Зображення сторінки



LETTER I. Honoured SIR,

It has been a frequent custom å grocer became my master. This among the members of our family to man gave me in exchange for a £.5 write their Adventures, as witness note to a builder, and from him I the very interesting ones of my elder was transferred in payment of wages brother, the Golden Guinea ; and I to a working mason. He bought am about to follow their example, clothes with me. I then served an being myself a paper one: If I add, opulent clothier, but was soon paid also, a severe complaint of the man- by him to a writer to the signet, ner in which I am threatened at this his agent, who put me into the time to be treated, I know that I hands of an advocate, with one or shall be addressing my generous two more as a fee, “ to revise conde countrymen, who I trust will come scendence and answers, and make a boldly forward to prevent the grie- note of pleas in law,” according to vances of one to whom I sball spee- the new form of process. Some one dily show they owe a great deal. of this counsel's family was taken

Sir, I am now nae chicken, for I ill, and a doctor was sent for: there was born a good many years ago in is no rest for the wicked, and I was the Parliament Close of Edinburgh, again obliged to change my quarters, within the house of Sir William by being slipped into his hand on his Forbes & Company, on the south leaving the sick-room : and here, Sir, side of King Charles, and his belle on my first acquaintance with these metal horse. Though it was there gentlemen of the learned professions, I first drew breath, my rank was I could not but be astonished at only that of a servant-but, withal, their apparent indifference about it was more like that of a Russian me; for, on getting me, they generalthan of a British subject. In Russia, ly squeezed me into their breeches if a man is by birth the serf, or pocket, without so much as looking bondsman, of another, he is obliged me in the face. But ibis I soon all his days, in whatever line, or in found to be all fudge, and done in whose service soever he may be, to a kind of pretended modesty before labour for his original lord, and their employers; for no sooner were communicate to him no small share their backs about, than I was drawn of his gains. So it was with me. I out, when they deigned to peep at found I must set out to push my me fu' cordially. But I could not fortune; and Sir William having but notice how differently my new kindly shaken hands with me; with masters seemed to feel, when I came my staff and my scrip, like Bun- alone to them, from what were yan's pilgrim, I walked forth into the their apparent sensations when a few wilderness of this world, to work for of us came together. In the first his benefit.

case they were dull and gloomyMy debût in life was by entering and in the last, joy mantled in their into the service of a worthy customer faces. Such is the difference between of the house, who drew me out in solitude and society; and this of it. part of an order on his cash-account self accounts for the difference of for £.10 ; and the lad who was sent their manner. Be that, however, as was bidden “ bring a' sma' notes, for it might, I was quite satisfied with the (it was added) the mistress wants real regard of those persons for me, siller for her marketings." I was and comforted myself, with singing then given to the wife, who, with the old ditty, her “ lass” and her basket, took me “ Believe me 'tis true, that the Guinea's down into the “ laigh market,' in view, where I was soon exchanged for meat, And the rest,-it is all but a song, a and then I came to serve a butcher. song, He gave me for tea and sugar, and And the rest it is all but a song."

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

But to proceed: the doctor paid me And this leads me to advert to all away for corn to his horses, and I THE LATE MISCHIEF AND then took a jaunt to the country. I BANKRUPTCY; and I remark, was carried to St. James's fair : From that even the greater notes have had thence I went to the Falkirk Tryst; but a small share of the evil that then to Glesterlaw market ; after has been going on ; for it has been which a shopkeeper in Montrose got bottomed in more general causes. me; and a bag-man, one day coming Sir, the human mind, as well as in to him scraping and bowing, and the body, is subject to occasional epi. begging “ for money and orders," I demics; and these are

sometinies found my way in his pocket to Glas- fanatical, occasionally political, and gow, where I again led a town life. now and then commercial. The fer. I was handed from master to man ment in France, when our countrythere, and became the medium of man, Law of Lawrieston, made such no small comfort to warpers and a splore there in the days of the Miss weavers, and very many of the sissippi ; that in England, at the time “ numerous people” of the west ; and of the South-Seu-Scheme ; and that during all my track I was most ident of our own country of old Scotland in in the service of my liege lords; the days of the Darien, were all in. bringing them by my labour every stances of the latter of those kinds of year more than one shilling sterling fever ; and severe sufferings ensues,

