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am fully sensible must arise in carrying | mediately within their command, as the those views into effect, and towards con-only certain protection, for themselves, ciliating the feelings of all who might con- against those emergencies that will occur, tinue adverse to their adoption. In the even in time of peace,- for the public, course of this debate, allusion has fre- against a recurrence of the dreadful effects quently been made to possible improve- of such a panic as that of 1825. There is ments in the banking-system, as no saying how soon, should trade revive means of affording some relief to the with more than its usual activity, we country: and I understood my right hon. may again witness another season of exfriend, the President of the Board of citement, and extravagant speculation. Trade, to say, that he expected much Should an unfavourable state of the benefit from a revision of the system of foreign exchanges be the consequence, country banks, and from giving publicity their turning against us would, for a time, to their proceedings. I am friendly to rather encourage than repress that spirit publicity. But if it be required from of speculation. The salutary check, under banking establishments in the country, I such a contingency, can only be applied trust that the same rule will be applied to by the prudence of the Bank of England. the bank of the State—the Bank of Eng. But how is that check to be called into land. Had that system of publicity, of action, without the risk of panic, if both which my right hon.friend is the advocate, the capital and credit of the_Bank are prevailed between 1824 and 1826, it would, locked up in Dead Weight, in Exchequerin my opinion, have guarded us from the bills, in mortgages upon land, in an adrisk of such a calamity as that which was vance to the rebuilding of London Bridge? upon the point of taking place at a period --all of them, I admit, assets most perof profound peace, towards the close of fectly solid and secure, but all of that inthe
year 1825. Far be it from me, in convertible description, upon which no making this observation, to cast any re- banking establishment, I think, having the flection upon the Directors of the Bank of whole of its outstanding engagements England. I know that they are zealous payable upon demand, ought to rest so and disinterested in the management of large a portion of its liabilities. This, howthe great trust reposed in them. But it is ever, is a fit subject for a separate investitheir duty in that management to look gation, and into which, therefore, I will not to the interests of the body of proprietors go more at large on the present occasion. whom they represent. It is the duty of I have detained the House, I am aware, this House, on the other hand, if they longer than any Member having no think fit to grant a monopoly, to surround official duties to discharge, can be justified and fence it with such regulations as may in claiming their attention. My apology prevent the public interests from being must be, in part, that I have had to deprejudiced by being placed in collision fend measures, for which I am more imwith the interests of those upon whom the mediately responsible, as having brought monopoly is conferred. The first of all them forward when I was in office; and, our cares, in revising the banking-system partly, that I have thought this a fit ocof the country, must be to satisfy ourselves casion for stating the views which I enterthat nothing is omitted, in the way of pre- tain of the present condition of the councaution, which may tend to secure the try. I cordially thank the House for the public against a possible recurrence of that indulgence with which they have heard me greatest of all calamities, another suspen- upon these important topics. After all, do sion of cash payments. I cannot pass what we will, say what we may, the imover even this opportunity of repeating my mense sacrifices and unparalleled exerdoubts, whether the affairs of the Bank are tions of the last long war must tell, in conducted with a sufficient regard to this abridging the comforts, and adding to the paramount object. With their original difficulties, of the present generation. Fifcapital all locked up upon loan to Govern- teen years have now elapsed since that war ment, they have, at the same time, nearly was brought to a 'glorious termination. the whole of their outstanding credit rest. From its commencement I have been more ing upon securities equally unavailable. or less in public life. In the course of it, The sound system of banking, on the con- there is scarcely a conceivable trial of fortrary, would appear to require that the titude to which the country, and those amount of their issues should be more im- who administered its affairs, were not ex. posed. Mutiny in our fleets,-civil war said that he shall have no objection to in Ireland, -the stoppage of the Bank, refer that bill, together with the whole defection of our allies, - the overthrow subject, to a committee up stairs. My and subjugation of all the great powers of hon. friend, the Member for Dover, has a Europe by the enemy to which we were notice on the Order-book, for a select comopposed, -our commerce placed under an mittee to investigate the effect of the interdict in every part of the civilized present system of our taxation upon the world,—these are some of the evils of productive classes of the country. Whether which, having witnessed the first over the proposed committee will be granted or whelming shock, I shall retain through life not,' I cannot tell; but this I know, that a vivid recollection. But, amid all the whenever my hon. friend shall bring forscenes of alarm and despondency, I might ward his Motion, he shall have my warmalmost say despair, occasioned by this suc- est support. We have already a commitcession of calansities, I tax my memory in tee sitting to inquire into the affairs of the vain for one single act of weakness or dis- East-India Company, and into their mohonour, of spoliation or bad faith. Never nopoly of the trade with China. In like did such expedients suggest themselves manner, I hope we shall have a committo those great and firm minds that then tee to inquire into the Banking-system of presided over the destinies of the country. the country, in connection with the renewal If in vain I tax my memory for one act of of the charter of the Bank of England. It that description, upon which any man, the is by inquiries thus limited to specific obmost envious of my country's fame, can jects that we shall arrive at more satisput his finger and say, " this is a blot in factory results than by going into a comyour annals," give me leave to add, that mittee purporting to be for an inquiry into should you, in an evil hour, venture to the causes of distress generally,-a species debase your currency, you will commit an of inquiry, which, in my judgment, could act of fraud at which that finger of scorn not possibly lead to any good, but which, will point for ever after, as the hour of in the expectation of its promoters, might your shame and humiliation ; and that the lead to what I consider the greatest posperiod will not then be distant in which sible evil,—the unsettling and disturbing you will deeply repent, but repent too the present monetary system of the country. late, the irretrievable consequences of so
