appear to this Committee.9
That the frequent Escapes of Prisoners from the King’s-Bench, and the Fleet, occasioned an Act to be passed, 8 & 9 Gulielmi Tertii, (intitled, An Act for the more effectual Relief of Creditors, in Cases of Escapes, and for preventing Abuses in Prisons, and pretended priviledged Places.)10
In which Act it is recited, That divers great Sums of Money and other Rewards were received by the Marshal of the King’s Bench, and Warden of the Fleet, to assist or permit Prisoners to escape; For preventing which, it is enacted, That if any Marshal or Warden of the said Prisons, or their respective Deputy or Deputies, whatsoever, shall take any Sum of Money, Reward or Gratuity whatsoever, or Security for the same, to procure, assist, connive at or permit any such Escape, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted; the said Marshal or Warden, or their respective Deputy or Deputies, shall for every such Offence forfeit five hundred Pounds and his said Office, and be for ever after incapable of Executing such Office.
That by a subsequent Clause, it is in the said Act provided. That nothing in the said Act contained shall extend to prejudice, impeach or lessen any Security or Securities for any Sum or Sums of Money made or given by, or out of the said Office of Marshal of the Marshalsea of the Court of King’s Bench, or the Profits thereof, by William Lenthall, Esq; to Sir John Cutler Bart, deceased, or to Edmund Boulter, Esq; Executor of the said Sir John Cutler,11 or to any other Person or Persons in Trust for them or either of them, or to subject the said Office or the Profits thereof, or the Person or Persons in whom the same are or shall be vested, to any of the Forfeitures or Penalties in the said Act contained, other than such as they are or may be liable unto before the making of the said Act, until such Sum or Sums secured thereby shall be fully satisfied and paid, any thing in the said Act contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.
That this Exemption is only from the Penalties imposed by the said Act, and not from any Forfeitures or Penalties to which the said Office was otherwise lyable:
And the Heirs of Lenthall are not allowed to nominate a Marshal, without the Consent of the Mortgagees, as appears by the following Clause: viz.
That all and every Deputation or Deputations, Grant or Grants at any time heretofore made, or executed by William Lenthall Esq; of the said Office of Marshal of the Marshalsea of the said Court of King’s-Bench, is and are hereby declared void and of none Effect, and that all and every succeeding Marshal shall, from Time to Time and at all Times hereafter, be constituted and appointed by the said William Lenthall, his Heirs and Assigns, by and with the Consent in Writing under the Hand and Seal of Edmund Boulter Esq; his Executors, Administrators and Assigns, until the Debt owing by the said William Lenthall to the said Edmund Boulter, Executor of Sir John Cutler Baronet, deceased, be satisfied.
That in July 1708, the Manors and Lands which were mortgaged with the said Office, for securing the said Ten Thousand Pounds, were sold for the Sum of Eight Thousand Seven Hundred Pounds: Seven Thousand Six Hundred Pounds whereof was paid, towards the discharging the Principal and Interest of the said Mortgage.
That in the Year One Thousand Seven and Eighteen Charles Bodvile, Earl of Radnor,12 claiming under the said Sir John Cutler, and his said Executor, Edmund Boulter, did by Indenture, bearing Date the twentieth Day of September 1718, assign to Joseph Studley his Executors Administrators and Assigns,13 in Consideration of a competent Sum, all his Right and Title to the Money secured upon the said Office, which in the said Deed he mentions to amount to 19,284l. 2s. 4d. which is said to have arisen to that Sum by the adding of Interest, Repairs and other Charges.
That on Examination of Witnesses, it appeared, that the said competent Sum was 10,500l. which was all the Money that was paid by the said Studley, to the said Earl.
That the said Studley purchased these Securities in Trust for other Persons, and divided them into Shares, which, being sold at various Prices, by divers mesne Assignments and Transfers came into the Hands of the present Mortgagees, viz.
Mr. John Preston
Mr. Thomas and John Martin in Trust, &c.
Mr. Thomas Martin in his own Right
Mr. John Martin in his own Right
That the said Mortgagees have received the Rents and Profits of the said Office, and the Profits arising from the Sale and Alienation of the Offices in the Disposition of the Marshal, whereby they have received a much greater Sum than the Interest of the said 10,500 l. to this time amounts to.
That Lenthall’s Claim to the Freehold of the said Office hath been conveyed to and kept in Trustees, and these Trustees have, generally, been Men of mean Circumstances, and nominated at the Request of the Mortgagees.
The present Trustees are James Slann, a Footman to one of the Mortgagees, and John Wildey, a Scrivener, which said Trustees, in Pursuance of a verbal Order of four of the Mortgagees, did, by Lease dated the fourteenth Day of January One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Nine, let to Richard Mullens Esq;14 the Office of Marshal and Keeper of the Prisoners in the King’s-Bench Prison, for three Years, which Prisoners (as appears by the Commitment Books) are in Number Six Hundred Fifty Seven, and are charged with One Hundred Twenty Six Thousand, Four Hundred Thirty Four Pounds, Twelve Shillings; besides great Numbers who are charged without Specification of the Sums; they being charged on Surrenders to Actions, the Number of which Actions amount to Three Hundred Ninty Eight, and the Sums due may probably be very great.
The Committee do not find that any Security (except their own personal Security) hath been taken or required from any Marshal of the King’s-Bench, for the safe keeping of the Prisoners, either by the Trustees or by any other, and the Marshals, as well as the Trustees, have generally been Men of very mean Circumstances; and the Mortgagees, having thus screened themselves behind Trustees nominated at their own Request, deem themselves not answerable for Escapes; So the Creditor hath no Person of any Substance to have recourse to, in case of an Escape; The Consequence of which, amongst many other Examples, appeared very evidently in the Case of Mr. Poulter. He was indebted to Mr. William Wilson, in the Sum of Eighteen Thousand Pounds, for which he was charged in Execution, in the King’s-Bench Prison, and chose rather to make the Marshal a large Present, than to pay his own Debts; Mr. Machen, who was then Marshal, accepted of the Money, Poulter went to Holland, and Wilson sued and recovered Judgment against Machen, the Marshal, who (being an Insolvent) remained a Prisoner in his own Goal, and Wilson applied to the Court of King’s-Bench, that the Profits of the Office might be sequestered, for his Debt, but the Mortgagees made such a Claim as to protect them; So that Wilson, having a Right, but no Remedy, and being by this Sleight of Law entirely ruined, shot himself, in Despair.
