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England ; and if one mail-coach care provisions of victuals and clothing, ries them a few stages south, pro- and that the workers are paid regu. bably that of the next day brings larly, not in money, but in printed them northward again ; for they paper orders on the keepers of those leave not the high road, as I under- stores, for whatever they may restand, and do not mingle with the quire, and up to the amount of their country of England at large. labour; the same plan being followed,
It is certain that Scotch notes are for conveniency, at the great mills of very little use in London. It is of Mr Owen, within a mile of Latrue, that a few Scotch gentlemen, nark, in our own country. Now, is who frequent the British coffee- not this a paper currency, though of a house, and are about going north, ruder and more imperfect kind than may receive them, but that is quite bank-notes, which go current into trifling, and all others in the metropo- whose bands soever they may come, lis avoid them. I well remember once, and are confined to the walls of no in the course of my travels, getting great manufactory whatever ? somehow into the possession of a There is one thing in which I London footman, who offered me at cannot possibly agree with Mr Maevery shop in his neighbourhood, but lachi, and I have a far better opall to no avail. When the poor fellow portunity of knowing the matter was fully persuaded I was no more ihan he. He says, that the possesthan a piece of waste paper, and sion of gold is more apt to subject about to light a candle with me, it its holder to theft and robbery than occurred to him to show me to his the having of bank-notes"; but this, master, an eminent city attorney, in truth, is not so. From experience and he brought hiin to the Scotsman I know, that notes in general are who writes this for me, who was at the more frequently stolen than guineas ; time in London. A golden guinea because a pocket-book, which conwas instantly given for me in ex- tains the first description of money, change to the servant, who, as it was by being generally put into the coat. unexpected, received it most joyfully, pocket, is more easily laid hold of while my secretary told him,-"by a thief than a purse, which, by wish i had a 'cart-load of these being deposited in the cellar of the notes ; I would give you half a-dozen breeches pocket, is commonly put of carts-load of gold for them;"- out of the reach of the nimble hand which surprised the Londoner still of even a Filch himself, with all his more. This was quite true; the story alertness. But the question here reowes nothing to imagination, and lates, in truth, not to notes in gemust aid in quieting English fears neral, but to small notes; and a Scotch that our Scotch currency interferes guinea note, in the hands of a thief, with their circulation.
is just as valuable to him as a golden In the course of the parliamentary guinea ; it is of as ready a currency; debates, a fact was alluded to, which, and he is as free from detection in if unexplained, may improperly pro- issuing the one the other; because, duce a wrong inference.' li was said whatever may be done as to the that Lancashire prospers, though greater Dons of hundred pounders there is no paper currency made and and others, the numbers of us trifling issued in that county. Now the persons, the small notes, are never statement is too general: for there taken. Some of these observations is a paper currency both made and apply more particularly to the exerused there, and great benefit arises cise of the more dexterous science of from it, though it is admitted that it pocket-picking; but all of them are is not formed of bank notes. A equally applicable to the bolder ad. great part of the population of that venture of robbery--properly so calle extensive manufacturing district con- ed; for, to resort to Mr Malagrow. sists of persons who are employed ther's own instance, I have myself at the great factories, cotton-mills, been robbed once and again from catand others; and it is well known tle-dealers, coming from fairs, and I that the way in which matters are passed from the foot-pads just as arranged there, is, that the owners of easily as if they had been the first them have large stores of all kinds of gentlemen of the country, and I one of the best-bred golden guineas : but, discussed, Í meant to have added Sir, you must remember the famous a eulogium on cash accounts, which robbery and murder of poor Begbie, Mr Hume, with much praise, rethe porter of the British Linen Com- marks as peculiar to Scotland. But pany, a good many years ago; after that matter is now trite; and by a which, it appeared that the robber learned disquisition on exchanges, 1 had thrown away, into a field at intended to have shewn, that gold Bellevue, the large notes of his booty, when brought to this country, could which he abstained from circulating no more remain in it, than it would through fear of detection, but that do if the guineas were all placed he had kept the small ones, having, on a smooth, inclined plane, with its as to them, no such dread. Now, I am upper part at Zetland, and its lower well acquainted with the whole faet, extremity at London, when they for having had a very particular in- would speedily roll south wards; but