All our family, Sir, have both ex- at periods when it cannot be said cellent eyes and ears; and my bro- that paper-currency was to blame.ther of gold, you may remember, told Now, Sir, we have had, at this time, in his adventures many things which an attack of the very same species of he both saw and heard, though he disorder ; and though paper perhaps was close tied up in a purse, a little aggravated the complaint, For through the steeks

as foggy weather is said to do an The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks. ague, yet the disease existed indeIt is the same with me: though en- pendent of it; and would have proveloped in the leaves of a pocket-bably afflicted the country, though book, I hear and see all that my there had not been such a thing masters and mistresses do; and many

as a bank-note in existence. a queer story I could tell you about The symptoms of the disorder have, them ; but servants should not be at this time, been different with dif. tale-bearers ; and though both my ferent patients ; for among some it brother the Golden Guinea, and our

led them to throw their money into cousin the Rupee, in their written the mines of South America, and voyages and travels, transgressed after other wild-goose scheines ; and in that respect, I shall not do so; it induced others (the tamer geese) for all people are most kind to me, to employ their's in the jog-trot line ever receiving me with gladness ; and of ordinary trade, but to overdo it besome are so attached to me, that not yond all measuré. Too much wealth all the mechanical powers of the law, often affects the brain, as too much (sometimes not even that powerful blood does the head. On this occaScottish iron crow, the squalor carce- sion, the inflamınatory disease was ris,) can wrench us asunder and brought on by too superabundant : separate us. I write not my life to be store of money, after the Peace had a vehicle of scandal, but to shew thrown idle a great deal of capital how innocent and industrious I am; which the War had employed; and and to all I have said I shall just add, by the accumulation of interest, that you will further perceive, that which could not, as before, be applied whatever such fellows as my rela- conveniently, in new Government tions, the hundred and the fifty pound. loans: the foolish overtrading of all ers, may have been about, I have kinds produced entanglements; and been but very little connected with it is easy to see that those bankers, great speculations; as when thou- who had been incautiously aiding sands and thousands are to be paid, such doings by their over-issues of there would be little thrift of either paper, would also fall in the general time or trouble in fyking with such cumble. insignificant beings as us sma' notes.

All this was, in England, a very

[ocr errors]

natural consequence of the situation is almost entirely limited to Scotland, of bankers and banking in that and that they never form part of large country. Lord Liverpool, in a late transactions out of it, I cannot conspeech in the House of Peers, said, - ceive that the use of them can have that bankers there are not unfre any other effect than saving the wear quently formed out of Petty Trudes. and tear of gold in Scotland. men and Cheesemongers. Those are But, Sir, what is THE REMEDY men often as deficient in knowledge which our Ministers are proposing as in capital ; and while paper-mills for those disasters in England ? for would inanufacture notes for them, none such have happened in Scotwhich their ambition, and its bastard land. It is to prohibit the issue of brother, their avarice, would prompt all small notes whatever over the emthem to send out profusely, they had pire. Now, some regulation of the no good means of perceiving and pre- kind may be right in England, where venting over-issues, so dangerous to the privilege has been abused, to the themselves and all concerned.

severe injury of the country; but While such is the situation of there having been no such abuse England, in this respect, it is agree in Scotland, extending such prohiable to contrast it with that of Scot- bition to this country, as

is inland, which I am well enabled to do, tended, would be most unjust: It belonging, as I do, to the shop, and would even be foolish ; for it would versant in the practical part of its be just like bleeding John, because business. Our Scotch bankers are James, in his cups, had got a fall, men of capital; and in this our and required phlebotomy : It would narrow country their condition is resemble the harsh policy of our Gowell known. Were they not consider- vernment at one time, who proscribed to be such, their brother bankers ed the whole persons of a name, bewould refuse their notes, and they cause some, who bore it, had offended. might then shut up their banking- But we are in Edinburgh ; and I houses : besides, they are neither must give another illustration, from petty dealers nor cheesemongers, but the Old Hee Schuil discipline. A well-educated gentlemen, regularly worthy master there was an ultra brought up in the line. But our disciplinarian, so that, out of mere private bank-machinery here is, zeal,' he often chastised without moreover, quite different from that crime. He bad a most ludicrous of England. As steam-boats have custoin of beating some of the schonow always "safety valves,” so our lars every Monday morning, to make, Scotch banking-system has what I what Malthus would call, a prevenwould call a complete safety appara

