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Commercial fraud and public men in Victorian Britain.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2005
JournalHistorical Research
Journal number200
Volume78
Number of pages23
Pages230-252
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article is a contribution to the growing literature on business morality in Victorian Britain. Using the Royal British Bank fraud of 1856 as a case study, it examines the effects association with commercial fraud had on the reputations of public men in Victorian Britain. It contends that, despite the arguments of some historians that fraud was not regarded as a serious crime in Victoria's reign, financial scandal could in fact prove lethal to the careers of public figures. Yet the criminal trial was not the sole, nor even the principal, means by which reputations were destroyed, for extra-legal punishments could be even more damaging.