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present restriction: for it did not appear that the imposing or continuance of it had produced any effects on the exchange one way or other. Another important benefit he had forgotten to enumerate, which was, that the restraint had ascertained that this country could bear a circulating paper of fifty millions”: for bank notes and exchequer bills to that amount, it appeared, had been afloat last year. Indeed, the distinction between one and the other was merely that the one carried interest, and the other saved interest, and was therefore preferable to coin. He concluded by giving his support to the original notion. The chancellor of the exchequer remarked, that his honourable friend (Mr. Banks) said he was ready to continue the restriction till the first of May, upon condition that, in the mean time, an inquiry by a committee should take place. His (Mr. ...) wish was, that parliament should not put it out of their power to repeal the bill; but foreseeing, as he did, the little probability of its being able with safety to do so in the course of the present session, he looked forward to that power which might be exercised by the next. If therefore he were to adopt the terms of his hon. friend's motion, he should raise delusive expectations in the minds of the country bankers, that parliament would by that time be able to repeal the act altogether. This would oblige them to make preparations, which in the present state of things would be unwise. It would have the effect of locking up part of their capital, and it would oblige the bank to make immediate pur

chases of bullion at a very great

disadvantage. Every one knew

the losses which would be sustained

by purchasing bullion at that junc

ture. And what would be the

consequence?... Though a large, supply of bullion would undoubtedly be brought into the bank, it. would ... find its way to the continent, while the rate of ex

change continued as it was. He

would therefore see the course of: exchange steady and permanent,. before he would deprive the country of the benefit of the restriction, on the bank. By removing it be-, fore that periodarrived, he was fully

sensible he should only be under the, necessity of recurring to it again; but by waiting for it, he thought he was not flattering himself or, the country, when he stated, that there would be every reasonable

prospect of such a measure being in future entirely unnecessary. These were the grounds on which he rested his opinion, that there was no occasion for an inquiry, provided the sufficiency of the bank were admitted. His hon, friend seemed to think it material to ascertain whether the bank directors had done their duty. On this subject he thought an inquiry particularly unnecessary. The concurrent opir nion of all those who had ever adverted to the conduct of the bank directors, was a proof that they possessed the confidence and approbation of the public in general; but if there could be a doubt, the paper on the table was an ample proof that the directors, since the restriction was imposed, had made no improper use of the issue of paper money, or turned the power with which they were invested to account

* Probably alluding to the 17 millions of bank notes stated in the paper last laid upon the table; and to the chancellor of the exchequer's declaration, that 33 millions of navy were issued in 1802; but three of these were locked up in the bank. .


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in an unbecoming manner. It was lation on our trade and commerce. the power of issuing accredited pa- We might attribute the increase of per money that constituted one of our wealth to our paper circulation, the sources of the wealth and and show that it was among the pristrength of the country. The confi- mary causes of those resources. Did dence with which it was received, the honourable gentleman imagine, was one of the circumstances by that, by opening the bank, the inconwhich the trade and commerce of venience of wanting gold would be the empire had been made to flourish obviated 2 No; the rate of exchange under every difficulty; it was one must be uniform. Without this, which had afforded, and whenever whatever might be the influx of bulit should again become necessary lion, it mustreturn to the continent. would afford, the surest ground of His honourable friend said, he did mational hope and consolation. Who not wish to see too close an intimacy was there that did not recollect, between government and the bank. that in the year 1793, when money To this sentiment, in the abstract, suddenly disappeared, without any he acceded; but he denied that any one knowing to what cause to attri- intimacy did exist which was not as bute its disappearance, it was not advantageous to the affairs of the by importing bullion, at a conside- bank as those of the government. rable and certain loss, a remedy for He did not wish the bank should the evil was provided; but it was give unlimited credit to governby introducing a new circulating ment. In answer to this, he had medium the mischief which threat- only to remark, that the amount of ened the commercial world was pre- the advances by the bank to governvented 2 What had been, and was, ment, were less than they were imthen the case of the bank It ap- mediately before the restriction took peared, when the exchange was place; and sure he was, it would against us, the issue of paper money not be said, that any outstanding increased, and then when the former demands due from government was getting nearly at par, the latter constituted theslightest impediment was diminished, with the exception to the bank resuming its payments of one-pound notes, which had been in specie. Mr. Addington said, he issued as a substitution for guineas. should adhere to the original propoIf we compared the quantity of pa- sition he had made, for continuing per in circulation then with what it the restriction till six weeks after was in 1793, the increase would be_thecommencementof next session of found trivial, considering the great parliament, with the reserve for reexport of money for the purchase of pealing or altering it, if necessary, corn. The circulation was at pre- during the present one.—The quesent sixteen millions, including four stion being put, the original motion millions for small notes, which was was agreed to. The clause proposed a sum less by one million than it by the attorney-general was also was at the period immediately pre- agreed to by the house. ceding the restriction. His learned The bill was passed on the 14th friend said, every one must lament of February. the want of gold for the purposes of . A great deal of debate took trade and commerce. He was con- place also on the same subject in vinced, by his observation, that he the lords; but we have already ascould not have considered the con- signed as much room to this article sequence and effect of paper circu- as our limits will allow. * the Ouse


