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Bank of England Notes

issue, department, amount, issued, gold and note

BANK OF ENGLAND NOTES. The Bank of England is a bank of issue, and may issue notes in England and Wales. The Bank is separated into two departments, the Issue Department and the Banking Department. It has the right to issue bank notes up to D4,000,000 against securities to that amount transferred to the issue department, and that amount may be increased by His Majesty in Council against further security to the extent of two-thirds of any banker's issue which has ceased. (See above figures.) Notes may also be issued by the issue department against gold and silver bullion or gold coins, but the silver bullion must not exceed one-fourth of the value of the gold coin and bullion. Bank of England notes are as good as cash, and are legal tender in England and Wales for any sum above LS, except by the Bank itself and its branches. All Bank of England notes are payable in gold at the head office, but at a branch only the notes are payable which were issued by that branch. Before giving cash for a note it is customary for the Bank to request the person presenting it, to write his name and address upon the back.

When notes are paid in to the Bank they are not reissued, but are cancelled and after five years are destroyed.

Bank of England notes may be signed by machinery instead of being written (16 & 17 Viet. c. 2, Section 1). The Bank has the sole right to issue notes within the City of London or within three miles thereof, and they are not subject to any stamp duty. They are issued for LS, /10, L20, C50, D 00, ,/,500, and D.000.

Where notes of the Bank of England, issued more than forty years ago, have not been presented for payment, the Bank of England is empowered by the Bank Act, 1892, to write off the amount, or any propor tion of it, of such notes from the total amount issued by the issue department, and the Bank Charter Act, 1844, is to apply as if the amount so written off had not been issued, provided that " (a) A return of the amount of notes so written off shall be forthwith sent to the Treasury and laid by them before Parliament ; and " (b) This Section shall not affect the liability of the Bank to pay any note included in the amount so written off, and if it is presented for payment the amount shall either be paid out of the bank notes, gold coin, or bullion in the banking department ; or, if it is exchanged for gold coin or bullion in the issue department, or for a note issued from the issue department. a

corresponding amount of gold coin or bullion shall be transferred from the banking department and appro priated to the issue department." Lord Mansfield (in Miller v. Race, 1758, I Burr. 452) said : " Bank notes are not goods, nor securities, nor documents for debts, nor are they so esteemed, but are treated as money, as cash, in the ordinary course and transaction of business by the general consent of mankind, which gives them the credit and currency of money, to all intents arid purposes." A material part of a Bank of England note, and of all bank notes, is the number. If a note is lost or stolen, the number often enables the loser who has kept a record of it to trace the note. The fact of notes being numbered and therefore traceable, no doubt often tends to prevent them being stolen, particularly if they are for the larger denominations.

The numbers also are necessary to the Bank in order that a correct register may be kept of all notes issued, and the date of issue, and that, when withdrawn from circulation, each note may be written off in the register as having been paid. (See BANK NOTES, BANK OF ENGLAND.)