ANDREWS had been long a depredator upon the public; and though he had not, like Roberts, the advantage of being a counsellor-at-law, yet he well knew how to 'keep his neck out of the halter:' he would not, in fact, touch upon what might amount to a felony; but, with all their art and knowledge, we are always finding swindlers stumbling upon the pillory, or strolling on board a transport.
The first public examination of Andrews, of any moment, was at the Police-office, in Queen Square, Westminster, on the 31st of March, 1807; when Colonel Davison (not of St. James's Square) stated that he became acquainted with the prisoner in the King's Bench. It was very material for the colonel to get a seat in parliament; and, as the prisoner had often represented himself as intimately connected with some of the first characters in the country, the colonel disclosed his affairs to him, who undertook to forward his intention. He described himself as the intimate acquaintance of the Earl of Besborough, Lord Fitzwilliam, and R. Spencer, Esq., from whom he received contributions while in prison. After the colonel had left the Beach, he frequently relieved him with pecuniary trifles, till he was liberated by the Insolvent Act; and he then carried his pretensions to the extreme, by observing that he had been offered a seat in parliament by Earl Fitzwilliam, but it would ill become him to accept it, having been so recently liberated; and he could, by the interest of the Earl of Besborough, have the honour conferred on the colonel, as it was by the interest of that earl that Lord Fitzwilliam's promise was to be realized. The colonel went to dine with B. Goldsmid, Esq. at Roehampton, and the prisoner accompanied him in his carriage to the Earl of Besborough's house, at the same place; but the earl was from home. He saw the prisoner again in a day or two, when he informed him that he had conversed with the Earl of Besborough on the subject of a seat in parliament; and the earl jocosely remarked, 'I should conceive you to be a Don Quixote to want a seat, after taking the benefit of the Insolvent Act.' The conversation then became more serious; and the colonel, as his friend, was to have the seat promised by Earl Fitzwilliam. The prisoner went on to state that he was connected with the noble earl, who had four boroughs in Ireland, and who would dispose of them at four thousand pounds each; and, if the colonel should have other friends to accommodate, he might have the preference, as the noble earl had authorized him to find candidates. The colonel found candidates for all the boroughs the prisoner had talked of, and by his desire the money was deposited in the hands of a banker. The candidates, when they became members, were to retain their seats for five years, in case of a dissolution of parliament. The colonel here observed that he had such full confidence in the prisoner as by his artifices to have been led away in a manner that made him look more like an accomplice than a dupe. He had been so deceived by the plausible pretences and the solemnity of the prisoner's conduct, that his mind was tranquillized: thus he had obtained of him (the colonel), and his friends, by his recommendation, four thousand pounds, he having got two thousand pounds in two payments, as he said, for the Earl of Besborough, as part of the consideration for the boroughs in Ireland. The other money consisted in relieving the temporary embarrassments of the prisoner, and accepting his bills. The colonel had accepted bills for a carriage, which the prisoner had made in Poland Street; also for his stud, &c. besides those of different tradespeople. The colonel, having at length entertained some suspicion of the prisoner, waited on the Earl of Besborough, when he found his suspicions realized.
The Earl of Besborough stated that he knew no more of the prisoner than having received letters from him while in prison, asking relief, which he granted to him in trifles. He knew nothing of what had been related respecting the boroughs; and the other noblemen who had been talked of knew no more of the prisoner than having afforded relief to his distresses.
A gentleman, who had agreed to purchase one of the boroughs, proved that he had paid the prisoner four hundred pounds, as part of the consideration, and had been completely misled. The prisoner was committed for re-examination.
He formerly kept his carriage, and a dashing equipage, in Half-Moon Street, Piccadilly; but he was apprehended in an obscure lodging in Westminster.
In a few days Andrews was again brought to the same office. for a farther examination. On this occasion the principal evidence against him was Mr. Harris, an aged gentleman, a surgeon and man-midwife in the Strand, whose rain had been the consequence of the conduct of the prisoner.
