Maberly Phillips.

A history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c online

. (page 48 of 57)
Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 48 of 57)
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Thomas Tinley.
Emanuel Taylor.
Jon. CockerilL.
William Barnes.
James Marr.
George Cruddas.
Wm. Green.
Nicholas Cooke.

Alex. Russell.
Crawford & Russell.
Nehemiah Blagdon.
Thomas Swan.
Henry Hays.
Wm. Harrison.
D. McAllum.
Edward Hewison.
Mary Weatherhead.
James Leslie.
Hugh Bell.
Robert Rochester.
Eliz. Lishman.
W. Davison.
Robert Appleby.
John Wilkin.

Alex. Bartleman.
Wm. F. Hewison.
Thomas Dobinson.
I. Cram.

Thomas Appleby.
John Craig.
William Awburn.
Coulson & Cruddas.
Mary Purvis.
Robert Storey.
Robert Smails.
Dorothy Redpath.
John Fenwick.
A. Trotter.
Edmund Coppin.
A. Lesslie.


William Robson.
Miles Jordeson.
R. Swaai.
John Robson.
William Wardle.
James Richardson.
Thomas Ramsay.
Thomas Bulloch.
James Lyon.
Isaac Kirton.
John Swan.
Charles Turner.
Mary Beall.
Isabella Carr.
John Coppin.
Francis Laidman.
Alexander Mitchell.
James Richardson.
Henry Weightman.
John Y. Reay.
John Dale.
Colonel Ramsay.
A. Watson.
C. Downie.
J. Weatherburn.
W. Haswell.
George Hindmarsh.
Thomas Gilholm.
Spence & Foster.
M. B. Foster.
Hannah Reed.
Barbara Alexander.
John Hutchinson.
Thomas Todd.
Elizabeth Bell.
William Pearson.
Edward Drury.
Robert Hansell.
W. Burnett.
John Gray.
W. Oxley.
George Taylor.
Robert Cleugh.
W. Robertson.
John Dale.
E. Walmsley.
Michael Spoor.
John Jefferson.
W. Patterson.
Henry Dale.
Samuel Hall, jun.
Nicholas Bird.
George Burrell.
Thomas Embleton.
Hugh Hume.
G. Gibson.
Thomas Pearson.
John Shield.
Sarah Wilson.
A. Ellison & Son.
Horner, Clark, & Co.
Proctor & Spence.

M. & J. Bell.
W. Wailes.
J. Peart.
Thomas Haig.
W. H. Aynsley.
John Bell.
T. Matterson.
John Bell.
John Thwaites.
H. Taylor & Son.
Harrop Pringle.
Joseph Elder.
Ralph Young.
John Weatherley.
W. Gott, jun.
John Sharp.
E. Dixon.
R. Hewitt.
W. Blackwood.
Rachael Sanderson.
C. Fenwick & Co.
N. Fenwick.
M. Ramshaw.
Jane Davidson.
Thomas Walker.
Rennison & Spencer.
John Bowie.
G. Hunnam.
Hannah Pringle.
Joseph Ogilvie.
R. Forster.
Joseph Harrison.
Wm. Hutchinson.
Thomas Reay.
John Walker.
Hannah More.
Wra. Vickerson.
John Ostle.
Alex. Cowey.
Robert Trotter.
P. Ibbetson.
John Hays.
Mary Thompson.
Matthew Carlisle.
William Hogg.
Matthew Anderson.
Richard Clark.
Ann Davenport.
Peter Coats.
Jonathan Spence.
Wm. Brown.
Robert Forrest.
Wm. Orange.
Robert Reed.
R. B. Storey.
Ann Scott.
Alex. Gillies.
Ben. Lisle.
Susannah Reid.
John Cowey.
Richard Brown.
Henry Bowmaker.

John Hearn.

W. Brown.

J. Heweth.

John Hastings.

John Newree.

Joseph Fidler.

Robert Nicholson.

W. Richardson.

John Hunter.

G. Wigham.

John Dawson.

James Wake.

John Brogdon.

Esther Rutherford.

John Whale.

Clement Appleby.

Robert Gilholm.

Henry Bewick.

Joseph James.

Joseph Bell.

Elisha Bell.

Sarah Richardson.

Ann Marshall.

James Legg.

Maria Dormond.

Thomas Sutherland.

Webster and Matthewson.

David Sutter.

Henry Dunn.

George Balmer.

Mary Salkeld.

Robert Hewison.

