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first place, endeavour to explain thought it better not to avail himto the committee how the account self of it, and to take the chance of the 3,600,000l. Irish treasury of making a more advantageous bills stood. The House would arrangement, in which he had recollect that before Easter there succecded even beyond his expechad been a grant of 4,2000,000l. tations. He had indeed found the for repaying certain Irish trea- state of the market such, that by sury bills. Upon communication issuing exchequer bills gradually with the bank of England and the in preference to borrowing in one bank of Ireland (the whole of the sum upon the same sort of secutreasury bills being held by thein), rity, he had saved 300,0001. in it was found that the directors of annual interests. The power of those establishments were dis- the money market to take off posed to exchange the bills they 9,000,000 1. of exchequer bills, he held for new bills. Two hundred thought could not be questioned, and fifty thousand pounds had when it was considered, that of however already been paid to the the 12,000,000l. previously grantbank of Ireland, and as that ed by parliament 27,000,000 1. had body required 5 per cent. inte- already been put into circulation rest, it was not thought advise in the course of the present sesable to renew the whole sum now sion.
therefore, outstanding, but to pay off, as only bills to the amount of occasion offered, such bills as 15,000,000 l. further to be iswere held by the bank of Ireland. sued. The 9,000,0001. he now Only a small part of the Irish proposed to add would make treasury bills in their hands were 24,000,0001. and, all things conhowever due till December and sidered, he apprehended that there January next, and it would there would not be more thrown into fore be time enough to make ar- the market than could be easily rangements for paying them off absorbed. It ought at the same after the next meeting of parlia- time to be recollected, that as the ment. The remaining sum of interest had been reduced from 9,000,0001. he proposed, as he 54 per cent. to 31, there was a had already stated, to raise by saving in that respect of 15 per exchequer bills; and he was the cent. From the measure he proinore induced to take this propor- ' posed, he therefore had reason to tion of the deficiency in that way, expect great advantage both to as the baok of England in its ne- the agriculture and commerce of gociations would be satisfied with the country, and he doubted whea more moderate rate of interest ther it would have been possible than was paid in Ireland. Before to derive equal benefit from any the meeting of parliament he could other arrangement. Although the have borrowed twelve millions by revenue, from causes over which an advance upon exchequer bills his Majesty's ministers could have from one set of contractors, and no control, had fallen short six or on terms which then appeared eight millions, there had been an favourable; but from the appear- evident improvement in our public ance of the money market, he credit, It might be recollected, that when he addressed the House had been for every practicable last year on the financial situation purpose resumed. He could not of the country, the three per but congratulate the House and cent. consols. were only between the country upon the removal of 62 and 63 ; at present they were the doubts and alarms which had abore 74. This was an improve- been entertained on this subject. ment of twelve per cent. on 62. None of the evils which had been which, calculated upon 100 l. so profusely foretold, had occurstock, was equal to nearly 20 per red ; and this great change had cent. The exchequer bills were been accomplished without any then at an interest of 51 per cent., shock or danger to public credit. and were sold at par. Those now Those who had with regret antiin circulation bore an interest of cipated these mischievous conseonly 34 per cent. ; and on this quences, he was sure, would now very day those bills bore 12s. join with him in rejoicing at the premium. These were circum- state in which our country was stances which proved the manifest now placed. The notes of the advantage of the system he had Bank of England had even during pursued, and now proposed to the restriction been preferred to continue. But it was not in the those of every other bank in money market only that the be- Europe. What then must be the neficial influence of that system effect of the removal of that rehad been felt. A proportional im- striction? A third circumstance, provement was experienced in to which he could not but call the every description of property in attention of the committee with the countıy. Large sums had peculiar satisfaction, was that, already been sold out of the funds, with regard to the public debt, and applied in aid of the landed the expectations he held out last interest, in purchases of real pro- year had been more than reperty and advances upon mort. alized. He had stated an expectagages. Similar accommodation tion that it would be reduced at had been afforded to the commer- least 3,000,0001.: the balance of cial interests of the country by debt repaid exceeded this sum. the increasing facility and cheap- The amount paid in 1816 had ness of discount. Another most been stated by the committee on important improvement in the finance at 9,400,0001.; but from situation of the country had taken this sum it might be fair to make place since his last financial state- a deduction of 6,000,0001., which ment in the virtual resumption of formed part of the loans raised cash payments by the bank. When for the service of 1815, but which he had suggested that the bank had not been paid into the exmight be enabled to pay in specie chequer till 1816 ; so that the in the course of two years, his actual balance discharged was statement was received with ridi- 3,400,0001. This was most satiscule and incredulity. The sug- factory: but it was not all; for since gestion which he threw out had, the 1st of November 1815, at however, been completely real- which time the national debt stoor) ized; for the payments in cash at its highest amount, thirty-two
millions of capital stock had ac- steady restoration of our revenues tually been purchased up. If, and our former prosperity. He instead of borrowing exchequer had taken the liberty of stating bills, he had funded capital stock, this much, merely to impress on it would have been impossible to the recollection of the committee, have operated a reduction of the that even under the unfavourable debt to the same extent. Whe- circumstances of the last year, ther there would be an equal di- all the benefits which he had held minution of debt in the present out as likely to result from the year as in the last, was what he plans he had proposed had been could not pretend to assert. He more than realized. He anticidid not wish to state a positive pated a still more sensible imopinion on the subject; but he provement ;
but he sincerely estimated that, with some addi- trusted that the country' would tion to the 12,600,0001. he had never find it necessary to resort already mentioned, he might to any of those desperate and danhave to borrow altogther about gerous remedies which some per14,000,000l., and that it was pro- sons had thought it proper to rebable there would be paid off commend. It was alone upon about 161. There might, there- the firmness of parliament and fore, be a diminution, not of 3, the loyalty of the people, that the as in the last year, but probably security of public credit and the of 2 millions.
