Forgery: Legislation Gone Mad or Legitimate Social Threat?
Forgery in eighteenth-century London was more than a crime of opportunity; it completely undermined the economic, social and political orders of that society. Using the works of authors such as Randall McGowen, John Beattie, Craig Muldrew, and others, this paper examines cases tried in the London Old Bailey from 1700- 1740 in the context of the financial revolution and the rise of the bloody code. The paper looks at the implications this crime had on the greater London society, the changes in legislation that came about as a result of forgery, and the changes in punishment for the crime. Ultimately, it examines at the reasons for the radical change in people‟s perception of this crime in such a short time period.