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[PATERSON, William.]

An Enquiry into The State of the Union of Great Britain, and The Past and Present State of the Trade and Publick Revenues thereof.

By the Wednesday's Club in Friday-street.

London: printed for A. and W. Bell, and J. Watts; and sold by B. Barker and C. King [& 2 others in London], 1717 Stock Code: 122176
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By the founder of the Bank of England

First edition, written by William Paterson (1658-1719), founder of the Bank of England and projector of the Darien scheme. In An Enquiry into the State of the Union, Paterson using the fictional "Mr May" as his mouthpiece considers the effects of the Anglo-Scottish union of 1707 on English trade and commerce, as well as the best means of paying off the national debt. His arguments and opinions are presented as a series of conversations held by the imaginary Wednesday Club, who supposedly gathered in Friday-street, Cheapside and conducted discussions on current financial affairs under Paterson's direction; though his biographer, Saxe Bannister, has expressed doubt over the veracity of the anecdote, it was historically believed that the Bank of England was created as the result of a Wednesday Club debate. A Scottish politician and banker himself, Paterson was a strong advocate of the union with England and played an important part in the arrangement of the public accounts in the Treaty. He was employed in London and Edinburgh as part of the "team that calculated the compensatory 'equivalent' for Scotland upon being subject to English customs and excise rates" (ODNB), and spent much time in Edinburgh campaigning as a pro-union propagandist for Robert Harley's government. His final significant contribution to national finance reform was to suggest measures to reduce national debt: these became Walpole's Sinking Fund (1716-7), several elements of which he discusses in this work.

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Octavo (197 x 122 mm). Contemporary speckled calf, rebacked to style in sheep preserving the original red morocco label, raised bands, double rule and scroll frame in gilt to boards, edges sprinkled red.


Woodcut head- and tailpieces.


Lacking the initial blank as with the BL, Kress, and Sraffa copies. Armorial bookplate of Ditton Park and shelf marks written in red ink to front pastedown. Extremities worn, boards a little chipped, endpapers browned from turn-ins and pasted to inner margins of title leaf and T2, contents tanned with occasional spotting, otherwise a very good copy.


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