King Charles II Rewards the Man Who Developed the Famous “Stop of the Exchequer”, Which Delayed Repayment of the King’s Debts and Gave Him a Desperately Needed Infusion of Cash

The action led directly to establishment of the Bank of England, to obviate future such problems

Thomas Clifford was one of the most active members of the Cavalier Parliament that met after the Restoration in 1660 when King Charles II returned to England to reclaim his throne. By the time of his promotion to the House of Lords, he had been named to 325 committees in the House...

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King Charles II Rewards the Man Who Developed the Famous “Stop of the Exchequer”, Which Delayed Repayment of the King’s Debts and Gave Him a Desperately Needed Infusion of Cash

The action led directly to establishment of the Bank of England, to obviate future such problems

Thomas Clifford was one of the most active members of the Cavalier Parliament that met after the Restoration in 1660 when King Charles II returned to England to reclaim his throne. By the time of his promotion to the House of Lords, he had been named to 325 committees in the House of Commons. His early political speeches in Parliament show that he supported royal policy and a toleration for Catholics and Protestant dissenters. He soon achieved prominence as a financial expert, and was appointed chairman of the committee for satisfying the public debt. He rose to even more prominence during the Dutch-Franco Wars of the 1660s. He is mentioned often in the “Diary of Samuel Pepys”, and according to the Duke of York he was ‘the only minister of Charles II that served him throughout faithfully and without reproach’.

Clifford cooperated zealously with the King, and for his loyalty, in 1666 the King made him Controller of the Household and Privy Councillor. In 1667 he was named Commissioner for the Treasury, and in 1668 Treasurer of the Household. In January 1672, the state finances were in such a grievous condition that the crown found itself no longer able to honor its debts. Moreover, the King required money desperately to conduct the war with the Dutch. Clifford developed a plan to bridge the funds gap: he advised Charles to have recourse to a stop of the exchequer. This step, whereby all payments out of the treasury on all debts, warrants, orders, or securities were suspended for twelve months, essentially cancelled most of the King’s bills, and gave the King a ready supply of funds. It almost ruined commercial credit because bankers had little ready cash to lend, and soon led to the establishment of the Bank of England to overcome just this problem.

On April 22, 1672, in reward for this service, Clifford was made a baron with the title of Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, and on November 28 of that year was appointed Lord High Treasurer and then Treasurer of the Exchequer. From the King he received the manors of Cannington and Rodway Fitzpain, Somersetshire, for himself and his heirs male. He resigned all offices in 1673 when, as a Roman Catholic, he found himself unable to comply with the Test Act that imposed Protestant religious requirements for public office.

This is the very document in which King Charles II directed the grant to Clifford of the manors of Cannington and Rodway Fitzpain, in reward for his solving the King’s cash crunch. Document signed, two pages, “Our Court at Whitechapel”, July 10, 1672, to the Attorney General. “…It is our will and pleasure that you forthwith prepare a bill fit for our Royal signature…containing our grant unto our trusty and well-beloved Councillor Thomas Lord Clifford, Baron of Chudleigh & the heirs males of his body the house, church & churchyard, manor & rectory of Cannington…And also containing our further grant unto the said Thomas Lord Clifford & the heirs males of his body of all that our manor of Rodway Fitzpain…”

Today Thomas Hugh, the 14th Baron Clifford, retains a portion of the land granted in this document.

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