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was not out of their power, as it unques- Mr. F. Lewis said, that he did not much tionably belonged to their functions, to wonder at the opinions of Members who institute an inquiry, that he assured them had not been in that House during diswas not beyond their reach; and not to cussions on the Currency Question, and consent to throw the last portion of who now seemed to imagine that a return misery into the cup of the people, and to a depreciated currency would be a thus drive them into despair by refusing panacea for the evils of the country; but the Motion which was now made for an he did much wonder at hearing such opi. inquiry into the causes of their misery. nions fall from the hon. Baronet opposite.
Mr. Peel said, he wished to notice a He repeated, he could not but feel the most extravagant misconception of the utmost surprise at the unqualified praise hon. Baronet opposite. The hon. Baronet bestowed by the hon. Baronet on the Bank had charged him with having said, that it Restriction Act, and the more so when he was a part of his policy to depress the recollected that the hon. Baronet sat in landed interest. Every one who had that House during the times of that mock heard him, except the hon. Baronet, must prosperity which he alone had culogized. know that he had said nothing of the kind. The hon. Baronet had referred to the wellHis statement was, that during the war a known Essay of Hume, but that would great portion of inferior land had been not support him in his views in favour of brought into cultivation in this country, a depreciated currency. In that Essay, and that now, by the application of steam Hume stated that the prosperity of the to navigation, and by the circumstance of country was connected with prices conthe good land of Ireland and Scotland stantly increasing ; but he had not said being better cultivated, the produce of the with a constantly depreciated currency. inferior land of this country was likely to He had said the contrary indeed ; for if be injured in the market. He had stated the spirit of the Essay was attended to, it this as a fact; and he had added, that would be seen that he never intended to whatever might be the benefit to the allude to any currency as advantageous to country, he could not but view the conse- a country if it went on diminishing in quences with the utmost pain, so far as value as it increased in amount. Of what they affected those individuals who would avail was it to increase the amount of the suffer from them. The hon. Baronet had currency by continually multiplying the entirely mistaken him in supposing that he issue of notes, which, exactly as they had stated it as part of his settled policy to were multiplied in number, cut off a part depress the landed interest.
of the value from those which had preSir F. Burdett did not mean to impute ceded them? The wealth of a country any wish of that kind to the right hon. consisted in the abundance of its commoGentleman, and had only stated that the dities; increase of commodities required, depression of the landed interest was the he knew, an increased amount of currennecessary consequence of the policy he cy, but it must be a currency of the same had determined to pursue. He could standard and value; and its increase must assure the right hon. Gentleman that he be created with, and solely in consequence acquitted him of any such intention, for of, the increase of the commodities it reno doubt there were few men who wished presented. The hon. Baronet had been more heartily than the right hon. Gentle- mistaken in asserting that Mr. Tooke had man for the prosperity of the landed inter- said that prices did not depend on money est; but there was as little doubt that -meaning on the quantity of money. Mr. the policy he had adopted, and that which Tooke had not said any such thing, but he declared he intended to pursue, must had only referred to the difference between have the tendency he had ascribed to it. the Mint and the market price of gold, as
Mr. Peel contemplated no such conse- one of the elements of prices in the quences, and did not believe they would country. He must confess that he was be found to follow from the present policy much surprised at the praise bestowed by of the Government.
the hon. Baronet on that most odious Sir T. Gooch, in explanation, said, that measure into which this country had been the hon. Baronet had misrepresented him; driven in her misfortunes to have recourse he had never said that the petitions of the to--he meant the Bank Restriction Act. people ought not to be referred to a com- The hon. Baronet had proposed to have mittee.
