The Jews had been expelled from England by Edward I., after a sojourn in the country of rather more than two centuries, during which they had been the licensed and oppressed money-lenders of the realm, and had - through the special exchequer of the Jews - been used by the sovereign as a means of extorting a revenue from his subjects.
Both countries had their artisans, money-lenders, poets and musicians.
This equitable relief is still available, though it is not so wide as the relief now given to borrowers under the Money-lenders Act 1900.
This act provides that where proceedings are taken in any court by a money-lender for the recovery of money lent, and there is evidence which satisfies the court that the interest charged on the loan, or the amounts charged for expenses, inquiries, fines, bonus, premium, renewals, &c., are excessive, and that in either case the transaction is harsh and unconscionable, or is otherwise such that a court of equity would grant relief, the court may reopen the transaction and take an account between the money-lender and the person sued, and may, notwithstanding any statement or settlement of account or any agreement purporting to close previous dealings and create a new obligation, reopen any account already taken between them and relieve the person sued from payment of any sum in excess of the sum adjudged by the court to be fairly due in respect of such principal, interest and charges as the court, having regard to the risk and all the circumstances, may adjudge to be reasonable: The Money-lenders Act of 1900 was passed in consequence of grave abuses which had arisen.
Moreover, by section 5 of the Money-lenders Act 1900, where any proceedings are taken against the senders of these circulars to infants, if it is proved that the person to whom the document was sent is an infant, the person charged will be deemed to have been cognisant of the fact unless he proves that he had reasonable grounds for believing the infant to be of full age.
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