§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. M'KENNA,
in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, it was intended to amend the Act 9 Geo. IV. c. 81, and to authorize banks of issue in Ireland to make their notes payable only at the places in Ireland at which the account of gold and silver coin held by such bankers is taken by the Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes, whenever such notes are in excess of the average amount of circulation during the year preceding May 1, 1845, and are issuable only against gold or silver coin of an equal amount deposited at such places. In doing so he said—I deem it right 1854 at this stage to explain to the House that the Bill which I ask the House to read a second time is not identical in any respect with the measure introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Clare last Session, although if it passes into law it will effect much of the good which my hon. Friend proposed to effect by his Bill. As all measures proposing to deal with or affect the currency laws in any portion of the United Kingdom are naturally and properly regarded with a very jealous eye, it is right that I should at the outset inform the House that this Bill is in perfect harmony with the principles which are the basis of our present currency laws. In fact, I only seek for a modification of the technical portions of the existing laws, or if I may be allowed to use the figure, I only seek to adjust and simplify the machinery. But, Sir, it may be asked if the scope of this Bill be so simple, why should the House deal with it as a separate and distinct piece of legislation? and why should we not allow mere technical obstructions which have existed so long to continue somewhat longer, until the amendment is carried out as a portion of a general adjustment? Sir, I anticipate these objections at once by saying that the subject is important, and pressed for early rectification, and the Bill I ask the House to pass will not complicate, but, if passed, will materially simplify the existing law. As I have said that the subject is urgent, it is right that I should exemplify and prove the grievance I seek to redress. Another reason, however, which strongly presses on my mind the absolute necessity of altering and amending the law is the fact that it is habitually violated. The Bank of Ireland have offices open on special days in the week at Arklow, Bagnalstown, Cahir, Castlebar, and Monastereven, and at each of these places, on at least one day in the week, this law is openly violated. The penalties which the Bank of Ireland incur by doing business at these places, and issuing their notes there, none of them being payable at any of these places, is of an amount I am afraid to compute. Now I want to alter the law, and submit 9 Geo. IV. to a Committee of this House, which can very easily provide to relax the law so as to legalize the transactions of the Bank of Ireland at these places. If this be not done, then I say let the law be enforced; but, at any rate, let not this House sanction the principle that a law is to remain on 1855 the statute books to be a public obstacle to business to all who are prepared to obey the law, and an open scandal, because it is habitually violated with impunity. I believe if the law respecting bank notes were altered according to the principle of this Bill, the Irish community would enjoy the benefit of banking facilities for one or two days in the week in about 150 towns now wholly without such accommodation. I will not weary the House with a list of the towns; but in the letter A of the post towns alone you will find such towns as Abbeyfeale, Adare, Ahascragh, Ardrahan, Arklow, Ashford, Askeaton, Athboy, Athenry, and Aughrim, in every one of which an office might be profitably open if for only one or two days in the week. I will not needlessly occupy time by going through forms of argument to establish principles which the House already recognises. I will save time by saying that I assume it is the desire of the House to afford to Irish industry and enterprize, as also to Irish capital, all the facilities for development and exercise in Ireland which the law can properly concede. I will not trespass upon the indulgence of the House, arguing that the House should so desire, but I assume that the desire exists, and on it I base my hopes that the facts I propose to adduce will be deemed sufficient to induce the House to sanction the present Bill. The fact which I will prove is, that under the present laws affecting the issue of bank notes in Ireland it is more profitable for the majority of Irish issuing bankers to engage their surplus capital out of Ireland than within it. For instance, it is the fact that for five of the six issuing banks in Ireland under the present laws it would be more profitable for them to employ their money in English or foreign securities at a rate of 5 per cent per annum, than to advance to Irish traders on equally good security at 6 per cent. I will explain how this is the case. By the 8 & 9 Vict. c. 37 (Sir Robert Peel's Irish Banking Act, which I do not propose in the least degree to disturb) the amount of notes which an issuing banker in Ireland can maintain in circulation (except notes issued against specie at depôts) is limited to the average amount of his circulation for the year preceding May 1, 1845. The banker, however, by another Act of Parliament, being subject to the payment of a circulation duty equal to 7s. per cent per annum on the total of his notes in