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public. In the next place, the bank to the emoluments. On the 26th of derives an emolument from the ma. June, a series of counter resolutions nagement of the national debt. All were moved by Mr Mellish ; and it the transfers of stock are made, and was agreed, that the discussion on all the dividends to the public credi. both these sets of resolutions should tors are paid by the bank,--on which take place at the same time. Nothing transactions the bank receives a com. further took place this session, which mission. In consideration of the be- rose soon afterwards ; but the result nefits which the bank receives from its of this enquiry will be found among charter, and of the emoluments deri- the proceedings of the following sesved from the management of the pub- sion. lic business, they have at different times On the 13th of March, the Chan. made advances to the public on more cellor of the Exchequer brought for. favourable terms than ordinary loans. ward a proposition for putting an In 1800, when they obtained a renew- end to the exclusive privileges enjoyal of their charter for 21 years, they ed by the South-Sea Company. He advanced to the public three millions took a view of the establishment of for six years without interest ; and, this company, and stated, that it at the end of that period, they renew. possessed the exclusive privilege of ed this loan till 1814, at three per trading to America, from the river cent., thus giving the public an allow. Oroonoko, round Cape Horn to the ance of two per cent on the interest. north-west coast of that continent. In 1800, they also continued the loan This exclusive privilege had for many then existing, of eleven millions and a years been of no advantage to that half, for twenty one years, at three per company ; but South America ha. cent. And lastly, in 1808, they made ving become at last open to us, it a further advance of three millions, might become a great obstacle to our without interest, till the 5th of April, commerce. He therefore had to state 1816. These advances, however, were the terms on which the company were considered as a very inadequate remu. willing to sell it to the country. The neration for the advantages which the company had lent all its capital to the bank derived from its relations with government, for which they received government; and Mr Grenfell, on the žl. per cent. ; and they also obtained 19th of April, moved for such accounts a further dividend of į per cent. on as might be necessary for ascertaining their capital, by acting as agents for the amount of the profits made by the government in the payment of the dibank, and of the compensation made vidends of such part of the public debt for these profits to the public. These as existed in 1721. By the act of accounts were ordered on the 26th of 1813, which would cancel all the na. April. On the 13th of June, Mr tional debt which existed before the Grenfell moved a series of resolutions, establishment of the sinking fund, stating his views of the amount of the they would lose that i per cent. They public balances in the hands of the therefore consented to abandon their bank; of the profits derived from exclusive privilege of trade, on condi. these balances, and from the commis- tion that the government would gua. sion on the management of the na. rantee this į percent, or about 18,0001. tional debt ; and of the remuneration a year to them. For this income it made by the bank for these emolu- was his intention to propose the crea. ments ; the whole tending to shew tion of a fund, by a duty on tonnage the inadequacy of the remuneration of ships trading to South America, and on the export of goods thither, whole of his majesty's dominions. It to the amount of 2. per cent. The was not acted upon in our West Infund necessary would be 400,0001. ; dian colonies and other of our foreign when that sum was accumulated, the dominions. Some of the objections duty would be repealed. A duty of which had been urged to his bill, he
per cent, on goods shipped to South was certain were quite unfounded, and America would expire on the 16th of had been advanced by persons who March, so that a renewal of only half had not taken the trouble to give the that duty would be necessary. He subject that consideration which it deconcluded by moving the resolutions served. After answering some of the necessary for carrying the above ob- arguments of those who had opposed ject into effect. A long and irrele- the former bill, he described that which rant discussion ensued on the contest he wished to effect to be this ; to give for the emancipation of South Ame- simple contract creditors the same rerica from Spain, after which a conver- medy which is open to specialty cresation arose upon the proposition of a ditors. He did not mean to place tas of 2 per cent. upon all goods ex. them on the same footing, but merely ported from Great Britain or Ireland to allow the simple contract creditors to South America, in which the Chan. to come in, after the specialty credi. cellor of the Exchequer, Mr Finlay, tors had been paid. This, he contendand Mr Alderman Atkins took part, ed, would throw no obstacle in the The Chancellor of the Exchequer way of selling estates ; and the objecstated, that the produce of this tax tions that this measure would give was to be applied in aid of a fund to greater facilities for young men of forindemnify the South-Sea Company, tune to obtain credit, he answered, by and that it was to cease when that in. shewing that it was not probable a demnity was discharged. The two young man of fortune would be more latter objected to it, as inconsistent readily trusted by an older man, be with our commercial policy, by im. cause he might recover from his estate posing a tax upon our exported ma. on his death; and by asserting that fufactures. The several resolutions the evil to which he wished to direct were then agreed to, and an act of the attention of parliament, could neparliament, in pursuance of them, was ver be effectually remedied but in a soon afterwards passed.
court of equity. He thought it right In the course of this session, several to state on this occasion, that it was attempts were made for improving the Iris opinion that much more than would jurisprudence of Britain, with differbe done by this measure ought to be ent degrees of success. Sir Samuel done, to give the creditor the benefit Romilly again brought forward, on of the debtor's property.. It was not the 14th of February, his bill for ma. probable that he should pursue the king the freehold estates of persons subject further, but he hoped it would dying in debt liable for these debts, be taken up by others more fortunately which in the preceding session had circumstanced than he had been, and been passed by the Commons, but re
with better success.
