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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS subjected, and specimens of the
INQUIRING proposed originals and of the imi
tations executed by order of the Bank. They also laid before us
about seventy varieties of paper To his Royal Highness George made at their manufactory in ex. Prince of Wales, Regent of the periments for its improvement, in United Kingdom of Great Bri
which almost every alteration retain and Ireland.
commended for adoption had been
tried, and, in some instances, anIn obedience to the directions ticipated by their own manufaccontained in his majesty's com- turer. mission, we proceeded, in the We have also received and latter end of the month of July answered communications from Jast, to consider the important about seventy individuals, which subject referred to us.
have been arranged and consi. Our attention was first directed dered; and in some cases, a perto the proposals for improvement sonal interview has been requestin the form of the notes issued ed, and held. Several of these by the Bank of England; and it persons had been previously in being known that many plans had communication with the Bank; been submitted to that body and we find that in the instance which they had not thought it of some projects of superior proexpedient to adopt, we felt it mise, the directors had furnished proper, in the first instance, to to the proposers the pecuniary obtain correct information upon means of carrying their ideas into this point; and we therefore re- effect. We have likewise sought quested the court of directors to and obtained information as to furnish us with an account of the state of the paper currency such plans. They did accordingly in other countries ; but this has furnish us, without delay, with a proved of very little importance, detailed account of 108 projects, with reference to the object of regularly classed and arranged; our present inquiry. From Ame. together with the correspondence rica, which affords the closest parespecting them, a statement of rallel to the state of England in the trials to which they had been this particular, no official return
has yet been received, but we could have been adopted with have reason to think that in se- such a prospect of solid advanveral parts of the United States, tage to the public, as would comthe crime of forgery is prevalent, pensate the evils necessarily atand that great efforts are now
tendant upon a change. making to give to the notes such The invention to which we a character
as may baffle the skill refer in the latter part of this reof the American forger. Speci- port, and on which our attention mens of these improved notes is now principally engaged, was have been communicated to us laid before the directors a short by the agent of the American time previous to the issuing of patentee, and have received our his majesty's commission, and so particular attention with regard far entertained by them, that they to the practicability of adopting advanced a large sum of money the invention, in whole or in to the author. The chief merit part, so as to present a barrier to of this invention consisting in the the art and skill of the forger in extreme accuracy of the machithis country
nery requisite; time and appliUpon the general subject of cation are necessary to bring it the extent of forgery, we do not to such a state of perfection as think it necessary to recapitulate appears likely to answer the purstatements which are already be- pose desired. fore parliament and the public. Upon the latter of the two It appeared to us however proper points above referred to, we have to obtain more particular infor- received from the chief inspector mation as to the course which has and chief investigator at the Bank, been hitherto pursued by the and also from the solicitor, acBank, both with respect to the counts of the course pursued in prevention and with respect to their respective departments. For the detection and punishment of which purpose, we requested the the crime. Upon the former of personal attendance of each of these points, we have received those officers, and entered into from the directors, in addition to such an examination of them, as the account before alluded to, appeared to us to be calculated to clear and circumstantial details. produce the necessary informaAnd it is but common justice to tion. We have also been furnished those gentlemen to state, that in by the Bank with the means of every instance our inquiries have judging of the actual state of forbeen met by them in the most gery, and of that degree of skill prompt and satisfactory manner, which appears sufficient to deand every sort of useful informa- ceive the public, by the examition readily furnished. We feel nation of forged notes of various it also proper to add our opinion, kinds; and even of the tools and formed after examination instruments used by one forger, of all the projects, which have which were taken upon him. been formerly submitted to the Whilst it is painful to observe Bank for a change in the form of the degree of talent thus per, their notes, that no one of these verted, it is at the same time to
be remarked, that in many in- verse of this we believe to be the stances the public suffer them- fact; and from the information selves to be deceived by very before us, we feel ourselves warmiserable imitations; and it is to ranted in stating our opinion, be feared that a similar careless- that the great quantity of forged ness would very much lessen the small notes which have lately good effects to be derived from been found in circulation, have the employment of superior skill all issued from a very few plates and workmanship in the formation only; and that the fabrication of of a new note. Another fact ap- them is chiefly confined to 'one pears proper to be noticed here, particular part of the country, as forming an important ingre- and carried on by men of skill dient in the consideration of any and experience, and possessed of proposed plan. The issue of small a very considerable command of notes by the bank is necessarily capital. Upon a cursory observery uncertain and irregular in vation, it appeared remarkable its amount. We find, that to that wbilst so many utterers are keep up the usual supply, not constantly brought to justice, the less than fifty plates are requisite; actual forger should very rarely and it is considered proper to indeed be detected. But further have a much larger number in a investigation has led us to think, state of preparation. And as it that this fact may be accounted is obviously necessary to preserve, for; and without entering into as much as possible, identity in details, which upon this point it the notes, this circumstance is better to avoid, we think that alone precludes the application it results naturally from the lafor this purpose of many inge- mentable perfection of system to nious plans, even if there did not which this fraudulent traffic has exist other insuperable objections been brought; and we have seen to them.
