Title Forging His Chains. The Autobiography of George Bidwell, the Famous Ticket-of-Leave Man.
Book Condition Very Good Plus
Jacket Condition No Jacket
Edition First Thus.
Publisher New York & Hartford The Bidwell Publishing Company 1889
Seller ID 002018
New York & Hartford: The Bidwell Publishing Company, 1889. George Bidwell (1832-1899) perpetrated one of the most famous of Victorian financial frauds (against the Bank of England). Essentially he and his partners were able to exploit a weakness in the system and game it through forged drafts, realizing about $50,000 per day. Justice Archibald, declaring that the serious threat to British commerce merits "terrible retribution," handed down four life terms. Still, the plotters won many admirers; especially McDonnell, who defended his craft from the dock, "Forgery is a very wretched, unhappy, miserable and contemptible art [but] an art nevertheless." The long sentences handed down for a "white collar crime" were seen by many (including Mark Twain and President Grover Cleveland) as too harsh. George eventually served 14 years. This is a Very Good Plus copy of the First Edition Thus. Originally published in 1888 by Scranton; Bidwell's issued his own edition, which appears to be identical. Tipped onto the FFEP is an appeal by Bidwell, with his printed signature, for agents to canvas for subscriptions; a previous owner has rather efficiently signed it on the reverse. A large, heavy octavo, with brown pebbled cloth binding; blindstamped and filled with gilt. The cover design features Bidwell's hand, writing with pen and quill, in the presence of his manacles - rather elegant, actually! Clean text; 560 pages, very fresh and bright. The corners are bumped and the rear cover has a stripe of sunfade along the fore-edge. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. First Thus.. Hard Cover. Very Good Plus/No Jacket. First Edition.