« AnteriorContinuar »
the Directors had furnished to the feel it also proper to add our opinion, proposers the pecuniary means of formed after an examination of all carrying their ideas into effect. We the projects which have been forhave likewise sought and obtained merly submitted to the Bank for a information as to the state of paper change in the form of their notes, currency in other countries; but this that no one of these could have been has proved of very little importance, adopted with such a prospect of with reference to the object of our solid advantage to the public, as present inquiry. From America, would compensate the evils neceswhich affords the closest parallel to sarily attendant upon a change. the state of England in this particu. The invention to which we refer lar, no official return has yet been in the latter part of this report, and received; but we have reason to on which our attention is now printhink, that in several parts of the cipally engaged, was laid before the United States, the crime of forgery Directors a short time previous to is prevalent, and that great efforts the issuing of his Majesty's commisare now making to give to the notes sion, and so far entertained by them, such a character as may baffle the that they advanced a large sum of skill of the American forger. Spe- money to the author. The chief cimens of these improved notes have nerit of this invention consisting in been communicated to us by the the extreme accuracy of the machi. agent of the American patentee, and nery requisite, time and application have received our particular atten. are necessary to bring it to such a tion with regard to the practicability state of perfection as appears likely of adopting the invention, in whole to answer the purpose desired. or in part, so as to present a barrier Upon the latter of the two points to the art and skill of the forger in above referred to, we have received this country.
from the chief inspector and chief Upon the general subject of the investigator at the Bank, and also extent of forgery, we do not think from the solicitor, accounts of the it necessary to recapitulate state- course pursued in their respective ments which are already before Par- departments. For which purpose, liament and the public. It appear. werequested the personal attendance ed to us, however, proper to obtain of each of those officers, and entermore particular information as to ed into such an examination of them the course which has been hitherto
as appeared to us to be calculated to pursued by the Bank, both with re- produce the necessary information. spect to the prevention, and with We have also been furnished by the respect to the detection and punish- Bank with the means of judging of ment of the crime. Upon the for- the actual state of forgery, and of mer of these points, we have receiv. the degree of skill which appears
sufed from the Directors, in addition to ficient to deceive the public, by the the account before alluded to, clear examination of forged notes of vaand circumstantial details; and it is rious kinds; and even of the tools but common justice to those gertle- and instruments used by one forger, men to state, that in every instance which were taken upon him. our inquiries have been met by them Whilst it is painful to observe the in the most prompt and satisfactory degree of talent thus perverted, it is manner, and every sort of useful in- at the same time to be remarked, formation readily furnished. We that in many instances the public suffer themselves to be deceived by is chiefly confined to one particular very miserable imitations; and it is part of the country, and carried on to be feared that a similar careless- by men of skill and experience, and ness would very much lessen the possessed of a very considerable good effects to be derived from the command of capital. Upon a cur. employment of superior skill and sory observation, it appeared reworkmanship in the formation of a markable, that while so many utnew note. Another fact appears terers are constantly brought to jusproper to be noticed here, as forming tice, the actual forger should very an important ingredient in the con- rarely, indeed, be detected. But sideration of any proposed plan. further investigation has led us to The issue of small notes by the think, that this
fact may be accountBank is necessarily very uncertained for; and without entering into and irregular in its amount. We details, which upon this point it is find, that to keep up the usual sup- better to avoid, we think that it reply, not less than fifty plates are sults naturally from the lamentable requisite ; and it is considered pro. perfection of system to which this per to have a much larger number fraudulent trafic has been brought; in a state of preparation. And as and we have seen no reason to doubt it is obviously necessary to preserve, that the Directors of the Bank, and as much as possible, identity in the their officers, have used every exernotes, this circumstance alone pre- tion in their power to bring the accludes the application, for this pur tual forgers to justice, though unforpose, of many ingenious plans, even tunately without success, except in if there did not exist other insuper- very few instances. We cannot reable objections to them.