Lord Althorp rose amid loud and general ruinous a proceeding. For myself, I once cries of“ Adjourn.” After some difficulty more enter my protest against such an in- the Speaker obtained order, and the noble fringement of the national faith. I can- Lord proceeded. He should have felt not vote either in support of the original great difficulty in rising after the very able Motion, or of the amendment. Taken and eloquent speech of the right hon. Memabstractedly, they both embrace too wide ber for Liverpool, had he entertained any a field for any useful inquiry. But my intention of following him throughout its greater objection is, that I cannot separate various topics. But he had no such inthe wish for inquiry, from the grounds tention, for he nearly concurred in every upon which that wish stands recommended syllable that the right hon. Gentleman had to the House, by almost every Member said. It had been stated by the hon. who has supported it. Again, to the form Member for Wootton Bassett, (Sir G. of the inquiry, as recommended in the Phillips) that all the hands in the manuoriginal Motion, I have an insuperable ob- facturing districts were at present in emjection. In the mode recommended by ployment, and in employment, too, at good the amendment 1 might have concurred, wages. Now, if that were the case, had it been brought forward upon different quite impossible to believe that any distress grounds, and been more limited in its ob- existed in that quarter. He was afraid, jects. From inquiries of this latter nature however, from the general body of informI expect much benefit; and his Majesty's ation which had been poured into the Government do not appear to be adverse House from those districts, that the stateto them. They have already consented to ment of the hon. Member was much too grant a committee to inquire into the con- favourable. He believed, however, that it dition of the poor in Ireland. The Chan- must be admitted that some improvement cellor of the Exchequer has given notice had commenced to exhibit itself in the of his intention to bring in a bill to regu- country. He hoped that it would long late the Dead Weight system; and has continue; but he must say that his hopes VOL. XXIII.
were not very sanguine, as he recollected expect any longer the confidence of the that there had been before several symp-public. If they went into the committee toms of improvement, which had subse- for the express purpose of inquiring into quently disappeared. He was therefore the state of the currency, the country would obliged to assume, for the purpose of argu- expect that a change in the currency would ment, that there was great distress in the be the inevitable consequence. Conficountry; and then the question came to dence would be immediately destroyed, this --- Are the modes now proposed to us and a confusion would arise worse than the best modes for obviating that distress?" any thing which the country had hitherto or “ Are we obliged to admit them to be witnessed. He could not separate this such, in order to show that we have some motion from the question of currency, and sympathy for the people ?" Now, for his he should therefore give it his opposition, own part, he had no hesitation in avowing It had not yet been explained what good that he had such confidence in the good this committee could produce; it might sense of the people of England as to be produce great evil; and therefore, though convinced that they would not accuse their he was anxious to relieve the people from representatives of a want of sympathy with the burthens under which they laboured, their feelings if it were made evident to be still felt it impossible to vote in favour them that the mode proposed for their relief of this committee. Besides, a motion to was ultimately the best for their interests. inquire into the state of the nation had Most, indeed all the speakers in this de- generally been considered as a motion of bate had declared the state of the currency hostility against the Government. He had of the country to be their main reason for brought forward and supported several seeking to go into a committee. They had motions of that nature on fornier occasions said that the want of the 11. notes was the from such motives; but he felt that he cause of the distress. But if they were to could not support this Motion with any enter into the discussion of that subject such hostile views. Towards the present in the committee, it was necessary to see Ministers he entertained no feelings of hoshow the issue of 11. notes at present would tility; their conduct deserved no such operate on the existing distress. It could attack as this Motion made upon them. only operate by raising the price of com- He differed from them as to the amount modities, and depreciating the standard of of taxation and expenditure which it was value. Then the exchanges would turn possible to reduce; he thought that they against us, and a re-action, like that which might have gone further than they had was witnessed in the year 1825, would done in those respects; but he saw no take place, unless we were prepared, which insincerity, nor any thing like insincerity, he hoped we were not, to tamper with the in what they had done. They had endeastandard. Any measure which had the voured to cut off a large amount of expenslightest appearance of tampering with the diture by casting a great mass of additional standard in a rich and commercial country labour upon themselves. With regard to like this was fraught with imminent dan- the taxes which they had taken off, he ger.
