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Mr. Dennis Browne said, that while a enemies.' It was a well known fact, that Jacobin government, assisted by an over, at the present moment a large British whelmning military power, existed in capital was employed in Briush ships in France, the ministers should be armed this trade, to wbich practice there was with extraordinary powers relative to now a much stronger temptation than at aliens. Such, he feared, would be parti. any former period, the price of slaves cularly necessary in Ireland, from the being from 250 to 4001. each. He wished, feelings too prevalent in that kingdom. by the Bill for which he was about to He thought that if the Alien Act did not move, to make the act of thus employing exist in Ireland, the hon. gentleman who capital as penal as any other relative to spoke last would have to ask other ques. the trade now prohibited by law, namely, tions relative to that country than he found to make it felony. Nor did he see any necessary at present.
reason why insuring ships engaged in a Mr. Bathurst said, that it was impossible slave-trade voyage, should not be deemed for ministers to state particular cases, equally criminal. Adverting to the diffiwhen they came to the House for a mea culty, which would exist in proving the sure like the present; such conduct would fact of capital being specifically so em. defeat the very object in view.
ployed, he meant in the Bill to prevent Mr. Whitbread said, that in order to the subjects of this country from lending have the matter more fully explained upon money on the security of foreign property a future day, he should divide the House. belonging to countries in wbich the Slave
Mr. Bathurst remonstrated, observing trade had not been abolished. Finally, the that such a proceeding could only cause hon. gentleman moved, “That leave be useless delay. The measure could be given to bring in a Bill to prohibit British debated in its future stages..
subjects, or persons resident in the United Mr. Whitbread indicated his intention of Kingdom, from lending capital, or doing persevering. With regard to what the other acts, to assist the carrying on of the hon. gentleman opposite had said upon Slave-trade to colonies belonging to the Jacobin Government of France, all foreign states, or persons residing in this he (Mr. W.) could observe in reply was, country, from lending capital, or committhat the Congress of Vienna had been an ting other acts, the tendency of which arch-manufacturer of Jacobins.
was to assist in carrying on the SlaveMr. R. Ward said, that if the hon. gen. trade of foreign colonies." tleman took advantage of the then stale of Mr. A. Browne mentioned a proof of the House merely for the sake of a delay disinterestedness given by the legislaof 24 or perhaps 48 hours, he would prove ture of Antigua. As soon as they found hiniself the greatest friend of ministers by that in consequence of the Treaty of Paris such a proceeding.
the Slave-trade would be revived in the Mr. Whitbread said, that if he should French islands, and that a facility would prove a friend to the present ministers, it thus be given to elude the laws in the was more than he intended to be.
British colonies, the two Houses of that The House then divided: Yeas, 24 ; | island came 10 a Resolution, declaring Noes, 3. As there were not forty mem- their willingness to concur in any laws bers present, the House adjourned, and the which might be thought necessary to be motion was of course lost.
introduced there for the more effectual discovery and punishment of those who
violated the Abolition Act. HOUSE OF COMMONS.
After a few words from Mr. WilberTuesday, April 18.
force, leave was given to bring in the Bill. FOREIGN SLAVE Trade Bill.] Mr. Barham prefaced his motion on this sub ALIENS REGULATION BILL.] Mr. Ba. ject with a speech of some length. He con- thurst re-stated the arguments made use of gratulated the friends of humanity on the by him on the preceding evening, when death-blow which, in his opinion, this moving for leave to bring in a Bill to protraffic bad received by the Declaration of vide further regulations respecting aliens, the Congress. In this situation, it became which motion was then lost from the thin. our duty, he said, not to relax in our ness of the House. He now moved, efforts for its destruction, but to show “ That leave be given to bring in a Bill 10 that as we had been its most early, so repeal an Act passed in the last session of were we its most siacere and zealous Parliament, for establishing regulations (VOL. XXX. )
respecting Aliens arriving in this kingdom, more clearly shown, and that it should be or resident therein, and for establisbing delayed at least till we were involved, in regulations respecting Aliens arriving in what he hoped would yet be avoided, a this kingdom, or residing therein, in cer war with France. tain cases.'
