burning down the house

The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons, 16th October 1834
~ by JMW Turner

"Turner was an eyewitness to the great fire and when we view Turner’s magnificent painting, we ought to keep in mind what it was all about."

“[M]uch of commerce was carried on simply as credits and debits, often recorded in the form of tally sticks. A tally stick was a bit of hazel wood upon which a debt was recorded in the form of notches; the stick was then split in half. The creditor’s half was called the “stock,” which made him the stockholder, and the debtor’s half was called the stub. The stock would circulate as money, and as long as the stub remained it was impossible to change the debt.

Tally sticks circulated in England for 500 years. It is worth noting that when the Bank of England was founded, in 1694, one quarter of its capital was in the form of tally sticks. But the bankers wished to monopolize the creation of money, and immediately set out on a long campaign to get the tally sticks outlawed. And they got their wish when the Liberal party came to power in 1832. One of their first acts was to fulfill the agenda of the Bank of England. All of the tally sticks were gathered together and burned in a stove in the House of Lords. However, the fire got out of hand and burned down the Houses of Parliament.”

~ Excerpted from the essay: Friends and Strangers: A Meditation on Money by John Medaille

via Reflejos



gz said...

very interesting indeed.

Adullamite said...

Burn it down again!!!!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I'm with Adullamite.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Turner = WOW!

goatman said...

That's funny (I hate to laugh, but . . . that is a harsh way to get rid of a means of commerce)
I wonder what was the incidence of bogus notched hazelwood halves?

red dirt girl said...

Hmmm....so reactions to this post: one interested, two seditious arsonists, an appreciator of art and a comedian. I don't think I've had such varied responses since I posted about lust a few months ago!

I don't know about bogus tally sticks. The essay makes a case for our monetary system equaling societal obligations rather than true debts. Just go read it. It's interesting.