Saturday, 31 October 2009

Scottish Banking(part 22)

....serious matter for those concerned, at a time when
punishment for crime was very severe. The front por-
tion of the Exchange was built upon the foundations
of the Royal Bank. From the south end on till beyond
the main entrance the walls were not taken down, and
it was while taking down the mason work of a safe,
which stood in the way of the plans being carried out,
that two of the men employed, while turning over a
quantity of waste-paper in a corner of the safe, found
a large parcel of one-pound bank-notes of the Royal
Bank. The men had hitherto been considered respect-
able and honest, but here was a great temptation.
They yielded to it, and took possession of the notes.
They did not return to their work next day, and for two
or three days after were going about, flush of money,
drinking and treating their comrades, who were sur-
prised to find them having so much silver money in
hand. Suspicion arose, inquiries were made,and,from
some hints the men gave during their drinking, the
police got notice, and they were apprehended.

The two tradesmen were brought before the magistrates,
 to be examined on a charge of stealing a parcel
of bank-notes of the Royal Bank from a safe in the
bank. The whole charge against them somehow or
other fell to the ground. The notes were not stolen
from a safe in the Royal Bank,as it was then the Royal
Exchange. The notes were not bank—notes, but only
a parcel of forged ones, which had been thrown into a
corner of the safe to be burned along with the waste-
paper. The men were discharged, but with a very
much blemished character; and the only parties who
suffered loss were the publicans who so very kindly
provided the silver money, and for whom very little
sympathy was felt.

A very ingenious fraud and daring robbery was per-
petrated on the Royal Bank a few years previous to its
removal. About mid-day a splendid equipage came
leisurely driving up the then quiet Queen Street, and
halted at one of the gates of the bank, which had a
parapet wall, with ornamental railings above, on the
line of Queen Street,with a gate at each end. A circu-
lar stair from each of these gates led to a large land-
ing-place, on which were the principal entrances to the
bank. The equipage consisted of an open carriage,
with postilion, in which was seated an aristocratic- ‘
looking personage, with one or two footmen in livery
seated behind. The whole was distinctly seen from
the windows of the bank, so that when the occupant of
the carriage came into the bank with all the necessary
credentials, and presented a draft or order for a very
large amount from a bank either in Edinburgh or
London-it is not known which—it was at once paid
without the least suspicion. There was no telegraph
or telephone then, postal communication was slow,
and before either bank could be advised with, the
 robbers had got clear off with their booty.

There have been fairly numerous failures of banks
in Glasgow,but none of them even approached in mag-
nitude and disastrous consequences the failure of the
City of Glasgow Bank.

In October 1878 the Second City of the Empire
was horrified, and the whole commercial world

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