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The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that the precise mode in which the plan might be carried into effect he was unable to state. One of the main considerations which had influenced the Bank, in the course they proposed to adopt, was the hope of being able to contribute to the relief, not merely of the city of London, but in an especial manner to diminish the distress which existed in the manufacturing districts.

Mr. Tierney wished to be informed whether it was intended to proceed by bill on the measure for securing the Bank? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he had not stated that it was the intention of government to bear the Bank harmless. All he had said was, that government meant to propose to parliament a measure which would reduce the advances made by the Bank to government, and relieve the Bank from the embarrassment consequent thereon. Nor was it his intention to propose any bill for the purpose of establishing a commission. The measure which government meant to propose, was one that would afford relief, by accelerating the operation of the law between merchant and factor.

Mr. Tierney said, he understood the right hon. gentleman perfectly, but was sorry he could not agree with him. He was still convinced, as strongly as when he had first expressed the opinion, of the propriety of issuing Exchequer-bills; and although he believed the proposed measure might have a good effect, still he was persuaded it would not have the desirable effect of restoring confidence. But he was at a loss to know how to argue this question; for, in fact, there was nothing begun; but he trusted some opportunity would be afforded him and his friends of expressing their opinions on the subject. It appeared to him that the measure they talked about was nothing more than a mere shift to do something, which, in effect, was nothing. The Bank had certainly behaved very kindly in putting themselves in the gap when nobody else would. But then, this measure did not come recommended by their approval. It was not brought forward like the measure of Mr. Pitt, which was recommended by a committee. The House was asked to adopt it, because, forsooth, a noble

earl at the head of his majesty's government had thought proper to declare, that nothing on earth would induce him to consent to the issue of Exchequer-bills; and then, to save that noble earl's honour from stain, the country was to be left to struggle through her distresses. This was not the kind of treatment the country deserved. If this was not a question for the interference of the legislature, he did not know what was. He trusted he should have a proper opportunity of expressing his opinions on this subject, for he felt it deeply. He did not wish to oppose government on the question of the currency, for he agreed with their general principles; but he should disgrace himself if he gave his support to such a measure as this. But, if the chancellor of the Exchequer would tell him when it would be convenient to discuss this question, he should be happy to accommodate the right hon. gentleman as to the period for telling him all the objections he had to the proposition. But the measure, as it now stood, was all soap and oil-no one could lay hold of it. The government of the country brought forward their grand panacea for all the evils of the country, which no man could discuss.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he did not feel very sensible of the accommodation proffered by the right hon. gentleman, in requesting a convenient opportunity for censuring the conduct of himself and the government. However, he must say he should have no objection to meet the discussion on fair grounds, if the right hon. gentleman should think proper to bring forward the question in the shape of a specific motion, or should avail himself of the opportunity of his right hon. friend's motion relating to the law of Merchant and Factor. He understood the right hon. gentleman to want an opportunity for calling the attention of the House to the question; if so, he had better choose his own day, and then the government would do their best to contend with the arguments of the right hon. gentleman.

Mr. Manning thought it would be much more convenient to the merchants to have a commission established; but, as the measure had only been agreed upon that afternoon, it would be impossible to enter into all its details at present.

Sir Francis Burdett said, he thought the conduct of government calculated to ispire any thing but confidence. As

to parliament with reduced estimates of those establishments-with such reduced estimates as the country ought to have had even if there had been no distress, and such as it was constitutionally entitled to in this, the eleventh year of peace [hear, hear!]. This was a crying evil; and he was convinced that no difference of opinion existed on the subject out of doors, whatever might be the feeling within the walls of that House. This was not a just return to the country-it was not treating the people with consideration or fairness, after all they had suffered, and the continued support they had given the government. As to the measure which had been opened to them that evening, it was the only one of the recent measures of administration to which he could give his concurrence. It did appear to him most extraordinary that government should have augmented, instead of allaying, the late panic at its commencement; that it should have withheld relief at the moment when it was calculated to be most effectual; that it should have proceeded for a time on the stern path of principle, without reflecting on the mischief it was inflicting by so doing; and that it should not have departed from it until it was compelled,yes, he repeated the words, until it was compelled-to do something for the immediate relief of the community. He was of opinion, that if the issuing of Exchequer-bills had been tried in the first instance, it would have done great good, and he was of that opinion, because the experiment had been tried formerly, and had been eminently successful. The government, he allowed, was placed in an awkward situation; for the question was now come to this-whether the country should continue to be distressed, or whether there should not be an imme