timacy with a British Linen Com- our friend, Mr Malachi, has anticipany Note at that time, as we lay pated me on this head, by his apt along side of one another one day, quotation from Mrs Glasse's works, he told me the whole story. Sir, I remarking in the outset, as he does am aware, that while Malachi and I after her, that the first step towards are generally on the same side in the the dressing of a hare is to catch it; business, I'ought not, perhaps, to meaning thereby, of course, that gold fight with him about this, as the ige must be first brought into Scotland norant game-cocks did with one before it can be used here ; but he another, though they had one com- might have carried his allegory a little mon feeder, who was carrying them farther, and added, that after this to support the same interest at å hare of ours is skinned and roasted, distant cock-main; but I am desi- however wonderful in natural bisa rous of being, in every respect, held tory it might be, yet she would certo be equal to my brother of gold, tainly spring into life again, and and I will not yield to him, even in run away ;-that when caught anew, what some might call a defect, while she would do the same, and repeat the existence of the deficiency proves the same thing again and again; virtually that I am as good as he, she being more sly and agile than and worth twenty-one shillings, as any witch ever was, who, as frewell as he is. Sir, I will never give quently happens, had taken the shape up to gold one iota of respectability. and appearance of that animal. On the contrary, I say, that greater And this, Sir, leads me to a very respect lies with us of paper than important enquiry, in which almost with it, because the very existence all the rest of the discussion musk of us always denotes that we belong centre; namely, What would be the to rich and commercial countries. effect, in Scotland, of substituting! could show you, that bank, and banke gold instead of a paper-currency? ers' notes, universally prevail where I will explain it, in telling you an trade and manufacturers flourish, anecdote :-During the last war, an but are seldom found in barbarous English militia corps were quartered and back-going countries; and this I at Piershill Barracks; and their officould demonstate, by a contrast on cers were mere John Bulls, who, to this point between Venice, Genoa, use a Fife expression, had seen few Florence, Amsterdam, and Britain; towns but Torryburn. When they with Turkey and Spain ; keeping in came to arrange about their mess, remembrance, that when the ban- they told the messman, an acquainditti in Gil Blas brought in their ra- tance of mine, that they must have vished treasure, it consisted of pie a regular supply
of bustards at dina toles, and not of paper. We have no Boniface was a Norlan', and such vermin in this blessed land as had never heard of such things in his those ; but if' we had a captain Ro- life. “ Bustards! bustards !" said lando and his gang, they would be he, “ What are they?" just as happy to lay hold of me and are," answered the Solomon of a my brethren as they were of the major, “ charming birds ; sold every Spanish shiners.
day in the markets both at Salisbury This subject has been already much and Cambridge ;-pound weight for
« They pound weight, they are as cheap as lings; but travelling is dear, and your partridges, and we must have he might incur one shilling of exthem from you once or twice a week." penee before reaching Edinburgh, " Have them !" said my friend, and another shilling before arriving " but where am I to get them in the north of Scotland: he would "Get them !” replied the other, then have cost in all twenty-two " you must just get them the best shillings, and he could be got for no way you can; but have them we less, so that it would have cost all, must.' “ Weel, weel,” said the at least, that I, a guinea-note, am Suttler, " they that will to Cupar worth, and one shilling more to will to Cupar, but mind you'll have purchase him, though, in reality, he to pay soundly for them before I would never go for more than twencan put them on your table ; for do ty-one shillings: ye think, suppose they may be as Now, these things would have cheap as patricks in their ain coun- two effects: first, they would make try, they can be brought north here- money scarcer than before, and awa, and no be ony dearer? Ye're thereby depress the spirit and adó a' fond o' nice north-country Finnan venture, and through them the haddocks, but think ye that I can trade and manufactures of the councoff them as cheap, to serve you, in try; and, secondly, they would althe Auld Fish-market Close o Edin- ter the value of all commodities, to burgh, as I wou'd do on the plain the ruin of many, and the confusion steens o' Aberdeen?” A correspon- of all. dence was accordingly instituted with For the first of these effects of the the South, and bustards were sure scarcity of money we have the auenough got for a month or two, but thority of Mr Hume: “A nation the first settling of mess-accounts (says he) whose money decreases, is put an end to furnishing 'them; and actually at that time weaker and the gentlemen soon found, that it more miserable than another nation, was wisdom to be satisfied with what who possesses no more money, but is Scotland could afford.
on the increasing hand."
