« ElőzőTovább »
Scottish banks. But on turning to the evidence given shares, but for the shares of all the others; and the before the parliamentary committees of 1826, we find whole of their property may be seized to make up the usual value of the small notes in circulation esti- deficiencies. Although many of the shareholders are mated by Mr Paul of the Commercial Bank, and Mr certainly not men of opulence, a number are so; and as Blair of the British Linen Company, at £1,800,000, their fortunes are good for the paper issued, the public which is increased by a third at particular seasons, runs no risk of injury. To strengthen this liability of and when trade is brisk. The committee estimate the shareholders, by the law of Scotland all heritable propaper money of all kinds in circulation in 1826 at perty, lands and houses, may be seized in satisfaction £3,309,082. But in the year of great speculation, for their debts. As this is not the case in England, 1825, they estimate the highest amount of notes in cir- where personal or movable property can alone bé culation at £4,683,000, the lowest at £3,434,000. By taken by creditors, it would not be possible to estabthe law of 1844 (subsequently noticed) the maximum lish banks in the south part of the island on the prinauthorised issue is £3,087,209.
ciple of the Scottish banks till the law touching heriThe following is a return of the joint-stock banks table property underwent alteration. existing in Scotland at 5th January 1839, with the Other causes, not of a legal nature, conspire to render dates of their establishment:
the system of Scottish banking perfect. By reason of The Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1695; the Royal the circumscribed limits of Scotland, and the character Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1727; the British Linen of the people, a ramification of intelligence is created Company, Edinburgh, 1746; the Commercial Bank of and preserved throughout the whole of society, altoScotland, Edinburgh, 1810; the National Bank of Scot-gether unknown in England, whereby the character, land, Edinburgh, 1825; the Aberdeen Bank, Aberdeen, the wealthiness, and the conduct of the partners or 1825; the Ayr Bank, Ayr, 1825; the Dundee Bank- directors of each bank, are made fully known to the ing Company, Dundee, 1825; the Dundee Union Bank, rest. All seek, and all find, a knowledge of the maDundee, 1825; the Dundee New Bank, Dundee, 1825; nagement of each other. All are mutually on the the Glasgow Bank Company, Glasgow, 1825; the watch; and symptoms of over-issues or other improGreenock Bank, Greenock, 1825; the Leith Bank, prieties are spread with an amazing celerity, and have Leith, 1825; the Paisley Bank, Paisley, 1825; the their immediate effect with the public. Perth Banking Company, Perth, 1825; the Renfrew- In comparing Scottish banking institutions with shire Banking Company, Greenock, 1825; the Paisley those in England, and considering the different manUnion Bank, Paisley, 1809; the Aberdeen Town and ner in which paper money has been employed by the County Bank, Aberdeen, 1825; the Arbroath Bank, two nations, the uniform security of the former appears Arbroath, 1825; the Dundee Commercial Bank, Dun- almost miraculous. From the first issue of the bank. dee, 1825; the Glasgow Union Banking Company, notes in 1704, till the year 1830, a single panic or general Glasgow, 1830; the Ayrshire Banking Company, Ayr, run did not occur in Scotland, although, during at least 1831; the Western Bank of Scotland, Glasgow, 1832; two-thirds of the intervening period, paper money had the Central Bank of Scotland, Perth, 1834; the North been used to the almost total exclusion of a gold curof Scotland Banking Company, Aberdeen, 1836; the rency. Partial and very temporary runs have assuredly Clydesdale Banking Company, Glasgow, 1837; the been felt, from the effects of short-lived slander or misSouthern Bank of Scotland, Dumfries, 1837; the East- taken notions, which have invariably been readily ern Bank of Scotland, Dundee, 1838; Edinburgh and quashed; but in the course of a hundred and twentyLeith Bank, Edinburgh, 1838 ; being twenty-nine in six years, there have only been two or three cases of all. Of the above list, several have been dissolved, or banks failing to pay 20s. a pound (they paid 10s.), and united with others, so that the number of Banks in four in which, after a short suspension of payments, all Scotland empowered to issue notes by the law of 1844 demands were liquidated. Their failure or stoppage, with is now only nineteen.
