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By Wadan Narsey

Wadan Narsey explores how nice Britain sustained monetary supremacy within the foreign economic system within the latter a part of the 19th century, whereas additionally keeping its dedication to holding the pound sterling absolutely convertible to a hard and fast volume of gold.

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Extra info for British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency Systems

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31 Between 1838 and 1842, more international crises32 kept emphasizing the vulnerability of London’s reserves and position as a financial center of the world (Jenks, 1963, pp. 85–7, 104). In early 1839, the gold reserves of the Bank of England were three-fourths gone, but the crisis was alleviated through the assistance of Paris and Brussels. 33 The currency/banking debate: the 1844 Bank Charter Act The numerous reserves crises of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, gave rise to the ‘Currency/Banking’ debates on optimal reserves policy, bank credit and note issue, and their impact on inflation.

Thus colonial sterling funds also helped finance British investment abroad. In the same periods, colonies were themselves restrained from taking loans in the London money market, while the private investors abroad and the white settler dominions were given priority. The colonies were therefore forced to maximize not only currency reserves in London, but also government cash balances, savings bank funds, commodity stabilization funds, and all others balances over which the imperial government had ultimate authority.

Scotland had, since 1704, quite safely economized on gold by circulating notes of small denomination; but these were banned following the Acts of 1826. The Bank’s proposal to make its notes inconvertible and for Government to issue Exchequer Bills was rejected by the Government. Following great commercial distress, the Bank was eventually allowed to issue notes beyond its limits, on securities and goods. 28 28 British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency Systems In the late 1820s and early 1830s, with the City finding investment abroad more profitable than possibilities at home, the Bank’s gold reserves continued to be drained, exacerbated by the collapse of speculative ventures such as the South American gold mines, and the default of large international borrowers.

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