« ÖncekiDevam »
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 va. Chancellor 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 in House, 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, eren 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 lord 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 Hotes 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 puro saw that the right hon. gentleman would chase as much of a commodity with a not give time to new members to acquire pound note 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 guineas? down the throat of the House. Such conWas any such difficulty experienced pre- duct he 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 3s. lawful to melt guineas; would the right and 1s. 6d. No opportunity had been lost hon. gentlenian buin a bank note to prove of promoting their circulation, but its ex.
tent 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 cera 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 Jions 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, wbich 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 dihaving 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 bad contended, that the Bank indis- upon to remedy inconveniencies resulting eriminately 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 even to 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 bad 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. Whitshed Keene said, he had sup. lance 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 send 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 eslates 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 bave 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 which 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 tebetter 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 grare required much consideration. If the man, and delivered his opinions in a grave course be had proposed should meet the manner; yet nothing could be more lu. views of the House, he 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 bimself suficiently-as he had important question before the House. desired him (Mr. W.) to turn informer,
Mr. Crecoey wished to know, before the though he would not bimself inform about question was put, whether ministers bis 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 53. worth more of goods for a for a short period ?
guinea than for a note and a shilling. In Lord Castlereagle 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 javasion, 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 hoard subjects, from delivering his sentiments on ed what was valuable, and what, if re-prothe present occasion, which appeared the duced, would demand an equivalent ; regolar period for discussing the principle whereas in an invasion, Bank-notes, wheof the Bill. He certainly thought that tber 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 bad argued as if this was founded, that he thought the right Bill bad 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, wben then passing a law to force the public to it came, forced upon the unwilling minis. act 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 Joan of a few thousand dollars. The of- stating the reasons that induced him 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 bad ventured to question. answer it; what price he gave for bills to Every measure brought before the legis. remit 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 probibited certain articles from being pediency, the other with reference to any sold above a certain 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 Bauk, and they had disappeared in proceeding from the principle adopted by proportion as the depreciation overtook the House after mature deliberationthe 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, wbile, at the same had always contended, that the steps time, they were, by their attorney and 90- 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, his 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 no 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 paing 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 bad 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 auluded to, and who had offered 27,000 for thority of the legislature, recurrence must sale, was not prosecuted, because it was ultimately be bad to legal means, and to supposed he had no criminal intentions. the secular 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 pence per as it was before the adoption of the resomilrea.
lution to which he had alluded. The pro
posed measure might then be arrested. ted. He confessed that he did not pretend But he conceived that all the steps which to see a way out of the difficulties into had been since taken, were the natural and which the country had been brought in 'unavoidable successors of the original this respect by the councils that he had error. The Bill before the House was di opposed. On the contrary, he was of vided into two heads; the first, very justly opinion, that during the last two years securing to the public creditor, who was those difficulties had become so much paid in paper, the power of making, in his more numerous and complicated that they turn, payment in paper operative on all were out of the reach of any sudden re. who had demands on him. The other medy. He would not, therefore, vote for head related more immediately to the ori- the amendment, because it held but a hope, ginal resolution; it prohibited the pur- which, as he did not entertain, he would chase and sale of guineas at a price above not appear to sanction that in such a lie their nominal value. Now, be confessed, mited period as that to which the amend that he did not think the latter part of the ment referred, some remedy might be dismeasure necessary or justifiable, otherwise covered for the existing evil. He trusted, than as it went to bear out the legislature however, that the operation of the Bill itin their original resolution; for he could self would be only for a limited period, not conceive nor had he ever heard de and that during that period the atiention scribed the inconvenience of allowing of those to whom the consideration of the guineas, which, being no longer in circu. subject was a duty, would be turned to it Jation, were only pieces of bullion, to find with a view of providing, if not a remedy their level in the market like any other com- for the evils which had already been in. modities, and not to be driven into hoards curred, at least a preventive for those or out of the country. As to penal laws greater evils which a perseverance in the for preventing the exportation of any present system must necessarily occasion. coin, when that coin could be disposed of Mr. Butterworth read a letter from a abroad at a higher value than that at friend in the country, in which the which it would pass at home, it was a writer recommended strongly the passing subject on which all authorities agreed. It of the Bill before the House, in order to was the concurrent opinion of all writers save the people in his neighbourhood from on political economy-of all statesmen— the most serious loss, if not from ruin. of all financiers, that let such laws be as Mr. Alderman Atkins expressed his de. sanguinary as possible--let them be written cided opinion, that the present state of our in blood, they would be ineffective. The circulating medium was not owing to the great Colbert had declared, that if a wall of conduct of ministers, or of any other set of brass were built round a country, the pre men; but to the growing commerce of cious metals would find some chink through the country, which the whole metallic cur. wbich to escape,
if it were.
the interest of rency of the world would have been inany of the community that they should sufficient to supply; and he earnestly do so. Respecting the propriety of this wished that this fact were distinctly unpart of the Bill, therefore, he entertained derstood throughout the country. considerable doubts : with regard to the unfortunate necessity of the other part of
The House then divided : the Bill, he had no doubt. But he wished For the Amendment............... 19 particularly to guard himself from the sup. Against it.........
.......129 position that he would vote in any stage
-110 of the Bill on the ground taken by the right hon. gentleman and another hon.
List of the Minority. member, namely, that the country must reconcile itself to the present onerous Abercromby, Hon.J. Lewis, F. state of things, and must be content to Brand, Hon. T. Martin (Tewksbury). build its future prosperity upon it, aban- Babington, T. North, D. doning all hope of setting right that most Bennet, Hon. H. G. Phillips, G. important of subjects-the situation of our
Ponsonby, Rt. Hon. G. internal currency; and that, because the Pazakerley, N.
Veruon, G. inconvenience to which we were exposed Grenfel, P.
Westerne, C. C. was partly natural and partly aggravated Gordon, W. by ihe last parliament, we must be satis Hamilton, Lord A. Lord Folkestone. od to consider it as indefinitely perpetua- Lubbock, J. Thos. Creevey.