Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

From 1806, then, to 1808, the Bank to any gentleman by his private bank. held a public treasure, amounting to er, they should therefore be paid at the eight millions and a half, and made a same rate. Were it possible that any profit thereon; or the public lost there. competition should occur as to the on an interest of money at the rate of management of the public business, 515,000l. per annum.

he was satisfied that any respectable In 1808, the Bank advanced another banking house in London would wil. loan of three millions, which reduced lingly undertake to do what the Bank the deposits in their hands from eight of England does, for 25,000l. per an, millions and a half to five millions and num, thus making a saying of nearly a half.

half a million to the public,

. In addition to the immense gains deThe interest on five mil

rived by the Bank from the interest of lions and a half is, per

the public balances, another great annum ......................... £275,000 branch of their profits arises from the To which add, as before,

allowance possessed by them for maon the loan of 1806 ...... 90,000 naging the national debt. This allow.

ance had been fixed by Sir Robert Together ............... 365,000 Walpole, in 1726, at 360l. per mil.

- lion, an allowance, as Mr Grenfell be.

lieved, perhaps not too much at the From 1808 then, to 1814, the Bank commencement of the business ; but held a treasure belonging to the pub- the subsequent immense increase in lic of five millions and a half, and made the amount of the national debt had a profit, or the public lost in interest by no means, he alleged, been attendof money thereon, at the rate of ed with any thing like a correspond365,0001. per annum.

ing increase of trouble to the Bank ; In 1814, the loan of 1806 was dis- on the contrary, the profits derived to charged, and the amount replaced in them at a time when the debt exceeded the possession of the Bank, by which ten hundred millions, must have been the aggregate amount of deposits was far beyond the contemplation of those again raised from five millions and a who lived when it did not exceed two half to eight millions and a half. The hundred millions, while a very small interest on this is, per annum,4.25,0001. increase of establishment would be “ From 1814, then,” said Mr Gren- suficient for managing the additional "fell, to the 5th April, 1816, the Bank business occasioned by it. From mowill have held a public treasure of tives unintelligible to the government, eight millions and a half, and we shall however, Mr Pitt had, in 1791, allowhave been paying to the Bank at the ed the Bank 4501. instead of 3601. per rate of 425,0001. per annum, for ta million. This allowance had, in conking care of it.”

sequence of the labours of the finance In return for this large annual sum committee of 1797, been reduced by of 425,0001 , it is fair, continued he, Mr Percival in 1808 to 340l. per mil. that we should enquire what services lion, at which sum it now stood, but are rendered to the public by the Bank. below which he had no doubt it ought From every enquiry that he had been to be still very far reduced. Various able to make, it appeared to him to be other items were enumerated by Mr demonstrable, that the services render- Grenfell, in each and all of which he ed by the Bank to the public were ex. was of opinion an undue advantage was actly of the nature of those rendered taken of the public by the monopoli

sing corporation of the Bank. Al. cellor of the Exchequer defended the though he did not' mean to propose åt equity of these transactions, and reprépresent any direct interference with sented Mr Grenfell as having been carthat branch of the Bank's profits, ried into many, no doubt unintentional, there was one other item of its gains over 'estimates of the profits gained by too important to be overlooked by the , the corporation.' 'A clause was, howBank itself in making its demands ever, introduced into the preamble of against the House in recovering them, the bill, as the Chancellor supposed, - this was the profits gained by the not against the consent of the Bank Bank in consequence of the immense directors, which ran thus:-“Whereincrease in the circulation of their pa. as the Bank of England are possessed per, occasioned by the Bank Restric. of certain sums of the public money, tion Act, an increase giving rise, as he arising from balances of several public calculated it, to no less than an addi. accounts, and are willing to advance," tion of 80,0001. to the gross annual &c. But on its being discovered that profits of the Bank.

through some accident the opinion of The conclusion of his speech was, the directors respecting this clause had that instead of borrowing six millions been mistaken, and after a debate in from the Bank at four per cent., we which Mr Baring and some other of ought, in consideration of the extrava. the first bankers maintained the equity gant profits lately made by them, to of the dealings of the Bank, the clause « borrow that sum,” (if the word bor. was withdrawn, and the bill passed in row could be properly applied on the its original state by a majority of 116 occasion,) at no interest at all. The to 56. motion was, “ That a select committee The subject of the Bank Restricbe appointed to enquire into the en- tion Act, above alluded to, was aftergagements now subsisting between the wards more directly brought before public and the Bank of England, and parliament by Mr Horner. The arguto consider the advantages derived by ments and statements which that gena the Bank from its transactions with tleman used, were in no ways different the public, with a view to the adoption from those which he had already emof such future arrangements as may ployed, and of which we have in a for. be consistent with those principles of mer volume given an account. The good faith and equity which ought to motion which he made on the present prevail in all transactions between the occasion was lost ; but the Chancellor public and the Bank of England.” of the Exchequer expressly stated,

On the representation of the Chan- that he had no intention of rendering cellor of the Exchequer, that a more the act perpetual ; that steps had al. proper opportunity for considering ready been taken for preparing gradu. these subjects would occur when in ally the restoration of cash payments. due course the Bank restriction bill of and that at the end of two years he the season should be brought before had no doubt they would be entirely the House, Mr Grenfell’s motion was resumed. An act for extending the lost. When that bill was read for the Restriction Act till July the 5th, third time, accordingly, Mr Grenfell, 1818, was accordingly passed. whose indefatigable and disinterested The only other important matters exertions entitle him to the thanks of of a financial nature which this year the public, again renewed his attack occupied the attention of parliament, on the style of the transactions between were the consolidation of the English the Bank and the public. The Chan and Irish Exchequers, a measure, the . wisdom of which had been rendered, for a new silver coinage, a measure abundantly perceptible by the expe. which had in like manner been loudly rience of the years which had elapsed called for by all classes of the commusince the political union of the two nity. countries ; and the passing of an act

CHAP. IV. 1

Sir John Newport's Motion on the State of Ireland.- Various Proceedings of

Parliament connected with the Question of Catholic Emancipation.

