Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

parture from the original object of appearing to this house, that the
their institution, and froin too close the effects of the bank on the 25th
a connection with government. It of February last amounted te
was neceflary to guard against the 17,597,280l. and that the outstand.
effects of persuution or of force, ing demands on the bank amounted
which might be employed by go- to 13,770,390l; and it further ap-
vernment at any future period. peariug that there is owing to the
The bank had departed from their bank by government the Tam of
original inftitution, contrary to that 9,964,4131. (exclufive of the per-
clause in the act of king William manent debe due from government
prohibiting them from ever owing of 11,686,8001.) “ Resolved that
more than the amount of what was it is highly expedient, as well for
owing to them by government. An- the honour of his majesty's govern-
other clause in the 5th of king ment as for the re-establishment of
William provides, that the bank, public credit, that the speedieft
under the penalty of forfeiting tri- measures should be taken for the
ple the amount,' fliould not make payment to the bank, of the said
any advances to government, but on advances, or of a confiderable part
funds granted by parliament. This thereof."
tied up their hands from making Mr. Pitt rofe, and, after fome
too great advances, and this conti- preliminary observations, demand-
nued with great advantage till with- ed across the table, whether Mr.
in three years, when a clause to re. Sheridan meant by his propofition
peal it was thrust by a side-wind that the bank flould never owe
into an exchequer loan bill, by more than the country owed to the
which an indemnity was given for bank of original debt; or whether
past advances, and the controul re he meant that it never mould owe
moved in future. Since that period more than the country owed to the
the bank had made advances to go- bank upon parliamentary security?
vernment, which it could not have Mr. 'Sheridan replied, that he
done had the provision existed. His meant by his proposition that the
second proposal, therefore, was to bank should never owe more than
repeal the clause, and to re-establiíh the whole amount of the debt due
the prohibition. His third was to from government to the bank upon
enable the bank to avail themselves parliainentary fecurity. The chan-
of the debt due from government. cellor then proceeded. He was
These were the three points which glad to hear that the honourable
he intended to propose. If the gentleman had come to this expla-
present capital were not sufficient, nation, which, he was persuaded,
the sum of eleven millions might was not the original idea which the
be increased, and then, independ- house fupposed from his mode of
ent of the profits of their tranf. stating his proposition. What was
actions, and the aflets they podlefled, the best mode of bringing out the
as long as the country exifted the fpecie, when there was a scarcity
creditors of the bank would have in circulation, was certainly a point
security in their dealings. Mr. of great delicacy to determine.
Sheridan wified the three first pro. The honourable gentleman's plan
positions to be considered in a com. was, to limit the circulation of pa-
mittee of the whole house; and per in order to call forth the cash.
concluded with moving. " That it For his own part he believed it was

quite impoffible all at once to call on them, instead of cash, pursuant back specie into circulation. Paper, to the late order of council to that he said, was a good medium of ex. efic&t.” The bill was read a first change if it relied upon a pro; er · time, ordered to be printed, and ultimate security, and if it did not read a second time on the Thurfa exceed the demands of the medium; day ensuing. On tat day, bow. but when a country was surcharged ever, on account of a paucity of with it, certainly it became a great menibers, the house adiourned evil. Mr. Pitt contended, that the without proceeding to business; propoGrions then before the house but on the next day (March 17) were inadequate to the end for the chancellor of the exchequer which they were brought forward. proposed the second reading of the The debts of the bank ainounted to bill. thirteen millions, all of which was Mr. Fox said, there seemed to demandable in caih: now, though be no provisions in the bill obligovernment were to pay five mil- ging government to receive notes in lions to the bank, even fupposing payment of the taxis, which, as he they could pay it in cah, would fupposed, was one part of the mi. this be sufficient to liquidate all nister's plan. He exhorted the poble demands upon that corpo. house also to observe the alarming ration: which was the position held fituation in which every man in by the honourable gentleman, He the kingdom was placed. If any concluded with moving the pre- perron could not pay his debts in vions question.

cath, he was liable to be sued and Mr. Fox defended the resolutions arrested at the will of his creditor, proposed by Mr. Sheridan. He said as there was no possibility of prothe question for the house to decide curing a fupply of specie. This upon was simply this, Whether the situation was certainly alarming, liquidation of the debt due from and it might be particularly hard the government to the bank, wbich upon bankers ; yet, he was conwas admitted on all hands to be vinced, that if the only remedy expedient, ought to be execu;ed as wich could be resorted to were a part of the minister's plan of used, it would be much more finance, or in consequence of an ruinous and destructive. H re he independent resolution of the housei alluded to the making of bank He thought the latter mode was notes a le-al tender. much preferable. The boule di The chancellor of the exchevided upon the previous question quer, in that stage of the bill, Aves