Lord Castlereagh said, that no Bill like Mr. Whitbread said, that, in his opinion, the present could be effectual, for its object, the Alien Bills from the beginning down if it did not arm the Government with to the present day, were a blot on the powers which inight be abused; but the Statute-book of the country. In two in- liability to abuse ought to be compared stances of late, the powers of the Alien with the danger which it was intended to Act had been abused by those Ministers prevent. The first Alien Act had been to whom these powers were entrusted. introduced in a period of peace, 1792, He alluded to the cases of M. de Berenger, when we stood in the same relation to and of M. Correia. Nothing but the France as we did at present. It was at a danger which the country was supposed moment like the present, of all others, to be in from French fraternization, could when the country was not in the full ever have induced the Legislature to en vigour of its strength, when it was making trust such powers to the Government as preparations, and when it was important were given in the first Alien Act; but no to prevent the enemy from obtaining such person then contemplated that such a information as might enable them to measure would be continued in times of thwart our measures, if these preparations peace. The right hon. gentleman had not ended in war, that it became necessary to assumed the knowledge of the situation take every precaution respecting the perin which the country was at present placed. sons entering this kingdom. By the preHe was sure that ihe country in general sent Act we could not prevent improper did not know that situation, and that the persons from landing ; we could only House knew as little. The power at pre- reach those persons by an operose process. sent vested in Ministers was very ample; Ministers would be deficient in their duty they could take measures for ordering all if they did not bring forward a measure suspected persons out of the country, and like the present at this crisis. if they did not obey that order, imprison After a few words from lord A. Hamil. them; the names of all who entered this ton and Mr. Sturges Bourne, leave was country were registered ; masters of ships given to bring in the Bill. It was imme. were liable to penalties who concealed diately afterwards brought in, read a first any persons from the knowledge of the time, and ordered to be read a second Alien Office; and, upon the whole, there time on Friday, were, he conceived, provisions in the pre“sent Alien Act amply sufficient to guard against the possibility of any danger from
HOUSE OF COMMONS. 'aliens. It had not been stated that there
Wednesday, April 19. were any persons at present in this country MOTION RESPECTING Public BalancES froin whom the executive was in danger; IN THE BANK OF ENGLAND.] Mr. Grenfell, and therefore he objected to the vesting after requesting the indulgence of the Ministers with such powers as might be House while he explained the grounds of made the instrument of the grossest op- the motion which he was about to make, pression against the subjects of other said, that he should confine his observacountries. It had lately come to light tions strictly to those transactions of the that Government had delegated the powers Bank of England, in which the public had · vested in them by this Act to the agents a direct interest. With the private trans.
of this country abroad; and it had thus actions of the Bank, except under very been made the instrument of most griev- peculiar circumstances, Parliament bad ous oppression to certain Spanish subjects, nothing to do; but where the public were whose arrival at one time would bave been one party, and the Bank another, it was hailed in this country, and who at another the bounden duty of Parliament satisfactime were delivered up to the tyranny of torily to investigate the terms of the com· Ferdinand 7, and to all the cruelty and pact. The first of these transactions to injustice of the government carried on by which he wished to call the attention of him. It was the same with regard to the the House was the deposit of the public Italians. He was of opinion, therefore, money in the Bank of England, the Bank that the necessity for the Bill ought to be thus acting as the bankers of the public.
It was well known, that by the Acts of circumstances wbich tended to show its Parliament which bad passed several years extent. In 1806 the Bank agreed to ada ago, considerable portions of the revenue, vance what was called (alihough bę under different heads of the public ser- thought he should presently show improvice, were to be progressively drawn out, perly) a loan to the public, of three mil. by draughts of the treasurers or other lions during the war, at an interest of three officers duly authorized. This was, in per cent. This loan, the term of which fact, in the nature of ordinary transactions expired six months after the conclusion of between individuals and private bankers. peace, was accordingly paid in December It was very simple: it exposed the Bank last with the interest, which amounted to of England to no greater expense for 720,000l. In 1808 the Bank agreed to buildings, or for clerks, than that to which advance another loan of three millions private bankers were exposed by their during the war, but in consequence of the transactions with individuals. The papers large public balances in their hands, which he should move for on this part of agreed to take no interest. The term of the subject, were only a continuation of this loan also expired in December, but on those produced by the Bank of England in the statement that the public balances in 1807 to a Select Committee of that House, their hands remained undiminished, the the report of which was on the table. By Bank agreed to extend the term of it to an examination of these papers, it would the 5th April, 1816. But here, he must distinctly appear, that the aggregate of contend, that these agreements on the the public deposits in