The Office of Marshal of the said Prison was let to the said Richard Mullens, by a Trustee, by the Consent and Direction of the Mortgagees, in January One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Four, for the annual Rent of Seven Hundred Pounds, he being over and above obliged to pay the annual Sum of Twenty Two Pounds Ten Shillings, as a Fee-Farm Rent, and also an annual Sum of Thirty Pounds to the Chamberlain, nominated by the Mortgagees; the whole amounting to 750 l. per Annum.
His Lease was renewed in January last, and by Indenture, bearing Date the fourteenth Day of the said Month, he covenants with James Slann and John Wildey, to pay them 700 l. per Annum, clear of all Taxes, besides which to pay the Fee-Farm Rent, &c. although all the open, and legal Profits, of which the said Mullens could give any Account to the Committee, amounted to about Three Hundred and Fifty Pounds per Annum, and no more.
The high Rents of the said Office cannot be made up, without great Oppression, much less can the other Fees, with which it is loaded, be complied with, insomuch that the Marshals generally continue but a short time in that Office, there having been fifteen from the Year 1668 to the Year 1724; and sometimes on a Prisoner’s being committed for a considerable Sum, the Marshal accepts of Money to grant him the Rules, and suffers him to escape; and if the Plantiff recovers against the Marshal, he turns himself a Prisoner into his own Goal, which is accompanied with a kind of Goal-Delivery: The Insolvent Marshal, being in this Condition, generally refuses to give his Successors any Account of the Prisoners, to whom he gave the Liberty of the Rules, and by this Proceeding the new Marshal does not apprehend himself to be charged, or chargeable with them.
On this Occasion a Rule of Court is sometimes granted, for the new Marshal to take all the Prisoners in the Rules, and Persons who have escaped. But the Marshal does not think himself obliged to retake them, and it gives the new Marshal a Pretence to squeeze great Sums of Money, out of such Prisoners as enjoy the Rules.
Over and above the aforementioned exorbitant Rents, on a New Marshal’s being sworn, it hath been usual for him to pay One Hundred Guineas to the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, and Fifty Guineas to each of the Puisne Judges of that Court. The present Marshal, when he was sworn Marshal (in Pursuance of a Lease granted to him in 1724) gave a Purse of One Hundred Guineas into the Hands of Sir John Prat Knight, then Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench; and one other Purse containing Fifty Guineas, to Mr. Justice Fortescue; and the like Sum to Mr. Justice Powis; and he offered the like Sum to Sir Robert Raymond Knight,15 then one of the Puisne Judges of that Court, who refused the same, saying, he did not know any such Fee was due, and that if it was not a legal Fee, he would not take it, but that he would inform himself of the Lord Chief Justice, and the other Judges; and, some Days after, he accepted the same Sum, having seen the Lord Chief Justice, and the other Judges of the said Court.
The said Richard Mullens was again sworn into the said Office on the twenty fifth Day of January One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Nine, (his former Lease being then expired, and a new one obtained) on which Occasion Sir Robert Raymond Knight, Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, and the other Judges of the said Bench, did not accept of any Fee, whatsoever, from the said Marshal.
Over and above these Fees or Presents paid by the Marshals, on their being sworn into the said Office, they used to pay, every Christmas, to the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench twenty Guineas; and to each of the Puisne Judges ten Guineas; until such Time as the present Sir Robert Raymond came to be Lord Chief Justice; He then generously refused to accept of any such Presents, and would never receive any Gratification, whatsoever, from the said Marshal; and he was imitated in this by Mr. Justice Reynolds,16 who, though he accepted the Ten Guineas, sent the same, by his Clerk, to be distributed amongst the Prisoners of the said Prison; and all the Judges of the said Court have now followed this Example: At Christmas 1729, they all refused to accept any Presents, from the said Marshal.
Not only the Marshals, but the Deputy Marshals usually made Presents, (on their Admittance) to the Lord Chief Justice of the said Court; Mr. John Morris, who is now Deputy Marshal, on his buying that Office, besides the Purchase Money paid by him for the said Office, made a Present to the Lord Chief Justice Holt of twenty Guineas,17 which, as far as he remembers, he gave to him with his own Hands.
That upon Inspecting the said (King’s-Bench) Prison, it appears to be in very bad Repair, and not capable of containing a third Part of the Number of Prisoners, even now in the Marshal’s Custody, who amount to six hundred and fifty seven, which Number is much less than used to be in that Custody, before the late Acts of Parliament against frivolous Arrests, and for relief of insolvent Debtors: And it is remarkable that not one Person discharged by the said late Act (for relief of Insolvent Debtors) hath been recommitted for any new Debt.
The common Side of this Prison is divided into little Cabins or Lodges, the Floors of many of which are six or eight Feet below the Level of the Ground, the Master’s Side is in very bad Condition; and the whole in no Way adequate to the vast Rent paid for it.
Many Complaints were laid before the Committee of Cruelties committed by former Marshals of the said Prison, particularly of a Murder of one Allen, a Prisoner in the said Prison, in the Year 1723,18 when Machen was Marshal; and also Complaints of exorbitant Sums having been taken for the Liberty of the Rules:
But the requisite Attendances on other Services of the House have made it impracticable to go through the Examinations of these Complaints, before the Conclusion of this Session.
However the Committee having examined all the Prisoners on the common Side, and many of those on the Master’s Side (who are, mostly, new Prisoners, committed since the Beginning of the late Parliamentary Inquiries into the State of the Goals) It appeared, by their Examinations, that no Violence or Cruelty hath been used to them by the present Marshal, but, on the contrary, that he hath done many Acts of Compassion, and Charity towards those on the common Side; by which, and by his free Confessions, and satisfactory Answers given to the Committee, upon his several Examinations before them, he hath rather intituled himself to Favour, than Blame.
The said Prisoners also declared, that they had heard of terrible Oppressions formerly, none of which have happened of late, the Ears of the present Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s-Bench, being always open to the Complaints of the Prisoners, and he having, with great Patience, heard all their Petitions.
Their chief Complaints, at present, are the great Distress they are reduced to; the Charities not being sufficient for Maintenance of the poor Prisoners; and that the being admitted on the common Side, (and thereby intituled to the Benefit of the Charities, which are confined to that Side) is granted as a particular Favour, and not as a general Right, and that it is with great Difficulty a poor Wretch on the Master’s Side, though never so miserable, can be admitted on the Common Side, to share in these Charities.