Much alteration jected by the Lords. On this occa- in the law appeared to him to be want. son he made several valuable observa. ing. He did not hesitate to say,
that tions : He said, that “a law like that the law of England, on the subject in zow in force in England was not to be question, had gone on an erroneous found in any other country. That principle. It had been distinguished law was not in fact extended to the by extraordinary rigour against the person, and by great relaxation with dulent. His mode of making this respect to his property. It punished very nice and difficult distinction, was inability to pay a debt as a crime, but the following: He said, that “the did not take those measures which only way of separating the honest might be taken to prevent the offence. from the dishonest debtor, would be It imprisoned the debtor for not ap- to introduce some sort of scale, by plying his property to meet the de- which the claim to the advantages of mands of his creditors, but did not the act might be regulated. Such a apply that property for him, to the scale he had prepared for the considerpayment of his debts in cases where ation of the House. He had to prothis could be done." Leave was given pose, that if the debtor was found in a to bring in the bill, which was pre- condition to pay 15s. in the pound, he sented and read a first time; but no should be entitled to his discharge at further
progress was made in it during the expiration of three months. If he the present session.
should from the improvident manageOn the 11th of April, Mr Serjeant ment of his affairs, be only in a condiBest moved for leave to bring in a bill tion to pay 10s. in the pound, then he to amend the laws respecting insolvent thought his imprisonment should exdebtors. The severity of the former tend to a longer period, namely, to laws of England relative to imprison. twelve months. Again, if the debtor, ment for debt, had been much mitiga- by expending that which he must ted by the acts for the relief of insol- know belonged to others, was unable vent debtors passed in 1813 and 1814; to pay 10s. in the pound, such a man, one of the leading provisions of which he thought, ought to be imprisoned was, that an insolvent debtor, on ma- two years, twelve months of which king a full disclosure of his property, should be passed within the walls of a was entitled to be liberated at the end prison, and not as at present, in what of three months. This enactment, were called the rules." And lastly, if highly satisfactory as it was to the a man was entirely insolvent, and withpublic at large, yet appeared to the out the hope of paying any portion of learned serjeant to be attended with his debts, he considered it was but the evil of injuring credit ;—as, by gi. proper that he should be kept within ving the same facility to the dishonest the walls of a prison for two years. It as to the honest debtor, to obtain his would naturally occur, that there were liberty at the expiration of three many cases in which a prisoner might months' imprisonment, it rendered it be in no condition, from misfortunes impossible for tradesmen any longer not originating in his own vices, to to know whom to trust. The object pay any thing in liquidation of his of the bill now brought in was, in the debts. To such an individual he by first place to extend the provisions of no means wished the scale which he the act of Geo. II., (by which it was had stated to apply ; it should, there. ! enacted, that persons imprisoned for fore, be open in all cases for the debtor debt should be obliged to give up to prove by his own oath, supported their property for the benefit of their by other satisfactory evidence, whecreditors, under the penalty of trans- ther his distresses were attributable to portation,) from debts under 1001. to imprudence or misfortune, and if he debts of any amount ; and secondly, was able to establish the latter, then to distinguish, in giving relief to in- he should extremely lament his detensolvent debtors, whether they belong. tion in custody beyond the time that ed to the class of unfortunate or frau. was necessary to prove the fact."
After some pointed observations by mitted. The Earl of Lauderdale said, Mr Horner on the objectionable parts " that the punishment of the pillory of this bill, and particularly on the in- had been condemned by almost all congruity of ascertaining the degree of those who had studied and written a man's guilt by the number of shil- upon the philosophy of criminal law, lings which he was able to pay his almost by all the politicians who had creditors in the pound, leave was gi. attended to its nature and effects, and ven to bring in the bill. Afterwards, even by some of the judges who had however, Mr Best withdrew the bill, to apply it. No principle in criminal intimating his intention of bringing law was better established than this, forward the measure in the next ses- that the punishment ought to be com: sion in an amended form.
