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tenantry on Lord Courtown's estate convinced of the wrong done to his Lordship by these misled and deluded people, that they assisted most willingly and efficiently in taking posBession. His Lordship's estates in that county are almost exclusively occupied by Roman Catholics, and the parties assisting in taking possession were all of that denomination. They are all treated with the utmost kindness and consideration, their wants supplied most liberally, and their condition in every respect improved by most careful and exact superintendence; and I am sure he has not a single tenant on his very extensive estates in that county, who does not know him to be a kind and as liberal a landlord as any either in England or in Ireland. For myself, as his Lordship's agent, it is not for me to defend my own conduct by praising myself, but I should be most happy to be judged on the question of, whether I act with cruelty or oppression, by the tenantry on that very estate. I have been now an agent over very large properties in Ireland for upwards of twenty years, and I cannot call to my recollection one solitary instance where I ever was accused even of either cruelty or oppression; in the present case the blame of advising, if blame there be, rests entirely with me; but on the calmest consideration of the subject, were I to have it to do, instead of having done it, I could not conscientiously recommend any other course than that which has been adopted."
Mr. O'Connell had stated fifty-three families, but had been reported as having said 253.
founded had been published twelve months, and full five before the commencement of the present Session; and, with all this information, the first intimation of proceeding with the bill was extorted from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the hon. Member for Drogheda, on the 14th of July last. The impression had gone abroad in Ireland, that it was not intended to keep up the monopoly, and it was not until the time he had adverted to, that the least intimation had been given of the intention to continue it. Was it not important that the people of Ireland should have an opportunity of giv ing their opinions on this subject? Certainly it was; and yet here they were moving to go into committee on the bill when it was only ordered to be printed on the second of the present month, and was not circulated till the fourth. There was a practical delusion in the bill itself. It contained a clause by which it was enacted, that the bill was to be altered or even repealed by any bill to be introduced in the present Session. He would show the House that there was a strong delusion practised upon the people of Ireland. In the 13th section, page 9, there was a marginal note, stating, that "Banks issuing notesat· places fifty miles from Dublin, may have houses of business within that limit for all purposes, except the issue or re-issue of such notes," while the text was quite at variance from it, only limiting such banks
BANK OF IRELAND.] The Chancellor of" to have another house or houses' of busithe Exchequer moved the Order of the Day for the House resolving itself into committee on the Bank of Ireland Bill.
Mr. O'Connell expressed his determination to oppose the bill by every means in his power. He moved, as an amendment, the "order of the second reading of the Poddle River, Dublin, Bill." He thought he might appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, whether the House was now in the situation it ought to be, in order to discuss so important a question to the trade and commerce of Ireland. The House was now thin, and before going into committee, the dinner hour would have arrived, and he would appeal to hon. Members whether it would not then require all the influence that Ministers could exert to keep forty Members in the House. Nearly 600 of the Members had left town, and he would submit, therefore, that it was unjust to the people of Ireland to force the bill forward. No reason had been stated why the bill had not been brought forward sooner. The report on which it was
ness in Dublin, or within the said distance of Dublin, and to pay thereat their said bills or notes payable on demand, for the purpose of withdrawing them from circulation in Dublin." This was a very different thing, and might easily mislead a person looking over the Act with ordinary attention, for few people looked beyond the the margin, unless specially interested. His constituents complained also that this measure went to give a body of individuals greater power over the mercantile classes, which they used in the capacity of political partisans. [No, no!] He stated the fact on the authority of Mr. Staunton, the proprietor of the Morning Register in Dublin (than whom there was not a more trustworthy man alive), that the Bank of Ireland had refused to discount bills of the most unexceptionable nature, because the person who presented them had taken a part against this bill. [Name] Mr. Staunton knew the fact, and was ready to state the name. This was the way the Bank used its immense power to crush political discussion in Dublin. There were
