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evidently in London, is interesting, as it shows the commencement of the £1 issue. It is dated February 6th, 1758:
I was desired [by the other members of the firm at their annual meeting] to send you the enclosed to have a plate cut for twenty shilling notes, one pound in the body of the note, and the twenty shillings at the bottom are both intended to be in the like hand that the sum is wrote in in the notes of the Bank of England, and a scrawl in the left hand. You will hear of the man who cut the plate for the other notes at Vere's, he lives in Wine License Court in Fleet Street, it wo'd be well you co'd bring it down with you, if you give the engraver a short day he will oblige you, if you indulge him, he will not be punctual, you must also provide a large quantity of a strong tough paper for these notes.
I have a copy of a note, which is doubtless from the plate referred to, as it is dated in the following month, and bears ont the instructions given. It was probably the first one pound note issued in the provinces.
The old banks in their early days were subject to the forgery of their notes. Perhaps the earliest and most interesting instance occurs in 1765. Amongst the Carr papers still exists the following letter:
Edinburgh, November 21st, 1765. Dear Sir,— Mr. Cookson and I are called to this place on account of our having last week discovered a forgery of two of our five pound bank notes, and being informed that your bank as well as the Royal and British Linen Comp's. are in the same situation, we wou'd request your informing me if you have got already any lights and what they are in this dark affair-how many notes you have detected, and whether you think it proper to pay them-it is thought here that the whole forgerys have been done in Ireland—if you have the names and descriptions of any of the accomplices please to fav' us with them directly to the care of John Forrest, Esq.
We are now able to throw the light upon these forgeries that Mr. Carr so longed for when in Edinburgh. The forger was really a Newcastle man, and no less a personage than the principal engrarer in the town, Thomas Jameson. A newspaper of the day says :
Last Monday was committed to Newgate Thomas Jameson, an engraver in this town, who had a few days before been apprehended at Edinburgh, charged with counterfeiting about a dozen of five pound notes of the Newcastle Bank. But we hear the greater part of them are come in, and have been paid, so that 'tis hoped a total stop is put to this pernicious fraud.
It was shown that a woman, named Jean Grey, had been detected in uttering a forged note of the Newcastle bank, value £5. Upon her examination, she accused Jameson, an engraver, with whom she
FORGERIES OF THOMAS JAMESON.
lived, as the person from whom she got it, and said that she had seen him engrave and fill up notes, of which she made oath of the truth and signed her examination before a magistrate. Upon this evidence Jameson was committed to the assizes. By the time the trial came on there, Grey had relented. She knew that her evidence must convict her lover, and that his punishment would be death. She therefore boldly denied what she previously made oath of, upon which the judge ordered an indictment to be drawn for perjury with intent to take away the life of a man who had been tried and found innocent. She was tried in an hour, found guilty, sentenced to be pilloried and transported seven years. On August 2, 1766, a temporary pillory was erected upon the Sandhill, Newcastle, and Jean Grey for the crime of perjury was exalted and stood therein one hour at midday, as an example of public shame, in the presence of many thousands of spectators who behaved towards her with great decency and humanity. Grey lived in the High Bridge, and was famous for making excellent mutton pies, to which she returned at the expiration of her banishment, and resumed the making of pies, for which she had a greater demand than before.
It would appear that Jameson resumed his business, as in the Newcastle Directory for 1788, under · Engravers' we have Beilby and Bewick, south side of St. Nicholas's churchyard ; Thomas Jameson, ditto. But in one of the lives of Bewick it is stated that Jameson's business fell off, which brought the other firm very rapidly to the front.
Another forgery was committed upon the bank in 1799, which might have proved of very great inconvenience, had it not been nipped in the bud by the prompt and energetic action of Mr. Boyd. He has left a most graphic account of the chase and capture of the forger, which I copy from the MS. in his own writing:
ACCOUNT OF LOUGH THE FORGER.
On Wednesday the 23rd of October, 1799, between the hours of 10 and 11 in the forenoon, a decent, well-dressed young man entered the Newcastle Bank and presented nine twenty shilling notes to Mr. Geo. Gibson, the cashier. On looking them over he immediately knew eight of them to be forged, and carried them into the inner room to Mr. Wilkinson, one of the partners, who called Mr. Marshall and myself into the room where he was, and informed us of the circumstance. The person who presented them was then called for. On enquiring where he had got the notes then lying on Mr. Wilkinson's desk, he answered he could not tell of whom he had received them, and on further enquiry said his name was Lough, that he travelled for the house of Messrs. Cooperthwaite & Co., of London, and that at present he was upon his round, that he received the notes
in question in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, and that having offered them with others at the house of Messrs. Toritus in Carlisle for the purpose of procuring a bill upon London to remit to his employers, Toritus told him that eight of the notes were forged, and that they could not take them, upon which he took a seat in the diligence and came to Newcastle to get value for them. Mr. Wilkinson informed him that he would not give cash for them, but desired him to call in a short time, and that he should have a final answer. Lough asked in how short a time, Mr. Wilkinson answered at any time before 3 o'clock in the afternoon at which time the bank closed. Three o'clock arrived, but Lough returned not. He was of course strongly suspected as being concerned in the forgery, and enquiry having been made for him at Sunderland's Inn where the Carlisle coach comes to, it was found he had not been there since the morning, and bad left his bill unpaid, it was then determined that some person should be sent in pursuit of him, and as it was suspected that he had taken the Carlisle road wh he had come the day before, after procuring a warrant to apprehend him I set off about six o'clock in a post chaise with Manners the county bailiff for the purpose of pursuing him. We