William Chaloner

William Chaloner

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William Chaloner was a serial offender counterfeit
Counterfeit
To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

 coiner and confidence trick
Confidence trick
A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...

ster, who was imprisoned in Newgate Prison
Newgate Prison
Newgate Prison was a prison in London, at the corner of Newgate Street and Old Bailey just inside the City of London. It was originally located at the site of a gate in the Roman London Wall. The gate/prison was rebuilt in the 12th century, and demolished in 1777...

 several times and eventually proven guilty of High Treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

 by Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, Master of the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

. He was hanged on the gallows at Tyburn
Tyburn
Tyburn is a former village just outside the then boundaries of London that was best known as a place of public execution.Tyburn may also refer to:* Tyburn , river and historical water source in London...

 on 16 March 1699.

He grew up in a poor family in Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, but through a career in counterfeiting and con artistry attained great wealth, including a house in Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

. He started by forging "Birmingham Groats", then moved on to Guineas
Guinea (British coin)
The guinea is a coin that was minted in the Kingdom of England and later in the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1663 and 1813...

, French Pistole
Pistole
Pistole is the French name given to a Spanish gold coin in use in 1537; it was a double escudo, the gold unit. The name was also given to the Louis d'Or of Louis XIII of France, and to other European gold coins of about the value of the Spanish coin...

s, crowns and half-crowns
Half crown (British coin)
The half crown was a denomination of British money worth half of a crown, equivalent to two and a half shillings , or one-eighth of a pound. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI...

, Banknote
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

s and lottery tickets. At various times he also made and sold dildo
Dildo
A dildo is a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for bodily penetration during masturbation or sex with partners.- Description and uses :...

s, worked as a quack doctor
Quackery
Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices. Random House Dictionary describes a "quack" as a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or...

, Soothsayer
Fortune-telling
Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life. The scope of fortune-telling is in principle identical with the practice of divination...

, and sham anti-Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 "agent provocateur
Agent provocateur
Traditionally, an agent provocateur is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act...

" to collect government rewards.

In Guzman Redivivus, a posthumous biography published anonymously in 1699, it was stated that

Early life and scams


Chaloner was born in Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, the son of a weaver. His parents had great difficulty controlling him, so he was apprenticed
Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Apprentices or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships...

 to a nail maker in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, a town notorious for coining. At this time groats (worth four pennies) were in short supply, so the forged "Birmingham groat" constituted a significant proportion of the national coinage. Chaloner, a quick learner, became skilled in their production.

He soon demonstrated his ambition and, sometime in the 1680s, walked to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 but the Craftsmens' Guild system
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

 prevented him finding gainful work, so he established himself by manufacturing and hawking "tin watches
Watch
A watch is a small timepiece, typically worn either on the wrist or attached on a chain and carried in a pocket, with wristwatches being the most common type of watch used today. They evolved in the 17th century from spring powered clocks, which appeared in the 15th century. The first watches were...

" containing dildo
Dildo
A dildo is a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for bodily penetration during masturbation or sex with partners.- Description and uses :...

s (Tin Watches, with D-does &c
Et cetera
Et cetera is a Latin expression that means "and other things", or "and so forth". It is taken directly from the Latin expression which literally means "and the rest " and is a loan-translation of the Greek "καὶ τὰ ἕτερα"...

 in 'em.
) to cater for the sexually adventurous age. Thomas Levenson
Thomas Levenson
Thomas Levenson is a US academic, science writer and documentary film-maker. , he is Professor of Science Writing and director of the graduate program in science writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

 stated in Newton and the Counterfeiter that as early as 1660, two years after Cromwell’s death, “there were reports of imported Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 dildos being sold on St James’s Street”. (It should be noted that, in this period, "dildo" may also have meant a type of decorative curlicue
Curlicue
A curlicue, or alternatively curlycue, in the visual arts, is a fancy twist, or curl, composed usually from a series of concentric circles...

.)

Next he became a quack doctor and soothsayer. According to the anonymous, posthumous 1699 biography Guzman Redivivus:
According to the Oxford National Dictionary of Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885...

"He may have been the 'William Chaloner' who on 31 March 1684 married Katharine Atkinson at St Katharine's by the Tower
St Katharine's by the Tower
St Katharine's by the Tower--full name Royal Hospital and Collegiate Church of St. Katharine by the Tower--was a medieval church and hospital next to the Tower of London. The establishment was founded in 1148 and the buildings demolished in 1825 to build St Katharine Docks, which takes its name...