ten counties in Ireland affected by this bill,, none of which had time to express their opinions upon it, and petition Parliament in support of their interest. They we e taken by surprise. The great county Westmeath had met on the subject only the day before yesterday, and the House could not know what the opinions of the people would be till to-morrow. It was convened by a most respectable requisition. The county Meath had also called a meeting to consider the bill, and a requisition had been addressed to the sheriffs of the county Dublin to get up a similar meeting to address Parliament not to pass such a bill at the end of an idle Session of nine months without notice or proper time to consider it. His constituents felt very strongly on the matter. They wrote to him to express their belief, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was bribed! He said that that was impossible. That he could not take a bribe in the first place, and that, in the second, no one could offer or give it to him. But they replied, "How is it possible that the "-he (Mr. O'Connell) would not use the epithet applied to the right hon. Gentleman- -"can consent to give such a monopoly into the hands of fifteen individuals, unless he is bribed or mad? Why does he give 100,000l. into their hands for nothing?" He would get the men who would give this sum to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the privilege in question to-morrow. He believed, that many commercial bodies in England would have joined their appeal to the Irish, if time were permitted. But at this period of the Session he had little hope of an impartial hearing, for, as the House was now made up, the individuals who were, by their connection with Government, bound to vote with it, constituted the majority of the House he might say two-thirds of it-at
Mr. Shaw said, he had to give a positive contradiction to the statement made by the hon. and learned Member on the authority of Mr. Staunton. No such thing ever occurred. Never, since the commencement of the proceedings on this bill, or at any other time, had the Bank of Ireland refused good bills from political motives.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he should resist the postponement of the bill. Hon. Gentlemen knew the facility at present of ready communication with Ireland; and when he stated that it was now upwards of one month since the bill was first introduced, or rather since his statement on
which the bill was founded, it would not be said that the people of Ireland had not had time to make their sentiments known; and he must say, the application for delay came rather too late on the 14th of August. But there might have been some ground for what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, especially as regarded the monopoly, if the bill had been a permanent measure; but it was merely temporary, being to continue for four years only. Moreover, it only went to put the Bank of Ireland on the same footing with the Bank of England, and he was astonished, therefore, when he heard the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was ever demanding that the legislation for Ireland and England should be one and the same, exclaim so vehemently against this measure. With respect to the marginal note, there was, undoubtedly, a discrepancy between it and the text; but for this the Government could hardly be held responsible; it was an inadvertency in drawing the bill, which could readily be rectified in committee. He hoped, therefore, that the House would allow the bill to go into committee, where they could discuss its provisions, and express that opinion which was necessary, with a view to the arrangements of the Bank for the current year; for it was absolutely necessary, at all events, to provide for the public debt due to the Bank of Ireland, which was subject at present to interest at the rate of 41. 7s. 6d. per cent., instead of 3 per cent., as was proposed by the bill. On no ground, therefore, could the House refuse to go into committee.
Mr. Hume said, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would state that only to be his intention, all opposition would be withdrawn. He never knew a proceeding of so much importance brought forward in the manner this had been. There was no precedent in the history of Parliamentary proceedings for the course which the right hon. Gentleman had taken. He was asked by the hon. Member for Dublin, why he did not bring it forward sooner, and could give no reason whatever. Within ten days of the meeting of Parliament, he put a question to the right hon. Gentleman, respecting joint stock banks, and he had repeated the question until it became a laugh. ing matter whenever the subject was mentioned. On two occasions the right hon. Gentleman answered, "within fourteen days." That being the case, he trusted that the House would not consent to discuss so important a matter at this late period of
Sir W. Somerville had been taken by surprise by the bill, and his constituents had been taken by surprise. He had been given to understand by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that this monopoly was not to be renewed in all its force. He was in a condition to prove, that he entertained that opinion, and that the right hon. Member knew that he entertained that opinion. His constituents were under that impression, and the right hon. Member knew it. As he knew nothing of the present bill till about three weeks ago, he asked, was it fair in this hurried manner to thrust a bill of this kind through the House before the people of Ireland had had the opportunity of considering it? As he knew he should appeal to the right hon. Gentleman in vain, he would appeal to Gentlemen of all parties around them to lay aside the merits of the question, and, on the grounds that he had stated, to refuse to go into committe.
Mr. Redington expressed his surprise, that the right hon. Gentleman should bring forward such a bill at this period of the Session. It had gone on too fast already, and he should do all in his power to oppose it.
