(Rex V. Humphrey Sturt, Part 4)

John Bound.
Wts for the Prisoner.

I am Cook to Mr. S: I was in the hunting party in Mar: last – I remember one day when my Master came in from hunting about 12 he rode up to me near a Tree 10 or 12 yards from the Kitchen. He said John is that a good Hog?

I answered my boy is run away.

S. I told you you’d lose him.

J. B. With your assistance I doubt not I shall find him. I hope you’ll give it. / He said he would endeavour to find him. I answered that I had sent for the Chokedar who had watched. I begd he’d send somebody else likewise. Master rode away saying he would get the boy if possible.

I suspected that Chokd (the Deced) I had ordered him particly to take care the boy should not run away. I gave this caution in the night, he not being at the post where I had placed him. I had been robbed several times & hearing a noise I got up, gave Chokedar this caution and loaded my gun with 2 balls.

I had ordered this Chokedar over night not to go away in the morning till I had seen if all were safe. But in the morning I could neither find Chokd nor boy.

When M. was brought before my mstr I was not present. Clerk brought me word that the Choke was brought and that he was tied up.

The first that I saw him was about 6 in the Evening, I found him standing on the ground with his hands tied to a br. of a Tree about as high as his head. A Mushall burning, & a Turesewar standing on each side of him. Each of [ILL] I cannot say whether each of them or only one had a slit Bamboo, in his hand rather smaller than the smallest part of my little finger. I saw him rec: 7 or 8 blows [from] one of them. Some words passed which I did not understand. The Stick in the T. Sewr’s hand broke, Mr. S. took the broken stick out of his hand & gave him 5 or 6 [ILL] I can’t say if it broke again but the man skipp’d about & twisted hims: – I can’t say if he was in pain or no.

I then went away.

His skin appeared to be a little grazed in one part, the shoulders, but no cuts or blood. There were weals or marks.

I then went to my Tent & staid till 7 o’clock. When Clerk told me that Master had order’d Chokidar to be untied and taken care of. I said let’s go see if they’ve found the boy. I found him lying on the ground under a Tree, on his side. A T. Sew stood near & a Khalassey sat on the ground. it was dark but I think he was not bound. I spoke to him but did not understand his answer: He spoke vigorously.

I staid then, 6 or 7 minutes. The Turesewar said something about Bhoosy & Hog; I think; – I understood he meant fire & straw.

A Chokidar came & told me that [man] was dead. I could not believe it & was going to lick the fellow for telling lies. Clerk & I went to see the body, I examined it & seeing no marks of great beating I said to Clerk this man has not been dealt fairly by – I meant that I thought he had received ill usage after the beating.

Sumbhoo Sing
Wts for Prisoner.

I have been for a year past Khansuman to Mr. S. I knew Munsa Chokidar.

I did not see him on that day till the dusk of the Evening. My Master was walked towards the stable & when he returned he came near to where Munsa was, and ask’d him with threats where the boy was, at the same time he ordered some straw, & 4 sticks & a Mushaal to be brought. By sticks I mean slips of Bamboo, of those [which] were prepared for making cages & baskets. They were brought.

The straw was laid on each side of him in heaps, & Prisoner threaten’d that if he would not acknowledge where the boy was, he would set fire to the straw. This was only to frighten him into a Confession. He was not then beat. I was present. The sticks were put into the hands of the T:seway & Khalassies. – He was tied up before I went there. He was not beat in my presence but Chumar was. On being further threatened The Chumar was taken down, & I am sure that Munsa received no blows after the Chumar was taken down, but being further threatened he mentioned Deyally, & said boy’s father & mother had come the night before to Deyally’s house at midnight. Prisoner asked at what time did they come here to take the boy away.

Ans: when 1 Par or ½ of night remained they came & took him away. Prisoner then ordered Meikoo Khalassy & a Hercarah to bring Deyally. By Mr. S’s order Munsa’s hands were untied from the Tree & 2 Khalassies were ordered to take care of him.

Though he was let down, his hands remained bound & as he sat on the ground, with the Khalassies, Kheiroo observed that he was untying his hands with his teeth, he gave him a slap on the face & said what are you doing?

Prisoner, who was then in his own tent, heard this and called is that? (Kea baut?) On the Khalassy’s informing the prisoner of what had passed, the Prisoner said take care of him till D. is brought & then he should be released. Prisoner bid me go & tell Munsa that when D. came he should be reld & have Buckshis & bid me tell the Khalassies to go & eat their victuals leaving Munsa in the care of the Chokidars. This was after the slap on face. I delivered this message & then I found that his hands were tied, arms were [ILL] without any order [from] Mr. S. –

Before this

Afterwards (as the Khal could not find any Chokidars they were going to carry Prisoner to their own place under another Tree. Deced complained that he could not walk.

