« ZurückWeiter »
my last Letter, namely, the reason for the purchase a quartern loaf. How, then, alarm of the Government at the prospect of would the government, who would get noseeing Lord King's example followed. thing but paper, make shift to pay its
way? The Generals and Judges and I spoke of the TWO. PRICES before; others, having a fired pay, would, indeed, but, let me say a few more words upon that still be paid as they were before, and, of 'very interesting part of our subject. Two course, the government would lose noPrices have always proved the death of thing by taking paper as far as this depaper-money. In this case it would have scription of expence went; for, been the same, and, in the end, it will still observe, that I hold it to be impossible, be the same; for, the bill of Lord Stan- that the parties I have just mentioned, hope can do no more than retard the event namely, the Generals, the Judges, the for six or nine months; and mind, I tell | Tax. Commissioners, and the like; I hold you this with as much confidence as I it to be impossible, that these men should would venture to foretel the arrival of not all of them be excessively happy to Christmas day. I do not say, that the take the paper-money, though at a hun. event will come in six or nine months ; dred for one, seeing that the greater the but, I say, that this Bill will not keep it degree of depreciation, the finer the op. off for a greater length of time than that.portunity for them to give proofs of their If TWO PRICES were generally made, devotion to public credit. But, though we should see the gold and silver back my Lords the Judges and Lord Arden and into circulation immediately; but, none of Lord Buckinghamshire and Lord Liverit could get to the Bank, because no man pool and Lord Bathurst and the Marquis would
pay his TAXES in gold and silver. of Buckingham and Lord Camden and Old Consequently the fund-holder and the go- George Rose and Mr. Canning and my vernment would be paid in paper, while neighbour the Apothecary General and gold and silver would be circulating Lord Kenyon and Lady Louisa Paget, and, amongst all the rest of the community. indeed, the hundreds of those who have As soon as there are two prices, the paper fixed sums paid them by the government must depreciate at an enormous rate ;
upon the people, whe. and, as the government would have to ther in the shape of salary, 'sinecure, or pay its contractors and others whose pay pension ; though all these persons would, was not fixed, in this depreciated paper, I dare say, from motives of public spirit, it must have a greater quantity of that paper, cheerfully continue to take the paper till and it must come from the Bank. It is so a pound of it would not purchase a pinch easy to see how this must work; how of snuff; still, there would be some things rapidly it must go on; how soon it must and some services that must be paid for in render the paper worth little more than its money, or they would not be obtained. weight:in rags; all this is so easy to see, Beef and Pork and Biscuit could not be that I will not suppose any one of you so bought without real money. These are very dull as not to perceive it.
commodities that do not move without an
equivalent. Whether the soldiers would The government, with nothing but be paid, under such circumstances, in paper at its command, would soon begin paper so much reduced in value, I shall to feel somewbat like a person who has not pretend to say, and will leave the taken a powerful emetic. The big round poini to be settled by those who have lately drops of sweat would stand upon its said so much about this useful and numeforehead ; its knees would knock to rous class of active citizens. But, one getlier;, it would look pale as a ghost; thing is certain: that THEY must be paid
uniqeraal feebleness would seize in a kind of money that will purchase eatit. That is to say, all this would take ables. They have bargained to receive a place, if the government persevered in certain sum per day; and, if the same ihe Pitt system, and that it would do should not purchase half so much beer or 60, who can doubt after what we have beef as it does now, the bargain will not seen during the last twenty years. If the be so good an one as it is now; though, TWO PRICES were openly made, and observe, I am not supposing, that there became general, as they, in all probability, would not be found public spirit enough would, in the course of six oreight months, amongst the soldiers to make them take the paper would fall so low as that 5, or, the paper in preference to the gold.