183 waved making any observations Nocs

45 upon what had fallen from the It has been aiready observed, right honourable gentleman. that the chancellor of the exche Mr. Hobhouse objecied to the quer introduced the indemnity-bill whole bill as an act of robbery and into the commons on the oth of depredation against the public creMarch; on the 13th of the same ditor ; he therefore opposed it month, he brought up the bill un- throughout; left the plunderer, der the title of " A biil for ena- paling in this instance with inpubling the bank of England to illue nity, thould proceed in his system notes in payment of demands up- of pillage. He was afraid that mis


[ocr errors]

nisters, by issuing the order of the house some alarming informacouncil, had taken a step which tion contained in a paper presented they would never be able to re- that day by Mr. Long, in consetrieve.

quence of a motion whi h was Mr. Bryan Edwards faid, the made by an honourable friend of house was now placed in this pre- his on a former day. It had also dicament, by the motion for the been moved some time before, that second reading of the bill, either minifters, in the present ftate of the that this stage of the bill should be country, ought to be prohibited poftponed, that the order of coun- from sending any further sums to cil should be repealed, which would the emperor. The answer of the occasion a run upon the bank, or chancellor of the exchequer on the that the house hould sanction an latter occafion did not preclude him order of this nature before they from issuing any part of the 500,000). were acquainted with the grounds which was put at his discretion by upon which it was issued, which a vote of credit granted to him by certainly would be in the highest parliament before Christmas. He degree unparliamentary. He was reminded the house, however, at of opinion, that the second reading what time this sum was voted ; it of the bill Nhould be put off till the was voted before Christmas, long report of the secret committee was before those calamities which had before the house,

now overtaken us, long before the Lord Hawfkebury reminded the house of commons knew that the honourable gentleman and the bank had stopped payment, and house, that the committee alluded that the credit of the country was to had been first appointed to in- wounded in its most vital part. Had quire into the necessity of continu- the house at that time been aware of ing and confirming that order of the dangers with which they were council. The committee had ac · threatened, he was convinced that cordingly niade that inquiry, and they would not have given their afreported to the house, that the or- sent to the measure of sending moder of council ought to be conti- ney out of the country.

When nued and confirmed; and since this danger was realized, and when that, another inquiry had been re we were befet by a crowd of unexferred to that committee, to know peeted disafiers, he did expect tlat whether the privy council were ministers would have exercised the juftified in their proceedings at the discretion vested in them for the retime of the reítriction, which was tief, not for the further oppreflion, La confideration fecondary to that of of the public. What was his surits continuance. But certainly the prise then, when on looking into house might, with the greatest pro- the accounts which were that day priety, the bill to be read a presented, to find, that as late as fecond time, as the opinion deli- Saturday last a fum of 120,000, vered in the report of the former was itsued in exchequer bills to be committee was, that the operation paid in fpecie by the bank to the of the order of council ought to be agents of his imperial majesty. He continued, which undoubtedly could hoped that the house would impofe be best carried into effect under the fome restrictions upon those miniauthority of an act of parliament. Iters, who became more detperate Mr. Grey role chiefly to state to in proportion as the desperation of

public affairs increased, and pro- and the immense speculations which hibit them at this time from sending had been occasioned by the extendmore money out of the country. ed commerce of the country. From He had heard also that these exche- the present state of affairs, bankers, quer-bills were at from 2 { to 3 per in general, were reduced to a situcent. discount; a circumstance for aticn of the greatest difficulty and which they could not account, as hazard. It was not his wifi that they were pavable by the bank notes should be made completely a on account of the paymasters of legal tender, but only so far as the the forces.

debt of the bank then extended, After a few observations by the and, in his opinion, the bank ought chancellor of the exchequer the to be restricted from illuing any bill was read a second time, and or- more notes, except with the condered to be committed to a com- sent of two-thirds of the propriemittee of the whole house on Mon- tors. day next.