the Bank of England part of the Bank of England ought not to was unproductive to the public, and pro. be considered in the light of loans or ac, ductive to the Bank; or rather, that to commodations to the public. The transthe public it was the loss, and to the Bank actions amounted to nothing more than to the gain, of a sum equal to the annual in- give the public the liberty of drawing its terest of the sum thus vested. By this own money-of drawing six millions out Report it appeared, that in 1807 the of eleven, leaving in the hands of the amount of this aggregate exceeded, what | Bank five millions, an extravagant remuhe must call the enormous sum of eleven neration for their trouble, and including millions; the interest of which, exceeding the unreasonable proposition that the pubhalf a million, was a loss to the public, lic should pay 90,000l. per annum for the and a profit to the Bank ; and he was en use of their own money! He would suptitled to consider this as the price paid by pose, in the absence of the information the public to the Bank for transacting its which the papers he intended to move for business. Of the state of these balances, would produce, that the deposits now in : since 1807, he knew nothing, except from the hands of the Bank were, as formerly, a little light thrown on the subject in a eleven millions. They had advanced to letter from his right hon. friend the Chan, the public three millions. Eight millions, cellor of the Exchequer, to the Governor therefore, were left in the hands of the of the Bank, referring to a statement in Bank, and the interest of that sum, names 1808, by which it appeared, that in that ly, 400,0001. he was entitled to consider year the public balances in the hands of as the price paid to the Bank for the transthe Bank' remained undiminished. The action of the public business. One prinprobability was, that these balances must cipal object which he had in view in this have increased with the increasing ex- motion, was to urge his right hon. friend penses of the country. He was not, how to consider, whether, under any circum. ever, prepared to say that this was an ab- stances, but more particularly under the solute criterion. On the contrary, many pecuhar circumstances of financial difficauses might operate to the contrary. The culty in which the country laboured, it papers, however, if they were produced, was just or becoming that the publie would show what alterations had taken should pay so large and so extravagant a place in the amount of these balances price for a service so simple and so cire since 1807, and what was their present cumscribed. amount. And here he thought proper to The next point to which he should ad, say, that he would state with just as much vert arose out of the management by the alacrity those circumstances which ap- Bank of the public debt. The Bank of peared to diminish tbe loss which the England had a commission on the mapublic sustained by this depositing of the nagement of the unredeemed debt. In public balances in their bands, as those 1786, during the administration of Mr.
Pitt, that commission was fixed at the rate | hon. friend. Although from wbat he had of 450l. on every million of the debt. i heard, he thought it probable his rigtit
This went on until 1808; during which hon. friend might say that it was premaperiod the debt swelled to such an enor ture to call for papers on a subject which mous 'amount, that in that year another must come under discussion early in 'thë arrangement was made with the Bank, next session, and that it would be a breach reducing their commission one-third, or of faith towards the Bank at present to from 450l. to 300l. on every million, at diminish the public balances in their which rate it had continued to the present hands, as by act of parliament they were moment. He was far from denying the not to be withdrawn until the end of the able, safe, and satisfactory manner in which year 1816, he was nevertheless satisfied, this great branch of the public business that if he could look into his right hon. was conducted by the Bank of England; friend's heart, he should find that he was and that, for the purpose of conducting it, satisfied of the justice of what he (Mr. G.) the Bank must necessarily have incurred had stated: nor had he the slightest feelgreat expense in buildings, and must have ing of hostility to the prosperity of the maintained, and must still maintain, a Bank of England, or to those respectable large establishment of clerks. But, tak- gentlemen by whom their affairs were ing all these circumstances into consider conducted. With a number of those genation, when he looked at the amount of tlemen he had been acquainted many the remuneration received by them, viz. years. He knew them to be men of the 267,0001. per annum; he confessed that, most honourable character. No differ. without adverting to other transactions, ence from them on public grounds could but duly measuring the service by the induce him to consider them with any reward, he could not help feeling, that on other disposition than unfeigned regard. this subject the public had a right to ex. He was not so ignorant, nor had he been pect from the Bank a considerable dimi. so inattentive an observer of the events of notion in their demands. In America the the last thirty-five years, as not to know Bank of the United States did the business and acknowledge that the country had of transferring the public stock and paying derived, and, he trusted, under proper the dividends without making any charge regulations, would continue to derive the to the public at all. He did not mean to most important and solid advantages from compare the business done at the one that great and valuable establishment, the Bank with the business done at the other; Bank of England. But then, on the other but let it be recollected that in the one hand, it ought to be recollected that the case 267,000l. was paid by the public, Bank owed its existence to an act of the and in the other case nothing.