W e have already seen, from the state. After rapidly sketching the earlier ment of the military force demanded history of Ireland from the time of its for the service of Ireland, that, in the first annexation to the crown of Eng. opinion of ministers, the unhappy dis- land, down to the period of those sentions among the inhabitants of that bloody measures which deformed the country had not yet been entirely al. annals of Charles I., Cromwell, and layed. At a subsequent period of the James II., he went on to the epoch session, a great body of information re. 'of the revolution, 1688. “ With the specting the affairs of the sister island revolution,” said he, “ came honour, was brought before the House, on oc. glory, and independence to Britain ; casion of a motion of Sir John New- but to Ireland no such bright prose port. This gentleman professed to pects! The victors treated those whom have no object in view but that of re- they subdued, and those who aided questing documents to be laid before' them in the conquest, with the same the House which might enable him. revolting indifference. The era which self and others thoroughly to under. succeeded to the revolution was in Irestand the grounds of keeping up an land marked by the sordid characters army of 25,000 in time of profound of illiberal exclusion and monopoly peace, in Ireland, and, more generally, within and without—its interior con. of attracting a due share of public at. cerns abandoned to the exercise of a tention to the affairs of that kingdom. vindictive provincial tyranny by its These simple requests he prefaced English masters, who covenanted for with an elaborate speech, of which we the surrender of its external and com. shall insert the most material parts, mercial concerns to British monopoly first, because in itself it contains much -a barter disgraceful to both coun. interesting information concerning the tries, and involving the complete sahistory of Ireland, compressed into a crifice of national and commercial Fery short compass; and, secondly, rights. The protestant interest, as it because it called out, in the reply of was then called, became the object to Mr Peel, a mass of information re. which every other consideration gave specting the actual state of that king way, and every measure which was al. dom.

leged to contribute to it, secured by

19

that allegation, the unqualified support tillage through so great an extent of of the Irish parliament, whilst they the country, increasing in an enormous passively acquiesced in the destruction and disproportionate degree, the inof their woollen manufactures. Then comes of the parochial clergy, resident arose that code of penal law which has and non-resident, been designated by the Chancellor, « The temper with which the Irish Lord Camden, as a monstrous monu- parliament legislated, was manifested ment of folly and oppression, which even in the least important of their was sufficient to demoralize the coun. proceedings. When a petition was try, and which had completely fulfilled presented complaining that a Roman that purpose.' In Primate Boulter's Catholic coal-merchant employed porLetters, we find in every page from ters of his own persuasion, it was re. one of her governors, evidence of the ferred by the House of Commons to corrupt and petty artifices by which the committee of grievances. Was it the system was supported. In the then 'surprising that a parliament thus case of Wood's halfpence, he says, completely severing its interests from

the measure was much to be lament. those of the body of the people, should ed, as it generally interested the peo. possess no solid strength, or that the ple, had extinguished their divisions, English minister should be encouraged and tended to unite the whole country, by that disunion to attempt a measure In a letter to Lord Carteret, he says, which, if successful, would have sealed

that although to prevent a recurrence the death-warrant of parliaments in of scarcity approaching to famine, he Ireland --I allude to the proposition had forwarded a bill obliging the oc- of voting the supplies for twenty-one cupant of lands to plough five acres in years, which failed only by a single every hundred occupied, yet it does vote. The parliament of George II. not encourage tillage by allowing any sat thirty-three years, outliving all conbounty to exporters which might clash nexion with the constituent body, and with British interests. The act was possessing but one solitary virtue, that passed in the year 1729, but was in. of economy. It paid off the debt of efficacious ; for during forty years, the country, and accumulated a sur. from 1732, with the exception of one plus in the Exchequer of 200,0001. in year, the import of corn was constant; the year 1753, both rescued from the it was probably counteracted by that factions who contended for its posses.. monstrous vote of the House of Com- sion, and transferred to England by mons of 1735, which stripped the a king's letter. It is a most extraor. clergy of Ireland of a large proportion dinary effect on the human miod of of their provision, and declared the this provincial misrule, grounded on tithe of agistment to be grievous, what was termed protestant ascendburthensome, and injurious to the pro- ancy, that Dean Swift, calling himself, testant interest.' In this manner did and looked up to as an Irish patriot, these champions of protestantism assert expressed himself delighted with the the rights of a protestant church. prospect of beggary being the certain From this vote, and the consequently lot of the Irish Roman Catholics, and insofficient provision of the clergy, more than insinuates a wish that the arose the practice of uniting parishes, Protestant dissenters were in the same so as to deprive them of spiritual assist. state. Henry Boyle, the first Earl of ance from their pastors, the protest. Shannon, too, who, as one of the lords ant population during that period, and justices, was in the government of Ire. since the conversion of pasturage into land more than twenty-five years, in a

« PoprzedniaDalej »