HC Deb 02 March 1804 vol 1 cc649-63
Mr. Foster

rose, and said, that he had given notice a few days ago of his intention to bring forward, this day, a motion for a Committee, to inquire into the causes of the present exorbitant state of the exchange between Ireland and this country, as against the former, and he now meant to perform his promise: and when the House should consider that the rate of exchange at this moment, between Dublin and London, was no less than 18₽ per cent, being 10 per cent, above the ordinary rate, which is 8 13d per centum, he trusted it was a circumstance sufficiently important to induce the House to take the subject into its mature consideration. The House would have, he was sure, the goodness to reflect, that Ireland was now consolidated with England, in all respects, and bore her quota in the public burthens of the empire; yet her intercourse with this country stood charged with this most severe and oppressive burthen, while the intercourse between the capital and Scotland, and all other parts of the kingdom much more distant from the imperial capital than Dublin, were charged with no such imposts at all. The burthen was not merely confined to the commercial intercourse between the countries, but extended itself to the Irish subject, who came here either to attend his parliamentary duty, or in search of justice to the dernier resort—a grievance attaching upon no other subject from any part of the empire. The evil must flow from some causes which pressingly called for investigation He did not mean now to go at large into the subject, but merely to touch upon the general topics to which the evil had been attributed. Amongst others, the balance of trade had been a cause assigned. That, he would admit, was certainly one of the obvious causes; for, during a space of twenty years previous to 1800, the balance of exports, between Ireland and this country, was upon an average, in favour of the former, by above a million a year. In that year, a considerable change took place, by which the balance changed two millions against Ireland. In the next year it was l,000,000l; in the next above a million; and has so continued, and is likely still to continue increasing every year.—Another of the causes, and a still more prominent one, which he had taken the liberty of stating a few nights since, was the annual remittances to this country of l,300,000l. to pay the interests of loans, borrowed in this country, for the use of the Irish government; and the remittances of rent to Irish absentee landlords, which by many had been confidently stated at three millions, but which, be believed, would be more correctly estimated at two millions. The only account to balance this, was the remittance of two millions annually, to defray the expenses of government in Ireland, which left a balance against that country of 1,300 000l. in an arrangement upon this head, it would be of importance to know well the value of bullion in exchange between any two nations, because this must always materially affect the rate of exchange between them. Now in Ireland, at this moment, and for a considerable time past, the price of guineas, in exchange for their current value in paper, is 2s. 4d. to 2s 6d. per guinea, which was actually paid by some gentlemen of his acquaintance, for remittance to this country. Such a state of the difference between bank paper and bullion, in the capital of Ireland, was a lamentable instance of the difference of exchange, and urgently pointed to the necessity of investigation, in order, if possible, to devise some remedy. Various causes had been assigned for the evil, but they were all reduceable to one, namely, the restriction upon the payment in specie by the Bank. Add to this, an effect which arose out of it; namely, the demand for guineas by the manufacturers of the north, which obliged their employers to obtain guineas for them at any rate, and thus raided the price of them 10 per cent. Another cause stated by an hon. gent, the other night (Sir John Newport), was the prevalent disposition to hoarding of guineas, in the three other provinces, which, he was very ready to admit, operated in no inconsiderable degree to the disappearance of gold. But, whatever were the causes altogether, the lamentable result was, that the whole bank paper of the country stood this moment at a depreciation of 10 per cent. Whether paper was or was not depreciated in value, was very easy to be ascertained. When paper was convertible into gold of equal value, it was not depreciated, but now when it was necessary to give more than 2s. 4d. premium for a guinea, it was obvious that the paper was at a depreciation of 10 per cent. And he begged the House to consider what must be the situation of a country whose paper was at such a depreciation!