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gressive increase in the manufac- exist, would be destroyed; and tures, the agriculture, the com- that the whole system of deposits merce, the population, and the ge- and cash credits would be most neral wealth of the country: materially affected, if the banks
That during the civil commo- were compelled to forego the profit tions of the last century, in the now derived from the issue of notes rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the below five pounds. confidence in paper securities in For the opinions in detail of the Scotland was not shaken; and that witnesses from Scotland, on these the Scotch banks maintained their and other points connected with stability, and were not called upon the small-note circulation in that for any extraordinary issue of gold country, your committee must in exchange for their notes, during refer to the evidence annexed to the shocks to which mercantile this report. So far as the intercredit was exposed in this country ests of the Bank of England are in the years 1793, 1797, and concerned, it will be seen that the recently in 1825. That it cannot directors of that bank, who were be assumed, therefore, that a cir- examined before your committee, culation of specie is necessary in urge no objection to the continuScotland for the purpose of guard- ance of the present system in Scota ing against the effects of sudden land, provided that the paper cirpanic.
culation of Scotland, can be effects, That while Scotland had a paper ually restrained within the limits currency for the discharge of all of that country. sums above 20s., England had at Upon a review of the evidence, leașt, for 'twenty years previously tendered to your committee, and, ... to the Bank restriction, a currency forming their judgment upon that consisting of the precious metals, evidence, your committee cannot i to the exclusion by law of notes advise that a law should now be below five pounds. That these passed, prohibiting, from a period different systems co-existed, and to be therein determined, the fu-, that no proof can be adduced that ture issue in Scotland of notes ber, the paper circulation of Scotland low five pounds.
id boi displaced or interfered, in any ma- There are, in the opinion of terial degree, with the metallic your committee, sufficient grounds currency of England.
in the experience of the past, før u That from the date of the first permitting another trial to be made establishment of a bank in Scot- of the compatibility of a paper cira,d, land to the present time, the in- culation in Scotland with a circumsan stances of the actual failure of a lation of specie in this country.ws Scotch bank have been extremely Looking at the amount of notes!.»; rare, and that there have been only current in Scotland below the two instances in which the cre- yalue of five pounds, and comparditors did not ultimately receive ing it with the total amount of the the whole amount of the principal paper currency of that country, it and interest of their debt.
is very difficult to foresee the conLastly, that the inducement to sequences of a law which should the Scotch banks to continue their prohibit the future issue of notes branch banks in many remote parts constituting so large a proportion of the country in which they now of the whole circulation.
Your committee are certainly interference with the system esta not convinced that it would affect "blished for England, would be a the cash credits to the extent ap- manifest and gross injustice to the prehended by some of the witnessa bankers of this
part of the empire es; but they are unwilling, with If it should take place, and if it out stronger proof of necessity, to should be found impossible to incur the risk of deranging, from frame a law consistent with sound any cause whatever, a system 'ad- and just principles of legislation, mirably caleulated, in their opi- effectually restricting the circulanion, to economize the use of ca- tion of Scotch notes
em vill be,
the pital, to excite and cherish a spirit limits of Scotland, there of useful enterprize, and even to in the opinion of your committee, promote the moral habits of the no alternative, but the extension people, by the direct inducements to Scotland of the principle which which it holds out to the mainte- the legislature has determined to nance of a character for industry, apply to this country. integrity, and prudence.
The other circumstance to which At the same time that your your committee meant to refer, as committee recommend that the bearing materially upon their parents so long a period prevailed in Scot- event of a considerable increase in land, should not, under existing the crime of forgery. circumstances, be disturbed, they Your committee called for refeel it to be their duty to add, turns of the number
of that they have formed their judg- tions and convictions for forgery,
2001 ment upon a reference to the past, and the offence of passing forged and upon the review of a state of notes during the last twenty years.com things which may be hereafter in Scotland, which returns will be materially varied by the increasing found in the Appendix.
uvit, volui wealth and commerce of Scotland, There appear
to by the rapid extension of her com- ing that period, no prosecutions, mercial intercourse with England, for the crime of forgery, to have, do and by the new circumstances that 'been eighty-six prosecutions for may affect that intercourse after the offence of issuing forged pročius the re-establishment of a metallic 'missory notes, fifty-two convicou currency in this country.
