HC Deb 10 April 1818 vol 37 cc1284-5

The chancellor of the exchequer brought in a bill "to authorize Bankers in England and Ireland, to issue and circulate Promissory Notes, secured upon a Deposit of Public Funds, or other Government Securities." The bill was read a first time. On the question, that it be read a second time,

Sir J. Newport

said, he was confident that no notes would be issued by country bankers, on the conditions prescribed by the bill, and that the consequence would be to drive them out of circulation, to the benefit of the Bank of England, which many would think had without such a measure, influence enough in the country. He wished to know whether it was proposed that the notes issued should pay any duty?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that they would pay the same duty as was now paid, though the form would be different. It might perhaps be convenient, to allow a certain sum to be paid as compensation for the stamp duty. The convenience of this would be, that, as the sum to be issued by each banker would be well ascertained, any banker might change his notes as often as they became dirty, or worn out, without additional expense.

Sir J. Newport,

alluding to what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman the other day, respecting the total disappearance of the 2,500,000l. issued in com by the Bank, wished to inform him that it had not been all transmitted, as he seemed to imagine, to foreign countries. The fact was, that at that period some bankers, and he spoke with certainty of one with whom he was connected by blood, having placed full confidence in the assurance given by the right hon. gentleman respecting the resumption of cash payments, had made preparations for that purpose. With that end in view, the banker whom he had mentioned had drawn a large sum from the bank of Ireland, as a preparation against the period when cash payments should be resumed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he should be glad to find that the in- stances of such preparations had not been rare, and would make some inquiry into the subject before the bill passed through the House.

Mr. Grenfell

observed, that 100l. five per cents was of more value than 100l. exchequer bills; and that 100l. four per cents was also of more value, but in a less proportion. He wished to know whether the chancellor of the exchequer intended to propose any clause in the bill which would regulate the difference, as this was a matter of some importance?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the subject mentioned by the hon. gentleman would be proper for the committee. Great difficulty had been found in making any distinction between the different public stocks; but he should be happy to receive any communication on the subject.

Mr. Alderman Atkins

observed, that the Bank of England was now in a more flourishing state than it had ever before been. But it would never have arrived at that state, if it had been liable to be called upon, at any time for cash payments. If, then, such confidence was placed in the Bank of England, a proportionate degree of confidence should be placed in private banks; for the Bank of England was no more than a company of private bankers on a large scale. He hoped that such time would be taken on the discussion of the present bill as would enable the House and the country to understand fully what was its nature, and what would be its effects.

The bill was ordered to be read a second time on Monday se'nnight.