restoration of national
prospeWith the improvement of our rity depended. He had now only finances, he looked forward to a to state, that he estimated the speedy iinprovement in the inter- amount of the interest of the exnal comfort and prosperity of the chequer and treasury bills necountry. [Hear, hear !] He did cessary to meet the supply at not consider this expectation un- 450,000 1. and he contemplated reasonable. A great part of the that that sum would be saved by public distrese arose, not from any the reduction which had taken derangement in our domestic af- place in the interest of unfunded fairs, but from the general state debt since the last session of parof Europe. At a time when all liament. Thus the public would over the continent many were be subjected to no ņew charge struggling for the mere necessa- whatever. He concluded by morries of life, it was not to be ex- ing, " That, towards making pected that there could be a great good the supply granted to his demand for our manufactures. Majesty, there be issued and apThis country fortunately had not plied the sum of 15,7491. 158. been reduced to so low a state as 2d. remaining in the receipt of some others had, but we could the exchequer of Great Britain of not expect to escape without shar- the surplus of the grants for the ing in the general calamity. If, year 1815." however, Providence blessed us The several resolutions were with a favourable harvest, he agreed to. should confidently hope to see a
CHAP. CHAPTER VIII,
Continuance of Irish Insurrection Act.- Mr. Wilberforce's Motion for an
Address to the Prince Regent relative to the Foreign Slave Trade.-- Parliament closes.- Prince Regent's Speech.
IRISH INSURRECTION ACT. or petit juries ; and to sentence
persons guilty of no greater crime N June 13th the order of the than being absent from their
day being on the subject of homes after sunset, to be transgoing into a committee on the ported for seven years. But the bill for continuing the Irish In- right hon. gentleman, in palliasurrection Act, Sir Henry Parnell tion of his case, says, “ the law is rose to move that it should be re- not general; the House may deferred to a committee for this day pend upon the moderation of the se'nnight, in place of this evening, magistrates in requiring its enfor the purpose of the appoint- forcement, and upon the forbearment of a committee to inquire ance of government.” But the whether there existed any neces- occurrence in the county of Louth sity for such a measure. The fully proved the disposition of the chief secretary for Ireland had magistrates ; for they were led to laid before the House, in the last apply to government in conseand present session, certain docu- quence of a single outrage, which, ments referring to disturbances though not of great enormity, had in Ireland, the latter of which the effect of producing a commentioned outrages which had pliance with their wishes. The occurred in the county of Louth. continuance of the Insurrection It was upon the last of these do- Act appeared to the hon. member cuments that the right hon. gen- particularly objectionable, because tleman had called upon the House it seemed to be one intended to to continue these most severe complete the new system for the and unconstitutional measures ; future government of Ireland. but it was incumbent upon the Though we were now in a state House to exercise its inquisito- of peace with all the world, the rial powers, and to examine whe- right hon. gentleman had prother the disturbed state of only ceeded just as if we were in the four baronies in one county of midst of a war. He had first obIreland was a sufficiently strong tained an arms bill; he had then case for such an expedient. The made his own particular law, the law was one of uncommon seve-, peace act, stronger than before; rity: it went to create six new and he now aims at the continu: transportable offences; to enable ance of the Insurrection Act. the magistrates at sessions to pro- The hon. baronet would not go ceed to trial without either grand so far as to say, that the facts
proluced showed that the Insur. be exercised on its responsibility rection bill was not necessary;
when the emergency arose.
The but they certainly proved the pro- hon. baronet proposed that the priety of making some inquiry bill should be suspended till farbefore the measure was adopted. ther inquiry should be made by a If a committee were appointed, committee. For his own part he he should himself be prepared to saw no reason for the appointpoint out some means for strength- ment of such a committee. If ening the civil power. He con- there
measure brought cluded by moving, “ that the bill before Parliament on which it be committed this day se'nnight.” was competent to decide, without
Mr. V. Fitzgerald said he could the delay of a committee, it was see no good ground for even the present. There never came day's delay. The act had been before Parliament a case in which passed by several successive par- government had more clearly liaments, and no gentleman could offered the grounds on which it be supposed ignorant of its con- called for permission to act upon tents; and being now near its its responsibility, and on which expiration, it was thought neces. the House had received better sary to revive it, lest the govern- means of judging whether it ment of Ireland should be die ought to be granted. The hon. vested of its present powers. The baronet had said that the Insurgovernment proclamation applied rection Act was an evil, in which only to Louth, but the outrage he (Mr. Peel) fully concurred; was to be considered as coupled but unhappily there was now only with the general state of the coun- a choice of evils; and was it bettry. Every day produced fresh ter to give to government the outrages; and at length there was power of preserving tranquillity an unanimous request from the even by a severe measure, or to magistrates, and from a county allow the country to be converted meeting, after which the procla- into a scene of confusion by withmation was issued.
holding the present act? Mr. Peel said, that he was led Sir W. Burroughs entered into to attend to the county of Louth an examination of the several more particularly, because the clauses of the act, and commented disturbances which called for its in strong terms on its severity. cxercise there, were more recently He particularly dwelt upon the laid before the House, and the great disproportion between the atrocities with which they were numbers apprehended and the accompanied had made the deep- numbers convicted in the several est impression on the country. counties; and argued, that as it His argument was, that though was to be presumed that the petty the country was generally tran- sessions had done their duty, quil, yet if there was one part of therefore all those acquitted had it so disturbel that the laws could been justly acquitted, and had not be executed in their usual consequently been wrongfully arcourse, it was necessary to arm rested. the government with this act, to After some further discussions,