, and he certainly had several children. However, this relatively respectable period of Chaloner's life ended when he was suspected of robbery and forced to flee his lodgings." His "trick" for recovering stolen property was "to steal it in the first place". As a result, he made his first appearance in the public record in 1690, as a suspect in a burglary case. But the "tongue-pudding" and the knack for playing two sides against each other were established as hallmarks of his increasingly large-scale criminal enterprises.

By early 1690 he was working as a japanner
Japanning
Japanning describes the European imitation of Asian lacquerwork, originally used on furniture. The word originated in the 17th century.- Japanned :Japanned is most often a heavy black lacquer, almost like enamel paint...

 where he probably learned and practised the gilding
Gilding
The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

 process.

Coining scams


English currency was in disarray in the late 17th century. Hand-struck silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 coins from prior to 1662 had been clipped around the edges and thus their value (weight) reduced so that they were no longer a viable tender, especially abroad. The machine-struck silver coin
Silver coin
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks. Their silver drachmas were popular trade coins....

s produced by the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

 in the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 after 1662 were protected from clipping by an engraved, decorated and milled edge, but were instead forged, both by casting from counterfeit moulds and by die stamping from counterfeit dies. By 1696 forged coins constituted circa 10% of the nation's currency. The currency also had a third problem: its value as silver bullion in Paris and Amsterdam was greater than the face value in London. Thus vast quantities of coins were melted and shipped abroad — an arbitrage
Arbitrage
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices...

 market. New Acts of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 were passed in order to create the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 and protect national military security. This situation also triggered William Lowndes of the Treasury to ask Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 for help.

Chaloner was part of one of the many coining gangs that existed. He was taught the subtle techniques of moulding "milled edges" and counterfeiting coins by Patrick Coffey, a goldsmith
Goldsmith
A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Since ancient times the techniques of a goldsmith have evolved very little in order to produce items of jewelry of quality standards. In modern times actual goldsmiths are rare...

. Thomas Taylor, a master engraver and printer
Printer (publisher)
In publishing, printers are both companies providing printing services and individuals who directly operate printing presses. With the invention of the moveable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450, printing—and printers—proliferated throughout Europe.Today, printers are found...

 made the dies
Die (manufacturing)
A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape material using a press. Like molds, dies are generally customized to the item they are used to create...

. In 1691 Chaloner produced French Pistoles worth about 17 shillings each, using an alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

 of silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

. Then he produced English guineas that were gilded by Patrick Coffey and Chaloner's own brother-in-law
Brother-in-law
A brother-in-law is the brother of one's spouse, the husband of one's sibling, or the husband of one's spouse's sibling.-See also:*Affinity *Sister-in-law*Brothers in Law , a 1955 British comedy novel...

 Joseph Gravener. The chain was completed by Thomas Holloway and his wife who passed the coins to petty crooks for circulation.

Chaloner was renowned in the coining community for the quality of his work and his prolific success. He purchased a large house in the semi-rural suburb of Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

, rode in a carriage, bought plate and dressed like a gentleman.
Chaloner now abandoned his family and had affairs with female coiners, the most significant of whom was Joan Porter (fl.
Floruit
Floruit , abbreviated fl. , is a Latin verb meaning "flourished", denoting the period of time during which something was active...

 1692–1699). It was in the guise of a knowledgeable but respectable citizen that he subsequently became able to "offer his services" to Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 and the Royal Mint.

In mid-1692 William Blackford was condemned for passing out counterfeit guineas and denounced Chaloner, so he absconded until after Blackford was hanged.

His next scheme was for forgeries of the mint's "machine-struck" coins, so he recruited Thomas Holloway and bought a house in Egham
Egham
Egham is a wealthy suburb in the Runnymede borough of Surrey, in the south-east of England. It is part of the London commuter belt and Greater London Urban Area, and about south-west of central London on the River Thames and near junction 13 of the M25 motorway.-Demographics:Egham town has a...

, Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

, where the noise of coining and hot moulding machines would not be suspicious. It was also outside the legal boundary of London. Among the group was John Peers, a molten metal and moulding specialist, but on 18 May 1697 he appeared before magistrates on an unrelated charge, and denounced Chaloner's Egham operation as part of his plea. Newton heard about this by accident three months later so arrested Peers for questioning and then recruited him as an agent. Peers rejoined Holloway in Egham and produced 18 forged shillings, enabling Newton to arrest Holloway for coining.

An inventive coiner, Chaloner taught Thomas Holloway a new method of coining, using small, easily concealed stamps.

