HC Deb 09 December 1812 vol 24 c243

On the motion for going into a Committee on this Bill,

Lord Folkestone

said, he wished it to be passed only for a few months, in order that the House might have time to give sufficient consideration to the measure. He was altogether against the renewal of this Bill, and thought what had passed in the debate last night sufficient to lead him to that opinion. Of all the speakers last night, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the only one who spoke in praise of the Bill. Whilst several who voted for it said that they did so not from any approbation of its principle, but under the influence of various temporary circumstances. He had many objections to the Bill, and said, that the legislature ought to pass laws for the prevention, not for the production and multiplication of crimes. This Bill increased the temptation to crime, drove all our gold and silver out of the market, and, by thus increasing their value as compared with Bank of England notes, promoted the buying and selling of guineas. The persons who had been punished under this Bill being mostly ignorant, and therefore unable to understand, or perhaps to read the act, had been seduced and entrapped. But why had not a late wholesale offender, the person who offered 27,000 guineas to the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and who could not be ignorant of the provisions of the act, why had he not been brought to justice? It might be even said, that the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer neglected his duty to the public (for gold was much wanted for the public service) in not accepting of the offer; for he had it in his power to pay for the sum in country bank notes, by which means he could have evaded the provisions of the Bill.

The House then resolved into the Committee, and the several clauses were agreed to.