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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
E-3 ECO04 New Uses of Individual Financial Instruments in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Trade
B22
Network: Economic History Chair: Janine Maegraith
Organizers: Craig Muldrew, Joris van den Tol Discussant: Elise Dermineur Reuterswärd
Moderators: -
Craig Muldrew : Measuring the Use of Inland Bills in Early Eighteenth Century England
In his book Trade and banking in early modern England, (1988), Eric Kerridge argued that from the early seventeenth century English wholesalers and traders began to adopt the system of international payments merchants. This was the bill of exchange, whereby payments for goods in distant ports could be paid for ... (Show more)
In his book Trade and banking in early modern England, (1988), Eric Kerridge argued that from the early seventeenth century English wholesalers and traders began to adopt the system of international payments merchants. This was the bill of exchange, whereby payments for goods in distant ports could be paid for by drawing on merchants in the port of purchase who owed debts in the buyer’s home port. In Europe these were first used by Italian merchants as lettera di cambio. The exchange involved different currencies, but within England the system of discounting was adopted without exchange. By the early eighteenth century, the letter books of traders such as that of Joseph Symson, a mercer from Kendal, show inland bills were being used continually, especially to buy and sell with agents in London. At the same time the number of letters being processed by the English Post Office also expanded tremendously. Although private letter writing has received much attention, the role of the Post Office in the economy as a means of sending inland bills has not been given the attention it deserves. This paper will try to make some estimates of how much business mail might have been processed in this period using the excellent accounts of the Post Office. (Show less)

Ellen Nye : Tax Farming Assignments as Credit Instruments in an Ottoman Era of Fiscal Innovation, 1690-1720.
A liquid secondary market for government debt securities is often seen as a crucial step for the development of the fiscal-military state within European history. This paper uses merchant correspondence, English Levant Company records, and Ottoman state documents to reveal a previously unknown trade in Ottoman tax farming assignments ... (Show more)
A liquid secondary market for government debt securities is often seen as a crucial step for the development of the fiscal-military state within European history. This paper uses merchant correspondence, English Levant Company records, and Ottoman state documents to reveal a previously unknown trade in Ottoman tax farming assignments around 1700 glimpsed through English merchant activities. Ottoman tax farming revenue assignments served as credit instruments facilitating transfers and providing collateral in a cash-scarce environment. These assignments were then listed, sometimes across several pages, in merchants’ probate inventories. Difficulties occasionally arose from the transfer of a revenue assignment from one person to another when the license (ber?t) recognized only the initial owner, yet regular references to tax farming assignments in the hands of English merchants suggests that these merchants felt secure enough in their value to accept them as payment. The trade in tax farming assignments thus indicates a secondary market for Ottoman debt that supported new, longer-term public financing schemes even if securing payments on the assignments could prove difficult. Through a discussion of the trade in Ottoman tax farming assignments, this paper shows the breadth of financial arrangements in the early modern world beyond the well-known, London-centric model of the Financial Revolution. (Show less)

Moto Takahashi : Savings Institutions in Eighteenth Century Japan
This paper draws on newly discovered documents from the early modern village of Kami-shiojiri in Ueda, Nagano prefecture. These consist primarily of large number of certificates from institutions that were termed Mujin ('endless') and Ko ('lecture'). These were microfinance organisations which took the form of family businesses. ... (Show more)
This paper draws on newly discovered documents from the early modern village of Kami-shiojiri in Ueda, Nagano prefecture. These consist primarily of large number of certificates from institutions that were termed Mujin ('endless') and Ko ('lecture'). These were microfinance organisations which took the form of family businesses. Furthermore, Ko grew into a savings scheme called "Eizoku Ko" (perpetual savings scheme) which eventually became a deposit-based lending organisation long before the formation of modern banking companies. This finding differs significantly from the prevailing view in Japanese financial history research that deposit banks generally did not come into existence until the end of the 19th century. It also confirms the fact that the existence of social relations centred on direct and indirect kinship relations lay strongly behind this microfinance. The paper also analyses long-term credit transactions which took the form od debt repayment certificates known as Oku-incho (hidden notes). These were used by various types of merchant traders including the silkworm cocoon trade. (Show less)

Joris van den Tol : Capital Colony: Credit on Barbados, 1634-1659
This paper studies the international financial entanglement of the sugar boom on Barbados in the first half of the seventeenth century, and the role of (commodity) credit in a society with permanent scarcity of specie. Traditional historiography has pointed to the (Jewish) Dutch fleeing from Brazil around 1654 as the ... (Show more)
This paper studies the international financial entanglement of the sugar boom on Barbados in the first half of the seventeenth century, and the role of (commodity) credit in a society with permanent scarcity of specie. Traditional historiography has pointed to the (Jewish) Dutch fleeing from Brazil around 1654 as the drivers of the sugar boom (the increased dominance of sugar production on Barbados instead of cotton and tobacco). The revisionist literature, principally Russell Menard’s Sweet Negotiation (2006), has argued that instead influential London merchants in the circles of Martin Noell, Maurice Thompson and William Pennoyer financed the sugar boom in the late 1640s. This paper reinvestigates these claims by positioning plantation credit in Barbados in the period in the context of all credit. Moreover, by combining the Barbados notarial deeds with Dutch notarial deeds this paper is able to expand details for more creditors and to link agents of unspecified origins to principals in the Dutch Republic. Thus, this paper revises the claim that the Dutch were not very important in financing Barbados, and illuminates the role of credit in a trans-Atlantic system that crossed imperial boundaries. Moreover, by including internal credit systems in the colony, this paper helps to understand how colonists navigated transactions and debts when short on monetary means. While other societies in need of specie used wampum (North America), cowry (Africa), or paper (China) to express debt relations, or used enslaved labour as a form of payments (Brazil), the colonists on Barbados expressed transactions in colonially-grown commodities. These commodities changed over time. Understanding the relationship between the colonial and inter-imperial credit systems is crucial to understand the economic history of the first decades of the English Atlantic world. (Show less)



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