—There was another cause to which the evil by some was imputed, namely, the excessive issue of paper from the Bank. Whether this was the cause he would not determine, but he had no doubt but that there was an over issue, seeing, it was well known, that, at the time it was thought necessary to restrain the cash issues of the Bank of Ireland, the amount of their paper extant was only 6,90,000l. and that the sum of their paper extant, by their last returns, was 2,600,000l., of which one million was in notes under 5l. There was every probability that this quantity must continue to increase, as it was well known, that the paper of the Bank of Ireland was the stock upon which all the private banks in the kingdom traded and, in proportion to the quantity of the national bank paper the private, banker was able to get into his possession, he was enabled to issue his own paper (which he was bound to pay in national bank paper), to a much more considerable amount; according to the principle of banking stated by some writers, in the ratio of three pounds for one, so that the greater the number of private bankers, and the more they increase their trade, the greater becomes the source of issue for bank paper, and for the increase of any evil of which it may be the cause.—Another cause that might operate, was the supposed insecurity of the country. He was not inclined, however, to think that the state of the country had much effect in producing this very unfavourable state of exchange. No man, he said, ever presumed to call in question the undoubted validity of the national bank of Ireland; therefore, no inconvenience was ultimately to be apprehended from any portion of the paper which it would think fit to issue. Of the excessive issue of bank paper, there were few who entertained a doubt: and that this might be a very prominent cause of the evil complained of, was not problematical.—Now, with respect to the remedy, he should think there was one simple one, which, if it could, under the wisdom of the legislature, be accomplished, would prove at once most effectual. It was the establishment of one common circulating medium through both countries.—There was another point which had not yet been touched en by any person in the course of those discussions which had already taken place on this subject, and to which he now begged leave to call the attention of the House. In this commercial intercourse between this country and Scotland, and almost every other branch of the empire, save Ireland, there were two species of circulating medium equally current; namely, gold, and the Bank of England notes. When the issues of gold were restricted, the currency of the notes continued, with little or no inconvenience to the commerce, between the countries. But, between Ireland and this country, there was but one current circulating medium—Gold; and the moment that was restrained, the medium was taken away; for, in Ireland, the notes of the Bank of England did net currently run; so that Ireland, to make her remittances an adequate substitute for guild, deals at a certain lose upon her commerce of 10 per cent.—There was another point too, which was highly desirable to be accomplished, though it might have little or no effect upon the rates of exchange, namely, an equalization of the currency in both countries—There was also, another consideration materially necessary for tee attention of Parliament, in looking to the future situation of Ireland, and providing, in time, a remedy for a mischief, which must, otherwise, be attended with disastrous consequences to the credit of that country. There is at present a balance against Ireland in favour of this country, of 1,300,000l. per annum, being the remittances to pay the English holders of Irish stock for loans, borrowed for the use of government in. Ireland. This was a burthen of itself alone more than the trade of Ireland was able to bear. While the present system should continue to go on, and the sums borrowed so greatly exceeded the annual interest paid, it might not be so palpably felt in that country but, whenever the day should come for establishing a sure system of finance to raise the necessary supplies by taxes within the year, it would not fail to be severely felt; and, therefore, prudence should dictate the necessity of providing a remedy in time, by endeavouring to do away, under some permanent system, the enormous difference of exchange, which had been increasing every year since the establishment of the union.—He had mentioned, on a former night, the wretched state to which the current coin of Ireland had been reduced. There was scarcely any thing in the shape of money to be seen, but a miserable coinage of adulterated copper, and of counterfeit shillings, so bad, that for a pound Bank note, even at its depreciated value, 26 or 27 of such shillings would be given in exchange.—Not wishing at present to detain the Mouse longer, he trusted he had stated enough to shew the necessity for investigation; and he trusted that the House, in its collective wisdom, would be able to devise some effectual remedy for the evils of which the complaints were so just and genera—Mr. Foster concluded by moving, "That a Committee be appointed to inquire into the causes of the present high rate of exchange between Great Britain and Ireland, and the slate of the currency in the latter kingdom; and to report the same to the House"

