Book of the Month from Special Collections
Cobbett, William 1763-1835
Cobbett’s Paper Against Gold: containing the history and mystery of the Bank of England, the funds, the Debt, the sinking fund, the bank stoppage, the lowering and the raising of the value of paper-money, and shewing that taxation, pauperism, poverty, misery and crimes have all increased, and ever must increase, with a funding system. Botley, 1812
William Cobbett wrote many of these letters from Newgate Prison. He was imprisoned for publishing an article in the Courier. Some militia had mutinied after being “stopped for their knapsacks” which resulted in the men surrounding their officers and demanding their arrears. The men were tried and received 500 lashes each.
Cobbett was tried along with his printer, publisher and newsman and received 2 years imprisonment. He also had £1,000 fine and a further fine of £3,000 to secure good behaviour for 7 years. As King George III at this time had become insane, his payment was to the Prince Regent.
The book gives a précis of how the Bank of England started, how paper money came about and how having too much paper currency devalues it. It also looks into national debt and stocks and shares.
After the American war in 1784 national debt = £16,394,702
After the French Revolution/anti-Jacobean war = £257,213,043
In January 1810 = £811,898,082
Tackling national debt has obviously been an age-old concern.