HC Deb 09 August 1833 vol 20 cc453-82

Lord Althorp moved the Order of the Day for the House to go into Committee on the Bank Charter Bill.

On the Question, that the Speaker do leave the Chair—

Mr. Gisborne

rose to move his Resolution—"That the House will resolve itself into this Committee on this day six months." The evidence upon which the whole proceeding was founded, ought to be very cautiously received, because the greater part of it was ex-parte; and besides this, many of the witnesses who appeared before the Committee were Bank Directors, Bill-brokers, and generally were gentlemen in a situation which did not render it possible they could know much of the advantages of a free system of banking. But even that evidence, such as it was, did not make out the noble Lord's case. He knew, that it was said to be necessary that there should be some great body in the country, by which the issues of paper money ought to be regulated, in order to keep them from being too large at one time and too small at another; and this power could only be safely vested in a body like the Bank of England. But the evidence itself did not show, that the Bank used this power, even if they possessed it; for, so far from regulating their issues by the wants of the country, they issued gold when the market required gold, and paper when the market demanded gold. Instead, therefore, of regulating the market by their issues, their issues were regulated by the state of the market; so that, as far as this matter went, there was no necessity for the continuance of the monopoly. It was plain, from Mr. Horsley Palmer's evidence, that the Bank knew little or nothing of the Exchanges as a rule of its conduct. He had been in Portugal some time ago, and had had a conversation with the Portuguese Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the subject of a monopoly existing in the country. That monopoly, like the Bank monopoly, chiefly affected the metropolis. Lisbon was supplied with meat by a monopoly. That monopoly was the subject of conversation between the Portuguese Chancellor of the Exchequer and himself. The former could not by any means be convinced that it would be advantageous to destroy the monopoly, and all the arguments which that Gentleman used in favour of the meat monopoly, were just as applicable to the monopoly of the Bank; and indeed, he believed, might be found, with the necessary changes of particular words, in the Report of the Bank Committee. The Portuguese Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that if free competition were allowed, the supply of meat would be irregular; at one time the market would be over supplied, and at another there would not be enough for the wants of the city. Now, this was just the sort of argument used about the Bank; yet there was proof that in the money and in the meat market it was the demand, and the demand alone, that regulated the supply. The next objection was, that if the means of supply were not intrusted to one recognised body, there would be no responsibility on which the public might depend for the performance of what they required. Here the Portuguese Chancellor of the Exchequer had the advantage of the noble Lord, for the monopolist of the meat market at Lisbon did give a security for the performance of his contract; but the Bank here gave none. It was a principle in mechanics, that action and reaction were equal in opposite directions, and the noble Lord might depend, that a similar principle was as true in banking as in mechanics, and that issue and depression would equal each other. The hon. Member referred to several parts of the evidence, to show, that if the country and the Joint Stock Banks had the power of issuing notes at their discretion, they would be restrained from issuing otherwise than according to the wants of the country. Whenever free competition existed, it carried in itself the means of correction for the evils that arose from it. Supposing, for one moment, that ten bankers should agree to throw into the market two millions more than it required, their situation would only undergo an apparent, not a real change, for as the money in circulation, and the deposits in their drawers, always bore a proportion to each other, they would merely find a greater amount of deposits than before. If we were to have a National Bank, he should like to see an office under the Treasury for the issue of paper, which should not be convertible at the demand of the holder into gold, but should be received in payment of taxes, and with that the dividends might be paid. As he believed the monopoly of the Bank of England to be most useless, most expensive, and least defensible, he should move, that the Bill be committed on this day six months.

Lord Althorp

did not intend to detain the House at any length, but felt it necessary to make a few remarks in defence of the course recommended by Ministers. First, he begged to say, as, indeed, his hon. friend had admitted, that the witnesses examined before the Committee were not his witnesses. His object had not been to examine persons whose opinions agreed with his own, and in selecting the members for the Committee, it had ever been matter of complaint against him, that he had chosen those of opposite notions, and different shades of sentiment. This at least did not show that he was desirous that only one side of the question should be investigated. The witnesses, too, were generally such as were named by the Members, and he himself had not proposed the attendance of more than one or two persons conversant with the subject. Certainly those persons were or had been engaged in business, but on this very account they were most likely to give sound practical opinions. The House would recollect that when a witness was examined before a Committee, he was liable to cross-examination by every member of that Committee, respecting the grounds on which his opinions were founded; and the result of such cross-examination was, that it was not the authority of an individual which gave weight to his opinions, but the reasons which he advanced in support of them. His hon. friend had made not a few comments on the evidence of Mr. Palmer. Now, he thought that the authority of Mr. Palmer, on account of the reasons which he had stated in support of his opinions, was very great on a question like this. Mr. Palmer had applied his mind to it for years; and all the reasons which he had given in support of his opinions, appeared to him (Lord Althorp) to be founded on a mature consideration of the question. Mr. Palmer had spoken of the course which the Bank had taken, and of the course of banking which was now considered the best, and had then gone to the state of the exchanges. His hon. friend had criticised the whole of Mr. Palmer's statement. He admitted, that when he first heard Mr. Palmer say, that he did not know what the par of exchange was, he was a little surprised. Mr. Palmer did not mean to say, that the same weight of metal produced the same in two different countries; what he said was, that he did not know how the par of exchange could be defined in figures—that an exchange below par was the demand for gold upon the currency of this country, and that you might have that demand for gold at a very high exchange, as well as at a very low exchange; for, undoubtedly, circumstances did occasionally happen in which, when the par of exchange was considerably in our favour, gold was with drawn from the Bank; and when it was against us, gold came in. Then his hon. friend proceeded to say, "that the result of Mr. Palmer's examination proved, that the Bank did not regulate the currency at all, but that it allowed the public to regulate it for them." Now, he contended, that if the Bank were to allow any fancied notion that there was too great or too little currency to operate upon their transactions, the consequences to which it would lead must be evil. He thought that the public should be left to act on the monetary system, and that the Bank was right in letting the public use the power which it possessed of returning Bank paper for bullion. "But," said his hon. friend, "what advantage is there in having only one bank of issue if the public are to be left to regulate the amount of currency?" Now, he thought, that if there were a number of rival banks of issue, the currency would not be regulated on the principles which Mr. Palmer bad described as the most correct principles of banking. His hon. friend had assumed that there should be a larger amount of currency than the demand. Now, the demand might be fair, or it might be speculative: if it were speculative, that would lead to a mere extension of the currency, and so would alter the value of money. He apprehended, that if there were several banks of issue competing with each other, and discounting Bills as rapidly as Bills could be discounted, and thereby increasing the circulation, there would be along with that rapid increase of circulation a rapid increase of prices, which, in the end, would turn the exchanges against this country. What he dreaded was, that the reaction so occasioned would be equally rapid, and that it would thus be greater than was necessary. The more sudden a reaction was, the more fatal would be its consequences. Now, with one bank, like the Bank of England, this could not take place. The effect produced on the Bank of England would not be the same as the effect produced on this competition of Banks, for the Bank of England would not be called upon during a speculative mania to increase its issues as banks managed upon the system of competition would be expected to do. The effect of the Bank of England being called upon to discount never could induce the consequences which he had already described. For this reason he thought that the currency was more likely to be equal—that there would be less fluctuation (for some fluctuation there must always be to rectify the exchange) by having one bank of issue, than by having many. In a word, he thought that by one bank of issue we should settle at the minimum of fluctuation. The object which Government wished to secure by this measure was the minimum of fluctuation; and to his conception it was impossible that a competition of banks could exist in the metropolis without increasing the amount of fluctuation. These were the grounds on which he thought that one bank of issue was better than a competition of several banks of issue. Once he had been of opinion that a competition of banks was best; but he frankly confessed that since he had inquired into the subject his opinion had undergone an alteration. But his hon. friend said, that, taking away the monopoly of the Bank of England would destroy the connexion between the Bank and the Government. Now, he thought that the blame which was often attributed to the Bank, was often attributable to the action of the Government upon the Bank. He likewise was of opinion that the Bank ought not to change its operations to accommodate the Government. If the Government would confine itself to using the Bank as a private individual used his banker, he saw no objection to its so doing. His hon. friend had also treated the publicity, which was henceforward to be given to the accounts of the Bank, as a matter of no consequence. Now, he put it to the House whether that publicity would not have a direct tendency to check the connexion between the Bank and the Government. "But," said his hon. friend, "the Bank is not responsible;" to that he would only reply, "The Ministers are." He could not conceive that, with a publicity of accounts, there was any danger of the connexion between the Government and the Bank again producing the evils which had been so justly lamented. Considering how important it was to keep the currency from fluctuation, he thought that a single bank of issue in the metropolis was most desirable; and having that conviction on his mind he should persist in the original Motion.

