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ing three tinies in the pillory; this, and to enact that the punishment for he said, ought to be tried. It was wilful and advised communication generally allowed, that excessive pu with the ships' crews declared to be Dishments often occasioned impu. in a state of mutiny should be death, nity, and encouraged offenders; as in cases of felony, without benefit whence it might truly be said, that of clergy; Mr. Nichols said, he rigorous penalties promoted crimes: thought that the punishment eof be therefore conjured the house not death would in some cases be too to add another to the severe penale 'severe; and that making it a misties on the statute-books, till they demeanour, liable to transportation, were convinced of the inefficiency of would be sufficient. Mr. serjeant the present laws."
Adair said, that the penalty was only Mr. W. Smith coincided with the to attach to those who should hold concluding observations of Mr. Hob intercourse and communication after house, and thought the existing laws the publication of the declaration sufficient.
that the men were in a state of muThe speaker baving left the chair, tiny, and of the prohibition to hold the chancellor of the exchequer pro- intercourse with them : the proviposed to the committee to insertsions in the bill were in their very these words: “ Such persons shall nature temporary, and ceased with be judged guilty of felony, and shall the causes by which they were prosuffer death as in cases of felony, duced. without benefit of clergy." If the Sir Francis Burdett opposed the committee should agree to this, he bill. He said, that the house had should then propose to limit the du- but the assertion of ministers that ration of the bill to one month after such a measure was necessary: he the commencement of the next ses- thought it tended to put the seamen sion of parliament. He concluded in a state of desperation; and the by moving the insertion of these mischief which they might do this words : " maliciously and advisedly country in that state was dreadful. to commit any act of mutiny or The discontent was not confined to treason, or to make, or endeavour the seamen; there was much of it to make, any mutinous or traitorous in other quarters; and it was visible assemblies, or to commit any muti. in many parts of this country. The Dous or traitorous acts whatever." very strong laws which were made
Mr. Tierney thought the existing to repress these discontents, or ralaws of high treason rendered the ther the expression of them, were bill unnecessary; but as it was to be symptoms of great disease, of which in force only for a few months, he there was a cause very different should give it no further opposition. from that which had been stated.
The bill was read a third time, That cause was the misconduct of and passed nem. con.
administration for a long time, but On the same day, the chancellor particularly for the last four years, of the exchequer introduced into the and the enormous corruption of the commons a bill to restrain the inter- executive government: these were course with certain ships, then in a the real causes of the evil. The state of mutiny.
bill, however, was passed through On the 5th of June, when it was all its stages on the same day. proposed to fill up the penal clause, 'On the 6th of June the two bills
relative to the mutiny were intro- through all their several stages, and duced into the house of lords, and, received the royal assent by comwith very little debate, were carried mission on that day.
CH A P T E R V. Critical Situation of the Bank of England. Extraordinary Demand for
Specie. Order of Council prohibiting the Issue of any more Specie from the Bank. Supposed Causes of the Run on the Bank, and of its Incapaci.' dy for answering the Demands. Message from his Majesty to both Houses of Parliament relative to the Order of Council. Debaies in the House of Lords on that Communication. Debates in the same House on his Majesty's Message. Committee appointed to inquire into the Affairs of the Bank. Commiltee to inquire into the Necessity for the Order of Council. Report of the Committee. Debates on the subject. Resolutions proposed by the Duke of Bedford negatived. Debates in the House of Commons on his Majesty's Message. Committee appointed by the Commons for an Inquiry into the Affairs of the Bank. Motion by Mr. Fox to inquire into the Causes of the Order of Council negatived. Bill to enable the Bank to issue small Notes. Report of the Secret Committee on the Bank. Committee revived. Small-Note Bill, for accommodating Traders and Manufacturers. Motion by Mr. Sheridan on the Affairs of the Bank. Bank Indemnity Bill. Reflections on the present Stale of the Bank.
