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theory. They had also the evidence of a Europe, or we must, for the present, have Mr. Monck on the same side of the ques- continued the bank restrictions. Happily tion, who said be would not accept of Bank for our character, honour, and greatness, of England paper at the same rate of value the latter alternative had been adopted. as gold. The reason of which was ob- -The right hon. gentleman then went vious : Mr. Monck was a coiner of local into a justification of his resolution retokens, and for bis purposes, gold or silver corded last session, and contended that was much more useful than paper. With the paper of the Bank of England was, for regard to the practical question, he put it all legal purposes, equivalent to coin : to any one of the Bullion Committee to though certainly not so to those who say if it would be wise to cause the Bank wished to melt it down, or make it the subto resume its payments in specie at this ject of foreign trade, which, however, was, period; and if not, would it be expedient and had long been, contrary to the laws to pass a law, as they had formerly pro- of the land. Could it have been possible posed, to fix the resumption of cash pay. to enforce these penal laws vigilantly and ments at any specific time, the circum- perfectly, guld would have had no other stances of which they could not foresee? value than paper of the same denomination, He had at that time pointed out to the and the only difference between them was, satisfaction of the majority of the House, that the one could be converted into that similar rises in the price of the precious bullion, the other could not. The anometals had taken place when there was no maly of light guineas had been much anipaper currency at all, and when there was madverted on, but this was no new case ; a paper currency convertible into its po. there were abundant instances in our hisminal value in money. This proved tory, of light guineas being more valuable that the rise did not depend on the than standard coin, long before the Bank depreciation of the paper currency. It restriction was ever thought of. The was true, as asserted on the other side, that enormous profits of the Bank had also gold bad advanced in price within the last been dwelt upon : to this he would bear year, and the argument they would draw testimony, that the Bank was an unwilling from this was, that the circulation of paper party to those measures whence the profits had increased, and consequently its worth accrued, and which were forced upon it diminished. Now the case was not so, by the government of the country. The and this fact afforded another argument in Bank had ever evinced a desire to be reconfirmation of the fallacy of their rea. leased from these restrictions, and the soning. For his part, he found a sufficient preparations it made for resuming paycause for the rise of gold in the vast aug- ments in specie were a sufficient proof of mentation of our foreign expenditure: and its readiness so to do, when it could be still more in the total interruption of the permitted consistently with the public supplies of the precious metals from South good. The practical question now was, America, which in itself was sufficient to whether the period had arrived, when account for the advance upon those metals they could give up the safeguards that had in the market. The circumstances of the been imposed for the preservation of our present year were also somewbat remark metallic currency, and to protect the pubable. After the debates of last session the lic generally from individual vexation and price of bullion remained for some time oppression? All that the public wanted pretty steady ; but of late it had risen was to go on quietly with the currency suddenly to the extent stated by the hon. they were used to; but this, it was in the gentleman opposite. It had so risen on power of any one to disturb, unless the the opening of the intercourse with Russia, present law was passed to protect debtors wbence an excessive demand had occa from the exaction of payments in a me. sioned a similar rise all over Europe. dium, which it was out of their power to The nostrum of the Bullion Committee obtain. The act had arisen out of the was to resume payments in cash; but provocation of one individual, but for where was it to be got? The mines of whom they might have been quiet yet, America were stopped, and the balance of and the necessity for the law never have trade was against us with every other been raised. It was now indispensible country. It appeared then, that we must to protect the subject from grievous opeither have sacrificed our political pros- pression : and he submitted that there pects, withdrawn our army from the con- were stronger reasons for its continuance tinent, and have surrendered the hopes of than even for its being originally passed. Mr. Ponsonby expressed his surprise at its value ? fire would prove the value of a some of the positions of the right hon. the guinea, when melted it was even more vaChancellor of the Exchequer; and he was luable than before, but burn a bank note, not less surprised at the conduct of the and it produced only ashes. He was inHouse, which, in direct contradiction to formed that the Bank had given notice to its own Resolution, had passed the present the bankers in London, that they could no Bill, to prevent the effect of that inequality longer be supplied with tokens. If the which the Resolution of the House went to bank-note had not depreciated, why was deny. The Resolution asserted that bank that specie commonly called change so notes and guineas were in equal public es- scarce as to bear a premium in almost timation, and perfectly equivalent; but if every country town in England, nay, he so, why did landlords demand payment of had been told, even in the metropolis ? their rents in gold, and if the pretended The right hon. gentleman told the House, equivalency did exist, why pass an act to that the Bill was levelled against Jord force the landlord to receive paper? The King: he did not know the motives