Vol. 11: Legg, Marie-Louise.

Type: Article

Legg, Marie-Louise. ‘Money and Reputations: The Effects of the Banking Crises of 1755 and 1760’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 11 (1996), pp 74-87..

Following the failure of a number of Dublin banks, 1759 was a year in which the whole banking system of Ireland was on the brink of collapse. The bank failures were the result of a high number of bankruptcies and a low supply of specie. In the 1740’s, the majority of principals of most banks were merchants, and there was a strong relationship between banks and the mercantile community which saw them through times of economic troubles. Things were different by the 1750s, however, and the principals of one bank that went under in 1759 — Malone, Clements and Gore — were not merchants, but public men and government office-holders. Their failure was regarded as “letting down their class and disgracing their public office” and, as well, they had “induced a loss of confidence in the economy and, in the opinion of some, their behaviour had led to the Dublin riots”. This article gives a comprehensive overview of Dublin banking in the eighteenth century and looks in particular at the impact of the failure of Malone, Clements and Gore on the reputations of its founders and of Irish politicians. An account is also given of the ‘capricious’ activities of Edward Synge, bishop of Elphin, concerning the Ranelagh Trust in 1760, whereby he merged trust moneys with his personal funds.