The Bank Charter Act of 1844
BEFORE taking up the consideration of the legislation of 1844 we may make note here, for the sake of the record, of some items of importance in regard to the Bank. The liability of the stockholders of the Bank of England is limited to the amount of their stock. In 1722 the reserve fund or Rest was established, never to be allowed to run below three million pounds. This added to the strength of the Bank and made it possible to equalize dividends which theretofore had fluctuated greatly. In 1751 the administration of the debt was entrusted to the Bank and in 1826 the Bank was given authority to establish branches; of these, there are now ten, located respectively at Birmingham, Bristol, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth, and the Western and Law-Courts Branches, London. The notes of the Bank were made a legal tender in 1833.
In 1833 the Bank was required to render weekly statements to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which statements were to be consolidated and published every three months in the London Gazette. The statements published by the Bank are very meagre and do not give one a complete view of its affairs. For comparison of one period with another, too, they are of little value, as it is the practice of the Bank to reduce the amount of its securities and deposits by any borrowing which it carries out and as it probably makes other adjustments which are not of public record. After 1875 it discontinued publishing the amount of discounted bills which it