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question had been very much narrowed of Several gentlemen had, like himself, eslate ; for within eight, or seven years at pressed a wish last year, that the measure least, bargains had uniformly been made then intended for England should also exfor payment in notes. There remained tend 10 Ireland. He did not conceive, that only rents, for which, according to the old the peculiar situation of three or four counsystem, payment was to be made in gold. ties could operate as a bar to the wish then In this the only difficulty existed ; and expressed, and which he considered as conwhatever measure the House thought fit sonant with the prosperity of these realms. to adopt, the noble lord was sure that it Mr. W. Smith was against the Bill, even must be attended with some sacrifice of in this stage, as he did not think it individual interest. As to the signatures capable of amendment in a Committee. to the Petition he had presented to the It was another step in that system which, House, and wbich had been so often al- | if they argued from analogy to all the Juded to, he could assure the House, that other nations in which history informed some of the gentlemen who had sigued, them similar courses had been pursued, were connected with the first lauded inte. they must be convinced could only termirest in the neighbourhood of Belfast; nate in the utter ruin of the country. It others were not so, they were not land- was said that the measure was popular; lords, but he could take upon himself to but he denied the capability of the persay, that all were actuated by the same sons out of doors to form a proper judgmolives the interest of their country; ment on a subject, which was not fairly nor could their tardy application to the presented to their understandings. And legislature for a redress of that grievance, it was for the wisdom of that House to be considered as proof that it was not se- correct the errors into which those who did verely felt. At first, gold coin could be not look so deeply into the matter might procured at a premium of about two per and must fall. Not as would seem to be cent. perhaps through the means of ihe the opinion of his hon. friend (Mr. D. landlord's agent himself; and this might Giddy) who would agree to a measure be considered by the tenants as a douceur, which he was convinced was not right, to which, under all circumstances, they because the people liked it; as if, si were willing to submit. But, now, from populus vult decipi, decipiatur.' He was the operation of foreign exchanges, and, astonished that his hon. friend could lend as be would urge the matter to the House, himself to so ruinous a deception. There from an act of parliament itself, prevent- were one or two objections to the present ing the bank of England from making Bill, which struck him as so weighty, payments in gold, tenants could not pro- that he was surprised it could have been cure guineas but with the utmost difficulty, at all entertained by the House or the at the rate of 25 per cent. It would be country. It went, to all intents and for the House to consider, whether or not purposes, to make bank notes a legal the enormous loss of 25 per cent. now sus- tender; for the only difference was, if tained by the tenants, was in contempla- a man could afford to wait ad Græcas tion of their original contract, when they Calendas,' that was, till the Bank returned consented to pay a small douceur to the to payments in specie, which the present landlord or his agent, and whetber or not measure would lead to the protraction of they were exposed to that unforeseen loss for ever. His sincere and perfect belief by circumstances over which they had was, that it would end in national bank any controul. To a loss of 2 per cent. they ruptcy. For all history shewed them that might have cheerfully consented, but the such had been the tendency of similar enormous discount which they were now practices in other nations, and did not obliged to pay, was a grievance entitled to afford them one solitary instance to the some consideration. He would not take contrary. To add to this moral certainty upon himself to say what measures should of the result, our national debt had inbe adopted in such circumstances; he creased, and was increasing, and with that only wished to enforce on the House the increase the advance of the price of all propriety, and necessity of applying the commudities. They were told, if this step same measures to freland as to the other was insufficient, they must take another; parts of the empire. They should not lose and what must that step be? -to make ibemselves in minute details about locali. bank notes at once a legal tender. And ties, but proceed on the broad basis of the should this also fail in effect, what remained general interests of the united kingdoms. to be done? They must compel all per. sons to bring their commodities to market themselves by ill.” There had only been at fixed prices, or they must return to the three prosecutions last year connected point from which they had unfortunately with this subject, and to compel payments departed some years ago, and they must in specie; and he maintained that this return to it against the increased difficul. was no inconvenience to warrant a step of ties which would be thrown in their way, that fatal tendency they were now called if they agreed to the present measure. He upon to take. He therefore opposed the laid no stress on the confined issue of bank second reading of the Bill. notes, as there was no criterion to judge by, Mr. Wellesley Pole would not go into the whether that issue was too great or not; general question, but confine himself to neither did he think this matter ought to that part of it which regarded Ireland. be left to the discretion of the bank direc- He collected from all sides, that it was tors, however respectable they were. The not disputed that the measure of last sesmeasure was prospective : and they could sion met with general approbation, and was not answer for directors 30 years hence, in looked at by the country with a very fawhom government might be as much mis- vourable eye. If this were true, and it was taken, as they had been in those in whom a measure resorted to for the protection they reposed trust at the period of the of the subjeci, was it not natural to desire South Sea Bubble. With the same capi. it to be extended to Ireland? The only