circulation, actually pays a duty 1856 on the notes which he is obliged to equipoise pound for pound with gold or silver coin at depôts. This is not all, however, nor is it the grievance which this Bill proposes to deal with. By the Act of 9 Geo. IV. c. 81, which. I seek to amend, the Irish banker is compelled to make his notes payable at the place where issued. So it comes to pass, by the action of three Acts of Parliament, that the Irish banker who exceeds the amount of his certified circulation has not only to lodge an equivalent amount of specie at depôts, but has to pay a composition duty of 7s. per cent per annum on notes actually represented by gold or silver coin; and not only this, but as he is limited to four depôts, and as he must make his notes payable at the places where issued, whether depôts or not, he is in practice and by law compelled to keep more than 25s. in coin for every pound his circulation extends beyond the average of the year ending 1st May, 1845. Now, all who understand the habits of the Irish trading classes, high and low, are aware that save and except in times of panic they all use notes in preference to gold; but the banker in Ireland who has surplus capital to employ knows very well that the cost of maintaining a note circulation in excess of his average of 1845 renders it more profitable to him to employ his money elsewhere than in Ireland; hence it is that there are at least 200 towns in Ireland wholly without banking facilities, a privation which in Scotland could not occur to towns and districts of like capabilities. The present Bill is very simple, and confined to one object. It is to enable a banker, whenever he issues notes against coin at depôts, to issue his notes payable only at such depôts. It does not propose to make his notes a legal tender, or to oblige people to take them, if they do not like to do so, in payment of any claim on the banker. The question is not one chiefly in the interests of Irish bankers, and particularly it is not so in connection with the bank interests with which I am myself identified. It is a measure in the interests of Irish trade and manufacture. Wherever a well-managed bank is established an impetus is given to industry such as no other agency can supply. I am desirous that mere technical difficulties should be removed, and in the present instance I only seek to remove a restriction which is in no sense protective of the public, but which is injurious and 1857 anomalous. An hon. Member with whom I lately conversed on the subject of this Motion suggested that I should reduce to a formula the proposition with which I startled him—namely, that the security being equal, it was more profitable to an Irish issuing banker, having say £100,000, for example, available for investment, to advance the same at 5 per cent per annum in England, rather than to retain and employ the same money in his ordinary way of business in advances to Irish traders. That proposition I establish in this way—£100,000 advanced in England at 5 per cent per annum produces in one year £5,000. The Irish issuing banker, who, being in excess of his certified circulation, and who is consequently issuing his notes against gold at depôts, electing to employ £100,000 in Ireland, finds by experience that this money must be advanced at various places, and in the form of bank notes. Save, however, for purpose of convenience to his customers, it is in effect the same to the banker as if his advances were made at once in coin; for Sir Robert Peel's Act, which I do not seek to affect in any way whatever, renders it imperative on him to counterpoise pound for pound the whole amount of his excess circulation by the deposit of coin at one, two, three, or four depôts. In this condition of affairs the 9 Geo. IV. c. 81, which this Bill proposes to amend, operates most prejudicially, for that Act makes it imperative on the banker to make his notes payable wherever they are issued, and as this issue will rarely be at his depôts, he is in practice compelled to distribute some £20,000 coin to meet these notes where they are made payable. This will leave him only £80,000 to deposit at depôts, and hence he is only able to utilize at interest about four-fifths of the sum he has elected to retain for employment in Ireland. The return of interest on £80,000 at 6 per cent per annum will be only £4,800, against £5,000 earned by employment of the whole sum at 5 per cent in English or foreign securities. But this is not the sole deduction to which the Irish issuing banker has to submit, He has to pay 7s. per cent composition duty on the circulation of £80,000 in notes, although these notes are represented by an equivalent amount of coin at depôts. The deduction under this head from Irish profits is £280, so that an Irish issuing banker, under the circumstances I have shown, has practically a premium of £480 1858 in employing £100,000 at 5 per cent in England or abroad, over employing it as he best can on equally good security at 6 per cent in Ireland.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. M'Kenna.)
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, he believed that it was not desirable to assimilate the Irish system of banking to the Scotch, and that the effect of the measure would be to diminish public confidence in the Irish banks. This was a serious and important question, and ought not to be brought forward by a private Member in a thin House. He moved, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words" upon this day six months."—(Colonel French.)
