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of the directors to make—for the profit of themselves and their partners in the bank larger issues of statepaper-money than were ever made even during the stoppage of payment of the corporation in the quarter of a century, from 1797 to 1822—when, by over-issues, that paper was depreciated more than 264 per cent. (see page 16 ante); it is more than amusing-it is ridiculous—to read in the correspondence between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governors of the bank (ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 7th May 1844), the arguments by which the minister attempts to prove, and the governors to refutethe assertion, that the corporation can afford to allow the same price, viz. 180 thousand pounds per ann. for the twelve years next to come, as they have paid during the eleven years, since the year 1833, for the purchase of the monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c., proposed to be secured to the corporation by the Bill!!!*
* If it should be argued—that the quantity of bullion which the bank will have to keep under the provisions of the bill will be a draw back on the future profits of the corporation to that it may be answered that although the bullion in the bank, which was 11 millions (£11,104,100), on 31st December 1842, had increased to 15 millions (14,982,000) on 30th December 1843,-and although the proprietors of the bank distributed among themselves two dividends amounting to 7 per cent. per ann. in that interval,—yet that the Rest or surplus profits of the bank, ultra such dividends, increased in the same interval from £2,617,000 to £3,070,000, or by £353,000,—which would have sufficed to make a further dividend of very nearly 2per cent.,— showing profits of very nearly 94 per cent. in the year 1843, with a dead-weight of bullion growing from 11 to 15 millions, without diminution of the Rest or surplus profits of the bank.
The numerous joint-stock companies which have embarked, many of them, capitals amounting to many millions of pounds, in the construction of public works-such as docks, canals, railways, works for the supply of towns with water and with light-all which trades are attended with peril of loss of capital, and are carried on with continual waste and supply of materiel, and with great and unceasing effort-very few of them-divide profits exceeding, and many of them much less than five or six per cent. per annum—as may be seen by the prices-current of the shares of such companies, which are published in London and other placeswhile the 2500 individuals who compose the corporation of the bank-by issue of a state-paper money for their own sole profit—with the guarantee of the public for repayment of their deposited capital—and being exempt from trouble (except that so much coveted of the directors) and from any liability for loss, beyond each his share of the joint-stock-are allowed, by force of a monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c., to levy from the public, and appropriate to themselves, the enormous profits hereinhefore set forth!
If the bank is to be allowed to issue a state-paper money-surely the public, after making that papermoney legal tender in payment of every part of the public revenue of 52 millions—and thereby becoming partner with the bank, is entitled to participate in the profits made by the issue of SUCH paper-money.
If instead of proposing to nibble, out of the enormous profits of the corporation, 180 thousand pounds per annum--for the sale by the public to the proprietors of the bank of the monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c., proposed to be sold to them by the Bill—the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed that all profits made by the bank should be shared in moieties between the corporation and its sleeping partner, the public, or, that all profits made by the bank, ultra per cent. per ann. on its undivided capital, should be paid over to its sleeping partner, the public—there would seem to be some justice and common sense in either of such propositions.
But if either of such propositions were adoptedto make either of them effective of a fair division of profits between the bank and its sleeping partner, the public - very stringent provisions by law, and strict control, would be requisite, to prevent increase of salaries and perquisites to the Governors, directors, officials, &c. of the bank.
To form a just judgment on the reasonableness of the public sharing with the bank the profits of its trade under the monopoly, exclusive privileges, &c. secured by law to the corporation—it is necessary to consider what, by the Bill, the public, on the one side, and the bank on the other side, are to bring into the partnership or concern.
The public-grants and secures themonopoly and exclusive privileges to the 2,500 proprietors of the bank -erects them into a corporation and gives to the paper-money to be issued by the Directors of it, the immense advantage and security of being a state-paper money, by its being made legal tender for every part of the public revenue of 52 millions a year ;-and, in order to give a more extensive demand for, and more extensive circulation to, such paper-money, it is made by law, throughout the United Kingdom, “valid as a tender for all “ sums above five pounds on all occasions on which “any tender of money may be legally made, so “ long as the bank shall continue to pay on de“ mand their notes in legal coin.” The public also agrees to pay to the bank £300 per million for the management of the public debt, which payment amounts to 248 thousand pounds per ann.
The 2,500 proprietors of the bank, for the sale to them of such monopoly, exclusive privileges, use of such state paper-money, &c. &c., lend to the public 11 millions (£11,015,100) at interest of three per cent. per ann, for 12 years, to be repaid on determination of the bargain with the bank ;-and the bank consents to deduct from the allowance of £300 per million for the management of the public debt, the sum of 180 thousand pounds per ann.,—the corporation being exempted in future from payment of composition for stamp-duty on its notes, for which has been paid, hitherto for many years past, the sum of 60 thousand pounds per ann.
With respect to the loan of 11 millions by the bank to the public for 12 years, at interest of three per cent. per ann.,- it is to be remembered that the public debt amounts to 800 millions,-500 millions of which consist of 3 per cent. stock.
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What merit, it may be asked, has the little knot of 2,500 individuals, composing the corporation of the bank, in agreeing to be for 12 years the holders of 11 millions of 3 per cent. stock-more than any and every other knot of individuals, of greater or less number, which happen to hold at any time 11 millions of the same stock,—that such enormous exclusive privileges should be granted to the corporation for such a consideration ?
The corporation in lending 11 millions for 12 years at 3 per cent. per ann. interest, with guarantee of repayment in full at the end of twelve years, has, in fact, much less merit than any other knot of individuals holders of 11 millions of 3 per cents. Because there is this essential difference between the 3 per cent. stock held by the corporation of the bank, and the 3 per cent. stock held by other individuals,-namely, that the latter have no demand for their principal monies lent—while, the principal of the 11 millions of 3 per cent. stock lent to the public by the corporation, is payable at a day certain ; whereby their 11 millions of stock, are secured from depreciation below cent. per cent. at that day, whatever may then be the price or value of the 489 millions of stock due to the individuals who may happen to be the holders of the latter sum or mass of the public debt.
The monopoly and exclusive privileges proposed by the bill to be granted to the corporation are of a value so preposterously disproportioned to the value of a loan of such 11 millions—that while the 489 millions of 3 per cent. stock (taking the whole at 500 millions) belonging to other individuals, is