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great moneyed body of men, much better under the control of government. In a qualified than the legislature could pos- constitutional view, therefore, the present sibly be, to ascertain the solvency of appeared to him a measure exceedingly merchants and the value of goods. He alarming to the freedom of Englishmen; considered this as the introduction of a and one which ought, unless fully vindinew system, which ought to be very se- cated, to be resisted. The commercial riously examined, because it might' lead ought never to be involved or blended to consequences the most alarming. with the legislative or executive authoThere were two points of view in which rity. He had always understood, that he thought it ought to be placed before the spirit of commerce was more free and the House, namely, as it might affect the enterprising when unfettered with the public purse, and as it might affect the connexion now described; and he im constitution. The public were to be plored the House to pause before they called upon to lend five millions of money sanctioned a system unknown to our conto the traders and manufacturers upon the stitution, and which might subvert our security of their goods and property. liberties. If the measure were thought Might not the public be exposed to lose laudable by government, why did not the a great part of that sum by advancing it commercial interests assist each other, opon articles, the value of which govern- rather than surrender their freedom to ment did not sufficiently understand to be those in power ! On these grounds; he able to ascertain how much might be trusted that the system was to be merely safely lent upon them, or to persons with temporary, and that the most effectual whose circumstances it had not the means guard would be placed round it, to preof being acquainted? The bank of Eng. vent it from being abused, and from enland was in every respect better qualified dangering the very thing it was intended than government for such a task; and it to support. was not a very favourable symptom, that Mr. Pitt said, that the subject was unthe bank had declined granting the aid to doubtedly important, and he wished the public credit, which was now solicited real extent of the danger to be felt, with from parliament ; for it would seem as if the view of leading to an effectual remedy, the persons who were to be assisted were He was happy to say, that he had the not in such circumstances as would make utmost confidence that an expeditious it safe for government to advance money and effectual remedy might be applied. to them. It was the interest of the bank On some occasions the urgency of partito discount good bills, and when it re- cular instances must outweigh general fused to do it, one might well fear that principles, and the present was of that the owners of those bills were not consi. kind." It had been said, that trade best dered by the bank as labouring only flourished when disjoined from and ununder a temporary embarrassment.--convected with government; but it ought When he considered the new system in here to be distinguished, that no control the light in which it would affect the con- over the operations of trade was prostitution, he felt so serious an alarm, posed, but only that, by a temporary ad. that nothing could possibly reconcile him 'vance, the credit of the merchant might to it, but a conviction that it was to exist be supported, and the means afforded him only for a short period, and not to be of carrying on his own schemes in his drawn into a precedent. No author that own way; nor was any facility afforded he had ever read had proposed any sys- i to rash or wanton speculations. He con. tem like that now suggested; but perhaps 'cluded with again urging the necessity of he might hear it justified either by some dispatch. theory or experiment of which he was as yet Mr. Grey admitted, that if the measure ignorant. The measure proposed was in was at all advisable, much of its efficacv his opinion dangerous to the constitution. would probably depend on the dispatch It was investing government with the with which it should be carried through ; whole commercial influence of this country. but as the report was not yet printed, he He might entertain very high sentiments begged leave to put it to the right hon of the gentlemen about to be appointed as gentleman, whether it was not rather too commissioners, but he thought the power early to take it into consideration to-morwhich they were likely to possess would row. He would take that opportunity of endanger the liberties of their fellow-sub- giving his opinion strongly against the jects, more especially when they acted proposal, as creating a new species of in
fluence. If relief was to be afforded, this distribution of the relief proposed to be did not appear to him to be the proper given to the commerce and credit of indi. means of giving it. Why did not the viduals, why it had not been formally bank interfere? Was it that they thought proposed to them to carry into execution it unsafe to do so? And, if so, was go- a measure, with the objects of which they vernment to do what the bank did not had a necessary connexion, and must of think safe to do? He was, however, more course possess information superior to inclined to believe, that, from particular any that could be found in a board of circumstances the bank might not be able commissioners newly appointed by parlia. to afford it, probably from having too ment? The business, proposed to be done great a load of exchequer bills already; by the commissioners, was in ellect what and, if that was the case, would it not be the bank was now doing every day, and better to pay off part of these exchequer which they would only be called upon bills ?