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
said, the Bill did not propose to extend the present excess of issue over gold; it was simply intended to promote the convenience of the public, by affording increased banking facilities, and it certainly did not contravene the principle of the Acts of 1844 and 1845, otherwise he (Mr. Pollard-Urquhart) would not give it his support. He believed the effect of the Bill would be to afford largely-increased facilities to farmers, tradesmen, and others in the outlying towns of Ireland for making deposits which they could not make in the Post Office savings banks, and which there were at present no other banks to receive. He trusted that the House would give a favourable reception to the Bill.
said, if he thought the Bill would tend to increase the prosperity of trade and commerce in Ireland, he should be glad to give it his support, and he believed the Irish Members would admit that there was every disposition in the House, under the exceptional circumstances in which Ireland was at present placed, not to be bound too strictly by the rules of political economy, but to go as far as possible in introducing any changes that might be beneficial to the people of that country. But he doubted whether the hon. Member had made out his case in that respect. The hon. Member who had just spoken had stated that increased banking facilities would be a great advantage to Ireland; but the hon. Member for 1859 Youghal had said he did not wish to increase the number of issuing banks in Ireland.
§ MR. M'KENNA
said, he did not quite say that. He did not wish to express any opinion in contravention to the policy of Sir Robert Peel's Act; but he had no objection, if the House thought fit, to see the number of issuing banks multiplied.
understood the hon. Member to support the principle of Sir Robert Peel's Act limiting the number of issuing banks. There were six issuing, which at present had a monopoly in Ireland, and the proposal now was that that monopoly should be improved and made more valuable to the country. But the question was, was the House and the country generally satisfied with the present state of the private issues? If there were any idea that the private issues were not on a satisfactory footing, would it be wise on the part of the House to improve the position of the private bankers in Ireland, and make it more difficult to deal with them if at any time it should seem right to the House to adopt one general system of circulation for the United Kingdom? The present question might be considered from three points of view. There was first the question respecting the issuing banks; secondly, the question of how the measure would affect the public; and next, the question of how it would bear upon the currency generally. He confessed he was unable to understand the hon. Gentleman's argument that unless further privileges of issue were conceded Irish bankers would invest their money in England rather than in Ireland. How did the hon. Gentleman propose that the bankers should invest the money? Was it in the funds? The funds were in Ireland as well as in England. Was it in bills? There were bills in Ireland as well as in England. Was it in mortgages? There were mortgages in Ireland as well as in England. As to the issuing of notes, the law in Ireland was more assimilated to the law of England than it was to the law of Scotland. As to the interests of the Irish public, they had more security for the convertibility of the notes under the existing law than they would under that which the hon. Member proposed to substitute for it, because the fact that the notes were payable in the various branches of a bank obliged the banker to keep more gold than he would be obliged to do if they were payable only at certain depôts. 1860 It seemed to him that to do what was proposed would not be in accordance with the principle upon which Parliament had hitherto acted in carrying out the policy of Sir Robert Peel, which was not to encourage private issues, but to discourage them. Nor could he help thinking that the proposal of the hon. Member was to reverse the tendency of the legislation of the House with regard to currency generally. He trusted that the House would negative the second reading, because he felt confident that it was not for the convenience of the general public in Ireland, and because it ran counter to the general legislation which that House had followed with regard to currency. If they desired to develop still further the system of private issues, they should be quite consistent in voting for the Bill; but if, on the contrary, they thought the whole system was not on a satisfactory footing, then they ought not to do that which he could not help calling an improvement of the monopoly now enjoyed by a certain number of banks in Ireland.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
felt some difficulty in dissenting from the opinions expressed by so high an authority on monetary affairs as the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House. With all due deference to the right hon. Gentleman, he (Sir John Gray) ventured to express the opinion that this was not a Bill, as was incorrectly represented, to increase the banking monopoly of the existing banks of issue, but had as its object the removal of obstacles that prevented their being able to extend proper banking accommodation to the inhabitants of the smaller towns in Ireland and the districts around them. It was in fact not a banking question in that sense, but a commercial question—it was not an effort to prop up or to extend the credit or resources of banks, but to extend credit and the ordinary banking facilities to districts now denied these advantages because of the operations of a special Act. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman thought it right to enforce his peculiar views by stating that the Bill before the House was an attempt to disturb the Acts which regulate the present currency and to alter the present basis—the metallic basis which regulates the commercial currency of these kingdoms. The arrangements as to branch banks which prevail in Scotland are not at variance with the metallic basis, and all that is aimed at by the Bill of the 1861 Member for Youghal is to assimilate the laws which regulate branch banks in Ireland to those which regulate them in Scotland, and the operation of which has done so much for the development of the trade, the commerce, the manufactures, and the agriculture of Scotland. The hon. Member for Westmeath, who is conversant with the system in both countries, has given the House his experience of the benefits which extended banking facilities conferred on the people of Scotland. There every town and every village has its branch bank, and every trader and almost every farmer has his cheque book. