The excise ordinances of the 1640s had been used to secure ever-increasing amounts of short-term debt. The original commissioners of the excise, who were servants of the state, had been hired for their willingness to make loans to the government in advance of receipts. When they proved unable to meet Parliament’s borrowing requirements, private parties were permitted to make loans with the revenue from these ordinances as security. There is a general consensus that the public debts incurred by the Long Parliament cast a long shadow over the financial stability of the Commonwealth and Protectorate regimes, thereby ensuring the retention of fiscal innovations like the excise and complicating factional rivalries in the city. This chapter reconstructs the various secondary markets in excise-backed government paper and analyses the decisions to dispose of capital assets (the bishops’ lands, Crown lands, and the dean and chapter lands) in the late 1640s. As the now classic works of H.J. Habakkuk (1963) and Ian Gentles (1980, 1981) demonstrated, both public faith bills and military debentures were deeply discounted in well-developed secondary markets in the late 1640s and early 1650s. These developments prove to be the most important context for understanding the ‘re-modelling’ of the excise in 1649–1650. In 1650, Parliament introduced farming because financiers refused to make loans unless they had direct control over the revenue pledged as security. Far more than localised resistance, the state’s credit needs shaped the development of the excise establishment.
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- The Excises under the Long Parliament, 1647–1648
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