Royal Mint scams


In December 1692 (or 1694) Chaloner increased his ambition and targeted the Royal Mint. He issued pamphlets describing a "solution"' to currency problems such as restrict/licence access to tools needed for coining; the coinage should be struck with an impression far deeper than coiners' tools or presses would allow; use a deep groove along the edge; extend the treason law; and adjust the silver value. This attracted the interest of Charles Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, Earl of Monmouth
Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough
Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough and 1st Earl of Monmouth, KG, PC was an English nobleman and military leader. He was the son of John Mordaunt, 1st Viscount Mordaunt, and his wife Elizabeth, the daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Carey, the second son of Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth...

 ex-Lord of the Treasury
Lord of the Treasury
In the United Kingdom, there are at least six Lords of the Treasury who serve concurrently. Traditionally, this board consists of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord of the Treasury, and four or more junior lords .Strictly they are commissioners for exercising the office of Lord...

, ex-king's confidant, who had fallen out of favour with William III of England
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 in the 1690s. Mordant wanted an opportunity to attack what he saw as a weak Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

, Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, PC, FRS was an English poet and statesman.-Early life:Charles Montagu was born in Horton, Northamptonshire, the son of George Montagu, fifth son of 1st Earl of Manchester...

. In 1695 Mordant arranged for Chaloner to address His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council about corrupt practices
Corrupt practices
Corrupt practices in English election law includes bribery, treating, undue influence, personation, and aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring personation.- English election law :...

. This caused the Royal Mint to instigate its own investigations, which thus thwarted Chaloner's ambition to become its overseer.

In January 1696 Chaloner was in Newgate prison on suspicion of felony, because following his testimony to the Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

 in 1695 and the Royal Mint's investigations they had taken evidence from many petty criminals that incriminated him. Nevertheless, on 13 January 1696 he petitioned Charles Montagu, Chancellor of the Exchequer, with details of a conspiracy at the Royal Mint. He was released from Newgate and on 3 February (or by May) testified to an investigative committee of Lord Justices
Lord Justice of Appeal
A Lord Justice of Appeal is an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the court that hears appeals from the High Court of Justice, and represents the second highest level of judge in the courts of England and Wales-Appointment:...

 in Whitehall about the crimes of the "moneyers" within the Mint. He claimed that they coined false guineas, struck debased blanks sent in from outside, and sent out stamps for coining (he boasted privately to have benefited from both), and regularly produced underweight coin. He named other coiners, Thomas Carter, John Abbot, and Patrick Coffee, including his own alias, "Chandler".
He claimed that the coyning dye stamps
Taps and dies
Taps and dies are cutting tools used to create screw threads, which is called threading. A tap is used to cut the female portion of the mating pair . A die is used to cut the male portion of the mating pair . The process of cutting threads using a tap is called tapping, whereas the process using a...

 of the crypto-Jacobite chief engraver, John Roettiers
John Roettiers
John Roettiers was a celebrated British engraver and medallist.Roettiers was the oldest son of Philip Roettiers, a goldsmith of Antwerp. He took up the profession of stonecutter and medallist, with his earliest known productions being dated 1658 and 1660...

 the elder, were loaned out of the Tower, at a time during Newton's "complete recoining" of the nation's currency, an exercise that was to take until 1699 when £7 million of coins had been minted. He also claimed that many mint employees were corrupt and all were too specialised to spot security flaws in other people's areas. What the mint needed was an officer who understood smithing and coining work, but Parliament made him no offer. Yet on 26 March a committee of council reported that Chaloner was himself involved in coining and should remain a prisoner.

At Parliament, by chance, he was recognised by Newton, leading to arrest relating to the Egham coining operation and he was sent to Newgate. In order to bring a prosecution Thomas Holloway was needed as a witness, but from inside Newgate Chaloner used a publican called Michael Gilligan to pay Holloway £20 to disappear to Scotland until the case collapsed. He was released seven weeks later.

Anti-Jacobite scams


In 1693 he was tempted by Government rewards to act as an "agent provocateur", providing information about Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 activities, plots and printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

es. Thus he paid four Jacobites to print a fresh edition of James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

's declaration of May 1693. When Chaloner entertained them on 1 June they were arrested while in possession of copies of the declaration and their press seized. His reward was £1,000.

In August 1693, accompanied by Aubrey Price, he unsuccessfully approached the government about a sham Jacobite plot to attack Dover castle
Dover Castle
Dover Castle is a medieval castle in the town of the same name in the English county of Kent. It was founded in the 12th century and has been described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history...

