would move the next Order of the Day. The number of hon. Members forming her Majesty's Opposition was now nearly as great as the regular supporters of the Administration. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had assembled on purpose to support the Government on this bill, a very decided symptom of the character of the course which the Government were pursuing, a course highly favourable to the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and most offensive to the people of Ireland. He was most averse to adopt anything like what might be considered an unfair and factious line of opposition, but knowing well the insuperable objections to this bill, he repeated, that if he should die on the floor of the House, this bill should not pass if they sat there till Christmas. He had pledged himself to his constituents—he had pledged himself to the country—not to allow any motion to be made without a discussion and a division. No man would be warranted in taking this course, if he was not right in the judgment of every rational person. If the bill had been brought in at the. beginning of the Session, and he 391 had adopted such a course, the good sense of the House would have borne down all opposition. But he had the good sense of the House with him on this occasion. There was not a Gentleman present who would get up, and declare solemnly his deliberate opinion that this bill had not been brought in at too late a period of the Session. Was there a man who would say the Irish people should not have had time to deliberate on all parts of the bill, and see how their interests were affected—that the great commercial towns should not be heard, if necessary, at the bar, against the provisions of the bill? The Irish Members had been here from February to July, and when many of them were obliged to leave for the purpose of attending the assizes, and could not come back again, this measure was brought forward. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Wicklow, had talked of the "withering" effect of this monopoly on his constituents. Would the House continue to enforce that "withering" process? Ought not the House to give time to that hon. Member to have a county meeting of his constituents, and obtain the opinions of the thousands who were "withering" under the baneful influence of this monopoly. He should not have taken the present course, if any reason had been given for not bringing the measure forward earlier, or in support of the merits of it. This was a subject which ought to have been discussed before—a subject which his constituents were in a ferment upon, because they were afraid of the Bank of Ireland, and they knew well what would be the result on their commercial dealings if they took part against the Bank of Ireland. If the Government would grant a call of the House, he would then agree to discuss the measure, and submit to be beaten as he did on every other occasion. The hon. and learned Member, in conclusion moved as an amendment, the Order of the Day for the second reading of the "Poddle River Bill."
§ Mr. Dillon Browne
seconded the amendment. This measure had been resisted by every independent Irish representative, by men of the highest condition in the country, and there had not been a single independent vote from Ireland in support of the monopoly. The Government were now hurrying this measure through the House, although they knew they owed their existence to the support 392 they received from the Irish representatives. It was not treating the Irish Members as they deserved to endeavour to smuggle the bill through the House in this manner. How could Gentlemen who had resisted a civil coercion bill for Ireland, support a mercantile coercion bill? How could they conceal from themselves that in supporting this Bill, they were favouring monopoly? It could not be denied, that the Bank of Ireland was one of the very worst monopolies that ever existed— that it presented the most exclusive features of monopolies. Out of 300 servants of the Bank, only three were Roman Catholics. It was unintelligible, how Gentlemen, who had supported Catholic Emancipation, and who advocated Reform principles should favour so corrupt and exclusive a monopoly. In the persevering with this measure, the Irish people would have one of the strongest arguments for a Repeal of the Union. They were refused railroads because, forsooth, they were poor; curious argument that for refusing people money. And now they were refused a free and unembarrassed system of banking, by which the people of Scotland had been enabled to achieve such enterprises as railroads. Irish Members would neglect their duty most grossly were they not to give every opposition in their power to this bill. In consequence of bad Government the means of communication had long been so bad in Ireland, that, in parts, the news had not reached them that there was such a bill before Parliament. Was it fair and honest that a bill like this should be carried on, not by open and unprejudiced support, but by the aid of the officialists? The business of the House had for some time been carried on by Members, three fourths composed of Government dependents. It was surprising that the Government, instead of propitiating the independent Members, were anxious to gain the support of Gentlemen opposite. This appeared to indicate that the Ministry were only Whigs in profession, and Tories in reality.
