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it is asked why it is better than a paper currency payable upon demand, it is because it prevents the loss consequent upon gold being demanded in a time of public panic. When gold is demanded at such a season, as for instance, at a time of expected invasion, it is not because there is absolute dimimution in the wealth and business of the community at that moment, but hecause individuals desire gold for the purpose of laying up a hoard against future contingencies, in the same manner as they might be tempted to lay in a stock of flannel garments. But there seems no reason why they should be indulged in this desire at the public expence in one case more than in the other. If they desire gold, let them buy gold in the market, as they would flannel. It is true that the price of gold may rise under such circumstances of increased demand, as would the price of flannel ; but this presents no
The principle on which gold would be desired in such a case, separates itself from the principles peculiar to currency, and enters into those which are common to Hannels. But notwithstanding this desire, the inconvertible currency would continue to perform the office of the instrument of exchange, even in the extreme case of a successful invasion. For it is clear that the enemy could not prevent its circulation in those parts of the country which had not fallen under his power. And in those which had, it would be his object not to destroy the paper currency, but to get as much of it as possible into his own hands. If indeed he could prevent its circulation in the places which he had not yet conquered, it would be a powerful engine towards the accomplishment of his designs. But since this is impossible, it would be of no use to attempt it afterwards. Either his occupation is permanent, or it is temporary. If it is permanent, there would be no reason why he should mulet every man in the amount of the paper currency found in his possession, with no benefit to himself; if he has the common sense of an enemy, he will at least do an injury in a more profitable form. If it is temporary, the conquered, at the worst, have only to conceal; and paper is more easily concealed than gold. Another point, too, that merits consideration, is, whether it would not be better to have a paper avowedly inconvertible from the beginning, than a paper which breaks down and becomes inconvertible at the moment of expected invasion ; as the Bank of England's paper has lone before, and would probably do again in like circumstances. With the exception of the quality of inconvertibility, there is no differenc: retween an inconvertible paper kept under popular control, and a pair that professes to be payable in gold upon demand ; and the questi: 1 seems to be, whether the inconvertibility shall be avowed from the beginning, or whether it shall be treasured up to be avowed at the worst of all possible times, and when it can do nothing but add to the panic arising from other causes. Under a system of inconvertible paper, coins might be kept in circulation to any amount, by fixing the standard quantity of gold to be purchased by the note or coin, at a little more than is contained in the coin. At the same time it may be difficult to say why the community should be put to a loss of profit equal to the value of these coins ; unless it were to please elderly gentlemen, which is something
The fact that an inconvertible public paper does not lose its value
even when the greatest possible panic is created by the change, was sufficiently established when the Bank of England refused payment. Men were astonished that the same consequences did not take place as in the case of the stopping of a private bank; never reflecting that the two cases had nothing in common but the word Bank. The truth is, that a public bank, in the proper sense of the word, cannot break. The Bank of England did all that men could do to break, and could not. The value of what the community requires to form for it an instrument of exchange, must always be there; though excessive issues may increase the number of claimants among whom this value is to be divided, so as to rob the public to any assignable amount. This truth is at the bottom of the paradox with which Adam Smith amuses himself, and which has been repeated in so many forms, where he says that“ a tax on money is paid by nobody.” If a piece of paper can be made to perform the office of an ounce of gold, a coin of three quarters of an ounce may be made to do so too; and instead of there being any wonder in this, the only wonder is, that the community which saves the quarter of an ounce, had not sense to save the other three. The reason why a quarter of an ounce can be spared out of the coin, is because the whole ounce might be spared also. A man might as well wonder that his bond for four talents could be engraven on a plate of gold which weighed only three; when the fact is that a piece of parchment might spare the whole. All this, however, supposes that the amount of the issues is kept under rigid restraint; for without it, the whole becomes only a machine for taking money from the subjects without consent of Parliament. How much the public did lose by the issues of the Bank of England after its paper was made inconvertible; what portion of this was aken from the stock-holders, and what from the holders of the currency at large; what share was left to the issuers of private paper; and how the reduction of the depreciation as well as the bringing it on might be made a profitable speculation, by the simple contrivance of altering the mode of laying taxes from imposts ad valorem to imposts fixed in nominal amount, may all be demonstrated with mathematical accuracy, by a little help from the higher species of arithmetic, provided the requisite data can be obtained. There is no more mystery in all this than in determining a bankrupt's dividend; provided always that he can be made to surrender facts,
A question that will occur, and to which the proceedings in Parliament have not produced a satisfactory answer, is: What is the Bank of England ? Does any body know; or does any body know that will tell? Is it an office for the issuing of paper currency for the benefit and to the credit of the community, as a victualling office is an office for another specific purpose? If it is not, why is it not ? Whence is it that the Bank of England talks of the absence of riglit to demand an explanation of its receipts and issues, when neither the Customs nor the Excise set up any similar claim in their respective departments? Is it that the government has made over the operations of the Bank by contract, with an understanding that the contractors are to make all they can by all means, and has not yet made over the Customs or the Excise?' If so, what was the contract ? Has what was received been accounted for to Parliament and to the community ? How much is taken off annually from what is levied on the community, in consequence of the said contract? Was the contract a fair one; or has the profit been left as a bonus among a class highly respectable for their wealth and parliamentary influence, as the profits of coining private paper have been left among another class? Did the government sell by this contract only what it had itself a right to ; namely, the power of conducting the public paper in the manner most beneficial to the community -or did it sell what it had itself no right to ; namely, the power of conducting the publie paper in the manner most beneficial to somebody else? All these are questions on which the public are greatly in want of satisfaction; and like the hungry congregation of a cathedral, they “ look up and are not fed."
