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Gresham, Thomas

Gresham, Thomas (1519–79). Second son of Sir Richard Gresham, he became a banker, merchant, and royal agent or king's factor. Born in London and educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge, from 1551 to 1574 he was based in Antwerp, where he successfully negotiated royal loans with Flemish merchants to buy military supplies. As adviser to Queen Elizabeth I he was an advocate of sound monetary policy, seeking the restoration of base money, a reduction in debt, and prompt payment by the crown. He is credited with ‘Gresham's Law’, that ‘bad money drives out good’, arguing that if coins of different metal content but of equal legal tender are in circulation, those with lower value metal content will be used for exchange whilst the rest will be hoarded. He founded the Royal Exchange in London to function along the lines of the Bourse in Antwerp, gave Gresham College to London, as well as establishing paper mills at Osterley and a number of almshouses.

John R. Presley

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Machen, John Gresham

John Gresham Machen (grĕ´səm mā´chən), 1881–1937, American Presbyterian clergyman, b. Baltimore. Ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1914, he became a leader of the fundamentalists in his denomination. He objected to the liberalism of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and in 1933 set up an independent board. Suspended (1935) from the ministry for this action, Machen, with certain ministers and lay groups, established in 1936 an independent body that later took the name Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

See biography by N. B. Stonehouse (1954).

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