Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Fortícooth had been appeared but cite mutiny was a fa&t so notorious, a te steks, as we have already that no reasonable man could rekanbefore another broke out a- fuse his affent to it. His official mong the fame class of men at the situation had enabled him to acNoe, which in magnitude and au- quire evidence of the existence of deity greatly exceeded the former. the attempts which this measure

On the first of Jupe his majesty went to remove. Seditious persons sent a message to both houses of had at secret hours circulated handparliament, acquainting them, with bills of a dangerous tendency, for the deepeft concern, " that the con- the purpose of attracting the noduct of the crews of some of his tice of the soldiers in the army; thips, then at the Nore, in perfifting these attempts had been connected in the most violent and treasonable by a regular and concerted system, acts of mutiny and disobedience, and were not casual, or confined to notwithstanding the full extenfion particular spots, but diffused all to them of all the benefits which over the country, appearing in difhad been accepted with gratitude ferent and distant places on the by the reft of the fleet, and offers of fame day. At Newcastle, at Notpardon on returning to their duty, tingham, at Maidstone, and various had compelled his majesty to call other places, these proofs of conon all his subjects to give their al- cert, of system and design, had been fiftance in repressing such criminal found to occur. Falle and unproceelings. That he had laid be- founded rumours were echoed and fore them a copy of a proclamation re-echoed, that these attempts had which he had issued for that pur- succeeded in some inttances, in orpole ; and that he recommended it der, by such report, to encourage to the confideration of parliament the attempts in other places with 10 make more effectual provision the hopes and example of this sucfor the prevention and punishment cess. of all traitorous attempts to excite The circumstances recorded in dif. {edition and mutiny in his service, ferent hand-bills were all of them by fea or land.”

equally false : the same leamen who On the following day, the chan- bad been worked upon by handcellor of the exchequer moved an bills, stating the disaffeaion and address of the commons to his ma- mutiny of their comrades in a ditjefty

, upon the subject of his most ferent part, were themselves repregracious message; and, after a de- fented to those comrades as having bate of some length, the address set the same example. The atpas agreed to nem. con.

tempts made to seduce the foldiery, The chancellor of the exchequer he said, were notorious ; and strong then moved for leave to bring in a fufpicion lay, that the like attempts bill for the better prevention and had been made upon the sailors since punishment of all attempts to excite the melancholy fact of the existence sedition and mutiny in his majesty's of a mutiny had been proved to fervice; and the attorney-general, that house; and it was well known having seconded the motion, pro- that mutiny was not of native ceeded to ftate to the house the growth among our seamen. The grounds upon which the proposed knowledge of such attempts, as to bill was founded. The frequency the army, was sufficient to autho, and maļignancy of attempts to ex, rise the supposition of their existence

with regard to the navy. He then pression of the emergency of affairs stated the insufficiency of the exist- could have induced him to recoming laws to punith the offences in mend the punithment of death for question. At present he said, to this offence; a punishment which excite a soldier to dusert was no he thought was already too much more than a common misdemean. multinived in the farure-books; and our; 'but surely, when that incite. he wished to be underfond, even in ment was made with an intention this case, that the act ii uid be lito create mutiny and descrtion in med as to its curation. order to destroy the government, it

The chancellor of i'r exchequer was as dangerous as the worst spe. obfirved, thiarhe vo da ba'e he de. cies of treason. The measure which scription of the bill ftareilie general he luggefied was, to pur the offen e nature of it, and a hiak lett for the upon the footing of an aggravated committee, to be filled up with the miidemeanor, and have it to the punithm-nt. He then mosad, thar it discretion of judges to punish it be read a first time, which ws carwith traniportation, in the same ried : it was then read a fi coll time, manner as was provided by the bil and coomitied to a committee of the which palled the year before", for whole boute for the next ray. punishing sedition. He confidered On that day, upon the motion The offence, however heinous, as not that the Speaker fhould lease the so specific as treafun.