Legislature. Having existed for a consi There was one other subject on which derable period, the Charter of the Bank he should move for information as a ne was renewed, not solely with a view to the cessary accompaniment to that which the benefit of the proprietors, but for the motions he had already described would advantage of the community at large. produce; and that was to ascertain the The division within the last eighteen years, amount of the issues of Bank paper, since of seven or eight millions among the Bank the passing of the Restriction Act in 1797. proprietary, in addition to the ordinary When he knew that the increase in the dividend of 7 per cent. annually, suffiissue of Bank paper since that period ciently evinced, that in the bargains beamounted to 14 or 16 millions, from which tween the Bank and the publie the profits an annual profit was derived of 7 or preponderated in a most undue degree on 800,0001. and when he recollected that the side of the former. On every prin the Bank were indebted for all this advan. ciple of justice and equity, therefore, the tage solely to an Act of the Legislature, public had a right to expect that the Bank although he could not propose that the of England, taking a liberal view of the public should participate in the advantage, whole subject, should allow the public a he felt that the circumstance should so far participation of those profits, by transactenter into the consideration of the con- | ing the public business on less expensive tracting parties, as to induce the Bank to terms than at present. The hon. gentletreat the public with the greatest libe man concluded by moving his Resolutions, rality in all their mutual transactions. He the first of which was, disclaimed any party feeling on this sub “ That there be laid before this House, ject, or any disposition köstile to his right an Account of the Balances of Cash in the
bands of the Bank of England, on the 1st to be observed that these restrictions bad and 15th days of each month, between the not been wished for by the Bank, but had Ist of February 1807 and 1st of April been adopted on grounds of public policy, 1815 inclusive, resulting from payments and therefore the Bank could in no manner under the head of Customs, and of all be accountable for what had taken place, other branches of the public revenue, without their wish or consent.
He constating the average balance in each year; cluded with moving the previous question. in the form in which a similar Account Mr. Bankes said, that provided the acwas produced by the Bank of England to counts should be laid before the House in the Committee on the Public Expendi- sufficient time to allow a full consideration tore of the United Kingdom in the year of the subject before making any fresh 1807.”
bargain with the Bank, it was immaterial The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that whether they should be ordered this day the House a short time ago bad accepted or at a future time; but if the House of an advance of three millions from the should not be allowed sufficient time for Bank for one year without payment of the examination of this subject, the public any interest; and he certainly considered might receive an injury which by a prothat that advance had taken place on the per investigation might have been avoided. faith of the same system relative to the Did the right hon. The Chancellor of the management of the public debt being con- Exchequer conceive that the public were tinued till April 1816. Till that time the precluded from adopting a new plan, by House could not, consistently with their which the balances might not be withengagement, whatever they might think drawn, but by which they might be of the economy of the transaction, open a lessened? If he did, there was the more bargain which they had so lately sanc reason for having the accounts before tioned. If the hon. gentleman wished the them, that full consideration might be papers for which he had moved, for the given to the matter, before making again sake of laying information before the such an imprudent bargain; and that House to enable them to make a better when they became free agents, they bargain in future, there was no necessity might suggest some more economical for this at present, as there was sufficient mode of conducting the public business. time in the course of the next session. It Perhaps if the different branches had the was to be borne in mind that the accounts power of drawing from the one to the were very voluminous, and could not be other, the balances might upon the whole got ready soon. His bon. friend had un- be considerably diminished; and if, inintentionally thrown a false colouring op stead of keeping up a continual balance the balances in the hands of the Bank; of 11 millions, by any such mode the bathe great bulk of these balances arose from lance could be reduced to six millions, the payments to the Consolidated Fund; would they be precluded by the engageand this could not be interfered with with ment with the Bank from acting upon it? out violating the compact with the public Were they not only to keep their accreditor. This was by far the most con counts with the Bank, but to keep up the siderable part of the balance. From the balances to nearly the same amount ? If great increase of the public expenditure, such was the case, they might, indeed, it was natural to presume that the balances not be at liberty to adopt any alteration at the Bank would increase proportionally; at present; but ihat was no reason why but this had by no means been the case, they should not see how the matter stood, and it depended very much on the heads that if they had made an improvident of branches whether they would allow bargain, they might see that they did large balances at the Bank which should not in future fall into the same inconvebe unprofitable to the public. The ba- nience. It must be desirable in the prelances bad arisen, for the most part how- sent state of the country, that the House ever, from acts of parliament over which should endeavour to use every possible Government had no controul ; and to economy. The Bank had derived great interfere with this subject would be to advantages from its connexion with the derange the whole system of public credit. Government, and the country had also With respect to the profits which the derived great advantages from the Bank : Bank had been supposed to have derived they ought not to look on the interests of under the restrictions, and which had so the Bank and the country as adverse; but often been discussed in that House, it was they were guardians of the public money,