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the banky is the debtor, and the did fo on the faith that he would alrefusal of payment is the act, not ways have a due proportion of catha of the bank, but of the governo in his poffeffion to answer any drafts ment.
from day to day they might draw Sir William Pulteney allowed upon him; bat they knew very that such was the imperious necef- well that, if all his creditors were to lity that it was an answer for any come upon him at once, he could thing which could happen. His not have cath in potression fufprincipal objection to the bill then ficient to answer them all; for they before the committee was that it all must know that the profits of did not state at what time, or whe- his business must confift in laying ther at any time the bank . was out at interest and in advantageous to resume its former practice of commerce a great portion of their paying its notes in specie : nobody property deposited in his hands, imagined that the bank was to be in which confifted the profits of thut for ever as to the issuing of the banker. If gentlemen did not specie for paper, and that was the apply this observation to the case reason the paper was then fo cur- before them, he would venture to rent; and therefore to contioue fay, that they had not duly conthat currency, a thort period should fidered the subject then in discuta be inserted in the bill, after which fion. If a banker was called upon the bank thould be allowed to by his customers to make good pay in fpecie. The great thing at once in specie the whole of their to be congdered was the limitation demands, what was he to do: he of time during which the bank certainly could not satisfy them: was to be restrained from paying He would say “ Here are my funds ; in money; but at present there was look at the value of them; it is no time fixed, and all that appeared true they are not money, but they to refer to that subject was a clause are convertible into money; you at the end of the bill, which gave must have known, that if you all power to parliament to alter or came upon me at once I could not amend it during the present feffion. pay you all in money.” The cre
The attorney-general conceived ditors in such a café would say, if that its being left to the wisdom of they were not obdurate and foolish, parliament to alter the bill at any “ It is not for your interest nor for time in this feflion, was an answer ours to distress you ; can we know to the objections of the hooourable cannot be found immediately; we baronet. He contended that the fee your funds are quite fufficient parliament could not at that mo. to answer our claims, and therefore ment prudently fix the duration of we will give you time.” This, said the restriction upon the bank. He the attorney-general, is precisely the then proceeded to answer the ob- case with respect to the bank. jections which Mr. Fox had made Mr. Fox then made several ob. to the bill. The withholding of servations upon the arguments made payment in fpecie, he faid, was by use of by the attorney-general, and no means fo alarming as fome had urged further reasons in support of ftated. He put the case of a private his
own. banker in whose hands his cuftom The chancellor of the exchequer ers depofited money for the conve- next rose, and replied to the obfers pience of their own concerns ; they vation which had been made by for
W. Pulteney and Mr. Fox, in near- town. The young gentleman hor. ly the same strain of reasoning ever, who had employed all his which he had urged before.
arts of soft persuasion," to seThe clause, with the amend- duce this old lady, had so far thewn ments, was then adopted.
his designs, that by timely breaking The house went into a further off the connection there might be committee on the same bill on the hopes of the old gentlewoman once 24th of March. When the clause more regaining her credit, and re. which provided for the payment of pairing her injured reputation. He the army and navy in specie came then concluded with supporting under discullion, Mr. Fox granted the amendment of Mr. Fox. The that their claims upon the public house divided upon the amendwere great, but contended that the ment, ayes 88, noes 218. claims of the public creditor were Mr. Hobart, on the 27th of at least equally lo.
March, brought up the report of the Mr. Whitbread saw a good rea committee on the bank-bill, upon son why the navy should be paid in which the chancellor of the exchespecie ; but why the soldier should quer proposed a clause, providing be paid in caib when the day-la- that bank-notes should be received bourer and working artificer were in payment by the collectors in to be paid in paper, he could not every branch of the revenue. He comprehend, unlis minifters pre- had another clause to propose, he ferred paying men with arms in faid, of great importance. their hands in order to call upon The house having resolved itself them to silence the murmurs of into a committee, he brought forthose who were unarmed.
ward his first clause, “That the col. After the chancellor of the ex- lectors of the revenue, &c. thall chequer had defended the clause, it receive in payment bank-notes, &c. was agreed to without a divilion.
That this clause thall be made port The clausc limiting the duration of this bill during the continuance of the bill being read, the chancel- of the restriction on the bank not Jor of the exchequer proposed that to issue cath, &c.” Agreed to. The the blank should be filled up with chancellor of the exchequer then 66 the enfuing 24th of June.” proposed the other clause, the fub:
Mr. Fox moved "that the ist ítance of which was, that if any of May be substituted for the 24th man offered a bank-note in payof June.”
ment of a demand, that offer thould Mr. Sheridan thought it necef- do away the effect of a personal arsary that there should be a clause to rest in the first instance. The clause prevent the bank ever again obcy- did not go the lengih of making ing such an order of council. He bank-notes a legal tender, nor tike then made a fanciful allusion to the away the power of the creditor to bank, as an elderiv lady in the city pursue, in course of leal process, of great credit and long standing, means to obtain payment of iis de. who had latély made a faut pas, mand in cash, but it hinderet iion which was not altogether inexcufa., from proceeding to an urcit in the ble. She had unfortunately fallin firit infiance; it saved the projder of into bad company, and contracted a bank-lote from the inconveni. too great an intimacy and connec ence of giving bil to an action up. tion at the St. James's end of the on teadcring the note. The con
dition of the creditor by the clause The chancellor of the exchequer,
for the accommodation of private Mr. alderman Curtis stated, that bankers and traders in the metropothe clause had been laid before the lis a sum in call not exceeding bankers, and that they were satis. 100,000l. which was adopted withfied with it.
