Looking Back

Donna T. Andrew and Randall McGowen

in The Perreaus and Mrs. Rudd

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220621
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923706 | DOI:
Looking Back

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter reviews the Perreaus-Rudd case and reflects on the crime of forgery which seemed rampant in 1775; the crime was emblematic of the kind of nation Britain had become, a country so wrapped up in dreams of quick wealth and the pursuit of fleeting fashions that it could not distinguish illusion from reality, the wicked from the moral. It notes that the London Magazine lamented in September 1776 that it was a “true Enchanted Island”, the situation would have been hilarious except that the consequences were so serious. It observes that while the outcome of the case remained in doubt, the contest between Mrs. Rudd and the Perreaus played into deeper sources of unease associated with questions of empire, fashion, and paper credit. It exploits this tension to explore the fault lines that ran through eighteenth-century London society.

Keywords: Perreaus-Rudd case; forgery; Britain; London Magazine; empire; fashion; paper credit; London society

Chapter.  4167 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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