house of peers, however, the subject of restriction on the Irish bank was introduced by lord King, on the 25th of February. He moved for several accounts relative to the quantity of notes of the bank of Ireland in circulation at given periods, and spoke of the immense discount at which Irish notes were, at one time during the war, between Dublinand Hamburgh (from 15; to 174), which, he said, partly arose from there being no direct communication between Dublin and Hamburgh, but that it was necessarily managed through the medium of London, which of course aggravated the expense, The marquis of Sligo said, the noble lord appeared to him to be utterly mistaken respecting the notes of the bank of Ireland. The notes of the national bank of Ireland had not been at a discount, but the notes of the private banks; which made their payments, when their own notes were presented, in notes of the national bank; and if they failed in so doing, they were iiable to have a commission of bankruptcy issued against them.— Lord King made three motions, the substance of which (when corrected by an observation of lord Pelham) was as follows:—“That the proper officers do lay before the house an account of the amount of the notes of the bank of Ireland, in circulation on the 1st of January, April, and September, 1797; on the 1st of April, May, and June, 1801 ; and the 1st of June, August, October, and December, 1802; and the 1st of January 1803, respectively.” Ordered. The second reading of the bill, on this occasion, did not take place till the 3d of May, when Lord King rose, and in a speech of some length, fraught with finan

mitted on the public.

cial calculation and detail, delivered his sentiments on the measure before the house. What he had to say should be confined to the effect which the restriction had on the commerce of Ireland; the disadvantages that country laboured under, by the course of exchange being so much against her, and by the depreciation which the notes of the bank had suffered. Perhaps he might be told, by way of defence for the bank, that these effects had been produced by country banks. He hoped to be able to show they were produced by the bank directors themselves. He would not hesitate to say, that the directors of the bank of Ireland had been guilty of a gross abuse of the discretionary pewer vested in them, by the immense quantity of notes which they issued. It appeared by the papers laid on the table, that in the year 1797, there were no more than 621,000l. of notes in circulation. Then, there were in circulation no less than 2,686,000l. Could any thing, he would ask, be a more ;: abuse of power than thus inundating the country with paper-money? And was there any difficulty in accounting for the depreciation which that paper had experienced? The increased issue of the bank of England, since the stoppage of payments in cash, was not more than one third of its former issue; but in Ireland it was four times as much., What motive could there have been for this conduct, which was pursued in Ireland Nothing else but to increase the profits of the directors and proprietors of bank stock; he had almost said, to increase their divisions of the plunder they comHowever advantageous it might have been to individuals, to the public at