tive check for all the week. One fine tus, for the protection of all the cus- boy (I remember, his name was Bob tomers ; and that consists in the re- Millar) remonstrated strongly, one gulur exchange of notes made weekly, day, against this, saying he had done or twice a-week, in Edinburgh ; no harm whatever. The pedagogue's wherein every bank and banker is answer, however, was, “No matterobliged to buy back all his own notes no matter, Robie, lad ; but ye maun in the hands of the others, either by ha’e your weekly dues, so haud out your giving them correspondent notes of luif” and poor Bob was palmied. their's

, or specie, or bills on London One illustration still, and no more, at very short dates; and almost all and it is a sublime one: A baron of us are thus regularly sent packing bailie had issued a severe order to our own homes. It is quite clear, against the inhabitants' swine dethat this must prevent the evil of stroying their neighbours' gardens ; over-issues, and it has always done and many people were summoned on it; so that now, when the cheese- the occasion. One old woman pleadmonger-bankers of England have ed, relevantly enough, that her sow, been tossed before the wind, like de facto, had never so much as seen chaff, or like their own cheese-par. any of their gardens, and so could ings, our regular Scotch bankers have not be to blame. “ That may be a' stood firm, to the safety and pros- very true, good woman, (said the perity of the country. Considering magistraté,) but if your sow didna that the circulation of Scotch notes transgress, she might ha'e trungressed, and ye maun just dossie down pose they will admit of such a return your twa shillings like the love." for all our services; for our influence This I can testify, as I was snug in in Scotland has been most benige the bailie's pocket at the time, and and beneficial; facilitating, as we have heard distinctly all that was said. done all along, the discharging of

The application of all those cases rents the implement of contracts is so obvious, that I shall not trouble the payment of taxes, stipends, and you with any illustration from them. school-salaries, and thus benefiting But if this evil is to arrive, what is both Church and State. Sir, the plan to become of me, and all my breth of prohibiting us small notes is the ren, and our worthy overlords the ideal benefit of the poor ; but as all bankers, and all the nation? Shakes- trade, manufacturers, and other busipeare says, of mercy, that it is twice ness, would certainly fall off by it, blessed; but such operation would be the poor would in Scotland be the to Scotland twice-nay thrice cursed; greatest sufferers, instead of guiners, for not only would the bankers and on the occasion. their customers suffer severely, as I But, Sir, the day is far spent, the shall clearly shew in my next letter, shadows are lengthening, and I must but we, the poor afflicted, innocent, bend homeward and draw my address and meritorious sma'-note servants, to a close. I cannot, however, do so, would be first imprisoned in some without strongly pressing on my dungeon of a strong-box, and then countrymen of all descriptions, from led out to an auto da fe, worse than “Maiden-kirk to Johnny Groats," any in Spain or Portugal, and com- the necessity of arousing themselves mitted to the flames, such cruelty on this great occasion, and letting our being more barbarous than any complaints be heard by the Senators thing that could have occurred to of St. Stephen's Chapel, and the Dionysius, and its consequences more Peers of the Realm, at the deafest extensive than Sylla's proscriptions sides of their heads; and when they or Nero's persecutions.

do so, there will be no fear of success. Sir, all this will be found to be

I am, in the mean time, downright iniquity, when the matteris well sifted in the Committee, and

Honoured Sir, our case fairly stated to our rulers. Your obedient Servant until death, It is indeed quite impossible to sup