, offering to infiltrate the network as couriers so that they could read all the mail.

In 1697 Chaloner advised Aubrey Price that:

They approached the Government, via Sir Henry Colt
Colt Baronets
The Colt Baronetcy, of St James's-in-the-Fields in the Liberty of Westminster in the County of Middlesex, is a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 2 March 1694 for Henry Colt, Adjutant to Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Member of Parliament for Newport and Westminster...

, with a fabricated list of Jacobites in various countries. In June they were authorised to investigate further, despite erroneously including Williamites
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 in the list. In August they accused Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury
Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury
Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, KG, PC was an English statesman. Born to Roman Catholic parents, he remained in that faith until 1679 when—during the time of the Popish Plot and following the advice of the divine John Tillotson—he converted to the Church of England...

, Secretary of State
Secretary of State (England)
In the Kingdom of England, the title of Secretary of State came into being near the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I , the usual title before that having been King's Clerk, King's Secretary, or Principal Secretary....

 of helping Sir John Fenwick's escape in 1696 by providing a false pass. Shrewsbury forestalled this blackmail attempt by declaring it to the 'Lord Justices'.

Chaloner claimed an extensive anti-Jacobite role, including the capture of another press and the seizure of thirty-six different titles. He also claimed to have discovered that a merchant, John Comyns
John Comyns
Sir John Comyns SL , of Writtle in Essex, was an English judge and Member of Parliament. He was educated at Felsted....

, was remitting money to France. Chaloner also spent five weeks in gaol spying on Jacobite prisoners, and allegedly spent £400 on bribes. However the prosecutions often failed.

Next, Chaloner proposed that Thomas Coppinger (or Matthew Coppinger), an unscrupulous thief taker specializing in coining offences, should write a treasonable satire, and he would find a Jacobite printer whom they would jointly denounce to the authorities. However, in May 1694 Coppinger denounced Chaloner for coining and Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor is the title of the Mayor of a major city, with special recognition.-Commonwealth of Nations:* In Australia it is a political position. Australian cities with Lord Mayors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong...

 Sir Thomas StampeCaveat - The 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' states that Sir Thomas Stampe was responsible in 1694, but according to Wiki 'List of Lord Mayors of London' Sir Thomas Stampe was Lord Mayor of London in 1691, Sir Thomas Lant was Lord Mayor in 1694 and Sir John Houblon held the position in 1695 sent him to Newgate. Chaloner then turned the tables and testified against Coppinger, who was executed on 27 February 1695 (or 22 February 1695).

Bank of England scams


Chaloner's next target was the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 which started trading in 1694.In 1694 the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 had started trading by taking deposits from the wealthy to lend to the government. Depositors could also manage their deposits via 3 transaction types, paper or passbooks to access accounts, promises of complete payment (bank cheques) to transfer payments to specific parties, and "bank-notes" to create running cash for partial payment among third parties. (the start of Fractional-reserve banking
Fractional-reserve banking
Fractional-reserve banking is a form of banking where banks maintain reserves that are only a fraction of the customer's deposits. Funds deposited into a bank are mostly lent out, and a bank keeps only a fraction of the quantity of deposits as reserves...

).
New £100 'bank notes' were introduced in June 1695, and to prevent forgery they were printed on official marbled paper
Paper marbling
Paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other stone. The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or...

. Chaloner had large stocks of forged blank paper delivered to his Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

 home, and began producing his own new £100 bank-notes. Surprisingly, this did not become a felony until 1697. The first forgery was detected on 14 August 1695, within two months of their introduction. The forged paper was eventually traced to the printer who informed on Chaloner. Chaloner immediately turned "King's evidence", surrendered his stock of unused paper, named other conspirators to give him credibility, and exposed a major fraud against the bank (one presumably in which he was himself involved). He testified that blank bills on the "City orphans' fund" were cut from the cheque book
Cheque
A cheque is a document/instrument See the negotiable cow—itself a fictional story—for discussions of cheques written on unusual surfaces. that orders a payment of money from a bank account...

 in the "Chamber of London" by Aubrey Price and the bank paid out amounts up to £1,000.John Gibbons, a porter of Whitehall Palace
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

 and a 'pursuer of coiners', arrested the swindlers in the Bank of England/City orphan fund scam. John Gibbons was known privately to Chaloner as an extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

er and operator of protection racket
Protection racket
A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a criminal group or individual coerces a victim to pay money, supposedly for protection services against violence or property damage. Racketeers coerce reticent potential victims into buying "protection" by demonstrating what will happen if they...

s.
For his 'efforts' Chaloner received formal thanks from the Bank of England, received a reward of £200 from the bank, and kept all of his profits from the counterfeiting.

