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place, propose to repeal the statutes | ask whether such a process had been ever against the exportation of coin to foreign pursued ? He was not aware of a single countries? As to foreign najions, the ex- instance. But even if an instance or two change would remain the same, while the could be pointed out, he could build nogold continued here. But then he would thing upon it without inquiring into the be told, that the coin would find its way circumstances. The cause might be very abroad in spite of law. That might be; different from a depreciation of bank notes. but still he could not imagine that they It might be a wager, or any other capricould willingly connive at what must have cious motive. He still said, therefore, its foundation in fraud and perjury. Ano that the notes held in public estimation an ther circumstance was the line which equivalent value to coin.—They distinthey adopted with regard to the late issue guished depreciation into two sorts:of Exchequer Bills for the relief of trade. first, what arose from a debase!neni of the That issue was large, and must have added coin, and what arose from excess. When considerably to the amount of circulating the ordinary currency was below the apmedium. If it was of so much importance pointed standard of the coin, there was a to restrain this, how was it that this was failure of confidence in it among foreigners, not strongly urged in opposition to the and thus the exchange was depressed. measure? The question had not come But an excess of paper would not affect upon them by surprize, and he could only the exchange at all, unless the imports suppose that they themselves were so well were large and the exports small. Such aware of the danger of acting on their was the opinion of Sir Francis Baring, to own principles to the utmost extent, that whose memory he paid a high compli. they yielded to the sense of the country, ment. The Committee had referred to and refrained from pressing them on that the case of the Bank of Ireland as a proof occasion.—He himself was desirous that of the depreciation. He had been a Nemcash payments should be resumed as soon ber of that Committee, and there it had circumstances would permit.--( Hear! been proved that the paper was current at hear!) But he was far from agreeing a different value from the coin. But that that the suspension was attended with the was not owing to excess, but to the want injurious effects ascribed to it. His Ho- of confidence in the paper, arising from nourable and Learned Friend measured the previous disturbances in that country, bank notes by a standard by which it was and also from the circumstance, that a want never intended they should be measured. of confidence in the several inferior estaIt was never intended that they should be blishments had extended even to the Bank measured by gold. The Sovereign had of Ireland itself. An increase of currency the power of fixing whatever standard was might undoubtedly produce a rise of found most convenient for the public; prices, as the Committee had said. But and beyond this he knew of no standard. ihat principle, he apprehended, had been The bank notes might not conform to the stated in much too broad and general a standard set up by his Honourable Friend. way. A rise of prices from this cause -He himself had said that there was could not suddenly take place all over now no standard, and yet he would the world, or in any extensive counask how often he had found a bank try. Great experiments of different kinds note pass at a fair current value? The had lately been made in several countries, bank notes, as he had stated in his Re- and among others, experiments on circusolution, had suffered no depreciation in lating mecium.-He referred to the prices current value, as far as depended on public in France and Prussia at different times, estimation and general acceptance.-He both with a paper and a cash circulation, (Mr. V.) and those who thoughi with him and stated that the effects were very far contended that paper had not depreciated. from corresponding with the principle It was for his Learned Friend, and those laid down by the Committee. This who concárred with him, to prove the clearly proved that the principle was subcontrary. But there was almost positiveject to be circumscribed by circumstances. proof that they had not really depre- With regard to the exchange, he con ciated. It was well known, that though tended that it was perfectly absurd to reathe tender of bank notes protected from son on that point at present, as one might arrest, they were not a legal tender. Any fairly do in ordinary times. The es individual might be compelled by process change was the last of the commercial reto pay his debt in coin, and yet he would finements of civilized nations. It de
pended on free, uniform, and uninter- Resolutions of the Learned Gentleman rupted intercourse. But the state of com: (Mr. Horner). To the 10th Resolution merce was the reverse of all this. It had he objected, in so far as it went to set up been disturbed by the despotic measures a standard for measuring the value of the of the Tyrant of the Continent, and in Bank of England notes in bullion. He some places entirely annihilated. The would affirm, that these notes were inpractices of barbarous ages had returned tended as a representative of the legal -and commerce was carried on through coin, and nothing else; and so long as the the medium of armed depôts, as on the Bank of England notes did not fall below coasts of Africa and some parts of Ame- the value of that coin, the Bank had comrica. The wonder was, not that the state pletely fulfilled every engagement. To of the exchange had been unsteady, but the itth Resolution, though he of course
that it should retain anything approach could not but object, he would observe, Sing to a fixed character. That it did so, that with respect to country bank paper but he was convinced was owing to the in- there were many instances in which it had 63 legrity, and high character of the London been carried to excess; but yet he could
Merchants. When the profits upon other not think the excess was of the nature of Tlu articles sent abroad were so high, was it that described in this Resolution, nor was
surprizing that 15 and 16 per cent. should to be cured in the way there pointed out.