'-" In every It is necessary, however, now to kingdom, on the other hand, (he be grave; and the application of our says,) into which money begins to illustrations, which we now are ap- flow in greater abundance than for proaching, renders us as naturally so merly, every thing takes a new face ; as the perusal of his book of bad labour and industry gain life; the debts did old Rapid in the Road to merchant becomes more enterpriRuin. The excellent notes of our sub- sing, the manufacturer more diligent stantial bankers are the produce of and skilful, and even the farmer our own country, manufactured by follows his plough with greater alaourselves, and deriving, from the sig- crity and attention." natures of the opulent men who sign As to the second consequence, it them, such credit, as turns paper at would distressingly change the value once into valuable cash. But gold of all things, as I shall proceed to is not the produce of our own coun- shew: A sovereign, worth in Lon try; it is a foreign article, heavier, don twenty shillings, and which in and of more difficult conveyance, Scotland can never pass for any than the bustards, and if the use of it more, has, in truth, as I have shewn, is forced on us instead of that of cost, say twenty-two shillings'; and notes, it too must be as severely paid whether in the hands of the importfor as they were. But let us calmly er, or any other person, it has never look at what would be the conse been got for less : now observe the quence of this. It would totally effects of this on all existing en change every thing for the worse. gagements, whether for immediate A golden sovereign, when rising beau- implement or of lengthened duration. teonsly from the London mint, as To begin with the last, suppose a Venus of old did from the Ægean tenant is to pay his rent of £.800 aSea, is worth exactly twenty shile year; he must do it in sovereigns,
'These are mere statements for the sake of illustration, there being no intention to state them as actual rates.
which have actually cost him £.550, to the country from the new loan, and thus his rent is raised on him on the contraction of which the adone-tenth part. Suppose, again, a ditional tax has been imposed, no country gentleman with a family, benefit would arise on the occasion having a fine estate, which he of the increase of burden through had been considering well worth the change of currency to any others £.110,000; that he has £.100,000 than carriers, the owners of steamof debt ; and that he has been form- boats and underwriters, in insuring ing the rational plan of a sale, by and bringing of gold into the counwhich he would, as he expected, be try; unless it should be to bullionenabled to pay off the debt and have merchants abroad, who would have £.10,000 Sterling as a snug compe- just so much better a market by tence to his widow and children: in furnishing gold for a circulating consequence of the change of the medium, to a quarter where former currency, it is clear that they must ly almost none was used. be all left destitute, because he must . And here, I am aware, an objecnow pay in sovereigns, and the tion may be started against these amount of them necessary for an- latter views, which will be soon seen swering his debt alone could not be to be more imaginary than real. It got a farthing under his whole may be said, that the small notes £.110,000 of old value.
only are to be supplanted by gold, Let us now see what effect the and not the larger ones; that when change would have in another point the tenant alluded to comes to pay of view. As specific money-rates are his rent, or the country gentleman fixed for the taxes, would not the his debt, he would do it in larger alteration of the currency have, in notes, which had remained the same so far as regards the people, the ef- as before, and that therefore these fect of at once raising them all ten persons would be no sufferers—but all per cent. ? Because, as they must be this would be quite erroneous. The paid, not in notes, but in sovereigns, change in the value of the currency, all persons liable in them must just by the abolition of the small notes, expend one-tenth more of either and substituting gold for them,would substance or labour than formerly, at the same time alter the value of to enable them to meet them. Ac- the large notes, as a ten-pound note cording to the common saying, a or a hundred-pound note would then spade is a spade whatever name may denote just ten or a hundred sovebe given to it, and if a man's annual reigns; and any man desirous to expenses are increased by a Govern- pay a large sum, in great notes, ment regulation one-tenth, it is of would, before he could procure them, no consequence what you call the have ten per cent. to give, of either nature of the augmentation. Let work or property, more than he us suppose, therefore, that our rulers, would have done before the currency instead of loading us with ten per had undergone the change. It is in cent. yearly in that way, from the vain, therefore, to say that the prochange of currency, should lay on posed alteration would have but a that amount of additional annual limited influence. It is clear that it taxes, what then would we think? would change