this were only 1373, and the stock they held amounted Chap. to £2,605,978—not a fiftieth part of the entire stock; x so that the measure was carried into execution with the 1B22most complete success. The entire saving to the nation, including that effected by a similar saving on the Irish 5 per cents, was no less than £1,230,000 a-year—a very great sum, and which affords the clearest proof of the justice of the observations made in a former work,* as to the impolicy of the system which Mr Pitt so long pursued, of borrowing the greater part of the public debt in the 3 instead of the 5 per cents; for if the whole debt Ig^i^** had been borrowed in the latter form, the reduction jaj; P«ri! effected in the annual interest this year would not have 666,-679. been £1,200,000, but above £6,000,000 sterling.1

The next great financial measure of the session, upon which a more.doubtful meed of praise must be bestowed, Equal isawas that, as it was commonly called, for the equalisation 'heVead of the Dead Weight. This was a measure by which the aldmiiiburden of the naval and military pensions, most justly Jjjjj^. bestowed upon our gallant defenders during the late war, sion«was equalised for more than a generation to come, by being spread, at an equal amount, over the present and the future. This burden amounted to nearly £5,000,000 a-year; and although, as the annuitants expired, its amount would diminish, and at the end of forty or fifty years would be a mere trifle, yet that prospect proved but a poor resource to the present necessities of a needy Chancellor of the Exchequer. In these circumstances, when the difficulties of Government to make head against present exigencies were so great, the expedient was thought of, of granting a fixed annuity, for forty-five years certain, to parliamentary commissioners, who, in consideration of * Ann. Reg. that, were to undertake the burden of the varying exist- 137."'' ing annuities.2 The effect of this, of course, was to dimi

* Vido Hittory of Europe, chap. xli. § 62. The difference of the interest paid in the 3 and the 6 per cents seldom exceeded a quarter per cent.—Ibid. chap. xli. § 64, note.

Chap. nish in a great degree the burden in the outset, and x' proportionally augment it in the end. 18'22- Government in the first instance received £4,900,000

148. .

Details of from the commissioners, and paid out only £2,800,000, »are?e* thereby effecting a present saving of £2,100,000., But this was gained by authorising the commissioners to sell as much of the fixed sum of £2,800,000 a-year, which was directed to be paid to them out of the Consolidated Fund, as might be necessary to enable them to meet the excess of present payments over the income received; and of course it had the effect of rendering the dead weight as much heavier than it otherwise would have been at the close of the period, as it had been lightened at its commencement. This project received the sanction of both branches of the legislature, as did a supplementary measure throwing the burden of superannuated allowances on the holders of offices under Government, by stopping off their salaries a sum adequate to insuring for its amount, which effected a saving of £370,000 a-year. These two measures effected a reduction of present expenses to the amount of nearly £2,500,000 a-year, but, like the reduction of the 5 per cents, by increasing the burden of the nation in future times; for l.,AnD. Reg. the first, at this moment, is adding above £1,500,000 to H<h Pari, the annual charges of the nation above what it otherwise 764,'783, would have been; and the last has added seven millions 769.739, by the 5 per bonus given to the holders of stock to the amount of the national debt.1

Amid so many measures which attracted general attenImportant tion, and had become indispensable, from the necessitous smaii ote» of ^e public exchequer, one of the greatest importance was quietly introduced into the legislature. Ministers had not the manliness to confess they had been wrong in the course they had adopted in regard to the bill compelling cash payments in 1819, or perhaps they were aware that the influence of the monied interest in the House of Commons was too strong to render it possible for them openly and avowedly to recede from that system. But Chap. they did so almost secretly, perhaps unconsciously, in

the most effective way. Lord Londonderry alone had 1822, the sagacity to perceive, and the courage to avow, the real nature of the measure introduced, and the evils it was intended to obviate. "He did not treat it," said Sir James Graham, a statesman subsequently well known, " as a question of fluctuation of prices, of want of iSirJ("nM means of consumption, or of superabundant harvests, f^*TMon The noble marquis (Londonderry) said plainly and jjj2*' Indirectly, 'This is a question of currency: the currency Tooki on of the country is too contracted for its wants, and our 127,128." business is to apply a remedy."1