An inventive counterfeiter, Chaloner had taught Aubrey Price how to counterfeit the new exchequer bills by altering the denominations after removing the old ink using a liquid that Chaloner had invented. Price was named by Chaloner, tried at the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

, and condemned to death for 'counterfeiting an excheque'. He was hanged at Tyburn on 22 June 1698.

In 1699 Chaloner allegedly told a prisoner in Newgate that :

Lottery ticket scam


In 1698, Chaloner engraved a copperplate of tickets for the lottery
Lottery
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.Lottery is outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by governments...

 on the "malt duty", and though this was not a felony he covered his tracks and hid the plate between printing sessions. In August another coiner, David Davis, betrayed the affair to James Vernon
James Vernon
James Vernon was an English politician and Secretary of State for both the Northern and the Southern Departments during the reign of William III.-Origins and education:...

, under-secretary
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
A Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State is the lowest of three tiers of government minister in the government of the United Kingdom, junior to both a Minister of State and a Secretary of State....

 to Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury
Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury
Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, KG, PC was an English statesman. Born to Roman Catholic parents, he remained in that faith until 1679 when—during the time of the Popish Plot and following the advice of the divine John Tillotson—he converted to the Church of England...

, Secretary of State
Secretary of State (England)
In the Kingdom of England, the title of Secretary of State came into being near the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I , the usual title before that having been King's Clerk, King's Secretary, or Principal Secretary....

, (whom he had attempted to blackmail in 1697), and hence a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

/(bounty
Bounty (reward)
A bounty is a payment or reward often offered by a group as an incentive for the accomplishment of a task by someone usually not associated with the group. Bounties are most commonly issued for the capture or retrieval of a person or object. They are typically in the form of money...

) was issued for Chaloner on 6 October. In late October he was again arrested and imprisoned in Newgate, while Newton continued to gather evidence for his final trial. Chaloner immediately accused Thomas Carter (a long time colleague) of engraving the plate and offered to surrender it in exchange for immunity.

Trial and death


By January 1699 Newton was devoted to a complete investigation of Chaloner that would be water-tight. He used a comprehensive network of spies and informants, taking many statements from all his old contacts. The trial was held at the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

 on 3 March, the Judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

 was Sir Salathiel Lovell
Salathiel Lovell
Sir Salathiel Lovell was an English judge, Recorder of London, an ancient and bencher of Grey's Inn, and a Baron of the Exchequer.-Origins and education:...

, who had a reputation as a "hanging judge
Hanging Judge
"Hanging judge" is an unofficial term for a judge who has gained renown for punishment by sentencing convicted criminals to death by hanging.More broadly, the term is applied to judges who have gained a reputation for imposing unusually harsh sentences, even in jurisdictions where the death penalty...

". Chaloner had to conduct his own defence without prior knowledge of Newton's case, evidence or witnesses, and no "presumption of innocence". He faced two indictments for treason—coining French pistoles in 1692, and coining crowns and half-crowns in 1698.

Newton fielded eight witnesses that spanned Chaloner's career. Catherine Coffey, wife of goldsmith Patrick Coffey, declared that she had seen him coin French Pistoles. Elizabeth Holloway declared how Chaloner had bribed her husband, the coiner Thomas Holloway, to flee to Scotland and avoid giving evidence at the 1697 trial. Thomas Taylor the engraver in the major coining conspiracy. Catherine Carter, wife of Thomas Carter who had twice previously been named and blamed by Chaloner, testified to Chaloner's skill as a forger and his role in the lottery scam.

Whilst in Newgate waiting for the trial Chaloner had pretended to go mad (Newton noted that at first, ... Chaloner hath feigned himself mad), but in court he resorted to insulting all parties and claiming they were committing perjury
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

 to save their own necks, and anyway, the charges related to acts in the City
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 and Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

, outside the jurisdiction of the Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

 sessions
Assizes (England and Wales)
The Courts of Assize, or Assizes, were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Quarter Sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court...

.

The jury needed only a few minutes to reach a verdict, and he was sentenced the next day.
Over the following fortnight he wrote a series of letters to both Newton and Justice Railton, the Supervising Magistrate, that were in-turn aggressive, blame shifting, begging and accusatory and rambling. None received a reply.