After I had delivered that message I went back to Mr. S. – Soon after the Prisoner hearing a noise Bahetry Babr from the deced sent me a 2d time to know the cause; and I then learnt from the Khalasse that as they could not find any Chok to whom they might del the deced, and has Prisoner had ordered them to take care of him they had bound pinioned his arms while his hands remained tied before him; and they were going to remove him to their own place. I found him so pinioned & bound & he complained of great pain & begged that his arms might be slackened. I then endeavoured to lift him up, but said he could not bear it he complained of great pain in his breast & side & beg’d of me to slacken the cord. I wanted to do so, but Khalassies abused me & said if he runs away will you be answerable for him? I then told the deced to wait 2 Gs more & when D. arrived he should be reld & have Buckshis.

I then came back to the Tent & told my Master the situation in which he I found the Decd. He bid me go & tell the Khalassies to untie his arms and hands, I did so, but they paid no regard to the message.

I helped him up and took to the place where the Khalassies lived, under a Mango tree, & I made him sit down; & left him tied & pinioned & came & acqd the Prisoner that the Chok[ILL] not there and that Khalassies had taken him to their place but would not unbind him. To [which] Prisoner said why don’t they unbind him. Do they mean to kill him. He then sent me again to tell M that when D: came he, should be reld & be escorted home by two men, and desired the Khalassies to unbind his arms. Deced then asked the Khalassies whether they meant to put an End to him why would they not unbind him according to their master’s order. I observed to the Khalassies that I had brought [ILL] orders for it & they would not obey them, & desired that at least they would slacken the arm. They abused me saying they knew better, they had been to Surat & Bombay & other places, we (said they) are to answer for him & if he [ILL] we are to lose our heads not you. I did not go back to me Master. I went to Bottle Khanah, & there I heard Kheiroo saying to Doomun bring 4 pegs, let us [ILL] his hands & feet & go to our victuals. We had none [ILL] how long shall we keep watch over this [man].

That evening neither Master nor his brother eat any dinner. I carried some soup for the Lady, & as I was going without to the Tent I heard a sound like the driving of Pegs. After I had served the Soup I went to the Bottle Khanah, about 2 Gs or 2½ after, [ILL] heard was brought – I likewise heard my master calling out to some body to bring Munsa. At the same time I heard the Turesewars & Khalassies making a great noise; I knew not who first told Prisoner of M’s death. I had occasion.

I heard people say that Munsa was dead. I went alone to see him. The Corpse lay on the back stretched out, with the hands backwards & I found 22 Pegs sticking in the ground near his feet. A Blanket lay over him [which] I did not remove. I asked the Khalassies if he was dead. They answered can’t you see are you blind. It was very dark, but by the light of a fire I discovered one Peg, the others I did not see. I guess’d there was another bec: on the opposite side the blanket was a little raised up

His hands were untied & I did not find any cord about him. I was going to Mar’s tent when I met Clerk and John the Cook, I turned back with them & when I came back to the place the Pegs were gone.

(Note: Hyde's writing)

X Examined
by Mr. Thompson.

The Calasses to whom were sent were the Message was sent were Khyroo and Doomun.

Mr. John Flemming a Surgeon.

I have been used to attend the Execution of Sentences for punishments by Courts Martial. I do not think Fifty Strokes of a Bamboo on the Back of a Man of ordinary strength sufficient to kill.

X Exd by Mr. Davies.

I never saw a Man flogged on the Parade with a Bamboo. I think such a bit of stick of Bamboo as this would not occasion Death by Fifty Strokes. If a man apparently in health was flogged with such a stick & died in an hour I should attribute it to the beating, but I should think it extraordinary. I do not know what such a stick as you describe might do: A Man beat with such a stick might be weak or might die, but I should think it strange. If he was ill or of an irritable habit he might die. If the Man died the same afternoon I should attribute the Death to the beating. If a Man’s vital powers are much weaken’d pinioning his arms might put a stop to those vital powers. If a Man has been beaten and during the time has drank four seers of water, and has been pinion’d and dragged sixty yards I should think it might contribute to his Death and perhaps cause that Death which might not otherwise have happen’d.

Mr. Charles Allen.

