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of saving it-and that they would set about redeeming past errors with some decisive and spirited proof of a genuine love for their country.

He would now detain the House no longer than to remind them, that to reject the motion would be to decline taking into consideration a subject the most momentous, and of the most anxious interest that Mr. Baring said, he must deny that had ever pressed itself on their attention. the present was a question which inteWith reference to the foreign relations of rested only one or two classes of the comthe country, prudence and the national munity. On the contrary, he considered honour would manifestly recommend it; it to be a question of the utmost importbut, if the government and the parliament ance to all classes of society, and he was had come to the painful resolution, that anxious to state his opinion upon it, beEngland must consent to abandon for cause he wished to account for what might ever the lofty station she had so long appear to be an inconsistency in his conheld among the nations of the world, he duct. Having, three years ago, when the trusted the House would think it worth question of the currency was under conwhile to take the course pointed out by sideration, made a proposition to the his hon. friend, in order to avoid that great House of a similar nature to that now revolution in the landed property which made by the hon. member for Essex, must otherwise take place; and he would it might be asked, why, three years later, intreat the ministers more especially to he should feel it his duty to oppose the reflect what their duty was to that great inquiry now called for. The noble marbody of men, who had kept a Tory ad- quis who had just sat down, had, in a very ministration in power for near sixty years, few words, pronounced his (Mr. B.'s) and who, however they might have served defence, when he had said, that in the their country, had at least served faith question of currency "time was every fully and zealously his majesty's present thing." And he would say, that the ministers and their political ancestors- extract which the noble marquis had read the country gentlemen, whose very re- from a speech delivered, in the year 1811, proach to the rest of the community was by that excellent and able man, Mr. their tame and undeviating acquiescence Henry Thornton, explained exactly the in the measures of all governments, what- principle on which the question now ever those governments might happen to rested. It was impossible for any man to be, and whatever they might choose to state precisely, that three, or four, or propose, and who had a claim therefore five years should be the determinate time, on their rulers for compassion; but if after which a currency that had been those rulers were deaf to the calls of gra- tampered with, should be restored to its titude, and dead to all sense of what they original value. It was essentially a quesowed to that great, important, but much tion of time-not limitable to any specific abused and long suffering portion of their period; and if a legislature had been so countrymen, he would beseech them to unfortunate as to tamper with the curpay some regard to their own doctrines rency of a country-whether they should of the horror of all revolutions, and he afterwards return to the course from which would suggest, that those who contem- they had departed or not, was entirely a plate with the utmost alarm the smallest question of time. Supposing that position innovation, if it was to affect the salary of to be generally admitted, if an alteration a public servant or to injure the influence were made to any certain amount-to of a Borough proprietor, should not the amount of 15 or 20 per cent for inwholly disregard so extensive an innova- stance-in the currency of a country, it tion as this, which was to sweep from the would become a matter for argument, face of the land its present possessors, whether it would not be better to leave it consigning them to beggary and to exile; on the principle of depreciation, rather and, as a large portion of the present mithan to return at once to the old standard. nisters had given proofs of energy and of a He was of opinion, however, that, though readiness to encounter difficulties, when a committee at present would do no good, their own individual interests had been at the hon. member for Essex had conferred stake, he trusted that they would not a benefit on the country, in different ways, entirely neglect the interests of that by the agitation of the question. In the great body of men whose existence was first place, the numerous meetings throughat stake-that they would not be alto-out the country had induced the people gether indifferent to the fate of that class-to believe, that the interference of the that they would not shrink from the task legislature was called for with a view to

the alteration in the currency. Now, when such an universal feeling prevailed from one end of the kingdom to the other, it became necessary for that House to diseuss the subject. He disapproved of the remedy which had been proposed by the committee of 1811; and, looking to the reasons on which that remedy was founded, he thought no practical wisdom had been shown by that part of the House which had supported it; because, if any measure could be more absurd than another, it was—in the midst of a war--in the midst of the fluctuations of money occasioned by loans to ask the Bank to resume its payments in specie. It appeared that, in proportion to the difficulties of this question, individuals were peremptory and obstinate in their opinions. The question was not now settled, much as it had been discussed. Every one who had spoken or written on the subject, had treated all those who opposed their theory as dolts and fools. It would have been wise if that House had passed a resolution, stating that this was a question of very great difficulty, and that no party had been found who could show them the way out of it. Many gentlemen would doubtless ask, "What is the use of these discussions-what is the good of showing that one-half of the people have been deluded by the other?" It was a most important duty to do it. In the first place, it was always useful to hold up truth and sense to public view; and it was of the greatest possible advantage-not that they should leave no lights and no land-marks behind thembut that they should not leave any false lights; that they should not be instrumental in preserving any deceitful landmarks, to puzzle and lead astray posterity. When those who came after them looked back to what had occurred within a few years, they would find a resolution on the Journals of the House of Commons, at which they must laugh; but which would appear as gravely on the pages of those Journals, as if the whole wisdom of parliament had been consulted in drawing it up. Therefore it was proper, that the opinions of the contemporaries of those who formed that resolution should be clearly and distinctly known.

