The Early History of the Law of Bills and Notes: A Study of the Origins of Anglo-American Commercial Law

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This is a history of the law of bills and notes, one of the most important branches of English commercial law, from medieval times to the period in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when bills played a central role in the domestic and international financial system. It traces the development of legal rules, explains the commercial practices involved, and examines the relationship between law and economic and social controversies. It will be of interest to legal historians and economic and business historians.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...this book marks an important step... Roger's work sets a new standard for the legal analysis of how the law of bills and notes advanced. Any scholar currently relying on Holden's standard text should consult Rogers." Journal of Economic Literature
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Table of cases and precedents
Note on citation
Introduction 1
1 The central courts, commercial law, and the law merchant 12
Commercial cases in the central courts 12
The law merchant in the mercantile courts 20
The law merchant in the central courts 27
2 Early exchange transactions: commercial practice 32
Exchange transactions as means of funds transfer 32
Exchange transactions as finance 36
The dual functions of exchange 41
3 Early exchange transactions: private law 44
Exchange contracts in the mercantile courts 44
Exchange contracts in the Admiralty Court 51
Exchange contracts in the common law courts 54
4 Early exchange transactions: public law and policy 69
The debate over usury in exchange 70
The exchange controversy in England 75
The significance of the public controversy over exchange 88
5 From exchange transactions to bills of exchange: the transformation of commercial practice 94
The era of exchange transactions and the era of bills of exchange 94
The middleman economy and the development of inland bills 100
The economic functions of bills in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 108
6 The custom of merchants and the development of the law of bills 125
Actions on bills versus actions on exchange contracts 125
Development of pleadings for actions on bills 127
The significance of the changes in pleading 131
The role of the custom of merchants 137
7 The civilians and the law of bills in the seventeenth century 151
Civilian literature on the law merchant and exchange 151
The political context of the seventeenth-century English literature on the law merchant 153
A genuine but unsuccessful effort to incorporate civilian law 160
The impossibility of incorporation 164
8 Transferability and negotiability 170
Transferability 170
The promissory notes cases: drawing the boundary between the law of bills and the general law of obligations 177
Rights of bona fide holders 186
9 The law of bills and notes in the eighteenth century 194
Acceptance 195
Delay in presentment and notice of dishonour 202
Lord Mansfield and the law of bills 210
10 The problem of accommodation bills 223
The Livesey bankruptcy and accommodation bills 223
The economic context of the accommodation bills cases 228
The judicial response to accommodation bills 232
The accommodation bills controversy as an illustration of the role of law in economic controversies 246
Conclusion 250
Bibliography 253
Index 265
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