Chaloner's final letter to Newton concluded :
Challoner was hanged on the gallows
Gallows
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered...

 at Tyburn
Tyburn
Tyburn is a former village just outside the then boundaries of London that was best known as a place of public execution.Tyburn may also refer to:* Tyburn , river and historical water source in London...

 on 16 March 1699, twitching and writhing for several minutes of the 'hangman's dance', whilst "stinking, wet, cold and mercilessly sober".

Further reading


Further listening

  • BBC Radio 4, Book of the Week, Sept 2009, Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson
  • BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

     - The King's Coiner: The True Story of Isaac Newton, Detective. A radio drama
    Radio drama
    Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio or published on audio media, such as tape or CD. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story...

     by Philip Palmer. BBC Radio
    BBC Radio
    BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

     Afternoon Theatre. Producer: Toby Swift
    Toby Swift
    Toby Swift is a radio drama director and producer for BBC Radio. His numerous credits include the crime dramas The Recall Man and Trueman and Riley. He also directs contemporary and period radio dramas....

    .

See also

  • Catherine Murphy (counterfeiter)
    Catherine Murphy (counterfeiter)
    Catherine Murphy was an English counterfeiter, the last woman to be officially sentenced and executed by the method of burning in England and Great Britain....

     (died 1789) the last woman to be executed by burning.

Sources


Sources listed by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

, Sept 2004; Paul Hopkins and Stuart Handley
  • Guzman redivivus: a short view of the life of Will. Chaloner, the notorious coyner, who was executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 22d of March 1698/9 (1699)
  • The correspondence of Isaac Newton, ed. H. W. Turnbull and others, 7 vols. (1959–77), vol. 4
  • Mint depositions, TNA: PRO, MINT 15/17
  • Newton papers, TNA: PRO, MINT 19/1–3
  • CSP dom.
  • Letters illustrative of the reign of William III from 1696 to 1708 addressed to the duke of Shrewsbury by James Vernon, ed. G. P. R. James, 3 vols. (1841)
  • Shrewsbury papers, Northants. RO, Buccleuch papers, vols. 46–7, 63 · JHC, 12–13 (1697–1702)
  • Chaloner's petitions to William III, 1695, BL, Add. MS 72568, fols. 47–54
  • E. Southwell's privy council minutes, BL, Add. MS 35107 · papers of the first earl of Portland, Nottingham UL, PwA
  • W. A. Shaw, ed., Calendar of treasury books, [33 vols. in 64], PRO (1904–69), vols. 10–14
  • Bank of England Archives, London, F2/160, G4/2, G4/4
  • Middlesex sessions rolls, gaol delivery, LMA, MJ/SR/1821–1925 (1693–9)
  • Sessions rolls and minute books, 1694–9, CLRO, City of London, SF402–39; SM 65–7
  • F. E. Manuel, A portrait of Isaac Newton (1968)
  • R. S. Westfall, Never at rest: a biography of Isaac Newton (1980)
  • N. Luttrell, A brief historical relation of state affairs from September 1678 to April 1714, 6 vols. (1857)
  • W. Chaloner, To the honourable, the knights, citizens and burgesses in parliament assembled: proposals humby offered, for passing, an act to prevent clipping and counterfeiting of money (1695)
  • W. Chaloner, The defects in the present constitution of the mint, humbly offered to the consideration of the present House of Commons [1697]
  • W. Chaloner, To the honourable the knights, citizens and burgesses in parliament assembled. Reasons humbly offered against passing an act for raising ten hundred thousand pounds, to make good the deficiency of the clipt-money [1694]
  • H. Haynes, ‘Brief memoires relating to the silver and gold coins of England’, 1700, BL, Lansdowne MS 801
  • Report on the manuscripts of the marquis of Downshire, 6 vols. in 7, HMC, 75 (1924–95), vol. 1
  • Sir W. Trumbull's diary, BL, Add. MS 72571
  • J. M. Beattie, Policing and punishment in London, 1660–1750 (2001)
  • [H. Fitzgerald's examination], 1699, BL, Add. MS 21136, fols. 71–2
  • C. E. Challis, ed., A new history of the royal mint (1992)
  • J. Craig, Newton at the mint (1946)
  • Middlesex sessions papers, Feb. 1695, LMA, MJ/SP/1695/02/028–035, 02/006
  • J. Redington, ed., Calendar of Treasury papers, 1–2, PRO (1868–71)
  • T. Wales, ‘Thief-takers and their clients in later Stuart London’, Londinopolis: essays in the social and cultural history of early modern London, ed. P. Griffiths and N. G. R. Jenner (2000), 67–84