out a division, The report was orMr. Fox then moved “ That it dered to be received on the Monday da!l not be lawful for the bank following. On that day, however, to ilue any cash to government it was further postponed, but the by way of loan to any foreign bill was read a third time on the 4th power, pending the operation of the of April. On that day Mr. W. Bird rettrict ou laid on the bank by the presented a clause by way of rider, jaie minute of council.”
that in all cases, where bank-notes The chancellor of the exchequer might be tendered in pas ment for fiid, that he felt no objection to rent, it should not be lawful for the the principle of the clause, bit person to whom the rent was due, thought there fhould be some ex. if he refused such tender, to feek á cepion introduced into it, con- remedy by way of distress. ferring a power of issuing money
The claufe was brought up and to a limited amount, suppose read a first and second time; but 600.000l. and that only on the cre- after some observations inade by uit of the exchequer bills already Mr. Pitt and Mr. Manning, it was authorised by a vote of parliament, negatived without a division. Tte clause, with the exception,
Sir William Pulteney next prowas agreed to.
poled a clause, the objiet of which Mr. Nicholls moved for leave to was to require the bank within a cerbring up a clause for limiting the tain short period after the palling of amount of the debts woich the the act to come forward, and to debank might be allowed to contract clare whether they wished the reduring the continuance of the pre- ftriétion to continue, and if they fent bill
. After some observations did not, that the prohibition should from Mr. Pitt and Mr. Thornton, immediately ceale. this claufe was put and negatived. The chancellor of the exchequer
opposed the clause' and Mr. Fox could be no ground for continuing Supported it.
their monopoly any longer; if they The house divided on the quef- fhould at that time open for pay. tion, that the clause be brought up. ment in money, his probosal would Noes 79, ayes 43;
do no harm, and no second bank On the 7th of April, upon a would be established. At all events, queftion of the duration of the bill, however, he thought, that if anoSir W. Pulteney proposed an a ther bank were instituted, it would mendinent to the clause which li- aid the operations of the old bank. miled the bill to the 24th of June, Scotland had two banks, and the by leaving out that period and sub-affairs of the old one were much ftituting the 6ih of May, which more prosperous since the establishwas negatived.
ment of the new, though all the The bill was then passed, and arguments were previoully opposed the cliancellor of the exchequer to it which could be urged against was desired to carry the fanie to the a new bank of England on the prelords for their concurrence. sent occasion. He contended, that
The bill went through its several the monopoly of the bank was inftages in the house of lords without jurious; that an open competition ang alteration, and was pasled into would be of public service ; that in a law a few days afterwards. several instances the directors of
The next subject, which engaged the bank had been improvident. the attention of the house of com- They had complained to Mr. Pitt mons relative to this business was a of the high price of gold in Portumotion made by fir William Pulte- gal, when that was not the best ney “ for leave to bring in a bill for market for it. The price of gold the establishinent of another bank in Portugal was 41. 8s. 6d. per should the bank of England not ounce, when gold could be had at open for payment in specie on the Hamburgh for 3l. Is. 6d. per ounce. 24th of June next.” Sir William Mr. S. Thornton contradicted submitted this motion to the house the statement which had just been on the 30th of May. He prefaced given of the price of gold at Hamit with an historical account of the burgh, and defended the bank upJate failure of the bank. He al- ' on its present plan. lowed that the monopoly of the Afier fome observations from bank of England was an obsiacle Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Pitt, the in the way of his propoial, as its house divided for the motion 15, charter did not expire till 1812, against it 50. and the company took care always The limits of this publication to have their charter renewed a would not admit of a more extend. confiderable time before the period ed detail of the parliamentary deof its expiration. He did not go bates on this subject; but we shall so far as to fay that their stop- subjoin a few remarks on the report page in the first instance was a vio. of the committee which fat on the lation of that charter, though con- affairs of the bank. There is the fiderable doubts were entertained utmost reason to believe the report upon that subject. But if they in every respect was a fair one, and should not be enabled to open for the statement mu& be allowed to payment on the 24th of June, there be in a great measure satisfactory.
From the report it appears that on finances of the bank Aood as fole the 26th of February, 1797, the lows:
on go- } 10,672,490
vernment security roll, excheqıter-bills, 5.130,140 Other creats, inciu. and other debts
ding call, bullion,
bills disc. &c.
Particulars of Debit Account.
Particulars of Credit Accoment.
npaid di} 983,730
Drawing Account 2,389,600 | Bills and notes dif.
Excliequer-hills 8,228,000 Bank-ftock dividends, un
Lands and tenements 65,000 claimed
Money lent on mortDividends unclaimed on
gage, on annuities East India annuities
of 1,200,000l. to the
700,000 Sundry finall articles un
East-India company claimed
1,510 on the loan of 1797
Navy and victualling bills 15,890
17,060 American debentures, Unpaid Irish dividends 1,460 1779
54,150 Ditto, on the imperial loan 5,600 Petty cash in the house
5,320 Sundry articles
24,150 5,130,140 Five per cents. ann.
Treafury bills paid for } 1,512,270
Loan to government
sums advanced to go-
17,597,280 With repeat to the public, there- a solvent company, whose assets are fore, the bank must be regarded as at least three millions more than all