the Session. He asked on what ground the right hon. Gentleman could not give sufficient time for considering the matter? Did he not know that several counties were meeting to-day, and that others would meet to-morrow on the subject? Although the right hon. Gentleman had said that he would do something, the bill had been postponed from time to time, until it was the general belief, that nothing would be done, and he really believed that the right hon. Gentleman at last entertained that opinion himself. If it had been his intention to bring in the bill, how could he have hesitated and vacillated in the manner he had done? He would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to grant more time. Was he afraid the subject would not bear in quiry? If it was a measure which would tend to the interest of Ireland, advocates would not be wanting to support it; but it was a bad measure, and contained that which was injurious to Ireland, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman was anxious to press it forward. The present, no doubt, was a good bargain for the Bank of Ireland; but it was a most injurious one to the people of that country, whom he considered to have been most unjustly treated by this measure. The people of England, too, were left in the dark as to what they ought to know by it. Why, he would ask, should not an inquiry take place as to whe ther it would or not be proper to adopt the same system of banking in Ireland as at present existed in Scotland? All this might be taken into consideration if the right hon. Member would only postpone the measure to the next Session, and that would give the people of Ireland an opportunity of fairly and freely expressing their opinions. He thought the present discussion ought to have taken place upon the previous stage of the bill, and he could assure the House, that he would never have been persuaded, as his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin had been, to allow the Chancellor of the Exchequer to advance the bill a stage without opposition. On these grounds he concurred entirely with the amendment of the hon. Member for Dublin. He entreated the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the bill for the Session, and not compel them to occupy the time of the House by further opposition. If the bill was postponed to the next Session, all parties would be satisfied. Upwards of fifteen trivial measures had already been postponed, and he could not see why the same course should not be adopted with this important measure.
Mr. D. Browne had been requested by his constituents to give his most stringent opposition to this bill. He did not think it right, at so late a period of the Session, to smuggle so important a measure through the House, before the people had had the opportunity of petitioning against it. Under all the circumstances, the bill had very much the appearance of being a job, and the supporters of it seemed ashamed of it.
Mr. T. Attwood said, the fact was, the right hon. Gentleman was in debt to the Bank of Ireland two millions and a half, and there were, therefore, two millions and a half of reasons why he should proceed as he did in this singular and ill-timed way. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was not a free agent in this business, for he was dealing with his creditor. If the right hon. Gentleman would pay his debts to the Bank of England and to the Bank of Ireland, he would be able to his duty to the country and to his Sovereign; but now he was literally legislating in fetters. He should oppose this measure by all the means in his power.
The House divided on the original question :-Ayes 17; Noes 55: Majority 38.
Order of the Day for the Committee read. On the question that the Speaker do now leave the Chair,
Mr. O'Connell felt it his duty to take
never objected to any, even the most strin-
Mr. Gisborne could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, should think this such a light matter as not to be worthy of discussion. The course of the right hon. Gentleman on this subject had been somewhat devious, and he should wish to pursue it through some of its windings. That right hon. Gentleman had been chairman of a committee appointed to inquire into this subject, and the report of that committee he should presume, had been drawn up by the chairman. In that report it was
every means in his power to delay the bill, because five times had he taunted the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the delay in bringing in the bill; but five times had the right hon. Gentleman thought proper to slur it over and say not one word upon the subject, because common sense would not bear him out. There was no analogy between the Bank of Ireland, and the Bank of England-in fact, the former was an incubus upon the latter, for although he, in accordance with opinions of the Attorneys-general and Solicitors-general for England and Ireland, thought the notes of the Bank of England a legal tender in Ireland, the bill before the House declared those opinions wrong, and made them no legal tender. But supposing they were upon all fours, had the Bank of England power to issue one single one-pound note? The measure was totally indefensible, as was seen by the desertion of the Treasury benches, by all that were not obliged to be there. Why did the Chancellor of the Exchequer confine himself to Dublin-would he dare to make the same experiment in Edinburgh? In Scotland joint-stock banking and prosperity had been concomitant at least he had a good right then to say, that the one was dependent on the other. What was the case in Ireland? A country with a climate infinitely superior to Scotland for agricultural purposes, was in poverty and distress, being without the benefits of joint-stated, that one of the subjects to be instock banking-Scotland enjoying that sys- quired into, was the expediency or inexpetem, was in almost unexampled prosperity. diency of the privileges of the bank being Had he not a right to say the one was de- continued; that the committee were of pendent upon the other? The Chancellor opinion the 1st of Victoria Chap.39, should of the Exchequer defended himself by say- be renewed for one year, and that Parlia ing, the public had been defrauded to a ment should be placed in such a situation great extent by over issuing. He did not as to be free to adopt in the next Session, deny that; but the monopoly of the Bank such legislative measures as on deliberation of Ireland was the cause of it, as their might seem to be most expedient. That charter limited the partners of a bank to having been the recommendation of the six only so that in place of the public committee, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having the security of 200 bankers, they on the 16th of July, when the assizes were often only had that of two. When all coming, and three-fifths of the Members had those difficulties occurred, the Bank of paired off and gone out of town, announced Ireland was in possession of all its privi- his intention of renewing the monopoly of leges and monopolies. They stood the the Bank of Ireland. Many Irish Memstorm-but how? Why, by giving fresh bers were absent, and out of the whole 105 and newer promises to pay for those sent Irish Members, there were only two in the in for payment. It was a well known fact House who supported the Chancellor of the in history, that there was no deep injury- Exchequer-the right hon. the learned Reno moral stab ever aimed at poor Ireland, corder for Dublin, and the hon. Member that was not proposed by an Irishman. It for Antrim, but who were not regular supappeared, that the Chancellor of the Ex-porters of the Government. If the argu chequer intended, that as far as he was ment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in concerned, it should always be so. He had favour of the monopoly to be conferred by
this bill was good for Dublin, it would be also good for London. He opposed the motion for going into Committee, because he was sure the bill would not effect the objects in view, and also on account of the impossibility of the Chancellor of the Exchequer knowing what were the sentiments of the Irish representatives. And he opposed it also, because it would conclude the whole question. If the amendment of the hon. and learned Member should be rejected, he would move, as another amendment, that leave be given to bring in a bill to renew for one year, or further postpone until January 1841, the further payment of advances to the Bank of Ireland.
