HC Deb 04 July 1844 vol 76 cc314-5
Mr. P. M. Stewart

had a question of great importance to the people of Scotland to put to the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government; it was in consequence of an intimation given by the right hon. Baronet, on the Bank Charter Bill, that Parliament having sanctioned that measure, the right hon. Baronet would feel himself at liberty to take into consideration the currency and system of Banking as it prevailed in Scotland and Ireland. That intimation had caused considerable excitement in Scotland. He had himself presented a Petition from a large meeting held in Renfrewshire, deprecating any change. The right hon. Baronet then, in reserving to himself the right of taking into consideration the Banking and Currency in Scotland and Ireland, it was to be hoped would not proceed so far as to form a resolution, nor take a decided step, without having a previous conference with those parties who were immediately concerned. He knew that the statement of the right hon. Baronet, that he would take no immediate step—that he would not do anything without previous consultation with those the most conversant with these matters, would do much to quiet the minds of the people of Scotland.

Sir R. Peel

replied, that the hon. Gentleman had correctly apprehended what he had stated on a former occasion. He had stated that he had no wish to legislate on the Scotch or Irish Banks, because it had been impossible for him to communicate with those conversant with these matters. He had an advantage with respect to the Bank of England which he had not with the Banks of Scotland and Ireland; but then it was to be observed that they had already touched the currency both in Scotland and Ireland, or they had prevented the establishment of new banks of issue. He apprehended that those whom the hon. Gentleman represented were not so very sensitive on that point. It was not the point on which alarm existed, namely, that there should be no new Banks to compete with those already established. But the hon. Gentleman might be assured, that in forming an opinion, he should not so commit himself in any way as to prevent his communication with the parties most conversant with these matters. He well knew how sensitive the Scotch were on this particular point; how well contented they were with their paper circulation. In making a provision to cover that circulation with gold, they might be assured he would take no step without having good and sound advice.

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