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were certain articles which could be regulated by the committee on the bill, without a previous committee. At present he should trouble them only with two articles, which related to imports from the East Indies; the one was chinaware, and the other opium. It was proposed to augment the duties upon those articles. With regard to opium, it was suspected that it began to be used for the purpose of adulterating beer. It was even said, that, in consequence of the prohibition of opium in China, it was likely to become an article of speculation in this country. He proposed an additional duty of 80l. on every 100l. of real value of china-ware imported into this country by the East-India company; and on every pound of opium imported, an additional duty of 5s. with a drawback of 6s. on exportation; and a duty of 12s. 6d. on every pound of opium imported from the Levant, not the place of its natural growth, with a drawback of 73. on exportation. He added, that, in the bill which had passed last year, relative to brewers, every possible care had been taken to prevent the adulteration of that necessary article. It was provided that every brewer in whose possession any opium should be found, should pay a penalty of 500l. The resolutions were agreed to. On the question for going into the committee on the 17th, general Gascoyne objected to the additional duty on sugar. He said that the West-India merchants of Liverpool had, in 1793, applied to parliament for relief against the "old duties, whilst the house was going to lay on new duties. He insisted it was a losing trade. He did not ask for any exemption or diminution of the djity, but only a sus

pension of it, till some out-port on the continent should be open to us. At present we had not one ; and therefore could have no export. He said that while parliament was laying 4:... a cwt, duty on sugar, it was falling in price to the same amount; and if the duties were continued to be so laid on, those concerned in the trade must withdraw from it. He concluded by moving—“That it be an instruction to the committee to insert a clause in the bill, to empower his majesty's council to suspend the said duties on sugar, whenever and for such period cf time as it should appealog them necessary so to do.” This motion was rejected as irregular, and the house immediately went into the committee; when general Gascoyne moved a clause to the same effect. On the question, that the clause be read a second time, Mr. Vansittart rose, and denied the assertions of the honourable general, as to the home consumption; and insisted, that, notwithstanding the duties, the consumption, during the last war increased no less than 700,000 cwt. It was the same as to the exports: for we were not now excluded from any ports of the continent from which we were not shut out during last war, except amburg; and it was ii. able, that, in the year during which we were excluded from that port, our exports were far greater than during any other year of the war. The conversation was continued to a considerable length. In the end, however, general Gascoyne, conceiving it to be the sense of the committee, withdrew his motion. When the bill for consolidatin the custom duties was read a j time—Mr. Vansittart moved a new clause, for permitting the removal - – . of

of wine, from the out-ports to the port of London, without a certificate from the collectors of the customs at such out-ports, which was brought up, read and agreed to, added to the bill, and the bill then passed. A bill also passed the house on the 11th of July for consolidating the assessed taxes. The chief object of this bill, as stated by the chancellor of the exchequer, was to facilitate the collection of the taxes; to prevent any man from suffering by error; that the magistrates might clearly understand their duty, and that the system of justice under this bill should be the same in one county as another. We do not think it of consequenca, however, to enter into }. detail with regard to this bill. The extension of commerce, and the exhaustion occasioned by a long war, and by large remittances of specie to the continent, rendered recessary (as a financial arrangement) to extend the period in which the bank of England should be indulged in refusing payment to its creditors in specie. Lord Hawkesbury, therefore, ave notice, on Thursday the 3d of ebruary, that the chancellor of the exchequer would on the Monday following move for leave to bring in a bill to continue the restriction on the bank, from making issues of payment in specie, for a time to be limited. And the next day, Mr. Vansittart moved, “That there be laid before the house an account of the amount of notes of the bank of England in circulation on the 1st of October and the 1st of December 1802, and on the 1st of February 1803, distinguishing those under 5l.” On which occasion Mr. Tierney said, that, if the motion of the hon, member had re

ference to the question announced by a noble lord last night, respecting the further restriction of cash issues from the bank, he thought the returns then moved for by no means minute norextensive enough. It was very generally understood, that, upon some sudden events of a public nature transpiring, the issues of notes from the bank of En

