Financial Failure in Early Modern England
Title Details

248 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Series Vol. Number: 22

Imprint: Boydell Press

Financial Failure in Early Modern England

by Aidan Collins

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Analyses how bankruptcy was litigated within the court to gain a more nuanced understanding of early modern bankruptcy.

This book examines cases involving bankruptcy brought before the court of Chancery - a court of equity which dealt with civil disputes - between 1674 and 1750. It uncovers the numerous meanings attached to financial failure in early modern England. In its simplest sense, personal financial failure occurred when an individual defaulted on their debts. Because they had not fulfilled their responsibilities and behaved in a trustworthy and credible manner, bankrupt individuals were seen to be immoral. And yet bankruptcy was linked to wider notions of credibility, trustworthiness, and morality. Financial failure was described and debated not just in economic terms, but came to rely on a combination of social, community, and religious values.

Bankruptcy cases involved an interconnected network of indebtedness, often including relatives, neighbours, and traders from the local community. As such, conceptions of failure implicated individuals beyond just the bankrupt. As people began to look back and appraise the actions and words of those involved in trade, a far wider network of creditors, debtors, and middlemen were blamed for the knock-on effect of an individual failure. Ultimately, the book investigates the negative aspects of early modern trade networks and the active role of the court when such networks broke down, providing unique access to contemporary understandings of what was considered right and wrong, honourable and deceitful, and criminal and compassionate within the moral landscape of debt recovery during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations
Conventions and Monetary Values
Introduction
1. The Court of Chancery
2. Disparity Between Legal Theory and Day-to-Day Practice
3. Knowledge and Circulating Judgements of Failure in Bankruptcy Pleadings
4. Collaborative Narratives of Failure in Country Depositions
5. The Finality of Enrolled Decrees
Conclusion
Appendix One: Sample of Cases for Each Chapter
Appendix Two: Table of Pleadings
Bibliography
Index

AIDAN COLLINS currently holds a lectureship in Early Modern British and European History at Newcastle University, having graduated with a BA in History from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a PhD in Early Modern History from the University of York.

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9781837651900

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Title Details

248 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Series Vol. Number: 22

Imprint: Boydell Press