HC Deb 06 February 1845 vol 77 cc165-6
Mr. Macaulay

I wish to ask the question of which I gave notice yesterday Under ordinary circumstances I should not think of proposing it, because the inconvenience is unquestionable of calling on a Minister of the Crown for details of future measures alluded to in the Speech from the Throne. But, we are informed that words have fallen in another place, from a noble Colleague of the right hon. Baronet, which, though differently reported, and, I fear, differently construed, are yet generally understood to imply that it is not the intention of Her Majesty's Government, in the course of this Session, to propose to the House any measure affecting the 1l. note currency of Scotland. The right hon. Baronet knows how deeply this matter excites the public mind of that country. If, therefore, the construction I have mentioned be a just construction of what has been said, and if the right hon. Baronet feel it to be compatible with his sense of public duty to give to the House any information on the subject, I trust, particularly after what has been elsewhere stated, that he will not object to lay that information now before us.

Sir R. Peel

I certainly do not feel that it would be consistent with my sense of public duty to enter at the present time into any explanation as to the character of the measure, or to any part of it, which I shall, on as early a day as the performance of other public duties will permit, bring under the consideration of the House. The House will recollect that at the opening of the last Session, the attention of Parliament was called in the Speech from the Throne to the laws affecting the Bank of England and other banking establishments in this country. As soon as the Government announced its intention of bringing in legislative measures on these important questions, I was constantly pressed by Gentlemen representing various interests to give some information of the general outline of the measure which I was about to introduce. I steadily refused a compliance with those earnest solicitations, and stated then, as hon. Members will recollect, in my place, that I would give a full and fair explanation of the measure in all its details when I brought it under the consideration of the House, but not before. Now, I feel that I am bound to take a similar course with respect to any measure about to be introduced affecting the Banks of Scotland and Ireland. I shall reserve to myself the opportunity of stating the nature of those measures until the time arrives for bringing them fully before the House. With respect to the words which are represented as having fallen from a noble Colleague of mine in another House, I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has put an erroneous construction on them. The case was, I believe, thus:—It was stated in the House of Lords that reference was made in Her Majesty's Speech to the currency of Scotland and Ireland, and what my noble Friend said he intended to say on that point was,—that the same reference which had last year been made in the Speech from the Throne to the banking establishments of England, had this year been made by those of Scotland and Ireland. Under these circumstances I trust the right hon. Gentleman will excuse me if I decline entering into any explanation of the intended measures until I ask leave of the House to introduce them; and I also hope that no inference will be drawn as to the intentions of Government from the explanations I have now given.

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