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Roscommon (Colonel French) said the object was to obviate the necessity for having a pound in gold deposited in the bank cellars for every note of surplus circulation issued, and that this, if effected, would diminish the security given to the public for the conversion of the note. [Colonel FRENCH: Hear, hear!] This was altogether a mistake on the part of his right hon. Friend. If the Member for Youghal was clear on any one point it was on this—that the metallic basis of the circulation, the security in deposited gold, would still be pound for pound for the amount of the issue. For every surplus pound issued by the banks of issue as promissory notes, they are compelled by statute to have a pound in gold or silver in the bank till at one of their central depôts. That pound in specie, be it gold or be it silver, is the security to the public who accept the notes so issued. Does the right hon. Gentleman want more than a pound in specie for every pound note issued? ["No, no!"] Well, then, that pound security—that pound in gold—must, under this Bill, be still deposited in the bank till; but the law as it now stands requires that if a branch bank issue a note for one pound, that promissory note must be made payable at the place of issue, and not, as in Scotland, at one of the four depôts, thus in effect requiring that the Irish banks of issue should have one pound in gold in the central or provincial depôt and another at the branch bank from which it was issued to meet the demand for conversion should it arise. The Irish banks of issue did not fear such demand; but they know that many small towns which required banking accommodation on one or two market days in each week would not bear the expense of having a bank staff maintained 1862 for the other four or five days, and if notes were by statute made payable in the place of issue or of re-issue the bank must of necessity be open each day of the six and maintain the staff at a loss. Now, what was the result of the two systems? In Scotland, with a population of 3,000,000, there were more than 550 branch banks. In Ireland, with nearly 6,000,000 population, there were 191 branch banks. Scotland with great banking facilities grew rich, prosperous, contented—Ireland was the opposite of all this. Another great fallacy was dwelt on by a right hon. Member, and prevailed largely outside this House. It was said that the £15,000,000 of money belonging to the farming classes and small traders deposited in the Irish banks was inactive and dormant. This was a great fallacy. The money was not dormant—the banks would all become bankrupt if they kept their deposits idle. If one trader deposited money, say £500, in bank at one hour of the day, another trader, who got his Bill discounted and placed to his credit in the morning, drew out the other man's deposit in the course of the day. The money was always kept active, and the effect of the present Bill would be to extend the circles in which that deposited money would be active to the smaller towns which had not now banking accommodation. The moral effect would hardly be less beneficial than the financial. Men would, by reason of opening accounts with banks, become more systematic in their business—more accurate in their trade accounts—more sharp—more enterprizing; and trade would be extended and improved, and new industries introduced in districts where none now existed. He hoped, therefore, that the House would allow the Member for Youghal to read his Bill a second time.
§ GENERAL DUNNE
said, the Bill would produce much the same effect as the measure proposed last year by the hon. and learned Member for Clare. The present proposal was regarded in Ireland with suspicion, and he should like to have a more satisfactory explanation of its provisions than had yet been given. He did not think that it would give the people facilities for getting their money. He knew perfectly well that the people of Ireland would much rather go to an establishment within reach of their own homes than to a central depôt to exchange their notes.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, he thought there was very little weight to be attached to the complaint as far as the depositors were concerned that the deposits of the Irish banks were employed in England. Money, like everything else, would always seek the best market; and it mattered nothing to the depositors in what country their gold was employed, so that their interest was paid and their capital was safe; of course it mattered a great deal in a national sense, but that was a consideration which did not enter into the present debate. What had been said respecting the public convenience really told in favour of the Bill, for it would be better to have a bank branch that had the power to issue notes than not to have a branch at all. Nor was it any valid objection to the Bill that the question dealt with was an Imperial one, and ought only to be dealt with in an Imperial manner, for until it was so dealt with there could be no objection to applying a remedy to a particular evil. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen), when be urged that the effect of the Bill must be to strengthen the so-called monopoly of the Irish bankers, fell into an error, inasmuch as whatever monopoly now existed and would continue to exist after this Act was created by the Act of 1844, and if the effect of such a monopoly was to give Bank accommodation to localities which were now without it, the argument was one in favour of the Bill and not against it. Admitting the existence of the suspicion referred to by the last speaker, the Bill, far from being contrary to the Currency Acts, would assimilate the currency law in Ireland to that which obtained in England, inasmuch as it gave the option to the banker to make the notes payable either at the branch of issue or at the head branch of the bank. He should vote for the second reading because its object was to give to the people of Ireland facilities which they did not at present possess.
