HC Deb 23 June 1869 vol 197 cc471-86

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that Lord Stanley, a leading Member of the late Government, had declared that Ireland was the difficulty of the Empire, and that he had asked for a remedy but none had been suggested. Now he (Mr. Delahunty) proposed a remedy for the evils of Ireland, namely—legislative equality—to give to Ireland the same laws as were given to England, more particularly the same Currency Laws. The principle of the legislation in England with regard to her Money Laws was sound and good, while that of Ireland had resulted in disaster and ruin to that fine country. He wished to put an end to what might be called a separate system, in order that Ireland might be dealt with as a part of the Empire, and that the Union between the two countries might be a union in fact and not merely in name, for he was persuaded that until legislation took that direction, the Irish people would seize every opportunity that might present itself to separate themselves from England. In his opinion, a combination of the people of the United Kingdom under equal laws made by a Parliament sitting in this metropolis, was better than separate legislation for Ireland by a Parliament sitting in College Green. He would rather see a large combination like France than a small one like Denmark. This he was able to say, as an old co-labourer with Mr. O'Connell, was the opinion of that eminent man, who desired Imperial legislation, and who only asked for a separate Parliament when he found it impossible to obtain from the Imperial Parliament equal laws and institutions for the two countries. The condition of Ireland was a subject that enlisted his interest from his youth, and he had, in fact, taken a part in public affairs since the year 1826, working for Catholic emancipation and for Parliamentary and municipal reforms, all of which had conferred enormous advantages on Ireland. Equal laws were, he was persuaded, the only remedy for the anomalous condition of Ireland, and from his experience of that country he could say that if they were extended to it Fenianism would be no longer heard of. When the Money Laws of Ireland were the same as those of England, the country advanced equally with England in prosperity and population, as was proved by the Census Returns and trade statistics of each year The Legislative Union of 1800 between the two countries being based upon the assumption of different and independent interests, had led to the enactment of separate laws for each, which not having worked beneficially for Ireland, it became necessary to try the principle of legislative equality, so as to effect a union advantageous to Ireland. The progress of Ireland in manufactures, productions, and population, during the times when the financial and Money Laws of both countries were the same, was always, in manufactures and productions, evidenced by the ascertained amounts of exports and imports, as 1 to 4 compared with Great Britain, and in population 11¼ to 20 as compared with England and Wales. Since 1826, however, when, for the first time, different Money Laws prevailed, Ireland suffered so that her exports, imports, and population were not one-half what they would have been if her progress since then had been equal to what it was previously. The commercial vitality and progress of Ireland before 1826 were great in despite of various kinds of obstructions, impediments, and restrictions, nearly all of which had since been removed. As evidence of which vitality it appeared that, in 1812, the total shipping entered inward to the ports of the three Kingdoms, was as follows:—England and Wales, 13,002 vessels, 1,779,852 tons, 101,098 men; Scotland, 3,403 vessels, 318,306 tons, 20,792 men; Ireland, 11,656 vessels, 1,062,135 tons, 62,462 men; and at no period during the fifty years previously was the tonnage of Great Britain three times that of Ireland. Since 1826, Catholic Emancipation, Parliamentary and Municipal Reform, Free Trade, Poor Laws, &c, had taken place—railway and steam communications, with other great scientific improvements and discoveries, had given industrial productive development an immense beneficial impetus, so as to increase fivefold the exports and imports of England, in the face of which Ireland had become comparatively depressed and depopulated, and mainly dependent upon one source of industrial development—the land. There were two kinds of money now used throughout the world—first, real money, specie; second, credit money, bank or State paper notes, inconvertible or convertible into specie, as the laws of the country might require. In 1773 the specie of Great Britain and Ireland being clipped and worn to a great and injurious extent, the British Parliament considered it necessary to reform the currency by a re-coinage of the precious metals, and restricting the circulation of small notes; and, according to the account of Mr. Rose (the Secretary to the Treasury), a coinage of over £25,000,000 of gold took place, and it was considered necessary, in 1775, to prohibit notes under, £1, and, in 1777 notes under £5, which Acts were renewed every