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Act of Parliament, for Erecting a Bank in Scotland.

[Edinburgh: 1695] Stock Code: 145166
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The foundation of the Bank of Scotland

The Scottish Parliamentary Act which established the Bank of Scotland.

This Act, together with six further acts subsequently obtained, forms the constitution of the Bank of Scotland. Its original capital was 1,200,000 Scotch, or 100,000 sterling. "The Act exempted the capital of the bank from all public burdens, and gave it the exclusive privilege of banking in Scotland for twenty-one years. The objects for which the bank was instituted, and its mode of management, were intended to be, and have been, in most respects similar to those of the Bank of England" (McCulloch, p. 161). McCulloch's estimation is not entirely correct: whereas the Bank of England was closely aligned with government and made large loans to the king, the Bank of Scotland was primarily concerned with the needs of commerce, and was in fact forbidden to lend to the government without parliamentary approval. The Act also contained the odd privilege that foreign investors in the Bank "shall thereby be and become naturalized Scots-men, to all intents and purposes whatsoever". The twenty-one year monopoly which the Act granted the Bank was allowed to lapse on its completion, a significant development as it allowed the future establishment of other joint-stock banks, in contrast to England where the Bank of England retained its dominant position over the smaller banks. The Bank was one of the first in Europe to print its own banknotes, and it remains operational today, as the fifth-oldest bank in the United Kingdom. It is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to remain in existence.

The Act was published in various editions in the same year, with five variants listed by ESTC, three in folio, two in quarto; there seems to be no way to establish priority. Between the two quarto editions, this edition has the "A" of signature A1 under the "d" of "Edinburgh", with another edition having the "A" under the "rg" of "Edinburgh".

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Small quarto, 8pp. (230 x 174 mm). Disbound; contemporary manuscript note "2" to first page.


Generally soiled and worn as often for such disbound Acts, yet notwithstanding a very good copy, complete without repair.


Aldis, List of Books Printed in Scotland before 1700, 3424; ESTC R232205; Goldsmiths' 3171 (folio edition); Wing S1128. See McCulloch, The Literature of Political Economy, 1845.


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