It was said, "Oh! but you will thought that they had acted wisely in the only make one alteration !" If they made selection which they had made. They had one alteration, how could the public trust also acted with great disinterestedness, for that they would not make another, and if they hawl sought to conciliate a powerful another even upon that, when another party in that House, they would have taken period of distress should come to pinch off the duty on malt and also upon sugar, them? But it was said that such an al- by which they would have obtained the teration had been made before, in the year support of two distinct and powerful inter1797. He admitted it; but all who had ests. Seeing no reason to think that the observed the conduct of the legislature in Ministers were insincere in their professions that year must be aware that the alteration of economy, though he did not think that then made in the standard was not fore they carried their retrenchments and reseen-it was therefore unintentional. If ductions far enough, he could not vote in the House made such an alteration now, it support of a motion which was always would be made knowingly and intention- based in a feeling of hostility towards the ally, and would therefore be a downright existing Administration. fraud. After the commission of an inten- Colonel Sibthorp moved the adjourntional fraud, they would have no right to Iment of the debate to the next day.
[ Considerable confusion ensued and only order that the party should be comprevailed for some minutes in the House. mitted to prison. From prison the party During the continuance of it, we saw Mr. was brought up to the Bar of the Court, Attwood and Mr. Alderman Waithman on and ordered to enter an appearance; but their legs; but their words were completely if the party still refused, then the Court drowned in the general turmoil.]
would enter the appearance for him. It Mr. Peel at length obtained a hearing was proposed by this Bill, that if the party He said that if there were several Gentlemen did not appear within the usual time, the still anxious to address the House on this Court should, upon such default, enter an subject, he should be the last man in the appearance for him at once, instead of world to throw any obstruction in their waiting for the commitment of the party way. The cries of “ Adjourn" drowned to prison and his being brought up to the the remainder of the right hon. Gentle- | Bar of the Court. Again, if a party refused man's observations.
to put in an answer, all the Court could do, The Question on the adjournment to the under the present system, was to commit following day was then put and carried. the party to prison. But in the case of
persons having privilege of Parliament, HOUSE OF LORDS.
and refusing to answer, the bill was taken
against them pro confesso. This could Friday, March 19.
not be done against persons who had not MINUTES.] The Royal Assent was given by Commission to the privilege of Parliament, and it was pro
the Paupers' Removal Bill. Commissioners - the Lord posed therefore by this Bill, to place all
CHANCELLOR, and Lords Roslyn and SHAFTESBURY. persons, whether having privilege of ParThe Mutiny Bills, and the Pensions and Duties Bills were liament or not, in the same situation in this
read a third time and passed. Petitions presented. Praying for the abolition of the system
respect. Henceforth, therefore, in the of Paying Wages in Goods, by Viscount Godericu, from event of any person refusing to answer, places in the county of Worcester and Staffordshire :-By the bill would be taken against him pro Earl BATHURST, from Wotton-under-Edge. repeal of the Leather Tax, by Viscount GodeniCH, from confesso, and such bill might be read in the Tanners of Belfast and of the city of Dublin. For the evidence against himn in any
proOpening of the Trade to India, by Viscount GoDeRICH, from ceeding, which was the case now when the Thome. For Relief ; and complaining of Distress, by the person refusing to answer bad privilege of Duke of Richmond, from Boston in Lincolnshire: By Lord Parliament. It had not unfrequently hapVERNON, from Eynsford, Norfolk :-- by the Earl of DARNLEY, from the Operatives of the Cotton trade of Dublin :
pened that persons committed to prison by - By the Earl of Carnarvon, from the Grocers and the Court of Chancery for contempt had Tea Dealers of Bath and Wells- Complaining also of the remained in confinement for many years ; Hawkers of tea ;-Against the Duty on Hops, by Viscount Goderich from Ticehurst, Sussex. And praying for the not, in all cases because they were obregulation of labourers' wages, by Lord TEYNHAM, stinate, but in too many merely because from the King's Head Society, for the Encouragement of they were ignorant.
