HC Deb 02 June 1819 vol 40 cc857-8

Mr. Peel moved the second reading of this bill.

Mr. Ellice

said, that when the bill was in the committee, he meant to move, that, instead of the enactment, that the Bank should pay their notes, on the 1st of February, 1820, in gold, at 4l. 1s. per ounce, and, on the 1st of October 1820, in gold, at 3l. 19s. 6d. per ounce, there should be inserted a clause, directing, that, from the 1st of October 1820, the Bank should pay their notes in gold at the rate of 3l. 17s. 10½d. per ounce, or else in the current coin of the realm.

Mr. Grenfell

said, there was one point in the speech delivered by the noble lord on a former occasion, which he wished to understand perfectly. The noble lord was stated to have said, that the period for the resumption of payment in gold was not fixed at a time prior to the 1st of February next, because, if any reason arose for altering or interrupting the progress of the present measure, as parliament would be then sitting, there would be a full opportunity for effecting any change that might be deemed necessary. As this seemed to favour an idea that some doubts were entertained of the stability of the plan, he thought it was important for the public to know what the noble lord did really say on the subject.

Lord Castlereagh

thought it was quite impossible for any person, who attended to what he had said, to misunderstand him. He had stated particularly, that the committee had recommended the 1st of February rather than the 1st of March, or the 1st of April, or the 1st of May, because no further legislative enactment was contemplated. The only objection which he thought could be raised against the plan recommended by the committee, had no reference to the present state of the exchange or other matters connected with it, but pointed to so extreme a case, as could only be the offspring of the utmost necessity, and, therefore, ought not to be admitted as an argument in opposition to the new plan. The 1st of February was mentioned for the purpose of destroying all delusion on the subject; for parliament met so late in January, that, unless a new measure were formed in twenty four-hours, no alteration in the then existing enactment could take place.

Mr. Grenfell

thanked the noble lord for having re-stated what he had before said. It was a matter of considerable importance.

The bill was then read a second time.