Friday, June 17, 2011

The first nine years of the Bank of England. An enquiry into a weekly record of the price of bank stock from August 17, 1694 to September 17, 1703 (1887)

A personal placeholder.
I had mentioned the author, Thorold Rogers, in another post:

..You may want to dip into the big daddy of price series:
by J. E. Thorold Rogers, 7 volumes, 1866-1887 which probably influenced Jevons.
Among the materials which I have collected for
the fifth and sixth volumes of my History of
Agriculture and Prices, is a weekly register of the
price of Bank of England stock, from August 17,
1694, to September 17, 1703. The entries or quotations
are taken from a statistical paper published by
John Houghton, an apothecary who first lived near
the Royal Exchange, and next in Gracechurch Street.

Houghton's paper contains a short article on some
matter of public interest in art or science or trade,
a price Hst of corn and some other commodities, from
many English market towns, and a number of advertisements.
The sheet is continued till the date given
above, when the proprietor of the paper informs his
subscribers that his business has so increased that it is
no longer in his power to afford the time necessary in
order to enable him to digest the materials for his
weekly publication. Houghton was the friend of
many eminent persons in his day, notably of Halley
the astronomer and physicist. He must have had
a reputation of his own, for he was long a Fellow of

vi Preface.
the Royal Society, as well as a very active man of
business. He is probably the person referred to in
Bishop Sprat's account of the Royal Society as the
tradesman whom the Society had elected, and for
whose presence they thought fit to apologise to
the King. Charles answered that he wished them
to elect many such persons, if they were equally

It is probable that not half a dozen perfect copies
of this remarkable work survive. Houghton's price
lists had only an ephemeral interest. His weekly
essays were indeed valued, and were reprinted long
after his death, the editor of this part of the collections
commenting on the excessive rarity of the
sheets from which they were extracted. The Bodleian
Library fortunately possesses a clean and perfect
copy. It is contained in the great collection of
newspapers given by the late Mr. Hope to the
University. I make no doubt that the British
Museum also possesses a copy, for I have seen
allusions to Houghton's paper in a work called
a History of Advertising.

As some of the expressions used to designate the
quotations of Bank stock were obscure, I enquired of
my friend Mr. Henry Grenfell, one of the Directors
of the Bank of England, whether I could get an
authoritative explanation in that institution. But I
found, on calling by his invitation at the Secretary's
ofl&ce in the Bank, that the Bank had no knowledge

Preface. vii
of the price of its stock before 1705, and I inferred
that I had made a singular and curious discovery in

224 page PDF
Cornell University Library via the Internet Archive.