©1997 by Gerry Rough <politico8@maplenet.net>

The Bank of England holds a special place in the hearts
of New World Order conspiracy theorists. It is here that the central banking
mechanism begins to appear in the pages of history, although in the late
seventeenth century it was still not a central bank in the modern sense.
Considered by many to be the virtual hub of the New World Order, the Bank
has somehow managed to remain a mystery to be solved; no small temptation
indeed for the faithful. With this new mechanism in place, the New World
Order can now begin its final assault to enslave the planet. The central
banking mechanism, you see, represents the power of the rich to control
the masses. It represents one of the last steps to be put in place before
the New World Order finally reveals itself as the dark beast that it is.
Lets take a look at the history of the Bank of England and see if indeed
there is a conspiracy that emerges. G. Edward Griffin provides our first

      England was financially exhausted after half a century of war”.Unable


      to increase taxes and unable to borrow, Parliament became desperate for


      some other way to obtain money”.There were two groups of men who saw a


      unique opportunity arise out of this necessity. The first group consisted


      of the

political scientists

      within the government. The second was


      comprised of the

monetary scientists

      from the emerging business


      of banking”.The two groups came together and formed an alliance. No, that


      is too soft a word.

The American heritage dictionary

      defines a


      as “A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers.” There is no other


      word that could so accurately describe this group”.The Cabal met in Mercer”s


      chapel in London and hammered out a seven point plan which would serve


    their mutual purposes.[1]

Conspicuously absent from Griffin”s text, however, as well
as all other conspiracy texts, Parliament actually had several schemes
for producing new revenue. More importantly, Sir John Clapham, author of
the classic The Bank of England: A History, puts these new banking
schemes into a much broader context:

      In June 1687 there began to reach London the first treasure salved


      by an English company from a Spanish ship lost over forty years earlier


      near Hispaniola”.This whetted the appetite of the promoters-the projectors


      as they were called-of a vigorous and inventive age, in which all sorts


      of men were “joining their heads to understand the useful things in life”,


      and to make money. The Revolution over and Dutch William on the throne,


      a whole series of treasure hunting companies was set up, forerunners or


      products of the promoting boom of 1692-5, in which both the Bank of England


    and the Bank of Scotland came into existence [2]

So Griffin”s assertion of conspiracy falls under its own weight
when viewed as a larger movement during the 1692-1695 time period. Further,
Parliament rejected William Paterson”s idea not once, but twice before
finally passing the law: a blatant contradiction not found in any
writings of conspiratorial repute. [3] Of interesting note, the Bank of
Scotland mentioned above was formed under almost identical circumstances
yet is nowhere mentioned as part of the New World Order. It would seem
as though history itself has provided its own argument against the conspiracy
theorists. The “treasure hunting companies” mentioned above should not
be interpreted in the modern context of those seeking lost treasure. Rather,
Clapham is speaking of those finding new and inventive ways of making money,
most of which ended in failure. [4] The meeting at Mercer”s chapel? Hardly
a conspiracy, it was completely public. Anyone who wanted to subscribe
to the original stock could do so. As R.D. Richards puts it:

      [A]ny person or persons, natives or foreigners, bodies politic or corporate.



Let”s not forget the seven point plan, either. It never existed.
Griffin himself fabricated the idea from the two sources he gives for it.

Griffin again provides more analysis:

      The new money created by the Bank of England splashed through the economy


      like rain in April”.Consequently, when these plentiful banknotes landed


      in their [the country banks”] hands, they quickly put them into the vaults


      and then issued their own certificates in even greater amounts. As a result


      of this pyramiding effect, prices rose 100% in just two years. Then, the


      inevitable happened: There was a run on the bank, and the Bank of England


      could not produce the coin”.In May of 1696, just two years after the Bank


      was formed, a law was passed authorizing it to “suspend payment in specie”


      [suspend payment in gold for the face value of the note being presented].


      By force of law, the Bank was now exempted from having to honor its contract


    to return the gold. [7]

It”s the ol” delete and switch routine. What Griffin deleted
was the facts behind the bank of England”s suspension of specie payment.
R. D. Richards fills in the blanks:

      Indeed, the Bank was so heavily involved in the “business of remises,”


      as it is usually termed in the court minutes, that the directors reported


      to the treasury in 1696 that they had “extreamely strained themselves.”



But Richards” analysis does not stop there. Chapters VI and
VII of his text are an in-depth study of “The Early Transactions of the
Bank of England.” Richards continues his analysis:

      Thus within ten weeks of its foundation, and before it had paid to


      the Government the final installments of its original loan of £1,200,000,


      the bank had commenced to remit large sums overseas”.When it is recalled


      that at the time the last of these grants of credit was made the Bank had


      not completed its first seven months, and that it had advanced to the Government


      before 6th February 1695 not only the whole of its original capital of


      £1,200,000, but also a further sum of £300,000, these early


      remittances overseas were remarkable transactions. But there were even


      bigger remittances to follow within the next eighteen months”.Meanwhile,


      however, as already stated, large sums were also remitted by the Bank to


    Savoy, and for the use of the fleet. [9]

