§ Sir Henry Parnell
presented a petition from the Joint-Stock Banking Company, established at Manchester. The petitioners stated, that if Lord Althorp's plan was passed into a law, their interest would be affected with out inquiry, although it could not be pretended that they had misconducted themselves in the slightest degree. He was of opinion, that the experiment made by Lord Liverpool, in 1826 had succeeded, and that if they wanted a secure system of country banking, they had only to let alone that which had arisen in consequence of the laws then passed, under the sanction of which these petitioners had embarked a large capital. The petitioners also expressed their anxiety and alarm at the effects which would result from making Bank of England 1301 notes a legal tender; and they also stated it as their opinion, that the monopoly of the Bank of England had been the cause of all the great fluctuations that had taken place of late years in the currency, as well as the real cause of the failure in the country hanks. Now this Was a strong assertion against the Bank of England; but he did not hesitate to say, that if the Committee of last Session had sat a sufficiently long period to have allowed evidence to be adduced, to show the effect of the monopoly, and the conduct of the Bank of England, or, if that Committee had been renewed this Session, facts would, he had no doubt, have been brought forward, which would have gone far to establish the truth of the assertion of the petitioners; for he did believe, that no great convulsion of trade, or fluctuation of the Currency, had taken place in the course of the last forty years, in which the conduct of the Bank of England had not been a main ingredient. The petitioners stated, that the only means by which, in their opinion, a recurrence to those national evils could be avoided, was gradually to introduce a free system of banking. They also stated, that, besides making the country banks subservient to the Bank of England, the effect of making Bank of England paper a legal tender would be, to prevent the remaining banks from accommodating the industrious classes, as they had hitherto done, and that the power of accommodation would lie confided entirely to the Bank of England and its branches. The petitioners, at the same time, expressed their readiness, if Parliament should see tit, to call for them to publish their accounts, and pay up a larger portion of their capital, and do anything else which might render the system under which they were established still more effective. He believed the allegations in the petition were well founded, and deserved the serious consideration of the House.
§ The petition having been read,
§ Lord Althorp
said, he would only then state, in answer to the right hon. Gentleman's complaint, that the Committee of last Session had sat during the whole of the Session; that his right hon. friend was a member of it, and had an ample opportunity then of adverting and directing evidence to the facts now alleged in this petition. If, during the present Session, the House had thought proper, that Committee might have been re-appointed; but he did not think there was any occasion for it, and no proposition to that effect had been made by any hon. Member. Besides, some of the 1302 Directors of that very Bank, had been summoned us witnesses, and given in their evidence. When the discussion came on, he should state fully the ground which led him to propose the measure to which the petition referred.