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*« •was himself alone." He engraved his own plates, made his own paper with the water-marks, and, as much as possible, he was his own negociator. He thereby confined a secret to himself, which he deemed not safe in the breast of another; even Mrs. Price had not the least knowledge Or suspicion of his proceedings. Having practised engraving till he had made himself sufficient master of it, he then made his own ink to prove his own works. He next purchased implements, and manufactured the water-mark, and began to counterfeit hand-writings. Private attempts to discover him proved thoroughly abortive, and the bank came to the resolution of describing the offender by the following public advertisement, ■which was continued in all the newspapers for.a considerable time to no purpose. It is a very curious document, from the minuteness with which his disguise is particularized.
Public-office, Bow-street, Dec. 5, 1780.
Whereas a person, answering the follow:ng description, stands charged with forging two notes, purporting to be bank-notes, one for forty pounds and the other for twenty pounds, whoever will apprehend him, or give such immediate notice at this office as may be the means of apprehending him, shall receive one hundred pounds' reward on his commitment
Or, if any person concerned in the above forgery, (except the person herc-under described,) will surrender and discover his or her accomplices, he or she will be admitted an evidence for the crown, and, on conviction of any one offender therein, receive two hundred pounds' reward.
And if any engraver, paper-maker, mouldmaker or printer, can give infui rnation of the engraving any plate, making any mould or paper, or printing any note resembling banknotes, shall receive two hundred pounds' reward, on conviction of any of the offenders in the above forgery.
He appears about fifty years of age, about five feet six inches high, stout made, very sallow complexion, dark eyes and eye-brows, speaks in general very deliberately, with a foreign accent; has wom a black patch over his left eye, tied with a string round his head, sometimes wears a white wig, his hat flapped iefore, and nearly so at the sides, a brown camhlet great coat, buttons of the same, with a large cape, which he always wears so as to cover the lower part of his face; appears to have very thick legs, which hang over his shoes, as if swelled, his shoes are very broad
at the toes, and little narrow old-fashioned silver buckles, black stocking breeches, walks with a short crutch stick with an ivory head, stoops, or affects to stoop very much, and walks slow as if infirm; he has lately hired many hackney-coaches in different parts of the town, and been frequently set down in or near Portland-place, in which neighbourhood it is supposed he lodges.
He is connected with a woman who answers the following descrif tion :—She is rather tall, and genteel, thin face and person, about thirty years of age, light hair, rather a yellow cast on her IV e, and pitted with the small pox, * down-cast iook, speaks very slow, sometimes wears a coloured linen jacket and petticoat, and sometimes a while one, a small black bonnet, and a black cloak, and assumes the character of a lady's maid.
N. IS. It is said, that about fifteen months since he lodged at Mrs. Parker's, No. 40, in Great'fitchfield-street, (who is since dead,) at which time he went by the name of Wigmore.
This advertisement drove Price to extremities :—it forced him to refrain from the circulation of his forgeries, and for some months put a total stop to them. It was posted on the walls, and printed as hand-bills, and delivered from house to house throughout the whole of the quarter where he was most suspected to reside; at the very house which he daily resorted to, and where all his implements were fixed; in the neighbourhood of Marybone, Portland-place, Oxford-street, and Tottenham-court-toad. One of them was thrown down an area to the only person in whom he placed any confidence, a female whom the reader will be better acquainted with. By these mean:- Price was informed of his immediate danger, and took his measures accordingly. Eagerness to secure banished the foresight and caution which arc necessary in the pursuit of artful villany. The animal whose sagacity is a proverb, can never be secured in haste; he must be entrapped by superior patience and caution.