So the suspension of specie payment had nothing to do with
the pyramiding effect mentioned in Griffin”s text. It had EVERYTHING
to do with the fact that the Bank was overextended by force of both
Parliament and the crown. Richards continues:

      [T]he court had resolved to discontinue the remittances to Holland,


      after having come to the conclusion that the borrowing of another £200,000


      in Holland would not “keep them in the business.””.Despite this decision


    the King ordered them to continue the remittances. [10]

The absurdity of calling it a conspiracy when half of the
conspiracy is forcing the other half to obey, is not a conspiracy at all.
And that”s just for starters. There were other factors as well. [11] But
by far the most damaging to Griffin”s case from the above citation is that
the Bank of England was not to blame for the bank run in 1696. In fact,
it was literally the ENEMIES of the Bank who conspired to make a
bank run! That”s right, the ENEMIES of the Bank are the real conspirators!
But first, lets digress for a moment to size up the opposition.

The first of these groups were the Tory party and the Jacobites.
This group feared that the bank would become too strong, and that if the
Bank ever failed to meet its obligations, it would be powerless for lack
of funds. Indeed the Tories believed the institution was not compatible
with a monarchy. Further, it may even be one step closer to a [gasp!] REPUBLIC!
The second of these groups was the country gentry and the small land owners
who feared that the Bank would charge excessive interest rates on loans.
The last and most important of the large opposition groups was the goldsmiths
and the money-lenders, who were fearful of the new scheme that might endanger
their profits. [12] It was this last group whom Andreades speaks of when
he would later write:

      [O]n May 6, when the goldsmiths organized a run on the Bank of England,


    the latter had not enough coin to meet the suddenly increased demand. [13]

Further damaging to Griffin”s case is the words of every conspiracy
theorists accidental ally, Murray N. Rothbard, the avowed enemy of central
banking and professor at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, cult of libertarian

      [I]n the short span of two years, the Bank of England was insolvent


      after a bank run, an insolvency gleefully abetted by its competitors, the


      private goldsmiths, who were happy to return to it the swollen Bank of


    England notes for redemption in specie. [14]

So we find on further examination that Griffin is seriously
lacking in his presentation of the facts and that the enemies of the Bank
were really the ones to blame for the bank run of 1696. In yet another
twist of conspiratorial fate, William Paterson would be forced to leave
the Bank within a year over a major policy dispute. To his credit, Griffin
acknowledges this, [15] but fails to see the obvious contradiction. Bob
Adelmann never knew of Paterson”s removal, and hence blindly writes of
the bank run of 1696:

      This incident underscores the power and influence that Paterson and


    others had over the financial affairs of the English government. [16]

A conspiracy of this magnitude would never think of
forcing one of their own fly the coup. Paterson would have no doubt donned
cement shoes if there was truly a conspiracy at work. This argument alone
is seriously damaging to the conspiracy theorists case.

As mentioned earlier, there were several competing schemes
at the time the Bank of England was formed. But even after the bank was
formed and had already begun its initial operations, Parliament would pass
yet another banking scheme, that of the Land Bank. The venture would quickly
turn sour, however, and Parliament would be forced to call on the Bank
of England to help clean up the mess. [17] As the early history of the
Bank of England unfolded, there appeared yet one more major attempt to
circumvent the Bank to pay the National debt. This second attempt was the
famous South Sea Bubble of 1720. It too would meet a premature death, while
the bank of England would again be asked to clean up the mess left by its
own competitors. [18] The point of all of this is to point out that the
same Parliament that “conspired” to create the Bank of England, also created
its fiercest rivals, both within the first twenty-five years of its existence.
One less enamored with conspiracy theories would be tempted to ask some
obvious questions at this juncture.

One of the presuppositions of the central banking issue that
you read most often in conspiracy writings is that the Bank of England
was a central bank from the very beginning. This fits the New World Order
theory very nicely, since it conveys the idea that the conspirators had
enormous power even as far back as 300 years ago, and have been gaining
power and global influence ever since. Before putting this theory to the
test, let”s see what the opposition says on the subject. Pat Robertson
states matter-of-factly in his text, The New World Order:

      But what is a central bank? The idea first occurred to a canny Scot named


      William Paterson, who in 1694 agreed to establish a joint stock company


      to loan £1.2 million at 8 percent interest to William of Orange to


    help the king pay the cost of his war with Louis XIV of France. [19]

J.R. Church makes a similar error in his book, Guardians
of the Grail
, although in this citation, it is more assumed than it
is stated:

      For example, in 1694 international banker William Paterson obtained the


      charter of the Bank of England, and the power over England”s money system


      fell into private hands”.Two hundred thirty years later, Reginald McKenna,


      British Chancellor of the Exchequer said, “The banks can and do create


      money”And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of


      governments and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.”