At perhaps, 10 shillings would be required 10 any rate, this is a matter which belongs
exclusively to those who have the manage- was the first of a series of measures, the obment of our affairs, and who are paid very ject of which would be to keep up the well for such management.
paper by the force of law. This seems to
be the opinion of all those who have opIt would be useless to extend our re- posed it in the House of Peers : that it is marks here. It is as clear as day-light, merely a step in the old beaten path of that, whenever TWO PRICES shall be keeping up by the arm of power a depregenerally established, the death of the ciated paper-currency. This course has paper is at hand, and, indeed, the death of been before pursuéd, in other countries, the funding system ; because, owing to the and it has, in every part of the world, led to rapidity of the depreciation, the fund. the same end: the total destruction of the holders, our poor friend Grizzle GREEN- paper. Each of the Colonies, now moulded HORN and all the rest of them, would soon into an united nation in America, had its be in the situation described by Mr. debt, its paper-money, its legal tenders, and its Horne Tooke, in the passage taken for public bankruptcy, before their separation 'my motto; that is to say, a hundred from England, and even before the revopounds of their stock would yield them a lutionary quarrel began. But, it was in couple or three quartern loaves in the France, where the thing was performed year; and, it is within the compass of pos- upon a grand scale ; and, by taking a sibility, that many persons, who now are view somewhat more close than we have enabled to ride in their coaches hy in hitherto done, of the progress of the meacomes derived from the funds, may end sures in France, we shall be able more their days as paupers or beggars. In correctly to judge of the tendency of what short, it is quite impossible for any man is now going on here. of common sense not to perceive, that the establishment of TWO PRICES would There are divers histories of what was put an end, in a short time, not only to the done in France, relative to the assignats ; property of the fund-holders, but to the but, I choose to take for my authority one sinecures and pensions, and also to great of the present Ministers, the MARQUIS numbers of other emoluments derived from the WELLESLEY, who, when he was LORD public redenue. Put an end to all for a time MORNINGTON, made a speech in the House at least, and subjecting them to an after of Commons, which was afterwards pubrevision,
lished in a pamphlet, or rather book, in
which he gave an account of all the pranks If we are of opinion, that this effect would played with the assignats in France, up to have been produced by the example of the time of his making the speech, which Lord King being followed, there is, I was on the 21st of January, 1794, just think, little room for wonder, that the mi- three years and a month before the then nisters were alarmed at the prospect. I ministry, whom he supported, issued an know it will be said, and with perfect Order in Council to protect the Bank of truth, that the same effect will be pro England against the demands of cash for duced by Lord Stanhope's Bill; but, sup- their notes. posing it to be produced full as soon by the Bill, it does not follow, that the minis. In this memorable speech, manifestly ters perceive that. On the contrary, it drawn up for the purpose of exciting horror would seem, that they do not perceive it in the people of England at the wicked. at all; and, it is evident, that ihey have ness of ihe French Rulers relative to the a sort of vague notion, that the Bill will assignats, and also to make the people beslay the depreciation. I am convinced lieve, that the state of the assignats must that it will not; I am convinced, that it prove the overthrow of France; in this will hasten the depreciation, and though memorable speech, not only facts are not quite so fast as the example of Lord. stated, but principles and maxims of · King would, still that, in the end, the ef- finance are laid down. We will take a 'fect will be the same. But, the ministers cursory. view of them all; for time, which could, in the one case, see the effect : in tries every thing, has now brought u« into the other they appear not to have seen a state to judge correctly of those facts, it; and, this is quite sufficient to account principles, and maxims. for their giving their support to the Bill.
Lord Wellesley told the House of Com. I said before, Gentlemen, that this Bill mons, that the rulers of France were very
wicked, but that they were not less foolish them, as Lord Wellesley said in his speech, than wicked ; that their ignorance was, at revolutionary money; their Chancellor of least, equal to their villainy, though the the Exchequer said that it was a happy latter was surprizingly great. He said, thing for the people to have Republicar that, “ the French Revolutionary Govern- assignats instead of pieces of metal bearing “ment, in order to supply an estrava the effgy of tyrants ; that the whole nation "gant expenditure, had recourse, at first, despised the corrupting metals, and that he
to increasing the mass of paper-money; would soon find a way of driving back the “and, that they declared, that they had vile dung into the bowels of the earth. In " no other means of sustaining the pressure of another part of his speech Lord Wellesley " the war, than by the creation of an addi- tells us, that people were imprisoned and "tional quantity of assignats.". There is, punished for their contempt of assignats. then, nothing original in the declarations of Lord Liverpool and Perceval and Rose. Nevertheless, the people of France had, Nothing new in their recent assertions, that it seems, still an unnatural hankering after it was the paper-money that enabled ihem gold and silver in preference to assignats ; to provide for the defence of the kingdom, and, they did in fact, make TWO PRICES; to make such great exertions against the the consequence of which was an enor“ enemy of the human race, to gain such mous rise in the price of all the necessavictories in Spain and Portugal, and to add ries of life, the proprietors of which were such glories to the English name! This reviled as enemies of the country, and, as was all very fine and full of comfort; but, such, many hundreds of them were put to as yon now see, Gentlemen, there was death. This, however, was not sufficient nothing new in it. The same thing had to put a stop to the rise of prices, and, been said before by the revolutionary indeed, did not check it at all. Then rulers of France ; the same thing had been came the law of MAXIMUM (as it will in said by Danton and Robespierre and their England if the present course be pursued), associates in praise of the revolutionary fixing the highest price at which any of money of France.
