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Julian Browning Rare Books & Manuscripts

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Original Manuscript Cheque, drawn on the bank Clayton & Morris, opening “Mr. Morris, pray pay the bearer .” £50 to Sir Robert Stone for Nicholas Vanacker, the merchant who has signed the cheque.

CLAYTON & MORRIS, Bankers. London, 10 March 1659 [1660]. One of the earliest cheques in existence, maybe the third oldest known Clayton & Morris scrivener’s cheque. In those years the calendar year began on Lady Day (25 March), so this cheque was issued on 10 March 1660. The first cheque was issued in London on 22 April 1659. It was for £10 and made payable to the bearer by Nicholas Vanacker. It was drawn on the bank of Clayton & Morris. The original cheque was sold for £1,300 at Sotheby's, London in 1976.The other known early cheques are dated 16 February 1659/60 (in the collection of the Royal Bank Of Scotland) and 27 August 1660; and the earliest held by the Bank of England is dated 8 December 1660. All of these were also drawn by Vanacker on his account with Clayton & Morris. They were the leading bankers of the Restoration, with offices at Cornhill in the City of London: 'Unlike their contemporary goldsmith–bankers, Clayton and Morris never invested in royal moneylending, nor did they traffic in foreign exchange. Instead, their business was centred in the private market of lending money to landowners. As civil wars and interregnum disrupted credit in the countryside, many landowners, including royalists in search of money to pay compounding fees, turned to London for loans. After 1660 the money market remained centred in the capital, and Clayton and Morris seized the opportunity to dominate it. Their unique contribution to banking history was to integrate the mortgage as a form of long-term security for banking loans' (Frank Melton, 'Robert Clayton', ODNB).
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An original Admiralty Memorandum signed by Gordon Bremer as Commodore, to Captain Hall (“Nemesis Hall”) of H.M. Steam Vessel Dragon, permitting him to be absent from duty for four days.

BREMER‚ Rear-Admiral Sir James John Gordon. William & Mary [Yacht], Woolwich, 25 June 1847. Rear-Admiral Sir James John Gordon Bremer (1786-1850) established the colony on Melville Island, Australia (1824), and later at Port Essington. He had the naval command of the expedition to China during a great part of the years 1840-41. He was distinguished in the Burmese and Chinese wars. Bremer landed at the Possession Point on Hong Kong Island on 26 January 1841 during the First Opium War, prior to the cession of the island according to the Treaty of Nanking, and claimed Hong Kong for Queen Victoria. His memorandum is addressed to Captain (later Admiral) William Hutcheon Hall (1797–1878) who served in the First Anglo-Chinese War and Crimean War. In 1816–17, he served as a midshipman under Captain Basil Hall, with whom he attended William Amherst's embassy to China. In November 1839, Hall obtained command of Nemesis of the British East India Company in China, where he served in the First Anglo-Chinese War (1839–43). The ship's first engagement was against Chinese forts and a fleet of junks in the Second Battle of Chuenpee on 7 January 1841.He was Mentioned in Despatches for his part in the battle. He was also present at the Battle of First Bar on 27 February. In commemoration of his service, he was commonly known in the navy as "Nemesis Hall". William Dallas Bernard, an Oxford graduate who studied life and customs in China, used Hall's notes to write an account of the war in the Narrative of the Voyages and Services of the Nemesis from 1840 to 1843 (1844).