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in making this same Bank the cause of their ruin in order to support itself? The present Bill, it may also be observed, claims the merit of making the contraction of the currency more immediately imperative upon the joint-stock and private Banks, whose contumacy in this respect is to be punished; but we all know the ruin and bankruptcy which the gradual operation of the Bank screw finally produced, even after all the time thus afforded to the mercantile classes to take in sail and prepare for the storm, and is there no reason to fear that this ruin and bankruptcy would have been ten times more extensive if the vessel of the state had at once been taken aback by the force of the hurricane in all its severity with all sail set? It would appear reasonable to think the Country Banks had done good service to the public in thus breaking the force of the monetary pressure ; what this pressure may amount to on future occasions may be imagined by comparing the reduction of the Bank of England issues during the late panic with the reduction of the bullion in their vaults. Had the directors been compelled to adhere to the rule laid down in the present Bill, most people perhaps would be of opinion, either that Parliament would have been assembled in order to repeal the Bill, or Ministers must have set it aside on their own responsibility, for the reduction of the issues must have been out of all proportion greater than what actually took place.* It also appears from the debates that Bank post-bills are not to be considered as Bank notes, but it does not appear in what respect a Bank postbill, if accepted the day it is issued, can for any length of time fail to be as efficient a portion of the currency as any
* Mr. Jones Loyd, I believe, states the loss of bullion to have been £5,800,000, but the reduction of notes only £600,000.
other denomination whatever ; nor does it appear how any clause in the Bill guarantees that the Bank directors shall keep a larger reserve fund than they did formerly; their self-interest will prompt them just as much now as it did on former occasions to lay out too much in productive securities, which they can do still, and when this (which is a forced issue, not called for by the wants of trade but for their own interest) takes place, the present surplus stock of gold to the same extent having left the country, when the alarm takes place, how is either the Banking department or issue department to meet the calls of the depositors in all the Banks in the united kingdom, and the sale of their reserved funds; and not only this, but the supply of all the Banks in Europe, to all which London will be the most desirable place to invest their reserves, a bill on London being cash everywhere, and the sales of their reserves securing them gold at a fixed price. It would appear from the foregoing pages, if the facts and arguments brought forward can be depended on, that all the dangers of our mixed currency under the present state of things, with the one exception as to over-issue, are continued under the present Bill with the addition of such as may hereafter arise from the extension of the Banking system now to almost all parts of the commercial world, which ought not to be lightly regarded, for the managers of these Banks will most assuredly over-issue for their own advantage, and monetary panics will year after year become more frequent and more severe as long as a metallic basis is preserved, which, with the aid of steam, conveys the monetary convulsion from country to country with a rapidity which, for all practical effect, may be compared to a metallic wire passing through the hands of all nations conveying the electric shock almost simul
taneously to the most remote quarters of the globe. In concluding these remarks I trust I shall neither be considered an opponent of the present Government nor the advocate of that which preceded it, and still less that I have any wish to lower the value of the present standard, which would be only to perpetrate a fresh injustice now that all money transactions and engagements have conformed themselves thereto, my only object being to direct public attention more decidedly to the fact, that the denial of discount has been in all times past, and must be in all times to come, the cause of general distress and misery, and to suggest that alteration in our present currency laws which, as it appears to me, can alone protect us from its future recurrence.
Issue of a National Inconvertible Currency.
counted,.......... 90,000 tra bills discounted,.......... 1,500 , cash on hand, ....... 11,500 101,500 20 Jan. 1844.
To amount on hand from last night, ., 11,500 By 120 bills discounted,.. 105,000 ,, notes received, from 100,000 to
» 700 sovereigns received, 700 200,000, .................. 100,000 ,,cash on hand, ........ 7,500 „ sovereigns paid over for investment, 500 „, discount received, ......
To cash on hand last night, ........ 20,000 By 200 bills discounted,.. „ notes, 350,000 to 506,000, ...... 156,000
156,000 , sovereigns received,... ,, discount received, .......
2,600 » protested bills not paid, „ specie paid over for investment,.... 7,500 „ cash on hand,....... „ bills due this day to collect, ...... 10,500
196,600 5th Jan. 1844.
8,000 2,000 26,600
To cash on hand last night,.......... 42,750 „ notes received, 686,000 to 886,000, 200,000 „ discount received, ........
4,500 „ specie paid over for investment,.... 11,400 „, bills received for collection, ...... 34,000 „ received for protests, ............ 3,000
295,650 To cash on hand last night .......... 32,350