1st Edition

Credit, Currency, and Capital The Scottish Financial Revolution, 1690-1727

By Andrew McDiarmid Copyright 2024

    The years 1690–1727 represented a period of significant change for Scotland. It was a time of grand colonial endeavours and financial innovation, punctuated by bouts of economic turmoil and constitutional and political uncertainty. The infamous Darien Scheme, the establishment of the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Anglo-Scots Union, the Hanoverian Succession, and the Jacobite rising of 1715, all occurred during this short time span. Therefore, it was not only a period that presented Scotland with opportunities but also a period in which the country ultimately lost its autonomy. It was also during these years, and against this unsettled backdrop, that the Scottish Financial Revolution commenced.

    The complexity of the Scottish situation during the late seventeenth and the early eighteen centuries has historically made the identification of a Scottish Financial Revolution difficult. This monograph, the first dedicated to the topic, addresses this problem and provides a model for identifying and understanding the revolution through the economic, political, and constitutional contexts of the period. Using examples of financial developments and innovation driven by Scotsmen in Scotland, Europe, and the colonies, this work defines the Scottish Financial Revolution as a series of developments which took place in Scotland when political circumstances allowed, but which also occurred outwith Scotland through the agency of members of the Scottish diaspora. This monograph is therefore the story of how Scotsmen at home and abroad contributed to financial debate and development between 1690 and 1727.

    Credit, Currency, and Capital: The Scottish Financial Revolution, 16901727 will appeal to students and scholars interested in the history of Economics and Finance. It will also be of interest to those studying the history of the Anglo-Scots Union and the complex relationship between Scotland and England.

    1. Introduction
    2. The Financial Revolution at Home: Scotland, 1690-1707
    3. ‘Land is what produces everything, silver is only the product’: The Land Bank Debates of England, North America, and Scotland, 1650-1705
    4. ‘The Proper Question is not whether Paper Money be as Good as Silver or Gold, but whether it is Better than No Money’: William Burnet and the New Jersey Loan Office
    5. ‘We are far from fairy tale Mr Chancellor’: John Law and the Proposed National Bank of France, 1701-02
    6. For the want of ‘scots projects’: Scottish Financial Actors and Scottish Financial Institutions after 1707
    7. The long road to the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the growth of Scottish banking, 1707-1772
    8. Conclusion


    Andrew McDiarmid earned his PhD at the University of Dundee and has attended the Graduate School at Yale University. He has been an adjunct professor at University College Dublin and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh. His work focuses on Early Modern Scotland, Britain, Ireland, and the colonies, with an interest in the history of money and the development of financial institutions. The author’s previous publications include: ‘The Equivalent Societies of Edinburgh and London, the Formation of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Nature of the Scottish Financial Revolution’, Journal of British Studies (2021); and '"Bring us wealth, or keep it among us": The financial literature of the Edinburgh pamphlet war of 1705, and the capitalisation of the Scottish economy', Scottish Historical Review (2022).