Mr. Brogden

rose, not to oppose the motion of the right hon. gent, to which he had no objection, but instate shortly his own opinion, that the true causes of the evil complained against, were not those stated by the right hen. gent, but consisted radically in the disturbed state of Ireland, which operated to depress the exports of Ireland in so material a degree for the last few years, as to create, a considerable balance of trade against her. Tins, of course, rendered the number of merchants in Dublin, who could draw upon London, much fewer; and those of London, who could draw on Dublin, much more numerous in proportion; and the natural consequence of a paucity or redundance of such bills at market, raided or depressed the rate of exchange.

Mr. George Ponsonby

said, that as the hon. gent, had not expressed any intention of opposing the motion, it was not, perhaps, necessary to make any observation upon what he had said, but he thought the hon. gent. might as well have reserved his observations till the Committee went into the inquiry which was proposed. What had been said about exchange might be perfectly true, when the exchange between the two countries was real; but it was well known, that there was a nominal as well as a real exchange, and that ought always to be borne in mind when this subject was discussed. The subject he was convinced was deserving of consideration.—With regard to the distress that prevailed in Ireland on account of the state of the circulation, he was sure no man who had not been in that country could form a just conception of it from any description, however accurate. There was not to be found in the country parts of Ireland, except in the North, any description of coin whatsoever, except some very bad copper; silver or gold there were none. But as something must be used for circulation, there were many persons who, without any capital whatsoever, set up a kind of banking shops, and issued notes of 6d., of 1s., and a note for 3s. 6d. was considered as a very large one! The difficulties and inconvenience which this occasioned to the higher classes of so ciety were very great indeed, but infinitely more so to the lower classes. In the course of his professional experience in the Court of Justice, he had witnessed the trials of many of those bankers who had become bankrupts, and the lamentable consequences to those who had become sufferers by their insolvency.—He had himself paid, last Saturday at Dublin, 2s. 4d. each for guineas, to bear his expenses hither on his parliamentary duty, and if he had chosen English banknotes he must have paid a still higher premium in proportion.—To an inquiry so resonable as that proposed by the right hon. gent, who made the motion, he did net expect to hear any preliminary objections, such as those made by the hon. member who spoke last: he thought that any such objections would come much more orderly in this Committee, which he did not seem inclined to oppose. Whether in that Committee a competent remedy could be suggested, was another matter; but, surely, the inquiry ought to be made, by which the House would! manifest its attention to the grievance, and its wish to redress, if redress should appear practicable; and so far the anxiety of the public mind would be consoled upon the subject.

Mr. Corry

said, he rose by no means to offer the smallest opposition to the motion of the right hon. gent; a motion, the principle of which had already been acceded to by some of his friends round him. He did not, however, wish to be understood as meaning to express any conviction that would produce any practical benefit, which would remedy the evil which, was complained of. If the inquiry should be productive of any beneficial consequences, it would give him the most sincere satisfaction, and even if it should fail of the desired end, it might have this effect, that it would prove to the public the truth of the opinion which had been delivered by the best informed men upon this subject, viz. that for the evil of exchange there was no remedy in the power of Parliament. It would set the public mind at rest upon the subject, and the House would have discharged its duty with attention and with due regard to the interest of the people of Ireland. Every body would be satisfied with the degree of alleviation, if net of remedy, which this might produce, or they would be convinced, after full inquiry, that it was not possible to do any thing upon the subject.—With regard to the circulation of Ireland, the House would bear in recollection, that this subject had not escaped the attention of ministers. It had been repeatedly adverted to in the last session, and in the session before. In the last session an act was passed to prohibit the circulation of what was called silver notes in Ireland, from the 1st of Jan. 1804. The propriety of that act was at that time doubted, and as many Irish members were prevented from attending Parliament by their military duties, an act was passed at the commencement of this session to suspend the operation of that act for six months; so that it appeared that the statement of the right hon. gent, though true, had not escaped the attention of his Majesty's ministers.—With regard to the at ate of exchange between Great Britain and Ireland, when it appeared that the balance of exchange was in favour of Ireland in those parts of that country where gold was in circulation, and that it was against Dublin, where there was only paper in circulation, the quantity of paper issued must be looked upon as one of the causes of the depreciation of paper. But besides this, there was, he was convinced, a very considerable degree of management in the subject of exchange. When the treasury of Ireland ceased lo draw upon this country for the amount of the loan, it was observable that the exchange rose considerably in four or five days. There were violent fluctuations of 2, 3, and even 4 per cent. He had, therefore, no doubt, but that a very considerable degree of management was used in creating these violent fluctuations of exchange, which were so advantageous to individuals.—With regard to what had been said on the subject of remittances, there was one species of remittance to Ireland which had not been alluded to. The loan remitted from this country to Ireland certainly affected the immediate balance; but the fact was, that the expenditure in Ireland was greater than its contribution to the joint expenditure, of the United Kingdom. The consequence of that was, that very considerable sums were remitted to that country, and that was one reason why Ireland had been better able to go on than she otherwise would have done.—Then was one subject adverted to by the right hon. gent, who had made the motion, upon which he could by no means agree with him. The right hon. gent, in stating the balance of trade to be against Ireland, had argued entirely upon what was called the original value, but it was perfectly well known that the official value was very considerably or low the real value. It was certainly true, that if gentlemen were guided by the official value of the exports, the balance of trade would appear to be against Ireland, whereas, if they looked to the real value of the article exported, which certainly was the only true way of knowing whether the balance was for or against a country, the balance would appear to be in favour of Ireland. To illustrate this point, he would mention one or two instances. It was perfectly well known, that the second great article of export from Ireland was provisions. The barrel of beef exported from Ireland was valued in the official books at l6s. per cwt. whereas, in fact, the real value, that is to say, the real price at which it was exported was 25, 30, and even 40s. per cwt. In estimating the amount of the exports of a country, it was necessary to look to the real value, because that was the amount of the money that came into the country as the price of the article. With regard to pork, which was perfectly well known to be another great article of export from Ireland, the official value was 19s. per cwt., whereas the real price at which it was exported was 30, 33, and even sometimes up to 65s. per cwt. Butter, which was another great article of export, was stated according to official value at 42s. per cwt., whereas, in point of fact, it was exported at 70, 80, and even 105 per cwt. It was, therefore, a very unfair means of ascertaining the trade of a country to look merely to official value. It was true, that the real value of the imports was greater than the official value, but not in so great a degree as in the exports. "Therefore Ireland was by no means in the desperate situation which had been represented by some gentlemen. However, as he had slated before, he should not oppose the motion, and it would give him the most lively satisfaction if it produced any beneficial effects;

