Page:Englishmen in the French Revolution.djvu/32
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
Prussia, and another strip from Bordeaux to Narbonne to Spain, England taking the colonies. A second pamphlet advocated a wholesale manufacture of forged assignats, as the surest and most merciful method of crushing the Revolution. He urged that this would save many lives; that American notes were forged in General Howe's camp without its being deemed dishonourable; and that there could be no fear of retaliation, seeing that Bank of England notes were payable at sight. Names, says the old song, go by contraries. Only on the lucus à non principle can we explain the sanguinary temper of a Rossignol, a Saint-Just, or a Lebon, and the forged assignat proposal of a Playfair. Unfortunately his suggestion did not fall on deaf ears. The British Government is alleged to have connived at the manufacture by the émigrés of forged assignats at Howden, near Newcastle. The local tradition is that this paper-mill on the Tyne never prospered afterwards. Some of the exiled bishops and clergy reprobated the act, but the Bourbon princes apparently reconciled themselves to it on the casuistical plea that the counterfeit notes had a secret mark by which, in the event of the restoration of the monarchy, they could be distinguished and cashed.
The Committee of Public Safety set a better example by imprisoning an English refugee named Hathway, who proposed an issue of forged Bank of England notes.