Elizabeth Walmsley.

Robert Dixon.

Dorothy Fithye.

Clara Carr.

John Margarets.

Matthew Stewart.

Wm. Forster.

John McLellan.

Elizabeth Newton.

Elizabeth TurnbuU.

Charles Starks.

Michael Wake.

Richard Bell.

James Nicholson.

Henry Hart.

Sarah Towns.

Robert Butler.

Jane Salkeld.

Barbara Younger.

John Armstrong.

B. C. Tyzack.

Snowden & Wardle.

John Manners.

Ellison & Temple.

N. Blagdon.

R. Barker.

R. Hume.

W. AUon.

N.B. — The original Lists are at Mr. Barnes's for further signatures.
North Shields, Thursday Noon, July 25th, 1816.






From Peter Pry, at Alston, to his Cousin, Bob Fudge, in Newcastle.

DEAR BOB, — " Experience," says the old proverb, " teaches fools wisdom." This is true ; for
I was very lately blind, but the " working of events " has opened my eyes. The prejudice,
the bigotry, the pride which formerly blocked up all the avenues by which truth could
enter my uaderstanding, have been levelled by one rude blow ; and I now wonder how I could be so
obstinate and so silly. Let any man tell me now, that a " Promise to pay," written on a dirty bit of
paper, is better or as good as payment itself, and I will laugh in his face. Let me hear a fellow argue,
that paper is better than gold for all the purposes of security in Trade, and I will " write him down an
ass." — Let me hear any one lamenting the approaching resumption of cash payments by the Bank of
England, and talking with indifEerence of the thousands of victims sacrificed by the Old Hag in
Threadneedle street, and I will pronounce him a hard-hearted Scoundrel.

This train of thinking originated in the stoppage -of payments by the Banking House of Sii
Francis Blake, Bart., Reeds, and Co. What a Bank! and how stored it must have been with the
valuable metals ! Well, when the news first reached our bleak wilderness, I received it with a mixture
of incredulity and indignation. " It is a vile — an incredible fiction," said I. " Are not Blake,
Reeds, & Co." I triumphantly asked, " Bankers to the richest and wisest Peer in the realm ? Do they
not receive a great proportion of the taxes from the Receivers ? Are they not patronized by the very
loyal, and very sagacious Corporation of Newcastle ? Have they not the support of the wealthiest and
most zealous church and king gentry in the North ? Has not Archibald Reed had the honour, by his
correspondence with Lord Sidmouth, of contributing to save the country when in " a state of almost
rebellion," and when one hundred thousand Radical banditti were in arms on the Tyne and the Wear?
and will the richest and most generous government on earth not save him in return ? Did not his
papers in the green bag authorise the passing of the six famous acts which have preserved our property
and our religion ? and will the lords of the soil and our lichly beneficed clergy suffer his credit to
perish ? Is he not a member of the Bridge Street Constitutional Association ? and will the very elect
of the respectable classes not support each other, and " keep together in their chivalry ? " When that
hurnhig shame, an illumination for joy on the Queen's acquittal, was lighted up in Newcastle, did he
not gallantly scour the streets of the ragged Reformers with the Irish Dragoons ? and can the
ministers permit such daring zeal to remain unrequited? But it is all fudge; he who organized a
valiant band to protect the property of the public would never suffer that property to be injured ? In
fact, I lost my breath in the fervour of my enthusiasm ; and seizing the Newspapers, which were that
moment laid upon the table, " there ! there ! " I continued, " there, ye easy gulls I Examine the minute
and mercantile Tory " Hue ayid Cry " paper ; or, if you please, the faithful and impartial Whig
Chronicle, and you will find the Editors know nothing of this stoppage, which is said to have taken
place under their very noses? And is that possible?" — But my exultation vanished, and I was
overwhelmed with confusion and dismay when my neighbour (a knowing one) dryly said, " Well,
Peter, I will sell you fifty pounds of your friend's notes at a discount of fifty per cent." Apropos, it is
true that a brisk trade in buying and selling these notes is carried on in Newcastle, and that the
agents, clerks, and partners of the bank have honourably discouraged this Jewish trafic ? I hope it is so.
I have just read an advertisement issued from the Northumberland Bank, Two well qualified
gentlemen are, it seems to examine their accounts, after which a satisfactory report is to be published ;

