# 34919

[ROUPELL, William, 1831-1909]

Life and Confession of William Roupell, the Convict Forger and Perjurer. Written by himself. In Horsemonger-Lane Gaol, Surrey … Never before published.

$450.00 AUD

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London : printed by J. Samuels, 6 Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, [1862?]. Chapbook, 185 x 130 mm, 16 pp; old vertical and horizontal folds, a small perforation at their intersection (which affects all pages but without loss of text), the first page with moderate foxing to the first few pages, else contents very good.

The story of William Rouppel’s fall from grace is a remarkable one. This account, although almost certainly not penned by Roupell himself, includes and embellishes upon most of the facts which surfaced at his trial in 1862. Brought up in a wealthy aristocratic London family, he was aware from an early age that he was illegitimate, and that he would inherit nothing through his father’s will. Desperate to lead the lifestyle of a fashionable young man about town, Roupell turned to his considerable talent for forgery, using it against his own family and defrauding them – without their knowledge – of an estimated £100,000 by the late 1850s. When his father died in 1856, Roupell even forged a new will which left the entire estate to his sympathetic mother, from whom he received regular financial support. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Lambeth, but soon afterwards was forced to flee to Spain due to the fact that he could not continue to cover the mortgage repayments on a string of fraudulently acquired properties. Returning to England in 1862, he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to numerous charges of fraud and forgery, and was sentenced to transportation to Gibraltar for life. However, he ultimately spent his servitude in England. He was released from prison in 1876, and lived a further 33 years as a free man.

OCLC locates a single copy of this ephemeral publication of Roupell’s confessions (National Library of Australia)