recourse again to a Paper Currency, seem. ing to consider that that would remedy counts had mentioned indications of a the evils under which the landed interest revival in trade, he much feared that a were now suffering. He, like the hon. large portion of the manufacturing and Baronet, was a friend to the landed inter-agricultural interests still remained in abest ; but not even for their sake would he solute poverty and destitution. The Mohave recourse to a measure that would be tion for a Committee of the whole House, productive of great injury to every otherclass | however, did not seem in his opinion to in the country. He need not, however, go promise either remedy or relief. They so far as to make that declaration, for he were not told how it was proposed that was satisfied that the return to a depreciated they should carry on their deliberations, currency would not in the least benefit whether by documentary evidence, by exthe agricultural interest. He begged to amination of witnesses at the Bar, or debate remind the hon. Baronet that a depreciated amongst themselves. The causes of the currency could not produce a new demand, distress, and the remedy to be applied, or a new rate of profits; it could only were mere matter of speculation, and the for a time transfer them into different time which they might consume in such an hands. He regretted as much as any man, inquiry as that recommended he conceived the depression of the landed interest, but would be worse than useless, as it would he could not consent that they should be create considerable expense to the country upheld, even if that would be the effect of and lead to no effectual result. Where, he such a measure, by resorting to the depre- asked, were they expected to stop? They ciation of the currency, which created no- were enjoined to treat in full of the Cornthing, and threw the burthen exclusively laws, the Poor-laws, Currency Question, and upon others. The Bank Restriction system principles of Free Trade. Then, of course, had failed by its own weakness already, and it was to be looked for as a natural conseas inevitably would it fail again when they quence, that the hon. Member for Staffordleast expected, if they should be again so shire should introduce the Truck System; infatuated as to trust to it. In speaking of that the hon. Member for Armagh should past depression, those hon. Members who direct their attention to the Bogs of Ireland; had spoken on the other side entirely passed that the hon. Member for Newcastle should over the convulsion of distress which had draw down the whole subject of Emigrabeen produced throughout the country by tion; and lastly, that the hon. Member for the sudden contraction of the currency Newark should enter upon Irish Absenteein 1816. The hon. Baronet had affirmed ism. The proposal for a Select Committee that they might have what prices they he considered infinitely more objectionable pleased, and so certainly they might, if they even than the other. Their proceedings agreed to allow a half-penny to pass for a would be private, unknown to the public guinea. They might have nominal prices, or to the House, and their number must but the real value would necessarily con- be so limited that they could not fairly tinue the same. Although a landlord's represent the opinions of the country, or of rent were by these means quintupled, he Parliament. But the third proposition would soon find himself, under the new which was suggested by the hon. and state of things, worse than he had ever learned Member for Plympton he esteemed been before. The supporters of both the the most hopeless of any. That would propositions before the House appeared have them to appoint a Select Committee to him under the influence of sone vague that should be precluded from treating of dream or delusion, which led them to con- the Currency, the very cause to which template the possibility of a fluctuating many Members attributed this distress. standard, which the House he was sure He hoped that Government would go still would never countenance for a moment. further in the reduction of taxation, which
Mr. Stanley said, that as a representative they had so laudably commenced, and he of a great manufacturing and commercial should be ready to support a Motion for town, which suffered much, he regretted the introduction of a fair property-tax, let to say, in common with the rest of the it emanate from what quarter it might. same class in other parts of the kingdom, Mr. Western began, by assuring the he could not give a silent vote on a Motion House that it was not bis intention, at that having for its avowed object the relief of late hour, to trespass on their attention for that distress, the existence of which no many minutes, and would therefore claim person denied. Although the latest ac- an indulgent hearing for the little he had bility
Whatever might be the result of Member for Liverpool had stated, that an inquiry, it was their bounden duty to prices would never fall so low as we had enter on it, if for no other purpose but to unfortunately experienced them. In 1819 manifest their sympathy for the distressed several members who supported governcondition of the people, and he entertained ment expressed their surprise that any no doubt but their refusal would occasion person should be so absurd as to suppose throughout the country very general dis- that prices, even if they fell a little, would satisfaction and disappointment. The not speedily again rise, and remain at their evils complained of were not of one day's former level. The price of corn, it was standing; they had been in existence, and admitted, might be low for a short time, had progressively increased for fourteen but it was strenuously contended that it years. So great had been the distress, would soon rise to 70s. or 80s. the quarter. and so powerful its effects, that it had Some of these predictions had been verified, altered the moral character of the people and the Gentlemen who proposed and in such a manner as to cause the most carried the law of 1819 are now proved to serious alarm. If it only to ascertain have been completely ignorant of what the cause of that change, and the possi- would be its results. Since the war, prices,
finding a remedy for it, the House instead of being steady, have been conought to go into a committee of inquiry. tinually in a state of fluctuation, and they There was an increased activity in com- have on the whole fallen a great deal more merce-increased exports and imports— than ever was expected. He was anxious increased production--increased energy to press on the attention of the House the throughout the country; and yet there impossibility of going on with a gold were difficulties and distresses such as standard. A time would come when a could not be contemplated without com- demand might be made on the Bank for miseration. He wanted to know, what 20,000,0007, which it would be unable to then was the cause of this tress? He produce, and ruin would ensue. He would heard none assigned which appeared to him not say more, than that the subject was one probable. It was not taxation; that might of the highest importance which could augment the distress, but was not its lie ander investigation. cause. It was clear that taxation was not Colonel Wilson said, that they had been the cause, because it had begun as taxation now debating this subject four nights, and was reduced, and it continued more severe were not now much wiser with respect to than ever, though taxation had been dimi- it than at the commencement of the disnished. He never was an advocate for cussion; and he was sure that if they sat the expenses of the war, but he denied that there for a month of Sundays they would the counti
came exhausted out of the be still in the same situation. If the hon. contest. We had burthens to bear; but Mover had confined his Motion to the we had by our increased commerce acquired distress of the country he would go to the strength to bear them. It was then to committce; but there were other matters the change in the currency that we were included in the proposed inquiry which to attribute our distress; while that was were not necessary.
