« PreviousContinue »
Mr. TIIOMAS BLISS was called in, and examined by the Com
mittee, as follows: What is your employment ? One of the Investigators of the Bank of England.
What is your business in that departinent? To examine and inspect into forged notes.
How long have you been in that situation About fifteen years.
Is it your business to discover whether the signatures to those notes are or are not genuine? It is.
Do you examine any thing but the signatures to those notes? The whole of the notes; every writing on the pote; it leads to many other things, the paper, the writing, the engraving, and the whole of the notes.
Do you examine any writing upon the notes, except the signature ? Yes, very frequently
What part of those bills which you examine is written, except the signature? The date and number: Do you examine Bank Post Bills as well as Bank-notes? No:
Then there is nothing of writing upon those bills you examine, but the dates, the numbers and the signatures ? Nothing else, except it miglit be writing loy the public, at times, pou the notes.
The two letters and the note were shown to the witness.] Have you examined the two letters and the note now put into your hand; for the purpose of discovering whether tlæey are written by we same person or not? I have.
According to the best jucigment you can form, are they or are they not written by the same person? I should suppose they were.
Have you any doubt upon that subject at all from letters that I saw afterwards, I have some doubt; but if I had not seen any other letters, from the appearance of those I should have had no doubt.
What letters olid you see afterwards ? I saw different letters on the table where I examined these, that I was desired to look at, froin, I believe, No. 31 to 40 or 41.
Is the Committee to understand, that, from the observation you have made upon the letters and the note you bave just seen, you have no dwebt bit tipey were written by the same person I did not say I had wo doubt, I said I thought they were.
Have you or have you not any doubt upon that subject, alluding to the three letters you have just seen from the letters that I saw since, many of thein seeming to difer, I have some doubt of it.
Have you or have you not any doubt upon that subject, alluding to the three letters you have just seen? From the examination of the three letters, which I looked at ay carefully as possible, I thought they were all of one Irand-writing.
Whose letters do you imagine those were that you saw besides? There were papers numbered as far as 40 mpon the table; I went in at a late hoor; only one being allowed to go in at a tiene, I looked only at ten, from 30 to 40 or 41; and I understood from those letters they were written by Mrs. Clarke. · Explain how the comparison of Mrs. Clarke's letters induced you to 'doubt about the similarity of the three others? After I had been desired to look at two letters, and the other, lo conpare the trand-writing I was desired to look at the other letters, and compare them with the first two letters also.
flow did that comparison alter the opinion you had before forined ? Because, though they were writtten by one person, yet they differed in the writing; there were some very plain to read, and some more difficult to read; some written rather larger, and some rather smaller.
I understand you to have stated, that the two letters and the note 'appeared to you at tirst to be at the same writing? I did say so.
Therefore, though these were written at different times, there appeared no great diference in the writing? There did nut.
How was that opinion altered by tinding that another person did at different times write diferent hands From the difference of that hand-writing; some of then I compared, in some measure bore a seinblance to the Srst two letters; if I had seen no others than the tirst two and the note produceri to me, I should have been cle wty of opinion, without any doubt, that they had been the same person's writing ; but I explain now from the ultimate judgment of what I looked at, which impressed upou me this, that the letters that I saw, though they were one person's writing, the writing ditfered materially, some very sinall and some larger, and from the viry free easy running hand, some sem so exactly alike, and some differ -nt, that it would be doubtful to judge of that person's writing at all times, whether it was her writing or not.
Is it from those letters differing amongst themselves, or from some of them agreeing with the two letter, now shewn to you, that your doubt arises? It is from some of those letters being diterently writteu of themselves, and some of them having a suall semblance of the other writing
Did those letters most resemble the two letters or the note? One or two of the letters resembled the two letters and the nore.
Is it from that resemblance that you doubt now that the two letters and the note were of the sanze hand-writing? The ditlerence amongst themselves would be the only reason that would create any doubt in my mind.
You have said, that some of those letters were in a large and some in a small hand, and yet you suppose them to be the writing of the same person? I understood that they were the writing, and thought that they were the writing of the same person.
Is not the note in a smaller hand than the letters? I think, as near as possible, the major part of it is the same size as the letters.
