In 1820 a satirical pamphlet called ‘Satan’s Bank Note’ appeared on the streets of London. Accompanied by a woodcut engraving of five men being executed with the devil sitting on the gallows, the pamphlet offered a biting commentary on the epidemic of forgery trials that had broken out in Britain in the years following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The anonymous author lays the blame entirely at the door of the Bank of England and its biggest debtor, the government of the day:
Near London’s ’Change there is a house,
(To name it I’m unwilling)
Where RAGS are sold, and for each Pound
John Bull gives twenty shillings.