the necessaries of life should be sold, and
at which men should work and render The Ministers have frequently denied, their services. This terrible law, lord that the coin of the country is, or ought to Wellesley tells us, had nearly starved the be, the standard of value. Rose and Lord whole nation ; for the farmers would not Westmoreland and several others of them bring their produce to market, and tradeshave denied, that the Bank notes ought to men kept their goods locked up. Then, be looked upon as depreciated, merely be- he tells us, that these persons were pursued cause they would not go for the same quan as monopolists; and thus, said lord Weltity of gold as formerly; and tlie hireling lesley, “ every farmer whose barns and grawriters have taken infinite pains to decry“ naries are not empty ; every merchant and run down the gold and silver coin. “ and tradesman whose warehouse or shop One of them calls guineas an encumbrance ; “is not entirely unprovided with goods, another says that gold and silver are “ must be subject to the charge of monomereiy articles of traffick, and that the Bank " poly. This crime is punished differently, notes are the only money fitting the coun " according to the enormity of the case; try; another has said, that, were it not for "but, most frequently the punishment is the National Debt, the patronage, and the « death.” So that it is time for farmers paper. money, the government could have no and tradesmen to look about them, and existence, and that the Bank notes offer to especially the farmers; who, if they do the government a most indestructible sup- not already see the danger of their landport, because they make the daily bread of lord's property being withheld from him, every individual depend upon the government ; will, perhaps, be more clear-sighted when and, another has said, that Bank paper is their own natural fate is pointed out. the best bond of individual and public se- They hear LORD King accused of black curity, and the only medium of currency to malignity; they hear him charged with suit a.id exert the energies of an insular and selfishness; they hear him classed along with commercial people !
pedlars and Jews. This was, as lord Wel
lesley tells us, precisely the language What a similarity between this language which Danton and Robespierre and their and the language of the Rulers of France underlings made use of towards the peoin favour of their assignats! They called ple of property in France, who had a
“ contempt for assignats.” They were ac “ hold public credit, of every description, cused of incidism ; they were called “ rising under all the disadvantages of a egotists, and were, in almost the very words “ general war; an ample revenue, flowing in which Lord King is now arraigned by "freely and copiously from the opulence of the COURIER, told that they “ committed “a contented people.” “a robbery against the RIGHTS OF SO" CIETY”! And, this is what the peo Gentlemen, read this with attention ; ple of England are told, observe, after and, when you have so done, draw youreighteen years of war, after eighteen years selves the contrast which the situation of of blood and taxation, in order, as they England now presents with that of France ! were promised, to preserve their country | It is a fact perfectly notorious, that there from what they saw going on in France! is no such thing as paper-money in France;
it is also notorious, that not only does “ But, our paper is at par,” say some of France abound in gold coin, but that the the Pittites still ; “Our paper is not coin of this country, the guineas of Eng" depreciated.”. So they said in France. land, are now gone and are daily going to Yes, said lord Wellesley, “ the French France; aye, lo that same country, which “ minister of Finance has boasted, that was to be ruined and overcome and sub" bis assignats are at par ; but, the laws dued by the failure of its finances ! This " which have been passed for punishing speech of Lord Wellesley, and all the nu“ with long imprisonment any person who merous other speeches of the same de"takes, gives, or offers assignats under scription, were intended for the purpose of “par, sufficiently account for this circum- gaining the people's concurrence to the “stance.” Good God! It would really prosecution of the Anti-jacobin war, which seem, that every saying is to come home war, by adding five hundred millions sterling to us ; that upon our devoted heads are to to our Debt, has produced the fruit of which be visited all that was felt, and, which we are now about to taste. Year after year is more, perhaps, all that was, by our the same means were made use of for the rulers, said to be felt by the people of same purpose, and with similar success. France; aye, it really would seem, that At the opening of the Session of Parliaall, that all, to the very letter, is now to ment, in October, 1796, Pirt himself told come home to the people of England, who were the Honourable House, that, in his conscience, led to build their hopes of success and he believed, that, with finances so dilapiof safety upon the ruin of the people, or dated, the French would not be able to stand at least, the government, of France! This
out another campaign! “ This DEPRECIA. very bill now under discussion, will im “TION of the Assignats,” said he," is so pose a penalty, whether of imprisonment or “severely felt, that it has been repeatedly not I do not yet know, upon any person, « admitted, that means must be found to who takes, or gives, or offers, bank noles, “ employ resources less wasteful. This under par. The prohibition was made in “ principle has been recognized by every the Lords, and the Minister has said, that “ financier or statesman. Even at the pehe means to add the penalty !
