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by the public to the bank (at £300 per million per ann.) for the management of the public debt. and the bank now pays to the public revenue a composition of 60 thousand pounds per ann. in lieu of the stamp duty on its notes,-making, with said sum of 120 thousand, the sum of 180 thousand pounds per ann.
By the Bill it is proposed—that for the sale of the monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c. thereby proposed to be secured to the corporation, the public shall deduct from the sum which it pays to the bank for the management of the public debt (at £300 per million per ann.) the sum of 180 thousand pounds per ann., releasing the bank from the composition of 60 thousand pounds per ann. hitherto and now paid as a composition for stamp duty on its notes—which amounts exactly to the same sum (£120,000) per ann. as the bank now pays to the public as the price of the purchase of its monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c. plus the composition (£60,000) per ann. for stamp duty on its notes.
If it be really honestly intended that the publicwith whose state paper-money the bank carries on its trade—should participate in the profits of the bank, the first question arising upon that is-what do such profits amount to ?-and that question is of easy solution.
The profits of the bank which the proprietors of the corporation shared among themselves during their stoppage of payment, viz. in the 25 years from 1797 to 1822, their capital in 1797 being 1} millions (£11,642,400), amounted-ultra dividends of seven per cent. per ann. made half-yearly among themselves—to more than FOURTEEN MILLIONS !!! (£14,174,622),*—all made by the issue ad libitum, for the profit of themselves and their partners, by the directors of the bank, of a state paper-money which the public excused and prohibited the payment of by the bank during all those 25 years—and which issue was made in excess, with such remorseless rapacity—that the papermoney issued was depreciated in value more than 264 per cent., to the distress and ruin of indivi. duals and loss of the public which are incalculable and sickening to look back upon.
Those fourteen millions and upwards of profits -ultra dividends of seven per cent. per ann. on the capital of the bank-foraged (query, pillaged ?) from the public in the 25 years during which the bank was under stoppage of payment, the public permitted the bank coolly to appropriate to the 2,500 peers, members of parliament, foreigners, widows, spinsters, and others who were the proprietors of the bank !!!
After the resumption of cash payments by the bank, in the year 1822, (when such unnatural and monstrous profits became of course unattainable) down to the time of the last renewal of the charter in the year 1833,--the proprietors distributed among themselves half-yearly dividends of profit, amounting to eight per cent. per annum-On an undivided capital of £14,553,000.
* Appendix, No. 29, to the Report of the Committee of Secrecy on the Bank of England Charter, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 11th August 1832.
For the five years next after the renewal of the charter in 1833, down to the year 1838 inclusive, the proprietors of the bank continued to distribute among themselves half-yearly dividends of profits, amounting to eight per cent. per annum ; but, since 1838, for the five years ending with last year (1843), have distributed among themselves halfyearly dividends reduced to seven per cent. per apnum.
It is not easy to see why such reduction of dividends of annual profits was made,—though it may be guessed, that such reduction was made as a sort of blind to keep in shade the profits made by the bank, by its bargain with the public, for the purchase of its monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c. But if that maneuvre of reduction of dividends of annual profits was intended as such blind, it is a very flimsy blind,--through which the profits made by the bank, ultra the annual dividends of profits of eight per cent. per ann. from 1833 till 1838 inclusive, and of seven per cent. per ann. from 1838 till 1843 inclusive, may be seen,—which are as follows—viz.: The Rest, or surplus profits of the bank, ultrâ the dividends of
profits made half-yearly by the proprietors among themselves, amounted, by the return to parliament in 24th February 1844,
to the sum of . . . . . . 3,240,000 While on the 3rd September 1833 (the date of the
first return after the passing of the act for the . renewal of the charter), the Rest was the sum of 2,148,000
e Rest, or surplus prefy by the proprie to 24th February
The difference - £1,092,000
is gain ultra the said half-yearly dividends of
profits in less than 101 years to which sum of £1,092,000—a gain of £408,300 (by the conversion in the year 1834 of £3,671,700, the fourth part of the then capital, into £4,080,000 3 per cents.reduced),* being added—the gains of the proprietors of the bank-ultra the dividends of profit made halfyearly among themselves—in less than 10 years from 1833, appear to be a million and a half (£1,500,300), which would have enabled them to increase their dividends by one per cent. per ann. during those 10 years more than they have thought fit to divide among themselves—without any diminution of the Rest from its amount in September 1833.
As upon the security of a deposited capital of 11 millions (£11,015,100), the bank have had out since 1834 state-paper money which has in that interval exceeded 22 millions, with power always in the directors of the bank to extend that issue ad libitum, for the profit of themselves and their partners in the corporation—it may be asked, whether it would be very unreasonable on the part of the public—the sleeping partner of the bank— wohse security or guarantee was given to the holders of all the paper-money of the bank, by the issue whereof that mass of accumulated undivided profit was made—to lay claim, in justice and equity, to a share of, if not to the whole of those accumulated undivided profits made in the last 104 years—considering the large half-yearly dividends of profits
* See page 15, ante.
made by the issue of the same paper-moneywhich the proprietors of the bank have pocketed ?
That sum of a million and a half of undivided profits-ultra the dividends of 8 percent.or 7 per cent. per annum, made by the proprietors of the bank among themselves—which has been accumulated since the last renewal of the charter in the year 1833, is, moreover, exclusive of that part of nearly 21 millions of profit on the dead-weight annuity, purchased by the bank in 1823, which accrued to the corporation in the interval between 1833 and the present year, 1844.—(See page 18 et seq. ante.)
If all the profits made by the bank (by its bargain for the purchase of its monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c.) since the last renewal of its charter in 1833, had been brought into account and divided, the dividends of profits among the proprietors would have exceeded ten per cent. per ann.
Reserving those undivided profits, the proprietors of the bank actually divided, half-yearly, 74 per cent. per ann. of profits among themselves on the average of the years since the last renewal of the charter in 1833,-after deduction by the public of the 120 thousand pounds per ann. from the sum (of £300 per million per ann.) paid to the bank for the management of the public debt, and after payment by the bank of the 60 thousand pounds per ann. composition for stamp-duty on the notes of the corporation.
With this recorded and published account of the enormous profits of the bank—and with the avowed purpose of giving to the corporation a more stringent monopoly, and leaving it in the power