It appeared, by the statement of this gentleman, that he accidentally met with a lady, (who turned out to be the wife of the prisoner,) in 1800. It being late at night, he offered to see the lady home; and he did so, to Edward Street, Cavendish Square. The prisoner expressed his warmest acknowledgments for the trouble Mr. Harris had taken, and invited him to dine, &c. at his table.
A mutual intimacy now subsisted between the parties, and Mr. Harris attended professionally at the accouchement of Mrs. Andrews, in February, 1801. In April the prisoner took apartments at the house of Mr. Harris, and remained there some twelve months; but never paid board or lodging. The prisoner kept his carriage at the time. He used to represent himself as a man of fortune, and the brother of the person who was the proprietor of the Dartford powder-mills. Mr. Harris was employed by the prisoner to inspect Jesuit barks, opium, &c. which he (the prisoner) used to purchase in considerable quantities. The complainant, on a certain day in April, 1801, supped with the prisoner, and others; and, after having drank freely, and reduced himself to a state of stupefaction, the party retired, and shortly after returned with a bundle of papers, which he signed, as a witness, without knowing what they were. The complainant stated that he believed opium had been mixed with his wine, for he felt himself very ill the next day. Mr. Harris had not signed these papers many days, when he was arrested at the suit of Mr. Barron, druggist, in the Strand, though unconscious of having contracted a debt with that gentleman; but the business was settled by the attorney, whilst Mr. Harris was in a lock-up house. He was released, and returned to his house, which was then in Theobald's Road. He used to ride with the prisoner in his carriage; and on a certain day, when at the foot of Westminster Bridge, the prisoner alighted, and observed that he was going for a gentlemen; and he, in a few minutes, brought a sheriff's officer, who served a writ on the complainant, who knew of no debt he owed, and he was hurried away in the carriage to the King's Bench prison, where he remained until October, 1804, when he was cleared by the Insolvent Act. He could get no redress for this cruel treatment, and he reflected with horror on the conduct of Andrews, who called on him again after his release. At this time a cupboard door was standing open in Mr. Harris's house, and the prisoner reached a box from off a shelf, and rattled it. The complainant was at this moment sent for into his shop, and the prisoner went up stairs with the box, which contained plate to the amount of two hundred pounds. The complainant returned, and followed the prisoner up stairs; but he had gone off with the box and plate. Mr. Harris saw the prisoner again in the evening, when he said that he had made a temporary use of the plate, to save himself from being arrested, but he would return it in a day or two; but he ultimately absconded. The plate was the property of a West-India merchant, who had married the daughter of Mr. Harris, and it was left in his possessive for safety, whilst the merchant was gone abroad.
Another charge was exhibited against the prisoner by a young man, in whose mother's house the prisoner lodged in 1797. He had obtained twenty-one pounds of the woman, which was chiefly expended in clothing a female with whom he had cohabited. The prisoner had given the young man two letters to take to the Duke of Devonshire and Earl Spencer, which were, according to his account, recommendations for the father of the youth to get a comfortable place; but whilst he was gone the prisoner decamped from the house. .The young man had seen the prisoner with Sir Watkin Lewes, who had informed hiss he would pay the debt; but he (the witness) had very recently seen Sir Welkin, who said he had also a charge to institute against the prisoner.
William Brown, late coachman to the prisoner, appeared in his old master's livery, blue and silver lace, to answer interrogatories respecting goods which had been obtained by the prisoner from Mr. Asser, china-man; but Mr. Asser was not present, and the testimony was of no avail.
The magistrate informed the prisoner that his situation wore a serious aspect, for he stood charged with felony. The prisoner observed that he had been advised to say nothing until he came before a jury; but he had feelings which, irritated by an abominable conspiracy, compelled him to speak. He then entered into a long vindication of his conduct in a firm manner, and protested his innocence. He also begged of the persons present to suspend their judgment till the hour of trial. The magistrate replied that it was astonishing the prisoner should make solemn asseverations of his innocence, when it was palpable that, without fortune, or any visible means of obtaining support, he had been enabled to keep a carriage and sumptuous equipage -- that there had been a multiplicity of persons at the office to substantiate charges against him; and he (the magistrate) considered it the duty of his official situation to remand the prisoner, for the further investigation of his conduct. He was therefore remanded accordingly.
