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tion of them out of employment, he would hesitate in giving it his sanction, but being perfectly convinced that unless parliament afforded protection against such evils as they had lately experienced, they would be constantly recurring, he must give it his cordial support. His noble friend had somewhat misconceived the reason why highway robberies had become less frequent. It could not be owing to the want of a metallic currency, because, in point of fact, that species of currency had been in general use in the neighbourhood of London for these last four or five years, and scarcely an instance of highway robbery had occurred during that period. As to the argument, that the suppression of a paper currency would throw considerable difficulties in the way of mercantile transactions, it should be recollected, that in Liverpool and Manchester, a metallic currency had for some time prevailed, and had not produced any of the difficulties which were apprehended. He thought that ministers, by putting an end to the fabrication of paper money, would best do their duty to the country, and protect the interests of the poor. He wished to call to the recollection of the noble lord who had that evening presented a petition from the sister kingdom against this bill, the great distress which some years ago was caused in Ireland by the failure of the Cork and other banks. Indeed, he had been informed, that many of the poor Irish had actually died through want; for in that country there was not, any fund to which the starving poor could have recourse. He should give his vote in favour of the bill, because he considered it calculated to render a recurrence of the present evils impossible. Adverting to the commercial distress, he certainly thought, that government had proceeded on an erroneous principle in not affording relief in the manner in which it had been advantageously afforded on former occasions. If the noble earl and his colleagues had not pledged themselves in the last session, to grant no help to those whose commercial speculations might involve them in distress, an issue of Exchequer-bills would have had the effect, in a great degree, of restoring confidence.

The Earl of Liverpool said, he wished to make a few observations on what had fallen from the noble earl who had moved the amendment; but, in the first place, he was desirous to reply to some remarks from the noble earl who had just spoken.

That noble earl seemed to think that his majesty's government had abstained from issuing Exchequer-bills, merely because they had pledged themselves last year that they would not do so. He could assure the noble earl, that they were not so strongly attached to their own opinion, as to persevere in any system which they discovered to be an injurious one. But of this he was satisfied, that his majesty's government had never effected a greater good, than by resisting the applications which had been made on that subject. If those applications had been now acceded to, upon any future occasion, when any distress had arisen, relief would have been demanded as a matter of right. He could not but regard the precedent of 1793 as one which it would have been highly impolitic to have followed in the present emergency; for the distress which now prevailed could not be said to have occurred by the hand of God. There had been no bad harvest or other similar cause; but it was allowed on all hands, that over-trading had been the primary cause of the mischief. If future ministers did their duty with like firmness, no more would be heard of Exchequer-bills being issued for the relief of private distress. He felt persuaded, that, if the relief had been afforded by government, instead of by the Bank, it would have been as different as possible in its practical effects, and that the assistance would have got into totally different hands. The secresy with which this relief would have been administered, had it proceeded from the government, was with him the principal objection. This very secresy had a manifest tendency to encourage speculation. If relief was to be given, it was desirable that the names of the applicants for it should be generally known. He had put the question to the great deputation from Manchester, whether they wished for secresy, and their answer was, no, they were ready to accept the relief in any way it might be tendered. There could be no objection to the great Bank of the country coming forward, and giving that relief which, by its charter and by-laws, it was enabled to do. If it met with any difficulty in effecting this, then let the government do what it could towards the removing of that difficulty. Besides, if government afforded this relief to one interest, it ought to afford it to all; but the proper policy was to afford it to none, except where the exigency was