In my last letter, I promised to discourse; and well do I remember address you again soon, and I now the numerous divisions of those of perform my promise. Since my last the learned and Reverend Mr Kettlewriting you, a paper civil-war has drummel, which were fifteen in arisen in the Waverley family regard- number. Their error was in having us, in which old Malachi Ma- ing too many compartments; but the lagrowther, honest man, took the partition of a treatise of any kind, into field nobly for us; and he has been a few leading parts, aids arrangement, met by his kinsman, E. Bradwar. and produces perspicuity. Know, dine Waverley, who has fired some therefore, that, with a blessing, 1 proshots at our friend from England; pose :- 1st, To advert to the nafor he durst not for the soul of him ture and principles of Banking :-, have crossed the Tweed to have done To give a slight sketch of the history so. Now, Sir, I mean this epistle to of it, as it has existed, and still exists, include a reply to his attack on us, in Scotland :-30, To attend generally and our defender; and I mistake to the abuses of it and the evils thence the matter if I do not demonstrate in arising; as these ills have affected and the sequel, that his views are quite may affect, the commercial world, erroneous and unfounded.

the Bankers, and the poor : 4th, To Sir, our old-fashioned ministers draw your attention, also, in a general were great dividers of their beads of - manner, to the proposed remedy of

these evils in the abolition of small which produces nothing to the counnotes : 5th, I shall consider the ar- try. The judicious operations of guments on these subjects as relative banking, by substituting paper in to Scotland, under which I think I the room of a great part of this gold shall refute Mr Bradwardiné. My and silver, enable the country to 6th head shall be miscellaneous; and, convert a great part of this dead like the Reverend Brethren, I shall stock into active and productive conclude with a few serious refleca stock,<iuto stock which produces tions on the whole. This arrange: something to the country. Phe gold ment of my discourse is no doubt and silver money which circulates in a little à la sermon, but I trust my ary country máy very properly be audience will not dose at it.

compared to a highway, which, while It was a favourite remark of my old it circulates and carries to market all friend Burns the poet, whom none the grass and corn of the country, will accuse of want of originality, produces itself not to a single pile of that apt quotations are always use- either. The judicious operations of ful, resembling, as he said, ready- banking, by providing, if I may be made articles ; and much he dealt in allowed so violent a metaphor, a sort them, as my Secretary, whose pen I of waggon-way through the air, ennow use, could shew, by the exhibits able the country to convert, as it of many of his letters. "Now I shall wete, a great part of its' highways resort to quotations also, and shall into good pastures and corn-fields take them from home-bred philoso- and thereby to increase very coná phers: “Money (says David Hume) siderably the annual produce of its is not, properly speaking, one of the land and labour t." subjects of commerce, but only the Thus I have exhausted my first instrument which men have agreed head. The application of it will upon to facilitate the exchange of come afterwards. As to my second, one commodity for another*.” So the history of Banking in Scotlund, it says one great man, as to money in commences with the institution of general: another one (Adam Smith) the Bank of Scotland in 1695, which ives us, in his Wealth of Nations, was followed by that of the Royal the following distinct account of pa- Bank in 1727, and by the setting per-currency, and the principles of it: a-going of several private banks of

" That part of his capital which a great respectability. As to the good dealer is obliged to keep by him una effects of banking in Scotland, Dr employed, and in ready (money, for Smith says, “I have heard it assertio answering occasional demands, is sơed, that the trade of the city of Glass much dead stock, which, so long as gow doubled, in about fifteen years it remains in this situation, produces after the first erection of the banks nothing either to him or to his coun- there, and that the trade of Scotland try., . The judicious operations of has more than quadrupled sinee the banking enable him to convert this first erection of the two public banks dead stock into active and productive at Edinburgh ;" and he afterwards stock, -into materials to work upon, adds, “ that the banks have contri-into tools to work with, and into buted a good deal to this increase provisions and subsistence to work cannot be doubted." for,-into stock which produces some From the time of the institution of thing both to himself and to his couna' those banks, I am not aware that Go try. The gold and silver money which vernment ever interfered with banks circulates in any country, and by and banking in Scotland, except in a means of which the produce of its solitary instance. During the midland and labour is annually circulated dle of last century, a set of inferior and distributed to the proper con people circulated notes for five and sumers, is; in the same manner' as ten shillings; and as those persons the ready money of the dealer, all were little known, the tax-gatherers dead stock. It is a very valuable refused their paper; just as is done, part of the capital of the country; it is believed, at this day in the Isle of

• See his Essay on Money.

+ Wealth of Nations, Book II. c. 2. VOL XVIII.


« НазадПродовжити »