this was a subject on which almost every gentleman entertained some difference of opinion, he could not help thinking the House itself was hardly in a state to come to any legislative measure upon the subject, and therefore he regretted most exceedingly that the hon. member for the city of London had withdrawn his motion. Whether the accommodation came from the Bank or the Government was, in his opinion, one and the same thing to the public. All he wished was, that it should be done in a way which would give the most effectual relief to those most distressed. He could see no other reason upon earth for giving the accommodation in an indirect way by the cumbersome machinery of the Bank, instead of giving it in a direct way by the Government, than the declaration of the noble earl at the head of the Treasury, that nothing should induce him to consent to an issue of Exchequer-bills through commissioners. The noble lord had precedents for such a measure; and why he should be anxious to set a new precedent and relinquish the old ones, which had been completely justified by their result, he could by no means conjecture. The present measures were not calculated to afford immediate relief-on the contrary, they were all measures of a prospective and doubtful nature. What, then, was the House doing? Legislating in the dark, without information, when it was not hurried for time, since all its measures were to take effect at a future day. Reflection and thought ought to be bestowed on subjects of such importance as those which had been recently agitated; and yet parliament had shown a disposition to do any thing rather than bestow reflection and thought upon them. For his own part, he dissented entirely from all the measures which the House had hitherto adopted. He would not enter into a dis-diate advance of money to relieve it. All cussion of them at present, because it would be irregular; but one thing he would say regarding them, that he could not agree with any man, on either side of the House, in believing that it was either necessary, expedient, or possible, to return with haste to a currency of a metallic nature. It was not possible, he said, to pay in cash, and support the monstrous establishments of the country. And that consideration naturally led him to another; namely, that in the present distressed state of the country, it became the ministers of the Crown to come down

the merchants of the country-and on such a matter they were undoubtedly the best judges-thought that the most effectual relief which could be administered to them would be, by an immediate issue of Exchequer-bills. But his majesty's ministers had conceived a different opinion; and because they had once expressed it in public, they were determined not to recede from it. He thought that there was clear proof in the proceedings of ministers, that they had not sufficiently considered the measures which they had propounded to parliament.

The first

proof was in the alteration which they had made in their plan for regulating the circulation of one and two pound Bank of England notes; and the second, in their acceding to a plan which they had formerly scouted. Their whole course of proceeding ought to induce the House to pause in passing these measures; but it ought to induce them not to pause one moment in reducing the enormous and overgrown establishments of the country. Mr. Brougham said, he did not rise for the purpose of continuing this discussion, which, it must be admitted, was already sufficiently irregular. He could not, however, allow the present opportunity to pass without stating, that he concurred with every observation which had fallen from his right hon. friend, the member for Knaresborough, and with almost every observation which had fallen from the hon. baronet at the close of his speech. If the measure which they had heard of for the first time that night were one which ought to be resorted to at all, it ought to have been resorted to before the present moment. The true mode for government to have acted was to have done openly, fairly, and at once, that which it was now going to do in a round-about way-in a way of which the Bank, if it were called upon to make advances to the extent, or to half the extent, of the sum which they had just heard, would be the first party to repent; for the arrangement into which it had entered was as contrary to all the true principles of banking as any measure could possibly be.

Mr. Secretary Canning said, that when the fit opportunity should arrive, he would undertake to show, in the first place, that this measure was not the same as an issue of Exchequer-bills, and that many of the objections which applied to such an issue did not apply to it; and, in the second place, that the reluctance of government to issue Exchequer-bills was not founded upon any idle respect to the words of a noble earl, but upon a candid and anxious investigation of all the objections to which it was liable, and a sincere conviction that it was not their duty to consent to such a proposal. That opinion he would undertake to justify at the proper season, by such arguments as he trusted the House would deem conclusive.

Mr. Tierney said, that, as a motion regarding the issue of Exchequer-bills stood for that night, he gave the right hon. gen

tleman notice, that to satisfy his own mind, he should avail himself of it, to discuss the project which he had just opened to them.