be made on bills of exchange?-Before -Much individual distress was no doubt as he entered on a short review of the Reso- occasioned by the facility of country is lutions of his Honourable Friend, he would banks, and by the partners of these banks this just touch upon the subject of the tempta- themselves engaging in trade. The conbus tion to which the Bank was said to be lia- sequences of these indiscreet adventures
ble to issue notes to excess in consequence were indeed frequently to be deprecated; of the profits derived from the practice. but still nobody would say that any thing
He wished to distinguish between the like depreciation took place. It would be o prosits made in a fair commercial way by found that one kind of paper supplied the ni the Bank and those arising from the re- place of another; and that an over-issue
striction. It was well known that of late was replaced by another currency, or was ur years 15, 16, and 18 per cent, profit had returned upon the issuer. Some restraint,
been made by capitalists upon pecuniary no doubt, ought to be imposed on the transactions. The Bank haid almost an issues of country banks; but it was to be unlimited command of capital, and it was kept in mind that this was a point of exnatural that their profits should be large. treme difficulty. Perhaps the best meaLet Gentlemen consider what profits must sure would be to prohibit country banks have been made upon deposits to the from entering into any other speculation; amount of eight millions. Yet these were but still this would be so easily evaded, all fair commercial profits, and the Direc- that no great good could be expected from tors would not have done justice to the it. To the 12th Resolution it was not Company if they had neglected to avail necessary to advert. That the exchange themselves of their advantages. He could / was at present unfavourable would be adnot allow that the Bank protits were of an mitted by every body, though he could invidious nature, unless it appeared that not see any necessity for entering this they issued notes with a view to profit circumstance on the Journals. The 13th from their excess. It was true that the was somewhat extraordinary. It admitted amount of Bank notes had increased, but that there were other causes co-operating then other currency had diminished in a in the present state of the exchange ; much greater proportion. As his Right while the main part of the Resolution Hondurable Friend, the Treasurer of the turned on the loss of the relative value of Navy, had stated last night, the increase our currency But he denied that the between 1802 and 1809 was only some currency bad lost its relative value. With what beyond 300,0001. Could this be respect to the 14th Resolution, he would considered as more than the public neces. admit that if the Bank could, by any lisity called for The state of the funds and mitation of their issues, produce an alterafloating securities, together with other cir- tion in the exchange, then it would be cumstances, proved that there was rather their duty to attend to this; but the fact a scarcity than redundancy of circulating was that the issues of the Bank had no efmedium. The Right Honourable Gentle- fect upon the exchange. This circum. man then proceeded to comment upon the stance was illustrated by such a great va
riety of instances last night, that it was of the Sovereign authority, been willing now unnecessary to enlarge further on it. to pay their value in the legal coin. In It was seen that the rise and fall of ex the case of the Bank restriction in 1797, it change had no connection with the aug was the principles of foreign policy alone mentation or diminution of issues, fre- by which it was dictated. From our foquently rising when the notes were avg. reign wars, and the prospect of invasion, mented, and falling when they were it became exceedingly important to guard diminished.