tions; and eight instances in whicke Apart from these general consi- the capital sentence of the law has derations, bearing upon the conclu- been carried into effect. sion at which they have arrived, there are two circumstances to tion, that out of the scope which your committee must more
of prosecutions for issuing forgedau's particularly advert.
notes in the last twenty It is evident, that, if the small thirty-eight have been instituted in notes issued in Scotland should be in the years which seenis te vene would have the effect, in propor- rant the apprehension that the tion as their circulation should ex crime of forgery is upon the in-, i tend itself, of displacing the specie, crease in Scotland. and even in some degree the local however, 'to be observed, that the to currency of England. Such an "return does not specify whether
have been, durus
observaas; I. number
Ay years, vi
the forged notes, for the issue of able under certain terms with which prosecutions have taken which the poorer classes of manuplace, were in all instances notes facturers and others cannot comof the Bank of Scotland. It is ply, unless by submitting to great possible, therefore, that some of extortion and abuse. It adds, that the prosecutions may have been the issue of such notes has very directed against forgeries commite much tended to increase the perted on the Bank of England, or nicious crime of forgery: and the on banks other than the banks of act proceeds to apply to notes beScotland.
tween the value of five pounds and Your committee will here close twenty shillings, similar restrictheir observations with respect to tions to those which had been apthe circulation of Scotland. They plied to such notes issued in Engare well aware of the great advan- land, by the act which passed in tage that would result from being the year 1777. It permits, howenabled, in a matter of this na- ever, during the suspension of cash ture, to express a clear and deci- payments by the Bank of Ireland, sive opinion, unembarrassed by any the issue of bank post bills, bills qualification or reserve; but they of exchange, and drafts, under consider it to be their duty, in a certain regulations, for any sums complicated question that involves not less than three guineas. This many important considerations, and act did not extend to the Bank of upon which the decision must be Ireland. subject to future contingencies, to In 1805, this and some other present the whole of those consic acts, which had passed in the inderations fairly to the House, and terim, relating to the issue of to qualify their present conclu- small notes, were repealed, and sions by a reference to possible notes under 20s. which had been circumstances, by the occurrence previously permitted under certain of which they might be materially regulations by the act of 1799, affected.
were declared void. IRELAND.
There is at present, no law in
force imposing any limitation to With respect to the circulation the period, for which notes for a of Ireland, the inquiries of your sum not less than twenty shillings committee have been less extensive may be issued in Ireland. than those which they have insti- A tolerably correct estimate of tuted with respect to Scotland. the amount of promissory notes
The first law in Ireland which above and below five pounds, cirrestrained the negociation of pro- culating in Ireland, may be formed missory notes, was an act passed from the subjoined returns made in the Irish parliament in the year by the Bank of Ireland, and by 1799.
other banks at present established The preamble recites, that va- in that country. rious notes, bills of exchange, and drafts for money, have been for
Bank of Ireland Notes. some time past circulated in lieu 1. An Account of the average of cash, to the great prejudice of amount of the Bank of Ireland trade and public credit ; and that notes of five pounds, and upmany of such notes are made pay- wards (including bank post Irish currency
bills), for the years 1820, 1821, 1825. Highest amount_51. 1822, 1823, 1824, and 1825. and upwards, 106,605l. ; under 51.,
Notes and post bills of 5l. and 1,359,0541.; total, 1,165,659l. upwards 3,640,6601. 198. 6d. Irish Lowest amount--51. and upwards, currency.
