1797: Suspension of cash payments by the Bank of England

At the Council Chamber Whitehall, February 26th, 1797.

By the Lords of His Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council.

Present, the Lord Chancellor, Lord President, Duke of Portland, Marquis Cornwallis, Earl Spencer, Earl of Liverpool, Lord Grenville, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.

UPON the Representation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, stating that from the Result of the Information which he has received, and of the Enquiries which it has been his Duty to make respecting the Effect of the unusual Demands for Specie that have been made upon the Metropolis, in consequence of ill-founded or exaggerated Alarms in different Parts of the Country, it appears that unless some Measure is immediately taken there may be Reason to apprehend a Want of a sufficient Supply of Cash to answer the Exigencies of the Publick Service; It is the unanimous Opinion of the Board, that it is indispensably necessary for the Publick Service that the Directors of the Bank of England should forbear issuing any Cash in Payment until the Sense of Parliament can be taken on that Subject, and the proper Measures adopted thereupon, for maintaining the Means of Circulation, and supporting the Publick and Commercial Credit of the Kingdom at this important Conjuncture ; and it is ordered that a Copy of this Minute be transmitted to the Directors of the Bank of England, and they are hereby required, on the Grounds of the Exigency of the Case, to conform thereto, until the Sense of Parliament can be taken as aforesaid.

(Signed) W. Fawkener.

Source: London Gazette, 13986, February 25 to February 28, 1797.

Related legislation: 37 George 3 c. 45. 37 George 3 c. 91. 38 George 3 c. 1.

Further reading: Wikipedia.