The motion was then withdrawn.

EXCHEQUER BILLS FOR PUBLIC WORKS.] Mr. Ellice said, that after the declaration which his right hon. friend had just made, of his intention to discuss the propriety of the Bank advancing money upon deposits, to merchants, upon the motion which he then held in his hand, he felt himself justified in saying, that he fully concurred with his right hon. friend in the remarks which he had made upon that notable project. He did think, that if government had come down to the House immediately after the speech from the throne; if they had brought forward their financial statement for the year, and had announced their intention of relieving the Bank of the debt which they owed it, and of reducing it to purchase Exchequerbills in the market for the sake of increasing their price; and if they had further stated that they were ready to advance Exchequer-bills to merchants on their goods, they would not only have restored the country to confidence, but would have given that facility to the execution of their own measures, which would have been highly advantageous to their successful accomplishment. Having said thus much upon that subject, he would leave it in the hands of his right hon. friend, who was much better able to discuss it than he was, and would proceed forthwith to the explanation of his own motion. It would be in the recollection of the House, that two acts had passed, enabling his majesty's government to issue to commissioners Exchequer-bills, to be employed towards the completion of public works and for the employment of the poor. The commissioners under these two acts had proceeded from year to year, to make sundry advances to different classes of individuals for the purpose of carrying on public works and employing the necessitous poor. Reports had been from time to time laid before the Treasury, which had always found their way to the table of the House; but he did not find there had been any direct return to a motion to lay on the table an account of all issues made by the commissioners, and which appeared the more expedient, as such a measure was directly pointed out by the acts to which

Mr. Hume did not see the weight of the objection. The names of the parties at least, if not the nature of the securities, ought to be laid before parliament, that it might be seen whether or not the advances had been made to the persons, and for the purposes contemplated by the acts.

Mr. Ellice thought it quite necessary that he should have the names of the persons to whom the various advances had been made. With respect to the securities, he only wanted to know the nature of them; and the return would be sufficient, if it stated that the money had been lent upon personal security, or on the rates or tolls. He by no means wanted to know the names of the persons who had become securities for the repayment of the advances.

he had referred. On referring to the do- | offer any opposition; but he thought that cuments, he found that the commissioners the names of the parties to whom, and the had advanced monies, not only for the nature of the securities on which the completion of public works, but for many money had been lent, could not be necesother purposes connected with the trad- sary to the purpose which the hon. gentleing interest to a certain extent. They had man avowed, while it might be inconmade advances to the owners of coal-mines, venient to the parties concerned. and to persons engaged in fisheries; and that, upon one occasion, they had made a large advance to a banking concern in the north, upon the ground that it was deeply connected with the coal trade, and that if it had stopped, the consequence must be to throw a great number of the labouring class of people out of employment. These facts, together with the understanding, that a large sum at the disposal of the commissioners remained at present undisposed of, had induced him to think that the surplus might be applied to the relief of the manufacturing classes, with as great success as had attended the advances to the persons engaged in the coal-trade. It appeared that the government had found a means of throwing upon the Bank the task of supplying money for the necessities of the country. He thought it, therefore, highly necessary, that the House should be put in possession of the mode in which the issues of Exchequerbills had hitherto been made, as well as of the principle which had governed those advances. The money had been lent for the making of roads, canals, and gaols and the securities for the repayment had been of various descriptions. In some instances they were personal, and in others were made upon the rates and tolls belonging to the various works. He should therefore conclude by moving, That there be laid before the House an account in detail, of all advances of money, and Exchequer-bills for public works, or the employment of the poor, by commissioners appointed under the acts of 57 Geo. 3, c. 34 and 124, and 3 Geo. 4, c. 86, specifying the purpose and time for which each loan was granted; the parties to whom granted; the nature of the security rate of interest; any repayments hitherto made; and the amount now due and outstanding, and when payable: Also, an Account of Exchequerbills undisposed of, and still applicable, under the provisions of the said acts."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he hoped that, in objecting to the terms in which this motion was couched, he should not be deemed captious. To the main object of the motion he did not mean to VOL. XIV.