such as no human foresight could guard against. Had it been the wish of himself and his colleagues to have spent an easy session of it, nothing could be more within reach. If they had merely come forward with an issue of Exchequer-bills, they would have been hailed as the most be nevolent beings, the most considerate of ministers. But instead of studying their own ease, and looking for popularity on such terms, they had, by acting up to their honest conviction, involved themselves in embarrassment; at least in parliamentary embarrassment, for such it was, as far as it went. With respect to what had fallen from the noble earl, as to the encouragement likely to be given to highwaymen by the extinction of small notes, he felt himself the more competent to approach that subject, as he had once, when a schoolboy, been attacked by a highwayman. He was very young at the time, but he remembered losing all the money he had about him. It was natural, therefore, that he should be as much alive to apprehension on that head as the noble earl. Still, with all his early associations, he was inclined to think, that the observation made by another noble earl opposite was entitled to greater weight namely, that if that was to revive with the return to a metallic currency, it would have been felt during the last four or five years; seeing that every noble lord who had travelled in the vicinity of the metropolis during that period, was in the habit of taking about with him sovereigns, and not notes. For his own part, he was inclined to attribute the almost extinction of highway robberies to the regulation introduced by him when he held the seals of the Homeoffice, and since improved by others; namely, the establishing a good and effective police. And although much was owing to its vigilance, he was not quite sure whether the police could effect it, were it not for the inclosure of the large commons.-As to the objection, that this bill would not have the effect of doing away with all wild speculation or over-trading, it was never imagined that those evils could be entirely remedied by this measure. It must, in order to effect this, be accompanied by other measures, one of which must be the introduction of a sounder system of banking; and although, owing to the monopoly of the Bank of England, this system could not at present be rendered as perfect as it might be after the year 1833, still that was no rea

son why we should not now make as much improvement in the system as it was capable of receiving under existing circumstances. The extinction of one and two pound notes would, at any rate, operate as a very considerable check upon wild and speculative projects. None of the deputations of the substantial country bankers had made any objection to the extinction of the one and two pound notes, but had declared that they would as soon be without them. But this had not been the case with the lesser bankers. To this class the small notes were a principal source of profit; consequently the present bill was calculated to do away with the lesser banks, the existence of which had a considerable effect in rendering the whole banking system suspected and insecure. It had also been objected, that the paper currency could not be withdrawn without great inconvenience. But the fact, that in London, Manchester, and through the whole of Lancashire, a metallic currency had prevailed for the last three or four years, without creating any obstruction to trade, completely refuted this objection, especially when it was considered that the Customs of London and Liverpool were three-fourths of the Customs of the whole kingdom, and that the Customs of Liverpool were equal to those of all England, with the exception of London, and that the Excise of London and Liverpool amounted to three-fifths of the Excise of the whole kingdom.-As to the objection, that the agricultural interests would be affected by this bill, he would remind their lordships, that until 1797 we had done with a metallic currency without sustaining any inconvenience; and when it was considered that we should get rid of the losses and fluctuations in the value of property which must always be attendant on a paper currency, it seemed to him that the balance of advantages preponderated much in favour of the present measure. He and his colleagues were not trying any new experiment, but simply returning to that wholesome state of things which prevailed previous to 1797; for at that period, and for many years preceding it, there was nothing but a metallic currency; and he was satisfied, that if the withdrawal of the small notes, and the introduction of a metallic circulation, did not effectually cure the existing evils, they would, at all events, have a great effect in removing them.

The Earl of Lauderdale said, he agreed

with the noble earl, that a great distinction existed between the system of the Scottish and English banks. But it was asked, why not then adopt the former in this country, instead of calling upon the Scotch to adopt the British system? The answer given to this requisition was "We cannot, for really we do not know enough of its details." He would give another reason, and a more forcible one; namely, that it could not so easily be imitated here; for in Scotland it was founded on the best foundation for any great establishment, namely, the practice of ages. The banking system in Scotland had the confidence of the people; and when the same could be said in an equal degree of that of England, then no change would be necessary. It was idle to talk of transplanting systems from one country to another. They all knew how valuable the British constitution was to those who lived under its influence; but endeavour to transplant it to Sicily and Corsica, and see the very different manner in which it would be received by the people. With respect to the test of experience in favour of the Scottish banks, he believed that, within the last century, no greater loss than 38,000l. had been sustained from any accident among them. A great deal had been said, during these discussions, of the connexion between the foreign exchanges and the over-issues of paper, and much confusion prevailed upon that point. He entreated the government, when so much misunderstanding prevailed, not to seize upon so unfavourable a moment for effecting so important a change. The noble earl opposite thought, that because the course of exchange had turned against this country, it was all to be attributed to an over-issue of paper. Surely the noble earl must be aware that there were various other causes which were sufficient to produce the same result. It might be caused by the balance of trade or of payments being unfavourable to us, as well as by a depreciation of the currency. There were certain unerring marks by which it could be ascertained what the real causes were. But it should always be recollected, that the exchanges never could run against a country to a greater extent than the relative expense of the conveyance of gold from one place to the other, including, of course, the amount of agency and insurance. The exchanges had never shown a depreciation of the currency, nor could they, so long

as the paper medium was convertible into gold. He repeated his condemnation of the time chosen by government for effecting the proposed change, believing as he did that the experiment would greatly aggravate the existing evils. As to the condition of the country banks, he thought their credit at that moment better than when the tottering banks were doing business. The bad ones had since fallen; and the effect of their stoppage would be beneficial to those that remained. He repeated his objections to the measure, and said that they applied more to the time of the alteration, than to the change itself.