On the 10th of April following, Andrews underwent a fourth examination. The first witness called was Mrs. Harris, the wife of the merchant who, had lost his plate, and the daughter of Harris, from whose house it was said to have been stolen. This lady corroborated what had been advanced by Mr. Young, who redeemed the plate.
Mr. Brown, who resides in the neighbourhood of Bedford Square, stated that he lived on an independent property, and first became acquainted with the prisoner in the King's Bench, a few moths since. He (Mr. Brown) was discharged by the Insolvent Act as well as the prisoner, and about the same time; they had become the most intimate friends; and Mr. Andrews, after his release, lived in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, where he kept his chariot and a livery servant, which was afterwards replaced by a family coach and two livery servants. Mr. Andrews had given this witness to understand that he was on the eve of coming to an unlimited fortune, as the heir of Bishop Andrews; and Mr. Brown and his lady used frequently to dine with the prisoner, as did he and his lady with them. At Mr. Andrews's dinner party Colonel Davison, Maltby, McCullum, and others, used to be present; but these persons were never invited to Mr Brown's table. In a conversation with a Mrs. Roberts, who used to dine at the prisoner's table, that lady, in the presence of Mrs. Brown, felt herself surprised at seeing Mrs. Andrews pay some tradesmen's bills, and publicly deprecated so mistaken an idea! This witness had subscribed four hundred pounds to Mr. Andrews's system of finance, besides having done him some little favours while he was in the King's Bench. He had also some bills of Colonel Davison's acceptance, which were not yet due. Mr. Brown had also received a letter from the prisoner, addressed to the Earl of Besborough, which was to procure him (Mr. Brown) a place of four or five hundred a year under government, which he delivered to the earl. Mr. Brown had received this mark of kindness from the prisoner, after he had lent him four hundred pounds; and he needed no promise for that advance, for Mr. Andrews, by his open conduct, had completely got the better of his purse, which he felt no hesitation in opening to him.
A poor man of the name of Newcombe, at whose house the prisoner lodged, lost twenty-five pounds by him, by paying chandler's shop and other little scores, and gave a very singular description of the prisoner's conduct. He acted the part of an embarrassed gentleman, and one day read a printed speech, which he said he made from the hustings at Ipswich, when he was a candidate for the representation of that borough in parliament.
Andrews complained of the unfair conduct of the magistrate during the inquiry, and again denied ever having had an intention of injuring any one. A committee, he said, sat daily at Fishmongers' Hall, to carry on this foul conspiracy against him; and, however his feelings might be tortured by being made a ridicule in that office, a jury would convince the world of his innocence.
Again he was brought up, and fresh charges exhibited against him; but so artfully had he gone about the commission of the different frauds, that he evaded the full punishment due to his crimes, for near five years, though during that long period he lived, so use an old saying, 'by his wits.' But justice, though sometimes tardy, will surely at length overtake the most artful and hardened offender. Andrews, after this long course of infamy -- he who had duped nobles, and deceived men of all grades in society -- was at length caught in swindling a tavern keeper out of a dinner!
He was at length committed, upon seven different indictments, to take his trial. It appeared in the course of his various examinations that he committed depredations on all ranks, from the rich and fashionable down to a poor washerwoman, in whose house, when closely pursued, he took lodgings, borrowed money of her, and even defrauded her of the articles that she received in the way of her occupation.
At the Middlesex quarter sessions, on Tuesday, September the 24th, 1811, Richard Andrews and Alexander Hall were put to the bar, charged upon an indictment with defrauding Isaac Kendall, by means of certain false pretences, of the sum of thirteen pounds, five shillings, against the form of the statute in that case made and provided.