Sir Henry Parnell

wished to state the grounds which induced him to vote in favour of the Amendment proposed by the hon. member for North Derbyshire. He thought, that sufficient inquiry into this subject had not been instituted for the interest of the public. He informed the House that he had repeated conversations with the late Mr. Ricardo on this subject, and that Mr. Ricardo had agreed either to bring forward a resolution himself, or to support a resolution brought forward by him (Sir Henry Parnell), pledging the House to the fullest inquiry into the Bank question. He likewise said, that there was a full understanding in the Committee that after the examination of the witnesses, whose evidence was now printed, was closed, he should be allowed to produce the witnesses on the other side. Three Gentlemen, who were anxious to be examined, had called upon him, when it was too late to get them examined, and he was then told, that the Committee should be re-appointed this year. They all knew, that the Committee had not been re-appointed, and in consequence the public had been deprived of much valuable information which ought to have been brought before it. One objection to this plan was, that by it the Government would be tied up for at least ten years, and not have the power of remedying any evil which might accrue to the public from the working of the plan. The noble Lord looked only to prospective evil, but he forgot the influence that had been exercised over the currency of the country by the twenty-four directors of the Bank. If evidence had been allowed on that head, he could have shown, that in all the commercial convulsions which had taken place in the country during the last forty years, the Bank had been the principal cause in producing them. If the inquiry had been fairly gone into it could be shown, that the Bank had been the cause of the stoppage which took place in 1797, and of the depreciation of the currency which followed—that the Bank had been mainly the cause of the commercial convulsion and panic which took place in 1824 and 1825. These, if proved—and they could have been proved had the inquiry been fully gone into—would afford so many strong arguments against the continuance of the Bank; but those who defended that monopoly were bound to disprove them by evidence, if they could. He would contend that if the principle of free trade were applied to banking, it would work well. If, when the Bank was first established 130 or 140 years ago, the principle of competition had been established also, our banking system in general would have gone on with it, and adapted itself to the growing improvements in our trade and commerce, and the public would now have the advantage of competition in that as in every other trade. Now, as to having more banks of issue than one in London, his noble friend (Lord Althorp) had said, what had convinced him (Sir Henry Parnell) that his noble friend did not fully understand the subject, and that therefore there ought to be further inquiry. His noble friend had intimated his opinion, that if there were several banks of issue in London, there would be a tendency to an over-issue of paper by them; but his noble friend had not taken into his consideration that it would not be the interest of any such banks to have an over-issue, for if they had they would soon find their notes returned upon them, and would draw upon them the hostility of the other banks. He thought, that many banks of issue would supply what the circulation of the country required and no more, and that the country must gain by the competition. He would not, however, under the circumstances he had stated, advise that the Bank Charter should be immediately withdrawn. He would suggest, that it should be continued for three years longer from the present time, and in that interval the House would have sufficient time to examine whether the reasons for withdrawing the charter altogether, or those for continuing it, were the stronger.