Though Price had no partner in any branch of the forgery of a bank-note, yet he had a confidante in his wife's aunt, by the mother's side, whom he had known previous to his marriage. Her name was Pounteney; and, uuknewr. to Mrs. Price, he was daily with her. He divided his dinner-times equally between the two, aud Mrs. Pi ice had for ten years' past, through the impositions of her husband, considered her aunt either as dead, or residing abroad. His wife had too little art, or understanding in the ways of the world, to be what is commonly called cunning. In short, her character was that of perfect simplicity. Price therefore thought her not fit to be trusted. Her aunt, on the contrary, was wily, crafty and capable of executing any plan Price would chalk out for her. She was a woman after his own heart; and having made choice of this woman as an assistant, and his apparatus being ready, he began bis operations. He lived then at Paddington with his wife, whom he went to nightly; and at lodgings, near Portland-place, he daily visited her aunt, wheie the implements for his undertakings were concealed. His next and chief object was a negotiator, and he procured one in the following manner.
Previous to the drawing of the lottery for the year 1780, Price put an advertisement into the " Daily Advertiser" for a servant who had been used to live with a single gentleman, and the direction was to " C. C. Marlborough-street coffeehouse, Broad-street, Carnaby-market." An honest young man, who at that time lived with a musical instrument-maker in the Strand, read this advertisement, and sent a letter to the specified address. At the end of a week, one evening, about Jusk, a coachman inquired for the person who had answered the advertisement, saying there was a gentleman over the way, in a coach, wanted to speak with him. The young man went to the coach, was desired to step in, and there saw an apparently aged foreigner, gouty, wrapped up with five or six yards of flannel about his legs, a camblet sin tout buttoned up over his chin, close to his mouth, a large patch over his left eye, and every part of his face concealed except his nose, right eye, and a small part of that cheek. This person was Price, who caused the young man to sit at his left side, on which eye the patch was; so that Price could take an askance look at him with his right eye, and discover only a small portion of his own face. Thus disguised, he seemed between sixty and seventy years of age, and afterwards, when the man saw him standing, he appeared nearly six feet high, owing to boots or shoes with heels little less than four inches high. To aid the deception, he was so buttoned up and straightened as to appear perfectly lank. Price's real height was about five feet six inches; he was a compact, neat made man, rather square shouldered, and somewhit inclined to corpulency; his legs
were firm and well set. His feature assisted his design to look ccmsiderabi? older than he really was; his no* was aquiline, his eyes were small as-: grey, his mouth stood very much inward*, his lips were very thin, his chin wipointed and prominent, he had a paicomplexion, and loss of teeth fuvouns: his disguise of speech. His natural fom. was exceedingly upright; he was aci'm and quick in Ins walk, and was what o usually described " a dapper made man' To the young man, whose christian tamt was Samuel, Price affected great age, wrr. a faint hectic cough, and so much bojjv infirmity as almost to disable him froa getting out of the coach. Price told him he was not wanted by himself, bat e under servant to a young nobleman or fortune, under age, and then in Bedfordshire, to whom he was, and had bees seme years, guardian. He inquired inte the particulars of Samuel's life, and thinking him honest and ingenuous, and therefore unsuspicious, and suitable to his purpose, he talked to him about wages. Samuel inquired whether he was to be tn livery or not: Price replied, that he could not really tell, for the young nobiemon was a very whimsical character, bot that was a circumstance which might be settled hereafter. To carry on the farce, he desired Samuel to call his master to the coach to give him a character, and hn master came and gave him such an one a Price pretended to approve; he then hired Samuel at eighteen shillings per week, and gave him a direction to himself, as Mr. Brank, at No. 39, TitchfieMstreet, Oxford-street.'