The Marshal is chiefly enabled to pay his Rent, by permitting Prisoners, on Security, to live out of the Prison, any where within the Rules. The Streightness of the Prison, and it’s Incapacity to contain the Numbers thereto usually committed, occasioned the Prisoners Application to the Court of King’s-Bench, for more Room: Who took upon them to impower the Marshal to suffer his Prisoners to live out of the Walls of the Prison, he being answerable for their Forth-Coming; The Limits within which such Prisoners were allowed to be, were fix’d by the Court of King’s-Bench, and that Space of Ground is called the Rules, and now deemed Part of the Prison: The Court of King’s-Bench hath taken on them to enlarge the said Space, particularly in the Time when Sir John Prat, Knight, was Lord Chief Justice, the Court then declared, that it was in their Power to extend the Rules, in such Manner as they should think fit.
If this be Law, all England may be made one extended Prison.
The Prisoners make large Presents to the Marshal for the Liberty of these Rules, and being under his Protection, and in his Favour, may take Houses or Lodgings within the Rules, and live in a very easy Manner, whilst the poor honest Debtor, who hath paid away all his Substance to satisfy his Creditors, is a close Prisoner, within the Prison: Thus the Debtor who will not pay his Creditors lives at Ease, and he who cannot pay, suffers.
The Prisoners enjoying the Liberty the Rules are, by the present Usage of the Court of King’s-Bench, in some Manner, protected, even in Criminal Cases; For if they are guilty of the greatest Crimes, or Disorders, they cannot (by the Opinion of that Court) be committed by any Authority, but that of the Judges of the said Court (of King’s-Bench.) So that if a Murder, Riot or Mutiny should happen whilst the said Judges are on the Circuits, or otherwise absent, there is no Power to commit to the County Goal any Prisoner in the Rules, who shall be concerned therein; For should a Justice of the Peace, on Complaint made, commit a Prisoner in the Rules, to the County Goal, he would, it seems (by a late Opinion of the said Court) be deemed guilty of a Rescue and Escape, and be liable to the Debts of the Prisoner, whom he had so committed: For,
It appears that a Complaint was made, in December 1728, to Samuel Woodham Esquire,19 one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Surry, against Humphrey Heybord and Joseph Allen (two Prisoners in the Rules) for violently assaulting a Woman, and other Misdemeanors, and they not being able to find Security for their Appearance at the next Quarter Sessions, for the said County, Mr. Woodham committed them to the said County Goal: On this, the Marshal moved the Court of King’s-Bench for an Attachment against Mr. Woodham; And the Matter being brought before the Court, the Court declared that Mr. Woodham, in committing the said Heybord and Allen, (Prisoners in the Custody of the Marshal) to the County-Goal, upon any Pretence whatsoever, (notwithstanding the County Goal was within the Rules of the Prison of the King’s-Bench) was guilty of a Rescue: After which the Court interposed, and prevailed with the said Mullens (the Marshal) to make up the Matter, on Mr. Woodham’s paying Thirty One Pounds, Costs; (for committing two Prisoners who had broke the Peace, and could not find Security.)
The high Rent paid by the Marshal, occasions exorbitant Fees, Extortions and many other Inconveniences.
The Marshal hath One Shilling, per Night, for every Prisoner who lies in a Spunging House, which may be a great Inducement to him to keep Prisoners from coming into the Prison.
The Prison-Fees are exorbitant; and the Judges having met together, and proceeding to take the same into their Consideration, in Order to their making a Reduction thereof, (pursuant to the late Act) a Doubt arose, Whether they could or ought to reduce the said Fees, because of the Property of the Mortgagees: And this Matter remains for the further Consideration of Parliament.
That no Security being given for the safe Custody of the Prisoners, and the artful Confusion of the Title between the Trustees for Lenthall, and the Mortgagees, render the Custody of the said Prison unsafe and precarious.
It appeared to the Committee, That notwithstanding the Inconveniency arising from the Claim of the Mortgagees, and the high Rent paid by the Marshal, yet this Prison (of the King’s-Bench) is much better regulated, than any other Prison the Committee hath enquired into; Which they cannot but ascribe to the Care of the Lord Chief Justice Raymond, who not accepting of any Presents, or Fees from the Marshal of the said Prison, hath kept the said Marshal strictly to the Performance of his Duty; and his Lordship hath heard and redressed the Complaints of the Prisoners.
It appeared to the Committee, That there are now in being some Books, and Lists of Charities belonging to this Prison; and also that there have been other Books relating to the said Charities; which Books are not now Forth-Coming.20
There is a Charity collected from the several Counties, and another of Monies collected in the Courts of Westminster-Hall, called High-Barr-Money. In the collecting the first of the said Charities there is some Difficulty, full Powers not being given for the raising thereof. And it hath been represented to the Committee, That the latter (tho’ Charity Money) doth belong to the Lord Chief Justice, and that he hath a Right to dispose of the same as he thinks fit.
And it appeared to the Committee, That, out of the small Charity which yet remains unimbezled, an Attempt was lately made to deduct Monies to repair the Wards for receiving the Furniture given to the sick Rooms by the present Lord Chief Justice Raymond; And that these poor Creatures, besides their great Fees, pay also for repairing Rooms in the Goal, and they were induced to sign a Common Seal for this Purpose.
That the poor Prisoners suffer greatly by the applying of the Charity Money to Repairs, or to any other Uses, than dividing it amongst them, and by their not being admitted to the Common Side, and the sharing the Charities.
That the prosecuting Justices of the Peace for acting in Cases of Breaches of the Peace committed by Prisoners of the King’s-Bench Prison, or within the Rules thereof, greatly tends to the Encouraging of Disorderly, Riotous and Dangerous Practices there.
By inspecting the Lists of Prisoners for Debt, transmitted from the various Goals of this Kingdom, and the Gazettes, and other Authorities, The Committee find, That near Six Thousand Persons have been discharged out of the said Goals, by Vertue of the Act passed in the last Session of Parliament (For Relief of Insolvent Debtors)21 and that Six Hundred of his Majesty’s Subjects, Fugitives for Debt, have returned and reaped the Benefit of that Act; and by the Returns of the Lists from the County Goals, it appears, that many hundred Persons are still confined there, who were Prisoners for Debt, before the Twenty Ninth Day of September 1728; from which Time the said Act took Place.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That effectual Provision be made to prevent the Judges, their Clerks and Servants from receiving any Fees, Gifts, Presents, or any Gratuities whatsoever from the Goaler, or Keeper of any Prison, or from any Officer Intrusted with the Custody of the Prisoners, or any Person impowered by them.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That it is necessary to make further Provision for the Discovering, Collecting, Distributing, and Accounting for the Charities belonging to the King’s-Bench Prison.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That it is necessary to make further Provision for Creditors, for their more easy and effectual Recovery of Debts and Damages, on the Escapes of Prisoners from the King’s-Bench Prison.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That it is necessary to make further Provision for the better Preservation of the Peace, within the King’s-Bench Prison, and the Rules thereof.