The right hon. the president of the Board of Trade (Mr. Huskisson), whose sentiments on this subject had been extremely orthodox when he was out of place, but which were no longer so now he was in office, instead of inserting on the Journals VOL. IX.

a resolution reprobating any attempt to tamper with the currency of the country, contented himself with a simple declaration, that it was not expedient to make any alteration in the currency. Then, let them look to the writings of his hon. friend, the member for Portarlington, who had asserted opinions which held extremely cheap any statement, that the alteration in the currency had produced the distress which had been complained of. Posterity would assuredly be more acute than he was, if they understood perfectly what his hon. friend meant.He would not consent to go into the proposed committee, because it would be unjust to the country to hold out expectations which could not be realized; and because he thought that parliament, when it conceived it to be the interest of the country to bolster up the paper currency for the purpose of carrying on the war, had done so with a feeling of perfect good faith. He admitted, that the system had been detrimental to many-and especially detrimental to the most helpless part of the community; because there were few evils with which the generality of people were less conversant, than those which arose out of a tampering with the currency. The great body of the people had proceeded on the principle which had been referred to by the noble marquis-that a Bank-note now was just as good as a Bank-note at any former time: they conceived, without any thoughts of the future, that they were receiving a full equivalent for their gold; but they now discovered their error. While, however, he admitted the great evils which the system had produced, he was willing-considering the period which had elapsed-to put up with all the inconveniences that were now felt, rather than have recourse to what had been called an "equitable adjustment." He was well aware of the baneful effects which, this tampering with the currency had had upon the principal families of the kingdom. He did not think the noble marquis, who had stated in such forcible language the grievous injury which that tampering had inflicted on the aristocracy of the country, had at all overrated it. On that aristocracy he had no claim; but still he thought that it ought to be upheld. There was not, he believed, a private family in the kingdom, which had not been impoverished in some degree by the system. He himself knew instances in which large nominal fortunes were left to the elder 3 M

any other question. The Bank, he be

have placed the country in its present situation, without any additional issue of paper.-The hon. member then argued, that the reference made by the hon. member for Portarlington to the duty on the probate of wills, as a proof that property had not depreciated, was fallacious. The probate duty arose from personal property, and that property was chiefly in the funds. Individuals who had purchased at 60, might at their death leave a property which would sell at 70 or 80. The produce of the stamp duties was an equally unsafe criterion. It was true, the amount of those duties had increased; but that was a proof of distress rather than of prosperity. In the year 1817, the injury to property caused by the depreciation fell with intense severity on the manufacturers; and there was a general sweep of the middle class of traders into the gazette; but a new race speedily sprung up, while the agricultural classes were, from their situation, doomed to endure a more lingering misery.-As to the question of equitable adjustment the thing was utterly impracticable. Where one man had got too little, and another too much, they would find it impossible to go to the latter and tell him to give up a portion of his property to the former. That property had long since got into other pockets; and, with all the industry and ingenuity in the world, they would not, at the end of fifty years, have got through any single parish in England. After all, the difficulty was to be traced to private debts and incumbrances. For no agriculturalist would tell them that, if he were even relieved from one-third of his debts, that relief would enable him to go on.