year until 1787, when they were made perpetual. The progress of Ireland under this system was known to have been great and unprecedented. In 1797, owing, as it was alleged, to the war with France, Mr. Pitt passed "the Bank Restriction Act," and as banks were thereby allowed to issue inconvertable paper, they were also permitted to issue small notes. The evil effects of displacing specie by the small paper currency were soon felt, particularly by Ireland; but as the laws in both coun- tries were alike, the comparative progress continued as before. In 1819, the Act for the resumption of cash payments passed, to take effect in 1822, but being unfortunately unaccompanied by the safeguard previously existing, which kept the gold in the country—namely, the prohibition of small notes—the effects were soon felt in the departure of the specie, which with great expense and trouble, had been purchased and brought into the country for the occasion—the consequent failure of the banks for the want of gold—the depression of the manufacturing and agricultural interests from the great scarcity of money—so that the pressure upon Ireland created the great famine of 1822—upon England the great panic of 1825, which later occurrence caused the Government of the day to bring in a Bill, in February 1826, to place the currency of England upon the ancient basis, and which Bill became law the following month, prohibiting small notes, and restoring England to the same Money Laws that she enjoyed before 1797, but leaving Ireland without change, with the laws that had at the time proved so injurious and so destructive. The new and unprecedented Money Laws, passed for the United Kingdom in 1844 and 1845, had intensified and increased in Ireland the evils of the legislation of 1819, in as much as those laws restricted the issue of bank notes of every kind, and stopped the formation of new banks of issue, before Ireland had the opportunity of establishing a sufficient number of joint-stock banks, which, after the stoppage and closing of the private banks, they had recently been allowed to do in the provinces, the Legislature having confined the monopoly of the Bank of Ireland within a circuit of fifty Irish miles of Dublin. It was true such new laws applied also to England; but the presence of the gold circulation there, continually increasing especially since the gold discoveries, neutralized its effects, which were most ruinous and disastrous to Ireland, producing in a few years, the extraordinary anomaly—that, whereas the money circulation of Ireland had, previously to 1826, been always as 1 to 4 as compared to England and Wales, but, owing to the absence of gold in Ireland, was as 1 to 8 in 1845, came rapidly down, so as to be 1 to 16 in 1849, and which propor- tion has since continued with little variation. The law of 1826, prohibiting small notes did not lessen the paper circulation of England, but the specie soon exceeded it, so that the money of the country in a short time was double what it had been in 1826, and the increased productions and wealth of the country, promoted and stimulated by the abundance of the precious metals, had since increased the gold in the hands of the public, so that it was calculated to be from £80,000,000, to £100,000,000, at the present time, whilst in Ireland the £1 note circulation had never increased, being always in amount from £2,000,000 to £3,000,000, the gold circulation not being one-tenth of that amount; and this great scarcity of money, having speedily annihilated the many manufactures that existed in 1826, and such scarcity, from the nature of the laws, being continuous and perpetual, all attempts at promoting industrial development through manufactures, unless these laws were changed, must fail. He contended it was expedient to equalize the Money Laws of England and Ireland by prohibiting, after a certain period, the issuing of promissory notes under a limited sum in Ireland. The hon. Member then read at great length the opinions expressed in Parliament in former times upon the question of the abolition of the small note circulation, particularly referring to the debates in 1826–8; to the evidence before the Committee on the Bank Charter Act in 1832; before the Committee on the Bank Acts in 1857–8; and from the Report of that Committee; and from Postlethwaite's Britain's Commercial Interest Explained, published in 1757; Jones' Present State of Kingdoms, 1772; Wallace's Essay on the Manufactures of Ireland, 1798; from Mortimer's General Dictionary of Commerce and Manufactures, 1810. The hon. Member then proceeded to say that having given the House these facts and opinions, he (Mr. Delahunty) would conclude by stating that, in his belief, very great benefits would result to Ireland if this Bill should be passed. There were many measures necessary for that country, but the great one of all was that which would give employment to the people in manufactures, and that they could not have without a gold currency; and without it Ireland would not be on a perfect equality with England.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now a second time."—(Mr. Delahunty.)


