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The financial revolution improved the British government’s ability to borrow, and thus its ability to wage war. North and Weingast argued that it also permitted private parties to borrow more cheaply and widely. We test these inferences with evidence from a London bank. We confirm that private bank credit was cheap in the early eighteenth century, but we argue that it was not available widely. Importantly, the government reduced the usury rate in 1714, sharply reducing the circle of private clients that could be served profitably.