Tuesday May 04 1802 - Thursday July 01 1802
Letter XXI. - Queen Ann's Farthing
There is, perhaps, no country in which the passion for collecting rarities is so prevalent as in England.
The wealth of the kingdom, the rapidity with which intelligence is circulated, and the facility with which.
things are conveyed from one end of the island to the other, are instrumental causes; but the main cause
is the oddity of the people themselves. There is a popular notion, which has originated heaven know show,
that a Queen Anne's farthing (the smallest coin they have,) is worth 5000l. and some little while ago an
advertisement appeared in the newspapers offering one for sale at that price. This at once excited the hopes
of every body who possessed one of these coins, for there are really so many in existence that the fictitious
value is little or nothing. Other farthings were speedily announced to be sold by private contract,--go
where you would, this was the topic of conversation. The strange part of the story is to come. A man was
brought before the magistrates charged by a soldier with having assaulted him on the high way and robbed
him of eight pounds, some silver, and a Queen Anne's farthing. The man protested his innocence, and
brought sufficient proof of it. Upon further investigation it was discovered that some pettifogging lawyer,
as ignorant as he was villanous, had suborned the soldier to bring this false accusation against an innocent
man in the hopes of hanging him, and so getting possession of the farthing. Unbelievable as you may think
this, I have the most positive testimony of its truth.