tal they had when they issued 12 or 13 reason why it had not been extended to millions, they now issued double that that country last session, had been justly amount-and had, consequently, a double stated by his noble friend (lord Castleprofit, while the risk lay with the coun- reagh). It arose from the anomaly existtry. They might proceed to issue 40 mil. ing in that country, which rendered it nelions and still the country be obliged to cessary to allow time for investigation, and take these notes, without their being gua- for learning the actual state of the case. ranteed by the government. But if go. This anomaly, in having two prices, one vernment did not guarantee these notes, for gold and the other for paper, did not, they had no right to make them a legal however, extend so far as was supposed. tender. Between individuals, such an act It was confined, as the noble lord had would be almost a fraud ; and in a go- stated, to part of one province out of the vernment, it was an egregious act of unjust four into which Ireland was divided. His violence. Was the system of “ I promise noble friend had also fairly explained the to pay" to be carried on for ever? When nature of the difference arising out of the would this end, and what would be the two per cent. formerly paid for the purconsequences ? If the Bank got into chase of guineas by the tenant ; but the any intermediate difficulties, and was not original cause might not, perhaps, be so able to pay in specie, the government generally known. It arose from the wea. must allow it to go on longer paying in vers having, for some reason or other, repaper; the end must be bankruptcy.- fused, soon after the establishment of the With respect to Ireland, there was one cir. bank of Ireland, to take their notes in paycumstance which must strike every one in ment for webs. This rendered it neces. regard to the extension of the measure sary for landlords to guard themselves by to that country. Whatever measure they the adoption of the practice in question, might adopt after the enquiry they had and the traffic in guineas had gone on till had, as to guaranteeing the bank of Eng. the price of gold became so much higher, land, would any man say, that the House in comparison with paper, that the evil had on its table sufficient information as to remedied itself, and the practice was al. the bank of Ireland, or sufficient parlia- together abolished, except what remained mentary grounds to warrant them in gua- between landlords and tenants. The ex. ranteeing its issues ? If they did not, action of gold for rent had, of late, bewhy tell the people of that country that come so crying an evil, that if it had not they must and should take their notes ? been for the measure of last session, and If they did not, had they any documents the prospect held out that it would soon to justify themselves in undertaking this be extended to Ireland, they would have responsibility? As the measure was uni- heard such a cry from the North, to proque and isolated in itself, so was the mode tect the tenant against the landlord, that no in which it was conducted in the House. government could resist it. In what conIt reminded him of the sentence in Shake- dition, he asked, would they be, if they speare—“ Things ill-begun make strong (the Irish tenantry) were exposed to the caprice of any avaricious landlord, while tain. The emptiness of the House had been they protected the people here? It would frequently alluded to in the course of the be said, in Ireland, that when one solitary evening. He ascribed it to an understandinstance of a landlord's wishing to exact ing which had gone forth, that it would this mode of payment occurred, the legis- be most proper to debate the question, lature, as it were, by acclamation, has- with regard to its extension to Ireland, tened to extend their protection, while | after the recess. The hon. and learned they left the people of Ireland to suffer, gentleman who opened this discussion, had as they now did, in many parts of the confessed that it was quite impossible to north. He would not now enquire, whe- leave the currency of the country as it ther the measure was right and politic for now was—of course he could not oppose England; but if it was thought right and their going into a Committee on the subpolitic in this country, he demanded it ject, to see what currency was possible to equally for Ireland. He did not wish to be made. They had also heard a great disguise the fact, that it would be an in- many general arguments, tending to convenience on landlords, who had let prove, that by the system now pursued, their lands to be paid in gold, and he would the country was in the high road to ruin. be ready to lend himself to any remedy This mode of reasoning was not only apthat might be proposed to accommodate plied to the present Bill, but had been apthe interests of this class, who were, how- plied to every circumstance and occasion ever, only an exception to the general rule. since the period when the Bank restrictions The inconvenience, too, it ought to be re- were imposed. Yet those prophesies bad collected, would be nothing, when com- turned out to be false and groundless, pared with the evils remedied. He had which he hoped would be equally the fate understood an hon. gentleman, to insinuate of the predictions now poured out upon some suspicion of the solvency of the them. He could not help being surprised bank of Ireland.-(A general cry of No! at his hon. friend's (Mr. Thornton) notion no!). Was it so or noi?-(Mr. Smith sig- of the beneficial effects to be derived by nified that it was not.) Then he would nol Ireland from keeping up a practical stanu. press the subject, but conclude, by saying, ard, by double prices, of the relatire va. that he would be as ready to guarantee lues of gold and paper currency. He the bank of Ireland as the bank of England. could not think such a standard so desiraThere did not exist the slightest suspicion ble, as that it should be maintained to the against it; and, he was sure, the honoura. great injury of the country. And, after 'ble men who conducted its direction, all, what kind of a standard was it? One would, at all times, be ready and willing unsettled and fluctuating, from 5 to 20 to submit to the strictest examination and per cent. at the pleasure of the landlord scrutiny the government or the House in this or the other field-on this or on should think proper to institute.