to perform with greater means and to a Mr. Montagu thought the question was greater extent. If they accepted the not, whether the relief proposed was trust, there could be no doubt of their unobjectionable in all its parts; but whe- performing it safely for themselves, and ther some mode of relief was not abso- etlectually for the public. If they refused lutely necessary, and this the best that it, they would of course assign their reacould be devised? He was therefore in sons; and if those reasons
were valid favour of the proposition.
and sufficient, they would be infinitely Mr. S. Thornton said, he was a member stronger on the part of government, not of the committee, who were unanimous to undertake a task, which the bank had in opinion as to the propriety of the mea- refused. If the directors of the bank sure, and as to its efficacy, if carried should allege, that their funds were through with dispatch. Two hon. gentle- insufficient, or that they had already exmen had said, that it was the duty of the erted their own means, as far as they bank to have interfered. The bank had could with safety or propriety, that obstepped forward in the mode of discount; jection would be removed by putting into but it never had been their custom to their hands the exchequer bills, which advance money on mortgages, or on the were to be entrusted to the commis. species of security which was now pointed sioners, and leaving it to them to circulate out; not from any doubt of the security, and distribute them, in whatever way but because they found an ample demand they might think most advantageous to for their money in the way of discounts. the commercial credit of the country. The motion was then agreed to.
Mr. Pitt said, that from the nature of
the business the bank had declined interApril 30. The House having resolved fering, because the species of the security itself into a committee of the whole House to be given was not such as the bank had upon the said Report,
been accustomed to receive. The meaMr. Pitt said, that after the preliminary sure now proposed was of a temporary observations he had made last night, he nature. The practice of the bank upon should not enter into any argument; but, discount was permanent.
The bank took referring to the report on the table, which securities for what business they transhe trusted gentlemen had carefully consi- acted in this way at two months. The dered, should move, “ That his majesty security to be given here was not deterbe enabled to direct exchequer bills to minable at that time, and the deposit was the amount of five millions, to be issued of a nature which the bank had not been to commissioners, to be by them ad accustomed to act upon. vanced, under certain regulations and Mr. M. A. Taylor said, that unless the restrictions, for the assistance and ac- plan which should be brought forward commodation of such persons as shall be had good regulations against patronage, desirous of receiving the same, on due he should think himself bound to give it security being given for the re-payment his negative. As to the observation, that of the sum so advanced, within a time to the bank discounted bills only at two be limited."
months, he did not see why the bank Mr. Francis asked the chancellor of the should not do so still, and when these exchequer, for what reason the directors bills became due, renew them for the same of the bank of England had not been in- length of time. This they might continue vited to undertake the management and as long as they were satisfied with the security. With respect to the relief pro- | nion. The state of public credit was posed by the present plan, he had con- matter of lamentation. Humiliating and versed with gentlemen who were qualified lamentable it must be ; for the very cirto judge upon this subject, and they cumstance of that House being in a comlaughed at the idea of considering it as mitteee to consider of means to aid the any thing like a solid assistance to those commercial credit of the nation was de. who now were, and might hereafter be, cided evidence of that fact; and he must in want of aid in consequence of the em- add, that the whole taken into considebarrassment of commercial credit. He ration, we were surrounded by circumwished with all his heart that the credit of stances of a dangerous nature. We were the country might be supported; it was told, that, in point of fact, there was no the interest of all that it should; but real danger, for that the distress was he did not think that would be done by merely temporary, and that the remedy putting all the merchants under the nod proposed would be fully adequate to its of the minister; which he feared would removal. He wished to God that might be the case if this plan was to be under turn out to be true; but at the same time the control of commissioners of the minis- it was not quite satisfactory to see that ter's noinination. Unless he could see government were obliged to take up what better grounds to proceed upon than the bank of England would not touch, those stated in the report, he should not | The answer to this was, that the bank of be able to give his assent to the measure England was not in the habit of entering now proposed. He believed in his con- on a speculation of this nature, and that science that it was, by mercantile men, it would not be consistent with the reguconsidered as absurd and useless.
larity of their proceedings to do so at Mr. Alderman Curtis said, he could this moment. Was there any thing so aver, that, so far from laughing at, the peculiarly regular and precedented in the mercantile interest approved of the legislature taking up the measure, that measure, and he, for his part, had not the taught gentlemen there was no real dansmallest doubt of its producing the hap- ger? If the bank of England, accuspiest effects.