The distress of the untouched we could bear greater burtbens country was unprecedented; but Ministers than at present without repining. The had done much in the way of reduction of effects therefore of the measures of 1819, taxation, much more than he had expected, and 1822, and 1826 ought to be closely or than he should have believed had any examined, and for that purpose a com- body told him of it when he was last on mittee ought to be appointed. A depres- his legs in that House. Imputations had sion in prices, fully equal to fifty per cent, been cast on him by noble Lords and others, had taken place in all commodities, which that he was sneaking after Ministers, and had been caused by the change in our looking for the loaves and fishes ; but he currency, and which had extended its wanted no office or place. He had served influence to every country with which we his country without emolument; he enhad commercial relations. If any Gentle- tered into its service at fifteen years old, man contemplated in 1819 the subsequent as a private soldier-perhaps they did not fall of prices, he had contemplated that know that. He had carried “ brown bess” which no member of the Bullion Com- on his shoulder for years; but there was mittee had any idea of. In the discussions only this difference between him and other in 1811 on that question, the right hon. I private soldiers,—that he had the honour of paying himself, of feeding bimself, and and refute them, as he easily might do, of paying for his “brown bess" too. If there was one so extravagant that he could he were Prime Minister, he would propose not pass it over without notice. Some a measure of relief: he would throw the hon. Members on the last evening of that whole of the assessed taxes overboard, and debate had said, that it would be useless have a properly modified property-tax, to adjourn it, for that they could not which should be so laid on as to press on expect to hear any novel thought on the the absentees, and in that way he would subject. The speech of the hon. Baronet, afford effectual relief to the country. As however, had to-night shown them that they to the causes of the distress, he would were much mistaken ; for, to his great inform the House, that previously to the surprise, and to the surprise of most others ruin of the country bankers in 1826, every who heard him, the hon. Baronet, the farmer had a credit with his banker, so bold--the eloquent—the erudite advocate that if he could not sell bis stock and his of the people, -he who had distinguished produce, he was neither forced into the himself in their cause by the bitter sarcasms market when things were cheap, nor forced with which he contended against an atto borrow at exorbitant interest, in order tack on their rights,—who was the poputo pay his landlord. Now the farmer lar representative of a large and populous could get no assistance, and he was either city,- who so eagerly desired that the obliged to sell his property at half-price, distress of the country should be relieved or neglect to pay his landlord, and so lose -- had that night told them, that reduction farm and all.' That change had reduced of taxation was a thing not to be cared hundreds of respectable farmers to break for, but that the whole relief of the country stones upon the roads. Never was the was to be found in high prices. Why, of country so prosperous as when wheat was all the propositions that had ever proceeded selling for 14s. a bushel. The farmers froin a fertile mind, this was, in his opinion, and their wives were then dressed in the best the one that had the least approximation manufactured cloth in the country, and they to intelligence. Yet, at the same time that lived luxuriously. Now they were in the hon. Baronet declared this, he also detatters, and feeling on butter milk and clared himself the friend of the shipping potatoes. That was
a state of things and the manufacturing interests. But in that called for relief, and he hoped Minis- what way, he would beg to ask, could ters would do away with their own vile those interests meet the foreign competition measures regulating the currency, before against which they had to struggle, except all the agriculturists were entirely ruined. by low prices ? He could follow and
Mr. D. W. Harvey said, that at that refute some of the hon. Baronet's other posilate hour it was not his intention to press tions, but he wished to keep his promise upon the patience of the House, which he to the House, and not press farther on its knew was nearly exhausted. He did not patience. therefore intend to go into the subjects Mr. Trant rose amidst loud cries of introduced into the discussion at any length. “Question;" but he said, if he were not He rose rather for the purpose of correcting heard he would move the adjournment of an error, an unintentional one, no doubt, the debate. He stood pledged, at a meetinto which the hon. Member for Essex ing of yesterday, to some of the most rehad fallen. That hon. Member stated spectable gentlemen in London,-members that the people of Essex wished for in- of the committee for the Relief of the Manuquiry; now the fact was, that at the meet- facturing Poor,--that he would state to the ing the other day in Essex inquiry was House that which they communicated to not called for; the great majority of the him, viz., that, from the information they people in the country did not wish for received by means of their communications inquiry. They