§ Mr. Gisborne
said, there was a clause in the bill, if ever they should arrive at it, which proposed to continue the monopoly of exclusive issue to the Bank of Ireland, for a circle of sixty-five miles round Dublin. When that clause came to be discussed, it might appear that a majority of Members were opposed to that clause, and, 393 if so, it was likely that the great ground of difference might be adjusted. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer would make a fair proposal on the subject, he thought the question might be brought to a satisfactory compromise. If something of that kind were not done, he could see no plan of coming to a settlement. A call of the House would not be attended with a satisfactory result, for the Members were now scattered over the world, and many of them would never hear of it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
would not have taken any part in this preliminary discussion if it had not been for the direct question which had been put to him by the hon. Member for Carlow. That question was, whether he should feel disposed to enter upon a fair discussion of the circle of sixty-five miles. For answer, he needed only to remind the House of what he had said to a deputation of Irish Members, that he was perfectly ready to consider the question of boundary; but that he wished to know first of all whether it was intended to involve the question of issue. The answer he received was, that no alteration of the circle would be satisfactory, unless it was accompanied by a concession on the question of issue. He did not think, under all the circumstances, even if he were to accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member, that it would lead to a settlement, if he were to agree, for instance, to compromise, which would apply to Newry and other large towns, and still exclude Drogheda. If he thought otherwise, and could see that an arrangement could be effected by the suggestion of the hon. Member for Carlow, it would be far more agreeable for the Government to adopt it. He would now say a few words in answer to charges that had been made against the Government on this question. First of all, they had been accused of attempting to force this bill by means of an official majority. He had, in consequence, analysed the divisions, and found that, after abstracting the official Members, the sense of the House was in favour of the bill. The tone was now altered, and they were taunted with having the support of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He knew of no reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite should not support this measure, if they believed, as he did, that it was founded on correct principles. He did not think that a call of the House would now lead to a full attendance, and even if 300 Mem- 394 bers should attend, it would still be in the power of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to say, that such a number did not sufficiently test the sense of the House. For his own part, he was desirous that there should be a full attendance, because with a full House, he believed, that the bill would be perfectly safe. He trusted they would now be allowed to go into committee, although he had no expectation of gaining anything by the proposal of the hon. Member for Carlow. Were he to adopt that suggestion, he should be told that he had done so in order to conciliate the hon. Members for Carlow and Newry, and that he had done grievous wrong to the hon. Member for Drogheda.
§ Mr. Easthope
thought it would be a most expedient and wise determination, if the right hon. Gentleman were to limit the duration of the bill to a period of two years instead of four years, as was proposed at present. As the whole question must be fully discussed and investigated in two years, and that such discussion and investigation would occupy two Sessions, would it not greatly aid the permanent and satisfactory settlement of the question if the bill were limited to that period? Within that time ample opportunity would be given for examining the subject in all its bearings. He knew of no good reason for putting off the consideration of a question, under the weight of which the country was now groaning. What was the chief cause of the distress under which the country was suffering, but the disarrangement which had taken place in all our monetary principles. They should adopt that course which would lead to a full investigation of the subject at the earliest possible period. There were few reflecting men in the whole kingdom who did not consider that the greatest danger affecting the public interests was involved in the question of the issue of paper money. He thought that the House should limit this bill to a duration of two years, and begin their inquiries at the earliest possible period next Session. He trusted the sense of the House would go along with him in the propriety of limiting the lime of the continuance of the Charter of the Bank of Ireland to a shorter period than the expiration of the Charter of the Bank of England, in order to force an inquiry into the whole matter early next Session, which could not fail of being attended with great public advantage. It would. 395 obviously lead to a more general knowledge and agreement respecting sound principles than now existed before the time arrived for settling the future question of the Bank of England Charter.