of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exche. proposers of the Bill. But he believed the quer had told the House that bank notes Bill was intended to support the Resolution were equivalent to gold, as applicable to all of that House, which it in fact disaplawful purposes. Was the payment of proved, and to protect the paper, which rent a lawful purpose ? And if paper was had lost its legitimate protection-the good equal to gold, why pass a law to guard opinion of the public. He had no doubt the tenant against the landlord's demand the right hon. gentleman intended to press for gold? How the right hon. gentleman the Bill; but he saw no reason to hurry or the House could be persuaded to enter- on its consideration at this period. Betain such opinions, he could not divine ; fore he concluded, he wished to ask the and yet the right hon. the Chancellor of right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchethe Exchequer continued to tell the House quer what he paid for bills to remit to the that an equivalency still existed. Did continent; what premium he gave for that equivalency exist when the bank note such bills; what a hundred pounds cost was at what he called a depreciation of 5 the country, when remitted to the contiper cent.? and did that equivalency re- nent? [The Chancellor of the Exchequer main unaltered, notwithstanding the de signified his intention not to answer the preciation had increased to 15, 20, and question.] The right hon. gentleman reeven 30 per cent. ? Could the right hon. peated his question. He professed to be gentleman find any one who would give uninformed on the subject. He had never him a guinea for a pound note and a shil- heard of any similar refusal. He plainly ling? Could he go into a market and pur saw that the right bon. gentleman would chase as much of a commodity with a not give time to new members to acquire pound nole and a shilling, as with a guinea ? information on the subject, but that he was If that equivalency still existed, why did determined to cram his obnoxious Bill we find such difficulty in obtaining guineast down the throat of the House. Such conWas any such difficulty experienced pre- duct be considered as indecent and imviously to the depreciation of paper? No; proper, and should therefore support the and the present difficulty was easily ac- Amendment of his hon. friend. counted for, because the Resolution of the Mr. Manning rose principally in conseHouse was not true. The right hon. quence of an allusion made by the right gentleman referred the present scarcity hon. gentleman who spoke last to the inand high price of gold, to the non-impor- sufficient issue of tokens by the Bank of tation of bullion from America ; 'but England. It was true that the company would this apply to England alone? had deemed it expedient to discontinue Would it not affect France, and all Eu- the issue of tokens to a certain extent to rope? Would the right hon. gentleman private bankers, from a fear that the supsay that gold was as scarce and as dear in ply would not be adequate to the demand : France ? Would he assert that the paper large as the sum might appear, it could circulating in that country was at a dis- be proved by incontrovertible testimony, count of 35 per cent. ? He told the House thai within the last fifteen months no less that a bank note was equal to a guinea for than nearly two millions sterling had been all lawful purposes, but that it was not delivered from the Bank in tokens of 35. lawful to melt guineas; would the right and 1s. 6d. No opportunity had been lost hon. gentleman burn a bank note to prove of promoting their circulation, but its extent must of course be governed by the , it had that influence, he had voted that amount of the importations. With regard the cash payments should, at the end of to the issue of bank paper, he hoped that two years, be renewed, with a view cere the House would believe him when he as- tainly, that if at the end of that period serted, that as late as yesterday evening, it was found from any causes impracit did not exceed twenty-two millions and ticable, the time should be enlarged from a half. In July or August 1810, it would year to year until the company had the be remembered that the number of notes means of calling in all their notes : at prein circulation was about twenty-five mil. sent every body would admit, that to lions sterling; but this excess was occa. compel the Bank to pay in specie would sioned by the failure of two large houses be a gross act of injustice. There were in London, which produced a considerable advantages belonging to a paper system, sensation in the country. Bankers in the and even to an extended issue of notes. various principal towns then made de. 1. It was a great convenience to merchants mands upon the Bank, to ensure them. who could thus with ease obtain discount selves against the consequences of a run for their bills. 2. It was an equal facility upon their firms; but within six months
to government in raising loans, 3. It the greater part of three millions was re- laid a burden upon the shoulders of those turned to the Bank of England, without who were best able to bear it, and di. having been employed. It could not, minished the weight that would otherwise therefore, with justice, be said, that the be imposed upon the poor. It might also issue of bank-notes at this time was exces. be a very serious question whether, supsive, or that the high price of bullion had posing the Bank had always paid in specie, been occasioned by it. One hon. gentle- the legislature would not have been called man had contended, that the Bank indis- upon to remedy inconveniencies resulting criminately discounted commercial paper from that system, instead of passing Bills by its notes. This assertion was by no
to amend errors belonging to the present, means correct, as it was established by evi considering our relation with the continent dence before the House; the issue for this of Europe. As matters now stood it was purpose was always much below the de- perfectly evident that Bank paper had mand. The hon. gentleman then advert depreciated 35 per cent.
