Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

made as a more solemn manner of giving the coin currency: but the proclamation in general cases is certainly not necessary, and in prosecutions for coining need not be proved. (c) And it is not necessary in such prosecutions to produce the indentures; though it may be of use in case of any new coin with a new impression, not yet familiar to the people, to produce either the indentures, or one of the officers of the mint cognizant of the fact, or the stamps used, or the like evidence. But in general, whether the coin, upon a question of counterfeiting or impairing it, be the king's money or not, is a mere question of fact which may be found upon evidence of common usage or notoriety. (d). It should be observed, that any coin, once legally made and issued by the king's authority, continues to be the current coin of the kingdom until recalled, notwithstanding any change in the authority by which it was constituted. (e)

The 2 Wm. 4, c. 34, which by s. 2 took effect on the 1st day of The punishMay, 1832, after repealing many former acts, by s. 1, provides,“

that ment not to be “ if any person shall

, after the commencement of this act, be con- fences com• “victed of any offence against any of the said acts committed before mitted before

or upon the said last day of April,” 1832; "and such offence shall 1st May, 1832. " have been punishable with death by virtue of any of the said acts, "in every such case the person convicted of such offence shall not “ suffer the punishment of death, but shall in lieu thereof be liable, " at the discretion of the Court, to be transported beyond the seas “ for life or for any term not less than seven years, or to be imprisoned, " with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding four "years." Sec. 3 enacts, “ that if any person shall falsely make or counterfeit Counterfeiting

any coin resembling, or apparently intended to resemble or pass silver coin; “ for, any of the king's current gold or silver coin, (ee) every such transportation " offender shall, in England and Ireland, be guilty of felony, and in for life. “ Scotland of a high crime and offence, and, being convicted thereof, “shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be transported " beyond the seas for life or for any term not less than seven years,

or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding four years ; (f) " and every such offence shall be deemed to be complete although offence when " the coin so made or counterfeited shall not be in a fit state to deemed

complete, " be uttered, or the counterfeiting thereof shall not be finished or “ perfected.”

Sec. 4 enacts, “ that if any person shall gild or silver, or shall, with Colouring any wash or materials capable of producing the colour of gold or of counterfeit

coin or any silver, wash, colour, or case over, any coin whatsoever resembling pieces of metal " or apparently intended to resemble or pass for any of the king's with intent to "current gold or silver coin, (g) or if any person shall gild or silver, make them pass

for gold or " or shall, with any wash or materials capable of producing the silver coin.

(c) 1 East, P. C. 142, where see some disuse, though still the legal coin of the cases in which proclamation by the writ King, there can be no general notoriety of of proclamation under the great seal, or a remembrance thereof, is considered to be (e) 1 East, P. C. 148, where it is said Decessary to prove a coin current; and it is also, that this recal may be by proclamation; also stated, that by the act of the 37th and long disuse may, it is conceived, be Geo. 3, c. 126, s. 1, relative to a copper

evidence of it. It has also been effected by coinage, the King's proclamation is made act of Parliament, as by 9 W.3, c. 2, and necessary; and seems, therefore, to be re- 6 Geo. 2, c. 26. quired in proof of any indictment upon that (ee) See s. 21, post, p. 56.

(f) See s. 19, post, p. 61 !d)1 East, P. C. 149. But in the case of (9) See s. 21, post, p. 56. old coin which has gradually fallen into

the fact.

statute.

or pass

[ocr errors]

make it pass

any

“ colour of gold or of silver, wash, colour, or case over, any piece of “ silver or copper or of coarse gold or coarse silver, or of any metal

or mixture of metals respectively, being of a fit size and figure to “ be coined, and with intent that the same shall be coined, into false “ and counterfeit coin resembling or apparently intended to resemble

for

any of the king's current gold or silver coin; (h) or if Colouring or

any person shall gild, or shall, with any wash or materials capable altering “ of producing the colour of gold, wash, colour, or case over, any of genuinc coin,

“ the king's current silver coin, or file or in any manner alter such with intent to

coin, with intent to make the same resemble or for

pass

for of the a higher coin; “ king's current gold coin ; or if any person shall gild or silver, or transportation

“shall

, with any wash or materials capable of producing the colour for life, &c.