chair, Nir. Hobhouse chierryd, that Mr. ferjeant Adair expressed his he would not object to the bill, if opinion, that the punishment pro- three points could be made dear to posed, and the description of the the house. The first was, that the offence, we re extremely insequate; mutiny among the seamen did not and that the proposed punishment originate from themielies, but an ofe was insufficient to prevent such rac from the incitement and seduction tices. He thought that the title of of others; the fecond, that the laws, the bill should be, “ for the more as they now stood, were inadequate effectual preventing and punishing to prevent and punish that offence; of atempts to excite mutiny and and the third, that the bill then offedition ;” and if such was termed fered would antirer thath purpose. the offener to initiet such punith- He beliered that there might be ment as the law applied in capital wicked incendiaries witking upon cases. He objected to the oftcnce the army and nary, with a design being called a misdemeanour, be to make them intoruments for the cause he conceived that no punish- orerthrow of the state. The fact ment which could be inflicted for a of hand-bills being distributed both misdemeanour would be adequate in the country and in the metropolis to this offence, which ought to be incontenibly proved, that there was punished with diath. He proposed a band of emittaries. all acting in that the description of the otienee concert for that purpose. But upon hould he felony, in which cate it the other points be could not agree would be most easy and expeditious with the chancellor of the exchewith respect to the trial; and if quer. He thought the existing laws there ihould be any degree of doubt adequate to the punishment of the of the guilt of any person, the laws offenders, were they to be put in applicable to feiony would apply. force. The common law prescribed Nothing, in his mind, but the in- fix years' imprisonment, and stand

ing three times in the pillory: this, and to enact that the punishment for he iui, ought to be tried. It was wilful and advised conmunication gih raily ailowed, that exceflive pu- with the thips' crews declared to be Dren- ofren occafioned impu- in a state of mutiny, should be death, biri and encouraced olenders; as in cases of felony, without benefit Wiike it might truly be said, that of clergy Mr. Nichols said, he Tipis pearities proincted crimes: thought that the punishment of he timcute conjured the houle not death would in fome cases be too to 3.31 nolier to the severe penal. fevere; and that making it a misties in their statute-books, till they demeanour, liable to transportation, wire convinced of the inefficiency would be sufficient. Mr. ferjeant of th: prulent laws.

Adair said, that the penalty was only Mr. W. Smith coincided with the to attach to those who thould hold inconcludo. obfervations of Mr. Hob- 'tercourse and communication, after boule, and thought the existing the publication of the declaration laws rcbcient.

that the men were in a state of muThe speaker having left the tiny, and of the prohibition to hold chair, the chancellor of the exche- intercourse with them: the proviquer por led to the committee to fions in the bill were in their very intert the words : “ Such persons nature temporary, and ceased with foull be judgal guilty of felony, and the causes by which they were pro1 ail (utier death as in cases of ie- duced. Jony, without benefit of clergy." Sir Francis Burdet opposed the I: the committee ihould agree to bill. He said, that the house had this, he should then propose to limit but the assertion of ministers that the duration of the bill to one month such a measure was necessary: he after the commentement of the next thought it tended to put the seamen setion of parliament. He concluded in a Itate of defperation ; and the by moving the insertion of these mischief which they might do this words : “ maliciously and advisedly country in that state was dreadful. to commit any act of mutiny or The ditcontent was not confined to treason, or to make, or endeavour the seamen ; there was much of it to make, any mutinous or traitorous in other quarters; and it was visible assemblies, or to commit any muti- in many parts of this country. The nous or traitorous acts whatever." very strong laws which were made

Mr.Tierney thought the existing to repreis ihefe discontents, or ralaws of high treafon rendered the ther the expression of them, were bill unnecetlary; but as it was to be fymptoms of great disease, of which in force only for a few months, he there was a cause very different fould give it no further oppofition from that which had been stated.

The bill was read a third time, That cause was the misconduct of and passed, nem. con.

adminiftration for a long time, but On the same day, the chancellor particularly for the last four years, of the excheqner introduced into and the enormous corruption of the the commons a bill to restrain the executive government: these were intercourse with certain fhips, then the real causes of the evil. The in a state of mutiny.

bill, however, was passed through On the 5th of Jonę, when it was all its stages on the same day. propofed to fill up the penal clause, On the oth of June the iwo bills

relative

relative to the mutiny were intro- through all their several stages, and duced into the house of lords, and, received the royal affent by comwith

very little debate, were carried mission on that day.

CH A P. V.

Critical Situation of the Bank of England. Extraordinary Demand for

Specie. Order of Council probibiting the Illue of any more Specie from the Bank. Suppofid Causes of the Rain on the Bank, and of its Incapacity for answering the Demands. Mejlage from bis Majesty to both Honfes of Parliament, relative to tbe Order of Council. Debates in the House of Lords on tbat Communication. Debates in the fame House on bis Majesty's Meffage. Committee appointed to inquire into the Affairs of the Bank. Committee to inquire into tbe Necesity for ibe Order of Council. Report of tbe Committee. Debates on tbe Subject

. Resolutions proposed by the Duke of Bedford negatived. Debates in the House of Commons on bis Majchy's Mefage. Committee appointed by the Commons for an Inquiry into the Affairs of tbe Lunk. Motion by Mr. For to inquire into ibe Causes of the Order of Council negatived. Bill to enable tbe Bank to isue small Notes. Report of the Secret Committee on the Bank. Committee revived. SmallNote Bill, for accommodating Traders and Manufacturers. Motion by Mr. Sberidan on tbe Affairs of the Bank. Bank Indemnity Bill. Reflexions on the prefent State of tbe Bank.