Some had been Industry.
kuown to remain in confinement for fifteen LEGAL AMENDMents.] The Lord Chan- years, some for twenty, some for twentycellor said, he rose, pursuant to the notice five, and some even for as long a time as he had given, to move the second reading thirty years. This had happened because of three Bills, the object and nature of no one had troubled themselves about the which he would endeavour to explain very prisoners, it being no one's duty to look shortly to their Lordships. The first was after them, and they had been ignorant of entitled “a Bill for altering and amending the mode by which they might obtain the law regarding Commitments by Courts their release. To guard against the reof Equity for Contempts, and the taking currence of such cases, this Bill required bills pro confesso.” This Bill had been that there should be a regular and estabbrought into the other liouse of Parlia- lished visitation of persons imprisoned by ment by the Solicitor General, who had order of the Court of Chancery, by officers bestowed great pains and much time upon regularly appointed for that purpose, who the subject, and who was entitled to the would inquire into the cases of the prithanks and the praise of the country for soners, examine the prisoners themselves, the zeal and spirit which had characterized and make a report thereupon to the Court, I his exertions.' The effect of this Bill he in order that the necessary steps might would shortly explain to their Lordships. be taken for the discharge of the prisoners If a party refused to appear, the Court of from confinement. Their Lordships would Chancery, under the present system, could I see the necessity of this when they were
informed that the Solicitor General, in the occurred which rendered it necessary that prosecution of his inquiry, found many that measure should be laid aside. One prisoners of the Court in a state of com- of the provisions of the Bill he held in his plete ignorance of the cause of their con- hand curtailed the process to which he finement. In some cases, however, it was alluded ; and the Bill also contained other the obstinacy of the prisoner that caused and clauses which it was hoped would be found prolonged his confinement. The Court of beneficial to suitors in cquity. The Bill Chancery frequently ordered an act to be had been drawn with great care by the done, such as a deed to be signed, a fine Solicitor General, and he had no doubt to be levied, a recovery to be suffered, that their Lordships would approve of its and so forth. If obedience to such orders provisions when they came to be examined were refused, the Court could do no more in committee. He would not then dethan commit the party to prison. If the tain their Lordships with any farther obparty still refused obedience, and remained servations on this first Bill. The second obstinate, the Court could only retain him Bill to which he had to call their attention in prison; but, in the mean time, the act was entitled “ A Bill for consolidating and still remained undone. The Chancery amending the laws relating to Property beCommission had taken such cases into longing to Infants, femmes couvertes, Idiots, consideration, and had recommended that Lunatics, and persons of unsound mind.” acts thus ordered to be done should be It had been considered wise to bring toconsidered as done notwithstanding the gether in one Act all the laws relating to refusal of the party. This Bill, therefore, property belonging to these several classes, contained a clause which carried this re- which were now scattered throughout the commendation into effect in such cases. Statute-book, having been made at various The Chancery Commission had also re- times, and as cases occurred, which manicommended a mode by which the process fested that the law required to be altered, now followed in such cases might be short- to be amended, or to be modified. This ened. At present, the process would be Bill, therefore, consolidated all the former this: a party would be committed to prison statutes on the subject; but, at the same for refusing to obey the order of the Court. time, it contained some new suggestions, Then, in the first place, he would be which iheir Lordships, he thought, would brought into Court by writ of habeas agree had not been improperly termed corpus, where he would be told what he was amendments. Among these was a clause to do, and if he refused, he would be re- which enabled lunatics to be admitted to manded to prison. The second time he copyholds. As the law now stood, infants would be brought up by an alias habeas and femmes couvertes might be admitted corpus, and the sanie scene would be per- to copyholds, but lunatics might not. formed if he persisted in his refusal. The | Another amendment of the law effected by third time he would be brought up by a the Bill was this:-At present, there was writ which was called a pluries alias habeas no power by which an infant could surcorpus; and, after the same forms had render or grant leases, though manifestly been gone through, he would be again re- for the improvement of the infant's promanded to prison if he continued obstinate. perty. When the infant happened to be The last time he would be brought up by a ward of the Court, it was extremely nea writ which was called an alias pluries cessary that this power should not be alias habeas corpus; and then that which wanting. By this Bill the power was conwas required would be taken against him ferred ; but at the same time, it was propro confesso, though he might still persist vided that the exercise of that power should in his refusal. Now, though the Court of not be injurious to the infant.' Thus it Chancery had made several orders with was provided that no fines should be taken, a view of amending the practice of the and that the whole rent should be reserved. Court, yet it was generally understood, Again, with respect to the completion of that the Court had not the power, by means conveyances, in cases where a person had of issuing orders, to shorten this process, or agreed to convey, and became lunatic to carry into effect several other improve- before he had performed this contract, the ments. He had, therefore, intended 10 law was amended by this Bill. Under effect these objects by means of a legis- the present law, the Court would compel lative enactment; but their Lordships the vendee to pay the purchase-money would recollect, that circumstances had l into Court, but it had no power to order