Pursuant to appointment, on the second or third evening afterwards, Samuel went to Titchfield-strect, and there entered on the service of the minor nobleman, by waiting on Mr. Brank. Price resumed his discourse respecting his ward, tie eccentricity and prodigality of his manners, and his own hard task in endeavouring to prevent him from squandering his money, especially in those deceitful allurances called lottery tickets. He said, although he was his guardian, he was still obliged to comply with some of those whims, in opposition to his own advice and remonstrance. Old Mr. Brank talked of the happy prospects for Samuel by serving such a master, and Samuel talked of his wages and clothes, and whether he was to be in livery or not It was concluded, that for the present be
should procure a drab coat, turned up with red, till the nobleman's pleasure was known, or he came to town: he was ordered to get the clothes at his own charge, and make out his bill; which he did, but was never repaid. This circumstance corresponded with Price's usual conduct: he never was known to part with a shilling from one hand, till lie had more than double its value in the other. It should be observed, that Samuel was so placed on the left side of the pretended Mr. Brank, on which side the patch was, that during the whole of the conversation he could never see the right side of Price's face.
Before Samuel took leave of the old gentleman, he was ordered to come again in the evening of the first day of the drawing of the lottery. Price pretended, that he seldom went to the nobleman's town house of an evening, and therefore, to avoid giving him unnecessary trouble, he was to attend in Titchfield-street. On that evening he pulled out a variety of papers, letters, &c., and told Samuel he had received orders from the thoughtless young nobleman to purchase lottery tickets, as a venture against his coming to town, and for that purpose he meant to employ Samuel. He produced some seeming bank-notes, and gave Samuel two, one of twenty pounds, the other of forty pounds. He directed him to take their numbers and dates on a piece of paper, for fear of losing them, and to go to a lottery office in the Hay-market, and with the one of twenty pounds to purchase "an eight guinea chance:" from thence he was to go to the corner of Bridge-street, Westminster, to buy another out of the forty pound note, and wait at the door of the Parliament-street coffee-house till he came to him. With these notes Samuel bought each of the chances, and was on his way to the Parliament-street coffee-house when, from the opposite side of the way, he was hailed by Mr Brank, who complimented him on his speed, and said he had been so quick, that he, Brank, had not had time to get to the coffee-house. He was then interrogated, if he had made the purchases, and, replying in the affirmative, tras again commended for his diligence: Brank also inquired, if any mistake had lappened; and all this with a deal of toughing imbecility of speech, and feigned .Kcent. When Samuel received the notes, he
received as many canvass bags as he was orderea to buy shares, and to put each distinct share, and the balance of eacn note, into a separate bag, for fear, as Brank said, the chance of one office might be confused with the chance of another and Samuel be thereby puzzled to know where he had bought the different chances; and by such confusion, or forgetfulness, it might not be recollected where to apply in case of a fortunate number.
Mr. Brank having secured the chances and balances, ordered Samuel to go to Goodluck's at Charing-cross, from thence to King-street, Covent-garden, and Yoikstreet, Covent-garden, and purchase some other small shares and chances, and then meet him at the city coffee-house, Cheapside. To these places the young man went, and having bought his numbers and changed his notes, as he was going along York-street, his master called to him from a coach, pretended he was fortunate in thus seeing him, made Samuel step in, got the produce of the forgery, and away they drove to the city.
In their way thither, Brank applauded his servant's despatch; gave him more notes, to the amount of four hundred pounds, with instructions to purchase shares and chances, at offices about the Exchange; and directed him, as before, to put the chances and money received at each office in a separate bag. For this purpose Samuel was set down from the coach in Cheapside, and having executed his commissions returned, agreeable to his orders, to the city coffee-house, where he waited a few minutes and then Mr. Brank came hobbling up to him, and took him into a coach, that was waiting hard by Brank resumed complaints of his health and infirmities, and observed, that the fatigues of business had kept him longer than he expected ; but he warned Samuel to be always exceedingly punctual. His reason forurging punctuality was the dread of a discovery, and to prevent consultations, by which he might be detected. On their way to Long-acre, where the coachman was ordered to drive, Brank amused his servant with flattering promises for his attention and fidelity; and at parting put a guinea into his hand, and gave him orders to be in waiting, for a few days, at his old master's in the Strand.