“ of gold or of silver, wash, colour, or case over, any of the king's current

copper coin, or file or in any manner alter such coin, with “ intent to make the same resemble or pass

for

any of the king's cur“ rent gold or silver coin ; every such offender shall

, in England and “ Ireland, be guilty of felony, and in Scotland of a high crime and “ offence, and, being convicted thereof, shall be liable, at the discre“tion of the Court, to be transported beyond the seas for life or for

any term not less than seven years, or to be imprisoned for any

“ term not exceeding four years." (i) Rules of inter- Sec. 21, declares and enacts, “ That where the King's current pretation as to

gold or silver coin,' or the King's current copper coin,' shall be current coin, and counterfeit mentioned in any part of this Act, the same shall be deemed to coin. “ include and denote any gold or silver coin, or any copper coin

respectively coined in any of his Majesty's mints, and lawfully “ current in any part of his Majesty's dominions, whether within the “ united kingdom or otherwise; and that any of the King's cur“ rent coin which shall have been gilt, silvered, washed, coloured, or “ cased over, or in any manner altered so as to resemble, or be appa“ rently intended to resemble or pass for, any of the King's current “coin of a higher denomination, shall be deemed and taken to be “ counterfeit coin within the intent and meaning of those parts of “ this act wherein mention is made of false or counterfeit coin “ resembling, or apparently intended to resemble or pass for, any of “ the King's current gold or silver coin?”

II. The counterfeiting of foreign coin, either of gold, silver, or

copper, is made highly penal by several statutes. Of counterfeit- The 37 Geo. 3, c. 126, (j) recites the great incrcase of the pracing foreign

tice of counterfeiting gold or silver coin not current here; and enacts, gold, silver, or

“ that if any person or persons shall hereafter make, coin, or coun

terfeit, any kind of coin not the proper coin of this realm, nor permitted to be current within the same, but resembling or made “ with intent to resemble or look like any gold or silver coin of any foreign state, &c., or to pass as such foreign coin, such person

persons offending therein shall be deemed guilty of felony, " and may be transported for any term of years not exceeding

seven.” (k) By the words “ not permitted to be current within (h) See s. 21, post.

they are punishable, the principals in the (i) See s. 19, post, p. 61, as to hard labour. second degree, as principals in the first

(j) Repealed as far as relates to copper degree, according to the general rule, 4 money, by 2 W. 4, c. 34.

BI, Com, 39, and the accessories under the (k) Although the act contains no express 7 & 8 Geo. 4, c. 28, s. 8, ante, p. 38, and provision for the punishment of principals s. 9; and i Vict. c. 90, s. 5, post, 61. in the second degrce, and accessories, yet

copper coin.

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

or

coin.

66

" the realm,” must be understood not permitted to be current by proclamation under the great seal. (1)

The 43 Geo. 3, c. 139, s. 3, relates to the counterfeiting of foreign counterfeiting coin of copper, or of other metal of less value than silver not current foreign copper here, and enacts, “ That if any person shall within any part of the “ united kingdom make, coin, or counterfeit, any kind of coin not " the proper coin of this realm, nor ordered by the royal procla“mation of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, to be deemed and "taken as current money of this realm, or any part thereof, but “ resembling or made with intent to resemble any copper coin, or

any other coin made of any metal or mixed metals of less value * than the silver coin of any foreign prince, state, or country re“spectively, or to pass as such foreign coin, then every person so " oifending shall be deemed and taken to be guilty of a misdemeanor " and breach of the peace; and being thereof convicted according “ to law, shall for the first offence be imprisoned for any time not “ exceeding one year; and for the second offence be transported to “ any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations for the term of seven “ years.” The act further provides that persons against whom any bill of indictment shall be found shall not be entitled to traverse the same to any subsequent assizes or sessions, but shall be tried upon the bill being found, unless there shall be good cause why the trial should be postponed. (m) And a provision is also made for the certificate of a former conviction being sufficient evidence of that fact in cases where persons are tried for second offences. (n)