the exceptions we mention, did not put the public to The business done by the Scottish banking-houses any loss; but this was to the injury of the shareholders, is prodigiously increased by the institution of their many of whom were reduced from affluence to poverty. branches in the provincial and country towns. From The peculiar character of Scottish banking was much those banks already noticed, which are situated in Edin-infringed upon by an act of parliament passed in the burgh, and from two or three of the chief provincial year 1844, which limits the number of banks issuing banks, there were altogether deputed, not long since, notes to the number then existing; and obliges every about 360 branches, and this number is undergoing a bank of issue to keep a stock of sovereigns, according regular increase. These subsidiary establishments are to a prescribed standard, which may be said to be at to be found in every town of any note, from the Bor- the rate of one sovereign for every two pound-notes ders to the most northern point of Scotland. They are issued. About a million of sovereigns thus lie locked conducted by resident wealthy or responsible merchants up in the Scottish banks, for they are not seen in the and others, who give securities for intromissions, and are circulation of Scotland. The loss of interest incurred subjected to a very rigorous supervision by inspectors, by this arrangement amounts to about £50,000 annuwho are continually travelling about for this purpose. ally. So serious a deduction from the profits of bank
The prudent and enterprising manner in which the ing has had the effect of greatly limiting the extenbusiness of banking is conducted in Scotland, has often sion of cash accounts and other accommodations. The been the subject of remark and commendation. Several number of the banks empowered to issue notes by this reasons may be assigned for the remarkable stability act is 19; their branches, 363; their capital, £11,240,000; of the Scotch banks. Each bank, before gaining credit and their authorised circulation, £3,088,209. with its neighbours, must show that it possesses a suffi- The common practice of making deposits of small cient paid-up capital, with a reserve fund in London, sums in the banks, has further assisted in giving on which orders for balances may be given. It is also strength to the institutions. Each bank receives deposits the custom of the banks to exchange the notes of each of any sum above £10, for which a regular interest is other once or twice a week, by which means the notes given; and on this account the banks may be said to are sent very speedily back to the issuers, and thus an be the custodiers and traders upon all the spare capital over-issue on the part of any single establishment is of the country. Besides employing capital in discountprevented. There can only be an over-issue by all the ing bills, lending money on heritable security, &c. the banks in the country becoming equally reckless-a Scottish banks grant loans of fluctuating amount, called thing not likely to occur to any serious extent. A third cash accounts. By a cash account is signified a procause of the stability of the institutions, is the liability cess, whereby an individual, on entering into an arof shareholders for the debts of the establishment. rangement with a bank, is entitled to draw out sums Excepting in the case of the three old-established banks as required, to a stipulated amount, and by an implied above specified, all the shareholders in the various condition, to make deposits at his convenience towards banks are liable not only for the amount of their own the liquidation of the same.
Cash accounts are said to have originated from the could such property be instantaneously realisable, in
sively passed between 1817 and 1828 for the regulation
the term of investment. This rate of interest being
Irish Bunks.--The Bank of Ireland was established permitted to deposit the whole of their funds, whatever
depositor is provided with a small book, in which bis
VIEWS OF MR MALTHUS.
In the second place, it is a fact equally notorious, POPULATION.
that the actual increase of the funds for the mainteThe rate at which human beings naturally increase, nance of labour does not depend upon the mere phythe proportion which this increase bears to the means sical capacity of any particular country to produce food which exist for their subsistence, and the laws which and other necessaries, but upon the degree of settled operate to bring the increase and the means of sub- industry, intelligence, and activity, with which these sistence into conformity, were subjects scarcely re- powers are at any particular time called forth. We flected on by our ancestors, but have been matter of observe countries possessing every requisite for produckeen discussion and controversy during the first thirty ing the necessaries and conveniences of life in abun. years of the present century.
dance, sunk in a state of ignorance, indolence, and As far as population was at all thought of in former apathy, from the vices of their governments, or the times, the prevalent doctrine was, that the greater the unfortunate constitution of their society, and slumnumbers of a nation, the stronger was the state, and the bering on for ages with scarcely any increase in the more likely was that country to be a scene of both agri- means of subsistence, till some fortunate event introcultural and commercial industry. So useful were duces a better order of things; and then the industry numbers considered for increasing the means of sub- of the nation being roused and permitted to exert sistence, and also of national defence, that in many itself with more freedom, more abundant funds for countries it was thought proper to make laws for en- the maintenance of labour are immediately provided, couraging matrimony, and to put bounties on all fami- and population is observed to make a sudden start lies exceeding a certain number. So lately as the forwards, at a rate altogether different from that at time of Louis XIV., pensions were awarded in France which it had previously proceeded. to individuals who had ten or more children.
