A Kick Up at a Hazard Table – Thomas Rowlandson
“The number of new gaming houses established at the West End of the town is indeed a matter of very serious evil, but they are not likely to decrease while examples of the same nature are held forth in the higher circles of life. It is needless to point out any one of these houses in particular; it is sufficient for us to expose the tricks that are practised at many of them to swindle the unsuspecting young men of fortune who are entrapped into these whirlpools of destruction The first thing necessary is to give the guests a good dinner and plenty of wine, which many of these houses do gratis. When they are sufficiently intoxicated and having lost all the money about them, their acceptance is obtained to Bills of Exchange to a considerable amount, which frequently are paid to avoid the disagreeable circumstance of a public exposition in a Court of Justice, which is always threatened though the gamesters well know that no such measure durst be adopted by them.
Should any reluctance or hesitation be shewn by the injured party to accept these bills, he is shewn into a long room with a target at the end of it and several pistols lying about where he is given to understand these sharpers practice a considerable time of the day in shooting at a mark and have arrived to such perfection in this exercise that either of them can shoot a pistol ball within an inch of the mark from the common distance taken by duellists. A hint is then dropped that further hesitation will render the use of the pistols necessary and which will again be the case should he ever divulge what he has seen and heard. If further particulars or proofs are wanting, they may be known on application to certain Military characters who have already made some noise in the world.” Times Feb 14 1793