3 December 2003
CHARLES I, King of England (1625-1649). Letter signed ('Charles R') to an unidentified correspondent ('Right trusty & wellbeloved Cosen & Counsellor', the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, Sir George Hay of Kinfauns), Whitehall, 'this 23 of March 1632 styl. Angl', signed by the King at the head, countersigned by James Galloway, one page, folio, integral blank leaf (slightly dust-stained).
The announcement of stiff measures to stamp out 'this practise of exorbitant and unsufferable usury, which of late years is cum into ane ordinary foade of many merchants there, and most impudently heere by their factors residing to that purpose in and about our City of London, to the great dishoner of that kingdome, scandall of Christianity & often contempt of our so many and strict lawes to the contrary'. In order to end 'the course and contagion of so pestilent a disease' the King has bestowed the forfeits of Usurers upon the Master of Requests.
Usury laws from the 13th-century onwards had restrained the rates of interest on loans. In May 1632 the Privy Council in Scotland agreed to levy fines for offences including usury (Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, IV, 2nd series, 189).
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