Mr. Strutt

could not allow this question to go to a division without saying a few words as to the grounds of the vote he should give. He had attended the Committee which sat on this subject, and he owned that he had not heard any argument to convince him that the Bank monopoly should be continued. He had, indeed, heard the opinions of many highly respectable individuals, on that side of the question; but as they had not been supported by arguments, he must take them only as opinions, and those, too, the opinions of men who, however intelligent, must be considered in this case as partial witnesses. From the evidence of Mr. Horsley Palmer and others, it was clear, that the Bank thought the convertibility of their notes a sufficient security against over-issue; but it was rather inconsistent with this opinion that they should turn round and say, that no competition of banks of issue should be allowed in the metropolis. Now, he thought it but fair, before they passed a measure of this kind, to inquire how far the panic of 1825 had been aggravated by the conduct of the Bank; for he certainly thought, that an injury had been then done to the public which could not have occurred if competition had been allowed. What he charged against the Bank was, that they had not contracted their issues when they found their paper largely returned upon them. He must contend, that all the experience they had had was in favour of free trade, and that the advantage would be found in a free competition in banking as well as in everything else. The onus lay therefore upon those who opposed such competition, to show that it would be injurious if applied to banking. If they adopted the system of a national bank, the whole of the profits would go to the State; but if they found that objectionable on other grounds, then they might establish the principle of competition, and though in such competition the State would derive no direct advantage from the profits, those profits would go into the pockets of the public, and the more extensive the competition was, the more the public would gain, as competition would secure the lowest terms. In the plan now proposed by Government there was neither one thing nor the other—neither the advantage to the State which a national bank would secure, nor the advantage which the public would derive from extensive competition. The Government would be obliged to deal with the monopoly bank, and would, of course, get much worse terms than if competition were permitted. With respect to the question of making bank notes above a certain amount a legal tender, he would say, that the question should be considered, not merely with reference to commercial, but also to political panics. If the commercial panic alone were to be considered, the question might not admit of much difficulty, but he thought there was much greater risk at present from political than from commercial panics; and that in the former case the danger would be greater, from the circumstance of extending the Bank of England over the greater part of the country. As to the publication of the Bank issues, he was not disposed to think it such an efficient check, at least as it stood in the Bill, as the noble Lord considered it. It was proposed, that the average issues of three months should be published quarterly, but that weekly returns should be made to the Treasury. He thought the public should have the advantage of the information thus weekly laid before the Government, and he hoped to hear that some alteration would be made in the Bill in this respect. He had heard no argument to satisfy him that it would not be an advantage to the public to permit the establishment of joint stock banks of deposit in the metropolis. On the whole he would support the Amendment of his hon. friend, the member for North Derbyshire, because he thought that evidence should be afforded to convince them of the necessity of taking so important a step as this before they were called upon to assent to it.

Mr. Hume

declared that, in his opinion, the noble Lord had not made out his case, and that not one of the arguments which the noble Lord had used in favour of the plan, but might be urged with greater success in opposition to it. It had been very truly said, that the currency of the country ought to be rendered as steady as possible: in that sentiment he fully concurred: but he would ask, were not the banks of Scotland eminently calculated to produce that great desideratum of steadiness? Under the banking system of Scotland fluctuation was nearly out of the question, and it was a complete preventive of over-issues. He wished to put the question on this footing, was there or was there not the utmost hazard in handing the country bound hand and foot over to the power of the Bank?—were they warranted in disabling themselves from dealing with the currency of the country under any circumstances for a term of ten years. Looking at the evidence before the Committee, he should say, that it was most abundant to show that the best effects had resulted in Scotland from the business of banking being in the hands of many, and the greatest mischief had resulted in England from its being only in the hands of a few. The remedy, he thought, for all these mischiefs would be a really national Bank, and whatever profits arose from it ought to be applied to the credit of the public; but at all events, let them ultimately come to what resolution they might, they ought to hear further evidence, and wait at least for another year. They ought to wait for another year were it only for the purpose of being in a better condition to make an attempt to break the connexion between the Government and the Bank. The history of the country had proved, that nothing could be more mischievous than that Government should be in the habit of receiving accommodations from the Bank. If the monetary affairs of the country were upon a proper footing, there would not be one pound at the disposal of the Minister of the day otherwise than by the consent of Parliament. It was with great regret, that he saw such a proposition as the present brought forward by the noble Lord, who had himself once been the enemy of all monopolies in banking. Could anything be more vain and futile than the idea that one bank of issue would prevent panics? On the contrary, it would have the effect of rendering them more frequent than ever. He hoped the noble Lord would consent to put off, till next year, a measure that really was of the last importance, and ought on no account to have been brought forward at so late a period of the Session, and when so many Members had gone out of town.

Mr. Fryer

said, the question then under the consideration of the House was one which would determine the amount of the rents of their lands. He was not influenced by any sentiment of hostility against the Government, but a sense of duty compelled him to say, that the noble Lord took up his measures hastily, and abandoned them indiscreetly; he, therefore, did not anticipate a very persevering maintenance of that measure. In the present stage of it, however, he begged early and at once to declare, that he was in favour of a postponement of the question, and he founded his opinion as much upon the arguments of the noble Lord opposite, as on the influence of any other considerations. There was nothing more obvious than that the system now about to be introduced would supersede the country banks; and it would besides have the effect of placing 30,000,000l. of the currency in the hands of the Bank of England, which would become complete masters of the money, and trade of the country. To that he altogether objected. He agreed with the noble Lord, that one bank of issue would be sufficient, but he thought it ought to be a national bank. This Bill would have the effect of rendering the gold circulation of the country unproductive. If they were to take the gold of Potosi, and return it into the bowels of the earth, they could not render it less productive than it would be by this Bill; but nearly the same effect would be produced by this extension of Bank paper. He would make the paper of the country inconvertible, and secured on the property of the country, but of a certain fixed amount. A man who had now 30,000l. in gold could scarcely get any interest for it. The Bank stepped in with its cheap rags, and prevented him from using his gold to advantage. This was a ruinous sort of competition; it was like that of the Rob Roy and the Quicksilver Brighton coaches. The Rob Roy offered to carry passengers cheaply, but the Quicksilver offered to take them for nothing, and give them a bottle of wine on the road. The Rob Roy could not stand this, and declared itself beaten out of the field; and the Quicksilver having it all to itself was run away with and upset and smashed; and that would be the result with the Bank if the present system were persevered in. The principle of Peel's Bill was good, and to that principle he was ready to adhere, however it might affect his own interest—that he looked upon as the least consideration, unwilling as he might be to address that House, from a consciousness of inadequacy to such an undertaking, he felt that in times like the present his duty to his constituents demanded that he should in that place give utterance to honest and independent views, and to those views he could not give effect otherwise than by voting for the postponement.

Mr. Robinson

said, that the House had before it only a choice of difficulties, and under such circumstances, looking at the Measure as a whole, he thought the Government arrangement likely to be satisfactory to the country at large. The object of the noble Lord was to establish a paper circulation as free from objection as possible, and the present plan appeared calculated to effect that purpose. The panic of 1825 was not to be attributed to the mismanagement of the Bank, and he therefore saw no reason to apprehend ill consequences from that system as proposed with respect to Bank of England notes; but he should view with alarm an unlimited issue of paper money by irresponsible parties. He did not mean to assert that the Government plan was free from objection, but he thought it preferable to that free trade in banking suggested by its opponents, and should therefore vote for going into Committee.

