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CHAPTER JII.

Bank Loan bill.Bill for renewing the Bunk Restrictions of Payment.

Complaint on employing the Military on Court Days.

I

T has been ntentioned that Mr. brought under the consideration

Grenfell offered to the House of the House when the Bank Loan of Commons a motion for the ap- bill was before a committee of the pointment of a select committee whole House; and in consequence for inquiring into the engage- he moved, as an amendment, ments subsisting between the “ That the other orders of the day public and the Bank of England be now read." for the purpose of adopting a new After some debate, this motion arrangement, which was rejected. was agreed to ; when the House The hon. gentleman, on March having resolved itself into a com14th, after a preliminary address mittee on the Bank Loan bill, the toʻthe House, in which he declar. Chancellor of the Exchequer proed himself satisfied that without posed to fill up the blank in the any thing like an infraction of the second clause, relative to the inpublic faith towards the Bank, terest on the loan, by the words they ought, particularly at this “ four per cent." Mr. Grenfell time of distress, to look to it as a then moved, as an amendment, resource for many millions which the substitution of “free of all inwere now procłuctive to them, not terest." This motion being given by way of loan, but as a matter of up, Mr. Bankes proposed filling up right; and being also convinced the blank with three per cent. that the publie ought to demand which was negatived withont a a considerable reduction of the division, Mr. Grenfell then prosum charged for the management posed his resolutions, for the purof the national debt ; moved eight pose of putting them upon the several resolutions. Of these, the Journals of the House, upon each seven first were merely affirmation of which, excepting the last, which of certain accounts relative to the was withdrawn,

thdrawn, the previous Bank : the eighth bound the question was carried. House forthwith to take into con- Mr. Mellish then moved a numsidération the advantages derived ber of resolutions, consisting of by the Bank from the manage statements of accounts relative to ment of the national debt, and the concerns between the Bank from the balances remaining in and the public, on which the pretheir hands, with a view to a new vious question was put and cararrangement.

ried. The first resolution being put, On March 29th, the order of the Chancellor of the Erchequer ob- the day being for the third readserved that these points might be ing of the bill, empowering the

Bank

Bank of England to advance the the way in which the proposition sum of six millions towards the had been received by the Chansupply of the year 1816, Mr. cellor of the Exchequer, he should Grenfell rose to declare his per- again press on that right hon. manent opinion on the subject. gentleman, should he extend to The Chancellor of the Exchequer the Bank the term of restriction (he said) bad culpably acquiesced on their cash payments, the exin the extravagant demands of the pediency of stipulating, on the Bank, and had sacrificed from 2 to part of the public, for a participa300,0001. a year for no other pur- tion in the enormous profits arispose than to swell the enormous ing to the Bank from the exclutreasures of this opulent corpo

sive circulation of their paper as ration. The ingenuity of the de- the currency of the country. fenders of this measure could not In the debate which followed controvert the position that the the former, differences of opinion state of the question was this— between the favourers and the “ You, the public, have for the opponents of the interests of the last eight years, and now have, Bank were displayed. At length, deposited in the Bank a stationary the bill having been read a third and permanent sum of eight mil- time, the Chancellor of the Exchelions and a half, out of which you quer rose to move an amendment have received, free of interest, an to the preamble of the bill, which advance of three millions and a preamble ran thus : “ Whereas half.” Was it not absurd to talk the Bank of England are possessof an advance under such a state ed of divers sums of the public of account between the Bank and money, arising from balances of the public? And now, when six several public accounts, and are millions were wanted, an interest willing to advance,” &c. The of 240,000). was required for the proposed amendment was to leave advance; and this was, by a mis- out all the words from “ Bank of application of terms, called a England,” to “ are willing." In loan! Parliamentary interference the discussion of this matter it had already done much, and would appeared that the clause in quesdo more on similar occasions. tion had been proposed by Mr. In the present bill a saving of Grenfell, and at his suggestion 60,0001. a year had been effected, had been incorporated in the preby borrowing at 4 instead of 5 peramble': that Mr. G. had been decent. ; but why had not the pub- sired by the Chancellor of the Exlic the benefit of this regulation in chequer to consult the governor 1806, 1813, and 1814, when the of the Bank on the subject, from Bank held the same public funds whom he received an equivocal as now? At some future period answer, and that this being rethe country might derive con- garded as an acquiescence, the siderable advantage from the un- clause was inserted. claimed dividends, to which the Mr. Mellish (the governor of attention of parliament had been the Bank,) stated that when the directed by an hon. friend of his hon. gentleman had given him a (Mr. Bankes). Notwithstanding copy of the clause, he had ex

