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and his determination to discharge part of their advances from funds which, not he, but Parliament, had destined for other fervice. Upon these different points he should not have dwelt fo . long, if he had been quite sure that Gentlemen had read the Reports of the Committee; but he now came to that period when a new Loan was inade, the main object of which was the payment of the advances made by the Bank. The reason then alligned for this measure was that it would relieve circulation, and enable the Bank to enlarge their accommodation to commerce. He knew it was not regular to refer to those documents, printed as debates of the House, because they were not considered as authentic, and were even contrary to the orders of the House; but if these debates were at all correct, it was upon a Budget, and if Gentlemen would look at the speech of the Right Honourable Gentleman, they would find that it confirmed the account which he here gave of it, but could not regularly quote. From the evidence of Mr. Bofanquet it appeared, that part of the sums, for payment of which this Money was granted, had not been paid off. Some thing like altercation had taken place on this subject on a former night, and it was contended that this was owing to the Bank not having availed themselves of the option in the act of subscribing their Exchequer Bills in payment of their share. But in fact the Honourable Gentleman who defended the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon that clause, might as well have quoted any Loan Bill that had been palled this century. The Bank were Creditors suing for the payment of a debt due to them, and they did not with to convert a floating debt into a permanent one. He was astonished when he heard it said that the Bank, who had so long and so earnestly solicited Government for payment of their advances, did not avail themselves of the means of payment. To such an assertion he should repeat---believe it who can. The evidence of Mr. Raikes, Mr. Giles, Mr. Bosanquet, and every other Director examined, proved that they had pressed for payment of the very sum which he complained of as left undischarged ; that the clause in the Loan Bill which had been quoted, had nothing to do with the subject, and that the solicitations of the Bank for payment of it still continues.
Having traced the Chancellor of the Exchequer ftill promising payment of former advances, and still extorting money, as he would call it, from the Bank upon fresh pretences, three Budgets having elapsed without provision being made, the Bank had an interview with the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the 24th of May, 1796, and found him impressed with the juftice of their applications. On the 25th of May, he wrote them that, after the second payment on the Loan of seven millions,
their demands should be attended to, but that he was obliged to go and attend the election at Cambridge, but should pay atten. tion to their application on his return. On his return from Cambridge the Bank waited on him. Their advances were now as high as before, and they were urgent in their demands for payment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured them that something should be done, and coincided in opinion that the amount of their advances ought to be kept down; but as the anxiety which the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed for keeping down this amount was uniformly followed by a fresh demand, this was immediately succeeded by an earnest request of new accommodation. The Bank remonstrate, and comply with reluctance, and, as they express in their Memorial, from a fear that their refusal would be attended with a greater evil. If any thing can excuse the Bank for continuing their advances after the disappointments they had experienced, it must be the importunity with which they were pressed, and the dexterity with which they were always alarmed with the dread of injuring the service by their refusal. The situation of the Bank became ftill more critical. Though there had been no direct commu. nication respecting their situation, the Chancellor of the Exchea quer had received such hints as must have sufficiently apprised him of the fituation in which it stood. Still their solicitations were neglected, bis promises were broken, and the sum of their advances continued to increase till the fatal period when the Or. der of Council was issued. Amidst all the representations whichi he had received from the Bank, regardless of the consequences which threatened to follow the system he pursued, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, far from labouring to avert the ruin, continued to persevere in the very measures which accelerated its completion and aggravated its mischief.
With regard to the effects of the drain occasioned by the Im= perial Loan, the evidence upon the table was full of the remonstrances made by the Bank to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the 16th February, 1796, they represented that a further perseverance in foreign remittances would be fatal to the Bank. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured them that no Loan should be sent to the Emperor, unless circumstances materially altered. With this the Bank were satisfied, because they una derstood the assurance to extend to remittances of every kind. The representation to which this answer was made compres hended both Loan and advances, and Mr. Bosanquet says, in his evidence, that the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was difingenuous if it did not apply to both. If what passed at the conversation which took place on this subject was admitted, it was disgraceful in the Chancellor of the Exchequer to return
so deceitful an answer. It was understood to apply to every kind of remittance, and if it was not so meant, it was not only dilingenuous but fraudulent. What was the fact, however ? Colonel Crauford had, at this very time, drawn Bills to the amount of 300,000). and continued to draw, till the sum of advances was 1,300,000l. till the drain upon the Bank was so great, that the run which it afterwards experienced, and which it otherwise might have been able to sustain, became fatal; but if good faith be necessary to public dealings, will the House of Commons allow such flagrant breach of it to pass with impunity? Public credit has been impaired! The Bank has been forced to Itop payment! There are now but the crimes of an individual. If they receive the countenance and protection of the House, they communicate the guilt to the Representatives of the People, and become the character of the nation. But even if no such catastrophe as the stoppage of the Bank had taken place, still the conduct of the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought not to pass unnoticed. It may be said it is unfair to reason from what has happened; but independently of what has happened, the conduct which led to it was criminal. If, when the measures of the Minister materially contributed to that fatal event which public credit has felt so deeply, shall not the House rescue itself from the charge of being his accomplices, by