Mr. Cobbett

said, that his hostility to the Bill and his approbation of the Amendment were founded entirely upon the single clause by which Bank of England notes were made a legal tender.

Sir Henry Willoughby

would support the Motion of the hon. member for Derbyshire, but on somewhat different grounds. Though he agreed with the right hon. member for Dundee, that the inquiry of the Bank Committee last year was ex-parte and that further inquiry was very desirable, he could not, however, think the question before the House was, whether there should be one bank of issue or many rival banks of issue. He would concede there should be but one bank of issue, but some efficient control was required over that bank. Publicity under the Act would only inform the public of mischiefs incurred. There was no preventive remedy; the evil would be done, and the public would learn its nature and extent only when it was irremediable. The Act established a legal tender; under this provision any alterations in the amount of Bank paper would be felt in the remotest parts of the country; every country bank of issue would be affected. Surely some express control on the part of the public over the exercise of such a power should be provided. The noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had rightly said the principle of the bank of issue should be to attain the minimum of fluctuation. He agreed to that position. It had been said the Bank never acted on the public, but the public was allowed to act on the Bank. But was the public always right? Did not the noble Lord admit the occurrence of speculative demands? It might be the interest of the Bank to supply such demands, while that of the country might be the reverse, with a view to avoid those expansions and contractions which had so often proved the source of every evil a bad system of paper issues could inflict on a nation, and which this nation had so much reason from experience to deprecate.

Mr. Thomas Attwood

said, the Bank was not blameable for the stoppages of 1797 and 1825, as the right hon. member for Dundee appeared to suppose, for it had been merely the instrument of executing the will of the existing Government. In 1797 the stoppage was occasioned by the demand for 90,000,000l. of gold and silver currency to meet the withdrawal of assignats in France; and the crisis of 1825 had its origin in the Bill of 1819, followed as it was by Lord Castlereagh's five measures of 1823. Of the Bill of 1819 he could not speak in terms sufficiently expressive of his disapprobation. The measures of 1822 were well intended; their object being to relieve the agricultural and commercial interests, an object which was at least partially effected. Hence the prosperity of 1823, 1824, and 1825. he latter year the exchanges turned against us, and gold was exported in immense quantities, 8,000,000l. having been entered at the Custom-house, independently of what was sent away without such notice, in consequence of this state of things, which had arisen out of increased paper issues, the panic occurred, which, however, the Bank did every thing in its power to guard against and lessen. Had it not been for the moral firmness of the Bank in meeting the crisis, and throw-out its notes into circulation on that occasion, we should have witnessed a catastrophe which he would not attempt to describe. The right hon. member for Dundee had said, that the banking system was much improved since 1826, but the right hon. Baronet was mistaken. The old system had been impaired and undermined, without substituting for it anything satisfactory. The old banks, both in London and the country, had one fault—a sordid and servile devotion to men in power: that was bad enough; but the joint-stock banks, which it was proposed to establish, would be seven-fold more the tools of the Government of the day, because they would all be under the surveillance of the Bank of England and entirely dependent on it, and that establishment was under the immediate control of Government, so that the Government would instruct the Bank of England as they pleased: the Bank would instruct the branch bank; the branch banks would instruct the joint-stock banks, the joint-stock banks would instruct every one of their partners; the partners would instruct their debtors, and all over whom they had influence; and the people of England would have to rue the day in which such a system of influence was established. It was proved by an American publication, that the joint-stock banks of the United States, had been productive of immense mischief; and he therefore, at the outset, protested against any further extension of the system in this country. With respect to the charge brought against country bankers of forcing their notes into circulation, he altogether denied it. The adoption of such a course would impair the credit of any banker who attempted it; at the same time that the immediate object of forcing his paper into circulation would be defeated. It had been said, that there was no panic in Scotland in 1825, but that was not to be ascribed to the confidence inspired by joint-stock banks. It was forgotten, that there were no sovereigns in Scotland in 1825, and that guineas had not been seen there for the last 100 years, except as whist-markers on some dowager's card table. In short, there being no gold circulation in that country, the exportation of the precious metals could not affect it. The drain of gold from England was no inconvenience to Scotland; and, therefore, the subtraction of sovereigns could not occasion a panic. The leaders of all parties, Whigs, Tories, and Radicals, had joined in a mortal war against a principle of vital importance to the interests of the community generally—he alluded to the paper currency, which had been sent to the wall; the hon. member for Oldham had also joined in the warfare, and had advocated the abolition of the system; but he (Mr. Attwood) had anticipated what would be the result, and some years ago, in a letter which he addressed to Lord Sid-mouth, had warned the Government "not to fall into the snare like the bird into the net of a fowler." He was now more than ever convinced, that the sooner Government paper was adopted, the better it would be for the country. He did not object to making Bank of England notes a legal tender, but he wished also that Government notes should be so; and though he would not give the Government powers to issue millions of such paper, yet he would have them put as much in circulation as would keep the people in full employ, and make them happy and prosperous. He would have the Government to make the condition of the working and industrious classes their guide, and not look only to the interests of the fundholder, the placemen, and the pensioners. Let the Government, in legislating upon this important subject, regard well the interests of the productive classes—the honest labourers. He hoped the noble Lord would see the benefit that would arise from the establishment of banks of issue in London. He (Mr. Attwood) admitted, that banks of deposit in London would be an evil. He supported most cordially the Motion for going into Committee upon the Bill, which had already been delayed sufficiently long. He had attended to this very important subject for the last twenty years, and his opinion, after much consideration, was, that the interests of this great nation would not be safe if the question should be suffered to go over to another Session; if the House consented to a postponement, it would compromise the interests of this great community.

The House divided on the Amendment—Ayes 40; Noes 119: Majority 79.