W H ILE the tranquillity of the rated; and its importance in every
V nation was disturbed, and its point of view was magnified by the existence endangered by the muti- operations of fancy on the basis of nous disposition of its most effective ignorance. defenders, an evil which at first ap- ' The year 1797, which has been peared of scarcely inferior magni.. more productive of political wonders tude, threatened at once to over- than any given period during the whelm its financial arrangements, present century, has added this to and to bury in one prodigious ruin the number, that the Bank of Engthe pecuniary resources, and even land has failed to fulfil its engagethe commerce of the country. By ments, and yet public credit has re. the continued sanction of public opi- nained unshaken. At the same nion, the Bank of England bad time the veil of mystery which conbeen long considered as the palla. cealed its proceedings from the pub. dium of Britain; and the confi. lic is rent in pieces; its powers and dence which was attached to this its competency are now no longer object of national veneration ap- secret; and that confidence wbich proached, it must be confessed, to before rested on an ideal basis, is the nature of idolatry. Like other now supported by legislative sanc. popular superstitions, its proceedings tion, and by a developement of the were enveloped in mystery ; its ex. affairs of this great monied corporaistence was connected in idea with tion. the existence of the state; its influ- The rise and progress of paper. ence on the commercial prosperity currency, and of banks of deposit in of the country was highly exagge- Europe, is a subject deeply interest
ing to the politician; but it has ne- sited was secure from fire, robbery,
the the private bankers in England. It their part, on his pressing solicitawas an immense trading company, tions." In an interview with the which dealt in bullion, discounted chancellor of the exchequer; which bills of exchange, advanced money took place on the 23d of the same on security to individuals, and occa- month, on the loans to the emperor sionally to the government. Its ad- being mentioned, the governor asvances to the latter became at length sured Mr. Pitt,“that another loan of so considerable, as to absorb the that sort would go nigh to ruin the whole capital with occasional aug: country;" and on the 9th of Fementations, as will appear from the bruary 1797, the directors ordered ensuing debates. Its connexion with the governor to inform the minister, the government, and the advances of " that under the present state of the money to the support of every war, bank's advances to government here, rendered it the policy of the mini- to agree with his request of making sters, as well as of the bank directors, a farther advance of 1,500,0001, as to involve in mystery as much as a loan to Ireland would threaten possible its proceedings. Some spi- ruin to the bank, and most probably rited, and, we must add, patriotic bring the directors to shut up their efforts, were, however, made by the doors,” late alderman Picket, to oblige the With this cause, another is sandirectors to lay their accounts, an- posed by some to have powerfully nually, before the public; and we co-operated to the late event, and must remark (so essential is publi- that was the dread of an invasion, city to the welfare of every national which had induced the farmers and institution) that if his applications Others resident in the parts distant had been successful, the bank would from the metropolis to withdraw probably never have experienced their money from the hands of those the shock which we have now to bankers with whom it was deposited.' record.
The run, therefore. (to speak in the In the course of the present war, technical language of the money. the remittances to the emperor and market) commenced upon the counother foreign powers pressed so hea- try banks, and the demand for spevily on the bank of England, that, cie soon reached the metropolis. In so early as the month of January this alarming state the ministry 17.04, the court of directors inform- thought themselves conspelled to ined the chancellor of the exchequer, terfere, and an order of the privy that it was their wish, "s that he council was issued on the 26th of would arrange his finances for the February, prohibiting the directors year, in such a manner as not to de- of the bank from“ issuing any cash pend on any further assistance from in payment till the sense of parliathem." . These remonstrances were ment can be taken on that subject, renewed in the months of April and and the proper measures adopted July, in the same year; and on the thereupon for maintaining the means 8th of October following, they sent or circulation, and supporting the a written paper to the minister, public and commercial credit of the which concluded by stating " the kingdom at this important conjuncabsolute necessity which they con- ture." ; ceive to exist, for diminishing the As the parliament was fortunatesum of their present advances to gó- ly sitting at this critical moment, no vernment; the last having been time was to be lost in laying these granted with greai reluctance, on proceedings before it. On the fol
lowing day, therefore, the 27th of The earl of Guilford said, he did February, a message was delivered not rise with any intention to discuss from his majesty to both houses of this subject, as it was determined for parliament, stating, “ That an un- the next day, though he thought it usual demand of specie having been required immediate consideration, made from different parts of the His lordship added, that, considercountry on the metropolis, it had ing the glaring incapacity and ill been found necessary to make an or- conduct of his majesty's ministers in der of council to the directors of the the course of the war, he thought bank, prohibiting the issue of any some strong measure should be acasb in payment till the sense of dopted for the support of public creparliament could be taken on the dit. He contended, that ministers subject." The order of council was ought to have been aware of the neread along with his majesty's mes. cessity to which they had reduced sage; and lord Grenville, in the the country, and not have suffered house of lords, rose to move, “that themselves to be taken by surprise, the communication from his majesty and driven, as it were, to a step so should be taken into consideration alarming, as to require the bank to on the following day."
stop payment of their own notes. . The duke of Norfolk observed, His lordship said, it was very exthat as the message was so soon to be 'traordinary, that the impulse should taken into consideration, he should be so sudden, as to cause such a vio. not then enter much into the sub- lent measure to be adopted, without ject. The cause in which the or- consulting parliament. Parliament der originated must have given se had been sitting the whole of the last rious alarm to their lordships and the fortnight, and not a single word had public. The bank was ordered to been dropt on the subject. Not refuse payment of their own bills in being aware of the reasons which the possession of individuals, who prompted ministers on a sudden to considered them as property.
adopt a measure so extraordinary, he His grace thought, that the despe- could not argue on its expediency or rate exigency to which ministers had its necessity ; but thought the conGriven the country was owing to duct of his majesty's ministers gave the exportation of specie to the em- room for suspicion, and rendered his peror of Germany and our other al- noble friend's motion highly proper. lies upon the continent: and on this Lord Romney remarked, that in account he moved, “ that an humble the present momentous situation of address be presented to his majesty, the country; every thing which had to prevent the further exportation of the appearance of suspicion ought to specie until the sense of parliament be removed, as it must have a danbe taken on that subject.”
gerous tendency without doors. The Lord Grenville said, as their lord, words “ extraordinary and illegal," ships had determined not to take the which were in his noble friend's subject into consideration till the motion, he observed, amounted to next day, he did not wish to discuss a very strong insinuation that the it, as neither he nor the house were necessary step to be taken was ocprepared for it.
casioned by the misconduct of miniThe duke of Norfolk, on the con- sters. His lordship said, if there trary, urged the necessity of deciding were any ground for such an insinuupon it that day.
ation, no man would be more eager