Mr. Tierney then rose. He said, that he had come down to the House in the hope that some discussion would take place respecting the measure proposed with respect to the Bank. He now, however, understood, that, owing to some arrangement which had been made, the Bank of England were, with the sanction of government, to take upon themselves to issue Exchequer-bills to the amount of 3,000,000l. He had hoped to hear some reason assigned for the opposition of government to the measures originally proposed by himself and others, as to the expediency of the government issuing Exchequer-bills in preference to the advance of money, which, it was said, the Bank was to make on the security of goods; and, on the present occasion, he was really under some disadvantage, from the circumstance of hearing this sort of arrangement come behind instead of before him. That the country was never in a state of greater distress than at that moment, was admitted on all hands. Every body was agreed in that House, as well as out of it, that some relief must be given, and that immediately; but, as to the mode in which that relief was to be administered, his majesty's ministers had a different opinion from the rest of the community. It had been proposed, on a former occasion, that it should be by means of Exchequer-bills, in the way he had just men30

tioned. No method appeared to him so free from objection as this. The experience of the effect which it had produced in 1793, proved not only that it was advantageous in practice, but that, theoretically, it was the best mode that could be devised, of restoring general confidence throughout the country; because it would show, that ministers did not wish to shrink from the danger which they saw around them. At present, so far from that being the case, it appeared that the Bank of England was the only body that did not shrink from this danger. As well for what they had done, as for what it seemed was now to be received from their hands, he felt himself obliged to say that the country was deeply indebted to the Bank of England. He wished he could say as much of his majesty's ministers; but he could not. Great stress had been laid, on a former evening, upon the principle, that the legislature ought not to interfere for the relief of distress purely commercial, and which had been induced by no other than commercial causes. No man living could agree more warmly in that, as a general principle, than he did, and no man would struggle more vehemently for its support; but the question to be decided, before that principle could be applied, was, whether the actual distress had been induced by causes purely commercial-whether there had not been such a departure from general principles, as made it necessary to have recourse to extraordinary measures for relief. In another place he understood the same language had been held; and when the circumstances of 1793 were quoted by those who thought with him on this subject, it was said there was nothing in the state of affairs in 1793 like those of the present time, because the former distress arose out of political circumstances. He thought he could show that this assertion was not correct. It was the fashion, he knew, to charge mercantile men in the gross with overtrading, and with running to excess in their speculations. He did not know whether it was necessary to inquire into what distinction this made between the present and the former state of the country, or whether it might not be more safe and satisfactory to consider, that, as the same result was experienced, the same, or nearly the same, causes must have produced both. But even if this charge, so often repeated against the whole body of commercial men, were well founded, who, he should like to know,

was it, that led them and the country into those excesses, by inspiring the belief that the resources of the country were sufficient to justify engaging in any enterprise? Who did this, if not the right hon. gentleman opposite, in conjunction with the Bank of England? Did they not run together the same great race of what was called prosperity; and were not the extensive issues a principal means of keeping up that which experience had proved to be fictitious, but which was, not long ago, roundly asserted to be permanent? Why, then, he did think it was too much now to turn round upon the people and say to them, "Because you believed all we told you, and trusted implicitly that all we said must be true, you are not now entitled to relief under the distress which your confidence has brought upon you." And yet this was the language of his majesty's ministers. They said the commercial men were not deserving of relief, because they might have seen their way more clearly. If they had looked to the proceedings of the Bank of England, and of the country banks, would that have enabled them to see their way more clearly; or would it not rather have helped to continue them in that delusion which nothing but the sharp pressure of distress had been able to awake them from? He did not say that the lending of money on mortgage by the Bank was recommended by the government; but who could deny that they encouraged and sanctioned it? He knew the manliness of the chancellor of the Exchequer too well to believe, that, although he might not be the person to have advised that measure, he would deny having been the cause of it. But, if this should be denied, he would ask whether the government had not, by its own unequivocal acts, led the way to that confidence in the prosperity, which had been found to rest on so rotten a foundation? What effect, other than this, was the measure respecting the holders of the 4 per cent stock calculated to produce? Did not those persons lose for ever one-eighth of their incomes, and for no other reason than because the country was discovered to be in a state of glorious prosperitywhich lasted about nine months? Had they not a right to complain, that they had been the victims of this imaginary prosperity-they who had purchased stock in the 4 per cents, and who found their interest reduced for no other reason than that? It was true, that when they pur

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