List of the AYES.
ENGLAND. Shawe, R. N.
Aglionby, H. A. Strutt, Ed.
Biddulph, R. Torrens, Colonel
Bish, T. Tancred, H. W.
Brooklehurst, J. Tyrrell, Chas.
Buckingham, J. S. Wall, C. B.
Buller, Chas. Whalley, Sir S.
Clay, W. Williams, Col.
Cobbett, Wm. Willoughby, Sir H.
Dykes, F. L. B. Young, G. F.
Ewart, Wm. SCOTLAND.
Faithfull, G. Oswald, R. A.
Fenton, John Parnell, H. Hon. Sir H.
Fielden, J. Wallace, R.
Forster, C. S. IRELAND.
Fryer, J. Blake, M. J.
Hawkins, J. H. Evans, G.
Hill, M. D. Ruthven, E.
Hughes, Hughes Vigors, N. A.
Martin, John. TELLERS.
Palmer, C. F. Gisborne, Thos.
Romiliy, John Hume, Joseph
Scholefield, J. PAIRED OFF.
Scrope, P. Guest, J. J.

The House went into Committee.

Clause 1 agreed to.

On its being proposed, in Clause 2, which provides that no banking company of more than sis persons shall issue notes payable on demand in London or within miles of it, to fill up the blank with the words "sixty-five,"

Lord Althorp

said, that in the first place, it was not, nor had it been the intention of his Majesty's Government to make any alteration in the privileges of the Bank of England, with one exception only; neither had it been intended to diminish those privileges which at present existed with respect to exclusive banking. The alteration which was proposed was, to do away that restriction which would pre- vent joint-stock banks, consisting of more than six partners, and established at a greater distance than sixty-five miles, from issuing notes payable on demand in London, or from drawing bills on London under 50l. It had been stated as matter of doubt, by several hon. Gentlemen, whether, by its exclusive privileges, the Bank of England had the right to prevent the existence of banking companies of more than six partners in the metropolis. From the information he had received at the time he had introduced this Bill, he had been induced to think the Bank of England had this privilege; but when doubts had been started, he felt it necessary to consult the law authorities; and their opinion was most distinct and clear, that by the law as it at present stood there was nothing to prevent banks of deposit, composed of more than six partners, being established within the metropolis. He thought it would be improper to leave the law doubtful upon this point, and he therefore proposed, upon the bringing up of the clause, to move the insertion of words declaratory of the interpretation of the law, which, as he had already said, was distinct and clear, that banking companies of more than six persons could be established in the metropolis. Such a declaration would not diminish the privileges of the Bank, for such a privilege had never been intended; and as to increase of privileges, if he wished to grant any, he was sure he should not have the support of the House.

Mr. Cayley moved, as an Amendment to the second clause, that the restriction as to the number of partners in the country banks of issue should be confined within the limit of twenty-five miles round London, instead of sixty-five miles.

Mr. Mark Philips

said, that as he also had given notice of a motion respecting this clause—namely, to repeal so much of the Act of the 7th George 4th, c. 46, as restricts banking companies of more than six partners from drawing bills on London for less amount than 50l. from making their notes payable in London, and from having their own offices in London. He would ask the noble Lord whether, in addition to doing away with the restrictions upon the drawing of bills for less than 50l., he ought not also to allow joint-stock banks to make their notes payable in London, and to have offices in London for that purpose? He was not seeking, in pressing forward this Motion, to establish in London offices on which the joint-Stock banks could possibly draw; he merely wished that they should have the privilege of establishing an office in London for the performance of agency business. He did not want to establish an office where drawing of Bills should form part of the concern, or where any banking business should be transacted beyond the mere paying of the notes of the bank to which the office belonged. He wished to know whether, on this point, he should have the assent of the noble Lord?

Lord Althorp

said, that before he could give his assent he was desirous of seeing the exact words proposed to be introduced in the clause; and if he agreed with the hon. Gentleman he would consent to put them in another Bill. He certainly wished to give entire freedom to joint-stock banks to draw and issue notes, and in the manner which was considered most convenient. He had heard practical men say, that it would not be very advantageous for banks in the country to have houses on which to draw in London, and he therefore could not help expressing some little doubt on the point. But a proper time would come to discuss it. He did not see any necessity for the discussion at present, as the clause as it stood did not prevent that which the amendment proposed to establish. With respect to the amendment proposed by the hon. Member (Mr. Cayley), he did not think that it was of any importance. He had no objection to it as far as he was concerned; but there were other hon. Members who entertained strong objections to it. He would leave it to some hon. Member connected with the Bank to state the ground of their objections to the Amendment. For himself, he was indifferent whether the distance was to be sixty-five miles or twenty-five miles.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

opposed the amendment. The Bank of England having agreed to deduct 120,000l. a-year from the amount paid to it for the management of the public debt, the clause confining the establishment of banks of issue to a circuit of sixty-five miles beyond London was considered by the Bank as a fair return, and equivalent for that concession; and as it made a part of the bargain between the Government and the Bank, it should, on the principles of fairness and good faith, be adhered to.

Mr. Cayley

said, they might as well have made the limitation 165 miles as 65. It should be recollected that the public and Parliament were parties to the bargain, as well as the Government and the Bank.

The House divided on the Amendment—Ayes 51; Noes 113: Majority 62.

List of the AYES.
ENGLAND. Philips, M.
Aglionby, H. A. Potter, R.
Barnard, E. G. Romilly, J.
Benett, J. Scholefield, J.
Bish, Thos. Scrope, P.
Blackstone, W. S. Strutt, E.
Blamire, W. Tancred, H. W.
Brocklehurst, J. Torrens, Colonel
Butler, C. Tyrell, C.
Burrell, Sir C. Wall, C. B.
Clay, W. Warburton, H.
Cobbett, W. Whitmore, W. W.
Dykes, F. L. B. Williams, W. C.
Ewart, W. Williams, Col.
Fryer, R. Willoughby, Sir H.
Gisborne, T. Wilks, J.
Godson, R. Young, G. L.
Goring, H. D. SCOTLAND.
Hall, B. M'Leod, R.
Hardy, J. Parnell, Sir H.
Hume, J. Wallace, R.
James, W. Blake, M. S.
Lennard, T. B. Hayes, Sir E.
Lester, B. L. O'Reilly, W.
Marshall, J. Vigors, N. A.
Martin, J. TELLER.
Palmer, C. F. Cayley, J.
Paired off
Guest, J. L. Byng, Sir J.

On Clause 4, which continues the Charter to the Bank for a period of ten years, being read.

Colonel Torrens

rose to propose the Amendment of which he had given notice, "that upon one year's notice given, within six months after the expiration of three years from the first of August, 1834, the exclusive privileges of banking granted by this Act shall cease and determine." He would not, he said, trouble the Committee with a repetition of the arguments which he had already adduced against this portion of the Bill. After the decided difference of opinion which prevailed in the House with respect to this measure, it was too much to enact that the exclusive privileges which it conferred should continue for so long a period as ten years. He would, as he understood that would be technically the best way to accomplish his object, move to insert the words "three years" instead of "ten years" in the clause.

