Henry Fauntleroy - Encyclopedia




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HENRY FAUNTLEROY (1785-1824), English banker and forger, was born in 1785. After seven years as a clerk in the London bank of Marsh, Sibbald & Co., of which his father was one of the founders, he was taken into partnership, and the whole business of the firm was left in his hands. In 1824 the bank suspended payment. Fauntleroy was arrested on the charge of appropriating trust funds by forging the trustees' signatures, and was committed for trial, it being freely rumoured that he had appropriated 250,000, which he had squandered in debauchery. He was tried at the Old Bailey, and, the case against him having been proved, he admitted his guilt, but pleaded that he had used the misappropriated funds to pay his firm's debts. He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Seventeen merchants and bankers gave evidence as to his general integrity at the trial, and after his conviction powerful influence was brought to bear on his behalf, and his case was twice argued before judges on points of law. An Italian named Angelini even offered to take Fauntleroy's place on the scaffold. The efforts of his many friends were, however, unavailing, and he was executed on the 30th of November 1824. A wholly unfounded rumour was widely credited for some time subsequently to the effect that he had escaped strangulation by inserting a silver tube in his throat, and was living comfortably abroad.

See A. Griffith's Chronicles of Newgate, ii. 2 94-3 00, and Pierce Egan's Account of the Trial of Mr Fauntleroy.

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