With regard to the 15th against the danger of alarm. Whenerts, Resolution, he had to say, that the only upon the cessation of hostilities, circuma adequate security against the effects of stances should admit of calling upon the alarm in such a situation as ours was a re Bank, it would then be allowed. So far striction. What would be the effects of a from any thing in this Resolution going resumption ?- Unless coin could be ex- against this principle, it admitted that ported, no beneficial ffects could be ex whenever the relations of this country perienced on exchange ; and no effect, at might render it expedient, that the reany events, would be produced on our in- sumption should take place. The third ternal relations. But he wished the House Resolution was proposed to Parliament, to to consider what the state of things would declare that the Bank of England notes be in the intermediate interval between had been always hitherto accepted and the resumption of cash payments, and the held as coin. It appeared to bim consotime when that resumption was resolved nant to the wisdom of Parliament, to de. on. The Bank would have to provide a clare their opinion on this subject. The quantity of Bullion, by every means pos- following proposition states, that exo sible ; and the exchange would be de changes were in many former instances pressed still farther by these large pur. unfavourable, while there was no excess chases of Bullion. In the mean time of paper currency, and while there was these purchases would be locked up for no depreciation, because the paper cur. two years in the coffers of the Bank, rency could be convertible into specie. without any advanlage to the country. This appeared from the documents on the By this the Bank must sacrifice its profits table. He then went on to declare, that and incur great expences. Now in such there were circumstances now affecting a case he wished ibem to consider what our commercial relations with the Conti other currency would remain. Either nent, which rendered our situation so dife some other worse currency must supply ferent from what it was on former occathe place of the Bank, or the country sions, that the same effects could not fol. would be deprived of every other circula- low. While the Continent was open, he tion whatever. He wished to refer them admitted, that there was a continual tento the opinion delivered in 1797 by a dency in things to correct themselves; Member of that House ; that if any very that the exports and imports would bring considerable proportion of the Bank paper things about to their regular channel; were to be drawn in, for instance, five and ihat the exchange could not fall below millions, it would be necessary to have its a certain degree, because the profit on place supplied by some other substitute of importing would gradually tend to raise paper. Now he would ask, if any thing it But these circunstances were now could be apprehended in the case of such altered. And here it might be observed, a reduction without an equivalent, but a that nothing formerly was like the present general bankruptcy-of bankruptcies there importation of coin. He had finally probad been already enough to make the posed, that the situation of the country heart ache. - The Right Honourable Gen was sufficient, without any alteration in eleman then proceeded to illustrate his our currency, 10 affect the rate of ex. own propositions. With regard to the change. Under the present circumstances, first, whatever might be the prerogative, could we foresee what events might haphe thought that without a breach of public pen during the three years to come! faith, no change could be made in the (Hear ! from Ministerial Benches.)—Would currency.
In his second he proposed to our military operations be finally triumthe House that the engagements of the phant ? Would our trade flourish? Would Bank of England to the public, were to our internal state be the same? Woold pay their value in the legal coin, and no- we be in a state of greater prosperity than thing bụt the legal coin; and that the that in which we were at present ? Bank had always, without the intervention
Mr. Huskisson declared, that consider- 1 dered the Report to be published, they ining the present state of the discussion, and vited discussion and that publicity and the circumstances attending its progress, that discussion led to the complete resutahe could not content himself with a silent tion and overthrow of the principles on vote on this occasion. The right Hon. which it was founded. He should now Gent. had indeed called on him in a man. proceed to define, and he trusted to estabner somewhat unusual, as if he could have lish, the legitimate principles on which any right to claim an immediate answer our circulating medium was founded. It from him on any new and intricate point, would not, he conceived, be denied that and reserve to himself the privilege of re the legal currency of the country conply. He should, however, direct his at- sisted of gold and silver-and secondly, tention to the plain question before the that its standard was quantity of ascer: Committee, and state bis views on the sub- tained weight and fineness. It followed ject of the existing state of the currency from this statement, that the coin must be of the country. No person could be more deteriorated in proportion as it departed sensible than himself of the disadvantage from that standard. What abundant tesof following so many able speakers ; but timony did our history furnish of the vigiadhering, as be did, to those established lance which the Legislature had always principles on which our financial policy exercised in preserving that standard as had till lately been maintained, he could the only fixed criterion of value. If we not have heard without surprise the doc- | turned back to earlier times, we should trines of the Right Honourable Gentle- find that the names of coins were all deman--doctrines which shook those prin- rived from the names of particular weights ciples to their foundation. He had thought and measures. The pound, the shilling, proper to charge the Bullion Committee and the penny, all originally signified with having made an experiment of the certain standards of weight. There was a boldest description, with having led the statute of Henry the Third, which enacted Bank to the verge of a precipiece, from that the loaf of bread, weighing 6lb. should which they now betrayed a wish to save be sold at the rate of one farthing, i. e. it. He begged leave to remind the Com one fourth of one pennyweight of silver. mittee that when the House of Commons He might quote several antient proclamaappointed a Select Committee to inquire ions directing an abatement to be made into the causes of the high price of bullion, in tale for all defects arising from wear it was done with the full concurrence of and tear in the weight. But