W 7 HILE the tranquillity of the rated ; and its importanee, in every

nation was disturbed, and its point of view, was magnified by the exiftenceendangered by the mutinous operations of fancy on the bafis of disposition of its most effective de- ignorance. fenders, an evil which at first ap The year 1797, which has been peared of scarcely inferior magni- more productive of political wonders tude, threatened at once to over- than any given period during the whelm its financial arrangements, present century, has added this to and to bury in one prodigious ruin the number, that the Bank of the pecuniary resources, and even England has failed to fulfil its enthe commerce, of the country. By gagements, and yet public credit the continued fan&tion of public opi- has remained unshaken. At the nion, the bank of England had fame time the 'veil of mystery been lors considered as the palla- which concealed its proceedings dium of Britain; and the conti- from the publicis rent in pieces ; its dence which was attached to this powers and its competency are now object of national veneration ap-. no longer secret; and that confiproached, it must be confetled, to dence which before rested on an the nature of idolatry. Like other ideal bafis, is now supported by lepopular fuperftitions, its proceedings giflative fanction, and by a devewere enveloped in mystery ; its ex- lopement of the affairs of this great istence was connected in idea with monied corporation. the exiftence of the state; its influ The rise and progress of paper. ence on the commercial prosperity currency and of banks of deposit in of the sountry was highly exagge- Europe is a subject deeply intereft

ing to the politician; but it has new posited was secure from fire, robbery, ver been treated with that accuracy and other accidents; and large sums of research, and that freedom of in- could be paid by a simple transfer, quiry which its importance deserves. without the trouble of counting, or If we are not mistaken, the bank of the risk of counterfeit coin. Venice is the oldeit of these institu In England, after the fatal contions; for it was established fo early tests between the houses of York and as the twelfth century, by an act of Lancaster were composed, the oputhe state, as a general deposit or trea- lent citizens were accustomed to de sury for all the merchants and tradere pofit their goldand filver in the royal of that opalent and commercial city. mint, as a place of safety, whence The banks of Genoa, Hamburgh,' they occafionally drew iupplies of Nuremberg, and Amsterdam, were current coin, as their nieceilities res all, we apprehend, of a date confi- quired; but when the unfortunate derably anterior to that of the bank Charles I. seized the bullion in the of England; but that of Amster- Tower, in the year 1640, this fancdam, which was eftablished in 160g, tuary was violated, and all confi." was the moft important of them all, dence in the government was at an and its circulation the most exten- end. In the course of the civit war, free. Its object was to counteract that unnatural state of commotion, the abuses arifing from the clipping which corrupts and depraves even and diminifhing of the various coins the best of the human race, renderwhich were then current in Holland. ed it unsafe to the merchants and If therefore received both the light traders to trust their clerks, or apforeign coin, and the diminished prentices, with the charge of their coin of the country, at its real and treasure; and about the year 1645 intrinsic value in good standard mo- they began first to lodge their mo." ney, deducting only the sum necef- ney in the hands of certain gold-i sary for its recoinage; and for the smiths, who undertook to be ansom deposited after this deduction a swerable for their payments upon credit was opened with the proprie- drafts, under the fignature of the tor in the books of the bank, and respeđive principals : and this apthe revenues of the city of Amster- pears to be the first establiflament of dam were made responsible for the regular banks in the city of London. amount. The bills of credit upon The inftitution of a bank upon the bank thus came to be distinguish- more extensive and liberal princi. ed by the name of bank money; and ples was projected by some mere effe&ually to remedy the evils arif- chants and traders of the city of ing from the defacing of the coin, it London, foon after the revolution, was enacted, that all bills of ex- and was countenanced by the court change of the value of 600 gilders and miniftry; and though, as bishop of ypwards were to be paid in bank Burnet informs us, the opposition money; which, as it represented mo to its establishment was considerable, . Dey exactly according to the stand- ari act was nevertheless passed in ard, was always at par, 'or of equał1693 for its incorporation, under the value with good standard currency. name of the Governors and Co. of Certain other objects of no inconfi- the Bank of England. The eftaderable moment to commercial men blithment was formed partly on the were achieved by means of this e constitution of the bank of Amfter-! Kablishment. The money thus de, dam, and partly on the practice of:

the

« AnteriorContinuar »