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- Paterson is recognised as the founder of the Bank of England.
- In the 1770s Paterson was operating as a merchant and became well-known in the coffee houses of Amsterdam as someone who was liable to latch on to acquaintances and bore them with his dream of initiating a settlement on Darien Peninsula in the Panama isthmus.
- Either Paterson had been out to the Caribbean, as some stories maintain, or through his trading activities he had met some of the British buccaneers who sailed in the Caribbean and off the South American coast.
- He had certainly heard about Darien, where the buccaneer and surgeon Wafer had been stranded and spent time with the Darien Indians.
- Paterson's dream was that a colony on Darien would provide a great trading opportunity for Britain and save ships from making the long dangerous journey to the East round the tip of Africa.
- By 1686, Paterson had made enough money, either in the Caribbean or in Europe, to establish himself in London.
- He was a member of the Merchant Taylors Company and also had business links with Newfoundland.
- He became involved in London finance, and supported the Revolution of 1688 when James II was deposed and William of Orange and his wife Mary came to the throne.
- In 1691 he led a group of merchants who proposed to the government that a Bank of England should be set up.
- Paterson was now a rich man and a prominent member of the mercantile establishment.
- Merchants had long wanted a bank which would offer credit, on Parliamentary security.