§ MR. DELAHUNTY
rose to move—That, in the opinion of this House, Her Majesty's Government should promote a Bill through Parliament to suspend the operation of the eighth section of the Act 8 and 9 Vic. c. 37, so as to enable additional Joint Stock Banks of Issue to be established in Ireland, until such time as the number, capital, and note circulation of such Banks be equal to that of Scotland proportionately to the population of the two kingdoms when said Act was passed in the year 1845.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. DELAHUNTY
continued. In 1845, Scotland, when first placed under restriction, had 19 Banks of Issue, with a paid-up capital of £12,000,000, and a note circulation of £3,159,000, for a population of 2,500,000. But in Ireland, in the same year, besides the Bank of Ireland, which had lent its money to the Government, and which was of no use in promoting the trade or commerce of the country, there were only five Joint-stock Banks—namely, the National, the Provincial, and three Banks in Belfast. Excluding the latter, which were merely local Banks, the paid-up capital of the National and Provincial was in 1845 under £900,000—an amount which was entirely inadequate to meet the commercial wants of a population which in that year numbered 8,500,000. If Scotland was better off, it was because she had a more abundant circulation and a larger amount of banking facilities than Ireland. As there were many other subjects to be brought forward to-night he would reserve his Motion till next Session; but at the same time, he would ask Her Majesty's Government to give to Ireland the same rights as England had. The reason why Belfast had progressed more than the other parts of Ireland was that she had three Banks, while the other parts of Ireland had only two Banks. He would never rest until Ireland was placed on the same footing as England, and the laws of the two countries were the same. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, in the opinion of this House, Her Majesty's Government should promote a Bill through
Parliament to suspend the operation of the eighth section of the Act 8 and 9 Vic. c. 37, so as to enable additional Joint Stock Banks of Issue to be established in Ireland, until such time as the number, capital, and note circulation of such Banks be equal to that of Scotland proportionately to the population of the two kingdoms when said Act was passed in the year 1845."—(Mr. Delahunty.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
observed, that it appeared to him that the hon. Gentleman had founded his argument on a fallacy when he supposed that Banks were the cause of the wealth of nations, and that if enough of Banks were established you increased the capital. It was just the reverse. It was when capital came into a country and sought for investment that Banks were found the most convenient way of distributing that capital, and making it available for the industries of the country. A country had Banks because it was rich. It was not necessarily rich because it had Banks. Then the hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that a country's circulation should be according to its population. That was not so. The circulation was determined by different things, such as the number and variety of transactions of its general internal activity. A small country might have a larger circulation than a greater country whose trade was dormant. The notion on which that Motion was founded—namely, that it was the duty of the Government to increase the paper currency of Ireland till it reached the proportion at which that of Scotland was 30 years ago—was a mistake as to the function of currency; therefore, he had no hesitation in opposing the Motion.
§ MR. DELAHUNTY
said, that after the miserable speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was determined to bring forward this subject again next Session, when he would smash him up. Under the circumstances, he would, for the present, ask leave to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.