G 2 large large it was a great injury. The depreciation of paper was a natural and necessary consequence of the immense quantity of it in circulation, and the same cause had produced the great difference in the course of the exchange, which, if their lordships required him to prove, he was ready to do. He did not mean to oppose this bill altogether; but when it came into the committee, he should move to introduce a clause by which the bank of Ireland should be obliged, after six months, to give bank of England notes in return for their own notes, whenever they should be presented. The earl of Limerick answered the arguments of the noble lord who had just sat down. He had heard from the noble lord an imputation thrown out against the directors of the bank of Ireland, of having been in fault, and even that they had abused the trust vested in their discretion. He could not only assert, but prove beyond all question, that the conduct of the directors of the bank of Ireland had been uniformly wise, prudent, and exemplary; and most of the charges brought against them by the noble lord, when prooperly explained and rightly understood, would be found to be so many proofs of their active, cautious, and judicious conduct. The noble lord had commenced his account of the issue of notes of the bank of Ireland, and put into circulation, as wellastherate of exchange, 'from the year 1797, which the noble lord had stated to be the first year of which he could produce a correct account. He happened, lord Limerick said, to have in his hand an account a year earlier, viz. the year 1796. In that year a most unnatural rebellion was form

ing, and at the head of it were some men of considerable rank and talents. Their plan was to distress the government, and embarrass it by forcing a run upon the bank of Ireland, through the medium of a run upon the private banks of Ireland, which must necessarily produce the first object as an inevitable consequence. In the executive committee of the conspirators, they had entered into a resolution that all the members of the united Irishmen should refuse to take bank-notes in payment, and that they should all make a run upon the bank, by presenting all the notes they had in their possession for payment. The order was issued by the executive committee to all the subordinate branches of that union; and was obeyed by all the members with a degree of punctuality of which the history of the world furnishes no example, unless we refer to the marvellous accounts that are related of a set of assassins which once existed in Syria. The directors of the bank of Ireland became apprised of this, and they felt it their duty to be provided against the meditated mischief. They therefore limited their discount, and issued an adequate number of notes to meet the exigency, which no man who knew the cause would consider in any other light than as a measure founded in provident caution, sound judgement, and true policy. Soon after a law was passed to prevent

payments in cash ; but this was

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great number of private banks was one cause of this increased circulation; for all the country banking houses were obliged to keep a quantity of national bank-notes by them, in order to answer the demands that might be made upon them. All these notes might be considered as being out of circulation, and they must have increased the quantity of those issued by the bank. Another material cause of the increase of bank-notes in Ireland was, the increase of its revenue and its debt. Another was, the vastnumber of persons from 1reland, spending the greater part of their fortunes in this country. This grievance unfortunately existed in a still greater degree since the union, and it might be considered in some degree as the price paid by Ireland for that great blessing. Let the political situation of af. fairs at the time, in respect to Ireland, also be taken into the account. A French fleet of force was riding at anchor for a considerable time in one of the bays in the western extremity of Ireland; and as the people of that island always looked up to Enghand and its fleets and armies for protection, they were, on that occasion, disappointed ; the British fleets being by adverse winds and storms locked up in their own harbours. This incident unavoidably produced consequences which pressed on the bank of Ireland; but they bore up against it, and firmly sustained the shock it occasioned. The country banks of Ireland, to which the noble lord rightly anticipa his intention to ascribe the evils which he had deprecated, though this was by no means the principal cause, had issued a vast

number of small notes, and, by means of the army agents, forwarded them to be circulated among the army. The administration of that period, with an attention to the interests of the country, eminently praise-worthy, had turned its thoughts to that subject. It was feared that these banks might be o conducted by adventurers who might impose upon the people. In case of their failure, the loss would fall heavily upon the poorer classes, among whom the notes, on account of their smallness, chiefly circulated. A bill was therefore brought into parliament, which, after a severe struggle, passed into a law, by which these bankers were prohibited from circulating notes below the value of 5l. Their former notes were ordered to be returned, and they were obliged to pay the notes of their new circulation with notes of the bank of Ireland. A very considerable number of additional notes of the Irish bank were necessary to fill up the immense chasm that was thus made. - - With regard to the different rates of exchange, his lordship assigned many and strong reasons to account for the variations and increase. He said, when he came to look to the account of the comparative amount of the debt of Ireland, he himself could scarcely credit what he saw, In 1797, the

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