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EXCHANGE, BILLS OF:

(Redirected from PROMISSORY NOTES.)

Instruments, generally in duplicate, ordering persons to pay money in distant parts. According to Hallam ("Europe in the Middle Ages," iii. 339), Jews were the first to issue orders of this kind addressed to particular persons. An instance as early as 1183 is given in Capmany's "Memorias Historicas Sobre la Marina y Comercio de Barcelona" (i. 297). In 1181 Isaac of Rochester, Isaac of Russia, and Isaac of Beverley were accused of having "exchanged" ("cambivisse") in Southampton (see Jacobs, "Jews of Angevin England," p. 73). It is not clear how this could have formed a subject of offense to the royal treasury, but it makes it probable that the Jews of one country issued demand notes on those of another, the countries in this case being Russia and England. The practise appears to have begun among the Arab traders of the Levant in the eighth century, and from them passed to the Italian traders who followed the Crusades (Grasshoff, "Die Suftaga der Araber," 1901). It was also taken up by the Christians of Aragon from the Arabs of Andalusia, possibly by the intermediacy of the Jews during the course of the twelfth century, but there is little evidence that its further development was due to the Jews. No Jewish names occur in the Marseilles list of drawers of bills given by Schaube in "Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik (1895), among those attached to the bills sent to the fair of Ypres in the thirteenth century, in the list given by Marez in "Mémoires Couronnés de l'Académie Royale de Belgique" (1901), or in the long list of drafts drawn by St. Louis on Italian merchants which is given by Schaube in the "Jahrbücher" for 1898. For a Jewish form of bill of exchange see "Berliner Festschrift," 1903, pp. 103-109.

A. J.
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