65,9871.; under 5l., 854,126l.; 2. An account of the average total, 920,113l.
amount of the Bank of Ireland 1826.--Amount at present in notes, under the value of five circulation-51.
and upwards, pounds (including bank post 74,658l. ; under 5., 663,9601. ; bills), for the years 1820, 1821, total, 738,6181. 1822, 1823, 1824, and 1825. The amounts stated in this ac
Notes and post bills under the count are made up from all the value of 5l. 7,643,8281. Os. 5d. returns that have been yet received
from bankers in Ireland, nine in An ACCOUNT of the Amount of number, of which six only issue
Bankers' Notes circulating in notes.
of issuing notes for the payment of 1815. Highest amount--51. sums between one and two pounds and upwards, 44,652l. ; under 5l., for three guineas, and other frac298,5301. ; total, 343,1821. Low- tional sums. est amount 51. and upwards, Your committee see no public 33,1821. ; under 51., 198,4331. ; advantage arising out of this practotal, 231,6151.
tice, and they are of opinion that 1821. Highest amount_51. it ought to be discontinued, as it and upwards, 58,7491. ; under 5l., tends to dispense with the neces
874,763l. ; total, 933,512. Low- sity of silver coin, and practically too?
est amount 51. and upwards, to exclude it from circulation. 45,4941.; under 51., 582,1961.; Your committee hesitate, in the total, 627,6901.
present imperfect state of their 1823. Highest amount-51. information, to pronounce a decisive and upwards, 56,3961. ; under 5l., opinion upon the general measures 1,023,2011.; total, 1,079,5971. which it may be fitting to adopt Lowest amount--51. and upwards, with respect to the paper currency 44,9101.; under 51., 688,4101.; of Ireland. total, 733,3201.
Although they are inclined to 1824. - Highest amount_51. think that it would not be adand upwards, 75,2471.; under 51., visable to take any immediate step 1,110,1701.; total, 1,185,4171. for the purpose of preventing the Lowest amount-51. and upwards, issue of small notes in Ireland, 57,0357.; under 51., 718,0841.; their impression undoubtedly is, total, 775,1191,
that a metallic currency ought,
ultimately, to be the basis of the which the committee wish, in the circulation in that country.. first place, to call the attention of
It will, probably, be deemed the House, it is to be remarked, advisable to fix a definitive, though that during the period from 1766 not an early period, at which the to 1797, when no small notes were circulation in Ireland of all notes by law issuable in England, the below five pounds shall cease ; and portion of the currency of Scotit is deserving of consideration, land, in which payments under 51. whether measures might not be were made, continued to consist adopted in the interim, for the almost entirely of notes of 1l. and purpose of ensuring such a final ll. 1s., and that no inconvenience result, by gradual, though cautious, is known to have resulted from advances towards it.
this difference in the currency of
the two countries. This circumLORDS' REPORT ON THE
stance, amongst others, tends to
prove that uniformity, however SUBJECT.
desirable, is not indispensably neThat the committee have pro- cessary. It is also proved, by the ceeded to the consideration of the evidence, and by the documents, subject referred to them by the that the banks of Scotland, whether House, and have collected from chartered or joint-stock companies, the examination of witnesses, and or private establishments, have, of the accounts laid before them, for more than a century, exhibited the information which will be a stability which the committee found in the minutes of evidence, believe to be unexampled in the and in the Appendix.
history of banking ; that they supThey do not think it necessary ported themselves, from 1797 to?" to enter into a detailed analysis of 1812, without any protection from this mass of information, because the restriction by which the Bank' the result of it would not lead, in of England and that of Ireland their opinion, to the proposal to were relieved from cash payments; parliament, during the present that there was little demand for session
any measure affecting gold during the late embarrass=' ? the circulating medium either of ments in the circulation ; and that, I Scotland or of Ireland.
in the whole period of their esta They entertain no doubt that, blishment, there are not more than upon n general principles
, it would two or three instances of bankbe desirable that the same system ruptey. As, during the whole of of currency should prevail through- this period, a large portion of their out Great Britain and Ireland. At issue consisted almost entirely of the same time they are fully notes not exceeding 1l. or 1l. 15., sensible, to such an uniformity there is the strongest reason for of there may be obstacles concluding that, as far as respects which
may render the attempt to the banks of Scotland, the issue of establish it at any particular paper of that description has been period, if not impracticable, yet found compatible with the highest liable to inconveniences which degree of solidity ; and that there might more than counterbalance is not, therefore, while they are the ultimate advantage to be conducted upon their present sysderived from it.
tem, sufficient grounds for proWith respect to Scotland, to posing any alteration, with the