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Counterfeits

Last Monday se’nnight in the Evening, three Men went into the Indian Prince Tavern, and having call’d for some Liquor, one of them offer’d a new Twenty Shilling Bill to be chang’d for the Reckoning; Mr. R. Brockden, Master of the House, suspecting it to be a Counterfeit, went with it immediately to A. Hamilton, Esq; (under Pretence of going out to get Change) who caused them presently to be apprehended. Upon Examination, two of them appeared innocent, and were discharged; the third, who offer’d to pass the Bill, being ask’d how he came by it, answer’d that he brought Hogs to Town to sell, and had taken it of a Woman unknown in the Market: Upon searching him, two more of the same sort were found in his Pocket-book, all which he said he had taken for Pork. From the Indian Prince he was carried over to another Tavern, where he had put up his Horse, in order to see if he had any Bags wherein more Bills might be found: While the Examination was continuing there, a Woman Stranger in the outer Room was observed to appear somewhat concern’d; upon which she was call’d in, and ask’d, if she knew that Man: she answer’d Yes, he was her Brother; being ask’d if she had any Money about her, the Man was seen to wink at her, and she answer’d, No; but attempting to slide her Hand into her Pocket, they prevented her, and brought the Woman of the House to search her, who found in her Pocket twenty-three 20 s. Bills of the same Sort. The Fellow finding the Story of the Hogs would not answer, nor any other Shuffles avail him any thing, betook himself at last to make an ingenuous Confession. He said that one Grindal who arrived this Summer in Capt. Blair from Ireland, got 600 20 s. Bills printed there from a Pattern he carried home last Year; that when he came here, he admitted one Watt into the Secret, and gave him a Number of the Bills to pass and exchange in Pennsylvania, while he went into the Jersies on the same Account, altering his Name to Thomson lest a Wife he had married at New-Garden should hear of him; and that they were to meet next Christmas at Philadelphia, and divide the Profits: That Watt had communicated the Thing to him, and given him Twenty-seven Bills to pass, of which he was to have a Share for himself; telling him, to persuade him to it, that it was no Sin, for it would make Money plentier among poor People. He said he had as yet pass’d but one, of which the Change 19 s. was found in his Pocket. He could not tell where Grindal might be at this Time in the Jersies, but he inform’d that Watt was at Eastown in Chester County. Officers were immediately dispatch’d in quest of him, who rid all Night, surpriz’d him in his Bed about Day-break, and guarded him to Town. After Examination he was committed to Prison, to keep company with his Friend the Pork-seller, who it seems has brought his Hogs to a fine Market. Tis hoped that by Christmas we shall see Grindal here also, that he may (according to Agreement) share the Profits with ’em. The Bills they have attempted to counterfeit are of the last Impression; the Counterfeits might pass with many People who do not take much Notice, but they have imitated the Paper very ill, that of the new Bills being thick and stiff, and the Counterfeits soft and flimsy. What is most surprising is, that the Counterfeiters, with all their care and exactness, have entirely omitted numbering their Bills; at least none of those are number’d which are seiz’d. Was this Infatuation, or were they afraid they should not number them right?

The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 19, 1732