On This Day: 29 June 1704

On this day in 1704, the Articles of Agreement for the voyage to the East Indies of the Mary Galley was signed. According to the agreement the value of the ship and cargo combined was about £3,000 (worth nearly £500,000 today). Although independent of the East India Company, the voyage had been licenced by the Company.

Unlike many agreements in Thomas Bowrey’s papers, the details are set out with great clarity. The Mary Galley was still under construction by Richard Wells. Joseph Tolson, one of the subscribers to the venture, was to be both captain and supercargo.

One of the details was that each of the subscribers were to obtain a note from the Bank of England for £25 for ye use of this Intended Voyage. Bank notes (paper money) as we know them today did not exist at the time. Promissory notes which promised to pay the bearer a certain amount on demand had grown up as a more convenient way to carry funds than gold or silver. The Bank of England (established in 1694) became the first bank to regularly issue such notes.

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