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most important advantages upon notes of Scotland was still undethe whole community. All the cided, public attention was extrawitnesses had agreed, that, if the ordinarily excited by a series of circulation of small notes were letters directed against the dreaded prohibited, the Scottish banks alteration, which appeared in an would be compelled to put a stop Edinburgh weekly newspaper. to these cash-credits, and likewise The style in which they were to abandon their branch-banks in written made the first impression, remote districts of the country, and it was fixed deep by the name which would thus be left without of the author, as soon as they were a circulating medium. At the known (and they were soon known) same time, the directors of the to be the productions of sir Walter Bank of England had given it as Scott.
Scott. If they did not display their opinion, that the continued great profoundness in political ecocirculation of small notes in Scot- nomy, the opinions which they land and Ireland would have no contained were put forth with injurious effect on the metallic what appeared to most people incirculation of England, provided vincible sound sense ; but, in rethese notes were confined within ality, they deserved attention printhe boundaries of their respective cipally as pieces of composition. countries. The committees, there- Hastily thrown together, and fore, recommended, that the paper therefore, marked sometimes by a money of these parts of the em- homeliness of expression excellentpire should not be meddled with. ly suited to its purpose, the richSome members, however, of the ness and aptness of illustration, House of Commons, being appre- the adaptation to national prejudice, hensive that a metallic currency in the dramatic variety, the dry and England could not exist with a pithy jokes of Malachi Malagrowsmall-paper circulation in Scotland, ther (for under this name did the şir M. W. Ridley moved a resolu- author write) produced in Scotland tion, that the House, in the course a sort of similitude to the period of of next session (though it was well the Drapers Letters in Ireland ; known that parliament was about and, in the opinion of his countryto be dissolved), would institute men, placed the civic garland on an inquiry as to how far the in- the head of the author of Waverly, terests of England and Scotland beside the laurel wreath which he were likely to be affected by the had so long worn. He discovered, existence of different systems of or thought he discovered, in the currency in the two countries, and conduct of England towards Scotto ascertain whether any, or what, land for some years back, a design means ought to be adopted, to to contemn and affront the latter, assimilate the currency in both. for the sake of establishing a The motion was negatived without chimerical system of uniformity; a division; and thus Scotland was and one proof of it he found in the left, for the present, in possession removal of her separate Board of of that system of currency, under Customs, to consolidate it with which her commerce, her manu that of England. He talked, too, factures, and her agriculture, had very merrily, of the danger of so long flourished.
sending chests of gold through While the fate of the small Highland glens, and the proba
bility of its creating a new race of of two miserable and insignificant Rob Roys-just as lord Carnarvon, fiscal departments! When I first after him, predicted in the House heard of this extraordinary proof Peers, the formation of bands duction, I was really apprehensive of highwaymen round London that I had been countenancing from the same But the some undefined wrong against greatest honour paid to these epis- Scotland. When I met my noble tles was, the notice taken of them friend at the head of the Admieven in parliament, as dangerous ralty, or 'any of his honourable productions. The jokes of sir colleagues at that board, I hardly Walter Scott were actually treated dared to look them in the face. by some members as incentives to At last it occurred to me, that I rebellion ; and senators gravely had Scottish blood, and good old averred, in the House of Com- Seottish blood, too, in my veins; mons, that, not many years ago, and that my conscience had never they would have subjected him to charged me with any attempt to condign punishment. Nay, even diminish the honour which I exthe chancellor of the Exchequer, perienced from my connection with thought himself bound to notice that ancient country, and its them, and, when opening the ancient nobility. When, too, I budget on the 13th of March, recollected all the signal triumphs struck at Malachi Malagrowther, of Scotland in the various intellecin a rather eloquent and imposing tual pursuits of the human race; passage, whose periods, more as a when I remembered the originality compliment to the man, than from and genius of her poets, the elorespect to the subject, were per- quence and accuracy of her hishaps better turned than the dignity torians, the elaborate lucubrations, of the matier required. "Ac- and profound reasonings of her cording," said the chancellor of philosophers: when, in addition to the Exchequer, “according to a these, her brilliant excursions over celebrated production which has the regions of fancy, of history, appeared in the northern part of and of science, I adverted to the the kingdom, the destruction of the noble efforts which she had made, independent Boards of Customs in the field and on the ocean, in and Excise in Scotland, and their maintaining the glory and indeconsolidation with the central pendence of the empire; when I Board, are considered