HC Deb 21 June 1842 vol 64 cc345-6
Mr. Forster,

in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was desirous of putting a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Master of the Mint, in reference to the subject which had just been adverted to. He wished to know whether any measures have been taken, or whether any steps are in progress, for giving the public an increased supply of silver coin. He had been informed this morning, on very excellent authority, that the Bank coffers were nearly drained of silver coin, and that the greatest public inconvenience was to be apprehended from this scarcity. He certainly thought that before the late proclamation was put forth, adequate provision ought to have been made for the increased demand which was sure to ensue upon such a measure. He therefore trusted that measures were in progress for remedying the evil.

Mr. Gladstone

had also heard of the inconvenience which had arisen in reference to the silver currency, but he had not heard that it was likely to lead to any deficiency of the silver coinage itself. The demand for silver coin might be owing to the circumstance that the half-sovereigns having suffered much more in point of weight than the sovereigns, had got into much greater discredit, so that very many people required their change all in silver instead of in half-sovereigns. Means, however, were being taken to remedy the inconvenience.

Dr. Bowring

said, that the answer of the right hon. Gentleman was not quite satisfactory. The inquiry of his hon. Friend was, whether there was any intention of making an additional issue of silver coin? He could bear evidence to its great scarcity. He had been informed that very morning by his own bankers that there was a very great deficiency of silver.

Mr. Gladstone

said, that if it should be ascertained that the inconvenience was really owing to a deficiency in the silver coinage, means would be taken to remedy it; but he doubted if there were any actual scarcity of silver; for only about four weeks since, complaints had been made by the bankers of a surplus of silver coin.

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