knew well enough the with all parts of the country, they were cause of the distress they suffered, and convinced that the distress was overwhelmthey plainly enough pointed out the means ing. These gentlemen ought to have an of relief. If he were not afraid of tres- opportunity of being heard in a committee, passing too long on the attention of the in reply to the statements of the right hon, House, he would venture to reply to some Gentleman (Mr. Herries) who spoke so of the extraordinary arguments raised by much of the prosperity of the country. the hon. Baronet, the Member for West- Mr. Monck was one of those who looked minster; but though he would not follow to a reduction of the taxes on productive industry, and a concurrent diminution of returns to their outlay. Those acquainted the public expenditure, as the sole sources with the facts of the case knew that they of national relief. He agreed with the right did so to save their machinery, and be hon. Member for Liverpool, that if it were cause they could not think of throwing meant that we should have a foreign trade, the thousands of workmen whom they had we must have low prices for our manufac- in a manner called into existence, out of tures, in order to compete with the foreigner employment. He was sure that the proin his own market, and from low prices low jected joint-stock banking system would wages generally followed. The measure turn out a failure, because it was not confithen, for the House to adopt was, so to place dence in country bankers that was wanting the labourer that his low wages may enable on the part of the public, but confidence him to command the necessaries of life; in the public, the borrowers, on the part and that only could be effected by giving of the lender, the banker. He thought, him cheap bread, that is, by admitting however, that a revision of our currency corn of fertile and untaxed countries into system was wanting, for that the paper this.
currency of the country was not equal to Mr. Rickford considered, that the dis- its exigencies, and that the 26,000,0001. tress of the country fell chiefly on the agri- of gold which the Bank of England said cultural classes, and that to them, there they had in circulation would be found he fore, relief should be chiefly applied. believed to cost the country 40,000,0001.
Mr. Benett was surprised, that when the While he made these statements he begged right hon. Member for Liverpool was quot- leave to say, that he, as a member of the ing instances of the general wealth and manufacturing committee, must protest prosperity of the country, he did not look against the statement just made to the to the very obvious proofs to be derived House by the hon. Member for Dover. from the consumption of butchers' meat. Mr. Warburton, was confident that MiIf the right hon. Gentleman had looked to nisters could not adopt a more mischievous the consumption of the town of Birmingham measure just now, than a revision of the alone, he would have found that that con- currency system, as its inevitable effects sumption had diminished one-third within would be, to create such a run on banks as the last year. He would support the Mo- would destroy all those whose cash detion for a Select Committee, as he thought posits were not equal to their issues. the numerous petitions presented to the Mr. Irving ( amid loud cries of “QuesHouse rendered some inquiry imperative. tion,"] in explanation of what had just
Mr. Alderman Thompson would vote for been alluded to by the hon. Member for inquiry, and in doing so would appeal to the City of London, begged to say that his any hon. Member acquainted with the references to the iron trade were to it as it city of London whether the trade of that existed in Sheffield and Birmingham, city was ever so much depressed as at pre- Sir T. Acland, as a Member of the masent? He was free to admit, that some nufacturing committee, protest improvement had taken place within the against the statement made in reference last fortnight; but it was only that some to that committee by the hon. Member for thing like a cost price could be obtained Dover. One fact would show, contrary to for some articles, while a month ago no the declaration of the hon. Member, that sale could be effected at any price at all. the distress had diminished instead of inWith reference to the observations of the creased within the last few weeks, --namely, hon. Member for Bramber a few evenings that whereas heretofore it was found neago, he begged leave to say, that the hon. cessary for the committee to meet once a Member was in error in asserting that an week, now, owing to a diminution of the improvement had taken place in the iron distress, they met but once a fortnight. trade. The contrary was the fact, and Mr. Davenport rose to reply. The had been so for the last four or five years, question, he said, after all the discussion, during which immense sums —even mil- turned on the single fact, that numerous lions-had been expended in that trade, petitions from all classes, and all parties, without obtaining any profit, and even in and all places in the country, had been some instances suffering an actual loss. presented to the Ilouse for relief, and that It was a fallacy to suppose that because if inquiry were refused, the only inference manufacturers went on manufacturing, that the public could draw was, that it was that therefore they were reaping profitable useless to again petition a Parliament that