Dirty money was once more than a metaphor. It had a horrible stench, according to this letter published in the London, Ontario Advertiser, April 4, 1902.
An open letter to the Hon. W.S. Fielding, minister of finance, and to all the general managers of the Canadian banks:
Gentlemen — Are you willing, by a single stroke of the pen, to contribute largely to the comfort of the entire population of Canada? Are you willing, by such a simple method, to do away with, very largely, one of the methods by which infectious disease is undoubtedly spread? Surely, if a simple order can do these things, you will not refuse to give it?
Give orders, then, that all the bills which are soiled are to be called in, and sent out no more. It is just as easy to issue clean bills as dirty ones. Everyone who handles money is constantly disgusted at the filthy conditions of our bills, the stench from which is often literally horrible. Why continue such a state of affairs? There is not a person living, I presume, who would not rather handle a clean bill than a dirty one. Unquestionably, also, disease is spread by handling of dirty money. And when, by simple order, you can obviate daily discomfort to hundreds of thousands of people, why not give the order?
Will you not, in the interests of the whole Canadian people, do what I ask.
Yours faithfully, Max Liebech, principal of the Grammar School, Berthier, P.Q