sons of respectable families, which fortunes were not sufficient to discharge the in-lieved, if his advice had been taken, would cumbrances. And, if that was the case with great fortunes, how stood the farmers throughout the country? Their situation was necessarily still worse. Many of them who had laid aside money to purchase land which they had partially mortgaged, had been entirely ruined by the speculation. Numerous families had been reduced to beggary, without perceiving the invisible hand which had struck them down. That much misery had been created by tampering with the currency, was generally admitted. It was, however, in a great measure, denied by the hon. member for Portarlington; and, where his hon. friend did allow that any wretchedness had been thereby created, it was accompanied by so much of argument on the other side, and so little of feeling for those who had suffered, that it absolutely went for nothing. Indeed, his hon. friend appeared to be ignorant, that this tampering with the currency had been the great cause of the distress which had been experienced. Then, as to the question of depreciation, if it could not be brought, like Mr. Mushet's calculations, to a table, his hon. friend would not admit it to exist at all. On that evening he would hear of nothing but the difference between gold and paper; but he (Mr. Baring) would contend, that there had been a depreciation of the precious metals themselves, in consequence of the issue of paper, when they came to turn out all the gold and silver from England into the market of the world. The hon. gentleman then proceeded to trace the depreciation in the value of money, from the discovery of the mines in America down to a much later period, when an abuse of the banking system was acted upon extensively by Russia, Austria, Denmark, and the United States of America; and contended, that the difference between gold and paper was no criterion of the prevailing distress, as had been asserted by the hon. member for Portarlington. All those depreciations, of one sort or another, had been the result of an extravagant paper system; and, whether it was a depreciation of gold as compared with paper, or of paper as compared with different commodities, it was manifest, that the same injustice had been committed. When he had moved for a committee, he wished that committee to go into an inquiry as to the state of the silver currency, unembarrassed with

Before he concluded, he wished to say a word or two on the question of a silver currency. When the subject was agitated in a committee of that House, he had endeavoured to convince them of the propriety of having a double standard. "He had argued, that it would be a great security against any future deviation from a metallic currency. Under the present system of a gold circulation, he did not think, if the country were again involved in a war, that two campaigns would elapse, before all the commercial classes at least, would call out for a return to the happy times of a paper money. But, if the circulation was placed on the broader basis of two metals to the currency, there would,

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

be less danger of resorting again to the the debate till to-morrow. The motion paper system. It should be recollected, was accordingly put and agreed to. that since the return to cash payments, the country had not had any difficulties to contend with. We had uniformly had good harvests, and had, on no account, been obliged to send gold in extraordinary quantities out of the country. If, too, the Bank had two currencies to work with, it would greatly facilitate its operations, in case of a demand for the precious metals; as there was no country of Europe in which silver might not be had, in the event of a run upon the Bank. In his opinion, if we had remained in the state we were in before the conclusion of the war, silver would have become the standard of the country. These considerations induced him to think, that a silver standard of currency would be a security against war.

Upon the whole, whatever propriety there might have been in bringing forward a motion for going into a committee, before we had returned to cash payments, he could not think that the adoption of it, after a lapse of four years, would be advisable. If the professed object of the motion had been to relax any of the inconveniences resulting from the change of the currency, it would have been less objectionable; but seeing that the professed object of it was the adjustment of all contracts, and that the inevitable effect would be, to unsettle the public mind and to derange the credit of the country, he could not consent to vote for the proposed committee. To interfere with existing contracts would be to do an act of great injustice, not only to the agriculturists themselves, but to all classes of the country. For, let it be borne in mind, that such a measure must necessarily include not only the old contracts, but those new ones which had been made since the restoration of a metallic medium. At the same time, in making these observations, he did not wish to be included among those persons who thought that no injustice had been done by tampering with the currency; and he would say, that the House and the country were much indebted to his hon. friend, the member for Essex, for having again brought the subject under the notice of the House.

Mr. Wodehouse was about to address the House, when lord Folkestone rose and observed, that as many members had yet to deliver their sentiments on the question, he should move an adjournment of

Thursday, June 12. RESUMPTION OF CASH PAYMENTS.] The order of the day being read, for resuming the adjourned Debate upon the motion made yesterday by Mr. Western, "That a Committee be appointed to take into consideration the changes that have been made in the value of the Currency between the year 1793 and the present time and the consequences produced thereby upon the Money-income of the country derived from its industry; the amount of the Public Debt and Taxes considered relatively to the Money-income of the country; and the effect of such changes of the currency upon the Money-contracts between individuals,"

Mr. Wodehouse said, that the subject had always appeared to him to be not only of infinite importance, but also one which was most imperfectly understood. He was aware too of the prevailing unwillingness to enter upon it; an unwillingness which had been increased of late by the consideration, that the extreme depression of price was, for the present at least, removed; and he would therefore have been content to have given a silent vote upon the question, did not the particular reference that had been made to him seem to require an explanation. Before, however, he entered upon that point, he was desirous of saying a word respecting the probable continuance of the improved prices, and though not conscious of being more inclined than other men to give way to unwarrantable alarms, yet, as the experience of a century seemed to exclude such a rate of price as could be said to be tolerably remunerative under our present circumstances, such for instance, as that which existed at the present moment, he confessed he found it extremely difficult to settle down at once into the certainty, that all our apprehensions on this score were finally removed.

