English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
Early Forms of the Unfunded Debt
(1688-1707)

THE unfunded debt of this period consisted of tallies, navy bills and Exchequer bills. In temporary advances by the Bank--as for convenience we will hereafter designate the Bank of England--we have the precursor of the "ways and means advances" of present-day treasury statements.


Tallies

Prior to the Revolution the form which the obligations of the Crown usually took was that of loans upon "tallies"-- a form of wooden stick given as a receipt for money payments. The tally will be found described in the chapter on the Exchequer.

The Exchequer would at times find it inconvenient to meet its payments in cash. It would then give to the creditor tallies or receipts issued in anticipation of revenue. These were known as "tallies of assignment," because a definite source of revenue was set aside for their payment. They were always accompanied by an Exchequer order entitling the holder to the payment of the amount at a set date in the future.

These Exchequer orders were issued in negotiable form, being transferable by endorsement. They sometimes bore interest.

Again, tallies with assignable orders of repayment were given in acknowledgment of money loans. These tallies were called "tallies of loan." The Exchequer order of repayment

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