Examination of John Wildey.
JOHN WILDEY being examined the 11th Day of March 1729, saith, That he this Examinant hath searched the Records at the Tower, and also at the Chapel of the Rolls, for the Original Grant from the Crown of the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, but could not find the same, or any other Deed or Conveyance relating to the said Office, either to Mr. Lenthall or the Duke of Norfolk, and that he this Examinant doth not know what Title the said Lenthall had thereto.
Examination of John Jones Esq;
JOHN JONES Esq, being examined the 16th Day of March 1729, saith, That he was concerned for the late Earl of Radnor in the Sale of the said Earl’s Interest in the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, And that he this Examinant remembers the Payment of the Consideration Money for the same, and that upwards of 10,000 l. was paid to the said Earl in this Examinant’s Presence; and this Examinant believes that the whole Consideration Money being 10,500 l. was then paid to the said Earl.
Examination of Mr. Jasper Blythman.
JASPER BLYTHMAN Gent, being examined the 13 th Day of March 1729, saith, That he saw the late Earl of Radnor sign the Receipt (now produced to him this Examinant) for 10,500 l. and that his this Examinant’s Name, subscribed as a Witness to the said Receipt, is of this Examinant’s proper Hand-writing, and this Examinant further saith, That he cannot at this Distance of Time say whether the Money was paid at the Time of Signing the said Receipt, But doth believe that the same was then paid, for that otherwise the said Earl would not have signed the said Receipt, nor should this Examinant have witnessed the same, and also for that by the Sale of the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, and of an Estate in Wales, the said Earl rendred his Circumstances (which before that Time were very uneasy and unsettled) entirely easy.
Lord Radnor’s Receipt for 10,500 l. (produced by Mr. Wildey, 13 March 1729.)
I The Right Honourable Charles Bodville Earl of Radnor, do hereby acknowledge that I have, this twentieth Day of September One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighteen, received of Joseph Studley of London Gent, the Sum of Ten Thousand and Five Hundred Pounds, of lawful Money of Great Britain, being the Consideration of and for my assigning to him (by an Indenture bearing equal Date herewith, and made or expressed to be made between me the said Earl of the one Part, and the said Joseph Studley and Hall Loader and John Allen of London Gent, of the other Part) the Debt remaining due to me upon several Securities made by William Lenthall Esq; deceased, to Sir John Cutler Knt. and Bar. deceased, and secured by the Office of Marshal of the Marshalsea of the King’s-Bench, the Consideration of which Assignment is in the said Indenture mentioned to be a compenent Sum of Money, paid by him the said Joseph Studley to me, and therefore of and from the said Consideration Money, and every Part thereof, and all Demands concerning the same, I do hereby acquit and discharge the said Joseph Studley, Witness my Hand the Day and Year abovesaid.
An Account of the Shares of the several Proprietors of the King’s-Bench. (delivered by Mr. John Wildey, 13 March 1729.)
Examinations of Mr. Joseph Studley, the 9th, 11th, and 13th March 1729. At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
JOSEPH STUDLEY being examined the 9th Day of March 1729, saith, That he is intitled to one twentieth Part of the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, and that he hath had such Share ever since the Year 1718, and that he paid for the same 525 l. at two Payments, in or about October 1718, to the Use of Mr. William Martin: And this Examinant further saith, That the whole Debt due to the Earl of Radnor, on the said Premisses, was assigned to this Examinant; and that he this Examinant has all along received the Rents and Profits of the said Premisses, for all the Proprietors thereof, and hath from Time to Time accounted with Mr. Martin and Mr. Wildey, who have all such Accounts, as also all the Title Deeds and Writings relating to the said Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, in their or one of their Custody, and that he this Examinant hath been allowed 5l. a Term, for his Trouble; And this Examinant further saith, That the Book now produced by this Examinant doth contain a true Account of all Alienations of Offices, Fines and other Profits of the said Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench which have come to the Hands or Knowledge of this Examinant; And the said Examinant being asked whether he doth not apprehend himself lyable to make good Escapes, he this Examinant saith that he is not liable thereto, it having been so determined, upon a Tryal at Law, in Poulter’s Case; And this Examinant further saith, That both Machen, the late Marshal, and Mr. Mullens the present Marshal of the King’s-Bench, were appointed Marshals since this Examinant’s said Purchase, and with this Examinant’s Consent, and that both the said Marshals gave Security for Payment of the Rent, but that no Security was taken from either of them to answer, or make good Escapes, or for good Behavoiur. And the said Joseph Studley being again examined, on the nth Day of March 1729, saith, That he was present at the Execution of the Purchase Deeds, dated the 20th of September 1718, by the late Earl of Radnor; and then saw the said Earl sign the Receipt for 10500l. Consideration Money, and did then also see Mr. William Martin pay unto the said Earl several Bank Notes at Mr. Blythman’s Chambers, in the Temple, but how much in the Whole was paid to the said Earl this Examinant doth not know: And the said Examinant being again examined, on the 13th Day of March 1729, saith, That he hath used his best Endeavours to find out Lenthall’s Title to the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, but hath not been able to discover the same, nor can give any other Account thereof, than that he this Examinant hath been informed by Mr. Martin, that the Title Deeds of the said Office were lodged in the House of Lords, upon the passing of an Act of Parliament, relating to the said Prison in the 8th and 9th Years of the Reign of King William the Third.22
Examination of James Slann.
JAMES SLANN, Footman to Thomas Martin Esq; being examined the 6th Day of March 1729, and asked what Property he has in the Prison of the King’s-Bench, says, That he is a Nominal Trustee for the Heirs of Mr. Lenthall: And this Examinant being asked what he means by a Nominal Trustee, and by whom he was appointed such Trustee: He says, he does not know what a Nominal Trustee is, nor by whom he was appointed such. And being asked how he knows he is a Nominal Trustee, he says, he is informed that he is such, but does not know by whom he was so informed.
And this Examinant being asked whether he Signed and Sealed the Deed now shewn to him, and by whose Order he so executed the same: he says, he did Sign and Seal the said Deed, by the Order of his Master, Mr. Martin; And the said Examinant being asked how long it is since he executed the said Deed, and who was present when he executed the same, he says, he does not know how long it is since he executed the said Deed, nor who was present at such Execution, except Mr. John Wildey, who was then present. And the said Examinant being asked, whether he ever read or heard read the said Deed, or knows the Contents thereof, saith, That he never did read or hear read the said Deed, nor knows the Contents thereof, and that he this Examinant hath Signed and Sealed several Deeds, without reading or hearing the same read, or knowing the Contents of the same.