Did you perceive any similarity between the band-writing of any of the letters last shewn you from 30 to 40, and the note? There were one or two of the letters that I thought bore à semblance of the two letters and the note.
Is that the circumstance which leri you to doubt at last whether the two letters and the note were written by the same person? It certainly was.
[The wituess was directed to withdraw. [Brigadier General CLAVERING having sent a letter to
the Chairman, requesting that he might be called to explain his evidence; he was called in, and examined
by the Committee, as follows: What part of the evidence which you gave on a former night, do you now wish to explain? There is a part of the evidence that I gave on a former night, that I wish to explain. But I request permissioa, before I explain it, to state why I requested to come forward this even ing: It was intimated to me yesterday, by a friend of mine, and other members of the Committee, that an idea had gone forth, that part of the evidence I gave on a former evening was not correct; I certainly started at the idea, having been thoroughly satisfied in my own mind that it was my intention to state every thing to the very best of my knowledge. Yesterday, however, I referred to the minutes, which before i had not seen, and it did certainly appear to me that the answers I had given to the questions, were not perfectly such as I would have given, had I clearly comprehended thoşe questions; and how. ever extraordinary this may appear to the Committee, I pledge my şacred honour and word the mistake was perfectly involuntary on my part, and it was my entire intention, as well as my wish, to give every information in my power, and I should feel myself particularly ho noured and flattered by as many questions as the Committee shall think it proper to put to me upon this occasion. With the permission of the Committee I will now refer to the questions put to me on the former occasion. In page 153, the question was ; “ Had you any communication whatever on the subject of army promotions with Mrs. Clarke?' My reply was, “ I never proposed any conversation of that kind, nor do I recollect any ever having existed, except at the period I before alluded to, when she requested I would recommend to the consideration of the Duke of York, Lieutenant Sumner of the 20th regiment.” It is perfectly clear now to me, that by the addition of the word' whatever after ! colminunication,' an epistolary correspondence was intended, but I certainly understood it to be a personal commu. pication or conversation, for, in the two preceding questions, the idea of conversation, and conversation only, had been included; and in the following question likewise it appears also evident to me, that that was in the idei of tae honourable member who proposed it, that he meant conversation, for the question is, Had you any incidental conversa. tion with Mrs. Clarke upon that subject ?" and my reply was, ". A period of so many years having elapsed since that tiine, it is impossible to speak po tively and accurately to a question so close as that, but, to the best of iny belief, I do not think i had." The next question, and the reply, which I wish to advert to, is this :-“ Do you, of your own knowl uge, know that Mrs. Clarke used her influence in favour of any person whatever in the army with the Commander in Chief?” My reply was, “ I <io not." I ceriainly did misunderstand that question allogether, and that I did misunderstand it, I have the most positive proof for stating to the Conmittee : one of the first conversations ! had, fier w drawing from this bar, was with a noble relative of mine, a Peer of the Cpper House, in which I stated (and he has authorised me to say, it it is necessary, he will confirm the same) that my surprise was, that a question had been put to me which I conceived concerned otiers, and that my regret was, that the question had not been put which dni immediately concern myself, fór if it had, I should have given that reply which, in my own mind, conveyed a thorough convicion tnat Mis. Clarke never possessed that intuence over the mind of bis Royal Highness which it is supposed that she possessed. I have nuthing further to add upon that inuinediate head.
[The five letters delivered in by Mrs. Clarke on the 13th
instant, were shewn to General Clavering.] General Clavering.–They are my hand writing.
On the foi mer examination, you were asked whether you had ever known of any person who had asked Mrs. Clarke to use her intluence with the Cominander in Chief; to which you answered positively, that you had not. When you were asked whether you knew of any transaction of that nature, you say you understood that any transaction in which you might have been engaged was excluded in the intention of the person asking that question? I certainly did, both to that question and to the following one, for I conceived inat my answer to the third question from the bottom, was an answer which applied equally to the two last.
Did you or did you not ever, in writing or otherwise, ask Mrs. Clarke to use her intuence in your behali with the Commander in Chief? I did.
Had it any effect? I believe not.
Did you obtain what you asked for? I made two applications; I did not obtain the first, and I believe that what was granted me in the second, was not through her influence.
