Friday, 30 October 2009

Scottish Banking(part 19)

The following anecdote was communicated to
 "Senex" by James Brown, Esq. (the father of William
Brown,Esq.,late of Kilmardinny): Mr.Brown and his
brother John happened one forenoon to be standing
at the foot of Glassford Street, near their business
premises, when they were surprised at observing a
number of ragged pieces of paper floating in the air
above their heads, and being carried along the Tron-
gate by the wind. One of these torn and dirty papers
happened to fall on the pavement at their feet, when
Mr.James Brown said to his brother, " John, look what
that is!" Accordingly, John stooped down and took
up a nasty rag of paper; but no sooner had he beheld
on it the well-known figure of the Ship, and the great
R. of Robert Carrick, than he hastily exclaimed, " By
jingo, it is a shower of Robert’s notes--let’s after
them ! " Accordingly, the two gentlemen instantly
scampered along the Trongate at their full speed in
pursuit of the dirty pieces of paper, to the no small
amusement of the passers—by, who could not under-
stand what they wanted with these little ragged scraps.

After having picked up about half a dozen of them,
and seeing no appearance of any more floating about,
they resolved to carry their prize into the Ship Bank
for an explanation. Accordingly,on arrival there,they
learned that Mr. Carrick was engaged in an adjoining
room; but on their expressing a wish to see him, he
made his appearance. The gentlemen then exhibited
the dirty, ragged Ship notes, and stated the odd way
of their finding them; upon which Mr. Carrick thanked
 them in the politest manner, and explained the
mystery by saying that the bank clerks had been
burning the worn-out notes of the firm; but that a puff
of wind must have rushed in during the operation,
when the room door happened to be opened, and by
its sudden passage up the vent must have carried some
of the notes fairly out of the chimney-top to the open
air. Mr. Carrick,however, after again thanking them,
added that he would now stop the burning of the worn- “
out notes until he had got a safety wire screen placed
on the vent of the room where the process was carried

The Ship Bank notes, from their extreme simplicity,
were especial favourites with forgers. On one occa-
sion the agent for the Bank at Kilmarnock had refused
a note as being a forgery. The note was sent to Glas-
gow, when the two persons whose subscriptions were
attached to the note declared that these were truly
their signatures. The agent was censured,and threat-
ened to be dismissed for bringing discredit on the Bank
notes. He went to Glasgow, and with some difficulty
convinced the two parties that their names were really
forged. The perpetrator was a notorious forger, and
was tried and suffered death at the old jail at the foot
of High Street.

A sanctimonious hypocrite was John Henry Great-
rex, photographer and forger, who applied his talents
to the making of spurious banknotes, and then led the
detectives a dance across the Atlantic.

He was a tall,good—looking man,and an impressive A
preacher, taking up his stand on the Green regularly.

In order to impress his customers with his piety,
Greatrex had his studio hung round with Scripture
texts. He found photographing faces much too slow
a way of making money, and took to photographing
bank—notes instead, and this brought about his ruin.

More to follow.......

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