The amendment was negatived, and the bill read a second time.


Tuesday, March 14.

BANKING SYSTEM IN SCOTLAND.] Lord A. Hamilton presented a petition from Lanark. He said, he thought it singular, after the government had so often lauded the system of banking in Scotland, and held it up for the imitation of the English bankers, that they should propose to effect a total alteration in it.

Mr. Abercromby said, he did not believe that the real feeling of the people of Scotland was opposed to the alteration in the currency of Scotland. On the contrary, he had reason to believe that the opposition came from persons interested in keeping up the present system. He was happy to find the whole of the press in Scotland advocating the cause of truth, and arguing in favour of the intended alteration, and acquainted as he was with the character of his countrymen, he could not refrain from expressing his surprise at the unblushing effrontery with which it was stated that the paper currency was universally believed to be intimately connected with the interests of Scotland.

Mr. W. Dundas thought the learned gentleman's statement proved him to be little acquainted with the present condition of his countrymen. His habits necessarily withdrew him from Scotland; and he appeared to have formed the opi nions he had just now expressed from the press, which, whatever might be its other merits, was not an unquestionable authority on this subject. It was most natural that the great majority of the Scotch should be, as they were, averse to the alteration of a system under which their country had risen, in the course of a hun

dred years, to a degree of prosperity unparalleled in history. All they called for now was fair inquiry; and with the result of that, be it what it might, they would be satisfied.

Mr. Ellice believed it would appear that the Scotch banks, the sound principle of which had been so much vaunted, had very materially tended to produce the mischiefs that were now felt so generally in Scotland.

Mr. J. Smith was enabled to state, from his knowledge of the several banks of Scotland, that they enjoyed the highest credit throughout that country.

Mr. Maberly believed that the Scotch nation were, from habit, so attached to the paper system, that they would refuse gold, if it was offered to them in lieu of it; but still he thought that the system ought to be altered, as a period of panic and pressure might arise in Scotland, when the mischief of such a currency would entail ruin upon that country.

Mr. Home Drummond had no objection to the appointment of a committee on the subject. He was quite satisfied that the petition expressed the general opinion throughout Scotland, and that there had never been a question on which that country had been so unanimous.

Mr. Hudson Gurney thought that nothing was more injurious than keeping a country in the state of uneasiness and uncertainty which discussions of this nature must necessarily create. If he might venture to offer his advice to the chancellor of the Exchequer, it would be to leave Scotland in the state in which it now was, until he had seen how the proposed alterations of system had worked in England, where, he conceived, the right hon. gentleman had already full enough on his hands, without extending the surface of his operations, and thereby greatly increasing his own embarrassments.

Colonel Johnson said, he should be glad to have the real opinion of the people of Scotland on this subject. When he was in that country, he believed they had no option; for he had never seen any gold at all. If the petitions spoke the sense of the people of Scotland, he was very much mistaken. He was rather inclined to attribute them to persons who were interested in keeping up the present state of things.

Mr. Baring said, he should be sorry to have a notion go abroad that the committee was to be appointed to inquire into

the solvency of the Scotch bankers. To do so would be inconsistent with prudence and common sense. At the same time, he had no doubt that such an inquiry might be made without any detriment to those bankers, of whose credit he had the highest opinion. The appointment of a committee on the subject might, however, be judicious; and, seeing the unanimous opposition which appeared to be made, he thought it would not be right to adopt the proposed measure without an investigation into the grounds of that opposition. The difficulty of returning to a metallic currency within the prescribed time even in England, would, in his mind, be much greater than many gentlemen imagined. It was, however, his decided opinion, that the measure would be good for nothing if it were not, sooner or later, extended to Scotland.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, it had never been his intention to submit to the House any question as to the solvency of the banks in Scotland. He was assured that they were all solvent; and if they were not, an inquiry of that nature would be as unprofitable as it would be ungracious. His only object was, to ascertain whether it would be politic to leave the small notes in circulation in Scotland, when they were abolished in England; and that he considered to be a very proper question for investigation by a committee.