made several enquiries on the road, but got no intelligence till we arrived at Heddon-on-the-Wall, when describing his dress and person to a woman who lives in a public house in that village she thought she remembered to have seen a person answering the description pass her house in the forenoon of that day. We then proceeded to Harlow Hill where we found that Lough had dined, and not being able to procure a post chaise had proceeded to Hexham on foot. We then resumed our journey, and arrived at Hexham at ten in the evening. On enquiring for Lough we found he had been there some time ago, and that he had enquired for a post chaise to take him forward towards Carlisle, but not being able to procure one he hired a horse to carry him to Glenwhelt. We found from the landlady of the Golden Lion at Hexham that he had lived there from the Friday preceding till the Tuesday, when he went in the diligence to Newcastle, and that before he had set off for Glenwhelt he had packed up a trunk and parcel, and had given them to the Alston carrier. We found the carrier in bed, and told him we had a warrant to apprehend the person who had left with him the trunk and parcel, and that he must deliver them to us. After some hesitation he complied, and we found them directed to 'Richard Thompson, Milmerby, to be left at Alston till called for, carriage paid.' These we committed to the charge of Mrs. Hutchinson at the Golden Lion till we returned. On enquiring of her whether Thompson (for he went by that name in Hexham) had discharged his bill, she said he had, and that he behaved very decently whilst in her house, but they wondered very much what his business could be, as he never stirred out of the house, and did not seem to be acquainted with any person ; she said he paid his bill on Tuesday when he set out for Newcastle with a Scotch note, but that this afternoon he had given her a 20s. Newcastle note. I immediately requested to see this last note; Mrs. H. said she had it not, for not having silver sufficient to change it she had sent it to a neighbour for that purpose. The person was then sent to who returned the note by a servant of the inn, and I found it to be a forged note. We immediately proceeded in a chaise with four horses to Glenwhelt; the keeper of the turnpike gate remembered to have seen a man answering Lough's description pass through the gate on a brown horse and enquiring the road to Glenwhelt. At Haydon
Bridge he had passed unobserved ; at Haltwhistle the landlord of the inn informed us that a person such as we described had called there on the preceding evening (it being now the morning of the 24th October) and had got a glass of spirit without alighting and enquired how far it was to Glenwhelt. To this place we proceeded, and learnt from the servant of the inn that the person we w in quest of was in the house and in bed. We ordered the landlord to be called, and on being made acquainted with our business readily granted us his assist
We now proceeded to the bed room where Lough slept, and having entered the room found the object of our search. The bailiff immediately arrested him, his clothes being searched we found a red morocco pocket book and a parcel resembling a half bound octavo book wrapped in a handbill, and tied with a piece of string, the pocket book contained a variety of memorandums and a letter to Mr. Blair, White Lion Inn, Carlisle. On opening the parcel it was found to contain the engraved plate from which the notes had been struck, and about 200 notes ready for filling up (on being counted the parcel contained 196 notes). During our stay at Glenwhelt Lough avoided all conversation, and only gave evasive answers to all the questions put to him during our journey to Newcastle, where we arrived at one o'clock, p.m. On searching Lough's trunk 16 notes filled up and ready for circulating were found in a small book of the roads with the following letters on its back-R. L., 1799. After being examined by the magistrates he was fully committed to take his trial at the next assizes. Lough remained about three months in gaol, and contrived with three other prisoners to make a hole in the wall of the prison through which he and two others escaped. Lough's chains were found in the plantation at Fenham; he proceeded to Liverpool, took shipping for America, and was never after heard of.
W. BOYD. A local paper tells how Lough and two other prisoners effected their escape : ‘Wrenching a bar from the inside of the chimney of their cell, they forced their way up the chimney to the roof of the prison, whence, cutting their bed-clothes and knotting the pieces together which they tied to a sun-dial on the roof, they descended to the field adjoining Gallowgate. Another man attempted to escape at the same time, but being rather corpulent, he stuck fast in the chimney and could neither get out or back again till he was assisted down by the keeper.' Two of the men were recaptured, but Lough escaped.
From time to time various interesting advertisements appear regarding the loss of the notes of this bank.
January 22, 1757. A promissory note, No. 680, dated the 16th February, 1756, for £40 payable to Thomas Aubone or bearer, and issued by Matthew Bell, Esq., and Company, is lost, and a reward of five guineas offered for its recovery.
March 6, 1756. Lost, “an old bank note for £100. As it is not yet restored, though ten guineas' reward has been offered, it's probable the person who found it is resolved to keep it. That such dishonesty may be brought to light 'tis earnestly entreated that such as are possessed of an old hundred pounds note will send them to the bank office, where they will get other notes or money to the value, or if that be inconvenient, they will please to acquaint Mr. James Spencer, Secretary to the bank, of their names or places of abode, and the number and date of the notes they have.' Another announcement records the loss of a £20, 'late in the possession of William Smith, surgeon,' the owner does not know the number but offers a reward of five guineas to anyone who has lately paid him a £20, and can give such particulars as will lead to finding the number of the lost note—information to be given to Mr. Henry Aiskell, attorney, in the Middle street.
These early notes were all issued in the name of the first holder or bearer, and were afterwards freely circulated.
One of the firm, Mr. William Boyd, took a great interest in the various methods used to prevent forgery. A letter from him to Mr. Barnes dated May 10, 1822, has a long account regarding forged notes and paper and says, “Mr. Bewick spent all one afternoon examining some paper you sent,' and adds, our notes have not been forged for twenty years,' and lays claim to general good workmanship and certain red flourishes which are very difficult to imitate.