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Have you any further observation to make? I will just add, that in the two letters dated Sandgate and Weymouth, there appears to me to be a general freedom I do not perceive in the note.
You state, that you perceive in the formation of the letters of the note a neatness of character which you do not perceive in the letters : do you not conceive that diference may arise from the difference of the pens and ink used in the writing. That circumstance has not escaped my mind, but after looking at that also, I am still of opinion that it was not the same writing.
You stated, that you are principal inspector of the letter of attorney office; in exa:nining letters of attorney in that oflice, is it not your principal business to look at the signature? It is.
Is ihat your only business? No surely not; that is the principal business.
What other part of the hand-writing are you accustomed to examine, besides the signature? It is necessary for me to read over the whole of the letter of attorney, to see that it is correct in all its parts, and when so done, to compare the signature with any former signature, and it it agrees, of course it is admitted ; if it does not agree, we have other movies of proof, such as looking at other signatures, comparing the hand-writing of the witnesses, and still other proofs.
Is it expected that the hand-writing in the body of the letter of attorney should be written by the person who signs his name at the bottom? The letters of attorney are almost universally filled up by the clerks in the othce over whichi I preside; the body of the letter of attorney is uniformly filled up by them.
Then is not the comparison of writings to which alone your attention is directed, altogether a comparison of signatures? It is.
Have you, in looking over the note, observed that there are no dots to the i's in that note? I have not.
Have you observed whether there are any dots to the i's in the two letters? I think I have observed dots in some parts of the letters.
Look over the letters again, with a view to that circumstance. [The witness looked over the letters.] I do not observe several, but I do find, in the first letter I have looked into, one; that is the letter dated fruni Weymouth.
Have you observed but one i, in these two letters, with the dot over it? I have not observed more.
Having adverted to that circumstance, do you remain of the saine opinion with regard to the hand-writing? I do not think that should change my opinion, because I think that the ensemble of the note appears to me altogether a different kind of hand.
You have stated to the Committee, that you looked over these letters and the note with great attention ; how did it happen that so remarkable a circumstance as that escaped your attention? I do not at all wonder that such a circumstance as that should escape my attention, it is the first time I have ever been called upon in this House, however, and surrounded as I was by gentlemen on every side at the tinre I was examining into the letters, as far as my time and attention would allow, I do not wonder that that circumstance escaped my'attention.
How long a time were these letters under your inspection in the Coinmittee-room above stairs? I think about an hour; but in the course of that time, I had a great variety of letters to look over, of Mrs. Clarke's and other persons, which I was directed to look at, and which I did look at, and observed the characters with soine attention:
Do you remember an instance of a person endeavouring to forge or imitate the hand-writing of another who did not put dots to the i's, who in that forged or imitated paper was accustomed to put dots? I do not exactly recollect any circumstance about dots of i's, but I have refused signatures, and perhaps daily do that, which turn out to be forgeries, though generally innocent ones, but not actually the signature of the parties that should be there.
Does the circumstance of there being no dots to the i's in the note before you, make any difference in your opinion? It certainly was a circumstanice that I did not advert to, and therefore, as far as that goes, I certainly think it is of weight, but not sufficient to alter niy opinion.
In the course of examining the signature of powers of attorney, have you not observed that the signature of the same persons varies considerably in a short period of time? I certainly have, and that may arise from a variety of circumstances, such as ill health ; a signature made before or after dinner has frequently been very materially dillesent, and indeed a variety of other circumstances would alter the signature materially
Have you not admitted the validity of signatures of the same per. son, so varying as you have stated, in a greater degree than the variation between the writing in the note and the two letters? I have no doubt but I have, but it will arise from this circumstance, probably, that where the signature of the constituent differs materially, we have then the signature of two witnesses to look at, and if the signature of either of those witnesses should be well known to me to be in all prcbability a true signature, I mean a signature that passes before me very frequently, that would operate in my mind to admit the power of attorney, though there might be some considerable variation between the constituent's signaltre in the one instance and in the other.
Have you not admitted the validity of the hand-writing of those varying signatures, where the witnesses have been totally diffetent persons, and totally unknown to you? I think I have not, because that is my particular business to attend to, not to admit any thing that is not in itself exactly what it ought to be, witliout such proof before me as should enable me to admit it.
What proportion of the signatures of the witnesses to the powers of attorney, in the country, are you acquainted with? I cannot say the proportion of hand-writings of witnesses that I am acquainted withi, but certainly a great number, and you will allow that, when I tell you that every day I admit from forty to fifty, sixty and a hundred ; hardly aný day is less than forty, and very often a lrundred.
You must know that powers of attorney, executed by the sanie person in the country, are attested by very different witnesses ?. Certainly.
Do you not depend upon the signature of the prson who executes the power of attorney, much more than upon any name of any witness to the execution of that power of attorney'? I certainly do, that is the first object.
Do you not principally depend upon the signature of the person who executes the power of attorney, noiwithstanding the variatious in the hand-writing of that person? I certainly do.
And you have admitted the validity of those signatures with greater variations than you find between the note and the two letters? I certainly have, but collateral evidence has come in to satisfy me of the validity of the signatures.
Do you consider the note as having been written in imitation of the hand-writing of the letters? That was my opinion at the time I was - examining them.
Is it in the usual and common habit of yourself to be called upon for your opinion, and to give an opinion upon the similarity of hand-writing, where there are no siguatures of naines whatever? It has very seldoin happened of late years, formerly it was more frequent, because of late years I have understood that such kind of evidence has not been admitted in the Courts of Law.
Having stated that you have been chiefly conversant with the examination of signatures, do you judge of thein by conparison with other signatures of the same person, or a general comparison of the handwriting of the person supposed to sign 1 judge of then by a comparison with other signatures of the same person.