Where that ed to the evil consequences that would re- depreciation would end it was impossible sult to the country if this Bill were not to divine, and the Chancellor of the Expassed ; and disclaimed on the part of the chequer, by the Bill before the House, Bank of England any desire to have their proposed no remedy to prevent its deprenotes maintained by parliamentary autho. ciation evento 100 per cent, Under rity, since the confidence reposed in the these circumstances, the subject was to be company by the country at large was fully viewed in a very serious and painful light, adequate to their support.
since its consequences might be so ruinous. Mr. H. Thornton, as a member of the Another point to be contemplated was the Bullion Committee, whose conduct and proposed abolition of local tokens, after report had been so severely stigmatized, the 25th of March. If such a measure felt it necessary to say a few words in de- were resorted to, what was to supply the fence of that body. It ought to have been deficiency? Small change for the comrecollected by the right hon. the Chan- mon transactions of life was every where cellor of the Exchequer that at the time wanted, even with the aid of these local the committee .recommended to the House tokens; but when they were withdrawn that the Bank should be compelled to re- the governor of the Bank had admitted new cash payments in two years, the that that establishment had it not in its country was by no means in the situation power to issue any silver to make good in which it was now placed. Our com
the loss that would be sustained in the modities were not then excluded from districts where local tokens were in circuthe continent by that regular system lation. which at present prevailed, and the ba- Mr. Whilshed Keene said, he had suplance of trade consequently on all articles ported the measure on former occasions, was not so much against us. The main as the only means to resist the military question with regard to the Bill now under despotism with which we were threatened. consideration was, whether the issue of It was perhaps paying dear, but not too bank
paper did or did not tend to influ- dear, for salvation. As long as the spirit ence the exchange? And thinking that of the constitution should survive, this port it.
little spot would continue to strive; but last session had done great violence to the exertions were necessary, and considering property of landlords, whose estates had the measure the Bill went to continue been let out on long leases. The effect of as one of those exertions, he would sup- it was, that the landlord was to receive less,
and the farmer to pay less, than what Lord Folkestone did not mean to discuss was contracted for, although the farmer the principle of the Bill, but should sug- was also to have all the advantages of the gest a course which he conceived it would depreciation, by an increased price on be advisable to pursue. He thought that every thing wbich his farm produced. it would be the best way to suffer the Bill The fact was, that when lord King issued to pass, since ministers represented it to that notice to his tenants, which had been be of urgent necessity; but it would be so much canvassed, he required of his te better that it should be a short Bill renew- nants either to pay him in gold according ing the present Bill for three or four to the contract, or else in Bank-paper at a months, so that after the recess the House rate stated in the notice, which was less in might have full time to acquire the infor- fact, than he would be entitled to accord. mation necessary to the discussion of this ing to the fair value. A great deal had important question in all its bearings. He been said, by the right hon. the Chancellor thought the question of local. tokens, of the Exchequer, about public estimation. which had been mentioned, was one which The right hon. gentleman was a grave required much consideration. If the man, and delivered his opinions in a grave course he had proposed should meet the manner; yet nothing could be more lu. views of the House, be hoped his hon. dicrous than his assertion, that in all friend would have no objection to with transactions where men were not inclined draw his amendment.
to incur the penalties of the law, the bank Mr. Huskisson expressed his regret, note and guinea were of equal value. Let that he was prevented by indisposition that right hon. gentleman go, if he could from delivering his sentiments on the disguise himself sufficiently-as he had important question before the House. desired him (Mr. W.) to turn informer,
Mr. Crecdey wished to know, before the though he would not himself inform about question was put, whether ministers his friend the Jew- let him go into any would accede to the proposal of his noble shop, and he would find that a shop-keeper friend, and agree to have the Bill passed would give 5s. worth more of goods for a for a short period ?
guinea than for a note and a shilling. In Lord Castlereagh said, that several the estimation of such a person in the branches of the present question must estimation of the Jew,--and in the estimaremain for discussion on some future tion of the buyer of light guineas men. occasion, but he was not aware of any tioned by his hon. friend, it was clear that circumstances which could possibly hap the two things were not reckoned equivapen within the limited period which had lent. Some persons, indeed said, that been mentioned that could tend to render bank notes were superior to guineas, bethe present measure unnecessary.