« riod when the depreciation was only one
half, it was declared, that, unless some Let us now look, then, at the contrast, so immediate remedy was applied, they which Lord WELLESLEY drew, upon that " would be unable to maintain their armemorable occasion, between the situation " mies. Months have since elapsed, and of England and that of France. “ From “ no substitute has been employed. Re" this disgusting scene,” said he, “ let us sources thus strained to their utmost pitch, “ turn our eyes to our own situation. Here " and incapable of any renovation, must have " the contrast is striking in all its parts. “ in themselves the seeds of decay, and the “ Here we see nothing of the character " cause of inevitable dissolution." "and genius of ARBITRARY FINANCE; "none of the bold frauds of bankrupt This, Gentlemen, was Pitt's reasoning
power; none of the wild struggles and as applied to France. Little did that pre"plunges of despotism in distress; no lop: sumptuous and shallow man dream, that, in “ ping off from the capital of the debt; no less than four months from that very day, he “ suspension of interest : no robbery under was doomed to come into that same House “ the name of loan, NO RAISING THE of Commons, and from the same spot " VALUE, no DEBASING THE SUB- where he then stood, announce that the “STANCE of THE COIN. Here we be. Bank of England was no longer able to
pay its notes in the coin of the realm, and Mr. Perceval (I have the report of his
“ ODIUM attaching to the conduct which
gave rise to this Bill, WOULD PREYou will now be able to judge how far " VENT OTHERS FROM FOLLOW. our situation, in respect to paper-money,
« ING THE EXAMPLE.” These are resembles that of France at the time when memorable words, especially considering, the revolutionary rulers of that country from whom they came. Aye, aye! were endeavouring to keep up the As- know well what workings of mind there signats by the arm of the law, by the ter- must have been before they were uttered. rors of the jail and the guillotine. Mr. I would not have such workings in my Perceval says that there is no resemblunce mind for ten times the worth of the redcrwhatever between the bank notes and the sion of Lord Arden's sinecure. Oh! a assignats. I shall shew you, that Mr. Per time is coming, when all these things ceval is deceived; that he does not under will be seen and felt as they ought to be. stand this matter; and that, if he had read the works of Parne, at the time when But, let us return to this memorable ej. his colleague Lord Eldon (then Attorney pression : "the ODIUM!” A man, then, General) was prosecuting the author, he is, it seems, to incur odium if he demand would not have hazarded any such as his due ; his due in equity as well as in sertion.
law! Gentlemen, you are, for the most
part, tenants; but, take care how you suffer But, we must now take a look at the jourselves to be led to wish for any adwhole of this speech of Mr. Perceval. I vantage from this Bill, which will most mean his speech in the House of Com. assuredly operate, in the end, to your mons, on Tuesday last, the oil instant, injury, and perhaps, to your vtter ruin. upon the first reading of Lord Stanhope's Let me explain to you, a little more fully Bill in the House of Commons. This than I have hitherto done, the nature of Speech will be a memorable one. The Lord King's demand upon his tenants. child yet unborn will have cause to think He let a farm, for instance, in 1802, to of this speech, and of the series of mea- John Stiles for £.100 a year, in good and sures, of which, as appears to me, it is the lawful money of the realm. He bas, until necessary forerunner.