And this Examinant being asked, whether at the Time of his executing the said Deed he apprehended he should reap any Benefit by his executing the same, or that he was thereby lyable to answer any Escapes, and whether he was able to make good Escapes that might happen, or to pay Four or Five Thousand Pounds on that Occasion, he this Examinant saith, that he knew not whether he was to reap any Benefit by his signing the said Deed, and that he did not apprehend, by his signing the same, he was lyable to make good any Escapes that happened, and saith, That if any Escapes should happen, he is not able to make good or pay for the same.
Examination of Mr. John Wildey.
JOHN WILDEY being examined the 6th Day of March 1729, and being asked what Property he has in the King’s-Bench Prison, saith, that he is a Trustee for the Heirs of Lenthall, and was nominated such Trustee, at the Request of John Martin Esq; in a Deed now shewn to this Examinant, and that he this Examinant, by the verbal Order of the said Mr. Martin, and of Mr. Thomas Martin, Mr. Studley, and Mr. John Preston, did execute the other Deed, now also shewn to this Examinant.
And this Examinant being asked, whether he does not apprehend himself liable to answer Escapes, or who is liable to make good the same: He this Examinant saith, That he doth not apprehend himself, or any of the Proprietors of the King’s-Bench Prison answerable for Escapes, but that the Marshal of the said Prison is liable to make good the same, and that he this Examinant was never put to any Trouble upon Account of Escapes: And this Examinant being asked, whether the said Marshal has given any, and what Security, to answer Escapes: This Examinant saith, that the said Marshal has given no other Security for that Purpose, than his own personal Security by a Covenant contained in the said last mentioned Deed; but this Examinant apprehends, that if any Escapes shall happen, which the said Marshal shall not be able to make good, the Heirs of Lenthall will be liable to make good the same: And this Examinant further saith, that he doth not, nor ever did receive any Rent whatsoever from the Marshal of the King’s-Bench, nor ever sign any Receipt for Rent: And the said Examiant being asked whether he ever received any Surplus Money for the Heirs of Lenthall, he this Examinant saith, that he never did receive any such Surplus Money.
Examination of Mr. John Preston.
MR. John Preston being examined the 9th Day of March 1729, saith, That he this Examinant is entituled to one fifth Part (the Whole into five equal Parts being divided) in the Office of Marshal of the King’s-Bench and the Prison thereof, with the Buildings and Appurtenances thereto belonging, and that he purchased the same in May last, of Richard Bishop, to whom this Examinant paid eighteen Hundred and twenty one Pounds for the said Share; and that the said Richard Bishop thereupon assigned to this Examinant all the Estate and Interest of him the said Richard Bishop in the said Premisses; the Profits whereof, being usually accounted for by Joseph Studley, the Receiver thereof, every Term, this Examinant saith that he hath received for his Share of the said Profits Eight and Twenty Pounds, each Term, or thereabouts.
And the said Examinant being asked, whether he does not think himself liable to make good Escapes of Prisoners that may happen: saith, he hath been advised, and doth apprehend that he is not liable thereto, being only a Mortgagee.
And the said Examinant being asked, whether Mr. Mullens, was made Marshal of the King’s-Bench, since this Examinant’s said Purchase, and with this Examinant’s Consent, and whether the said Mullens had given Security to answer, or make good Escapes, this Examinant saith, that the said Mullens was made Marshal since the Purchase, and with the Consent of this Examinant; and that he this Examinant doth not know that any Security has been given by the said Mullens, to answer or make good any Escapes.
The further Examinations of Mr. Richard Mullens, (Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison) taken before the Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to inspect the Goals of this Kingdom, this 21st Day of February 1729. and 9th of April 1730.
THIS Examinant saith, That he is Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison, and appointed by the Proprietors, viz. Thomas Martin, William Martin, John Martin, John Preston, and Joseph Studley Esquires, That the said Proprietors have a Right to present a Marshal of the said Prison, to the Court of King’s-Bench, who are to approve and confirm the said Marshal, and after he is sworn in, before the said Court, he is then in full Possession of the said Office. This Examinant further saith, that, in the Year 1724, he applied to the said Joseph Studley, in order for to get the Office of Marshal to the King’s-Bench Prison, and by Means of the said Joseph Studley was introduced to the other Proprietors, whom he (Mullens) met at Garraway’s Coffee-House, towards the End of the Year 1724, when the said Proprietors, viz. Thomas Martin, John Martin, and Joseph Studley Esquires (and as he thinks William Martin) were present, who proposed to the said Examinant, That they the said Proprietors would present him to the Court of King’s-Bench, as Marshal of the said Prison, and grant him (Mullens) a Lease of the said Office, and Prison, for the Space of five Years, with a Right of Renewal for three Years, after the Expiration of the said Term, on Condition of paying to the said Proprietors the annual Sum of Eight Hundred Pounds; and also the further annual Sum of about Twenty Pounds as a quit Rent, and to allow to the Chamberlain of the said Prison, appointed by the Proprietors, the usual Profits of the said Office, which he hath since compounded with the said Chamberlain, for the yearly Sum of thirty Pounds; and that the said Proprietors further told him, that over and above the said Sums, he (the Marshal) before he was approved of; and sworn into the said Office, must pay One Hundred Guineas to the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, and a further Sum of fifty Guineas, to each of the three Puisne Judges of the said Court; That he this Examinant objected to all these Demands, as too exorbitant, from the Impossibility of fairly raising the said Sums; to which the said Proprietors answered, that if he (Mullens) refused to take the said Office on these Conditions, many others would gladly accept of this Offer, and that the former Marshals had made a great deal of Money of the said Office, and particularly Mr. Machen had got between two and three Thousand Pounds by it: This Examinant replied, that no Person could make such a Profit honestly, and if any one got so much Money in the said Office, it must be by giving Liberty to some of the Prisoners, and running away with them; to which the said John and Thomas Martin, or one of them, answered, that he (Mullens) must take his Chance for that, for he took the said Office with his Eyes open: And this Examinant further saith, that he agreed with the said Proprietors for the said Office, and Prison, and a Grant of the same was made to him, and executed on the 14th Day of January 1724, by Richard Wellman, a Hackney Writer to the said John Martin, or one of them, with the Consent of the said Joseph Studley, and that on or before the twenty Third Day of the said Month of January, he (Mullens) gave a Purse, containing One Hundred Guineas, into the Hands of Sir John Prat, the then Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench; and one other Purse, containing Fifty Guineas, to Mr. Justice Fortescue; and the like Sum to Mr. Justice Powis; and he offered the like Sum to Sir Robert Raymond, then one of the Puisne Judges of the said Court, who refused the same, saying he did not know any such Fee was due, and that if it was not a legal Fee he would not take it, but that he would inform himself of the Lord Chief Justice and the other Judges; and some Days after, the said Sir Robert Raymond did accept of the said Sum, having, as he informed this Examinant, seen the Lord Chief Justice, and the other Judges of the said Court; and this Examinant has heard and believes that no Marshal was ever approved of, and sworn into the said Office, without making the said Presents, except himself, who, on the Renewal of his Grant of the said Office and Prison, was sworn into the said Office, on the Twenty Fifth Day of January last 1729, without making the said Presents to the Judges: And he (Mullens) further saith, that the Marshal usually gave, every Christmas, Twenty Guineas to the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, and Ten Guineas to each of the Puisne Judges of the said Court; but that Sir Robert Raymond, the present Chief Justice, has always refused the said Sum, but desired he would not mention such Refusal, least his Successors should think he lessened their Perquisites; And further saith, that Mr. Justice Reynolds did accept of the Ten Guineas, but sent the said Sum by his Clerk, to be distributed among the Prisoners of the said Prison: And further saith, that all the Judges of the said Court refused to take the said Presents, last Christmas.
