Established during 1800 by Napoleon, after he became First Consul, who desired a financial institu-tion that should not only be of service to the Government, but also subservient to it.1

It has one central, or head office, in Paris, but has branches or auxiliary offices in, or is connected with, all the principal cities and towns in the country. The governor and two sub-governors are nominated by the Government, but the general council, consisting of fifteen regents and three censeurs, are chosen by the stockholders, except that three of the regents must be selected from the treasury disbursing agents. The business of discounts and advances at all its offices is transacted at the same rates as in Paris, which regulates interest rates throughout the country. The Bank has never raised its rate of discount over 9%2 and the fluctuations in its rate have always been less violent and frequent than in the case of the Bank of England. From 1844 to 1900 the rate of discount of the former was altered 111 times, and of the latter, 400 times.

The ownership in the Bank of France is represented by shares held by individuals, but is very largely under the control of the Government. It is the only institution in the country which can issue bank notes, which is done under the direction of the regents, who are responsible, and report to the Government. The only security behind the notes is the general assets and credit of the Bank, although, in case of necessity, the Government would sustain the bank with its credit. These notes are legal tender so long as they are redeemed in specie. The maximum limit of issue has been increased until now it stands at 5,800,000,000 francs.1 Although no special reserve is held, the Bank makes a point of retaining on hand a large amount of bullion and coin. It protects its gold reserve by charging a premium when it is demanded for export. From the fact that checks are still comparatively little used in that country, bank notes and specie are principally employed in making payments. This naturally results in the extensive use of bank notes throughout the country, and calls for a large issue on the part of the Bank of France, which is generally six or seven times the amount of the deposits.

"The Modern Bank," A. K. Fiske.

"Bank Rate and the Money Market," R. H. Inglis Palgrave.

The Bank receives deposits of public money, and is, to a great extent, the Government's fiscal agent.