Mr. Hume

, in seconding the Amendment, said that it was only justice to the country, if the Bill should prove disadvantageous to it, to give it the opportunity of remedying the evil before the expiration of so long a period as ten years.

Mr. John Smith

said, that it would be a most inconvenient and injurious course to subject a question of this importance to the liability of being, at short intervals, repeatedly opened and discussed. The public interest required that something permanent should be done on the subject. He must say that, owing to the confused manner in which this discussion had been carried on for the last half hour or so, many hon. Members who, like himself, had important interests at stake in connexion with it, were perfectly ignorant of what they were just now doing. This he would say, that nothing could be more inexpedient or dangerous than to re-open a subject of this kind in the course of two or three years.

Lord Althorp

agreed with his hon. friend, that the greatest possible inconvenience would arise from re-opening this question in so short a period as three years. It was most desirable that the House should settle it as well as it could now, without renewing the discussion upon it for at least ten years to come.

Mr. Hume

observed, that the present arrangement of the charter might prove, as indeed it was expected by many to prove, disadvantageous to the country. If that should be the case, it would be most important that the country should have the power of remedying the evil. At all events, the period should be limitted to five years.

Colonel Torrens

would alter his amendment to that effect, and propose, that the charter should be limited to five years. After the experience which the country had had of the disastrous effects produced by the Bank's mismanagement of the currency, it was too much to continue its exclusive charter for ten years.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

opposed the Amendment. It was said, that there had not been sufficient inquiry; surely the voluminous mass of evidence that had been taken on the subject last Session was a sufficient answer to that observation.

Mr. Warburton

said, that in consequence of a subsequent clause in the Bill, which proposed to make notes of the Bank of England a legal tender, the effect of which could not be calculated or foretold even by those who proposed it, he would vote for the Amendment.

Mr. Gisborne

was in favour of the Amendment, which, if carried, would virtually continue the charter for six years and a-half.

Mr. Grote

thought, that at all events seven years would be a sufficiently long period.

The Committee divided on the Amendment—Ayes 47; Noes 122; Majority 75.

List of the AYES.
ENGLAND. Palmer, C. F.
Aglionby, H. A. Phillips, Mark
Bish, Thomas Potter, Richard
Blackstone, W. S. Scrope, Poulett
Blamire, W. Strutt, E.
Boiling, W. Tancred, H. W.
Brotherton, J. Townshend, Lord C.
Brudenell, Lord Tyrrell, C.
Cayley, E. S. Warburton, H. S.
Clay, W. Williams, W. C.
Cobbett, W. Willoughby, Sir H.
Dykes, F. L. B. Wilks, J.
Egerton, W. Young, G. F.
Faithfull, George Parnell, Sir H.
Fielden, John Sinclair, G.
Gisborne, T. Wallace, R.
Gladstone, W. IRELAND.
Godson, Richard Baldwin, Dr.
Hall, Benjamin Blake, M. J.
Hardy, John Evans, G.
Hume, Joseph O'Reilly, W.
James, William Ruthven, E.
Lennard, T. B. Vigors, N. C.
Martin, J. TELLER.
Palmer, R. Torrens, Colonel
P aired-off.
Guest, J. J. Byng, Sir J.

Clause agreed to.

The Chairman read the next Clause, making Bank of England notes a legal tender.

Mr. Herries

said, as the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had, on a former occasion, stated, that this clause formed no part of the bargain with the Bank, it had better be struck out and made the substance of a separate Bill. It was quite out of place in the present measure, if it formed no part of the bargain with the Bank, though it might hereafter be contended that it was part of that bargain, in consequence of being in the Bill, and thereby Parliament would be prevented from repealing it.

Lord Althorp

admitted, that in his opinion, the clause formed no part of the bargan with the Bank.

Mr. Baring

expressed a doubt as to whether it would be in the power of Parliament to repeal the clause, if it were allowed to stand in the Bill.

The Solicitor General

said, that as his noble friend declared that the clause was no part of the contract with the Bank, there could be no doubt it would be competent for Parliament at any time to repeal it. The question was one to which the Bank were not parties, but only the Parliament and the public.

Mr. Herries

expressed his surprise at the opinion pronounced by the hon. and learned Member. The title of the Bill was, A Bill for giving to the Corporation of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England certain privileges for a limited period, under certain conditions." The establishment of the legal tender was unquestionably a privilege conferred upon the Bank; and the question was, whether, if the Bill passed with this clause in it, it would not be considered a part of the bargain with the Bank, whatever might be the noble Lord's opinion upon the subject? He maintained that it would, and that Parliament would not have power to repeal it without altering the whole tenor of the Bill, unless they thought proper to commit a breach of faith.

The Solicitor General

repeated, that as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had declared the legal tender was no part of the bargain with the Bank, Parliament might at any time repeal the clause referring to it without impairing the operation of the rest of the Bill.

Mr. Matthias Attwood

maintained, that the clause did form part of the bargain with the Bank, and was astonished that any one could doubt the fact. In one of the letters of the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the Bank directors, which formed the basis of the Bill, he made use of these words:—" The discouragement given to joint-stock banks of issue, as compared with joint-stock banks not of issue, and the making Bank of England notes a legal tender, must increase the circulation of the Bank of England very considerably, while the relieving bills drawn for short dates from the usury laws will facilitate the operations of the Bank in times of difficulty to a very great degree. The Government, therefore, think that they have a right to demand for the public a liberal compensation." It was quite clear from this, that the establishment of the legal tender was part of the bargain, that it was considered advantageous to the Bank, and that the Bank were to pay for it. The hon. and learned Solicitor General was not correct in stating that this was a question to which only Parliament and the public were parties; there was a third party—the Bank, who paid a valuable consideration for the clause.

Mr. Herries

said, that the hon. and learned Solicitor-General now spoke of this as not being part of the compact with the Bank—the noble Lord had intimated the same thing—the House, therefore, knew that it was not part of the bargain; but all the world did not know it; they thought perhaps the reverse; and what he required was, to set the question clear from all doubts whatever. Now, the best mode of doing that, was to put the clause out of the Bill, and leave the matter of the legal tender to be the subject of a separate legislation. It was true, that both the Solicitor General and the noble Lord said, that the question of the legal tender was not a part of the bargain with the Bank; but where was the record of that declaration? It should appear in some authenticated form, that such was the fact. The best way of making that appear was, to leave the matter out of the present Bill, which was founded on the bargain with the Bank, and introduce it in another Bill, which was avowedly unconnected with that bargain.