III. The 2 W.4, c. 34, s. 12, enacts,“ That if any person shall falsely Of counterfeit“ make or counterfeit any coin resembling, or apparently intended to ing copper “ resemble or pass for, any of the King's current copper coin, (0)

money. “ every such offender shall, in England and Ireland, be guilty of felony, and in Scotland of a high crime and offence, and, being “convicted thereof, shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to “ be transported beyond the seas for any term not exceeding seven years, or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years. (p)

With respect to the offence of counterfeiting the coin in general, The offence of it may be observed, that not only all such as counterfeit the King's counterfeiting coin without his authority, but even such as are employed by him be committed in the mint, come within the statutes, if for their own lucre they by officers in make the money of baser alloy, or lighter than by their indentures the mint. they are authorized and bound to do: for they can only justify their coining at all under such an authority ; and if they have not pursued that authority, it is the same as if they had none.

But it is not any mistake in weight or alloy that will make them guilty; the act must be wilful, corrupt, and fraudulent. (9)

[ocr errors]

(?) 1 East, P. C. c. 4, s. 10, p. 161, and c. 10, s. 3 & 6. The 6th sect. of the 37 Gen. 3, c. 126, makes persons having in their custody more than five pieces of such counterfeit foreign coin liable to a penalty not exceeding 5l. por less than 40s. upon conviction before a justice of peace, for crer, such piece of coin. And the proceedings before the justice are not to be quashed for sant of form, or removed by certiorari.

(ra) Sect. 4.
(a) Sect. 5. By the 6th section of the

act persons having more than five pieces of
such counterfeit foreign coin in their pos-
session are liable to a penalty not exceed-
ing 40s. nor less than 10s. upon conviction
before a justice of the peace. And by sect.
8, no proceeding touching the conviction of
any offender before any justice of the peace
shall be quashed for want of form, or
removed by certiorari.

(0) See s. 21, ante, p. 56.
(p) See s. 19, post, p.61, as to hard labour,
(0) 1 East, P. C. c. 4, s. 13, p. 166. I

a sufficient

What will be The monies charged to be counterfeited must resemble the true

and lawful coin: (r) but this resemblance is a matter of fact of counterfeiting. which the jury are to judge upon the evidence before them; the

rule being, that the resemblance need not be perfect, but such as may in circulation ordinarily impose upon the world. (8) Thus a counterfeiting with some small variation in the inscription, effigies, or arms, done probably with intent to evade the law, is yet within it; and so is the counterfeiting in a different metal, if in appearance

it be made to resemble the true coin. (t) Round blanks

It is quite clear that there will be a sufficient counterfeiting where like shillings the counterfeit money is made to resemble coin, the impression on

, worn smooth by which has been worn away by time. In one case the shillings procirculation.

duced in evidence were quite smooth, without the smallest vestige of either head or tail, and without any resemblance of the shillings in circulation, except their colour, size, and shape; and the master of the mint proved that they were bad, but that they were very

like those shillings the impression on which had been worn away by time, and might very probably be taken by persons having less skill than himself for good shillings. And the Court were of opinion that a blank that is smoothed, and made like a piece of legal coin, the impression of which is worn out, and yet suffered to remain in circulation, is sufficiently counterfeited to the similitude of the current coin of this realm to bring the counterfeiters and coiners of such blanks within the statute; these blanks having some reasonable likeness to that coin which has been defaced by time, and yet passed in circulation. (u) In a subsequent case the point received the more solemn consideration of the twelve judges, the counsel for the prisoners having objected, upon the fact of no impression of any sort or kind being discernible upon the shillings produced in evidence, that they were not counterfeited to the likeness and similitude of the good and legal coin of the realm. But the judges were of opinion, that it was a question of fact whether the counterfeit monies were of the likeness and similitude of the lawful current silver coin called a shilling. And the jury having so found it, the want of an impression was immaterial; because, from the impression being generally worn out or defaced, it was notorious that the currency of the genuine coin of that denomination was not thereby affected"; the counterfeit therefore was perfect for circulation, and possibly might deceive the more readily from having no appearance

of an impression: and in the deception the offence consists. (x) Where the Before the 2 W.4, c. 34, where the imitation of the real coin had not false coin was proceeded so far as to fabricate a false coin sufficiently perfect to be not so far im

circulated, the offence of counterfeiting was not complete. Thus perfected as to be passable, where the prisoner had forged the impression of a half-guinea on a the offence of piece of gold, which was previously hammered, but was not round, counterfeiting

pass in the condition it then was, upon reference to the plete

, but now judges, it was held that the crime of counterfeiting was incomplete. (y) it is by 2 W. 4, And where the prisoners were convicted under the 25 Edw. 3, 6, 34, s. 3.

was not com

nor would

Hale, 213. 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 17, s. 55. 3 (u) Wilson's case, Old Bailey, 1783. 1 Inst. 16, 17. 4 Bla. Com. 84.