This seems to have been the case with many of the Dr Adam Smith, in his . Wealth of Nations, was countries of Europe during some periods of their hisperhaps the first to suggest anything like a law as regu- tory; but is more particularly remarkable in Russia, lating the increase of population. He remarked that the population of which, though very early inhabited, • the demand for men, like that for any other com- was so extremely low before the beginning of the last modity, necessarily regulates the production of men; century, and has proceeded with such rapid steps since, quickens it when it goes on too slowly, and stops it particularly since the reign of Catherine II. when it advances too fast. It is this demand,' says he, It is also a fact that has often attracted observation
which regulates and determines the state of population in a review of the history of different nations, that the in all the different countries of the world-in North waste of people occasioned by the great plagues, famines, America, in Europe, and in China; which renders it and other devastations to which the human race has rapidly progressive in the first, slow and gradual in the been occasionally subject, has been repaired in a much second, and altogether stationary in the last.'
shorter time than it would have been if the population, after these devastations, had only proceeded at the
same rate as before. From which it is apparent, that The preceding hint, for it can be regarded as little after the void thus occasioned, it must have increased else, is said to have been what suggested the celebrated much faster than usual; and the greater abundance of essay of Mr Malthus, which first appeared in 1798, the funds for the maintenance of labour, which would but was almost reconstructed in a second edition in be left to the survivors under such circumstances, indi1803. There was something so startling in the views cates again the usual conjunction of a rapid increase of of this writer, and at the same time so much plausi- population with a rapid increase of the funds for its bility in his arguments, distressing as they were to maintenance. In England, just after the great pestinatural feelings, that his work attracted general atten- lence in the time of Edward III., a day's labour would tion, and many of the ablest thinkers and writers of the purchase a bushel of wheat; while, immediately before, day became converts to its main doctrines.
it would hardly have purchased a peck. An abridgment of Mr Malthus's views, given in the With regard to the minor variations in the different • Edinburgh Review' for August 1810, sets out by show- countries of Europe, it is an old and familiar observaing that the rate of population is by no means the same tion, that wherever any new channels of industry and in all parts of the world. The variations in the rate new sources of wealth are opened, so as to provide the are universally preceded and accompanied by variations means of supporting an additional number of labourers, in the means of maintaining labourers. Where these there, almost immediately, a stimulus is given to the funds are rapidly increasing, as in North America, the population; and it proceeds for a time with a vigour demand for an increasing number of labourers makes and celerity proportionate to the greatness and durait easy to provide an ample subsistence for each ; and tion of the funds on which alone it can subsist.' the population of the country is observed to make rapid From these and other premises, Mr Malthus laid it advances. When these funds increase only at a moderate down as a proved fact, that population tends to increase rate, as in most of the countries of Europe, then the at the rate of a doubling every twenty-five years. He demand for labourers is moderate; the command of the at the same time endeavoured to show that, as man labourer over the means of subsistence is consequently begins to use the best lands first, or in other words, much diminished; and the population is observed to those of which he can reap the fruits with least labour, proceed at a moderate pace, varying in each country, and then has to go to worse and worse, it becomes always as nearly as may be, according to the variations in the more and more difficult to obtain the means of subsistfunds for its support. Where these funds are station-ence for increasing numbers. He concluded that, at the ary, as we are taught to believe is the case in China, utmost, the means of subsistence would be found, at and as has certainly been the case in Spain, Italy, and the end of each successive quarter of a century, to have probably most of the countries of Europe during certain increased only at the rate of double for the first, triple periods of their history, there the demand for labour for the second, quadruple for the third, and so on. Thus being stationary, the command of the labourer over the said he) while population would go on increasing in a means of subsistence is comparatively very scanty, and geometrical ratio--that is, as 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, population is observed to make no perceptible progress, &c.—food would increase only in an arithmetical ratioand sometimes to be even diminished.