When the indictment was about to be read, and the prisoners called upon to plead, Andrews addressed the Court, and repeated his application to have the trial postponed, being quite unable, for the want of pecuniary assistance, to have the professional aid of those who were competent to support him on so severe an occasion. He said, also, that the want of money prevented him from procuring the necessary witnesses, whose evidence could alone prove his innocence, and convince the world that he was not the man whom newspaper report had so branded; for there was not a journal published in the nation that did not impose upon him an assumed characteristic. In some he was called 'Parson Andrews,' in others 'Captain Andrews;' many had the good nature to dub him 'Doctor Andrews;' but they all agreed in one point, namely, that of giving him every name but that which belonged to him. He called God to witness that , is the whole course of his life he never arrogated to himself any characteristic that did not belong to him, or assumed any other description than that of plain Richard Andrews.' Yet he was persecuted beyond example. He entreated of the Court, he supplicated the Bench, that he might be allowed a month to prepare himself; that he might have the benefit of counsel, and be provided with the necessary instructions for his counsel, as he was convinced, if that indulgence should be allowed to him, that he would make his innocence, as far as the intent of wronging the prosecutor, perfectly manifest; at present he could neither obtain the support of witnesses and proofs, the assistance of solicitor, nor the aid of counsel. He submitted to the Court that the prosecutor had two indictments for the one offence against him, and he begged to know upon which of them he intended to try him, as he understood that he had preferred another bill against him.
Mr. Alley, for the prosecution, here interfered, and observed, that the defendant well knew, that although there were two indictments, that yet there was but one charge, and that was a charge for an offence committed so far back as the 12th February last, and therefore he could not complain of surprise; and as to the fact of preferring another bill, in point of substantial truth it was no such thing. It was no more nor no less than merely amending a clerical error in the first bill -- the introduction of a single word instead of another. Therefore the defendant had not to take this for a bill of the present sessions.
Several observations were made by Andrews, and the counsel for the prosecution severally replied to them.
At length Mr. Mainwaring stated the sentiments of the Court, the substance whereof was, that, although they were disposed to give every reasonable and humane assistance that they could to all persons in the predicament of the prisoner, yet that they actually did not perceive that satisfactory grounds were adduced for postponing this trial any longer. The circumstance of deficiency of pecuniary means was not a reason why the public justice of the country was to be delayed; but the prisoner, as in such cases, would find counsel in the Court themselves -- the judges would be his counsel, as in humanity they ought.
The trial then proceeded. Mr. Alley stated the case, that it was an indictment under the 30th of Geo. III. commonly called 'the Swindling Act,' and, after expatiating on the enormity of offences such as the prisoner was accused of, proceeded to call his witnesses.
Isaac Kendall stated himself to be the proprietor of the coffee-house situate in St. Clement's Churchyard. He said, that on the 12th of February last, the two prisoners. Andrews and Hall, came to his house, and ordered dinner.
Mr. Kendall continued -- The coffee-room was very full, and I was busy attending the company. Before they finished their dinner they called for a bottle of wine. There was another gentleman in the coffee-room, who spoke to Mr. Hall. This gentleman was invited to join them after dinner
Q. By Mr. Alley -- Is not the person you speak of a most respectable man? do you not know him very well?-- A. Beyond a doubt.
Kendall -- After dinner they called to me and asked for their bill; I made it out; it amounted to one pound, seven shillings, and sixpence. They offered me a check on Drummond and Co.
Q. By the Chairman.-- Who do you mean by they?-- A. Hall offered me the check; on looking at it I saw an informality, and would not take it. I then returned it to Hall; Andrews said he would draw another, and they begged pardon fur the mistake; the check had thirteen on it instead of thirteen pounds; I saw Andrews draw another for thirteen pounds, five shillings.