[422] ^^^^^^^^^^^

not by the Examiners, mind, but by a Committee of polite Gentlemen, Esquires of course ! This is an
admirable arrangement. But the management of Surtees's affairs is not yet forgotten (By the bye, do
they not call your Canny Mayor Surtees ?) Nor ought a man to lay " the flattering unction to his
soul " unadvisedly. Let me see : there is the Bank of Surtees, Burdon, and Co. of your town, and
of Berwick upon Tweed — the Bank of Cooke, Robinson and Co. of Sunderland— the Bank of Thomas
Cooke, Esq. of the same place — the Bank of Goodchild, Jackson and Co. of Bishopwearmouth — the
Bank of Mowbray and Co. of Durham and Darlington — and the Bank of Lumley, Wilkinson, and
Snowdon — all broken up within a few years— and the Dividends paid by these dealers in old Rags are
not equal to the interest due upon their debts ! Stand forward then, ye admirers of the Paper System,
and view the distress and the sufferings it has occasioned — Open your Mouths and show how the loss
of nearly a Million Sterling, in the counties of Northumberland and Durham, from the failures of
Banks is to be regained — Take up your pens and demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Public that
the holders of Bank Notes are no longer in a state of risk and peril.

I wish you to send me some account, founded on known facts, of your Banks. Every man that
holds a One Pound of any Bank is a Creditor of that Bank, and every prudent Creditor ought to
scrutinize the circumstances of his Debtors. I know it is gross folly to say, — " Ah ! there is no fear
of such a one — he has such and such estates ; " for Bankers are generally cunning enough to get their
estates entailed ; which, in cases of failure, reduces the claims of their Creditors to a mere life interest
in their estates. Besides, estates may have been mortgaged perhaps to two-thirds of their value some
years ago ; and in such cases, they are not now worth the sum they are mortgaged for. The average
price of Corn, in one quarter last year, was 70s 'kd per Quarter ; and this year it has been only 52s 4cZ
and it is still falling, notwithstanding a bad harvest in the South : estates must fall in proportion, and
the Landholders must daily become poorer and poorer. But I wish to ask. Is it true that any of your
Bankers speculate deeply ? And are they insured from the losses common in Trade ? Do any of them
hold the keys of granaries as securities for cash advanced to adventurers in the Corn trade ? And
would much of this Corn sell for more than one Shilling a bushel ? Have you any Bankers, the locality
of whose estates are not well known ? And does the riches of any of them mainly consist in Ships,
that greatly depreciated species of property ? Is it true that Government secures itself by a bond
upon the property of those Bankers that receive the taxes ? And does this, in case of failure, give
Government a preference to other Creditors ? Is not every " Promise to Pay," issued by Bankers, as so
much debt due by the Bankers? And as the value of money is rising rapidly, is not their debt
proportionably increased ?

I ask these questions at the request of some of my neighbours. As for me, my cry now is
" Gold FOR EVER ! " and " Atoay with yotir rags," and your "Promises!" — Give me the image and
superscription of my Sovereign on good Mint Gold. 1 now hate to see the eternal lie, " Promise to
Pay," when no payment is meant ; for if we carry a One Pound Note into a country Bank, all the
payment we get is, another " Promise to Pay."

Aye, we are in a pretty pickle. Money progressively rising in value, and every kind of property
falling from the late high standard of value. Nothing can save us but a great reduction of the interest
of the debt, (then how will ye weep and howl, ye believers in the stability of the funds and the saving
banks ?) or a depreciation of the coin, that wicked, silly, and Turkish expedient — or else a repeal of
Peel's famous bill ; which measure by its ruinous and oppressive effects, might either ruin us in war,
or excite rebellion at home. Nor would any scheme restore our national prosperity without a reform
in that house which has involved us in such complicated and dangerous difficulties. Well, I no longer
think Cobbet such a fool or knave as I have been accustomed to call him. Henceforward I will get
gold. This will chink but not burn. Every day its value increases ; and when the approaching battle
between the fund lords and the land lords is over, my little hoard will yield me ample interest, while I
can laugh at the infatuated dupes to the paper bubble.

I am, dear Bob,

Your's to command,
Alston, December 8th, 1821. PETER PRY.

Marshall, Printer, Newcastle.


The Bank of England and the Country Bankers :

Addressed to the Editor of the Tyne Mercury, under the Signature of Alfred,






president of the chamber of commerce of newcastle-upon-tyne.