tomed as they were to commercial dealDIr. Chiswell said, he had connexions ings, thought it a scheme upon which it with mercantile men, and he could, in the was not prudent to adventure, how did most positive manner, declare, that the gentlemen arrive at all at the conclusion measure, so far from being laughed at, that there was no danger to the public was looked up to with hope and approba in such an adventure? If it was not the tion. As a proof of this, he mentioned habit of the bank to advance money upon the effect that the bare report had on the a certain species of security, he would price of stocks.
say, neither had it ever yet been the habit Mr. Alderman Anderson said, that the of the public to advance their money measure proposed was of that kind, that, upon that security; and that if there was if not granted, the most serious mischief's to be any innovation in the affairs of comwould follow. The objection against the merce, it was better that it should be distribution by commissioners was futile; made by the bank than by the public. for they had not the discretionary power But, it seemed, the bank had been applied to refuse the loan, on producing proper to in vain upon this occasion. What was security. He positively denied the cus- the reason that the bank had been applied tom of renewing bills by the bank, for to in vain? He feared the reason why when it appeared for the sake of raising that application was unsuccessful would money, it was never granted.
not be very likely to induce the public Mr. Fox did not wish to trouble the to adopt the measure. These reflections committee much at length. The subject compelled him to entertain doubts upon was such, that he hardly knew how to the prudence of the measure. But, it was speak at all upon it, and the more so, as again said, that the bank had already he had considerable doubts upon the issued money enough upon discount. If expediency of the remedy, supposing the that was the case, he was afraid the public principle of the proposed measure to be could not be much benefited by issuing unobjectionable. With regard to the exchequer bills for five millions more, necessity of aiding the public credit at and that means should rather be devised the present humiliating moment, there for paying off those in the market. He was not any room for difference of opi. did not say that his opinion upon this subject was direct, but he could not help | yet he did not see how this plan would suggesting his doubts ; he should be very answer the purpose for which it was inglad to be answered by arguments, and tended. He felt also another difficulty, he declared upon his word that he should and that arose from a motive of delicacy, be bappy in hearing his observations re- from the circumstance of having had nofuted. He could not help again observ- thing to do with entering into the present ing, that the bank must have some strong war,-the cause, in his opinion, of all our reasons for refusing to discount in the calamities ; having on the contrary, done usual way; for, generally speaking, they every thing in his power to prevent it, so were pretty ready to discount when they he did not wish to be represented as a thought they could do so with safety, for person not feeling the calamity, because that was well understood to be for their he had not contributed to produce it. A interest; if that was the case in general, very important part of the question rehow much more so was it on the present mained; he meant the constitutional point occasion ? Who could be more inte- that would be involved in it; a matter in rested in the general credit of the com- itself of the highest importance. How merce of the country than the bank of was government to take what related to England? What, then, must be the con commercial dealings into its hands, withclusion of a man of common sense when out establishing a precedent of the most such a body of men refused to discount? dangerous and alarming nature, and withWhat must they think of the situation of out creating a general timidity in comthe country? These points pressing upon mercial men with regard to the fate of his mind, he owned" he should not be their future speculations? How were the sorry to hear that the subject went no committee sure that this would not damp farther that night. Again, he must ob- the ardour of commerce, and shake the serve, the bank refused all share in this general principle, which was the life of business for one of two reasons; either commerce itself, the control which every that they did not like the security that man had over his own property? How was to be offered to them, or that they were they sure that the commishad already so far employed their money sioners, when appointed, would be free as not to be able to afford the relief from partiality, prejudice, favour, and afwanted. If the first was the reason, there fection, and all the weaknesses which would be a difficulty indeed in the way of were common to our nature ? And how the present measure. The commissioners, could it be determined that these comwhoever they were, could not be more missioners would receive the security of conversant in commerce than the gen- one whose way of thinking upon politics tlemen who had the management of the might be agreable to the minister, and affairs of the bank of England, and there- refuse an equally good security from a fore the plan could not have a very flat-person of a contrary way of thinking? tering prospect of its issue. If the bank Was not this opening a door to the most hesitated, by what mode of reasoning was unconstitutional and dangerous patronit that the commissioners should not hesi. age? Good God! did the committee see tate ; and in this view he thought himself, the extent of the power which this might as one of the trustees of the interests of give to the executive government?