HC Deb 03 May 1805 vol 4 cc597-9

—On the question for going into a committee on the Irish Silver Tokens bill;

Mr. Magens

requested the attention of the house while he made a few observations on this bill, which, he thought, would be as properly made in this as in any other stage of it. He observed, that in a conversation which passed in that house, some short time since, it appeared that the rate of exchange being so much against Ireland was in consequence of the very large quantity of paper that was in circulation in that part of the empire. These tokens, as they were called, were, in his opinion, very little, if at all, better than paper; and as they would be subject to great depreciation, he saw very little benefit to be derived from this measure. He thought the only way to serve Ireland effectually would be to restore a real silver coinage directly under the royal authority, and thereby to assimilate the coinages of the two countries as nearly as possible. For these reasons he could not approve the bill.

Mr. Princep

said, he thought some limitation should be put to these tokens, and hoped a standard coinage would soon take place.

Mr. Rose

said, the silver tokens were tokens above the value of the price of dollars, and therefore he thought there was no fear of the apprehensions entertained by the hon. gent. who spoke last but one. It had been for a long time in contemplation to .make a standard coinage, but there were certain obstacles to it which at present could not be removed.

Mr. Magens

said, if the old standard were restored, every thing would be much cheaper, and the country would derive innume rable benefits from it.

Sir J. Newport

said it was much to be wished that the old standard was restored, but that would require some considerable time; and, as a large quantity of paper had been lately taken out of circulation, it became absolutely necessary something of this kind should be adopted. With respect to the assimilation of the coinage of the two countries, it was a subject that required great consideration, and therefore necessary this bill should pass as speedily as possible.

Mr. Lee

said the hon. member who made the objection to this bill, most certainly was not acquainted with the situation of Ireland, or he would not argue as he had done. Silver notes, which were the only circulation for making payment of small sums, were now drawn out of circulation, and it was necessary something should be substituted in their stead, as there is now no circulating medium for small payments. He was, however, one of those who did not think the quantity of paper that had been in circulation was injurious to Ireland; the fact had never been proved, and till it was so, he should differ from those who held that opinion.

Mr. Foster

said very little remained for him to say on the subject. There was at present great distress in Ireland for want of small silver change, and as it is only to continue so long as the restriction of the bank from paying in specie continues, the hon. gent. who made this objection, need have no great apprehension. It will be extremely convenient to the people of Ireland, and he hoped therefore the bill would have the approbation of the house.

Mr. Johnstone

said he doubted whether these pieces of silver would continue long in circulation, as, at 5s. 5d. each, people would find an advantage of eight and a half per cent. and would send them to this country to make their payments, and thereby save so much in the rate of exchange.

Mr. Foster

said, these tokens are to issue at 5s. 5d. but will be ten per cent. under the value of Spanish dollars, and if you add eight and a quarter, the difference of exchange, it would be nearly 19 per cent. and when exchange is very high, it would be nearly 25 per cent. ; when to these are added the inconvenience of carriage, and the wearing of the silver by friction, there would be thought very little danger of their being sent to this country.

Mr. Vansittart

said a few words in favour of the bill, and the house went into the committee, in which the clauses were read and agreed to.—Adjourned.