that is, as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6,7,8, &c.—and the consequence No. 83,
of an unchecked increase of the one, with the utmost I try without peculiar advantages of situation, or pecupossible increase of the other, would be, that when the liár capability of increase, the registers indicate a compopulation of the globe had advanced to 500,000 mil. paratively small mortality, and the prevalence of the lions, there would be food for 10,000 millions only, or check from prudential habits above that from prema. but a fiftieth part of the number!
ture mortality, there we as constantly find security of Considering, then, that there is a power and a ten- property established, and some degree of intelligence dency in human beings to increase so rapidly, and that, and knowledge, with a taste for cleanliness and doin point of fact, it is only in a few favoured spots that mestic comforts, pretty generally diffused. they do increase at such a rate, Mr Malthus concluded Nor does experience seem to justify the fears of that there must be some counteracting agencies, or those who think that one vice at least will increase in checks, in constant operation, in almost all communities, proportion to the increase of the preventive check to to restrain population at a lower rate of increase, or population. Norway, Switzerland, England, and Sout. keep it stationary. In looking about to discover these land, which are most distinguished for the smallness checks, he satisfied himself that they were of two of their mortality, and the operation of the prudential orders: first, there was the mortality produced by the restraint on marriage, may be compared to advantage effects of deficient food and of wicked passions; these with other countries, not only with regard to the gehe called positive checks : then there was the check neral moral worth and respectability of their inha. produced by a prudent forethought in human beings, bitants, but with regard to the virtues which relate to leading them to avoid marriage, on account of the little the intercourse of the sexes. We cannot,' as Mr Mal. prospect of being able to rear a family in comfort; this thus justly observes, ' estimate with tolerable secthe called the preventive check.
racy the degree in which chastity in the single state Arriving at this point, Mr Malthus and his followers prevails : our general conclusions must be founded ca proceeded to show how their doctrines were applicable general results; and these are clearly in our favour, for the benefit of communities. It was held that there We appear, therefore, to be all along borne out by could be no choice between the two kinds of checks : it experience and observation, both in our premises and was clearly preferable that population should be re. conclusions. From what we see and know, indeed, we strained by the preventive check.. It is observed,' cannot rationally expect that the passions of man will says the Review already quoted, 'in most countries, ever be so completely subjected to his reason, as ta that in years of scarcity and dearness the marriages enable him to avoid all the moral and physical evils are fewer than usual: and if, under all the great which depend upon his own conduct. But this is merely variations to which the increase of the means of sub- saying that perfect virtue is not to be expected on earth, sistence is necessarily exposed from a variety of causes an assertion by no means new, or peculiarly applicable -- from a plenty or scarcity of land, from a good or a to the present discussion, The differences observable in bad government, from the general prevalence of in- different nations, in the pressure of the evils resulting telligence and industry or of ignorance and indolence, from the tendency of the human race to increase faster from the opening of new channels of commerce or the than the means of subsistence, entitle us fairly to conclosing of old ones, &c. &c.—the population were pro- clude, that those which are in the best state are still portioned to the actual means of subsistence, more by susceptible of considerable improvement, and that the the prudence of the labouring classes in delaying mar- worst may at least be made equal to the best. This is riage, than by the misery, which produces premature surely sufficient both to animate and to direct our esermortality among their children, it can hardly be tions in the cause of human happiness; and the dire. doubted that the happiness of the mass of mankind tion which our efforts will receive, from thus turning would be decidedly improved.
our attention to the laws that relate to the increase and It is further certain, that, under a given increase of decrease of mankind, and seeing their effects exemplithe funds for the maintenance of labour, it is physically fied in the state of the different nations around us, will impossible to give to each labourer a larger share of not be into any new and suspicious path, but into the these funds, or materially to improve his condition, with plain beaten track of morality. It will be our duty out some increase of the preventive check; and conse- to exert ourselves to procure the establishment of quently that all efforts to improve the condition of the just and equal laws, which protect and give respectapoor, that have no tendency to produce a more favour-bility to the lowest subject, and secure to each member able proportion between the means of subsistence and of the community the fruits of his industry; to extend the population which is to consume them, can only be the benefits of education as widely as possible, that to partial or temporary, and however plausibly humane, the long list of errors from passion, may not be added must ultimately defeat their own object.