- i. within the last two months,

ad been to a most considerable and unusual amount; a circumstance which materially concerned all persons interested in extensive money transactions. If the fact were so, it might become necessary to ascertain the cause of this unusual liberality. He was desirous, therefore, that the accounts should be made out from month to month, as fully as they were before the committee of the house to whom it was referred to inquire into the geral concerns of the bank. #. thought, too, the accounts ought to be brought down to the present

eriod. He further desired to be informed, whether he was to understand that the paper now moved for was to be the only ground for the renewal of the restriction with regard to the payments of the bank in specie.—The motion was put in an amended state, thus:

“That there should be laid before . .

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gust, 1st of October, 1st of December, 1802, and 1st of February, 1803” which was ordered to lic on the table. On the same day also, the chancellor of the exchequer brought his promised motion before the house, namely, “to continue still longer, for a time to be limited, the restrictions on the bank of England from issuing specie in payment of their notes.”—The right hon. gentleman said he made this motion with considerable reluctance, tho’ he had the pleasure to assure the house and the country that the measure by no means arose from any incapacity or disinclination of the bank to pay in specie. The state of exchange between this country and the rest of Europe, though it had considerably improved in our favour since even the last session of parliament, had not however improved so far as to warrant the discontinuance of the restriction. It was then nearly at par with Hamburg, and still more in our favour with Amsterdam. There was not, at present, any great likelihood of receiving much money from Hamburg, nor was there yet any influx of bullion from abroad; and when the house recollected, that, in its wisdom, it had thought fit to authorise the country banks to issue notes to a very considerable amount, it must naturally occur, that the moment the removal of the restriction should enable the bank to issue gold in payment of its notes, similar demands would be made upon the country banks. The result would be, a rapid and general run upon the bank of England, from all those in the country; which, at a time when there was no supply of bullion from abroad, might be productive of

very considerable and embarrassing. inconvenience. Besides, three years of the most unparallelled scarcity

had but just elapsed, during which

period upwards of twenty millions in specie had been sent out of the country, for the purchase of grain to supply the deficiencies of our national produce for the sustenance of the people. A drain so enormous must materially exhaust the current specie of the kingdom. There was also another most considerable drain for the pay of our armies and navy in foreign situations; and those drains, even the flourishing state of our commerce had not yet time to bring back. It might possibly be objected by some gentlemen not favourably disposed to the measure, that the o ought to be preceded y an inquiry into the ground of necessity for its adoption; but to such an objection he would anticipate an answer—that, with respect to the ample competence of the bank to discharge at any time the whole of its existing debts, the fullest proof had already been adduced, to the satisfaction of a committee of that house purposely instituted for the minutest inquiry: all then that would remain for a committee to inquire into, would be the state of exchange; but, for information on that head, there was no responsible office or officer to apply to. The consideration of the competency of the bank to answer all demands, taken together with that which he had before mentioned with respect to the country banks, would, he doubted not, have sufficient in

fluence upon the wisdom of the

house to warrant and indeed call for the continuance of the restriction for a short time longer. He


should therefore trespass no longer on their attention than by first moving, “that the former acts of his majesty's reign, for imposing restrictions on the bank, be read;” and then, “that leave be given to bring in the bill.” Mr. Tierney objected to the motion of the right hon. gentleman, without some previous inquiry respecting the bank, and particularly upon the grounds stated. If the sentiments of the house should secnn to coincide with his own, his proposal would be to pass the bill for two months, and to appoint a committee in the interim, to consider how far it would be proper to continue the restriction farther, or to discontinue it altogether. But the right honourable gentleman seemed to think that the report of a committee six years ago was quite sufficient, though the house had had no account whatever of the proceedings of the bank ever since. No one appeared to care whether the bank had sufficient provision to answer its demands, or even whether the restriction had been actually profitable or injurious to its interests, whether it had diminished or increased the security of public credit. All these things ought to be known, but all was mystery. No other ground was laid for the motion, but that the exchange with Hamburg was at par; and upon that maked fact it was proposed to do away that which scarcely any circumstance could warrant, namely, the right of the public creditor to convert bank notes into cash. He trusted the house would not adopt this monstrous bill, at a time when there was even no plausible pretext for it, when no money was likely to go out of the country, when no

