A Bankruptcy, 1846

Wednesday 8 April 1846

At the Exeter Assizes, on Saturday, . . . Mr. Foale, the landlord of the principal hotel at Teignmouth, was convicted of defaming the character of Mr. Lane, the son of a clergyman resident in that town, by saying he had been guilty of an abominable crime, and was adjudged to pay 300l. damages. The defendant had been previously let off by an apology, but having repeated the imputation, the action was brought. (Bury and Norwich Post)

Saturday 20 June 1846

Re ROBERT FOALE, late of Kingsbridge, inn keeper, a bankrupt. This was the first examination of the insolvent, who was opposed by Mr. Stogdon, on behalf of Mr. Robert Crispin Lane, a gentleman who had brought two actions for slander, against the bankrupt, the last of which was tried at the late Assizes for this county, when he recovered a verdict, with 300 damages, besides costs.
          Mr. G. W. TURNER supported the bankrupt, and took a preliminary objection to Mr. Stogdon's opposition on behalf of Mr. Lane, until that gentleman had proved his debt. . . .
          Mr. STOGDON said he appeared for Mr. Lane, who was admitted to be a creditor for 520, was in fact, with one exception, the only creditor. . . .
          The Bankrupt was then examined at great length by Mr. STOGDON. He said I have lately been engaged in driving a stage coach from Plymouth to Kingsbridge, (being also proprietor of coaches, flys, gigs, and horses). I have likewise for the last nine and half years kept the King's Arms Inn at Kinsbridge. It is the principal Inn in the place, a large establishment, with a great number of servants. I was owner of the property subject to a mortgage, it cost me 2,200. The furniture and stock 800, and the coaches, carriages, flys, gigs and horses, about 800 more. Besides which, I had some farming stock, of which I can hardly tell the value, but the farm was rented at 70 per year. This was the character of my business in June last. . . . I also carried on the wine and spirit trade; for the last three or four years I imported the wines direct from abroad, and landed them at Plymouth. . . . I have no family but a daughter, and my wife managed the inn. . . . My bankruptcy is occasioned by the falling off of my business, and my having an action for slander brought against me. There has been two actions brought against me by Mr. Lane, he is a gentleman who resided at my house for two years and three quarters, paying 40 per year for board and lodging. For the first action I had to pay 160, besides the costs of my own attorney. It was tried before a special jury, Mr. Cockburn was my counsel. He made a sort of apology in court, I believe I have read the report of the trial. I have not denied that I gave him authority to make such an apology. I dont know that I have said I gave him no authority. I will not swear that I never did say so. I have said I left it all to my attorney and Mr. Cockburn to settle it without any instructions on my part. I dont know that the first action was settled on the terms of my paying 30 extra costs; I was never aware that I had to pay it as I never saw Mr. Lavers bill of costs, (the costs on both sides in the first action it appeared, amounted to 278 8s.). Mr. Stogdon then continued the examination as to the second action, which was tried at the last Assizes. This was brought for again uttering the slanderous words, imputing an abominable crime to Mr. Lane. It was said in the presence of three witnesses. The bankrupt now said that he was so drunk and excited at the time, that he had not the slightest recollection of ever having uttered them. Mr. Stogdon then handed some written papers to bankrupt, and asked him if that was not a form of apology for the bankrupt to sign, andalso copies of some letters to be addressed by him to the witnesses, on signing which Mr. Lane would be content to forego his action.
          Bankrupt (after reading the letters) – Yes, that is the nature of it. I did not consent to do so, I told Mr. Weymouth that I would rather submit to have my right hand cut off than sign the paper. I said so because I had heard that Mr. Lane had declared that he would never permit me to live in Kingsbridge, and that he would ruin me. I did not give up my business because I expected a verdict against me. I am aware that my uncle in his will desires that I should not be called upon by his execuitors for payment of the debt due to him until twelvemonths had expried from the period of his decease. He had been dead about twelve months –, no, it can't be, it can't be more than nine months. The goods were sold becauise the executors demanded the money; on my oath they were not sold because I thought the verdict would be against me. . . .
          Mr. STOGDON – When was it you conveyed away the house? – I think it was in February.
          Who prepared the conveyance? – Mr. Weymouth.
          Why he was the solicitor for Adams, the mortgagee and purchaser? – Yes, and he was my solicitor in business of that nature. It was about the middle of February the conveyance was made.
          How much did you sell it for? – For the mortgage exactly.
          So you sold property for 1,800, for which you had given 2,500, and expended 500 more? – I bought it very dear, gave hundreds too much for it.
          Who paid for the writings? – Adams, I never paid for them.
          Was it not agreed that Adams should pay nothing? – No, sir.
          Was there not an agreement that Adams should give back possession to you again? – No, sir. . . .
          Had you not made up your mind to get rid of every stick of property which you possessed in the world, rather than pay any damages? – Yes. I was obliged to.
          His HONOUR – This was before the verdict was obtained against you. Now had you made up your mind to get rid of all your property rather than pay any damages? – I wished to pay everybody. . . . (Western Times)
[The examination continues concerning his furniture, coaches, wine in store, his book debts, etc., and it was suggested he had arranged for a friend to buy his property at a low price at auction.]

Saturday 27 June 1846

[Continuing report on the bankruptcy of Robert Foale.] Re ROBT. FOALE late of Kingsbridge, Innkeeper. The Court was this day occupied from 12 until half past 4, int he examination of witnesses, as to the circumstances attending the disposal of the property of the bankrupt, prior to the action which was brought against him at the late assizes. . . . [Very long and complicated examination. The judge ordered payment of debts from the estate.]
          The bankrupt was not present, and on that account his Honour said he should not renew his protection.
          Mr. TURNER said that was but of little consequence, as he foresaw that he would be ultimately obliged to go to prison, and take the benefit of the Insolvent Act, by which he would obtain personal protection, although he might not obtain his certificate. (Western Times)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "A Bankruptcy, 1846", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 17 April 2017 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1846bank.htm>.

Return to Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England