Board of Trade

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The origins of the department may be traced back to 1621 when, in the face of a trade recession, a number of committees were appointed, under the guidance of Cranfield, to consider the matter. At the Restoration, Charles II appointed separate councils for trade and for plantations. In 1696 when the problem of coinage was again giving trouble, a permanent Board of Trade and Plantations was set up, with eight core members. The business of the board was primarily colonial administration and policy. In 1782 the board fell victim to the economical reform of the Rockinghams. Pressure of business soon demanded a replacement. As early as March 1784 Pitt's government appointed a new committee, upgraded in 1786 to a board, with Jenkinson as president and given a peerage as Lord Liverpool. As economic growth became a major consideration, the prestige of the department rose and politicians of the calibre of Gladstone, Joseph Chamberlain, Churchill, Lloyd George, Cripps, and Wilson took it on.

Subjects: British History.

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