said, he would not follow the hon. Member (Mr. Delahunty) over the elaborate survey with which he had favoured the House, going fifty and even 100 years back, and attributing the whole of the decline which had occurred in the wealth and population of Ireland to causes in which, as they related neither to the Church nor the land, all Irish Members, no matter whether from the North or the South, or to what denominations they might belong, were equally interested. The best thing, however, to do was not to go back over a large number of years; but to examine whether the existence of £1 notes in Ireland had produced, or was likely to produce, any of the evils which the hon. Gentleman had described. It was remarkable that it was not to the amount of the circulation of those notes that the hon. Member objected, but to the fact that the note circulation in Ireland was not limited to sums not less than £5. But surely an objection of that kind could not apply solely to Ireland. Side by side with. Ireland was a country which no one would hesitate to say had improved vastly in commerce, manufactures, and everything that constituted the greatness of a country, and yet in Scotland exactly the same condition of things existed.—they had a note circulation founded upon the same principles as those which prevailed in Ireland. The hon. Gentlemen had not explained the regulations on which the system was based. The circulation was limited in quantity. Those bankers who had the power of issuing notes could only issue to a certain amount, and he would call attention to this fact—that though there had been in Scotland in one or two instances a failure of banks—while for several years there had not been any in Ireland—the holders of the £1 notes had in every case received 20s. in the pound. There was very remarkable evidence given by a great banker as to the comparative unimportance in commercial operations of the amount of the circulation, whether of gold or of notes. Sir John Lubbock had stated that in the transactions of one bank in London £19,000,000 had been received in a limited period, of which £18,395,000 consisted of cheques and bills, only £487,000 of bank notes, and the rest of coin, so that the bank notes and coin together formed only about 3 per cent of the transactions. That would show how much more important a part cheques bore in the commercial transactions of the country than bank notes or coin. He did not understand the hon. Member to allege that in any case the bank note had been depreciated, or that it was anywhere worth less than 20s. in the pound. Neither had he complained of their excessive issue. The debates to which the hon. Gentleman had referred on the currency question of 1819 went all more or less upon the supposition that when they went down to a £1 circulation there was an enormous over-issue which had driven out the gold, but it was not added, as it ought to have been, that the £1 note had been depreciated. Nothing of this kind was found now-a-days; neither in Ireland nor Scotland did they find the bank note depreciated; in every instance it bore the same value as the sovereign it represented. He submitted that, though in England it might not be advisable to go below £5, there existed a very good reason why there should be a distinction as far as Ireland was concerned, because in Ireland there was a great number of small business transactions which were very much better carried on through the medium of a note circulation below £5. Indeed, the £1 note stood very much in the same relation to the business operations of Ireland that the £5 note did to those of this country. As to £1 notes driving the bullion out of the country, it should be remembered that the issue of £1 notes or any notes did not immediately send away the whole amount of bullion corresponding to that issue. It could only send away a certain proportion of it, and something like one-third of the amount they were empowered to issue would be kept in the hands of the bankers. Only two-thirds, therefore, of the issue which the banker was empowered to make could be driven out. But, as long as the note circulation was payable on demand and was not depreciated, what injury could be done to a country if two-thirds of that circulation in gold was either sent out of the country to be invested or was invested in the country itself in profitable speculations? All the charges made against the £1 note circulation were charges against bad banking. In Scotland the £1 note circulation, as now prudently limited, was nothing but a blessing to that country. As long as the £1 note was convertible it was every whit as good a circulating medium as a £5 note. He had referred to the prosperity of Scotland, and he would add that Prussia, which had of late years been particularly prosperous, had notes as low in value as one thaler, or 3s. When Mr. Wilson, formerly a Member of this House, and no mean authority on this subject, went to India as Financial Secretary, one of his propositions was to issue notes for as low an amount as 10s. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of the loss of the cotton and woollen trade of Ireland, but had overlooked the enormous increase of the flax and linen trade. It was very difficult to say what was the cause of the decline of a country, but it should be considered that we were now under a Free Trade system, and that Ireland was unfortunately situated for manufactures, being without natural advantages, and close to England, which possessed those advantages with abundant capital, cheap labour, and great industry. Wherever Ireland had attempted manufactures on anything like equal terms she had succeeded. The United States, Canada, and other colonies repudiated the maxims of Free Trade, which they thought were excellent for a strong and wealthy country where trade and manufactures were established, but were not suitable for countries struggling under such disadvantages that they had no chance whatever in a competition against countries more favourably circumstanced. People in Ireland thought that question was not one to be dealt with by a private Member. It applied as much to Scotland as to Ireland, and if the Government thought the present system required improvement, they ought to take the matter up themselves. For himself, he was much opposed to the Bill as it stood, and also against referring the question to a Select Committee. The circulation of £1 notes was a great convenience to Ireland, and in no part of that country was the alteration now