Have you ever seen papers in which the signature and the other writing in those papers, purported to be, and to jour knowledge were, Written by the same person? I have.
Have you in those cases observed that the signatures are in many cases different from the general writing? I certainly have; and I must acknowledge that signatures in general are much easier to judge of than coin.non lines of writing, because signatures have always appeared to me a set kind of hand, which a man takes up, and in general does not part with.
Previously to your examination of the two letters and the note, had it been intimated to you by any person, and by whom, that there was reason to doubt of the authenticity of the note? I think I should answer to that, that I read the newspaper every evening, and therefore I have read all that concerns this business every evening as constantly as it has passed.
Is the Committee to understand, that the first doubt you entertained was by what was suggested from reading the newspapers Icer, tainly came with no prejudice in niy mind, but I came determined to fórın my mind from what I should see in the note and in the letters.
Is the Committee to understand, that the first doubt you entertained was by what was suggested froin reading the newspapers ? I think I said that I came here with no prejudice, but to form my mind from what I should find in reading over the note and the letters.
Is the Committee to understand, that the first doubt you entertained was by what was suggested from reading the newspapers? I conceive that I might reason upon the subject, but certainly I came here with no prejudice whatever.
Is the Committee to understand, that the first doubt you entertained was by what was suggested from reading the newspapers? I certainly did reason upon the subject in my own inind, but I came here with no prejudice wbatever.
Have you carefully examined both the letters, and do you find in any parts of either of those letters any difference in the hand-writing; are both those letters exactly in the same character and style of hand-writing? I did not erceive any particular difference in the inode of writing in those two letters, but that they were all written with the same kind of freedom, except where the ink appeared to fail, and that will constantly be the case under such a circumstance.
Is or is not the difference in the note and the letters greater than that wlich you have frequently observed between acknow'exiged pieces of hand-writing of the same person? The difference betwven the pole and the letters appears to me to arise, taking it altogether, from the ireatness and the stiffness of writing, which I do not observe in the two letters; as to there being a greater difference between the note and the letters, than any two signatures which I have admitted, I really cannot tell how to answer that ; the differences in signatures are so very frequent and so various, that I cannot well explain myself upon that subject.
- You have said you have only been able to judge of the authenticity of one signature, by comparing it with another; how are you then a better judge than any clerk in any counting house in London?
[The witness was directed to withdraw. Mr. Dent objected to the question.
Mr. M'hitbread defended the question ; he said, if the witness had only to be asked whether Frederick was like Frederick, then the witness might be competent to pass an opinion ; but when he confessed he could only judge of the authenticity of one signature by comparing it with another, then he thought the question a just and pro. per one.
Mr. Canning considered it unfair, because the witness did not come to the bar voluntarily to be examined, presuping on his own superior com: eiency, but he came on a summons to give the best opinion he could form.
Mr. Ithithread could not agree in any such opinion. When the witness wis suminosed he was set up as a judge, and of course should be able to prove the competency which he, if not openly, at least tacitly, assumed.
[The witness was again called in.] From your habits of business at the Bank, have you more frequent opportunities of comparing the general hand-writings of parties, Uran persons engaged in any mercantile or other counting bouse in the city of London? i ain persuaded not, and I have thought wyself frequently incompetent tu sueh kind of examinations, becalise iny constant prac. tice has been with respect to signatures only.
You having stated that you liar been occupied one hour in examiuing all the papers, inclusive of Mrs. Clarke's letiers, what time did you des vote to the examination of the three letters now in question? I think it is probable that I might have been from half an hour to three quarters on the one, and the rest of the time on the various letters of Mrs. Clarke, and so on.
Might not the short note and the two letters have been the handwriting of the same person, supposing the short note written in the morning, and the letters after dinner, or vice versâ ? I think that miglit possibly have been the case, but then that written in the aiternooi would have been much worse than that written in the morning.
If two powers of attorney had been presented to you for your examination, one in the land of the letter which was acknowledged to be the hand-writing of the party who presented it, and the other in the handwritiug of the shirt note, with your observation would you officially have refused the acceptance of that latter power of attorney? If there Had been no other circumstances as collateral evidence in favour of it, I certainly should have demurred to the signature.
Have you not said, that writings differing as much as these, have ultimately turned out to be genuine ? If I have not, I am persuaded they have done so.
[Tlie witness was directed to withdraw. Mt. THOMAS BATEMAN was called in, and examined by the Com
mittee, as follows: • In what business are you? In the service of the Bank of England.
In what deparment? My employment is thi' examining powers of attorney, in the first place as to the accuracy of them, and then examining their signatures.
[The two leiters und the note were shewn to the witness. ] Have you examined those two letters and that note, for the purpo e of discovering whether they are written by the same person mo? I have.
How long have you been einployed in the department in which you now are ?
Nearly twenty years:
You state, that you have examined these two letters and that note, for the purpose of discovering whether they are written by the same person i bave.
Look at them now, and tell me whether they were in your judgment written by the same person? I think there is a very correspondent similarity
In your judgment, is the note written by the same person as these letters were written by? I can only say that there is a very marked similarity.
Upon examining these letters and the note, have you any reason to think they were not written by the same person?
I have not any reason to think they were not; I have no reason at all upon that subject.
Upon examining those letters and the note, have you any reason to think they were not written by the same person? Aiter what I bave said, I think I cannot answer that question but in the way I have answered it.
If two powers of attorney came before you, signed, one in the character of the note and the other in the character of the letters, would you have passed them both as written by the same person? Í think I should
(The witness was directed to withdraw.