Ordered to lie on the table.

EMIGRATION.] Mr. Wilmot Horton said, he rose for the purpose of bringing forward the motion of which he had given notice, for a select committee « to inquire into the expediency of encouraging Emigration from the United Kingdom. It would not be necessary for him to enter at length into the subject. The House would recollect, that, in the year 1823, a sum of 50,000l. had been voted for the purpose of enabling a certain number of men, women, and children to emigrate to the North American colonies. The number who then availed themselves of the encouragement held out by government was, in all, 268. The expense incurred by the country was 221. for each person. They were now placed in Upper Canada, and from a state of wretchedness and misery, were now comfortably and prosperously situated. This experiment having so far succeeded, it

was thought advisable to extend it in 1825, and there were then sent out, including men, women, and children, 2,024 persons. The average expense of each was not so great as in 1823: it amounted to about 201. The House would see, therefore, that for a sum of 20%. persons might be fixed in Canada, in a comfortable situation, with the prospect of independence before them, who, had they remained in Ireland, could hope for nothing but those privations, and that wretchedness and penury, in which the poor of many districts were obliged to drag out a miserable existence. The whole of those who had been sent out were in fact paupers, divested of all means of procuring a subsistence at home, and utterly incapable of providing for themselves and families. The most ample particulars connected with the subject of these experiments would be found in the reports of the committees of 1823 and 1825. It would therefore be unnecessary for him to go into them. He should content himself with saying, that the experiment of 1823 had completely succeeded, and that that of 1825 was in progress of success. In Upper Canada, the description given of the settlers by a person who might be relied upon was, that they were comfortably fixed on their land, perfectly contented with their situation, grateful for what had been done for them, making great progress, and living on the most friendly terms with the settlers who went out in 1817 and 1818. There appeared in the Canada paper a letter from a person named Fitzgibbon, one of the party who went out. Here the hon. member read an extract from the letter, speaking in high terms of the situation and prospects of his companions, and of the kind manner in which they had been received. He read another letter to the same effect, from a Roman Catholic clergyman, who accompanied them, and one from the superintendant, stating that the settlers were all comfortable, and doing well. To form an adequate idea of the misery of these poor wretches (for the emigrants who were sent out from Ireland were invariably selected from the poorest and most destitute classes), it was only necessary to refer to the reports of the evidence given before the committee on Irish affairs in the years 1823 and 1825. The hon. member here read extracts from the evidence of Dr. Doyle, the archbishop VOL. XIV.

of Cashel, Mr. O'Connell, and others, all uniting, in describing the situation of the Irish peasant as being most wretched. This was a picture which, however de plorable it might be, no Irishman who heard him would say was exaggerated. He would now read a letter from one of these identical emigrants, addressed to the superintendant. The hon. gentleman then read a letter, which mentioned the prosperous condition of the writer; that he had on hand a considerable surplus of corn, meal, and other produce; and that the only inconvenience experienced was the want of a market. Such was the change effected in the habits and comforts of these poor people by a transfer from one place to another. The hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Hume) had, in 1825, protested against such experiments, as an expense to which the country should not be put, and as not being likely to be productive of any advantage. He begged to remind the House, that government never had it in contemplation to supply all the expenses necessary for carrying such experiments further. Their object was to show, by a few trials, to those who might be interested in forwarding such a system, and in removing a redundant population, the ease with which it might be carried into effect, and the good consequences resulting from it. The hon. gentleman opposite had, upon a former occasion, contended that the mother country could have no interest in retaining the Canadas. In answer to the lion. gentleman, he had endeavoured to show the advantages that might be derived from them; from the facility they afforded of remedying, in some measure, the inconveniences arising from superabundance of population. It had been observed, in reference to the subject of colonization, that the value of the commodities now taken from this country by the United States of America was seven times greater than at any period previous to the war, while they continued in the situation of a colony. The fact, however, was not so. The value of the eommodities was only one half greater. The population of the United States was at present ten millions, and their consumption of English commodities was at the rate of about 12s. a head, while the consumption of the population of their own colonies, the Canadas, was upwards of 21. per head. This, he thought, should at least make them hesitate before they received, as a

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