Though dedications are somewhat out of fashion, yet I cannot resist the opportunity, which a
republication of the following letters affords me, of inscribing them to you. I have long observed the
anxious solicitude with which you have watched over the general interests of this town, and I feel a
pleasure in recording that, whether as President of the Chamber of Commerce, or as a Vice-President
of the Literary and Philosophical Society, your conduct has ever been distinguished by the most
liberal, intelligent, and disinterested views. If the following letters, embracing a subject so important
as a change of our local currency, should be found in any degree to meet with your approbation, I
shall deem myself amply rewarded for any little trouble the composition of them may have cost me.

April 19, 1828, , ALFEED.


The powerful interests of the Bank of England and the Country Bankers appear now to be
coming into active competition ; but whether such competition will be attended with results beneficial
or injurious to the public, is a question which calls for the most deliberate enquiry — a question which,
it might have been expected, would have excited more attention here than it has done ; for, strange
enough to say, the projected establishment of a branch of the Bank of England in Newcastle is looked
upon as of no more consequence than the opening of some additional draper's shop in the town.
Whence this indifference ? it may be asked. From an idea, probably, that the establishment is likely
to be in a great degree inoperative, and that the banking business of this town will continue to be
carried on with the same advantage to the public it has hitherto been. Now this I should very much
question. For a time, indeed, no material change may be felt ; but ultimately, and perhaps not very
distantly, the whole banking business of the country seems in danger of being swallowed up by an
overgrown concern. With every advantage in its favour, we see the Bank of England opposed to the
country bankers. The Bank of England is a chartered company ; and what are called bank proprietors,

^ [4^4]

are no more answerable for the debts of the Bank beyond certain amounts of stock than they are
answerable for the debts of the Prince of Poyais. Country bankers, on the other hand, are answerable
for their engagements to the extent of whatever property they possess. Again : the stamp duties on
bills of exchange and promissory notes form, as everybody knows, a very heavy item in a country
banker's list of expenses. The Bank of England is, in a great measure, exempt from any such charge.
Placed, then, under such disadvantages, can we reasonably expect that, for any length of time, it will
be in the power of the country bankers to dispute the field with their adversary ? I take it for certain,
that eventually the whole of the banking business of this country, so far at least as regards the issuing
of promissory notes to bearer, will be engrossed by the Bank of England. And in this point of view it
is, that we are principally called upon to consider the innovation of the Bank of England on the
system, so long established, of country banking. If it be said that the institution of branch banks
is not with any view of supplanting the country bankers, I should be glad to know with what object
they are obtruded on the public ? Is it to give greater accommodation to commerce ; or is it to supply
a more secure paper currency ; or (knowing as we all do, the rejection of a proposition to substitute
Bank of England notes for the notes of country bankers) is it in the spirit of disappointed gentlemen,

" Who could not win the mistress, wooed the maid,
Set up themselves, and drove a separate trade ? "

As to the plea of the branch banks affording greater accommodation to trade than the country bankers
are in the habit of doing, I must observe, that in the way of discounting, the branch banks propose
doiug nothing more than what the bankers in Newcastle are in the habit of doing daily, viz. :
discounting all approved bills not having more than three months to run. Ay, but say the advocates
of the Bank of England, times have been, and may be again, when the country bankers have been
obliged to reject the most unexceptionable bills. Granted. But in what situation, in such periods,
was the Bank of England itself? We need only refer to the panic of 1825-6 ; during that alarming
crisis, it is notorious that the Bank of England declined discounting what was justly considered the
very best paper — paper, I am sure, which no merchant in Newcastle would have had any difficulty at
the time in making applicable to his payments in this town. Without at all wishing to be the
apologist of the country bankers, I put it to any intelligent man of business, whether, if at the period
of which I am speaking, the banking business of this town and neighbourhood had been either
exclusively or principally in the hands of a branch of the Bank of England, it would have been possible
to have carried on the various commercial, manufacturing, and mining concerns of this important
town and district ? I can have no hesitation in saying, it would have been quite impossible ; and in
that case, what must have been the picture of distress and ruin in which all classes must have been
more or less deeply involved ? I cannot doubt that a very general suspension of the manufacturing
and mining operations of the district must have been the necessary result of such a system of banking
as we are here contemplating : for reflect only for a moment, that the branch bank would have been
guided by the same principle of capricious issues which governed the conduct of the bank itself — that
it would have been in the hands of mere agents afraid to deviate from the strict line of their
instructions, and incapable, perhaps, either of comprehending, or stating to their principals, the
various and complex interests dependent upon them for prompt and liberal support. A system of
banking similar to what is practised by the Bank of England, or what I understand to be chalked out
for the branch banks, is wholly inapplicable to the commerce of this part of the country. The business
of a banker here is not the mere discounting of bills, or the receiving of dividends — he must, and very
frequently does, from time to time, grant accommodation to his customers without any tangible
security whatever ; and, I may venture to say, were the case otherwise, there are few concerns of any
magnitude which, on one occasion or other, would not be inconvenienced. What are the objects of
the branch banks ? Simply to discount any good bills that may be offered to them, and to facilitate