Mr. Foster

said, that the observations which the right hon. gent, had made as to the difference between the real and the official value of the exports did not apply, because, in the calculation he had made, he had taken the official value both of imports and exports. He knew very well that there was a great difference between real and official value, because the cattle that were exported from Ireland to England, were valued in Ireland at 12l a head, but when they came to England their official value was fixed at 61., so that it might be supposed they lost one half of their value by sea-sickness on their passage!

Mr. Corty

said, he had before stated, that although there was a difference between the real and official value of imports, it was by no means so great as the difference between the real and the official value of the exports.

Lord Henry Petty

rose only to say a few words. He felt considerable satisfaction at the candid manner in which the subject had been brought forward and met by the right hon. gent, opposite. He could not omit this opportunity of adverting to an evil which was admitted on all hands to exist, and which passing under the eye of his Majesty's I ministers in Ireland, might be the more effactually remedied. He alluded to the excessive issue of country Bank paper. He should himself be the last to recommend any vigorous measures to restrain the operations of the private bankers, but he could not be persuaded of the property of forcing their paper into circulation. He understood that the military forces in Ireland were paid altogether in the paper of the country banks, and that an improper, he had almost said a corrupt connexion, existed between the agents employed in paying the military and yeomanry, and the bankers. As soon as these agents received their remitiances, they lodged them in the country bank, taking their paper in exchange for paying the forces, and the noble lord agreed that the Bank of Ireland paper became thus an additional capital to the country banker. In such a state of the country, he looked upon investigation, to the end or devising some remedy, as absolutely indispensible. Unhappy, indeed, must that situation of a country' be, which affords to the fraudulent an opportunity of deluding the unwary, and to the strong the means of oppressing the weak.—He had but one observation more to make. Though no objection had been made by the right hon. gent. (Mr.Corry), he had thrown out, that little was to be expected from the enquiry. If ever there was a subject which deserved the serious and effectual interference of the Legislature, it was the present. The evil was universally admitted. Though remedics had been mentioned out of doors, there however existed a difference of opinion with respect to them, and the noble lord thought that the best mode of coming to some agreement, with respect to the remedy of an evil universally allowed to exist, was to appoint the committee, and institute an open inquiry which would lead to a discovery of the best means of redress.

Lord Castlereagh

said, that no person could regret more than he did the unfortunate state of exchange in Ireland, and the depreciation of its paper currency. He was glad, therefore, that such a motion had been brought forward, but did not know that any measure could be applied with effect to the evil that was on all sides admitted. He could not help thinking, however, that we were apt to attach more evil to the circulation of paper than it really would admit; and that the issues, however excessive they might be supposed, could not, without other causes, account for the present state of exchange. The great disparity between gold and silver was certainly allowed; but the difficulty was to preserve the gold in circulation where every person was so eager to hoard it. The sate of the two countries was extremely different. In this country no person would lose a bargain by insisting on payment in gold; but in Ireland, in many parts of it at least, there was no buying without gold. He would willingly second any measure that could promise a rational hope of producing greater confidence in the paper circulation, which was so necessary to the interests of the country.