proposed desired. Such a course would diminish prices, and be a reflection on banking institutions which had been better conducted than those in England. The only thing that might fairly be said in favour of the Bill was that at present something in the nature of a monopoly was given to the existing banks. A high rate of interest was one of the evils of Ireland; but, looking at the doubt which surrounded every kind of property in that country, it was not surprising that the rate of interest there should be something like 6 per cent. All the good the hon. Member had done was that he had drawn attention to the subject, and the next time the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown brought forward a measure to restrict the issue of bank notes to the State, he would include Ireland and Scotland. When, five years ago, that right hon. Gentleman brought in a Bill to do away with the circulation of the private banks, after compensating bankers who had the privilege of issue, and to provide that the only issue should be by the Bank of England, although he went into the whole case, he did not draw any distinction between £1 notes and £5 notes, or notes of larger amount. The fact that so great a financier then said nothing against £1 notes was a strong argument in their favour. In 1826 there was a great controversy in regard to an attack made by the Government on the £1 note currency of Scotland. Scotland was almost unanimously against such a change, and a famous series of letters then appeared on the subject in the Edinburgh Weekly Journal, under the signature of "Malachi Malagrowther," and which were afterwards known to have been written by Sir Walter Scott. Malachi Malagrowther wrote thus— Here stands Theory, a scroll in her hand full of deep and mysterious combinations of figures, the least failure in any one of which may alter the result entirely, and which you must take on trust, for who is capable to go through and check them? There lies before you a practical system, successful for upwards of a century. The one allures you with promises of untold gold, the other appeals to the miracles already wrought in your behalf. The one shows you provinces the wealth of which has been tripled under her management, the other a problem which has never been practically solved. Here you have a pamphlet there a fishing town; here the long-continued prosperity of a whole nation, and there the opinion of a professor of economics that in such circumstances she ought not, by true principles, to have prospered at all. In short, good countrymen, if you are determined, like Æsop's dog, to snap at the shadow, and lose the substance, you never had such a gratuitous opportunity of exchanging food and wealth for moonshine in the water. To a limited extent what was then said of Scotland was now true of Ireland. In the North, especially where the dependence had not been wholly upon land, a great improvement in the last fifty years had occurred. Trade had increased, wages had risen, and, as a consequence, the people were better clothed, better fed, and they were beginning to be better housed. A steady market was introduced into almost every small town for the production of the district, instead of the system of barter that existed fifty years ago. The present banks had been excellently managed, their circulation limited, their notes secure; and although he did not go so far as to say that no improvement might be made, it was not in the direction pointed to by that Bill. A lower rate of interest, if natural, would be of great advantage to trade, but to effect that they must have first security. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time upon this day three months.


said, that, if that had been an Irish question in all its bearings, he should have left the Irish Members to discuss it among themselves; but if the House came to the conclusion that small notes ought to be abolished in Ireland, a proposal to abolish them in Scotland also would probably follow. Such a proposal, if seriously made, would excite as strong an opposition in Scotland as that witnessed when the letters of Malachi Malagrowther appeared in 1826; and the motto of Scotland—"Nemo me impune lacessit," would in that case be likely to be put into practice. He did not approve of the Act of 1819. Undoubtedly the resumption of cash payments in 1819 threw upon this country an enormous burden, the burden of providing an immense metallic currency, which England could only obtain by a large amount of exports. That burden had been severely felt, and it would often have been a great relief to this country if she had had a circulation of small notes to fall back upon. In fact, a crisis had been on one occasion avoided by the issue of £1,000,000 of small notes. The hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Delahunty) had not told them how Ireland—a poor country—was to obtain the gold which was to form her gold currency if his Bill passed. She could only obtain it by buying it with her exports, but she now fully required these to buy food, clothing, and the other articles which she did not produce for her own people, and most of all, those raw materials by means of which alone she could continue her exports. The hon. Member for Water-ford said the Act of 1846 was a very serious blow to Ireland, because it restricted the Irish issues; and now that hon. Gentleman wanted to restrict those issues further in order to restore her prosperity. There was no doubt that the legislation of 1846 had created a monopoly of banks, but that monopoly could be easily got rid of without abolishing the small notes. They might allow the banks to issue small notes on the security of Government stock and the like. That Bill, if passed, would rob Ireland of the use of £3,242,000, the amount of her circulation of small notes. It was only with the assistance of her small notes that Scotland had maintained her place in commerce and manufactures by the side of so enormously wealthy a country as England. Scotland was allowed to issue £3,000,000 of paper, of which nearly £2,000,000 were small notes. Much had been said of the metallic circulation in past times. The metallic circulation of England had been variously estimated at from £40,000,000 to £80,000,000; and, therefore, he held that the estimate of £5,000,000 in Ireland, in 1797, was little more than a guess. He had great pleasure in seconding the Amendment on a Bill which ought to be called—"A Bill to rob Ireland for the purpose of making her rich."