Q. By the Chairman -- Was the first check in the name of Andrews, though offered by Hall?-- A. Yes.
Q. Did you see Andrews draw it?-- A. I was rather busy at the moment, but he called for pen and ink, and he had a book of checks by his side. The draft was for thirteen pounds, five shillings, on Drummond and Co. While Andrews was doing something with it, I took Hall aside, and asked him was all right; he answered, 'O! yes! my dear fellow, don't be afraid;' and, speaking of Andrews, he said, 'He was a rich uncle of his, who had been very kind to him m various occasions, and that I need not fear.' The opinion formerly entertained of Hall was so high that I would have given him forty pounds, instead of the balance of the draft, had he asked it.
Q. Was any thing said to the gentleman who had joined the prisoners' company, about going to the theatre?-- A. It was agreed that he should accompany them there; they did not go out together. It was proposed by them (the prisoners) to dine at my house on the Wednesday or Thursday following, when they would bring a party of friends, and the gentleman was also invited. When the prisoners left the house, the gentleman stopped at the bar to inquire whether the dinner would be on the Wednesday or Thursday. In the mean time they went away. I went to the door along with the gentleman, but they were gone. We looked both to the right and left, but they were not to be seen. I then suspected something was wrong. I sent my son next morning to Drummond's, but there were no effects to pay the draft. In a day or two after, I went, accompanied by my son, to the bankers'; but it was useless: the draft has never been paid.
Mr. Heald, from the house of Messrs. Drummond, proved that Andrews had not, at the time of the drawing the said draft, any cash whatever in their hands; that the last money which lay in their hands, belonging to him, was three shillings and sixpence, which was paid to his messenger three years ago; but he admitted that there was a cash account with the prisoner Andrews, in their house, and that, within three years previous to the year 1808, his account exceeded six thousand pounds. It was, however, all drawn out in January, 1808.
The prosecution on the part the crown being finished, the prisoners were called on their defence, when Andrews asked a few questions of Mr. Kendall and Mr. Heald, and then addressed the Court, admitting that he drew the draft, and that the money was given to his unfortunate friend, the other prisoner; but he submitted, that as he had kept an account in the banking-house, even had that account been over-drawn, yet that he did not consider himself, much less did he consider Hall. as guilty of any violation of the law. He glanced at the effects which prejudice must have upon a man so miserably situated as he was, and concluded with a strong appeal to the merciful consideration of the Court and of the jury.
Mr. Mainwaring recapitulated the whole of the evidence, making suitable comments upon it, and upon the law of the case, as far as regarded the offence charged against both the prisoners, and left it with the jury to say whether they were guilty or not; and the jury, after a very short consultation, brought in a verdict of Guilty.
They were both again tried, upon a second indictment, for a like offence, in defrauding a person of the name of Brundell, who keeps a tavern at Blackwell, of thirty pounds.
The prisoners went to Mr. Brundell's house and dined; after dinner they got him to sit down and drink a glass of wine with them, and in the course of the conversation they signified that a party of twenty would dine there on the Thursday following, and bespoke a turtle dinner accordingly for that number, at the rate of twenty shillings a head. In a little time after dinner, a letter was received by Mr. Brundell at his bar, and on opening it he found another directed 'To Richard Andrews, Esq.' which letter was instantly handed up stairs to Mr. Andrews. Mr. Andrews no sooner received it than a conversation took place respecting the sale and purchase of an estate; at length the prisoners again got into a conversation with Mr. Brundell; and, in short, they tendered to him a draft for fifty pounds on Messrs. Biddulph and Co. and, desiring him to stop twenty pounds on account of the intended turtle dinner, got the difference, which was thirty pounds, from him; and, after finishing two or three bottles, they walked off. When the draft was presented the next day at Messrs. Biddulph's the fraud was discovered, for he had no account there, and Mr. Brundell saw no more of his guests till they were in custody. They were both found Guilty on this indictment.
Mr. Mainwaring passed the sentence of the Court, which was, that, for the first offence, they should be imprisoned in Newgate six months, and, for the second, that they should be transported for seven years.