Isaac Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey Kneller

Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Royal Mint (1699-1727)

Introduction: Sir Isaac Newton is, perhaps, best known as an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution.   His book “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”, first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics Newton made…

Arrival of the English Flagship Royal Charles, painting by Jeronymus van Diest II from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (note the Dutch flag at the rear and English flag flying upside down from the main mast)

Financial Crisis (1667) avoided by Charles II, via London Goldsmiths’ Loans

Background After a brief hiatus of experimentation with a pseudo-republican government under Oliver Cromwell, the English monarchy was reinstated in 1660 but Charles II began his reign with vastly reduced powers, especially in the realm of taxation – responsibility for which had been transferred to Parliament. This was a major restriction on Charles II and…

Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, by John Riley

Banking Collapse in London (1676) as Charles II Defaults on Royal Loans

Background The Great Stop of 1672 caused five of the leading London Goldsmiths to go bust, drastically affected nine others, and ‘financially embarrassed over 10,000 wealthy families in England. The Great Stop effectively ended the ‘cosy relationship’ between the king and a small clique of private bankers that thrived on the Crown’s inability to generate…