by every true recollected the names of AbercromScot to be derogatory to the na- by, of Moore, of Lynedoch, and tional dignity, offensive to the na- of Hopetoun, and that, only two tional pride, and subversive of the years ago, I successfully proposed national rights. When Antony to this House, to do tardy justice makes his beautiful speech over to the name of Duncan ; when I the dead body of Cæsar, and ex- dwelt in imagination upon all claims, 'O, what a fall was there, these things, I could not for a momy countrymen,' the appeal was ment continue to believe, that the not more passionate or energetic, honour of Scotland was tarnished than the appeal made in the letters by the transference of a paltry to which I allude, against the Board of Customs or Excise from author of that woeful tragedy Edinburgh to London. I had which terminated in the extinction always thought that that honour
was established on a much more that they would condescend to
Arrangement with the Bank of England-Bill brought into the House
of Lords to enable private Banks to have an unlimited Number of
the circulation of small notes consent of the Bank, therefore, was
in the month of January, governinterfere to a certain extent, with menthad entered into a negotiation the charter of the Bank of Eng- with the Bank-directors, stating land; for, by the privileges of that generally the wish which they encorporation, no private banking tertained to restore a metallic circompany could consist of more than culation, and to establish private six partners, a limitation which had banks on a more solid foundation. sprung from apprehensions that One measure, the directors were large co-partnerships might tend informed, by which the former obto exclude the Bank from its para- ject might be in part attained, was mount influence in the pecuniary the establishment, by them, of transactions of the country, and branch-banks in different parts of which rested on the same principle the country; but government that had induced the incorporated stated their conviction, that such insurance companies to purchase establishments could not be erected from parliament the power of pre- in sufficient numbers to answer the venting the formation of any rival demands of the community. There
te, the Treas. die right of the pation in the My for what
to be placed i
Beat the Banki bag its exclu
remained another expedient, that lation was agreed to; and, on the of allowing private banks to in- day after parliament had assembled, crease the number of their partners a general meeting of the proprietors indefinitely, and thus to establish was held, for the purpose of conthem on a basis so broad as to give firming or rejecting the proposed the country, at all times, a confi- arrangement. Opinions were much dence in their solidity, like that divided. One party strongly mainwhich had so long existed in Scot- tained, that the proposition had land. The minister pressed ear- nothing equal in it ; that the anxnestly upon the directors, how iety of government to obtain the little they would lose, and how concession proved it to be of value, much the public would gain, by and that therefore it ought not to the surrender of their particular be made without some acknowprivilege. Their notes, they were ledgement; that all the benefit told, did not circulate beyond a would accrue to the country at certain limited space round the the expense of the Bank, and that, metropolis, excepting, perhaps, in when thus required to lay open Lancashire. So long as the coun their charter, and surrender their try establishments continued upon rights for the public good, it was their present footing, a smaller unjust to call upon them to do so or greater degree of temporary without compensation. Those who, difficulty, and of necessity for tem- supported the arrangement, rested porary exertion, must always be ex- chiefly on the ground, that all the perienced by the Bank, whenever exertions of the directors to bend the exchanges were unfavourable; government on the point of comand, therefore, by giving increased pensation had been, and would be, stability to the former, it would se- unavailing; that the concession cure itself against much occasional would not affect the real interests embarrassment.
of the Bank; and that, if, at any The answer of the directors was future period, they should apply unfavourable. It bore, that they for an extension of their charter, could not consent to recommend to they would be enabled to do so the proprietors the surrender of any with a better grace, and on the privileges sanctioned and confirmed ground of stronger merits, if they by so many acts of the legislature, yielded now. At the close of the In return, the Treasury would not discussion, the arrangement was admit the right of the Bank to ask approved of almost unanimously. compensation in the shape of new That the measure founded on privileges, for what they were re this arrangement might go on quired to give up; and, at the simultaneously in parliament with same time, informed the directors, the small-note bill, the act for that, if conditions were to be pro- enabling private banks to consist posed, it was from them that they of an unlimited number of partners, must come.
The directors now was introduced in the House of required, that the Bank of England Lords. The first discussion upon should be placed upon the same it took place, on the occasion of lord footing as the Bank of Ireland, by Liverpool moving the second readextending its exclusive privileges ing (17th March); but the disto the distance of sixty-five miles cussion, almost entirely forgetting round the metropolis. This stipu- the specific proposition before the