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Military contractors and the money markets, 1700-15

Graham, AB; (2016) Military contractors and the money markets, 1700-15. In: Graham, A and Walsh, P, (eds.) The British Fiscal-Military States, 1660-c.1783. (pp. 81-112). Routledge: London, United Kindom. Green open access

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Between 1660 and 1783, alongside the British ‘fiscal-military state’ existed the private ‘contractor state’ identified by Roger Knight and Martin Wilcox, where commercial entrepreneurs provided goods and services to naval or military departments that these departments were unable or unwilling to supply for themselves. One of the most important was credit, since for much of this period the British government was perpetually running into intermittent wartime funding crises, and without the financial support offered by private contractors the wheels of state would have ground to a halt. Yet because much of this occurred informally it has been exceptionally difficult to reconstruct how such connections operated. This chapter presents three case studies, drawn from the early eighteenth century but applicable to much of the period between 1660 and 1783, which demonstrate that contractors were part of much wider commercial networks, and were able to use financial intermediaries to package up the paper they received and sell it on to speculators or investors seeking remunerative investments, albeit sometimes in transactions of daunting complexity. Thus, even as the British fiscal-military state developed ever more elaborate bureaucratic structures and machinery, it nevertheless continued to be underpinned by a foundation of informal credit provided by commercial contractors and their own private networks.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Military contractors and the money markets, 1700-15
ISBN: 1472440781
ISBN-13: 9781472440785
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: History, contractors, finance.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1529166
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