Mr. Hardy

believed, that the Bank would consider it a gross breach of their privileges, accorded them by a bargain with the Government, if this clause should be repealed within the ten years. If the matter was not necessarily connected with the bargain, why introduce it?

The Solicitor General

said, that if the hon. Member would look to former Acts of a similar kind, he would find isolated subjects introduced into them. Such was the case with the Act 5 and 6 of William and Mary, and 8 and 9 William 3rd.

Mr. Hume

remarked, that the noble Lord had treated the clause as advantageous to the Bank. If the Bank considered it to be so, would it give the clause up? He should like to have the opinion of a Bank Director upon this subject. There were two Bank Directors in the House, He should like to know whether they thought this matter of the legal tender a part of the bargain with the Bank?

Lord Althorp

thought there was some mistake as to the effect of the correspondence between the Government and the Bank. His propositions were these:—

  1. 1. That the Charter be renewed for ten years from 1st of August, 1834.
  2. 2. That no bank be established within twenty-five miles of London, exceeding the number of six partners, but that banks established at a greater distance, whatever may be the number of their partners, may issue notes and bills payable in London.
  3. 3. That the Bank of England notes be a legal lender, except by the Bank of England in London and at the branches.
  4. 4. That bills and promissory notes, not having more than three months to run before due, be exempted from the usury-laws.
  5. 5. That the Bank accounts (similar to the consecutive account from 1778) be published weekly in the Gazette, in the state in which they were three months previous to the day of publication.
The Court of Directors in reference to them said— I. The Court are desirous of confining their observations to those points which appear to bear directly upon the future action and interest of the Bank. They trust, therefore, that, in any remarks which they may find themselves called upon to offer, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give them credit for that intention, and believe, that they have no desire unnecessarily to obtrude their opinions, with respect to any general principle which his Majesty's Ministers may think proper to pro pose for a due regulation of the currency of the country. II. The Court propose to limit themselves to two general heads,— 1st. Such of the propositions as immediately affect the public utility of the Bank. 2nd. The compensation proposed to be required from the Bank for a renewal of the exclusive privileges. The first embraces five points:—
  1. 1. The period for which a renewal is to be granted.
  2. 2. The distance surrounding the metropolis, within which the exclusive privileges are to be preserved.
  3. 3. The Directors annually retiring to be immediately re-eligible.
  4. 4. The amount of capital now held by Government which it is proposed to reduce.
  5. 5 A weekly publication in the Gazette of the accounts of the Bank.
The Bank, therefore, did not refer to the legal tender clause; and the third article propounded by the Government to the Bank, that Bank-notes should be a legal tender, was not one of the points on which the Bank had made its stipulations, and therefore it was not to be considered as one of the parts of the bargain.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

said, that he did not think the Bank Directors attached much importance to this clause. He did not know that, as a body, they had an opinion one way or the other upon it. At the same time, he admitted it to be true, that in the course of the correspondence with the Bank, the noble Lord had said, that the making Bank notes a legal tender was one of the advantages for which the Bank ought to make a considerable reduction in favour of the Government in some other way. On that question of advantage, there was possibly a considerable difference of opinion among the Bank Directors. The matter was viewed rather as a question of State policy than otherwise, and one which they thought the Parliament ought to dispose of as it pleased. In what he was about to say, he begged to have it understood that he was speaking his own sentiments, and not those of the Court of Directors, who might or might not agree with his opinions, and who ought not in the least degree to be bound by them. For himself, then, he said, speaking as a Member of Parliament, and not as a Bank Director, that he should be sorry to see this clause for making notes a legal tender abrogated. Its effect, as far as any advantage to the Bank was concerned, had been modified by other clauses in the Bill; but he thought, as a matter of public advantage, that Bank notes should be a legal tender. Such a measure would offer the best security to public credit in times of difficulty, and of commercial panic. In such times, it was well known that provincial banks were in a state of discredit, and men proceeded to London to realize their securities, and convert them into gold. When that was done to a large extent, it must be highly inconvenient to the Bank, especially when the exchanges were at the same time against this country. By adopting this clause great advantage would be secured to the country, and it should, therefore, have his most cordial support.

Sir John Rae Reid

was understood to say, he thought the clause would be very beneficial to the public, but of no great, value to the Bank of England.

Mr. Thomas Attwood

hoped the Committee would substitute the date of the 1st of October, 1833," for the 1st of August, 1834, in the clause as that would enable them to get over the winter better. The hon. Member moved an Amendment to that effect.

Mr. Herries

thought that the date which Government proposed to insert in the clause furnished an additional reason for omitting it, because before it would come into operation another measure would have passed the House for regulating private banking.

Lord Althorp

said, he would shortly state the reasons which induced him to desire to have the clause inserted in the present Bill, rather than in that which was to be introduced next Session. The clause did not affect country bankers in any material degree, but it would operate as a security to the Bank of England, though not as a pecuniary advantage, and for these reasons he thought it should be comprised in the measure relating to the Bank rather than in that hereafter to be introduced relative to country banking.

Mr. Warburton

said, that the two Bank Directors who had addressed the Committee had given their opinions as to the general policy of the clause, but upon the precise point as to which the Committee most wanted information—namely, whether the directors considered it to stand on the same footing as the other clauses of the Bill—those hon. Directors had been perfectly silent. If it should turn out at the end of two years, as he believed it would, that that clause conferred great pecuniary advantage on the Bank, would they or would they not hold that it was part of the bargain? The object of the clause was to prevent a run upon the Bank for gold, and therefore they might keep a less quantity of bullion in their coffers than they were compelled to do at present, and thus they would derive great pecuniary advantage. If the clause was to be retained in the Bill, it would be necessary to introduce some words to explain that it did not form part of the bargain with the Bank.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

said, it was impossible for him to state what the opinion of the Bank Directors would be under the circumstances suggested by the hon. Member.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Poulett Scrope

proposed to insert the words "until Parliament shall otherwise provide," in order to make it quite clear that Parliament would be at liberty to repeal the clause whenever they thought proper.