At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
The said Richard Mullens being examined, this Ninth Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith that, the above written Examination, and every Part thereof is true.
The said Richard Mullens further saith, That the Lease, by which he agreed to pay Eight Hundred Pounds per Annum to the said Proprietors, was, by the Interposition of the Lord Chief Justice Prat, cancelled, and a new Lease granted of the same Date, which is the Lease last expired.
ABOUT five Months ago all the Judges of the King’s-Bench ordered Mr. Mullens to give the Proprietors Notice, to attend them at the Lord Chief Justice’s Chambers, and they all met accordingly; my Lord Chief Justice then told the Proprietors, the Occasion of sending for them, was to acquaint them, that they (the Judges) were of Opinion, that there would be a Parliamentary Enquiry into their Prison, as there had been of others, and though they apprehended they had no direct Right to make any Order upon them, (the Proprietors) yet they recommended it to them (the Proprietors) to alter the exorbitant Rent they now let it at, and though they imagined they were secure, under an Act of Parliament, yet it was their Opinion, that the Parliament would construe it, that by their letting it at such exorbitant Rents, and to People without sufficient Security, and obscure People permitted to covenant for it, that Escapes would be deemed voluntary in them, as if they had acted themselves, as Marshal; That they themselves would be liable to make good the Escapes and forfeit their Office.
At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
The said Richard Mullens being examined this ninth Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith, That the above-written Examination, and every Part thereof is true.
The fourth Examination of Mr. Mullens, in the most solemn Manner, 9 April 1730. At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
RICHARD MULLENS, Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison, being examined, this ninth Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith, That he this Examinant hath lived within the Rules of the said Prison, and been conversant therein, for the Space of ten or eleven Years, and that in or about the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Three, one Poulter was committeed to the Custody of Richard Machen, then Marshal, in Exeaition for 18000 l. and upwards, at the Suit of William Wilson, and that soon afterwards the said Machen gave the said Poulter the Liberty of the Rules, for 260 Guineas or thereabouts, and took a Bond from the said Poulter’s Brother for 1000 l. (as the said Machen informed this Examinant) and in about ten Days, after the said Poulter obtained the Liberty of the Rules, he escaped to Holland, and there continues, as this Examinant is also informed; and thereupon the said Wilson brought an Action, in the Court of King’s-Bench against the said Machen, for the said Escape, and recovered Judgment for the said Debt; and afterwards the said Wilson moved the said Court, that the Profits of the Office of Marshal and Prison of the King’s-Bench, might be sequestered for the said Debt; and the Court referred it to the Master of the King’s-Bench Office to state the Account of the Mortgagees; and the said Master reported due to them 18000l. and the said Wilson could not obtain any Satisfaction, and soon afterwards shot himself, in Despair, at an Inn, in Bamaby-Street, which this Examinant believes was called St. Christopher’s; and this Examinant further saith, that the said Machen is now a Prisoner, in the Custody of this Examinant, at the Suits of Elizabeth and Ann Wilson, the Administratrixes of the said William Wilson, and also at the Suits of Benjamin Arnold and Christopher Thwaites; and that several other Prisoners besides the said Poulter did escape during the Time that the said Machen was Marshal; and that the Rent of the Office and Prison is so exorbitant, that no Person of good Substance would take the said Office, and that it has been customary for former Marshals to suffer Escapes, to enable them to raise Money to pay their Rent, and get their Livelihood.
The Examinations of Mr. Richard Mullens (Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison) taken 23 Feb. 1729. and 9 April 1730.
THIS Examinant saith that Knight and Surman, being posessed of two Fifths of the Office of Marshal of the Prison of the King’s-Bench, as he is informed, Thomas Martin Esq; and Richard Bishop, (Tipstaff of the Court of Common-Pleas) purchased those two Fifths, of the Trustees of the South-Sea Company, for the Sum of Sixteen Hundred Pounds each, as this Examinant is also informed, and some time, about twelve Months since, Mr. Preston (Clerk of the Vintner’s Company) purchased Mr. Bishop’s said Fifth, but knows not what Sum of Money was paid for it; That he computes the Fees, which he has actually received, as Marshal of the Prison, to amount to about Fifty Pounds, annually, before they were lately reduced, and that he expects very little will arise from those Fees, for the future, That what induced him to take a new Grant of the said Office and Prison, at a Rent of Seven Hundred and Fifty Pounds was, from an Assurance given him by Mr. Studley, one of the Proprietors, of an Intention of the Proprietors to reduce his Rent to Four Hundred Pounds, the Judges having recommended such Reduction, and in further Hopes, that if the Government should take the Goal into their Hands, he (Mullens) might be appointed Marshal of it; That the Profit chiefly arises from giving the Liberty of the Rules to the Prisoners; which were greatly enlarged by the late Chief Justice Prat, by the Addition of St. George’s-Fields to the Rules, on Application of the Prisoners to the Court of King’s-Bench, But having kept no Account of these Profits, he can’t say what they annually produce; that he believes there are generally upwards of One Hundred and Twenty Prisoners, who enjoy the Liberty of the Rules, but that he will deliver in a particular Account of them to the Committee; That, on his being admitted Marshal, he had no Prisoners delivered to him, but such as were within the House, under the Key, which did not exceed Seventy Seven, but that he had no Account given him of all the Prisoners, that had the Liberty of the Rules, granted them by his Predecessor, Machen, nor does he apprehend himself to be charged or chargeable therewith; he is informed and believes, that great Numbers of those Prisoners, who then enjoyed the Rules, made their Escape when Machen run away; and believes he has an Authority by Virtue of a Rule of Court (the Copy of which is delivered to the Committee) to retake, and lock up any of those Prisoners, if he thinks fit, but that he is not by such Rule obliged to retake them, and thereby make himself liable; and believes this has been the Practice of all former Marshals, for many Years, since the Office has been in the Hands of particular Proprietors; That his other Profits arise to him by Groats out of the Judgments, and Bails in the Court of King’s-Bench paid him by the Master of the King’s-Bench Office, which he computes at about One Hundred Pounds, annually; that he lets the Profit of his Tap and Sutlerage, to one Metcalf (a Brewer of Greenwich) for One Hundred Guineas Fine, and One Hundred Guineas, yearly: That he has one Shilling out of every Day Rule, which he computes to be worth to him about Thirty Five Pounds per Annum, That he has One Shilling for every Night that a Prisoner lies in a Spunging-House, which he computes to be worth about Thirty Pounds, yearly; And these he declares are the only Methods by which he makes any Profits.