The remedy applied was most effectual, and entirely jso successful, so far as the evils meant to be remedied were iu pnmconcerned. By the Act of 1819 it had been provided that the issuing of small notes by the Bank of England or country banks should cease on 1st May 1823, and it was the necessity of providing against this contingency which was one great cause of the contraction of the currency. On 2d July, however, Lord Londonderry introduced a bill permitting the issue of £1 notes to continue for ten years longer, and declared the £1 notes of the Bank of England a legal tender everywhere except at the Bank of England. This, coupled with the grant of £4,000,000 Exchequer bills, which Government were authorised to issue in aid of the agricultural interest, had a surprising effect in restoring confidence and raising prices; and by doing so, it repealed, so long as it continued in operation, the most injurious parts of the Act of 1819. It will appear in a subsequent chapter how vast was the effect of this measure, what a flood of temporary prosperity it spread over the country, and in what a dismal catastrophe, from the necessity of paying all the notes at the Bank itself in gold, it ultimately terminated. Yet so ignorant were the legislature of the effects of this vital measure, and so little attention did it

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Chap, excite, that the second reading of it was carried in a house of forty-seven members only in the Commons; and while so many hundred pages of Hansard are occupied with debates on reduction of expenditure and similar topics, which at the utmost could only save the nation a few hundred thousands a-year, this measure, which rei Pari. Deb. stored at least eighty millions a-year to the remuneration

vii. 1458 O J J

1662; Stat, of industry in the country, does not in all occupy two c. 17& IV'' pages, and can only be discovered by the most careful examination in our parliamentary proceedings.1

Six very important acts were passed this session of Six acts Parliament at the instance of Mr Wallace, the President commin» of the Board of Trade, for removing the shackles which andnaviga- fett;ereti. ^]je trade and navigation of the country, and improving their facilities. These acts opened a new era in our commercial legislation—the era of unrestricted competition and free trade in shipping. As such they are highly deserving of attention; but their provisions will come with more propriety to be considered in a subsequent chapter, when taken in connection with the Reciprocity System in maritime affairs, then introduced by Mr Huskisson. At present, it is sufficient to observe the date of the commencement of the new system being the same with that of so many other changes in our social system and commercial policy, and when the general cheapening of articles of all sorts had rendered a •Ann. Reg. general reduction of all the charges, entering how remotely 126.' 'soever into their composition, a matter of absolute necessity.2

Parliament rose on the 6th August, and the king proViait of the ceeded shortly after on a visit to Edinburgh, which he had Edmburgh. never yet seen. He embarked with a splendid court at Aug. is. Greenwich on board the Royal George yacht on the 10th August, and arrived in Leith Roads in the afternoon of the 15th. No sovereign had landed there since Queen Mary arrived nearly three hundred years before. The preparations for his Majesty's reception, under the direction of Sir Walter Scott, were of the most magnificent descrip- Chap. tion, and the loyal spirit of the inhabitants of Scotland x' rendered it interesting in the highest degrep. The heart- 182i burnings and divisions of recent times were forgotten; the Queen's trial was no more thought of; the Radicals were silent. The ancient and inextinguishable loyalty of the Scotch broke forth with unexampled ardour; the devoted attachment they had shown to the Stuarts appeared, but it was now transferred to the reigning family. The clans from all parts of the Highlands appeared in their picturesque and varied costumes, with their chieftains at their head; the eagle's feather, their well-known badge, was seen surmounting many plumes; two hundred ^"•1^g" thousand strangers from all parts of the country crowded 180; Per-' the streets of Edinburgh, and for a brief period gave it vation. the appearance of a splendid metropolis.1

The entry of the Sovereign into the ancient city of his ancestors was extremely striking. The heights of the Cal- Particulars ton Hill, and the cliffs of Salisbury Crags, which overhang ris*t.°r°yal the city, were lined with cannon, and ornamented with standards ; and from these batteries, as well as the guns of the Castle, and the ships in the roads, and Leith Fort, a royal salute was fired as the monarch touched the shore. The procession passed through an innumerable crowd of spectators, who loudly and enthusiastically cheered, up Leith Walk, and by York Place, St Andrew Square, and Waterloo Place, to Holyrood House, where a levee and drawing-room were held a few days after. On the night following, the city was illuminated, and the guns of the Castle, firing at ten at night, realised the sublimity without the terrors of actual warfare. At a magnificent banquet given to the Sovereign by the magistrates of Edinburgh in the Parliament House, at which the Lord Provost acted as chairman, and Sir Walter Scott as vice-chairman, the former was made a baronet, with that grace of manner aud felicity of expression for which the King was so justly celebrated. A review on Portobello Sands exhibited the

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