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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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Published in
Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, June 26, 1860.
Republican Journal [Belfast, ME] September 28, 1860.

This is a heavily edited excerpt from “Two Chapters on Bank Note Forgeries,” published Household Words, Sept 7, 1850.

 
From Household Words
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“Old Patch” the Famous Forger
  ingenuity of the officer. In whatever way the notes came, the train of discovery always paused at the lottery offices. Advertisements, offering large rewards were circulated; but the unknown forger baffled detection.

While this base paper was in full currency, there appeared an advertisement in the Daily Advertiser for a servant. A young man, who had been in the employment of a musical instrument maker, wrote an answer to it. The next day he was called upon by a coachman, and informed that the advertiser was waiting in a coach to see him. The young man was desired to enter the conveyance, where he beheld a person with something of the appearances of a foreigner, sixty or seventy years old, apparently troubled with the gout. A camlet surtout was buttoned round his person, and even over his mouth; a large patch was placed over his left eye; and nearly every part of his face was concealed. He affected much infirmity. He had a faint hectic cough; and . . .

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    In 1789, so considerable was the circulation of spurious paper money, that it appeared as if come unknown power had set up a bank of its own.  False notes were issued, and really passed current, in hundreds and thousands. These were not to be distinguished from the genuine paper of Threadneedle Street. Indeed, when one was presented there, in due course, so complete were all its parts; so masterly the engraving; so correct the signatures; so skillful the watermark, that it was promptly paid. From that period forged paper continued to be presented, especially at the time of lottery drawing. Consultations were held with the police. Plans were laid to help detection.— Every effort was made to trace the forger. Clarke, the best detective of his day, went, like a sleuthhound, on the track; for in those days “blood money” rewarded success. Up to a certain point there was little difficulty; but beyond that, consummate art defied the    

 

 


 

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