I am a Surgeon in the Company’s Service. I have been some years in the Army. I have seen several sentences of Courts Martial of flogging executed: I never saw a Sentence of Court Martial by flogging with a Bamboo executed. But I have seen Servants flogged with such a stick. I should not think an Hundred strokes with such a stick as this should could occasion death. I do not think whether the Skin is broken or not is material toward producing Death. The only way of such a weapon occasioning Death would be by fainting, and possibly that might not be recovered. Supposing the Person punish’d drank four Seer of Water, would you deem the Punishment the occasion of the death or the Water? If the Stomach was able in a short time to swallow four Quarts of Water, I should expect it to be thrown up, but if not it is likely to occasion Death. if a Man after such a punishment was pinnion’d and dragged sixty yards and died, I should sooner attribute his Death to the pinioning and dragging than to the Punishment.

X Examined by Mr. Davies.

If the Man without [has?] previous flogging and dragging was pinnion’d and dragged it might occasion his Death. it is probable such pinioning and dragging might occasion death.

By Sir William Jones.

Would the In case of tying of the hands to a Tree as high as his Mouth and letting the Man stand on the Ground above two hours in the afternoon on the first of March, whilst he receives an hundred strokes with such a stick as these; and if the same Man is afterward pinnion’d and dragged sixty yards and dies soon after, would you attribute his death to the strokes or the other ill usage:

Answer: I should attribute it to all togather

By the jury.

If a Man being beaten and probably in a feavor drinks the Water and dies, would you attribute the Death to the beating or the Water.

Answer If the stomach had strength to throw off the Water it might not hurt, otherwise it might swell in the Stomach and occasion Death.

(Note: Chambers' writing)

Mr. Davies –

In reply.

I have no Pros at my Elbow to consult, & have no [ILL] to authority to waive the right of Reply.

Having said this by way of apology for Replying, he took notice of some Contradictions between the Testimony of the wtses for the prosecution and that of the wtses for the Prisoner and he particularly observed on the evid: of the Khansuman who sets up a defence, for which no other Wts gave us any reason to expect.

But this man (said Mr. Davies) contradicts all the other Wtses in saying that Munsa did not rec: one blow after the Chumar was untied, who had been tied to the same branch.

Mr. Sturt said a few words chiefly complaining of Mr. Mercer’s conduct in this matter; – and and I then desired that the Defence which he had read before his Wtses were examined might now be read again because I had not heard it. For finding myself much fatigued and indisposed [ILL] soon after midnight, I had retired out of court a little before one o’clock, and did not return till near 5 in the morning: And during my absence the evidence was taken down partly by my brother H: & partly by my brother Jones.

Perjury in the Wtses.

A Conspiracy of natives to take away the life of an English gentleman is dangerous to every Englishman here. The facts are

I was on a hunting pty &c – Cook complained to me that his boy was deluded away & said Chokidar &c
I promised to endeavour &c
I instructed Munshy to speak to him privately.
The reason of ordering a man to beat on each side.
He remain’d bound & was ill treated contrary to my orders.
Refusal to compromise the matter bec: I knew myself innocent.
“Munshy go & tell them that I have not killed the Chokedar. I will give them nothing.”
I agreed afterwards to give 50 Rs. to the Widow & Children, but refused with indign– to give anything to the Zemindar.

I summed up the evidence in this cause; and in explaining to the Jury the different species of homicide, and the different legal consequences which result from different species Facti, I made considerable use of the annexed analysis of the case, which my brother Jones took the trouble to draw up for me. I then, amongst other observation on the evidence, said [prout X pa.] The whole of the Trial, including the time of my speaking to the Jury, and about ½ an hour that they employed in consulting together, lasted from 9 o’clock in the morning of Thursday 16 June 1785, to four in the afternoon of Friday the 17th when the jury brought in their verdict, Not guilty of Murder but Guilty of Manslaughter whereupon the Prisoner was burnt in the hand & discharged.

Flowchart of applicable law to this case, drawn up by Jones

(Note: Hyde's writing)

Friday June 17th 1785.

Sir Robert Chambers
Mr. Justice Hyde
Sir William Jones

Humphrey Sturt

The Trial of this Indictment continued without Intermission from yesterday. The Trial lasted untill about Four or Five o’Clock, when the jury brought in their Verdict.

Not Guilty of Murder

Guilty of Man-Slaughter.

The Court pronounced Sentence on the Prisoner to be burnt in the hand and discharged and it was done immediately.

Mr. Humphrey Sturt, came into Court, at about Nine o’Clock with Mr. Hamilton His Attorney, and sate down at the Table among the Advocates by Mr. Hamilton.

The whole panel of the Jury was call’d through but only about 20 appear’d.

Mr. Humphrey Sturt was found Guilty of Man Slaughter.