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
said, it appeared to him that the proposal was a very safe one, and he could see no reason why an additional penalty should be incurred by a bank when it opened branch establishments. If any small advantage could be given Ireland with perfect security, it ought to be given. He could not understand why there should be any difference in the banking system of Scotland and that of Ireland. What was found to work well for the former country could 1864 hardly be disadvantageous to the latter. The proposal did not enable the bankers to diminish their stock of bullion, and it would add greatly to the convenience of the public. The banking system of Ireland contrasted favourably with that of England, and the only fault he had to complain of was that the Irish banks were too fond of sending their money over to this country.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
said, the whole of the argument of the hon. Member (Mr. M'Kenna) was based on the fallacious assumption that the larger the number of bank notes in circulation was, the better for trade and for the country in which the notes were circulated. That, however, was not the principle which had guided our legislation with regard to the issue of bank notes. The principle of Sir Robert Peel was to place stringent restrictions on all issuing banks, with the view of eventually extinguishing the whole of the private circulation, and of limiting the power of issuing notes to the State alone. It should be remembered that the issuing of notes was not necessarily a part of banking, and there was, in fact, no reason why banks should not be established in every town in Ireland. He hoped the Government would not support the present attempt at a retrograde policy and to deal in a small way with a subject so important.
§ MR. PIM
observed, that nothing had been said to show that the passing of the Bill into law would not be beneficial to Ireland. As for a general measure, it would be idle to wait for that, as it had been promised every year since that which succeeded the passing of Sir Robert Peel's Act. He did not think there could be any difficulty in getting notes changed for gold in any town in Ireland, if branches were established which issued their own notes. As for the argument that Bank of Ireland notes could be issued at the branches of other banks, surely it could not be contended that one bank was to assist in circulating the paper of a rival establishment. It seemed to him that to give the facilities proposed under the Bill would be to confer an advantage on the country. In Ireland they were constantly taunted with not taking example by Scotland, but now when Irishmen desired to follow it in the matter of banking, they were met by a violent opposition.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS
said, that there were in Ireland two classes of banks, 1865 those that had a restricted issue and those that could not issue. It seemed unfair to give those that could issue notes an additional privilege. The House ought to hesitate before sanctioning, more especially in Ireland, an inconvertible currency. If a note could not be presented at any issue bank, it was not convertible, and the principle was one it would be most dangerous to introduce. The existing law ought not to be altered unless a very strong case could be made out, and nothing of the kind had been done. It would be as injurious in Ireland as in England to sanction the issue of notes without a sufficient metallic reserve. It was not expedient to disturb the system established by the Act of 1844.