frain, however, from adding to this Resulting from the above state- statement our opinion, that there ments and examinations, some ge- must be some culpable remissness in neral observations have occurred to the local police of those districts us, which appear proper to be intro- within which the actual fabricators duced in this stage of the report. of Bank-notes are more than sus
It has been very commonly ima- pected to reside, and to carry on gined, that, in consequence of the their trade with impunity. And besimplicity of execution in the pre- fore we quit this part of the subsent Bank-notes, the actual forgery ject, we wish to suggest, for the conof them was very generally and ex. sideration of those by whose judg. tensively practised, and that often ment such a question may be pro. by persons without money or talent; perly decided, whether it might not and this idea has formed the basis of be expedient to offer a very large much of the reasoning used by many reward for the apprehension and of the projectors, whose plans have conviction of a person actually enbeen under our view. The reverse gaged in forging Bank.notes. We of this we believe to be the fact: and are aware of the objections which from the information before us, we exist against the system of pecufeel ourselves warranted in stating niary rewards, and are fully impressour opinion, that the great quantity ed with a sense of the evils that may of forged small notes which have arise from a too general adoption of lately been found in circulation, have it; but the circumstances under all issued from a very few plates on which the crime of forgery exists in ly; and that the fabrication of them this country are peculiar; and it apo
pears to us hardly possible that grees of merit ; and we endeavoured those evils, which might be antici- io class them as well as circumstanpated from the offer of a reward in ces would permit.
From a very the case of some other crimes, could large portion of them it was obvious, follow from such an offer in this upon a first inspection, that no benecase; and knowing how many indi- ficial result could be expected. Of viduals must be saved from punish- the whole number we find about ment by the conviction of one actual twelve of superior skill and ingeforger, we venture to recommend nuity, but anticipated by others of the adoption of this measure, to be higher merit; or merely ingenious, concurrent with such an improve. but inapplicable in practice. And ment in the form of the note as we we consider nine others to be either hope to see effected.
of such originality or ingenious comHaving been furnished with such bination of existing means, as to information as was within our reach, have required our more particular relative to the subject of our inquiry, attention; and with respect to these we, in the next place, proceeded to much consideration has been had, examine more in detail the several and, in some instances, improveprojects submitted to us. In pur- ments and experiments suggested suing this examination, we have not and tried. indulged the vain expectation of We have not considered, as definding any plan for å bank note cisive against the merit of any par. which shall not be imitable by the ticular plan, the single fact, that it skill of English artists; and we have may be imitated by superior art and considered that it would be utterly expensive means : but when we have unsafe to rely for security against found, in the case of specimens subforgery upon the employment of any mitted to us, apparently of great process, the chief merit of which was excellence, and the result of a comto consist in its being kept secret; bination of talent or machinery, that of which several have been com- a very good imitation has been promunicated to us. Our object has duced in a very short time, without been to select some plan, of which the any peculiar expense, and by the approcess, when the principles of it are plication of means only which are understood, and the machinery and within the reach of very many arimplements provided, should be tists and engravers in England ; and simple enough to be applied without when we reflect, to how very few interruption to the extended opera. hands the business of forgery appears tions of the Bank; and should, at to be at present confined, we cannot the same time, comprise so much of doubt that in the event of bank notes superior art, as may oppose the being formed from any of such spegreatest possible difficulties to the cimens, an equal number at least of attempts of the forger, and may pre- persons would very soon indeed be sent such points of accuracy and ex- found capable of fabricating those cellence in workmanship to the eye notes to a considerable extent, and of any individual using ordinary cau- with a degree of skill quite sufficient tion, as shall enable him to detect to deceive the public. Another cona fraud by observing the absence of sideration has also had weight in inthose points in a fabricated note. In ducing us to hesitate much, before the mass of the schemes before us, we venture to recommend any spethere are of course very various de- cific plan. The adoption of any
new form of note presenting pe. of the paper, of great excellence in culiar and characteristic marks, but the workmanship, and of a very pethe imitation of which we could not culiar invention, and difficult maconfidently feel to be extremely dif- chinery in the art of printing. ficult, would not only not do good, confidently hope, that no long time but would produce much evil; and will elapse before we are enabled to would induce a false security, by ac- lay before your Royal Highness that customing the public to rely upon result: and we have every reason to the appearance of such marks and know, that the Bank Directors are peculiar character, rather than upon sincerely anxious to adopt any plan, à cautious and general observation which shall be found, after patient of the whole note.