no reason to doubt that the direcResulting from the above state- tors of the Bank and their offiments and examinations, some cers have used every exertion in general observations have oc- their power to bring the actual curred to us, which appear proper forgers to justice, though unfor. to be introduced in this stage of tunately without success, except the Report.
in very few instances. We cannot It has been very commonly refrain however from adding to this imagined, that, in consequence statement, our opinion, that there of the simplicity of execution in must be some culpable remissness the present bank notes, the actual in the local police of those disforgery of them was very gene
tricts within which the actual rally and extensively practised, fabricators of bank notes are and that often by persons without more than suspected to reside, money or talent; and this idea and to carry on their trade with has formed the basis of much of impunity. And before we quit the reasoning used by many of this part of the subject, we wish the projectors, whose plans have to suggest for the consideration been under our view. The re- of those, by whose judgment such a question may be properly de. to us. Our object has been to cided, whether it might not be select some plan, of which the expedient to offer a very large process, when the principles of reward for the apprehension and it are understood and the maconviction of a person actually chinery and implements provided, engaged in forging bank notes. should be simple enough to be We are aware of the objections applied without interruption to which exist against the system of the extended operations of the pecuniary rewards, and are fully Bank; and should at the same impressed with a sense of the time comprise so much of supeevils that may arise from a too rior art, as may oppose the greatgeneral adoption of it. But the est possible difficulties to the atcircumstances under which the tempts of the forger, and may crime of forgery exists in this present such points of accuracy country are peculiar; and it ap- and excellence in workmanship pears to us hardly possible that to the eye of any individual using those evils which might be anti- ordinary caution, as shall enable cipated from the offer of a reward him to detect a fraud by observin the case of some other crimes, ing the absence of those points in could follow from such an offer a fabricated note. In the mass in this case; and knowing how of the schemes before us, there many individuals must be saved are, of course, very various defrom punishment by the convic- grees of merit; and we endeation of one actual forger, we ven- voured to class them as well as ture to recommend the adoption circumstances would permit. of this measure, to be concurrent from a very large portion of with such an improvement in the them it was obvious, upon a form of the note as we hope to first inspection, that no beneficial see effected.
result could be expected. Of Having been furnished with the whole number, we find about such information as was within twelve of superior skill and ingeour reach relative to the subject nuity, but anticipated by others of our inquiry, we in the next of higher merit; or merely ingeplace proceeded to examine more nious, but inapplicable in pracin detail the several projects sub- tice. And we consider nine others mitted to us. In pursuing this to be either of such originality or examination, we have not in- ingenious combination of existing dulged the vain expectation of means as to have required our finding any plan for a Bank-note more particular attention; and which shall not be imitable by the with respect to these, much conskill of English artists, and we sideration has been had, and in have considered that it would be some instances, improvements utterly unsafe to rely for security and experiments suggested and against forgery, upon the employ- tried. ment of any process the chief We have not considered as merit of which was to consist in decisive against the merit of any its being kept secret; of which particular plan, the single fact, several have been communicated that it may be imitated by supe