William Paterson 1658-1719

From Book Owners Online

William PATERSON or PATTERSON 1658-1719

Biographical Note

Paterson was born in Skipmyre, Dumfriesshire, the son of John and Elizabeth Paterson. He became a member of the Merchant Taylor's Company in 1681, and was admitted to the livery of the company in 1689. In 1691 he was part of a group of London merchants suggesting that England should set up a bank of credit. Although proposals were initially rejected by parliament, the project became the Bank of England, and Paterson was among its first directors when it was chartered in 1694. He resigned his position in 1695 after disagreements with other directors. He subsequently campaigned for a colony on the isthmus of Darien, and was involved in various schemes to realise this ambition. He died in January 1719 and was buried in Kirkcudbright.


Paterson's books were sold by retail sale for three days beginning 24 March 1718/19 in London. The Daily Courant described the items as a 'valuable collection of books, in most Faculties, viz. History, Travels, Mathematicks, Husbandry, Philosophy, Trade, Civil, Common, and Statute Law, mostly gilt and letter'd, in Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, Latin, English, High and Low Dutch'. The sale also included 'curious cuts, books of Architecture, Maps and Prints, with near 100 volumes of scarce and uncommon tracts'.


  • Alston, R. C. Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
  • Armitage, David. "Paterson, William (1658–1719), banking projector." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • A catalogue of the library of William Patterson, Esq; deceas'd. Consisting of a very valuable and choice collection of voyages, travels, law civil, common and statute, [London, 1719], ESTC T27542.