the Right all sides. He was himself absent when Honourable Gentleman surely had not he was nominated a Member, and pro- overlooked many modern Acts of Parliaceeded therefore to discharge the duty of ment, and yet his doctrine of the current the appointment with no other view or value of the debased shilling seemed to motive than should influence the consci- argue an utter forgetfulness of the 14th entious feelings of a Member of Parlia- Geo. 3, and the provisions there made for ment. The consequences therefore of the securing the true standard of our currency. Report, whether good or evil, ought not to The guinea was now the legal measure of be visited on the Committee, who had value, and the great instrument of comonly acted in obedience to the orders of merce, although the law had certainly althe House. But was there any thing like ways intended that the standard of silver fairness or justice in any part of the likewise should be measured by its weight. charge ? Must not the discussion at all The gold currency passes in the same events have taken place out of doors, and manner by tale, but by tale constantly was it possible that the public could have referable to its weight. Our shillings he remained blind to the new appearances in could not call, in their present state, curthe state of our currency ?-He would rency, and would therefore denominate eall the recollection of the House to the them counters. It had often been said period of 1696, when the Lords of the that money was merchandize, and he Treasury directed their Secretary, a man agreed that the true definition of price of great ability, Mr. Lowndes, to make a was the value of one commodity meaReport on the state of the currency at that sured by the value of another. Money time. The Report was made, and what might therefore consist of any commodity: was the conduci of the Lords of the Trea- The precious metals were generally used sury? Far from being influenced by the in consequence of their peculiar advantapprehensions now expressed, they or ages. He differed with his Honourable
and Learned Friend who opened the dis more worthy of attention, since it exbicussion last night, in supposing that this bited the result of a long and ofticial inpreference was derived from conventional quiry which he had been directed to make. selection; he believed it to be the effect In the letter addressed by the venerable of their natural qualities and aptitudes, Peer to his Majesty, on the subject of the and that they, in fact, constituted money coins of the realm, he states, that the cir. before they were coined. Being, how culation consisted of paper and coin, tha: ever, once a common measure, price was the price of all commodities was in renothing more than the value of every ference to the standard value of the coin, other commodity, in reference to the that is, the quantity of gold for which value of the precious metals, while their they would exchange. When the Right value was measured in reference to each Hon. Gentleman talked of paper having other. (Hear! Hear!) If he made him a current value, he contradicted all the self understood, it must be evidently ab- authorities of law, and published a doc. Burd to suppose, that any numerical amount trine infinitely more novel than any which of circulating medium could ever be fixed had proceeded from them who had been on to suit the varying wants of society. | accused of poisoning the public mind. In proportion to the quantity, must be the If the paper was not convertible into gold, rise or the fall of prices; there could be where was the measure of its value to be no absolute limit to the amount of cur- found ? It was undoubtedly true, that rency. He knew that some had promul- fresh supplies of the precious metals would gated opinions, importing that there never have a tendency to depreciate their value, could be any excess of currency, because but this effect must be slow, it had grea: nobody would ask for money who did not and natural limits. These metals could want it. He did not see how this affected not be imported without great labour and the question; if the denomination of the expence. The present depreciation was half-guinea were raised to a full guinea, of a very different kind, it was a deprecimen would be still desirous of the half- ation of the currency compared to its guinea, but prices would be certainly standard, a deterioration of its value coaidoubled. We never heard of the increase pared to itself. (Hear!) If our metallic or diminution of the circulating medium, currency were so debased as to cause a or of the amount of issues of the Bank depreciation of 25 per cent, at the present previous to the restriction. It is only period, then this inequality could not since that even that some gentlemen had exist, and paper would be a fair equiracontrived to furnish themselves with a lent for coin. In William's reign the scale for guaging, Excisemanlike, the silver coinage was depreciated by debasecontents of the country. He would en ment 30 per cent. below its standard value, deavour to explain what he understood by and the notes of the Bank, which were
Our coin had no value but in re. payable in silver, were equally depreference to the gold contained in it; our ciated. He was at a loss to conceire paper currency had no value but in re. what was meant by the current value of ference to the coin which it represents, i bank notes. What value could the crediand the necessary inference was, that a tor get from the Bank? The law bad currency consisting both of coin and paper | indeed given them its sanction, and the ought not to exceed in amount what it | Exchequer received the notes at par, 3 would be if it consisted only of coin. circumstance which probably served very (Hear! hear !) Any excess above that materially to sustain them in circulation. amount must be at once the proof and the A most able Report was prepared in 1770 measure of the depreciation of that cur by direction of the Lords of the Treasury, rency. The value of the circulating me on the subject of the difference which dium must be in the inverse ratio of its then took place, of half an ounce of silver quality. Coin, the standard of the value in the relative value of that metal and of which was weight and fineness, could gold. In that Report several very im. not be depreciated, and the excess of the portant facts were stated. This difference paper was necessarily the only cause. operated to send the coin out of the coun (Hear! hear!) He would here strengthen try, and a fall of only one farthing in the his argument by the authority of the late value of the Louis d'or in Paris had been Lord Liverpool-an authority eminently the cause of their being brougbt to a large entitled to respect from the talents and amount to our Mint and coined into guinea. experience of that Noble Person, but still We have now two currencies, one of tben