the rate of all things, and yet this is in fact the same to the great vexation of the country. thing. Suppose that, during this These views of large transactions profound peace, under the head Bud- have more reference to the rich. The get, in the newspapers, should be protection, however, of the poor is announced ten per cent. additional to professed to be the great object of all the taxes, what would the pa- the proposed change; and a few triotic Joseph say to it, and what more remarks remain to be made on will he say to this, which is just as this part of our subject regarding bad when he comes to advert to it ? them, in addition to what was forThere is besides this difference, which merly stated. The poor never is still so much farther against the thrive but when the rich prosper ; proposed change, that instead of the and we all remember the great mievil having arisen out of some advan. sery of the country labourers soon tage, or supposed advantage, derived after the arrival of peace, when the
prices of farm produce were low, and all our children of the widow woman's few improvements going on. But hen, which was laying for her conwould not the proposed change in veniently an egg every day; but the the currency bring back such wretch- greedy wife, with the view of maedness? for it would injure the ten- king her still more prolific, fed her antry, by raising their rents, and up, and put a stop to her laying aldiminishing the price of their arti- together. The instance of later occles: that is one effect; another would currence related to a member of a proceed from the great difficulty that family, with whom, in these letters, there might occasionally be in such you are already acquainted. remote situations as Yell, in Zetland, Old Timothy Christal, the broand the distant shores of the He- ther of Mr Malachi's friend of that brides, to have gold; so that a pro- name, was a little jobbing tailor in per circulating medium would be St. Mary's Wynd, with great store wanting altogether, and men might of old small-clothes, and cast, but have to resort to the expedient of the well-brushed coats and waistcoats, savages in Nootka Sound, and use hanging at his door: industry and a particular species of rare shells as great frugality made him rich in his money, or betake themselves to the line, and every broker in the lane former custom of barter ; in any of looked up to and respected him. I which cases, society, instead of ad- knew him well; for frequently was vancing, would be rolled backwards 1 with bim in the way of my calling, centuries, and men reduced once and I often remarked the smiling more to something like the savage, faces and gay chearfulness of both or the barbarous state.
him and his thrifty wifie, whose own Great is certainly the utility and needle was never a-wanting, on a importance of the system of cash pinch, to help on with the work when credits, though Mr Bradwardine has trade was good. But their very proslighted them with no great proprie- sperity sowed the seeds of their ruin. ty. But is it not evident, that a They gave their family what is called golden currency would cripple and a good education, that is, their daugh. impede that excellent expedient in ters got French and filligree, paintbusiness ? for what banker but would ing and the piano ; and their son hesitate about granting such cre- Tom, though he had no intention of dits, in the uncertainty to what ex- throwing down for good the family tent they might be used, and in the scissors, and leaving the vocation view of being always obliged to have of bis forefathers, was sent for a gold, at whatever expense, in his single season to the college to study coffers, to answer such contingent the Latin classics. Now, Sir, as drafts ? The day that should put the Roman tunic and toga bore an end to paper currency I conceive no resemblance to our modern garbs, would close almost every cash-ac- I was not aware what benefit this count in the country.
young snip would gain at the Uni. And now, Sir, having thus gone versity, and in fact he got nonethrough all my regular heads of dis- for even the Ars poetica of Horace, course, I come to iny grave and con- and the famous Omnibus in terris of cluding reflections, and the text of Juvenal, made him neither shape nor them shall be the valuable Scottish sew one whit better. The truth is, maxim of“ let weel byde," much more that the smack of culture which, peraptly brought into view by Malachi haps injudiciously, was given to all than I can attempt it, rude and slow the branches of the family, did them of diction as I am. To say much of much harın. They rapidly became it would be commonplace ; but all too genteel for the old clothes while I remind you of one old in- shop, and a trip of the young man stance of the truth of it from our to London, with a residence of a few schoolmaster Æsop, I shall tell you months with a noted fashioner there, another of more recent date, and resolved the father and son to take nearer home, as it occurred in my a new shop on the South Bridge, own experience.
with a heavy rent and a gay sign, That taken from the learned an- styling them clothiers, tailors, and cient, is the apologue well known to habit-makers.” A very short time,