mensurate to the offence. In this re. On the 16th February, a bill was spect the punishment of the pillory was presented by Mr Bennet for the abo. extremely objectionable. In one of the lition of the gaol and other fees con. older statutes, it was put in the alternected with the gaols of Great Bri- native, that a man should pay a fine of tain. This benevolent and salutary 20s. or be put in the pillory, so that law was passed without opposition. the same punishment was to be inflicted The only objection made to it was, on one who could not pay 20s. as on that it excepted the King's Bench, one who had attempted to commit an Fleet, and Marshalsea prisons. But unnatural and abominable crime. Such the reason of this exception was, that a state of the law was a disgrace to these were not prisons belonging to a the age and country in which it existparticular town or county, but gene
ed. Another remarkable feature in rally pertaining to the country at large, this punishment was, its gross inequabeing the prisons attached to the lity and uncertainty. The punishment Courts of King's Bench, Common was not that which was consonant to Pleas, and Admiralty. The abolition the nature of the offence, or to the inof the fees of the gaols belonging to tention of the court which awarded it, the different counties and towns trans. but depended on the humour of the ferred the additional burden thus crea- mob. The case of Dr Shebbeare was ted for their maintenance on those a remarkable one. He had been sencounties or towns; but in case of the tenced to the pillory ; but though this abolition of the fees in the gaols in was intended as a disgrace, it turned question, some provision would re- out a sort of triumph. He was put quire to be made by government in upon, but not in the pillory; the she. their place. This, however, hardly riff held an umbrella over his head to appears a sufficient reason for leaving shelter him from the rain or the sun ; the numerous prisoners in these three and a servant stood by to attend upon goals in a state of hardship, from and hand him refreshment, while he which it was judged so essentially ne- was at the same time applauded by the cessary to relieve the unhappy inmates spectators : so that the punishment, of all the other goals in the kingdom. instead of being disgraceful to him,
On the 6th April, Mr M. A. Tay. was an insult upon the law. Another lor obtained leave to bring in a bill to case applicable to the point was that abolish the punishment of the pillory. of Daniel Isaac Eaton. He had been This bill passed the House of Com. put in the pillory for a very serious mons. On the 5th July, in the House offence, that of endeavouring to throw of Lords, a discussion took place on contempt and ridicule on the funda. the motion for having the bill com- mental principles of the Christian reli
gion; and as an example to the pri- ment. As to the danger of the pusoners, he presumed, he was pilloried nishment exceeding the measure of the opposite to Newgate gaol : but the law, the learned lord remarked, that by crowd, probably from some mistake the law the officers were to take care as to the nature of his offence, ap- that it did not exceed its just measure ; plauded him. In this case, too, the-that the criminal was to be punished punishment was far more lenient than by disgrace and exposure, “ salvis tathe judges intended. In other cases it men membris et vita.” But Lord Elwas more severe ; for instance, when lenborough could hardly fail to be the punishment of the pillory was in- convinced, had he considered the many ficted for offences which had a ten- instances of horrible outrage commitdency to exasperate the feelings of the ted by the mob on unfortunate perpopulace, such as the attempting to sons under this punishment, that it is commit an unnatural and horrible impossible to prevent the occurrence crime. Neither the law nor the judge of these shocking scenes.- The Lord intended that this crime, abominable Chancellor was of opinion, that it as it was, should be punished with would be unwise to abolish the pudeath, and yet such was frequently the nishment of the pillory in some cases ; result. The death, too, which such in cases, for instance, of perjury and criminals sometimes met with was more fraud. He suggested, that the best severe than the punishment of death mode of proceeding would be, to dewhen inflicted in the ordinary way. He sire the judges in another session to himself had witnessed an instance of prepare a bill on this subject, pointing this in 1780. A person was pilloried out the cases, where, according to in Southwark for an unnatural crime, their experience, the punishment of and the criminal was so treated by the pillory was proper, and the cases the mob that he actually died the mo- to which, though at present applicament he was taken from the machine. ble, it was not suited. The bill was Judge Eyre, in a case where one had then ordered to be committed that by perjury attempted to swear away day two months; or, in other words, another person's life, had refrained was thrown out. from inflicting the punishment of the The natural predilection which men pillory, on the very ground that the of eminence in the law entertain for its punishment might in reality be dif. institutions, andthewholesome jealousy ferent from what the court intend. with which they regard innovations on ed."
established practice, or ancient princiLord Ellenborough, in answer to ple, accounts for the stand made by the these observations, contended, that high law authorities on this and similar the bill was defective, in as much as it occasions. But if punishments in a free had substituted no other punishment country can only be inflicted by the in the room of that which was propo. sentence of a court of justice, that sed to be abolished. With respect to must be an imperfect one, which may the inequality and uncertainty of this be to the criminal a scene either of punishment,' his lordship said, that triumph, or of the most horrid torture, this objection might be, in some de- at the pleasure of the mob. And if gree, applied to all other punishments, it is the object of the law that the puninless the officers of the law intrusted nishment of the guilty should operate with the execution did their duty. In beneficially upon the feelings of the the case of Dr Shebbeare, the sheriff spectators, what shall we say of that had not done his duty, and was after. mode, which, instead of impressing wards punished by fine and imprison. awe on the rabble by its solemnity,