At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
The said Richard Mullens being examined, this ninth Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith, that the above written Examination and every Part thereof is true.
A LIST of the Names of the several Persons who have executed the Office of Marshal of the Court of King’s-Bench (from the Year 1668) the Dates of their several Admissions, and how long they respectively continued in the said Office, as appears per the several books of Entry which are now in Custody of Mr. Richard Mullens, present Marshal of the said Court.
Delivered by the said Mr. MULLENS.23
Copy of a Rule of Court, for the new Marshal to retake such Prisoners as had the Liberty of the Rules granted by his Predecessors.
Die Mercurii in Quinden’ Sci. Hillarii Anno 11° Georgii Regis.
Ordinat’ est quod Marr’ Maresc’ hujus Curi recapiat omnes Prisonar’ ad largum existen’ necnon omnes Prisonar’ qui secer’ escap’ e Prison’ Marr’, & non legitime exonerantur e Prison’ pr’, & ducat eos in Prison’ pr’.
Ex motione Mri. KETLEBY, per Cur’.
Examination of Mr. John Morris.
JOHN MORRIS, Deputy Marshal of the King’s-Bench Prison, being examined this 21st Day of February, 1729, says, That he was appointed Deputy-Marshal of the King’s-Bench, by Charles Earl of Radnor, above twenty Years ago (but hath not the Grant now with him) and paid fifty Pounds to Thomas Cook for the said Earl, by Way of Alienation, and a considerable Sum to him the said Cook (who was then Deputy-Marshal, and is since dead) for his surrendring to this Examinant; and that he paid a further Sum of Ten Guineas to one Broughton, the then Marshal, and Twenty Guineas to the Lord Chief Justice Holt, which, as far as this Examinant remembers, he gave to him with his own Hands.
Being asked, in what Manner the Office was surrendred, says, that Cook surrendred the Office to Lord Radnor, two Days before Lord Radnor granted the Office to the Examinant.
Being asked, what was the Business of Deputy-Marshal, says—That now the Business of Deputy-Marshal is to attend the Court of King’s-Bench, with the Lord Chief Justice, wheresoever he goes, but formerly the Offices of Deputy-Marshal, and Clerk of the Papers were annexed; and now the Fees are given in jointly together.
Being asked if he ever gave any Thing, by Way of Christmas Box, to the Judges, or any Officers under them: — Says, that there was a Table kept in the Lord Chief Justice Holt’s Time, and now he sometimes eats at the Lord Chief Justice’s Table, and he has given at Christmas, half a Crown, or so, to each Servant.
23d February 1729. JOHN MORRIS Deputy Marshal.
SAMUEL WOODHAM Esq; one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Surry, being examined the 7th Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith, that he this Examinant having, in the Month of December 1728, committed, for want of Sureties, to the County Goal of Surry, Humphry Heybord and Joseph Allen, for violent Assaults committed by them; And Richard Mullens, Marshal of the Court of King’s-Bench, having threatned to move the said Court, against this Examinant, for so doing, he the said Mullens alledging that the said Heybord and Allen were then Prisoners in the Custody of him, (the said Mullens) this Examinant, together with Sir John Gonson,24 did, about Three Weeks before the then next Term, wait upon the Lord Chief Justice of the said Court, and acquaint him therewith, To which his Lordship answered, That what this Examinant had done, was very right, and that this Examinant should proceed, in the same Manner, against all Offenders in the like Cases, and that he would support or protect this Examinant therein, or to that Effect: And this Examinant further saith, That the said Mullens, as he had before threatned, did accordingly, in Hilary Term 1728, move the Court of King’s-Bench, that an Attachment might be awarded against this Examinant, for this Examinant’s having committed the said Heybord and Allen to the said County Goal, as aforesaid, (although such County Goal is within the Rules of the King’s-Bench Prison) and thereupon a Rule having been granted by the said Court, for this Examinant to shew Cause, why such Attachment should not be awarded against him, he this Examinant did attend with his Council, eight Days or thereabouts, in order to shew Cause against such Attachment, and to represent to the said Court (as he had before done to the said Lord Chief Justice) the Reasons why this Examinant had committed the said Heybord and Allen to the said County Goal, (which Reasons are contained in an Affidavit made by this Examinant, in the said Court) and this Examinant saith, That before this Examinant’s Council could be heard, The said Court declared that this Examinant, in committing the said Heybord and Allen (being Prisoners in the Custody of the said Marshal) to the said County-Goal, upon any Pretence whatsoever, and notwithstanding that such County Goal was within the Rules of the Prison of the King’s-Bench, was guilty of a Rescue, or to that Effect; and the Council for the said Mullens then moving; that he the said Mullens might be at Liberty to sue this Examinant, for the Rescues or Escapes of the said Heybord and Allen, This Examinant was asked by the said Court, whether he, this Examinant, was willing to pay unto the said Mullens his Costs, to which this Examinant (by the Advice of his Council, and to avoid further Prosecutions) answered, that he was willing to pay the same, and this Examinant saith, that thereupon a Bill of Costs was delivered, by the Attorney for the said Mullens, to this Examinant, amounting to Thirty one Pounds and upwards; in which was included one Article of 8 l. and upwards, for Expences, which the said Mullens alledged he had been at, in removing into the Crown Office several Indictments, which had been preferred against the said Allen and Heybord for Misdemeanors, they had been guilty of; no Ways relating to those for which they had been committed by this Examinant, as aforesaid; and the said Bill of Costs being referred to Mr. Clark (Master of the King’s-Bench Office) for a Taxation, and a Dispute arising touching the said Article of 8 l. and upwards, so charged for removing the said Indictments, as aforesaid, this Examinant did attend the said Lord Chief Justice, for his Opinion, whether this Examinant ought to pay the same, and his Lordship then declared to this Examinant, he apprehended the said Court did not mean, or intend that this Examinant should pay those Costs, or to that Effect; which Declaration of his Lordship’s this Examinant did communicate to Mr. Marriot, his, this Examinant’s Attorney, who, thereupon, insisted before the said Mr. Clark, that the said Article should be disallowed; but the said Mr. Clark, not being satisfied therewith, did attend the said Lord Chief Justice alone, for his Directions therein; and the said Mr. Clark, at his Return from the said Lord Chief Justice, did declare that his Lordship directed, that this Examinant should pay all Costs, as well the 8 l. and upwards, as other the Costs contained in the said Bill; and this Examinant hath been obliged to pay the same accordingly.