§ MR. STEPHEN CAVE
said, this was, no doubt, a much more simple and less objectionable proposition than that of which it formed a part when introduced by the hon. Baronet (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) in 1865. The hon. Baronet proposed to make Bank of England notes a legal tender in Ireland, a measure which, had it passed, would have been productive of great inconvenience. He also included in his Bill the provisions now brought forward by the hon. Member (Mr. M'Kenna). The Bill of the hon. Baronet did not pass a second reading. The hon. Member who introduced this Bill told them that it assimilated the law of banks of issue in Ireland to that of Scotland. But their business was to deal with the case by itself, on its own merits, and to inquire whether any advantage was likely to accrue to the public from such a change in the law. What was the law at present in force in Ireland? It was, as the hon. Member had stated, very different from the English law. Banks of issue in England other than the Bank of England were precluded from exceeding their fixed authorized issue under any circumstances. But the banks of Ireland were allowed to issue as much in excess of the issue fixed on the 1st of May, 1845, on a year's average, as they pleased, provided they had an equivalent amount of bullion in certain depôts or head offices to cover the excess. The bullion must be in the depôts, otherwise the Stamp Office would not take cognizance of it. Therefore, an additional amount must be kept at the branches to meet the notes issued at and payable at those branches, which, no doubt, materially reduced the profit of issue. The hon. Member asked that this necessity of keep- 1866 ing gold at the branches should be obviated by making notes issued at the branches payable only at one of the depôts in which the gold was by law deposited. He (Mr. Cave) would pass by the argument often used, that this bullion was a mere colourable security for the issue, and ought really to be there under any circumstances, as a guarantee for the deposits of the bank. Taking the law as it stood, he would simply ask whether or not inconvenience might arise from the adoption of the proposals of the hon. Member. The inconvenience, no doubt, would be less than that caused by the proposal of 1865, inasmuch as the distance from the place at which the note was convertible would be less, and the notes, not being a legal tender, might be refused. But the latter circumstance would not prevent their frequently falling into the hands of people to whom it would be highly inconvenient not to get change at once. If the hon. Member said, as the hon. Member for Dublin had said, that for the credit of the bank, and to prevent the notes being refused by the public, they would always be paid on demand, then of what use was it to disturb the law? But he apprehended that in the case of bank notes this power of refusal on the part of the public was somewhat unreal. Few noteholders were direct creditors of the bank. They had received their notes from third parties, and in many cases were glad to take them rather than not get paid at all. Notes passed as money by custom from hand to hand, even though they were not legal tenders, and great inconvenience and hardship might result from the proposal made being adopted. In the event of a panic, and a run, the note-holder at a branch would be placed at great disadvantage, as compared with the noteholder at a depôt. The latter might get paid; but before the former could present his notes the doors might be shut. Again, noteholders in existing branches would find their position altered for the worse, as the right of payment which they now enjoyed would be taken away for the sake of establishing branches in places with which they had no concern. Were it not for the increased risk of robbery and other obvious considerations, he would recommend the converse of the hon. Member's proposal—namely, that they should enact that the Stamp Office should take cognizance of the bullion in the branches as well as in the depôts. In France each branch was obliged to give coin for notes 1867 issued at it, and this regulation had been strenuously guarded. On general grounds it seemed to him scarcely advisable that the currency laws should be tampered with by private Members, in order to remedy special and partial inconvenience, especially when the change proposed tended to the reduction of the capital of banks. The Bank of Ireland opposed this measure, which showed that a difference of opinion existed in Ireland on this point. The Bank of Ireland made every note payable at each depôt, and at nearly all its branches—[Mr. M'KENNA said, there were seven exceptions]—a course which rendered necessary a larger stock of bullion, while the present Bill tended to a reduction of the stock. Into the charges made against that bank it would be impossible for him to enter; if it had acted illegally, it was amenable to the law. The right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone)—a great authority on such matters—said, in 1865, that there were various points connected with the currency of Ireland deserving attention, so that a more comprehensive measure would be necessary if they dealt with the subject at all. Without imputing the least unfairness to the hon. Member's proposal, he thought, on the whole, that the House should hesitate before adopting it in its present shape.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, he hoped the House would hesitate to tamper with the currency. This was nothing but a bankers' question. It was the duty of the House to take care that notes should not be issued unless sovereigns could be obtained for them when they were demanded. The object was to enable men to carry on the business of banking without capital. It was not at all desirable to give legislative facilities for anything of the kind.
§ MR. M'KENNA
said, he did not propose to deviate from the principle of Sir Robert Peel's Bank Act. He did not wish to make invidious complaints against particular banks in Ireland; but, under pressure, having two courses before them, loss or violation of the law, they had adopted the latter alternative. If the law remained unaltered he hoped the Attorney General would take cognizance of this.
§ MR. MURPHY
said, he did not think that the monopoly which Sir Robert Peel's Act had conferred on the banks of issue in Ireland should be continued or increased by an Act of that House, as against private 1868 banking companies which were not banks of issue. If the Bill were read a second time it ought to be referred to a Select Committee to inquire whether or not, having regard to the powers proposed to be given, it would or would not militate unjustly against banks of non-issue. It was only upon the understanding that that course should be pursued that he could support the Motion.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 46; Noes 70: Majority 24.
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Bill put off for six months.