It afterwards appeared, that whenever Samuel went to an office a woman, unobserved by him, always walked in at the same time, and looked about her as 'I accompanying some one else in the shop; and as soon as Samuel bad done bis business she also walked away. This woman was Mrs. Pounteney, the aunt of Price's wife, described in the advertisement and hand-bill issued by the bank. She constantly accompanied Price in a coach whenever he went out, watched Samuel at everj office, as soon as he had safely got out stepped across the way to Price, who was in the coach, informed him of tie success, and then Samuel was hailed, ind Price secured the property while she Kept out of sight; nor did Samuel ever see her during his servitude. During his esidence at Titchfield-street, which was but a week, Price always appeared and went out as Brank, accompanied by Mrs. Pounteney. In case of any accidental discovery, she was ready to receive the disguise, so that Brank might be instantly shifted to Price, and Price to Brank, and Samuel thereby be rendered incapable of identifying the man that had employed him.
On the Sunday morning after Price's last adventure, a coachman inquired for Samuel at his old master's, by whom the coachman was informed, that though Sam worked he did not lodge there, and that he should not see him till the next morning. The coachman held a parcel in his 'land, which he said was .or Samuel, and which the master desired him to leave, and lie should have it the next day; the coachman replied, lie was ordered not to leave it, but to take it back in case he could riot see the man, and accordingly went across the way with it; there the master saw the elderly gentleman, with whom he had conversed on Samuel's character a few days before, to whom the coachman delivered the parcel. Samuel's master saw this old gentleman get into a coach; but in a minute the coachman returned and left the parcel, which contained notes to the amount of three hundred pounds, with a letter directing Samuel to buy, on the next morning, a sixteenth, an eight guinea chance, and a whole ticket, to repeat his purchases as before, till the whole were changed, and to meet his master, Mr. Brank, at Mill's coffee-house, Gerrard-street, Soho, at twelve o'clock the next day. Samuel duly executed these orders, but, on inquiry at the coffee-house, he found no such person as Mr. Brank had been there; in a few minutes, however, as he was standing at the coffee house door, a coachman
summoned him to Mr. Brank, who waiting in a coach at the corner of BdacclesBeld-street. He desired Samuel to come in, and made him sit on the left hand, as before described, and having received the tickets, shares, and balances, ordered him to bid the coachman drive towards Hampstead. On the way, he gave Samuel three sixteenths as a icv.ard for his diligence, and talked much ot his ward, who, he said, would be in town in a day or two, when he would speak highly of Samuel's industry. He discoursed on these subjects till they reached Mother Black-cap's at Kentish-town, and then Samuel received orders to bid the coachman turn round; and, on their way back, Samuel had notes for five hnj»dred pounds given to him, with directions to lay them out in the same manner about the 'Change, and meet his master at the same place in the evening, where he said he should dine; but, for reasons easily imagined, Samuel was ordered not to make his purchases at the offices he bad been to before.
Samuel, having performed this task abo, went to the coffee-house, where a porter accosted him, and conducted him to bis master in a coach as usual. He was now blamed for his delay, and an appearance of anger assumed, with a declaration, thai he would not do if not punctual, for that the nobleman was very particular in time, even to a minute. Samuel apologized, and Brank received the cash and «hares, and ordered him to go to the New Inn Westminster-bridge and hire a post-chaise to carry them to Greenwich to meet the nobleman's steward, who was also his banker, to whom he was going for money to purchase more tickets; observing, at the same time, on the imprudence and prodigality of his ward.
At Greenwich, Samnel was desired to go to the Ship and order a dinner, while Brank was engaged, as he pretended, in negociating his business; he instructed him not to wait longer than three o'clock, but go to dinner at that time, if he, Brank, did not return. It was not till half past four that Brank came hobbling, coughing, and seemingly quite out of breath with fatigue. They then drank tea together, and afterwards returned in the chaise to Lombard-street, where it was discharged. There Snm received more notes to the amount of 350?., which he got rid of in the usual way; and at the city coffeehouse was again fortunate enough to meet his master before he got to the door. Hi unk ordered him to attend the next evening at his lodgings, which he accordingly did, and afterwards at three or four other times, in the course of which attendance he negotiated 500/. more of the forged notes.