Was it granted to you? Will you permit me to answer that question: not iinmediately directly ; it was granted, but it must equally have been granted, and it could not have been denied me, it such application had not been made,
Why then did you apply through Mrs. Clarke? Were I permitted to state the circumstances, I believe it would be better understood than by any other answer. In the year 1803, I was placed upon the. Statf as an Inspecting field officer, as colonel. In the year 1804, the government thought proper to raise all the officers of the rank of colonel to that of brigaclier-general : I received a notification from the War-Office, that I was appouted a brigadier-general, and about a fortnight afterwards I received a second votification, to say, that my appointment was not to be that of brigadier-general but brigadier colonel. The circumstance appeared to me so extraordinary, that I wrote upon that occasion to Mrs. Clarke, to know if she could discover why the alteration was made from brigadier-general to brigadier-colonel"; she replied to me, that upon inquiry it was found to be a mistake, and that all the brigadier-generals who had been previously appointed and afterwards removed, were to be restored to their first appointments of brigadier-generals; and the reason was evident, it was supposeci that the militia and the volunteers might possibly be assembled to act together; by the militia act, no colonel in the ariny can command a. colonel of militia, consequentiy, our appointment to the situation of brigadier-colonels would not have had ine effect it was intended to have had ; therefore we were again appointed to our original situation, that of brigadier-generals.
How came you to apply for an interpretation of any mistake, or any extraordinary circumstance, to Mrs. Clarke, and not to the office of the Commander in Chief? Because, according to the custom of all offices, the persons holding the ostensible situations could not have given me the information that I desired, or rather, they would have been reprehensible if they had given it me, for in ali probability, twugh they might have been acquainted with the reasons, they would nat bare been justified in declaring them.
What secret source of information, which it would have been repre. hensible for the ostensible ofticers in the office of the Commander in Chief to have given, did you supposé Mrs. Clarke to have : I certainly did suppose that Mrs. Clarke was informed of what was passing in the War-office; I mean generally in the office of the Commander in Chief, and therefore I had reason to suppose that she would give me every information that was in her power,
What was the reason ? Because on any former occasion, as far as I can at present recollect, she had been always extremely communica. tive.
From whom did you know or suppose that she had derived that communication which she was so coinmunicative of to you? Certainly from his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief.
How do you reconcile the answer you have last given to the answer you gave before; you supposed Mrs. Clarke to have no influence with the Commander in Chief? The reply that I before gave, went to Mrs. Clarke's influence over his Royal Highness in the distribution of military promotion.
Of the two applications which you state yourself to have made through Mrs. Claike, which was the one that was successful, whether by her influence or otherwise? If I recollect rightly, I had before the honour of stating, that the rank of brigadier-general was restored to me, which I could not have been denied ; it was granted to all the colonels of the regular service of the year 1802, in which brevet I was, with others both above and below ine, and consequently it could not? þave been denied me, without a marked stigma.
Which of the two applications, which you have stated yourself to have made through Mrs. Clarke, was successful, the first or the second, whether througn her means or any other? I certainly have to apologize to the Committee, if I have not made myself understood,
What were the two things which you applied for? The first circumstance upon which I wrote to her was, or rather a letter was written, which I was accessary to, it is immaterial whether I wrote it or not, was relative to the raising a regiment. I was given to understand that she had very great intluence in military promotions, and I conceived, there. fore, it would be a fair speculation to try whether that influence did exist or not; a letter was accordingly written to her, stating, that in case she obtained ine permission to raise a regiment, she should receive 10006. She wrote me, in reply, that his Royal Highness would not hear of it, or scouted the idea, or words to that effect; and consequently from that answer, it was my decided opinion that she did not possess an intiuence over his Royal Highness in the distribution of milita y promotion.
Did you in point of fact obtain leave to raise that regiment? I did pot.
Did you make a second application, and what was that application for? The otner application, it it may be so termed, was not for any pro ixtion, but to know the rea-on why, after baving been appointed a bi gauier-general, I was reduced to the situation of a brigadier-colo!,
ilave you ever made any other application to Mrs. Clarke for information, for promotion, for exchange, or for any other thing? I cạnaot