-a the public, bound to hesitate. If the power which it was the first duty of that other reason was allowed, namely, that House jealously to watch. Before, therethe bank had already issued all it could fore, he voted for such a measure, he afford, he could not see the ultimate ad- ought to see something like the probable vantage to the public credit by the issu- effect of it. He ought to give power of ing exchequer bills.--He must repeat, this nature with a rimorous and reluc. that he spoke upon these points with tant mind. He ought to feel the danger doubts, which he should take pleasure in to which his country was exposed in the having removed, and grief in having con- possible abuse of such a power. firmed, and he must really say he did not ought to know something of the proposed not know what to do. He knew not how end before he consented to such a begin. to say that he would not agree that the ning. He repeated, that although he was committee should proceed upon this sub- not in the least degree accessary to the ject, for the purpose of supporting the commencement of this calamitous war, commercial credit of the kingdom, and to yet he should be glad to be instrumental remove the calamity of the country; and in bringing it to a conclusion as speedily as could be effected with due regard to the bank, he was authorized to say, thạt, the honour of this country. He blamed though they were not desirous of being not the majority on that occasion, but the agents of government, in the progloried in being one of the minority. posed distribution, they had come forward He wished to see the hour when this de- on the occasion with unexampled libestructive measure was at an end, for then rality, and had been so industrious in discommercial credit would return, and with counting bills, that, within the last fortit commercial enterprise and vigour. night, they had increased the number of
Mr. Secretary Dundas begged leave to their clerks, and were also extending their enter his protest against any declaration buildings. So much were they satisfied that the present embarrassment of the with this measure, and so anxious to promerchants and manufacturers, was the mote its objects, that they were willing effect of the poverty of the country. He to spare two or three of their most expeconsidered it as precisely the reverse, rienced members to give all the assistance and would maintain, however odd it might in their power to forward the execution sound, that it was occasioned by the un- of it. common prosperity of the nation ; a pros- After some further conversation, the perity which had induced some indivi- Resolution was agreed to. On the folduals to push their speculations beyond lowing day it was reported to the House, the extent of their own private capitals, and a bill was brought in pursuant therebut by no means beyond the capital of to. On the 3d of May the bill was comthe nation. To call upon the bank of mitted. Much discussion accordingly England to deviate from that line of con- took place on the various provisions of duct which it had proposed to itself and the bill. The commissioners, under under which it had flourished, he deemed whose direction the whole plan was orby no means prudent. The bank dis dered to be carried on, were lord Shefcounted upon certain securities; but dis. field, sir Grey Cooper, Mr. Pulteney, counted on the principle of having its re- Mr. Chiswell, sir John Sinclair, Mr. turns in two months. The measure now Alderman Anderson, Mr. R. Smith, Mr. proposed admitted of a more extended Bosanquet, Mr. T. Boddington, Mr. period for repayment, and was entirely dif- Manning, Mr. Whitmore, Mr. Baring, ferent from what was the usage of that cor- Mr. Hartley, Mr. Raikes, Mr. Forster, poration. In a constitutional point of view, Mr. Darrel, Mr. C. Grant, Mr. G. Innes, he admitted that the measure was by no Mr. Harman, and Mr. Brogden. The means desirable, but as situations 'must places where the goods were to be depoever occur, in which extraordinary remedies sited, as a security under this bill, for must be applied to extraordinary neces- the aid to be given, were London, Brissities, he left it to the judgment of the tol, Hull, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Leith. House, whether this was not particularly so. He ridiculed the idea of any
Scotch Roman Catholic Relief Bill.] partiality being exercised by the per- April 23. The House of Commons resons appointed by parliament, for exe- solved itself into a committee, to take into cuting this trust. For himself, he de- consideration a motion made yesterday clared, that he was not acquainted with by the lord advocate of Scotland, for the name of any one who might be granting Relief in certain cases to such of nominated ; but he should think the coun- his majesty's subjects in Scotland, as protry had arrived, indeed, at a very alarm- fess the Roman Catholic religion. ing degree of depravity, if twenty gen- The Lord Advocate of Scotland obtlemen could not be found, who would served, that the Roman Catholics of Scotnot perform fairly, upon oath, the func- land laboured under many hardships and tions of this commission, without regard- disabilities on account of their adherence ing whether the persons who applied to to their religion. By one law an oath, them appeared in red or yellow capes- called a formula, or solemn declaration, in blue and buff, or any other colour. was imposed upon them, which they
Mr. S. Thornton did not think that the could not take without renouncing the rewar, however it might partially affect ligion they professed; and if they refused the public credit, had contributed so to take it, their nearest protestant relation much to the present stagnation as the might deprive them of their estates. He great circulation of paper, and the exten- observed, that it was repugnant to justice sion of manufactures. With regard to and humanity, that a subject not convicted