Mr. Dick

was of opinion, that not only those discussions that were instituted in this House, but the speculations that were circulated through every part of the country, were extremely disadvantageous, and had a tendency to augment the evil they meant to remedy. There seemed to him to be a kind of prejudice entertained against she Bank of Ireland, which he was sure was very ill-founded. The directors of the Bank of Ireland had been attacked both in and out of that House: he had seen a pamphlet, written by a noble lord (King), nut a member of that House, which contained a most violent, unwarrantable, and unsuccessful attack upon that must respectable body of men, and the ground of attack was the great issue of paper. He did nor wish to occupy the attention of the House; but he was anxious to offer an observation that had occurred to him in regard to the subject now in discussion. To the Bank of Ireland no particular circumstances had occurred since the year 1797 that could affect their interests, but the restriction of their issues in specie. Since that restriction had taken place, however, some circulating medium became absolutely necessary, and the effects of this new circuiting medium were various, since that event, in particular, they had increased their capital to a very great degree. The situation of the country was such, the hon. gent. thought, that nothing but the restoration of tranquillity, and the gallantry of; his country toward In-land in money transactions, could effectually remedy those evils that were complained of.

Sir John Newport

was of opinion also, that nothing could be mote unfavourable to the state of exchange that was so much complained of, than the discussions that took place in the House, which had a tendency to excite hopes that could not be realized, and to expose grievances that did not admit of redress. The low rate of exchange, so tin-favourable to Ireland, though owing much, he thought, to the present insecurity of that country, or, which was equally the same, to what might be thought its present insecurity, would be found to arise also from a number of other causes. To remedy those evils, however, he did not think it in the power of the legislative authority, and in many instances incompetent with the legal exercise of that authority. If the state of exchange between this country and Hamburg, or any other country in similar circumstances, was deemed an improper subject of legislative interference, he could see no reason why the interference of the legislature became necessary in regard to Ireland, or what good effects that interference could produce. The course of exchange in every country must necessarily depend on its trade. It must depend on the comparative state of its exports and imports, which, so far as was consistent with the fair exercise of trade, was by no means an immediate object of legislation. The course of exchange was not only now unfavourable to Ireland, but had been so for several years past. It was difficult to say if it was in the. power of legislation to apply any remedy without removing the original causes; the most important of which it was certainly not in the power of legislation to remove. Of these the absentee rents he regarded as none of the least important, and this cause of depression in the rate of Irish exchange, he conceived to be not greater at present than in the year 180J.—Another cause of this depression also he conceived to be the present state of Ireland, as it stood in regard to the threatened invasion, and the necessary defence against the projects of a foreign enemy, as well as its own internal commotions. In this state of the country, while the men were employed in its defence, they often thought it prudent to place their wives and children in a place of security, and to convey what moveable wealth they could command in the same manner, or apply it in some other country to the support of their family. But when the people of Ireland came to have the same confidence in their money transactions, and in the stability of their circulating medium, as Scotland and the North of England possessed, the circumstances that were so unfavourable to the exchange of that country would, in a great measure, be diminished.—To all the other causes he had mentioned, that want of confidence in their paper money was no inconsiderable addition, and this want of confidence, the hon. baronet contended, was not a new or recent circumstance. The people of the north of Ireland, even in times of peace, have been long in the habit of carrying on no trade but through the medium of specie. They have been long in the habit of rejecting paper, and their articles being generally necessary, it has become customary not to tender it. This prejudice in the north of Ireland might be owing to their foreign connexions, or to their more immediate relations with Scotland and England, but must have a tendency to drain the specie from the other parts of Ireland, and to diminish the respectability, and, therefore, the value of the paper currency. The people in the north receive nothing but gold; as their articles are necessary they must have it, and by thus drawing the current specie to one part of the kingdom must injure the rest. he hon. baronet was anxious that nothing violent should le adopted, that the measures adopted on the subject ought rather to have a tendency to assist the natural course of things and to remove obstructions, than to give any new or unnatural direction to existing circumstances.—The hon. baronet concluded by expressing his hope that the committee moved for would take up the question in its proper light, and would not dissolve themselves till they had placed the Bank of Ireland in such a situation, as enable them to have some control over the private banks, and to check, in some measure, the issue of paper by every private person who chose to start up and call himself a banker, without any other qualification or security but the power of adding to the paper currency of the country. Every person making such pretensions should be compelled to justify by something more substantial than appearances, the confidence they claim.