place during the years 1804-5-6, attended with a degree of excitement and overtrading, without parallel in the annals of the world, followed by a re-action as remarkable, and one operation of which was, that every one of these banks stopped payment. These results were certain to follow from joint-stock banks issuing in competition one with another. Competing banks, if they were all inclined to over-issue, could not check one another. It had been contended, that if there were no controlling central bank, over-issue would be checked by these banks watching the course of the foreign exchanges, and regulating their issues accordingly; but each bank would feel that its own individual operations could produce but very little effect on the course of foreign exchanges, and would ask why it should sacrifice itself and the interest of its proprietors, when others would not follow its example. The evidence of facts corro. borated this assumption. If ever it was in
be backward in increasing their issues, it was during the course of the last season. Never had there been a period when it was more their duty to watch the course of the foreign
Mr. Clay wished to take this opportunity of referring to some statements made by him on a former occasion on the subject of banking in America, because those statements had been impugned, and because he believed that the House at that time thought the arguments to be drawn from the experience of America were not so im-cumbent upon banks of every description to portant as they really were. It would be in the recollection of the House, that in answer to the arguments of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, who asserted that there could be no over-issues with a free trade in bank-exchanges, and to limit their issues. Now, ing, with banks issuing in competition one with another, all being liable to pay notes, at the will of the holder, in specie-it would be recollected, that in answer to that statement, he referred to the example of America, where the system of free banking existed. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton endeavoured to show that there was no analogy, because the currency laws of America were not similar to those of England. Now, if it were true, that there was any essential difference in the laws which regulated the currency of America and this country, then the argument which he drew from the analogy of the two countries would fall to the ground. But the statements of the two hon. Members were founded on complete misapprehension. If there was any difference, it was in the greater stringency of the law of America. The banks of America, neglecting to pay on demand, were chargeable with 24 per cent. interest. The mode in which the interest was enforced was this. An action of assumpsit was brought, and on judgment being obtained, execution issued not only against chattels, but against land. The result was, that in the United States, where joint-stock banks were conducted on the soundest principles, the most remarkable over-issue ever known in the commercial world did take
what were the facts? In September, 1838, the circulation of the bank of England amounted to 19,360,000l., and the circulation of the private banks and the joint-stock banks amounted to 11,360,000l., and now, after a lapse of nine months, what was the state of the circulation? The circulation of the Bank of England amounted to 18,100,000l.; while the circulation of the private and the joint-stock banks amounted to 12,275,000l., thus, during a period of the greatest difficulty, when there had been a great importation of corn, and a great exportation of bullion, for the bullion in the coffers of the Bank had diminished nearly one-half, the Bank of England had diminished the circulation by 1,258,000l., whilst the private and joint-stock banks had increased theirs by 950,000l. What was the case with regard to the bill of his right hon. Friend? Why, he proposed, in the first place, to give certain advantages to the joint-stock banks of Ireland, which were most important, and which were entirely overlooked by Gentlemen opposed to the bill. He proposed to give them the power to sue and be sued by their Secretary, which was a great advantage, and one which the English joint-stock banks did not possess. He had in vain endeavoured to obtain a similar privilege for the London