the still longer list of errors from ignorance; and, in It follows, therefore, as a natural and necessary con- general, to discourage indolence, improvidence, and a clusion, that in order to improve the condition of the blind indulgence of appetite without regard to conselower classes of society, to make them suffer less under quences; and to encourage industry, prudence, and the any diminution of the funds for the maintenance of subjection of the passions to the dictates of reason. The labour, and enjoy more under any actual state of these only change, if change it can be called, which the study funds, it should be the great business to discourage of the laws of population can make in our duties, iš helpless and improvident habits, and to raise them as that it will lead us to apply, more steadily than we have much as possible to the condition of beings who “ look hitherto done, the great rules of morality to the case of before and after.” The causes which principally tend marriage, and the direction of our charity; but the rules to foster helpless, indolent, and improvident habits themselves, and the foundations on which they rest, ai among the lower classes of society, seem to be despo- course remain exactly where they were before. tism and ignorance, and every plan of conduct towards This must be considered as the mildest possible ei, them which increases their dependence and weakens position of the application of Mr Malthus's doctrines; the motives to personal exertion. The causes, again, his theory almost necessarily led to some other praewhich principally tend to promote habits of industry tical inferences, of a kind to which it is not so easy for and prudence, seem to be good government and good a humane mind to assent. It came to be held, for in. education, and every circumstance which tends to in- stance, that where the preventive check had not opecrease their independence and respectability. Where- rated, it was quite legitimate to allow the positive to ever the registers of a country, under no particular come into operation. A human being, who had come disadvantages of situation, indicate a great mortality, into existence undemanded by the state of the funds and the general prevalence of the check arising from for subsistence, was to be told that the places at Nature's disease and death over the check arising from pru- table were all occupied, and there was no cover for him. dential habits, there we almost invariably find the To the man who married when there was a redundancy people debased by oppression and sunk in ignorance of population, “all parish assistance,' said Mr Malthus, and indolence. Wherever, on the contrary, in a coun- ' should be most rigidly denied; and if the hand of private charity be stretched forth in his relief, the in. I few centuries ago, and millions of acres then deemed terests of humanity imperiously require that it should unfit for tillage now produce as much by the same debe administered very sparingly. These notions were gree of labour as the best soils did at that time. Add adopted very generally by a class of political economists, to this improved modes of culture, which lessen the and for twenty years they were in vogue in England, amount of labour, the application of stimulants hitherto where the notorious abuses of the old poor-law had unknown, and also more economical modes of sowing prepared the minds of many for taking extreme views and preparing food, and you have a ratio of increase with regard to public charity. But it was impossible in the means of subsistence equivalent to anything for the great bulk of the community to give a cordial anticipated in the progress of population. reception to doctrines so violently in opposition to the The Malthusians, however, were said by their oppodictates of the natural feelings.
nents to derive the strength of their case from limiting
their views to a certain region. Their propositions, it OBJECTIONS TO MR MALTUUS'S VIEWS.
was admitted, might be true with regard to a popuA reaction at length took place against the Malthu. | lation shut up in a certain small space, without any sian theory, and views having an opposite tendency were connection with what was beyond. But such a popupresented by various writers, the most distinguished of lation never existed, and therefore the apprehended whom was Mr M. T. Sadler, whose work, entitled “The evils never could take place. From the earliest notices Law of Population,' appeared in 1830.
we have of the human family, it appears to have been By these writers it was represented that in America their custom to spread abroad over the soil, when they and the Australian colonies there was an evident ten- found that food could be more easily obtained at a disdency in subsistence to increase in a more rapid ratio tance from the natal spot than at the natal spot itself. than population, insomuch that flocks and herds became the original command given to man, to increase and a drug, and it was not uncommon in Brazil to use fat multiply and replenish the earth, is only in accordance carcases of mutton as fuel in limekilns. The only with what has always appeared as a tendency of the difficulty experienced in those regions was in obtaining race. It is probable that at the present time not a market for the vast amount of produce not needed by above one-hundredth part of the earth's surface is the native population. Here, it was said, is a clear case cultivated, and not one-hundredth part of that cultiin disproof of the proposition, that population always vated in a scientific or advantageous manner; while, tends to increase more rapidly than food.
