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age, of eleven millions, or two respect to the three millions millions more than the sum which without interest, which, for ob. they claimed due from the public. vious reasons, was rather to be He was convinced that it would regarded as a gift than a loan, he be highly advantageous to the rather thought that neither the public interests that the govern- House nor the hon. gentleman ment should be unfettered by himself, would be reconciled to these obligations; and what he any proposition for depriving the wished on this occasion was, to public of such an important acknow, whether any arrangement commodation. was in progress, or had been con In the House of Lords the cluded, either for discharging topic of the Bank restriction was the loans in question, or placing opened on February 3rd. The them on a better footing ; and if Earl of Lauderdale said, he would any, what arrangement? trouble their lordships with some
The Chancellor of the Exche- motions connected with a quesquer expressed his wish to give tion of the greatest moment. a distinct answer to the important The time was fast approaching question which the hon. gentle- when the subject of the resumpman had thought proper to put; tion of cash-payments by the namely, whether it was the in- Bank must come before their tention of his majesty's ministers lordships. He trusted that parto propose any farther restriction liament would not consent to upon cash payments by the Bank. continue the restrictions without He was enabled to say, that the a full inquiry into the circumBank had made ample prepara- stances of this question, upon tion for resuming its payments in which, more than any other, the cash at the time fixed by parlia- welfare of the country depended. ment, and that he knew of nothing He concluded by moving for in the internal state of the coun accounts of the weekly amount try, or of its political relations of Bank.notes in circulation in with foreign powers, which would the years 1815, 16, and 17; the render it expedient to continue average amount, the highest and the restriction ; but that there lowest amount in each year, diswas reason to believe that pecu- tinguishing the notes of different niary arrangements with foreign sums, the rates of exchange, the powers were going on of such a number of licences granted for nature and extent, as might pro- the issue of notes, &c; all which bably make it necessary
par were ordered. liament to continue the restric Lord King felt himself called tion, so long as the immediate upon to advert to the subject of effects of those arrangements the Bank, in consequence of its were in operation. As to the being asserted, from official auloan of six millions from the thority in another place, that bank at 4 per cent interest, he doubts existed whether payments should, ere long, have to submit a in cash could be resumed at the proposition to the House for the Bank at the period appointed for payment of that debt; but with that purpose. The reason
signed for this delay, was that might arise by the expiration of the negotiation of foreign loans the restriction bill
. His lordship might tend to prevent the re then went into the same explanasumption of cash payments by tion which had been given by the the Bank of England, which chancellor of the exchequer in must be considered only as the the other House. ostensible reason, and not the The Earl of Lauderdale affirmed real one. What would be said that he should consider himself of the minister of France if he as wanting in duty, were he to were to tell the legislative body allow what had fållen from the of that country, that he could noble secretary of state to pass not pay in cash, because there unnoticed. He had stated that was a loan negotiating for Eng- the particular period for the reland,
any other country. sumption of cash-payments was Would not such an assertion be a question of expediency, which laughed at as a mere subterfuge; required great consideration. and was it not to be expected Now, only two years ago, he had that such an assertion here would treated with great derision all be considered in the same light. those who ventured to doubt that If, indeed, the negotiation of the Bank woukl pay in cash withloans here for foreign countries in two years from that time. The was to be a cause of preventing noble secretary had declared, the Bank of England from pay. that notwithstanding the intended ing in cash, then he could con. delay, there was nothing in the ceive no time in which that re situation of the country to preturn to a healthy circulation vent the Restriction act from could take place.
being allowed to expire, and that The Earl of Liverpool said, the Bank was perfectly prepared that with regard to the particular to pay its notes in cash at the measure to which the noble lord's time fixed by the act of parliainquiry was directed, he had uni- ment. He knew not on what formly held, and still did hold, information this opinion had been that it was the interest of this founded ; but though the Bank country and of the Bank that had made ample preparation, the cash-payments should be resumed noble secretary hinted that there as soon as possible. He must still miglit be something in the also remark, that he was equally relations subsisting among foreign convinced that the particular powers which ought to retard moment when the Bank ought to the resumption of cash-payments. resume the regular course of What that something was, he payment, was a consideration of had not chosen to explain ; but the greatest delicacy and import- this much appeared--that this ance. Having said thus much, most important of all measures he should only add, that he had no longer depended upon the ground for believing, and indeed decision of the British parliament, knowing that the Bank had but on what might be done by made every necessary preparation the government of France or of for answering the demands which any other foreign country.
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fact, the cause of delay assigned than in the last year. In that, all by the noble earl was of so extra- the crowned heads of Europe, ordinary a nature, that it called except Portugal, so far as the for the most serious consideration south of the line was concerned, their lordships could give it. had either abolished the slave The
proper course would be to trade, or had entered into stipuexamine the Bank directors; and lations for its abolition at some indeed he thought that nothing future period. The House would short of an inquiry of that kind agree with him, that our own could satisfy parliament and the abolition of the trade, and all our country.
