HC Deb 06 April 1819 vol 39 cc1423-6
Mr. C. Grant

stated, that the bank of Ireland, in consequence of certain notices similar to those issued by the Bank of England had been in die habit of paying in cash their notes under 20l. As a bill had been passed to restrain the Bank of England from making these payments, it was desirable that a similar measure should be extended to the bank of Ireland, not only on account of the uniformity of legislation which had governed both the establishments, but because there were many supposable cases in which the continuance of the present system, with respect to Ireland would perplex or retard further measures. It was hardly necessary for him to state, that the bill he proposed had no reference to the credit of the Bank of Ireland which had always stood deservedly high, not only on account of the extent of its resources, but the prudence of its management. He trusted the House would see the necessity of passing this bill with the same celerity as that of last night. He then moved for leave to bring in a bill to restrain the governor and company of the Bank of Ireland, from making payments in the gold coin of this realm, under certain notices given by them.

Mr. Brougham

said, he had heard nothing to make him withdraw the protest he had entered against the bill of last night; on the contrary, all the reasons he had heard in favour of the latter, were hostile to the proposed one. The right hon. gentleman who had introduced the subject last night, had had the advantage of being a member of the select committee and of using the authority of their recommendation in favour of the measure be proposed; but the right hon. gentleman who made the present motion had not stated any grounds drawn from that source, or from any desire on the part of the Bank of Ireland. Last night a statement had been made of the great drainage of specie out of this country, but the House had now heard no statement of facts, nor any thing respecting the opinion of the committee. The only ground alleged to-night in support of the measure was, that of the fitness of uniformity between the two countries; but that was evidently no reason for such a violent proceeding as the present. If the chancellor of the exchequer were now prepared to state generally what had happened this morning at the Bank, perhaps it would justify the call for the dispatch of last night, and be a considerable motive for agreeing to the motion; because what had happened in London might happen in Dublin. But at present they were called upon to adopt so important a change in the absence of any statement of facts, and of the opinion of the committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

thought, that even the learned gentleman must admit, that if the measure of last night was proper, it ought to be followed up by a similar provision for Ireland. The Bank of Ireland had pursued every step taken by the Bank of England, and if measures were not taken for the protection of Ireland they would not only do a great injustice to the Bank there, but render the measure of last night in a great degree nugatory; for, without such a guard, the force of circumstances would run immediately on Ireland. It was well known there had been a transmission of specie from Ireland to this country for the purpose of exportation, and without this protection it might be carried to a dangerous extent. With respect to the drainage of this morning, he had no information to give. Should it even not turn out to be so considerable as might be naturally expected, the circumstance might be accounted for on the supposition that many persons had been led to imagine, that, in consequence of what had occurred here last night, an application to the Bank for specie this morning would be useless.

Sir H. Parnell

said, it would almost appear that the committee on Bank affairs had wholly forgotten those of the Bank of Ireland, since no mention was made of them by any member of the committee; and yet it was on a sort of incipient report from that body, that the measure which passed yesterday was founded. He did not wish unnecessarily to inquire what the committee had been doing; but it would be satisfactory to the House to receive the same information, with respect to the Bank of Ireland, which they yesterday received with reference to the Bank of England. The right hon. gentleman had argued, that the Bank of Ireland would, in consequence of the measure adopted yesterday, be more liable to a sudden drain, than the Bank here. But he had left out of his calculation the very small issue of Bank of Ireland notes, compared with the vast number of Bank of England notes in circulation.

Sir J. Newport

said, it was due to the Bank of Ireland to say, that, when the restriction was first proposed, so far was it from being a measure wished for by them, that they actually struggled against it. It was thought right that they should follow every step taken by the Bank of England; and they, in consequence, issued the notice for the payment in specie, of notes of a certain date. The question was, whether they would proceed in the same course to the end, or break off here from the precedent which had been so long pursued? He conceived it would be impolitic to depart from the established practice.

Sir G. Hill

observed, that the bill would have been introduced yesterday, but for the absence of his right hon. friend.

Mr. Calcraft

said, it was rather extraordinary that the chancellor of the exchequer should imagine the speculators in bullion to be so short sighted as to take the debate of last night for an act of parliament. He thought the right hon. gentleman must know by his communication with these gentry, that however they might respect orders in council, or acts, or any thing which really prevented them from receiving cash, they had not much regard for speeches, and were not to be frightened by these "paper bullets of the brain" from the career of their gain. He could only take it for granted, from what had been said, that the drain on the Bank this day had not been considerable, for if it had, the right hon. gentleman would, no doubt, have been ready to urge it in favour of the measure before them. As to the measure before the House, he had not heard any of those arguments which should induce the House to adopt it.

Mr. Callaghan

supported the measure, as a corrollary to that respecting the Bank of England.

Leave was given to bring in the bill. It was brought in and read a first time. On the second reading,

Mr. Brougham

again stated his objections to the rapid proceeding in this bill without reasons alleged. It had been stated by his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierney) that the only question as to the former bill, was as to a sure of 3 or 400,000l. He would ask, whether with reference to the Bank of Ireland, any one would take the sum as high as thirty or 40,000l.? As this bill was not brought in yesterday, the holders of notes in Ireland would have not one day. as in this country but two days notice, so that within the time given, the notes from Dublin and its neighbourhood might be sent in, and the measure rendered nugatory. If the immediate stoppage of the drain of the Bank of Ireland was of such urgent consequence, why had not the measure been proposed last night? The chancellor of the exchequer, as he was nimble enough, might turn upon him and say that its continuance for a day or two did not signify. If this were said, then the reason for violating the orders of the House was at once taken away.

Sir G. Hill

said, the bill had not been brought in yesterday on a point of etiquette towards the secretary for Ireland, who was then absent.

The bill then went through the remaining stages, and was passed.