Lord Archibald Hamilton

found himself compelled to state, in justice to the noble author of the pamphlet alluded to, that, previous to the restriction on the Bank of ireland, their paper issues had not amounted to more than 600,000l., whereas since that period lie understood their issues of that description were 2,700,000l., which had given an increased dividend of 6½ He farther understood, his lordship stated, that they had given a bonus of 5 per cent, at the very time too when the rate of exchange was 20 per cent, to their disadvantage. It was not merely the present moment that was to be regarded with alarm. But what, on the present system, attended with so many growing evils, must the prospect in future be? He had recurred only to the periods subsequent to the restriction. He did not mean to say that the evil was greater than it hid been at some previous periods; but he meant to say, that it was a growing evil, and ought to be the subject of serious inquiry. He acquiesced, therefore, with the hon. baronet opposite (Sir J. Newport), in deploring the evil, as every person must do, and in expressing an anxiety to be able to congratulate the House and the country, on the restoration of that confidence in the money transactions of Ireland which was so necessary to its interests.

Mr. Alexander

said, he hoped the House would go into the proposed inquiry. He wished that there was a uniform medium of circulation in both countries, whether it was of gold or of paper. He contended, that there was no ground for any charge upon the Bank of Ireland, the directors of which acted from the best motives; and if there was any inconvenience, it arose from the issue of their paper being too small instead of being too large. The fact was, that the issue of their paper had been intercepted by an extraordinary degree of agency on the part of the private banks.

Mr. Fox

could not pass unnoticed, an idea that had been suggested in regard to the pamphlet of his noble friend (Lord King). It had been said, that discussion on this subject had an unfavourable tendency, and that on this principle the pamphlet in question had a tendency rather to increase than to remedy the evil. But, he maintained, that nothing could be more favourable on any subject than an examination of facts so far as it is possible to examine them. This the pamphlet of the noble lord certainly did, and the very circumstance which had been advanced as an aggravation of the mischief it was calculated to produce, was the very best proof of its merit, he meant the influence and circulation it had obtained. At his time of life, what influence could that noble lord possess, but such only as was derived from argument, and that conviction which was the necessary accompaniment of truth. And would any man say, that to adduce facts to the public on a subject that called for investigation, and of which the evils were felt, and to accompany those facts with a conviction that those evils were capable of redress, was a measure that could on any occasion, or on any subject, be improper? Nothing, he was sure, would give his noble friend more pleasure than to have his opinions closely investigated. The House ought, he thought, by all means to go into a committee on the subject in question. The more such subjects were discussed so much the bitter. He had no idea of that security or confidence in any set of principles, or in any measures, that were the result only of silence, and that must fall to the ground the moment such principles are discussed or examined. He denied that the legislature could not interfere with advantage in regard to the rate of exchange between other countries and this. An hon. baronet had proposed, as an argument against legislative interference in the instance now before the House, that it would be equally improper, and attended with no greater advantage to interfere in the case of Ireland than in the case of Hamburgh, or any other country less connected with the empire than Irleand. But he would remind the hon. baronet, that about 32 years ago the legislature had interfered in regard to the state of exchange between this country and Hamburgh, which was precisely the instance which the hon. baronet had said would, in his opinion, be equally fruitless or improper as our interference with Ireland. Yet in 1772, when the exchange between this country and Hamburgh was unfavourable to this country, and the coin of this country was so debased that it was received at inferior value at Hamburgh, the legislature thought proper to interfere, and give the coin of this country a nominal value equal to that of Hamburgh, which, so far from being attended with any disadvantage, had the desired effect.—In respect to the currency of Ireland, it was not the guinea that was raised, but the paper that was depreciated. It was not the guinea that was worth 2s. more, but the paper that was regarded as so much less. The great object, therefore, ought to be, to adopt some effectual measure to support the paper currency of Ireland, and for that purpose to find out the cause of its depreciation. The country, he believed, was exceedingly obliged to the right hon. gent, who proposed the question. He thought the House and the country were indebted to the right, hon. gent, who had brought forward the motion, and concluded by hoping, that the pamphlet alluded to might be taken into the committee, and the arguments of his noble friend refuted or established.

Mr. Dick

rose to declare, that he did not mean to cast any reflection on the noble lord to whom he had formerly alluded.—After a few words from Mr. Dent in favour of the motion, the motion was agreed to, and a committee appointed, amongst whom were the. following members: Mr. Foster, Lord A. Hamilton, Lord Henry Petty, Lord Folkestone, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, Mr. Grey, Mr. Rose, Mr. Canning, Sir W. Pulteney, Sir J. Newport, Mr. J. C. Beresford, Mr. She- ridan, and Mr. Brogden; five to be a quorum.