alarm prevailed in either domestic or foreign politics, when no fear of any sudden press on the bank could be entertained. All that was mentioned in the shape of a reason, was, that the exchange was not at par. Then of course no money would go out of the country. Were not these considerations sufficiently strong to urge the house to agree to an inquiry Was it not material to show the country what the bank was doing ; that it was preparing to open and pay in specie; that it was ready to do so when parliament should permit He would wish the bank directors to compliment the public even as they did in 1797, when the original restriction took place, and when they published a resolution, that they were ready, if political considerations permitted, to pay cash for their notes. This resolution did not precede the bill which sanctioned the order of council, and surely it would be but decent to sgive the country something like the same evidence on this occasion. According to the report of the committee of 1797, the proportion of cash and bullion in the bank amounted to one million when the order of council was issued, and that some short time afterwards this sum was increased to six millions. Was it not then a fit subject for inquiry, what had become of these six millions; if they were forthcoming to meet any exigency And if they were, why should the bank hesitate to resume their operation? They could not be afraid of a run upon them, for who could then think of any material advantage from hoarding gold? But the right honourable gentle. man objected to their payment in cash, because the exchange was at par. If the right honourable gen


tleman resolved to restrain the bank while the exchange was at par, there were men of the highest intelligence and character who were of opinion that the exchange would be kept up. But why should the right hon, gentleman indulge these fears? . His late financial statement ought to sustain his confidence. He there described the surplus revenue of the present year at one million, and that of the next year at two millions. Was not that sufficient to protect the bank and public credit in any suitable emergency? ... If the rate of exchange, as it then stood, were really to be made an argument for the stoppage of the o, it would leave a very dangerous impression in the country; and recollectin

the circumstances, the people, upon the probable recurrence of such an exchange at a future day, would be apt to maké such a run upon the bank as might be productive of very serious consequences indeed. The public had a right to say to the bank directors, “ §. have been for the last six years reaping a productive harvest from our inconvenience—we only ask of you now to Aconvert into cash the notes for which we have given you credit so leng,” and the bank ought to be provided to answer this reasonable request. They could have no apo. logy for ...; it, unless incapacity, and he did not suppose that to be the case. The hon. member concluded with observing that he did not wish the bank doors to be at once thrown open, without due deliberation. His desire was, that

a committee should be appointed,

composed of such intelligent persons as formed the original committee on that subject, many of whom were then in the house, and

who would be able to give such a

mass of useful information to the country as would satisfy the public of the justice and policy of any measure founded upon it. If such a proceeding were not adopted, he was convinced the people would very naturally think the measure proposed by the right honourable gentleman rather an act of convenience than of necessity. The bank would be condemned, if they should lose the opportunity of that committee to vindicate their conduct, and the house would be set down rather as the blind followers, or Auspected accomplices of the bank, than as the faithful guardians

of the public interest. Mr. Fox said, if necessity, or a strong propriety, called for the adoption of the proposition, he was not disposed to urge any objection to it. At the same time, he should feel more satisfaction if there were laid before him sufficient grounds to justify his assent. Was it to be understood, that whenever the state of the exchange was so unfavourable as to leave no room to expect the importation of bullion, that a restriction should be put on the cash payments of the bank 2. Such a mode of reasoning would, on the face of it, seem to go to establish it as a general axiom, that, in all such cases, the cash payments of the bank should be suspended. To these reasons were added the great exportation of specie for corn, and on account of other circumstances connected with the war. If these additional reasons had any force, then the propriety of further continuing o restriction should not be made to depend so entirely on the state of the exchange. Perhaps even it might happen, that the unfavourable turm of the exchange against this country might be owing to the very restriction & e


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