Women Investors in the Early Years of the Financial Revolution
This chapter explores the women who were early adopters of the new financial investments brought about by England’s Financial Revolution. A survey is provided of female subscribers to the Bank of England, the Land Bank, the Royal African, and East India Companies, the Company of Mine Adventurers, and various early government loans in the 1680s–1700s. The remainder of the chapter provides three case studies of women who were early adopters to the Financial Revolution: the courtier Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the tradeswoman Martha Hutchins, and the provincial gentlewoman Elizabeth Freke. These women acclimated easily and enthusiastically to public investment, showing themselves willing to take on some risk for a good return. All three women also invested on their own, despite the fact they were married women. In the early decades of the Financial Revolution femes coverts were able to be investors.
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