§ Mr. Hutton
had hitherto supported the bill, as he was opposed to allowing Joint-stock Banks the power of issuing small notes. But as he had no hopes now of getting his views discussed, he must oppose the motion for going into committee on the bill.
hoped the House would adjourn. It was impossible to do justice to the subject at that hour. Until the year 1823 or 1824, it was proper to observe that all Ireland was subject to the bank monopoly, when the sixty-five mile line was struck as a compromise. He did not think that shortening the duration of the bill—that limiting the time—would answer any good purpose. It was a mere mockery to think of effecting a compromise by merely shortening the time. He understood that they had something in the shape of an offer of compromise from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if they would consent to sacrifice Drogheda. ['No, no !'] What then did the right hon. Gentleman mean? He heard him say he could not include Drogheda; and it should be known that the Government were supporting the Bank monopoly against the people of Drogheda.
§ Sir R. Inglis
had been accustomed, from the force of early education and habits, always to support the Government of the Crown for the time being, and it gave him great pain when he found himself obliged to act differently. He had frequently supported her Majesty's Government during the present Session, but it would be impossible to carry on the public business if hon. Gentlemen should continue the course of opposition which they had commenced with regard to this measure. One day they had a speech hot, the next day it was served cold, the day following it was hashed. They had the same arguments, not merely day after day, but in the morning sittings and evening sittings, in committee and in the House, in every variety of form. He thought the number of Members present quite sufficient to discharge the duties which they were called upon to do, and he trusted the House would not be forced to a division again, The Ministry had com- 396 mitted themselves to this question, and he hoped they would not shrink from their duty.
§ Mr. Gisborne
said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown a disposition to meet the opposition in point of time, but that was not satisfactory to the hon. and learned Gentleman. Then there was the question of distance, on which he thought the right hon. Gentleman was not inaccessible to compromise. The whole point, then, that remained, was as to the town of Drogheda; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not object to its having a free banking, but free issue. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the one was completely involved in the other.
§ Sir W. Somerville
The renewal of the charter for four years would be quite sufficient to destroy the prosperity of Drogheda. The Branch of the Bank of Ireland there was quite inadequate to supply the demands of the merchants, and the consequence was, that they were obliged to apply to other places for their discounts— to Liverpool, and even Scotland.
§ Mr. Kemble
said, if there was any probability of a compromise, the House had better adjourn till four o'clock, and not divide at all.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, two questions had been put to him—one as to circle, and the other as to time. Now, as to the extent of the circle, he felt that he could not maintain his exclusive principle of metropolitan issue if a competing bank was allowed in Drogheda. He was then charged with an intention to do Drogheda some particular injury; whereas, in fact, he refused to make any alteration as to Drogheda, lest it should be imagined that there had been a desire to do the town a particular injury. With respect to time, he had before stated, that he wished to make the arrangement with the Bank of Ireland contemporaneous with the arrangement with the Bank of England, that is, four years certain, subject to any further prolongation up to ten years more, unless Parliament interfered to prevent it. He had stated also, that it had been admitted by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, that, previous to the year 1844, it was necessary that the whole banking question should be maturely considered; and that it was necessary that this consideration should be given two Sessions at least before that period, He 397 therefore, thought it was a fair question for consideration, whether the absolute renewal might not be made for two years, and that the period should be employed in investigation. He was so confident as to the correctness of this principle, that he would abide by any decision that men of literary and scientific acquirements might come to. Still he would not surrender the proposition he had made without the consent of the Bank of Ireland.
§ Mr. Callaghan
had expected that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have been able to convince him that he might support the measure; but in that expectation he had been disappointed. The right hon. Gentleman had utterly failed to show any reason why the bill should have been forced on at this period of the Session. If the bill had any principle, it was the principle of exclusiveness, which ought not to be supported by a liberal Government.