pressed

pressed a strong objection to it, had acknowledged that he had but he had taken it home, not agreed to it only on the underthinking that the bill would come standing- that it was not dison that night; and that he was agreeable to the governor of the afterwards surprised at its intro. Bank of England, the House diduction in the preamble. He said, vided, when the numbers were, he complained of the words be- For the amendment 116, Against cause they gave an er parte view it 56 : Majority 60. of the question. If the advan- The words were then erased, tage wliich the Bank derived from and the bill passed. the public were to be inserted in On April 5th, the motion for the preamble of the bill, it was the second reading of the Bank but fair also to insert the advan- Loan bill being made in the tages which the public derived House of Lords, Lord Grenville from the Bank.

rose, and in an eloquent speech Mr. Ponsonby calleıl upon every expressed his entire dissatisfaction member in the House who was of with the bargain which the mino party, to observe whether he nister's had concluded with the was not right in his assertion, that Bank. He referred with high enthe Chancellor of the Exchequer comium to Mr. Grenfell's speech was not a match for the Bank of lately published on the subject, England ? When, after having and entered into a detail of ciragreed to a preamble of his own cumstances connected with his bill, he consulted with the gover- own negociation with the Bank. nor' and directors, and proposed His lordship was replied to by to expunge a part of it at their the Earl of Lirerpool, who was pleasure, must it not be adınitted followed on the other side by the that they governed and directed Marquis of Lansdown and the Earl the Chancellor, and endeavoured of Lauderdale. to extend their authority to par- The bill was then read a second liament itself ? He hoped the time. It appears to have passed House of Commons would not the House without further dis.. degrade itself by agreeing to an cussion. amendment under such dictation. The subject of the restriction

Mr. Baring, in defence of the of the Bank from making payamendment, said that the inten- ments in money, had been brought tion of the words proposed by the before parliament almost yearly hon. gentleman, (Mr. Grenfell) since the act had passed for that was to insert in the bill the sub- purpose ; and the public expectastance of the opinions entertained tion of a return to the former sysby him, who, in his extreme zeal tem had been disappointed as often on the subject, had made so ex- as circumstances had excited it. aggerated a statement of the ac- The general peace had rendered counts between the public and the this hope more sanguine; and it Bank.

could not but occasion surprize as After other members had ar- well as disappointment, to learn gued for and against the insertion that the ministers had determined of the clause, and the Chancellor upon a new and considerable protraction of a measure, during ments in favour of a further dethe continuance of which the fi. lay of two years, by declaring nancial state of the country could that he had no doubt whatever of not be said to have recovered a an absolute resumption of paysound and healthful condition. ment at the end of that period.