punishing the person to whom the guilt must be ascribed? That it did contribute, and most materially to that event, he would still contend. All the Directors of the Bank examined upon the subject, Mr. Raikes, Mr. Giles, &c. agreed in stating, that if the advances by the Bank to Government had been discharged, the stoppage of the Bank inight have been prevented. Mr. Giles and Mr. Bosanquet were very explicit in their opinion, as well to this point, as Mr. Winthrop and others. Mr. Thornton and Mr. Boyd, however, had, in their speculative ideas, expressed an opinion, that the conduct of the Bank, with regard to discounts, had contributed to the stoppage. In the speculative principles which the latter Gentleman threw out upon this head, he was happy to find that he had made a distinction between the conduct to be followed by the Bank of England, and by other Banks, because as this Honourable Gentleman was himself connected with a Bank, he had thus obviated the want of confidence which must naturally have arisen towards a Bank managed upon the principles he had laid down. Indeed, he seemed to have confounded every sober and rational principle of Banking. The Bank of England was a Bank of circulation. To the support of such a character, it was essential that it fhould pay on demand. It therefore ought to be always prepared. If necessary, it must have cash to answer all its notes--No. 37. *
the cal have exter the latterlik Committe ainda
In times of calamity the Bank must bear the burden with other lufferers. In prosperous times it possessed the means of recovering its losses; in times of alarm it would be able to defeat its malignity by answering every demand. Circulating Medium was a faihionable phrase in the present times, and he was afraid what was said to be a want of Circulating Medium was a want of Capital. The state of the exports was no proof of the flourishing state of the country. War necessarily created a demand for certain articles; the individual manufacturer was enriched, but the country received no return for what was sent abroad on this account. The national capital was not supplied and recruited by such exports, they only enhanced ruin, while they seemed to indicate prosperity. Here Mr. Grey read a quotation from Smith's Wealth of Nations, in support of this doctrine. It was the opinion of Mr. Thornton and Mr. Boyd that the Bank should have extended their discounts, and increased their paper. If an opinion of the latter Honourable Gentleman was well founded, then had the Bank Committee greatly deceived the public in their first Report. It was said by this Honourable Gentleman that the fums discounted by the Bank were not to be taken as debts of which they could compel payment, but that they ought, by fresh itsues, still farther to accommodate the person who had bills in this situation. If so, could the sums which the Bank had discounted be taken as assets? If a bill were brought for discount by persons who would require fresh discount when i: became due be considered as a fair bill, he would appeal to Mr. Thornton whether such a bill would be taken? Such an opinion, however, was evidently erroneous, and to proceed upon such principles no Bank of circulation could ever exist. It was faid that increased commerce required increased discounts. Here again he should appeal to the authority of Adam Smith. It had been said that there was nothing new under the sun, but he really thought that the doctrines he had heard on this point were new, till he found that they were the old maxims of speculators and projectors. Here Mr. Grey read another passage from Smith, which laid it down that discount was only safe and proper where the perfor, discounted what he would otherwise have been obliged to keep by himn. Particular circumstances had prevented him from attending the Committee when the Report was drawn up, and this was the reason why he had now to object to a part of it, against wbich he had not entered his diffent in the Committee. It was stated that the Bank, by not extending its discounts, had contributed to the stoppage which had taken place; but the whole facts in evidence were repugnant to this conclusion. It appeared that, when the Bank narrowed their discounts, their cash increased, except where there were other drains. Neither
did he agree in opinion that the reduction of country Bank Notes was owing to the diminution of Bank of England Notes; for though the Notes of the Bank of England had at certain periods been diminished, the proportion of country Bank Notes had remained as before; but, in point of fact, the dilcounts of the Bank had not been narrowed since they were first contracted in 1793; the declaration of the Bank that they were to contract had never been acted upon. For his own part, were he a Director of the Bank, he should refuse to discount any bill to a holder of Exchequer Bills, and thould tell him to carry them to market before he came to the Bank for accommodation. It was a Jangerous position that the conduct of the Bank of England ought to be guided by principles different from those which regulated the conduct of other Banks.
It had been juítly observed by an Honourable Gentleman, (Mr. Wilberforce) that particular measures could be of little consequence, and that the restoration of guneral credit was the great point to be accomplished. But what was his derinition of general credit? General credit must reit more upon the feelings of confidence than upon a demonstration of caulcs. It was an edifice reared by the hand of simplicity, upon the basis of truth. Men might discuss finely and talk speciously, but to inspire general credit you must excite belief, not inspire admiration. To extract belief of things above the reach of human judgment was the highest effort of Divine Power. But this claim was confined to Revelation. Men might be submitted to power, but their confidence could not be compelled. A regard to fimplicity, truth, and good faith, an experience of punctuality in transactions of honelty, in the discharge of obligations incurred, could alone inspire general credit. A Bank Note, Mr. Burke had well observed, is all powerful upon the Royal Exchange, because in Westminster Hall it is impotent. To talk of any new circulating medium which commerce did not supply, was a dangerous chimera. To inspire general credit, you must tell the public that the Bankis to be conducted like other concerns, upon views of its own interest; that it is to be conducted by men who act as merchants notas politicians and itatelinen, and you will inspire general credit; tell the public that the connection of the Bank with Government is to be diffolved, that its transactions are to be free, and you will inspire general confidence. The Bank of England, if it begins its operations on the 24th of June, can only stand upon the principles of truth and honesty, on fidelity in its engagements and paying its notes upon demand. Was it necesiary to retute the doctrine, that when embarrassed the Bank ought to have increased its issue of paper to increase the means of enforcing demands for specie, without additional means for satisfying the
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