I have no education in economics beyond the required high school class. Lately I’ve been wondering about how the heck banks worked in the 18th and 19th centuries. At a time when people were mobile over long distances, but still before telegraphs. Wikipedia is somewhat useful, but leaves me with a lot of questions.
Am I right that a bank note could only be redeemed at a branch of the bank that issued it? Am I right that a promissory note was more widely applicable, and if so, how did a bank decide whether it would cash it or not? Was it a matter of trusting the issuing bank? Of somehow verifying the identity of the person who presented it?
I guess my real question is this: how did wealthy people moving from the Old World to the New World move their wealth? I assume they didn’t literally carry bars of gold with them, so how did all that happen?