traction

This avowed intention induced After several speakers on both Mr. Horner, on May 1st, to rise sides had delivered their opinions in order to make a motion for the on the subject, and the mover appointinent of a select committee had concluded with a general reto inquire into the expediency of ply to the arguments of the oprestoring the cash payments of the posers of his motion, the House Bank of England, and the safest divided, when there appeareil, and inost advantageous means of For it, 73; Against it, 146: neeffecting it. In a preliminary gative majority 73. speech, displaying a very exact On May 3d the House resolved and comprehensive knowledge of itself into a committee on a bill, the subject, the hon. member for further continuing an act of took a view of the reasons which the 44th year of his Majesty, to had been adduced for the renew- continue the restrictions on payals of the Bank restriction, and ments of cash by the Bank of the evils which they had occasion- England; when the first clause ed; and expressed his conviction having been read, for continuing that neither the directors nor the the restriction till the 5th of July, ministers could be trusted as sin- 1818, cere in their professions of de- Mr. Horner declared himself siring that cash payments should unwilling to oppose the measure be resumed at any period, till of allowing two years for the measures had been prepared for Bank to return to cash payments, effecting the resumption. He because it appeared to concur with suggested some arrangements for the general sense of the House

; entering upon a gradual payment but it seeined to be as generally which would guard the Bank the sense of the House that such from the danger of a sudden protection to the Bank ought not change, and concluded with the to be extended beyond that period; motion above-mentioned.

and as there was no clause exThe Chancellor of the Exchequer pressive of this expectation, he positively denied that, by prolong- hoped the bill would not pass ing the restriction for two years, the committee without receiving there was any intention of render- such an amendment. He then ing it perpetual. He said that put the question to the Chancellor an aet passed long ago had em- of the Exchequer, whether he powered the Bank to prepare the would agree to the introduction way for a general payment, by of such clause; and expressed enabling it to issue cash for notes his resolution of opposing the bill under the value of 5l. giving in every stage in case of non-comnotice thereof to the Speaker, on pliance. which it had acted to a great ex- The Chancellor of the Exchequer tent; and he concluded his argu- said, that it being in the preamble

expressed

no

expressed how desirable it was clause to provide that the Dire that cash payments should be re- tors of the Bank should take sumed, and the bill having allot- measures immediately in order ted a term sufficient for the neces- that cash payments might be resary preparations, on the expiring sumed at as early a period after of which the Bank would the passing of that act, as aplonger be protected or restricted, peared to them to be expedient. he did not conceive that any other On a division the clause was clause was requisite.

rejected by 135 to 32. Mr. Ilorner argued on the differ- The bill being introduced into ence between such security, and the House of Lords on May 17th, a parliamentary assurance that the Earl of Liverpool moved the no farther renewal of the restric- order of the day for going into a tion could be hoped for; and he committee upon it. After obsaid he would move a clause, that serving, that no difference of after July 5th, 1818, the Bank opinion could exist as to the innshould be able to pay in specie, policy of removing the restriction and that no renewal of the re- on the Bank without the interstriction could be expected. vention of some further time for

The Chancellor of ihe Bachequer preparation, and stating that he then proposed adding a clause to proposed to heep in view that the the preamble, which, however, Bank should resume its payments avoided any positive declaration at the earliest period consistent on the subject.

with the public interest, he gave Other member's expressed their an account of the object and purdissatisfaction at leaving the matter pose of the bill, to the same effect in this ambiguous state, and some as had been done in the other proposeul the insertion of the House. Infine, he said, the sewords " and no longer," At curity was in the parliament's length the committee divided on own hands: if it did not think fit Mr. Horner's proposed amend- to continue the restrictions, the ment, which was negatived by Bank was bound to resume its 133 votes against 57.

payments as a matter of course. The further consideration of The Earl of Lauderdale entered the report of the committee on into a train of argument to prove the Bank Restriction Bill being that the time was unnecessarily the order of the day on May and hurtfully prolonged ; and he Sth, Lord Folkstone, in conse- moved as an amendment that quence of the want of a clause to July 5th, 1817, should be inserted compel the directors to resume instead of July 5th, 1818. cash payments at the end of two The amendment being put, and years, moved that the report be negatived without a division, the taken into consideration on that earl next moved the insertion, day six months.

after the time, the words “and The question upon this motion no longer." This was also nebeing put, it was negatived with- gatived, and the bill having gone out a division.

through the committee, was reMr. Horner then proposed a ported without any amendment.

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