English Exchequer Bills

Scope and Content

Manuscript volume containing papers relating to the issue of Exchequer Bills during the reign of King William III in order to carry on the war with France (the War of the Grand Alliance), 1696-1697, notably a holograph memorandum by Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, advocating steps to encourage subscriptions to Exchequer bills and steps to make the bills assignable, [1696]; a draft of letters patent of King William III concerning the payment of Dutch troops, written in Dutch, [1696]; a list of subscribers to the contract for exchanging bills, 4 May 1697; a copy of the sign manual warrant to the Treasury ordering payment to the trustees of the second contract for Exchequer bills of the interest on the subscription contracted, [1697]; a Statement of Exchequer bills from 27 Apr to 9 Jun, 11 Jun 1697; a tract [by William Paterson] headed 'A proposall for setling a transferrable fund of perpetual interest', which is possibly the first proposal for a funded debt.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Exchequer was responsible for receiving and dispersing the public revenue.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Part of the Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature, initially collected by Herbert Somerton Foxwell and presented by the Goldsmith's Company to the University of London in 1903.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Manuscript quarto and folio leaves, bound into a volume.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Smith as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

The National Library of Scotland holds a copy of [William Paterson's] tract proposing a transferable fund of perpetual interest (Ref: Adv MS 31.1.7, fol 87).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

The manuscript was bought by Herbert Somerton Foxwell at the Sotheby's sale of the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st Baronet, 19 Jun 1893.


The memorandum by the Earl of Halifax and extracts from the sign manual warrant to the Treasury were printed in Ming-hsn Li The great recoinage of 1696-1699 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1963); the tract supposedly by William Paterson was published in J K Horsefield British Monetary Experiments, 1650-1710 (London School of Economics and Political Science; G. Bell & Sons: London, 1960).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names