JOHN MINTER HART
A Cheating Money-Lender, who was transported for Life, 16th of December, 1836, for forging a Bill of Exchange
THE offence of which Minter Hart, who was well known as an advertising money-lender, was convicted was that of forgery. He was indicted at the Central Criminal Court on Thursday, the 16th of December, 1836, for feloniously forging and counterfeiting a bill of exchange for five hundred pounds, with intent to defraud the Rev. Charles Herbert Jenner.
In the previous July, the Rev. Charles Herbert Jenner, of Wenvoe, near Cardiff, Glamorganshire, saw an advertisement in The Morning Post which offered to lend money, with a reference to Mr Blake, 44 Haymarket. Requiring money, he directed a letter to Mr Blake, and had an interview with the prisoner, who met him at Chislehurst, in Kent, where he resided. He told him he wanted two hundred pounds, on personal security, for twelve months. The prisoner agreed to let him have it at five per cent. on his bill. He met him the next day at the house of his father, Sir Herbert Jenner, in Chesterfield Street, when the prisoner produced a stamp, and at the same time showed what appeared to him to be a Bank of England cheque. The prisoner asked Mr Jenner to write across the stamp "Accepted -- Charles Jenner "; but before he signed it he saw the prisoner write something at the left-hand corner; he did not notice what he wrote, but subsequently saw it was figures denoting L200. The prisoner then took away the stamp, and said he would return with the money in half-an-hour. By desire of the prisoner he made the bill payable at the Bank of England. On the bill being now produced, the figures "L500" appeared to have been substituted for those of "L200." He did not again see the prisoner, nor get any money, although he had received several letters. One Mr John William Edwards proved that he had received the bill in question from the prisoner, having agreed to purchase it at five shillings in the pound. It was then only a blank acceptance, but there was a stain at the corner. The prisoner said it was as he had received it. He said it had been obtained from Mr Jenner by a person named Elliott, and that he had offered it for sale to one Mr Pook, who would give only one hundred pounds for it. If the bill was paid, he, Edwards, was to give fifty pounds additional. The bargain was finally settled at a public-house at the corner of a court in Jermyn Street, and witness received the blank acceptance, and kept it in his possession for a week, when it was given to the prisoner to be drawn and endorsed. He returned it regularly drawn and endorsed with the name of "C. Taylor."
Other witnesses proved a fact which exhibited the boldness and ingenuity with which the prisoner had effected his object. It appeared, upon a chemical examination of the paper on which the bill was drawn, that that part of it on which, according to Mr Jenner's statement, the figures "L200" had been written, had been subjected to the action of a strong acid, the effect of which had been to remove all trace of the ink. The new figures, "L500" had then been written in their stead, and the bill had been put in circulation as a security for that amount.
An objection was taken to the indictment on the ground that the facts proved did not show that any forgery had been committed, although it was admitted that there had been a fraud; but the learned judge gave it as his opinion that the indictment was sustained, and the prisoner was found guilty.
His case subsequently formed the subject of discussion before the fifteen judges in the Court of Exchequer Chamber, when the conviction was declared to be good, and on Tuesday, the 7th of February, 1837, Hart was sentenced to be transported for life.