§ The House divided on the question, that the debate be adjourned to four o'clock.— Ayes 22; Noes 55: Majority 33.
|List of the Ayes.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Lushington, C.|
|Attwood, T.||Muskett,G. A.|
|Bridgeman, H.||O'Connell, D.|
|Browne, R. D.||Redington, T. N.|
|Bryan, G.||Salwey, Colonel|
|Callaghan, D.||Scholefield, J.|
|D'Israeli, B.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Duncombe, T.||Somerville, Sir W. M|
|Easthope, J.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Gisborne, T.||O'Connell, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adam, Admiral||Henniker, Lord|
|Baring, F. T.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Bernal,R.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Blackburne, I.||Hodgson, R.|
|Broadley, H.||Hoskins, K.|
|Chapman, A.||Howard, P. H.|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Cole, Lord||Kemble, H.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Labouchere, rt.hon.H.|
|Darby, G.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Dick, Q.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Divett, E.||Lushington, rt. hon. S.|
|Donkin, Sir R. S.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Dottin, A. R.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||O'Ferrall.R. M.|
|Freemantle, Sir T.||Palmerston, Viscount|
|Gordon, R.||Parnell, rt.hon.Sir H.|
|Harcourt, G. G,||Pigot, D. R.|
|Hawes, B.||Polhill, F.|
|Price, Sir R.||Steuart, R.|
|Pryme,G.||Surrey, Earl of|
|Rice, rt. hon. T. S.||Thomson, rt.hon.C. P|
|Rich, H.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Rolfe, Sir R. M.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Wood, C.|
|Smith, B.||Parker, J.|
|Smith, R. V.||Stanley, E. J.|
§ Question again put, that the Order of the Day be read.
§ The House again divided on the question of adjournment.—Ayes 20; Noes 56: Majority 36.*
§ * The names on the second division, with the exception of Mr.Gisborne and Mr. C. Lushington, absent from the Ayes, and Sir G. Grey-added to the Noes, were the same as those on the first.
§ Question again put.
§ Mr. O'Connell
moved that the debate be adjourned till to-morrow. He frankly admitted his object was delay. "Sufficient unto the day was the evil thereof," and he wished to finish the evil for to-day.
§ After some discussion,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
intimated his readiness to agree to the amendment, seeing that, if he did not, the time would be occupied by divisions till the period when it was originally meant to adjourn (viz. three o'clock).
§ Sir C. Douglas
said he should like to know how the Government intended to carry out this bill, if the hon. and learned Gentleman persisted in his opposition?
Sir F. Freemantle
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not shown the earnestness which he anticipated, when he saw him come down attended by such a number of his colleagues. He thought the course now taken almost tantamount to the abandonment of the bill.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
thought that no one could accuse him of want of earnestness in righting this measure. The ground which he had taken was perfectly satisfactory to himself; and as there was a measure of great importance to be brought forward to-night, he would not wish to mix it up with an impending debate, when it could not be discussed as it ought to be.
* The name on the second division, with the exception of Mr. Gisborne and Mr. C. Lushington, absent from the Ayes, and Sir G. Grey added to the Noes, were the same as those on the first399 Further consideration of the question adjourned to the following day.
§ Captain Pechell
thought the bill necessary and just, and said, he should give the Chancellor of the Exchequer his support through all its stages.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
defended the bill. The matter having been referred to a Select Committee, composed of Gentlemen on both sides of the House, Dot one of whom were by office connected with the Government; and that committee having unanimously assented to the provisions of the bill, he trusted the House would see no difficulty in agreeing to the second reading.
§ Sir R. Inglis
supported the second reading. He believed if a proposition had been made to pay a sum of 5,000l. per annum to the Dukes of Marlborongh for ever, it would meet with no opposition in that House. The three branches of the Legislature having vied with each other in conferring honours and favours on the Duke of Marlborough, and an error having crept into the bill by which the amount of income was diminished, when the understanding was, that it should be free from all deduction, he hoped no opposition would be given to the bill.
considered the measure to be called for, and he hoped, therefore, that it would meet with the sanction of the House.
§ Bill read a second time.