enactments against it, were as of the treaty between nothing, unless we exerted all England and Spain being pre our power and influence to put senteď by command of the Prince an end to the trade among other Regent to both Houses of parlia- nations. There was, however, ment on the 28th of January, no other power whose continuthe same was laid before the or discontinuance of the House of Commons on February trade was of more importance 9th, with the title of a treaty for than that with whom the present preventing their respective sub- treaty had been formed. Spain, jects from engaging in any illicit infinitely the most important of traffic in slaves. Lord °Castle- all the European powers in this reagh, who laid it before the view, both for local authority, House, called to their recollec- and extent of colonies, was stipution their own recommendation lating for the final abolition of to the throne at the end of the the trade. While she carried on last session, in strict conformity and protected this traffic both on to which these treaties were the northern and southern coasts framed. In looking at this sub- of Africa, _ all that the other ject as it now presented itself, he powers of Europe could do for thought he could do nothing the abolition nugatory. better than lay before the House There was now no slave trade to the state of the abolition at the the north of the line ; and it close of the last session, and then could be only carried on by pos. show what had been done since sibility to the south of the line that period. There were two from May 1820. After that distinct questions involved in this period there could be no slave subject: first, what was the ac. trade to the north of the line, or tual state of the abolition as a to the West Indies. Till this great international law: secondly, treaty was effected, the legal and what was its state with a view to illicit trade were so mixed up giving effect to the whole princi. that the one gave ample protecple on which it was founded. tion to the other; but there was
He would first show the state now a broad line of demarcation. of the law on this subject. Great There was a wide practical improvements were made in the distinction between the abolition law from year to year; but in by treaty, or by the act of any none was the improvement greater particular state, and the giving
effect to the principle of aboli- mutual stipulation to exercise
now taken niently admit of its doing so. from that baneful evil. It was But though much had been done due to Portugal, and to the exerat this congress, yet still it was tions of its representative in this painful to state, that from the
country, to state that after a long encouragement which such a negotiation that power was the traffic held out to the sordid first to concede the right of search, passions of desperate men, neither under certain arrangements and international conventions, nor regulations to other nations. A municipal law, could have extir
sum of money had been paid to pated the evil, so long as a con. that power by virtue of a treaty traband traffic might be carried similar in principle to the present. on under the cover of the flag of The Portuguese government had any of the nations of Europe. In been, at that time, called upon to this state of the trade more dis- determine at what period it graceful and painful circumstances would be prepared to adopt occurred than before. The illicit measures for the final suppression traffic arose out of the partial of the slave trade; and a treaty abolition, and out of the facilities had been at length signed, by that the cessation of belligerent which such a period had been rights, in consequence of the fixed, though the ratifications peace, created. It was infinitely had not yet been exchanged. more practicable in peace than The prudential inference from during war. In the time of war this admission of a reciprocal this country had extensive pos- right was, that it must be for the sessions in several parts of the interest of both parties to place world. No man would say that the exercise of it under such rewe ought to retain these in our gulations as should provide against hands for the purpose of exclud- vexatious disputes, and be so ing slave traders. We had now, plain and intelligible that it must however, by the conclusion of be difficult for questionable points the present treaty, arrived at the to arise in the ordinary course of last stage of our difficulties and executing the laws on this subexertions. One great portion of ject. By the present treaty of the world was rescued from the regulation, no detention under horrors of this traffic. For the the stipulated right of search first time, he believed, in diplom was to take place, except in the matic history, the states of case of slaves being found acEurope bound themselves by a tually on board. It was neces.
sary that all nations should have little embarrassed in their recent an equal right of discovering the negotiations with the Spanish illicit practices carried on by the government by the magnitude of subjects of each other; and he the offer which the British governcould assure the House that it ment had formerly made to would be a great error to believe Spain ; but these ministers had that the reproach of carrying on been obliged to represent to the the slave trade illegally belonged court of Spain, that since the only to other countries. In offer above mentioned, England numberless instances, he was had fought in the cause of the sorry to say, it had come to his world, and that having achieved knowledge, that British subjects its safety, it had been rendered were indirectly and largely en- unable, by its efforts, to expend gaged in the traffic.
the sum originally proposed, and In return for the advantages therefore that Spain must confine and concessions at length ob- her claims within narrower limits. tained, the House must of course In the course of the protracted have expected that some claim of negotiation that ensued, the recompensation would be advanced duction had been made which the by Spain. It would appear that treaty exhibited ; and if the whole the compensation which by one of the discussion was before the of these treaties Spain was to House, it would appear that receive, amounted to 400,0001. ministers had obtained the best So far was this from being the terms they could. only motive on her part for ac The noble lord concluded with ceding to the treaty, that the moving, “ That provision be Spanish merchants at the Havan- made for carrying into execution nah had offered five times the the treaty between his Britanic amount for the privilege of still Majesty and his Catholic Majesty, continuing it. On one occasion, signed at Madrid the 23rd day of which the House must well re- September 1817." And if the member, when his majesty's House should be of opinion that ministers were pressed to disclose his motion was such as ought to the state and course of the pend. be entertained, he should move ing negotiations with Spain, he for a bill or bills to be brought in had stated that an offer had been pursuant to that motion; and made on the part of the British he House going into the to the Spanish government, of committee of supply, he should the sum of 850,0001., together move a resolution for a sum of with a loan of 10,000,0001. of 400,0001. in consequence of the dollars, in consideration of an im- provisions of those bills. mediate abolition; and that this Sir Gilbert Heathcote could offer had been refused. Not a not help regretting that a vote voice was then raised in parlia. for so considerable a of ment to disapprove of this offer moncy should be proposed by as excessive or impolitic. It the noble lord at such a period. was undoubtedly true that his He was of opinion that the majesty's ministers felt not a 400,0001. might be much more