examination, to be worthy of adopOur remarks, however, as to imi. tion. In the mean time, we have tation, do not apply to all the spe- thought it right not to delay informcimens which have been offered to us. ing your Royal Highness of the There are a few of singular and su- course of our proceedings. The inperior merit produced by means vestigation in which we have been which it is very improbable should engaged, has strengthened, rather ever come within the reach of any than removed, our feeling of the difsingle forger, and the imitation of ficulties with which the whole subwhich, except by those means, ap. ject is surrounded. We do not wish pears in a high degree difficult. to represent those difficulties as pre
Safety, or rather comparative safe- cluding the propriety of an attempt ty, is to be sought, to a certain ex- to remove the existing evils, by a tent, in a combination of excellence change in the form of the notes isin various particulars; but chiefly, sued by the Bank of England; but as we conceive, in the application of we do feel them to be such, as a principle beyond the reach of the make it imperative upon those with art of the copperplate engraver, whom the responsibility rests, to be which in its different processes is pos- fully satisfied that they shall produce sessed of the most formidable power an improvement, before they venture of imitation. One plan, before allud. to effect a change. ed to as apparently affording this ad- All which is humbly submitted to vantage, has been with the most li- your Royal Highness's consideration beral assistance from the Bank, for and judgment. some time past in a course of trial
Jos. BANKS, for its greater perfection, and with a
WM. CONGREVE, view to combination with other im
Wm. COURTENAY, provements, satisfactory experiments
Davies GILBERT, of which have already been effected.
JER. HARMAN, The result, if our expectations be
WM. H. WOLLASTON, not disappointed, will afford a speci
CHARLES HATCHETT. men of great ingenuity in the fabric
OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE POOR LAWS FOR 1819.
The Report, after stating what expense incurred in each year for had been already done on the re. the support of the poor within such commendation of the Committee in subdivision, and return the same to the last session, thus proceeds :-: the clerk of the peace of the county
Other enactments of minor im- at the next ensuing Quarter Sessions, portance will be found in the act of who should be required to publish this session, which it is unnecessary such abstracts from all the subdihere to detail : but in addition to visions of the county annually, tothese, there are some expedients gether with the amount of charge of which your Committee are enabled each subdivision in the preceding to recommend; and which either do year, so as to afford a comparative not absolutely require, or do not view of the diminution or increase perhaps admit of any legislative in- of each respectively; and should junction : such as establishing a pre- make an annual return of the aggrescribed form for keeping parochial gate expense of each county to the accounts, and giving to them perio. Secretary of State for the Home Dedical publicity; by which the amount partment, for the purpose of bringof expenditure will be seen under ing the same under the view of Parits proper head, and any illegal or liament. unnecessary disbursements will be In order to prevent litigation in brought to light and corrected. case of removal, a practice has been Printing and distributing still more in some instances adopted by Mafrequently lists, which the vestry is gistrates of causing a communicanow bound by law to make out, of tion to be made personally, or by the names of those who at any time letter (which it would be extremely receive relief, and on what account, difficult to regulate by law,) to the is a practice which has prevailed parish to which the removal is prolately in many populous parishes, posed to be made, of the day in and with the best effect; and your which the adjudication of the settleCommittee, therefore, have added ment will take place; a fair hearing to this Report, an eligible form in of both parties commonly ensues, which these accounts and lists may and the expense of an appeal is frebe exhibited, in the hope that this quently prevented. practice may be very generally By such provisions, and more es. adopted, even without a compulsory pecially by the establishment of seenactment, to wbich, however, it lect vestries and assistant overseers, may yet be wise to resort; and fur• your Committee are sanguine in their ther, to direct that the clerk of each hopes, that the mischief resulting subdivision meeting of Magistrates from the reliance on parish support should form an abstract of the total may be in some degree palliated, and