the other side of the hedge. Much had Mr. Giles shortly opposed the second been said of the examples afforded by reading of the Bill, on the ground of its the history of nations, of the fatal and ruin. making bank notes circuitously a legalous tendency of all such systems as that tender. Mr. Burke had said that these now embraced in England. But he con. notes were of value on the Royal Extended, that there never had existed an inchange, because they were of no value in stance in point; and he defied any gentle. Westminster-hall; but this measure went man from those histories to show him a case, to reverse the case, and make them of in which the paper currency of any other more value in Westminster-hall than any country bore the slightest analogy or rewhere else. He conceived it would be semblance to that of Britain. It was ab. much better to make them a legal tender surd and most ridiculous to compare them at once between man and man, than together, or bank notes to the assignats of through the intervention of courts of law France. These assignats, within two and attornies.

years after their first issue, had exceeded, The Chancellor of the Exchequer main- | by a hundred-fold, all the issues of the bank tained that the measure was calculated for of England during a long period of years. the protection of the liberty of the subject, They had, therefore, the experience of a who, but for this Bill, was in his person number of years, from 1797, when the liable to the payment of a debt in gold, restrictions were imposed, to convince which, so long as the Bank restrictions them, that there was not the slightest continued, it was not in his power to ob- danger of an excessive circulation to ruin the country." But,” said an hon. might justly be said, that they were throwgentleman (Mr. Smith), “after this mea ing widely and directly open the door to sure is passed, and thirty years hence, national ruin and bankruptcy. It was when you may not have such provi. their duty to make the best selection they dent and honourable directors of the could for the country, and not reject a Bank as at present, the evil will increase.” measure merely because theoretical objecWhy could not parliament, as they had tions could be urged against its perfect done, continue to superintend the issues expediency, while it was allowed, on all of the Bank! During the last year, they hands, that some step was necessary, and knew the fact to be, that, so far from an no other, at all feasible, was suggested. increase, a diminution in the circulation Mr. Ponsonby said, he had no intention had taken place, and they had no reason of going at large into the question now, whatever to fear any danger from the sud- but as he had been absent during the disden inundation of the country with bank cussions it underwent last session, and had paper during the recess. There was no no opportunity of delivering his sentiments danger of directors, heretofore so prudent, at that period, he was anxious in a few running all at once into a directly opposite words to express his firm conviction, that line; there was no hazard of an indefi- so far from this measure being calculated nite issue to ruin the country in the man. to promote the permanent interests of the ner described in the histories referred to country, it was calculated to bring the The whole of the issues here amounted to country to ruin. The right hon. gentleabout one-third of the annual revenue of man opposite, had said that the predictions the country paid into the Exchequer.- made on former occasions, when this sysHad they an instance like this in any his- tem began, and at various points of its tory of any other nation, where, if he course, of the progress to ruin in which it might use the expression, the paper cur- would involve the country, had never been rency was thrice, in the course of one fulfilled. At the time when the Bank reyear, disgorged to the government? But strictions conuenced in 1797, many perall this train of argument appeared to be sons had indeed spoken in very strong mere idle declamation, and nothing could terms, as men were apt to do, of the utter possibly be more absurd than to make ruin attendant on such a course. For his these comparisons between things utterly part he had never used this strong landissimilar. He trusted the House and the guage--but there were many intermediate country would therefore agree with bim, stages between the injury and utter ruin that something of the kind now proposed of a country. In his opinion, all the prewas absolutely necessary for the protec- dictions since 1797, in opposition to ihat tion of the subject. In framing the mea of the right hon. gentleman, had been subsure, they would, of course, direct their stantially fulfilled. The supporters of the attention as much as possible to the pre- measure had declared their belief, that the vention of evils arising from forgeries, and Bank would soon open again, and resume to save the people from being liable to re- its payments in specie. This had been des ceive them in payments. It appeared, nied, and the contrary affirmed, viz. That from the account laid on the table, that the Bank would never pay in gold so long this evil had not grown to an enormous