But there is another side to the story. Historian H.V. Bowen
exposes the error succinctly when he states:


      The Bank of England during the eighteenth century was not a central bank


      in the modern sense. By the end of that century the Bank had acquired some


      of the features of a central bank as now understood, but the Bank had neither


      been established, nor consciously developed, with central banking functions


      in mind. Instead, the Bank followed two separate, though overlapping, lines


      of development which, in their different ways, drew it close to the realm


      of modern banking”.. Such was the hesitant nature of both developments


      that the characteristics of central banking only emerged slowly as the


      Bank began to gain the capacity to act as lender of last resort and regulator


      of financial activity within the economy at large” It was only when these


      separate lines of development began to meet at a point in the early nineteenth


      century that the Bank began more clearly to display the characteristics


    of a central bank. [21]

G. Edward Griffin acknowledges the error of other conspiracy
theorists by stating:

      It must be understood that, at this time [early in its history], the Bank


      of England was not yet fully developed as a central bank. [22]


Be ye not quick to sigh, however. Griffin contradicts himself
on numerous occasions on this very issue, the following being but one example:

      The charter was issued in 1694, and a strange creature took its initial


    breath of life. It was the world”s first central bank. [23]

So again we find the conspiracy theorists sorely lacking even
on the most basic of issues regarding the history of the Bank of England.
But, unfortunately, our journey must take two more twists. First, recall
that J.R. Church stated above that “they who control the credit of the
nation direct the policy of governments.” Assuming this to be true, that
central banks have absolute control over their respective governments,
it is difficult to imagine how the Bank of England could have gone from
private hands to public hands in 1946, which it did when Parliament revoked
the charter and nationalized the Bank. Church even tries at this point
to explain the obvious contradiction:

      In 1946 England”s labor government revoked the charter and nationalized


      the Bank of England. Officially, it became a part of the government. It


      is important to note, however, that as late as 1961 Lord Cromer, of the


      banking family of Baring, was named governor of the bank, and the board


      of directors included representatives of Lazard, Hambros, and Grenfell–


      the same banking families who had previously controlled the board! Nothing


      had changed except for outward appearances for the benefit of the uninformed.



Consistent with conspiratorial absurdities, “Lord Cromer,”
of the above citation, is really George Rowland Stanley Baring, The Earl
of Cromer. [25] Worse yet, Church never bothered to take a head count before
stating his argument. Let”s see now: Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, goose,
duck, duck, duck, duck, goose, duck, duck, goose, duck, goose. I count
twelve ducks and four goose. You have to wonder if he ran out of toes or
something. [26]

Our last conspiratorial absurdity is that committed by Bob
Adelmann mentioned earlier. Adelmann states:

The First Bank of England

    In 1694, William Paterson created the First Bank of England. [29]

Imagine, if you will, submitting a serious research paper
entitled “George Washington, The Third President of the United States.”
Or a Doctoral dissertation on the history of President John Forsythe Kennedy.
Or maybe the Japanese attack on Washington, D.C. harbor, December 7th,
1941. In every measurable sense, this is the same magnitude of error that
Adelmann has done. By calling the Bank of England the “First” Bank of England,
he has both destroyed his own credibility, while at the same time he has
exposed the weak link of the conspiracy camp. Conspiracy theorists thrive
on the ignorance of their audience. This should not be taken to mean or
imply that conspiracy theorists are less intelligent than everyone else.
This is certainly not the case. But it”s a great reminder though, that
ignorance does indeed breed suspicion.

1) G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island (Appleton: American Opinion Publishing, Inc., 1995) 175, 176

2) Sir John Clapham, The Bank of England: A History (New York: The Macmillan company, 1945) 13, 14

3) A. Andreades, History of the Bank of England: 1640-1903 (New York: August M. Kelley, Bookseller, 1966) 65-67

4) Sir John Clapham, p. 14

5) R. D. Richards, The Early History of Banking in England (London: Frank Cass and Company,Ltd., 1958) 146

6) Martin Mayer, The Bankers (New York: Weybright & Talley, 1974) 24, 25. See also Rothbard, p. 180

7) Griffin, p. 178, 179

8) Richards, p. 179

9) Richards, p. 183, 184

10) Richards, p. 188

11) Richards, p. 189

12) Andreades, p. 67-69

13) Andreades, p. 107, 108. See also Richards, p. 189

14) Murray N. Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking (New York: Richardson & Snyder, 1983) 181

15) Griffin, p. 176.

16) Bulletin: Committee To Restore The Constitution, February, 1989. P.O. Box 986, Ft. Collins, CO 80522

17) Andreades, p. 103-113

18) Andreades, p. 128-145

19) Pat Robertson, The New World Order (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991) 120

20) J.R. Church, Guardians of the Grail…and the men who plan to rule the world! (Oklahoma City: Prophecy Publications, 1989) 193

21) Richard Roberts and David Kynaston, ed., The Bank of England: Money, Power and Influence 1694-1994 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) 1,2

22) Griffin, p. 174

23) Griffin, p. 176

24) Church, p. 193-194

25) Roberts and Kynaston, p. 274

26) Roberts and Kynaston, p. 197

27) Bulletin: Committee To Restore The Constitution, February, 1989. P.O. Box 986, Ft. Collins, CO 80522

Additional Resources
Norman Angel, The Story of Money (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1929)

Elgin Groseclose, Money and Man (Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976)

W. A. Shaw, The Theory and Principles of Central Banking (London: Sir Isaac Pitman sons, Ltd.)

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