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with the third Number will gain
3000 guineas if 20000
1500 „ 10000
1200 „ 5000
Then follow the address and other tempting inducements. In 1781 an Act was passed to prevent the insurance of tickets by any method. The office-keepers continued to insure notwithstanding, and many prosecutions resulted; but as the profits were greater than the fines, business continued to run briskly. One man was in 1784 fined fifteen hundred pounds, and he brought an action in 1785 to recover the money from the sheriff who had levied the amount on his goods. The case was tried in the Court of King's Bench, and ended in an almost immediate nonsuit In February 1793 the Commissioners of the Lottery, in order to abate insuring, determined that no persons should be suffered to take down numbers except the clerks of licensed offices known to the Commissioners. No slips were to be sent out; but the numbers were to be taken down by one clerk in one book; Steel's list of lottery numbers was to be abolished, and a recompense made for it; and the magistrates resolved to apprehend all suspicious persons who should be seen taking early numbers. Yet in 1796 there was a class of sharpers who took lottery insurances, and this gambling among the higher and middle classes was carried on to an extent exceeding all credibility, producing consequences to many private families of great worth and respectability, of the most distressing nature.
The insurance offices in London numbered over four hundred. To many of them persons were attached called Morocco men, who went from house to house among their customers, or attended in the back parlours of publichouses, for the purpose of making insurances. It was calculated that at these offices (exclusive of what was done at the licensed offices) insurances were made to the extent ot eight hundred thousand pounds, in premiums, during the Irish Lottery, and above one million during the English, upon which it was calculated that the insurers made from fifteen to twenty-five per cent, profit. This confederacy, during the English Lottery of the year 1796, supported about two thousand agents and clerks, and nearly eight thousand Morocco men, "including a considerable number of ruffians and bludgeon men, paid by a general association of the principal proprietors of the establishments, who regularly met in committee in a well-known public-house in Oxford Market, twice or thrice a week during the drawing of the lottery, for the purpose of concerting measures to defeat the exertions of the magistrates by forcibly resisting or bribing the officers of justice."
Lotteries were declared by the Parliamentary reports of 1807 to be inseparable from illegal insurances. The reports further state that "the Lottery is so radically vicious, that under no system of regulations which can be devised will it be pessible for Parliament to adopt it as an efficient source of revenue, and at the same time divest it of all the evils and calamities of which it has hitherto been so baneful a source." Among these evils and calamities the Committees of Parliament enumerate that" idleness, dissipation, and poverty were increased,—the most sacred and confidential trusts were betrayed, — domestic comfort was destroyed, madness was often created, suicide itself was produced, and crimes subjecting the perpetrators of them to death were committed." Sir Nathaniel Conant, who in 1816 was chief magistrate of Bow Street, stated to a committee of the House of Commons that the Lottery was one of the predisposing causes by which the people of the metropolis were vitiated; that it led to theft, to supply losses and disappointments occasioned by speculating on its chances; and that illegal insurances continued to be effected. "There are," he says, "people in the background, who, having got forty or fifty thousand pounds by that, employ people of the lowest order, and give them a com
mission for what they bring; there is, a wheel within a wheel" Another magistrate giving evidence before the same committee, said, " It is a scandal to the Government, thus to excite people to practise the vice of gaming for the purpose of drawing a revenue from their ruin. It is an anomalous proceeding by law to declare gambling infamous; to hunt out petty gamblers in their recesses, and cast them into prison; and by law also to set up the giant gambling of the State Lottery, and encourage persons to resort to it by the most captivating devices which ingenuity uncontrolled by moral rectitude can invent." This evidence may be regarded as the ultimate cause of the suppression of lotteries, which might have dragged on an existence for a few more years had it not been for the atrocities of the insurance-mongers. We will now turn towards the closing scenes in this eventful drama.
Seldom was human ingenuity more exercised than in giving public notoriety to lottery schemes. The originators or proprietors of lotteries used to employ a number of persons, frequently of considerable literary ability and talent, to attract the public attention by verses, ingenious advertisements, and decoy paragraphs in the newspapers, engaging the attention of the readers by smart allusions to political topics or other matters of interest, which entrapped the unwary into lottery puffs. Thirteen thousand pounds was usually paid into the Exchequer for duties on these and other methods of advertising practised by the lottery people, and some of the agents spent as much as ^20,000 in puffing and advertisements. Take the following as a specimen of the puffing which marked the later days of the Lottery:—
Before the time of Sir Isaac Newton, various notions were entertained concerning colours. Plato said colour was a flame issuing from bodies, , the Indians of America believed the same, and when any person read a letter they believed it spoke, and blessed the paper in proportion as they were moved by it. What emotions would the following billet
excite ?" The bearer may receive one hundred thousand pounds." This would make a deep impression on the natives of every country, and may now be realised; for by the present Grand Lottery a single ticket may bestow on the Bearer One Hundred Thousand Pounds.
Here is another of the same ingenious description, which kept the trap constantly baited for the unsuspecting:—
Duel.—On Friday last a meeting took place near Plymouth, between
Capt. G and Lieut. R , both of the Royal Navy, when, after
exchanging shots, happily without effect, the seconds interfered and amicably adjusted the dispute. The following is said to have been
the cause of the duel :—Lieut. R had dreamt three successive
nights that a certain number would be a prize of ^3000, in the ensuing
lottery, which he mentioned to Captain G , but never intimated
any intention of having that ticket; he, however, wrote up to his agent in London to procure it, who found the Captain was beforehand with him, as he had got it the day before, and refused to give it up. By the intercession of the seconds, it is settled that they are each to have half the ticket, and as they are both very meritorious officers, we sincerely wish they may have one of the numerous Capital Prizes with which the scheme abounds.
The most stupendous efforts were made to promote the success of the last lottery, which, however, languished sadly. The price of tickets was arbitrarily raised, to induce a belief that they were in great demand, " at the very moment when," says Hone, writing immediately afterwards, "their sale was notoriously at a stand; and the lagging attention of the public of the metropolis was endeavoured to be quickened by all sorts of stratagems to the 18th of July, as the very last chance that would occur in England of gaining 'Six 30,000/. besides other Capitals,' which it was positively affirmed were ' all to be drawn ' on that fatal day." Besides the dispersion of innumerable bills and aspersions on Government for extinguishing the Lottery, those most interested in its preservation caused London and the suburbs to be paraded by a most magnificent procession, in which was a band of music which played to attract attention, and then a man stepped forward, and ringing a bell, announced the