The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Barbon, Nicholas (1637/40–?1698)

  • Douglas Vickers
Reference work entry


Nicholas Barbon, son of Praisegod Barbon, a London leather merchant, was born in 1637 (or 1640), and after studying medicine at Leyden and Utrecht and taking the MD at Utrecht in 1661, was admitted an Honorary Fellow of the College of Physicians at London in 1664. He was elected a Member of Parliament in 1690 and 1695. His successful career in various mercantile activities is reported in the autobiography of Roger North, the brother, biographer, and co-author of Sir Dudley North. He was engaged in the building trade in London following the great fire of 1666, and in 1685 he published a pamphlet Apology for the Builder: or a Discourse showing the Cause and Effects of the Increase of Building. In 1681 he established the first fire insurance company, and in 1684 published an Account of two insurance offices. Barbon also established a large financial venture in banking. With John Asgill he operated a land bank in 1695 and in the same year published An Account of the Land Bank, showing the design and manner of the settlement, and prepared a scheme for a national land bank which did not, however, come into existence.


Barbon, N. Child, J. Money supply North, D. Use value 

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  1. Letwin, W. 1963. The origins of scientific economics: English economic thought 1660–1776. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  2. Vickers, D. 1959. Studies in the theory of money 1690–1776. Philadelphia: Chilton.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Vickers
    • 1
  1. 1.