Leach, 285. (r) i Hawk. P, C. c. 17, s. 81.

(or) Rex v. Patrick and John Welsh, 1 (8) 1 Hale, 178, 184, 211, 215.

Leach, 364. 1 East, P. C. c. 4, 3. 13, p. (t) 1 East, P. C. c. 4, s. 13, p. 164, citing 1 MS. Sum. 50, and Ridgeley's case, (y) Varley's case, 1 Leach, 76. 1 East, Old Bailey, Dec. 1778.

P. C. c. 4, s. 13, p. 164. 2 Blac. Rep. 682.

164.

C.

a
within the sta-
tute 8 & 9

a

2, and it appeared that no one piece of the base metal found upon them was in such a state as to make it passable, the conviction was held to be wrong. (2) But by the 2 W.4, c. 34, s. 3,(zz) the offence of counterfeiting shall be deemed complete although the coin be not in a state fit to be uttered, or the counterfeiting not finished or perfected

Upon an indictment on the 8 & 9 W. 3, c. 26, s. 4 (now re- As to what was pealed)

, a question arose as to what would amount to a colouring. a colouring It appeared that the colour of silver was produced by melting a small portion of good silver with a large portion of base metal, and W. 3, c. 26, throwing it, after it had been cut into round blanks, into aqua fortis, now repealed. which has the effect of drawing to the surface whatever silver there may be in the composition, and giving the metal the colour and appearance of real silver. A doubt therefore arose, whether this process of extracting the latent silver by the power of the wash from the body to the surface of the blank was colouring with “a wash and materials” within the meaning of the statute; or whether the Legislature did not intend such a colouring only as is produced by some external application on the surface of the blank. But the judges thought that this process of extracting the latent silver from the body to the surface of the base metal by the

power

of

aqua fortis was a colouring within the words of the statute; (a) and they also thought that it might he charged as a colouring with silver; for the effect of the aqua fortis is to corrode the base metal, and leave the silver only on the superficies; and so the copper is coloured or cased with silver. (6)

So though it was necessary that the blanks should be rubbed after they were taken out of the wash, in order to give them the appearance of silver, the preparing and steeping them in the wash was held to be a colouring within the 8 & 9 W. 3, c. 26, s. 4. The prisoner was apprehended in the very act of steeping round blanks composed of brass and silver in aqua fortis : none of them were in a finished state ; but many were taken out of the liquor, and others were found dry. These blanks exhibited the appearance of lead, and some of them had the impression of a shilling, and by rubbing them they might be made perfectly to resemble silver coin; but in their then state the jury found that none of them would pass current. The question was, whether the offence was completed, inasmuch as the colour of silver had not been produced on any of the blanks. There was some difference of opinion amongst the judges upon a case reserved. One judge said, he understood the words colour

, &c.,” to mean producing on the piece of metal the colour of silver, which was not done here; for, without rubbing, the money coined would not pass : and another observed, that the word in the statute was “ producingin the present tense, and not materials which would produce. But the other judges (c) thought the conviction right. They considered that the offence was complete when the piece was coloured; for it was then coloured with materials

(2) Rex o. Harris & Minion, 1 Leach, 135. The case was referred to the judges : bet the grounds of their decision are not

And qu. if the case 29 not disposed of upon a defect in the indictment. Besides the count on the 25th Edw. 3, c. 2, there was another count upon

stated in the report.

the 8th and 9th W. 3, c. 26, s. 4.

(22) Ante, p. 55.

(a) Rex v. Lavey & Parker, 1 Leach, 153.

16) S. C. 1 East, P. C. e. 4, s. 14, p. 166.

(c) Absent, Perryn, B. and Buller, J.

« PreviousContinue »