HC Deb 02 May 1822 vol 7 cc297-8
Mr. Denison

presented a petition from a Mr. C. A. Thompson. The petitioner stated, that he had, in 1811, laid out in purchases of land 150,000l.; that in consequence of the subsequent distresses, he had been obliged to raise on these estates 60,000l. by mortgage; that the mortgage had since foreclosed, and the estates had been offered for sale at one half of the original purchase money; that he attributed all his distresses to the alteration in the value of the currency, and therefore, prayed the House for a revision of Mr. Peel's act, or the appointment of commissioners for the purposes of establishing that relation which existed between debtor and creditor, which that act so violently disturbed. The hon. member was himself of opinion, that the case of the petitioner was the case of many persons in this country, and that unless relief was afforded, the tenant would be reduced to the condition of a serf, while the landlord would only be a trustee for the benefit of taxation and pauperism.

Mr. Serjeant Onslow

observed, that these speculations, by which individuals suffered, were entered into during the suspension of cash payments, but with the knowledge that those restrictions would be at a future period removed.

Mr. Western

said, it was true, that at that period the currency was in a very unnatural state; and yet it was in that very year that the House recorded the resolution, that a one pound note and a shilling were equal in value to a guinea. The case of the petitioner was the case of thousands who were now the victims of that fraudulent vote.

Mr. Brougham

said, that the House of Commons, which, in May, 1811, recorded that memorable resolution, within two short months passed an act to punish with fine and imprisonment, any person who should offer for that one pound note, less than those 20 shillings, which they had declared to be its value in the public estimation. These were the acts of the House of Commons before the last, not the present House of Commons; for, God forbid, he should put himself in the jeopardy of its vengeance by stating what he thought of it! For who but a House of Commons could have had the effrontery of thus contradicting the intimate knowledge that every man in the country had, as to the current market price of the bit of rag, which was then estimated at fourteen shillings? Clothed in the white sheet of an act of parliament, in order to do penance for their effrontery, they were, two months after, obliged to pass the penal statute of fine and imprisonment! If there was in the history of human proceedings, conduct more peculiarly fitted to stultify its authors—let any man convince him of that, and he should feel himself bound to respect the House of Commons of 1811.

Mr. Monck

said, that all these distresses were the frightful results of tampering with the circulation; at one time, by artificial means increasing its quantity; and, then, without notice, contracting its issues.

Ordered to lie on the table.