- William Paterson (1658-1719)
It is one of the quirks of history that the Bank of England> was founded by a Scot (William Paterson) and that the Bank of Scotland> was established by an Englishman (John Holland, a London merchant).
Paterson was born in Tynwald, Dumfriesshire but lived in England from childhood. He became a merchant, trading with the West Indies, and a financier. He proposed the creation of the Bank of England in 1691 and when it was founded in 1694, became a director. However, it did not develop as he felt it should, and he resigned in 1695.
Although Paterson did not initiate it, a "Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies" had been created in Edinburgh. It enjoyed support not only in Scotland but also with many English merchants who were not able to participate in the East India Company>. Subsequently, pressure from that company caused the English to withdraw. Paterson, as an expatriate Scot, became involved and proposed a scheme to establish a commercial settlement in Panama - the Darien Scheme. The first expedition was established there in 1698. Paterson returned to Scotland in 1699 but the project had collapsed by 1700, a victim of Spanish and English intrasigence and of disease and bad planning.
It was in the aftermath of the financial collapse of Darien, which bankrupted many Scots, that the Act of Union> of 1707 was negotiated. This paid compensation to those who had lost money in the Darien scheme
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