from what has taken place, we may reasonably calcuAs for the geometric ratio of the human increase, by late upon the productiveness of the best - cultivated which so great an alarm had been excited, what was it, parts being yet greatly increased. With such an almost after all, but a different form of the obvious truth, that indefinite field still before us, it seems absurd to be the more people there were, there would be the more under any anxiety as to the supposed tendency of the parents, and consequently the more children ? Suppose human family to a too rapid increase. The superabunten families, existing in 1800, having become twenty dance of one district has only to go to some yet un. in 1825, it might certainly be expected that the addition peopled spot, or to exert ingenuity and industry to raise between the last date and 1850 would be other twenty, more food from that which they do occupy, in order not ten merely, seeing that the start was not from ten, to maintain themselves in comfort. There is another as it had been before, but from twenty. Such is but an means whereby it may chance that a superabundant unavoidable consequence of population swelling by mul population can support itself in the native locality, tiplication, and not by addition. But if the human though the productiveness of that locality falls short family follows this ratio of increase, so do all the orders of the demand for food. If it possess advantages for of organic beings, animal and vegetable; sheep, oxen, manufactures, it can exert its industry in that way, and hogs increase at the geometric ratio as well as and exchange the products for food raised in other mankind, and what is more, they begin to multiply at countries, where subsistence exceeds population, and a much earlier period of life. Poultry, for instance, advantages for manufactures do not exist. could probably multiply themselves a million of times The opponents of Mr Malthus combated his notion of before a couple of the human race could do so once. checks on moral and religious grounds; and here, cerThe vegetable food of man is capable of a still more tainly, the natural feelings of mankind greatly favoured rapid increase. Wheat generally returns from ten to their views. It was held as an impeachment of that syg. twenty fold in one year. The produce of a single acre tem of wisdom and benevolence seen throughout all naof this grain, increased year after year in the ordinary ture, that one of the most powerful tendencies of human way, would require only fourteen years to reach an beings should be supposed to require being put under amount which would occupy the whole cultivable sur- an absolute arrestment, upon the penalty of its other. face of the globe. And as it is with wheat, so is it with wise leading to misery in the individual, and embarrassmost of the other plants on which we depend for food, ment in the community. It was held that the preventive either for ourselves or for the animals which become check, supposing it to be capable of operating without food to us. So that, instead of there being any such an increase of immorality, was necessarily attended by disagreement between the natural possibilities of in- an abridgment of human happiness, in as far as it increase in human beings and subsistence, as Mr Malthus volved a denial and repression of the domestic affecand his disciples insisted on, there would appear to be tions. Its cruelty was also partial, for it bore solely a discrepancy in exactly the contrary way; that is to on the poorer classes, to whom celibacy is a greater say, the means of subsistence appear to be capable of hardship than to the rich. And even supposing that a much more rapid increase than human beings. it could be morally carried into effect, so as to keep
But—the Malthusians object—when the best soils down population at a certain level, it was, after all, an are all under cultivation, it is necessary to resort to the uncalled - for interference with Divine arrangements, inferior. These require more labour and afford less which, from all analogy, as well as from their practical return. There is therefore a decreasing fertility in the effect, might be supposed as having been designed for country, while its population is always increasing. To good ends. For do we not see that the charge of a this it is replied by the opposite party, that while worse family acts in all well-constituted minds as an incenand worse soils are in the course of being resorted to, tive to industry and can we doubt that equally will a better and better modes of culture are coming into growing population tend, in ordinary circumstances, operation, so as to make perhaps a third-rate soil to increase the industry of a nation! Contemplated capable of producing as much, by a certain amount of thus, the tendency to increase would appear as a labour, as a second-rate soil was a few years before, means, in Providence, to stimulate men and nations to and so on with the other qualities, each being raised a the utmost possible exertions for the improvement of degree in the scale by every fresh effort of human in the materials placed at their command, so that no genuity. In point of fact, the best British soils do now faculty of their being might lie waste, and no power of bear four times the quantity of grain which they did a physical nature remain useless and unenjoyed. Sup