the receipt of dividends of stock — objects by which they calculate on getting into circulation a
quantity of their own paper, to the detriment of the country banker, whose notes to the same amount
will be withdrawn, and to the detriment of every man in business, who must look to the country
banker alone for any real favour.

One principle on which the branch banks are conducted, goes directly to discredit the coimtry
banker, and to inconvenience the public. The branch banks refuse to take in payment the notes of
any country banker who may decline keeping in their hands a sufl&cient sum of money to cover the
amount of any notes of his which may happen to be paid in to them. They will not take the country
banker's bill at sight upon his banker in London, nor will they trust him for five minutes while they
may send to him and obtain payment of his notes in gold or Bank of England paper. No, they must,
forsooth, have the money of the country banker previously in their hands, or his notes will not be
received ! Now I, a mercantile man, have a bill to pay at the branch bank of £500. The sum I have
made up in the notes of the various other banks in the town. I go to the branch bank, and in such
currency tender the amount of the bill. Some prig of an agent counts over the money, and says " We
shall take £200 of the notes — for the remainder you must bring us our own notes or gold." I must then
be sent dancing about the town to get £300 of otherwise unexceptionable notes changed either for gold
or paper of the Bank of England — or, which is worse, I must suffer my acceptance to remain unpaid I
And all this for the purpose of facilitating general business — for the purpose of restoring the currency to
what is called "a healthy state." Good heavens 1 if such is to be the effect of the establishment of a branch
bank in this town, whose credit will be safe ; and in what manner is business hereafter to be
conducted ?

So far I have discussed the question in a local point of view — its general bearings remain to be
considered. The Bank of England is undoubtedly a very rich establishment ; it has a capital, I
think, of about 11 millions, but which has been lent to the government, and of course exists but as a
debt due to it from the government. I shall not question the capability of government to discharge
its debt to the Bank of England, but I may ask (since one great object of the branch banks is
presumed to be security to the public) whether the paper currency of this country, when converted
into notes of the Bank of England, would be thought to rest upon any more stable footing than at
present, when, instead of resting, as it would do, upon a capital of 11 millions, it is upheld by a capital
of at least 50 or 60 millions ? Here, however, we overlook a most important fact. The capital of the
Bank of England is already strained to support a circulation exceeding in amount the whole of the
paper which the country bankers keep afloat. — Can we doubt then, under all the circumstances of the
case, that to substitute the notes of the Bank of England for those of the country bankers, would be, in
effect to place the paper currency of the country in a state infinitely less secure than at present ? The
capital of the Bank of England is inadequate to the support of a paper currency of 40 millions ; and
nothing but sheer cupidity or folly would expose it to the risk with which the experiment must be

Do away with the coimtry bankers, and what follows ? The exchanges cannot always be kept
at, or above par — when below par, demands at all points would be made upon the bank for gold, and
the commerce of the whole kingdom would be paralyzed. Would the bank, with a view of favouring
the exchanges, adopt the expedient of contracting its issues ? That would be to increase the evil, and to
make " confusion worse confounded ; " it would add to the alarm, and by endangering the regularity
of mercantile payments, might involve the bank in inextricable difficulties. In a word, we might then
really have to witness what Mr. Cobbett fancifully calls the " puff out," or " the death of the old lady
in Threadneedle-street."

Do away with the country bankers, and upon what security but that of the government will the
paper currency be made to depend? And in what respect, then, would the paper of the Bank of

[426 J

England differ from a government paper ? Every one knows the history of a Government paper in
America, in Austria, in France, and in Denmark ; iu all which instances the paper became excessively
depreciated. And why should a government paper in England escape the fate which has uniformly
attended a similar description of paper in so many other countries ? Laying out of the question any
demand for gold in consequence of an unfavourable state of the exchange, should we not, on the first
disturbance or alarm, have a general demand for gold? And would it, with all the assistance
government could render, be in the power of the bank to furnish gold to an extent at all commensurate

Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 48 of 57)