Lord Althorp

said, he should feel it his duty to object to the Amendment, but after some further conversation, the noble Lord added, that he would not then insert the words, but consider the question further.

Sir Thomas Freemantle

thought, that the clause as it stood was not sufficiently explicit, and that by the issuing of five-guinea for 5l. notes, its whole effect might be neutralized. He therefore proposed to alter the clause by leaving out the words "above 5l." and inserting "all sums less than 10l."

Mr. Alderman Thompson

observed, that no five-guinea notes could be issued, unless under the liability of paying the same stamp duty as 10l. notes.

Mr. Baring

thought the Bill should be left as it was.

Mr. George Wood

said, that the tendency of the clause would be to diminish the gold in circulation. It would enable country bankers to get Bank-notes at a smaller cost than gold. He was opposed to the whole clause.

Mr. Barnard

thought the clause, as it stood, could not be evaded, unless by the Bank of England issuing five-guinea notes, which he hoped the Bank would not issue.

Mr. Wolryche Whitmore

said, that the facility the clause would give country bankers to get notes whenever they wanted them, though they could not get gold, would prevent them from keeping any gold, and would tend to drain the country of gold.

Mr. Philip Howard

was opposed to the whole clause, making the Bank of England notes a legal tender, which would not be of any real advantage in cases of political or commercial panic, and might tend to discredit the Bank of England. He contended, that the currency had, by the measure of 1819, been placed on a solid and safe basis. The temporary and partial suffering which that measure might have occasioned, made him the more anxious not to forego the advantages or forfeit the security it afforded. However advisable it might be on other subjects to enter upon a well-considered course of Reform and change; in what regarded the currency (a question of all others the most delicate) a Government could scarcely be too conservative, or look with too jealous an eye upon innovations. The burthen of proof should certainly lie with those who recommended this hazardous experiment—and he had heard nothing satisfactory to justify the measure.

Sir Thomas Freemantle altered his Amendment to the words "10l. and upwards," which Amendment was negatived.

The Committee divided on the Question, that the Clause be filled up with the words 5l. and upwards: Ayes 50; Noes 110;—Majority 60.

On the Question, that the Clause stand part of the Bill,

Mr. Herries

opposed the clause as a departure from all sound principles. If the State made any species of paper a legal tender, it was bound to guarantee that paper. But nothing of the kind was done by this clause.

Mr. Baring

supported the clause. He was surprised to hear the opinions of his right hon. friend. The Bank of England notes were not a legal tender at the Bank, there gold only was a legal tender.

Mr. Warburton

thought, that the clause altogether would interfere with the performance of contracts.

The Solicitor General

said, that the refusal to accept the Bank-note being a legal tender would merely place the party objecting in the same situation as if he had refused sovereigns. The debt would remain the same.

Mr. Hume

wished to know whether a special contract to be paid in gold would oblige the party to pay in gold, and not in notes?

The Solicitor General

merely repeated his former statement, that the party paying might tender the notes, but on the refusal of their acceptance the debt would still remain.

Mr. Forster moved the insertion of the following words:—"Provided always that every promissory note, payable to bearer on demand, which shall be issued by any banker, corporation, or co-partnership, for a less sum than 20l., shall be payable in coin at the place where issued, as is by law now directed."

Mr. Poulett Thomson

said, that the proviso of the hon. Member was, in effect, disposed of already by the last decision of the Committee. The proposition of the hon. Baronet was, to raise the amount to 10l., and the hon. Member wished to increase it to 20l. It was, therefore, unnecessary for him to discuss it.

Mr. Forster

observed, that the hon. Baronet's proposition was general—his Amendment was confined to country bankers.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Clay

objected to the clause. The noble Lord had assigned no reason for this alteration, nor shown the necessity of any change at all. The ostensible object was to prevent a drain upon the Bank, similar to that of 1825; but such a drain could never occur again. The only effect of the measure would be to prevent a drain produced by a distrust of the country bankers; but this was unnecessary, for as long as the Bank preserved its credit, that would be a sufficient protection to its notes without any law.

Lord Althorp

said, that if he could expect that this measure would produce a depreciation of the currency, he should have acted contrary to the principles he had professed by introducing it; but he was confident it would lead to no depreciation. He had given his reasons for the measure when he opened it to the House, and had stated, over and over again, that in case of a commercial panic, it would prevent a drain upon the Bank. If the country bankers knew that their customers might refuse to take Bank of England notes, it would be their duty to provide specie, even beyond what the necessity of the case required; and the Legislature was bound to give protection to the Bank of England.

Mr. Baring

approved of the principle of the clause. If any one supposed, that it was introduced with a view of promoting a depreciation of the currency, he never made a greater mistake; its effect would rather be to obviate such a depreciation. This part of the measure had had the approbation of nine out of ten of the London and country bankers, and of every London banker who had been examined before the Committee. The clause would have no effect except during a panic.

Mr. Matthias Attwood

said, that the effect of this clause would be to produce depreciation, though it might not be so intended: when the Bank Restriction Act was passed, the same horror of depreciation was professed.

The Committee then divided on the Question, that the Clause stand part of the Bill: Ayes 87; Noes 48—Majority 39.

List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Philips, Mark
Bewes, T. Potter, R.
Blackstone, W. S. Sandon, Lord
Bish, Thomas Shepherd, T.
Boiling, William Strutt, E.
Briggs, R. Tancred, H. W.
Brocklehurst, J. Thicknesse, R.
Brotherton, Joseph Walter, John
Egerton, W. T. Warbunon, Henry
Ewart, William Whitmore, W. W.
Faithfull, George Williams, W. C.
Fielden, John Wilks, John
Forster, C. J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Gladstone, W. E. Wood, G. W.
Gladstone, T. IRELAND.
Godson, R. Baldwin, Dr.
Grote, George Blake, M. J.
Halcombe, John Hayes, Sir E.
Hall, Benjamin Jephson, C. D. O.
Herries, Rt. Hn. J. C. O'Dwyer, A. C.
Howard, Philip O'Reilly, W.
Hughes, Hughes Ruthven, E. S.
Hume, Joseph Ruthven, E.
Lennard, T. B. Vigors, N. C.
Martin, John TELLER.
Nichol, John Clay, William
Paired off.
Guest, J. J. Byng, Sir J.

House resumed, Committee to sit again.