Signed archive of rare United States Government circulars, enclosures, and supplements

[UNCLAIMED ENGLISH ESTATE INHERITENCE SCHEME]

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Date Published: 1888

Description: These documents are dated from 1884 to 1892. Several are signed in type by Robert Todd Lincoln, American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Department of State. 13.25 x 8.25-inch slim folio-sized volume, bound with marble boards and leather, 20 pages, with the addition of an important typed letter signed by Benjamin F. Butler, investigating a mass inheritance fraud perpetrated on the citizens of America by con artists in the United Kingdom. During this period, American citizens would be notified that they were heirs to a large unclaimed English Estate or perhaps a large sum of money held in the Bank of England. To receive their inheritance, they were told that certain legal fees and real estate transfer taxes would have to be paid to agents of the British Government. Another variation of the scheme involved American con artists placing advertisements in newspapers calling themselves "European claim agencies" and charging Americans exorbitant fees for investigating the ownership of non-existing estates. Lincoln is flustered because the American Legation in London is receiving hundreds of letters from American citizens who were swindled, and yet little was being done in the United States to educate its citizens to the magnitude of the fraud. Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine [extract], March 3, 1891, "...since March 4, 1889, one hundred and ninety (190) letters have been received at this Legation alleging the writers claims to large estates in England or to fantastic sums of money 'in chancery' or 'in the Bank of England,' none of them containing an element of probability..." In conclusion is a typed letter signed by former Union General Benjamin F. Butler, 1 page on law office letterhead, Boston, November 14, 1888, whereby he brings to light the vast magnitude of the con, in part: "...I have now been more than 45 years in the practice of a legal profession, more or less extensively. I have heard of more than 4500--I hope I do not exaggerate--cases of large estates in England awaiting American heirs, and I have been consulted in a very great many, and early in life looked into such matters; but I have not for the last 25 years at all because I never have heard of one dollar coming from England to any American heir on account of such estates. In the first place it is a legal impossibility unless the heirs are British subjects...all those I have ever known about are swindles..." Leather binding worn at the spine with light fading to the marble boards. All interior documents are in good to very good condition.

Signed: Y
Binding: hardcover
Language: English
Type: Autographs

Book ID: 254089


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