Mr. Fox commented on the cir. The chancellor of the exchequer cumstance of the bank having is. on the same day informed the com- sued 50,000 guineas for the accommons that he had that morning had modation of private bankers. The a meeting with some London bank- measure might be right or wrong; ers, who had fuggefied to him some but what he found fault with was circumftances, which, in his opi. the channel through which the acnion, would be material for the coinmo.lation was obtained. The confideration of the house. These bankers, instead of petitioning the circumstances however were of such bank, went and petitioned the chan: a nature as to render it necessary ceilor of the exchequer, who inthat they ihould hold a meeting tertered with the directors of the among themselves. It was also ne. bank, and by his influence pro. .celary they should have an oppor- cured for them this supply. What, tunity of holding that meeting be- faid Mr. Fox, must be the confore the boule went into a commit- fequence of private perfons going tee upon the bill. Under these cir- to the minister and making use of cumstances it appeared to him ne. his influence to induce the bank to ceitary that the house should not go extend its credit where it had refuinto the committee that day, as he led to extend it, and to substitute bad intended. The committee was authority in place of confidence. Therefore postponed till the ensuing It had been found, from good ai.Wednesday

thority, that because the bank was On that day (March 22) the not liberal enough in its discounts, house resolved itself into a com- the merchants had recourse to the mittee, and the bill being read para- fame channel, i.nd that in confograph by paragraph, on the clause quence of another authoritative in. granting an indemnity to the bank, terference these discounts had been Mir. Dent observed, that the scar: extended. One of the reasons why city of cath that then prevailed was he was against granting indemnity partly real and partly ideil. That to the bank was, that if the state of scarcity had been produced by a things was what it had been reprevariety of circumstances, the alarm fented, and if the perfous who en. of invasion, the melting down of tered into the associations * which guinças, ibe sending thein abroad, had been so much taiked of, were

* Furosceiving bank-notes inficad of money.

See Principal Occurrences.


fincere in their profeffions, no in- but deliberating upon a measure by demnity would be neceffary. It which the public faith was broken these associations were extensive with the public creditor, by refufenough to protect the bank for ing to pay him in calh; he gave the future, they might certainly be notice that he tould move as an trusted as amply fufficient to protect amendment to this clause " that it for the past. For these reasons the bank Mould be prohibited from he should vote against the present making any advances to govern. clause.

ment by which the existing debt The chancellor of the exchequer mould be increased during the conreplied to the arguments of Mr. tinuance of the present aci." Fox, and denied the influence of The chancellor of the exchequer ministers with respect to the bank objected to the introduction of any having accommodated private bank- such clause. If the necessity of ers with the sum of 50,000 gui. adopting the present measure arose neas, and with respect to the dif- from the present scarcity of cash in counting of bills.

the bank, that circumstance was Mr. Manning and Mr. Thornincompatible with tendering payton, two bank-directors, assured Mr. ments of the public dividends in Fox that the bank had acted entire. cath. Mr. Pitt remarked, that the ly upon their own discretion.

precise ftipulation with the public Mr. Bastard strongly reprobated the creditor was to pay the public diviinfluence which government halas. de:ids at the back. Tle fums ilsumed over the affairs of the bank. sued from the exchequer to the With regard to the indemnity the bank, and the payment of fums house was called upon to pass, he due to government, were usually did not know to what it was to ap- paid in bank-notes. Nor was it ply. He had no doubt in his own reasonable during the present temmind of the culpability of the batik, porary and rational embarrassment, direciors, and wished an inquiry that the receivers of dividends into their conduct. Parliament Bould be the only persons exempt. ought to cut off entirely that con- ed from the consequences which nection which had been fatally efia- the preslure of the moment una blished between government and voidably occasioned. the bank, from which a great part Mr. Fox replied that the doctrine of the present calamity arose. held by the right honourable gen.

The question was then called for, tleman was very alarıning, as it and the clause carried without a opened a way to the moft dangerdiviGon.

ous fraud upon the public creditor. The second clause i:eing read, Neceflity had compelled the govern

Mr. Fox said, tsat he intended ment to defraud the public cre. to move for an exception to tbis ditor, by offering him that which clause with regard to dividend-war- the law never had in contemplation sants. That the clause was meant when it secured to him 5 per cent. - to comprehend these could not be for his money. This was the ful. doubted; but if so, it fhould be filrent of the event predicted by more clearly and fpecifically ex Mr. Hunie : when governinent was nressed. As the house was not con to lay its hands on the sums prosidering at present the propriety of vided for the payment of the pub. crcating a new circulating medium, lic creditor, the government, not


« AnteriorContinuar »