cause they could not be boarded in the Mr. Whitbread was sincerely sorry for same manner, for instance, in an invasion, the cause which prevented the hon. gen- and thus check the means of purchasing tleman, who was a great authority on these necessaries. This was true. People hoardsubjects, from delivering his sentimentson ed what was valuable, and what, if re-prothe present occasion, which appeared the duced, would demand an equivalent ; regular period for discussing the principle whereas in an invasion, Bank-notes, whe of the Bill. He certainly thought that ther above ground, or below it, would be there was something in this Bill so incon- of equal value, that was of no value at all. sistent with the resolutions upon which it An hon. gentleman had argued, as if this was founded, that he thought the right Bill had been the cause of our maintehon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, nance of the Spanish struggle, and had and the House, should be somewhat carried lord Wellington through the camashamed of first resolving that gold and paign : whereas, in fact, the Bill was not paper were equal in public estimation, and passed till the end of the year 1811, when ihen passing a law to force the public to : forced upon the unwilling minisact as if they were really of equal value ters, from the other House, like a clap of in their estimation. He certainly con- thunder. But had it filled the military sidered that the act which had been passed chest of lord Wellington ? No! that chest
was altogether empty, and lord Welling- Mr. Canning was unwilling to allow the ton had been forced, at Madrid, to make a motion to go to a division without shortly loan of a few thousand dollars. The of stating the reasons that induced bim to ficers of his army (all except those of the abstain from voting against a bill, the gevery first rank) were so destitute, that they neral principle of which was, without had not even one piece of metal for the qualification, in direct opposition to all common comforts and necessaries of life. those long-established maxims of political A material question had been asked, economy, the soundness of which, until though the right hon. the Chancellor of the last few years, no man in that House the Exchequer had not thought proper to or in the country had ventured to question. answer it ; what price he gave for bills to Every measure brought before the legisremit abroad, and whether the premium lature might be considered in two points did not make that very article disappear of view; the one with reference to the gewhich was most wanted ? Robespierre neral and abstract principle of right or exhad prohibited certain articles from being pediency, the other with reference to any sold above a cèrtain price, which caused system already established, from which the those articles to vanish entirely from the measure might be said necessarily to emamarket. Tokens had been issued from nate. It was in that last point of view, as the Bank, and they had disappeared in proceeding from the principle adopted by proportion as the depreciation overtook the House after mature deliberation-a the currency. He should be glad to ask principle the adoption of which he had rethe Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether sisted to the best of his power--that he by connivance, or otherwise, the govern- felt bound to acquiesce in the Bill. He ment bought guineas, while, at the same had always contended, that the steps time, they were, by their attorney and so which had been subsequently taken must licitor, prosecuting, convicting, and pu- be the necessary consequences of the first nishing others for the same offence? The step-that memorable resolution to which right hon. gentleman had been applied to, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exand refused to act in contravention of chequer had persuaded the House to come, bis own law; he nobly disdained the namely, that the paper currency and the offer, but did he make any inquiries after gold coin of the realm were, in public esthe offender? The guard of the coach had timation, of equal value. On that occasion been taken and convicted; and marked he had taken the liberty of stating, that money and other means were employed the principle of the resolution was profor the detection of offenders; but a man posed in spite of individual knowledge and came with a friend offering to commit a public notoriety, and that it was adopted breach of law with the Chancellor of the by the House of Commons of the united Exchequer: and no enquiries were made; kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at a ao marked guineas issued. Thus the only moment when it was perfectly known, avenue being stopped for those guineas, that in one part of that united kingdom at they would be necessarily hoarded: but least, guineas were publicly sold at a preabolish the law, and gold would find its mium. He had at that time foretold the real value, and come in plenty to the inevitable consequence of passing such a market. In the mean time public credit resolution in the teeth of the fact ; and would be ruined, for St. Paul's might as accordingly it so happened, that that well stand without a foundation, as public which in May was declared to be the opecredit without a metallic currency, The ration of public opinion, was in July made hon. gentleman concluded by saying that to be the operation of the law; the pains he should vote for the Amendment. and penalties of which were called in, to
The Chancellor of the Exchequer denied overcome the obstinacy of those who were most solemnly, as he had done on a for not to be persuaded into conviction. He had mer night, that agents were employed, at that time told the right hon. gentleman, either directly or indirectly, by govern- that in all cases in which an attempt was ment, to purchase guineas. The man al. made to force public opinion by the au. luded to, and who had offered 27,000 for thority of the legislature, recurrence must sale, was not prosecuted, because it was ultimately be had to legal means, and to supposed he had no criminal intentions. the secolar arm of power. He heartily The last price paid by government for wished that the question were now as open bills to the continent was 67 pencë për as it was before the adoption of the resomilrea.
lution to wbich he had alluded. The pro