as this law lasted. Which of these premagnitude, in comparison with the vast dictions had been verified ? Some years sum of 23 millions in circulation. The for- ago, when the price of gold rose so high, geries amounted, during the last eleven and the course of exchange became so unyears, to about 9 or 10,0001. a year, in- favourable, owing to the excessive issue of cluding a number of foreign notes rejected paper, it was said, on the one hand, that at the Bank; and this was perhaps not more this mischief would be still worse ; which, than a circulation to a similar extent in gold on the other hand, was denied. Whose and silver would suffer. From the vasi fo- prediction, in this case, he would again ask reign expenditure in which the nation was the right hon. gentleman, had been proved engaged, they were, no doubt, in difficnity, right Their difficulties had increased. which it was the object of this measure to They were in a worse condition last year meet in what appeared to be the most ad- than ever they had been before. How, visable way. But if they took the advice then, were their predictions falsified? The of gentlemen on the opposite side of the right hon. gentleman had told them, that House, and called on the Bank to resume no issues in other countries had ever reits payments in specie, then indeed, it sembled those of this. He agreed with him on this point--none had ever exactly opinion on the value of the practical resembled. It was therefore, that the pro- standard existing in Ireland, to ascertain gress of the mischief had been and would the real state of the depreciation of the be slower in this country than in any paper currency. But the right hon.

genother. But ita progress was, nevertheless, tleman was altogether in error in supposing, inevitable, and in the nature of things. It that this standard varied from 5 to 20 per was true, if our foreign expenditure was cent. on either side of a hedge, according much decreased-if our issues from the to the pleasure or caprice of this or that Bank were more provident and wise than landlord. That was not the case; and they had been, the evil might be deferred; the rate per cent. never depended upon it might even disappear; but then, it the will of any landlord. The capital of must be a cessation of that system which the country was the standard. In Dublin the right hon. gentleman held to be neces- | the buying and selling of gold was as sary for the safety of the country. But common as that of broad cloth, or any though there was no exact resemblance other article. Much of it was bought for between the paper currency of other coun. England, from whence a considerable protries, and that of Britain, there was, in portion of it was, he believed, exported, , many points, an agreement. There was and a considerable portion of it hoarded. an agreement in principle. The excessive Though he hoped he would be acquitted

. issues from the Bank bad rendered that of being guilty of much egotism in that company unable to fulfil its engagements House, or of being apt to speak of himself, to government and to the country. The he would briefly state a circumstance of Bank was, thereupon, compelled to put which he had been an eye-witness, to

, paper into issue to such a degree, as in its shew that it was this traffic which formed connection with government, caused that the standard, and not the fancy of landa paper to become a government paper, and lords, as imagined by the right hon. gen. a forced government paper tou !---It had tleman. On the day he sailed for Lonnothing to pay ils dividends with, but this don, he went into one of these shops in forced government paper. The good sense which gold is purchased and sold in Dubof the country, the aitention of parliament, lin, and wbile there, a country woman and the good management of the directors came in to dispose of 11 or 12 guineas. of the Bank, might also add to those causes, She asked what was the premium, and was which would retard the progress of the informed 55. 6d. on each guinea, with evil that bad been predicted, but still, in which being satisfied, she received that

; principle, it resembled other countries, sum in bank of Ireland notes, and the and the consequences were unavoidable. fractional parts in tokens. The person of With regard to the extension of the mea- the shop having gone out, another stated sure to Ireland, there were one or two cir- to him (Mr. P.) that the woman had been cumstances to which he begged leave paid too little, as the premium ought to to call the attention of the House. Ire. have been 6s. on each guinea. On the land being much poorer than this country, return of the shop-keeper, he had exand having a less capital, it might be sup- changed with him bank of Ireland notes posed that when the bank of England for those of the bank of England, at the could no longer make its payments in ordinary rate of exchange, which at that gold, the bank of Ireland must have been time amounted to about one penny, or in a similar state. But the direct reverse three-halfpence in the pound. This was, to his own knowledge, the fact. At was a decided proof of the depreciation the time the bank of England suspended of paper, in comparison with gold, and its payments in specie, the bank of Ireland that the rate of that depreciation was was as competent, ready, and willing to as well ascertained in Ireland as the pay in gold as it had ever been.- When price of meat or bread. His advice, the intimation was received from the go- then, wasto let the thing take its own vernment in this country to stop these course with the two prices. The Bill, if payments, the surprise was as great as had he understood it right, went to enact, that ever been excited. This be considered as if a debtor was sued, and paid the amount one of the most just criterions by which in Bank.notes into court, the creditor was to try the real state of the bank of Eng- compelled to receive them and pay costs. land' at that time and since. The right But suppose A owed B 100l. on bond, and hon. gentleman had endeavoured to throw was desirous to pay the money and get rid a ridicule upon an hon. gentleman for his of the interest, A could not force B to re

(VOL. XXII.)

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