It was true, as had been stated by the noble marquis on the former evening, that he (Mr. W.) was the first person who had used the term " equitable adjustment," which had afterwards been animadverted on by Mr. Cobbett. It was at a public dinner in the country, formed by gentlemen who had been supporters of

this work" (i. e. in Mr. Thornton's Essay on Paper Credit published in 1802)“ the reader will find the true principles of political economy united with the practical, I might almost say hereditary, knowledge of a well-informed merchant, and the extensive experience of a great London Banker." It would be difficult to find terms of more unqualified panegyric. We were frequently referred to the authority of the late Mr. Horner and the late earl of Liverpool, and it was always contended, that we had acted in strict conformity with the principles of Mr. Locke. It was idle, however, to cite great names, without a due regard to the altered circumstances under which we were placed. How could we be certain that Mr. Horner would have given the same counsel in 1819, that he had given in 18102 The annual weight of interest on the National Debt had been increased, in the interval, from being under 35 millions to nearly 44 millions. Was this a circumstance entirely to be overlooked? And then, with respect to Mr. Locke, unless we bore in mind that he lived anterior to the system of funding, by which the whole course of society throughout Europe had been completely changed, we might just as well quote the opinion of a man that was alive before the flood, and apply it to transactions that had taken place since the flood.

the late Mr. Pitt, at which he happened to preside. Upon occasions of that nature, it was a matter of actual duty for any one placed in the situation in which he was placed, to state his opinions respecting public men and public measures, freely and without reserve. It was at that public dinner that he had declared his belief, that if Mr. Pitt had lived to the termination of the late arduous contestlooking to the enormous length to which it had been protracted, the immense sacrifices which had been made under it, and, above all, the mode and system on which it had been conducted-he would have been sensible of the entire alteration in the value of every thing that was the natural result of it. That he would have been impressed with the unavoidable influence of our national debt on the general state of our society-and, without the least idea of running down one interest, and upholding another, but simply with a view to maintain the just equipoise of all; would in some way have provided that a more equitable adjustment should have been effected. It was open to us to have done it, either by retaining a part of the tax on property, or by making an alteration in the standard of our money. We might have adopted either of those modes, or we might have adopted both. By rejecting both, we had brought a measure of suffering upon the country, of the extent of which even the wisest amongst us seemed to have formed a most inadequate conception. In such a light did the case always appear to him (Mr. W.), and every day's reflection served but to confirm him in the belief.

An allusion also had been made by the noble marquis to his having cited an opinion of the late Mr. Henry Thornton, the object of which was, to establish the justice of a departure from the ancient standard of value. He had selected the authority of Mr. H. Thornton, because the right hon. the present president of the Board of Trade (Mr. Huskisson), than whom no one was more competent to form a judgment had, in his celebrated Treatise, which he published in 1810, inade mention of him, as a man who was a positive blessing to the country, from his extensive knowledge of this subject"Not only a member unconnected with party, but one intimately acquainted with the whole business of banking, with all the details of commercial credit, and all the bearings of our money system: In

He was desirous of avoiding, as much as possible, all appearance of individual censure-particularly with respect to the right hon. Secretary (Mr. Peel) who had introduced the measure to parliament, and whose name it bore; feeling, in truth, that the country had great cause for satisfaction, that his Majesty had been pleased to call him to his councils, and to place him in the high station which he now filled-but he never could believe, that either he, or any of his right hon. colleagues, or any of those right hon. gentlemen by whom they were systematically opposed, ever were duly impressed with the nature of the work in which they were engaged; and that, wanting a clear insight themselves, they were too ready to listen to the suggestions of the hon. member for Portarlington (Mr. Ricardo), whose conclusions on this head appeared to him to be utterly incomprehensible. Never could he introduce that hon. member's name without feeling what was due to his talents, and also to his cha racter; and, as this observation from him

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