Introduction and Note on the Texts
The Early Writings of George Lippard, 1842-43
Picture of Lippard
Spirit of the Times
The Citizen Soldier
City Police
Our Talisman
Bank Crisis
The Sanguine Poetaster/Bread Crust
Social Satires
Mysterious Story
The Walnut Coffin Papers
The Spermaceti Papers
A. Brownson Smallcott Apologues

[D] Bank Crisis

Financial corruption was a conspicuous theme of the “Our Talisman” series, and during the same period of time there appeared in The Spirit of the Times a series of dramatic reports on the public disturbances occasioned by a series of bank failures in Philadelphia. Although these articles have not previously been attributed to Lippard, they are closely linked in tone and theme to the “Our Talisman” sketches; indeed, in the first one of these, Flib made an appearance and used his magic ring to enter a crowded banking room and report back on what he saw. This explicit connection—via the presence of Flib—to the “Our Talisman” series (which has been securely attributed to Lippard), and the obvious resemblances among the five articles collected below, as well as the indignant scoffing at financial chicanery which was a hallmark of Lippard’s writing at this time, combine to make it nearly certain that these were Lippard’s work too. Read More ...

The United States underwent a financial depression between 1837 and 1842, which began with the failure of New York banks (they ceased redeeming their paper notes with specie, i.e., gold or silver coin). These street-level reports by Lippard thus recorded the ongoing crisis of the financial system, tried to assign blame to corrupt bankers, and strove to draw attention to the consequences of this crisis for the everyday lives of individuals whose bank notes had been depreciated or rendered worthless.