Examination of Sir John Gonson, in the most solemn Manner. At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
SIR John Gonson Knight, being examined, the Ninth Day of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty, in the most solemn Manner, saith, That about sixteen or eighteen Months since, Samuel Woodham Esquire, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, for the County of Surry, desired this Examinant to accompany him to the Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, to inform him, that he the said Mr. Woodham had been threatned with Trouble, for having executed his Office, in committing Persons, who were Prisoners within the Rules of the King’s-Bench, (on Account of Misdemeanors by them committed) to the County-Goal of Surry (which County-Goal this Examinant believes to be within the Rules of the King’s-Bench Prison) That they found the said Chief Justice at his Chambers, in Serjeant’s-Inn, and that there passed a long Conversation between the said Lord Chief Justice, Mr. Woodham and this Examinant, all the Particulars whereof this Examinant cannot take upon him to remember, but, upon the Whole, the said Lord Chief Justice received them with great Civility, and did not then seem to blame the said Mr. Woodham; but this Examinant very well remembers, that the said Lord Chief Justice then said, That he would support the said Mr. Woodham, and the Gentlemen in the Commission of the Peace, as far as he could by Law; or used Words to that Effect.
Examination of Mr. Joseph Mason.
MR. Joseph Mason, Clerk to the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s-Benchy being examined the 16th Day of March 1729, saith, That he this Examinant hath always received the Exibition Money belonging to the King’s-Bench, and also the said Lord Chief Justice’s Share of the High-Bar Money, which High-Bar Money has been given away by the said Lord Chief Justice to Charitable Uses; and this Examinant further saith, he believes that the High-Bar Money doth belong to the said Lord Chief Justice, and that he hath a Right to dispose of the same, as he thinks fit.
Examination of Thomas Backhouse, Steward to the Common Side, &c. At the Committee appointed to enquire into the State of the Goals of this Kingdom.
THOMAS BACKHOUSE being examined the 7th Day of April 1730, in the most solemn Manner, saith, That last Michaelmas Term the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s-Bench gave Furniture for the Sick Wards of the King’s-Bench Prison, upon which the Marshal of the said Prison told this Examinant that the Wards were not in a fit Condition to receive the Furniture, and that they ought to be repaired, which this Examinant understood to be at the Expence of the Prisoners; and accordingly this Examinant ordered the said Sick Wards or Rooms to be repaired, and called the Prisoners together, and told them that the Marshal said it was fitting the Sick Rooms should be repaired, before the Lord Chief Justice’s Furniture should be put up; and asked them whether they were consenting it should be done, and William Watson and Thomas Maund, and others, said they were consenting, and this Examinant doth not remember that any Person refused to be consenting, and that this Examinant ordered Workmen to repair the said Rooms, and when the Workmen demanded Money of him, he went to the Marshal, and desired him to send this Examinant some Moneys, To which the Marshal told him he might get the Common Seal; and this Examinant accordingly applied to the Prisoners to sign a Common Seal, and some of them refused to sign the same, particularly William Lucas, (who afterwards upon Persuasion did sign) and William Moore who then refused, and hath not yet consented to sign the said Common Seal; notwithstanding which this Examinant did obtain a Common Seal, which the said Marshal signed; and this Examinant did present the said Seal to Joseph Mason Gent. Clerk to the said Lord Chief Justice, in order to receive 4 l. 14 s. 5 d. for the said Repairs, out of the County Moneys designed for the Subsistance of the poor Prisoners, on the Common Side in the King’s-Bench, which the said Mason refused to comply with, as not having any Moneys in his Hands; And this Examinant further saith, That he never knew any Money raised upon the Prisoners, nor taken out of the Charities, for Repairs; But, on Recollection, saith, That he paid for the mending of the Windows, out of the said County-Moneys, designed for the Subsistance of the said poor Prisoners, and that he did this but once, about one Year since or upwards; And this Examinant further saith, That he is Steward of the Common Side of the said Prison, and was chose such by the Prisoners, about two Years since, with the Approbation of the said Marshal.
Seal, for 41. 14s. 5d. dated 21 March 1729. Produced by Tho. Backhouse, 7 April 1730.
WE the present Assistants of the Common Side of the King’s-Bench Prison, by and with the Consent of the rest of our Fellow Prisoners, having examined the Accounts of Mr. Thomas Backhouse, our Steward, in respect to the Repairs in and about the Sick Rooms in the said Prison, do find that there is due to him, on that Account, the Sum of Four Pounds Fourteen Shillings Five Pence; and we do hereby desire Samuel Clark Esq; to affix hereto our House-Seal, and Mr. Joseph Mason to pay to our said Steward the said Sum of 4l. 14s. 5d. out of our County-Money, as it is or shall become due to us; as witness our Hands this 21st Day of March 1729.
R. Mullens, Marshal.
Robt. Greenwood, Assistants.
THE Resolutions of the Committee being severally read a Second Time, were, upon the Question severally put thereupon, agreed unto by the House, and are as follow, viz.
That effectual Provision be made to prevent the Judges, their Clerks and Servants from receiving any Fees, Gifts, Presents or any Gratuities whatsoever from the Goaler or Keeper of any Prison, or from any Officer intrusted with the Custody of the Prisoners, or any Person impowered by them.
That it is necessary to make further Provision for the Discovering, Collecting, Distributing and Accounting for the Charities belonging to the King’s-Bench Prison.
That it is necessary to make further Provision for Creditors, for their more easy and effectual Recovey of Debts and Damages on the Escapes of Prisoners from the King’s-Bench Prison.
That it is necessary to make further Provision for the better Preservation of the Peace with the King’s-Bench Prison, and the Rules thereof.
That the said Report, with the Appendix, be printed, And that Mr. Speaker do appoint the Printing thereof, and that no Person but such as He shall appoint do presume to print the same.