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Sir Frederick Heygate.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


It is only respectful to the hon. Member (Mr. Delahunty), who has taken so much pains with this subject, that I should give the opinion of the Government on the question in as few words as I can, as the matter is one of great importance, and it is undesirable that any misapprehension should exist in regard to it. To understand what is the question before us I think we had better try and see what it is not. It is certainly not the question of general prosperity or adversity in Ireland. It is not the question between Free Trade and Protection. If it were, I should be glad to break a lance with the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Frederick Heygate) on the question whether it is really advisable for countries whose state of society, or whose peculiar climate, or other circumstances, fit them rather to be the producers of raw materials than manufacturers, to impose heavy burdens on themselves in order to stimulate the growth of manufactures. [Sir FREDERICK HEYGATE: I only stated a fact.] I think the hon. Baronet went a little further. Nor is this a question of the Money Laws of Ireland. The proposition of the hon. Member for Waterford does not raise the question whether the principle on which, bank notes are issued in Ireland is a good one or not. He says nothing against the £5 note circulation of Ireland, which amounts to about one-half of the whole £7,000,000 of note circulation in that country. His observations were strictly limited to the issue of £1 notes; and therefore it would be irrelevant and a waste of time if I were to enter now into various topics which he has introduced, and which in themselves might be well worthy of discussion. The simple question I have to ask myself is whether the hon. Gentleman has shown any reason why we should, under very severe penalties, prohibit the issuing of any more £1 notes in Ireland, where those notes are now issued to the extent of about £3,250,000? Has the hon. Gentleman stated any theoretical objection to the issue of those notes? He quoted a number of authorities, some of whom did not seem to me to see their way very clearly in this matter. He talks of driving the gold out of the country. Now, in the first place, there is no good in itself in a country having a gold rather than a paper currency. The beau ideal of a currency would be paper based on gold, in order to save the wear and tear of gold, the gold being withdrawn from circulation and kept as a support to the paper, and the value represented by it. If two farmers have a transaction with each other, it will be of no more advantage to them if it be consummated by the transfer from the one to the other of a piece of gold instead of a piece of paper, provided al- ways that the piece of paper represents the value of the transfer. It is a mere superstition that there is any advantage in doing business by means of gold rather than paper. On the contrary, there is an obvious disadvantage in it; and that disadvantage is that gold is a most expensive luxury, and we are paying, or will shortly have to pay, dearly for the luxury of a gold circulation. I put aside that argument, therefore, as having no bearing on the question. "What, then, is the objection to a £1 note circulation that would not apply to a £5 note, or any other note circulation? Of course, a £1 note circulation requires to be guarded like any other note circulation. And it must be guarded in these ways—It must be convertible into gold, which is the case in Ireland. It must be limited in amount, which is also the case in Ireland. It ought to be based on sufficient security. I fear the security is not sufficient in Ireland; but that insufficiency does not in the least apply more to the £1 note than to the £5 note circulation of that country. Of the three requisites for a good currency, then, the £1 note currency possesses certainly two; and the part of the note currency which the hon. Member does not propose to touch has not the third requisite any more than the other part which he does touch. Therefore, on theoretical grounds, I see no reason for objecting to the £1 notes. And I say, further, that if we are going to assimilate the circulation of Ireland and England, I think we should do more wisely by imitating Ireland than by making Ireland imitate England; because the state of our gold currency is at this moment lamentable. According to the best information which has been given to me by the responsible officers of the Government, 31½ per cent of the sovereigns and 47 per cent of the half-sovereigns in circulation are deficient in weight; and a cost of £400,000 will be entailed in calling in and re-coining that light coin, which would be saved if pieces of paper were made to do the work of gold. Therefore, I have not been able to understand that any argument can be adduced against £1 notes, except, perhaps, their liability to forgery; but the improvements in the manufacture of those notes render their successful forgery almost impossible. I say, then, there is nothing that makes it right, wise, and proper to issue notes representing five sovereigns which would make it wrong, foolish, and improper to issue notes representing one sovereign. The question, then, reduces itself to the practical one of what good we shall do by adopting this proposal. And, first, let us consider the feeling of the people in the matter, because it is very odd that though the currency is the driest, and apparently the most repulsive of all subjects, there is no other subject with which caprices and prejudice