We now arrive at the close of Samuel's services. In negotiating the last sum he had received, he went to Brooksbank's and Ruddle's, where he was interrogated as to whom he lived with; Samuel said he was servant to a very rich nobleman's guardian, that he was at board-wages, and gave his address to his old master, the musical instrument-maker. Having delivered Brank the cash, &c. in the usual way, he was told, that perhaps he might not be wanted again for a week, and that he might wait till sent for. Before the expiration of that time, however, Samuel was apprehended, and taken to Bowstreet, where he was examined by the magistrates and gentlemen from the bank; and telling his artless tale, which was not believed, he was committed to Tothillfields-bridewell, on suspicion of forgery.
The surprise of the poor lad on his apprehension, his horror on being confined in a prison, and his dread of being executed as a forger of counterfeit banknotes, were only equalled by the astonishment of the directors of the bank and the magistrates, at the sagacity of the manufacturer, who had hitherto evaded every possibility of detection. Nor did they appear at all persuaded of Sam's innocence, though his story was, in part, confirmed by his former master, the musical instrument-maker. The forged note he had passed at Brooksbank's and Ruddle's, where he had been interrogated, was the means of his apprehension. In a day or two it was paid into the bank, traced back to Brooksbank's and Ruddle's office, and, immediate application being made to Bow-street, the lad was taken into custody.
Samuel's examinations were frequent and long, and in the end the following scheme was laid to secure the fabricator. Samuel having been ordered by Brank to stay till he was sent for, an inferior officer of Bow-street was stationed at the musical instrument-maker's in the Strand, where Samuel worked, in case Brank should call in the mean time. After the lapse of afew days, Price sent Samuel a message to meet him the next day at Mill's
coffee-house, exactly at eleven o'clock. This was communicated to Mr. Bond, a clerk at Bow-street office, who ordered Samuel to comply, but not to go till five minutes past the time. The above inferior officer attended at a distance, disguised as a porter, with a knot on his shoulder, and Bond, dressed as a "lady," followed at a small distance. When Samuel arrived at the coffee-house he found that a real porter had that instant been there and inquired for him, and could have been hardly got out of the door. This information Samuel directly communicated to the "lady," (Bond of Bow-street,) and Samuel was sent back to wait; but Brank, in a hackneycoach hard by, had discovered the momentary conversation between Samuel and the disguised officers, and took immediate flight. An instant rush was made at Titchfield-street, but in vain; Brank had not been there since Samuel and he had left it together, and the police were entirely at fault. The advertisements were again issued, and hand-bills were showered around to no purpose. Poor Samuel, however, having tolerably established his innocence, was, after suffering eleven months' imprisonment, discharged with a present of twenty pounds.
In the ensuing lottery, Price played the same artful game with notes of higher value; those of 20/. and 40/. were grown too suspicious, another lad had been taken into custody, another ruth made, and Price was missed again by a moment.
Price's next scheme was an advertisement for a person in the linen drapery business; and with notes of from 50/. to lOO/.two young men, his agents,purchased linen drapery at different shops. They were detected by having passed an 100/. note to Mr. Wollerton, a linen-draper in Oxford-street, who recovered the whole of his property through Bond the officer, by whom it was seized at No 3, on the Terrace, in Tottenliam-court-road.
To follow Price through all his proceedings would be impossible: in November 1782, Mr. Spilsbury of Sohosquare, the proprietor of some medicinal "drops," received a card bearing the name of Wilmott, which had been left by a person who had called at his house in his absence. The next evening the following note was delivered at Mr. Spilsbury's.