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An Enquiry into The State of the Union of Great Britain, and The Past and Present State of the Trade and Publick Revenues thereof.
London: printed for A. and W. Bell, and J. Watts; and sold by B. Barker and C. King [& 2 others in London],, 1717. By the Wednesday's Club in Friday-street. Octavo (192 x 115 mm). Contemporary calf, library mark at foot of unlettered spine with raised bands. Ownership inscription and shelf mark to pastedown. Calf dry and rubbed, extremities worn, front free endpaper loosening, pages toned with some light foxing, a few pages lightly creased. A very good copy. 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. This copy has the rare initial blank, lacking in the British Library, Kress, and Sraffa copies.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2018-02-15           Check availability:      Biblio    


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