have so much to do. I will give an instance of this. The Australian sovereign has a good deal of silver in it; it has a pale and yellow appearance, and is disliked in this country, where people like to have sovereigns of a reddish rather than of a pale yellow colour. But in India, on the other hand, the Australian sovereign is most readily exchanged, because the old gold mohur of that country has exactly the same sort of alloy in it, and closely resembles it in appearance. That shows how much habit, prejudice, and even caprice influence the circulation of different kinds of money. There is no doubt that in Ireland the feeling is that the £1 note is better than a sovereign, and I understand that in out-of-the-way parts of that country they take 6d. off the sovereign in giving change. [Sir FREDERICK HEYGATE: 1s.] A note also suits the hoarding habits of many of the Irish people better than a sovereign. Therefore, we should be doing great violence to the feelings of the poorer part of the population, by whom £l notes are liked, if we were to stop their issue; and we ought not to give offence to the people, unless we are to gain some clear good; whereas, in this case, you would gain no good whatever. Moreover, by the hon. Gentleman's proposal, you would, at one blow, restrict the total note currency of Ireland by the sum of over £3,000,000, the result of which would be most harsh, and cruel. Its effect would be to reduce prices enormously. The money that remained in Ireland would have to serve for all the business that is now done there, in place of this £3,000,000. Therefore, the power of every piece of money would be proportionately increased as a purchasing agent; there would be a consequent fall in prices; and misery and distress would be caused to the persons who, having produced under one state of prices, afterwards found their commodi- ties artificially lowered in value. And what would be the limit of that fall in prices? It would go on until it became worth people's while to send gold to Ireland to re-place the notes that had been cancelled. The exports of Ireland would be taxed, and profits diminished or annihilated until the £3,000,000 and upwards withdrawn from circulation had been purchased back. And that is the manner in which we are asked to benefit Ireland, at a time, too, when every Gentleman who rises to speak complains of her poverty! That is a course of proceeding to which I am sure Her Majesty's Government will never give their assent; and I think it is also perfectly certain that the House will not adopt it. If I might offer the hon. Gentleman advice, I would recommend him, as there is plenty of other business on the Paper, to allow the House to proceed to something more practical.


said, he hoped the question before the House would be referred to a Select Committee.


said, that, as the Session had, up to the present time, been almost wholly occupied with Irish questions, he thought this subject of £1 notes ought not to be allowed to stand in the way of the House proceeding with other matters of great importance which were awaiting discussion.


said, that after the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with which the people of Ireland would be highly satisfied, he was also of opinion that the subject ought not to occupy the House any longer. Hardly any of the people of Ireland, he might remark, were in favour of the plan proposed by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Delahunty).


, in reply, said, that his arguments and statements were not met or refuted by any of the hon. Gentlemen who had spoken against the Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had, on his own part and in the name of the Government, given expression to the opinion that it would be more proper to issue £1 notes in England than to abolish them in Ireland. This was a startling proposition, and it took him by surprise, as it was directly opposite to the legislation thought right by all the great statesmen of England; contrary to the expressed opinions of the highest economic authorities, from Adam Smith down to the present day. He had read to the House the opinions of the great statesmen who advocated the abolition of the small note circulation, which contrasted so strongly with the legislation suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He preferred the legislation of the great statesmen, which had worked so well for England. It was true that it was not perfect; it might require some amendments, but he could not believe in the radical change proposed. As, however, the right hon. Gentleman had given it as his opinion and that of the Government that they would prefer a return to small notes in England to their abolition in Ireland, he could only say, that as his great object was the enactment of equal laws for both countries, and as the course proposed would secure legislative equality, he would not persevere with the Bill, but withdraw it. He was of opinion that the right plan would be to raise Ireland to a level with England, but of course he could not object to the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was to lower England to the level of Ireland; the effect would ultimately be the same, for whatever legislation took place, if applicable to the United Kingdom, it would be sure, if wrong, to be amended, and Ireland, having the advantage of such amendment, would prosper equally with England. With regard to the remark of the Member for Dublin, he would only say that the hon. Gentleman knew nothing of the feeling of the Irish people on the subject.

Amendment and Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill withdrawn.