Four millions of the pieces called sovereigns are proposed to be issued in the interval between the present period and 1829; while the self-same effect might have been produced by keeping in circulation four millions of the notes of a public bank, conducted upon just principles, and the whole difference of value, or four millions, be put into the pockets of the community. The fallacy is lodged in the confounding of public with private paper. The poorer classes suffer much by the one pound notes of private bankers being not paid upon demand ; and, therefore, there shall be no one pound notes of the public bank;—such is the syllogism. There seems to be an unwillingness to comprehend the difference between public and private paper; because it would lead to the result, that private paper is a wrong. It is quite clear that these four millions must run out, as long as there is no check on the issue of public and private paper, but the demand for coins caused by coins running out with a profit; and so would a hundred millions more, if they were poured into the same hole. It is true that the whole value of these will not be lost; but all the expense of coining will be lost. And perhaps on the whole this is the least evil; for if the circulation were kept full of gold, it would only be ready for the first minister to lay his hands on, who should devise, it may be, an unjust war, and say the times required it.
That the evil of issuing private paper has existed with the permission of government, is certainly a reason why the removal of it should be conducted in the manner which will produce the least loss to the individuals concerned ; but, as in other questions of removal, it forms no reason why the evil should not be done away. The life of man is a continued scene of choice between evils and their removal; and the process, which all experience proves to be the wisest, is that of resolutely removing the recurring and accumulating evil, with the least temporary suffering which it is practicable to inflict.
SIR THOMAS LETHBRIDGE AND THE EDINBURGH REVIEW. THE Speech of Sir Thomas Lethbridge, on the Address at the opening of Parliament, bears so striking a resemblance to Mr. NooDLE's Oration in a late Number of the Edinburgh Review, that the coincidence can scarcely be considered accidental. Noodle's Oration.-El. Rev. No. 84.
Sir Thomas Lethbridge.-- Feb. 2. What would our ancestors say to this, This would appear, from several peti• sir ? How does this measure tally with tions which he had to present from manutheir institutions ? How does it agree with facturers and others, against the principles their experience ? Are we to put the wis- of free trade, on which the administration dom of yesterday in comparison with the had acted. He would earnestly recomwisdom of centuries? (Hear, hear.) Be- mend these to the attention of the Presisides, sir, if the measure itself is good, I dent of the Board of Trade, although he ask, is this a time for carrying it into execu- had no great hopes of making any imprestiou? Whether in fact a more unfortunate sion on him after what he had heard last period could have been selected than that night; for it appeared that, notwithstandwhich he has chosen ? If this were an ing the distresses of the country, ministers ordinary measure, I should not oppose it were still determined to adhere to their with so much vehemence; but, sir, it calls new principles. These were advocated both in question the wisdom of an irrevocable on the one side of the house and the other; law... The proposition is new; it is the and there was, besides, a sort of fashion first time it was ever heard in this house. in praising the system. To be sure it did I am not prepared, sir,--this house is not appear rather beautiful in theory; but he prepared, to receive it... If we pass this extremely doubted whether these princibill, what fresh concessions may he not re- ples of free trade were properly applicable quire ?...Was the hon. gentleman, let me to the stute of this country. For a country ask him, always of this way of thinking? newly settled, and in which the people had Do I not remember when he was the advo- to begin their civil and political institucate, in this puse, of very opposite opi- tions, this system might answer; but he nions?... Besides, sir, the measure is un- conceived that it was not at all proper for necessary... The business was one of the an old country like this, whose regulations greatest importance ; there is need of the have long existed, and been blended togegreatest caution and circumspection. Do ther in infinite ramifications. He at least not let us be precipitate, sir. It is impos- much doubled the wisdom of the policy of sible to foresee all consequences. Every ministers, which led them to throw down thing should be gradual. "The example of at once all those barriers which were a neighbouring nation should fill us with erected by our ancestors, and proceed to act alarm. The hon. gentleman has taxed me upon new and different principles. Perhaps with illiberality, sir--I deny the charge— they might say that they had not attempted I bate innovation, but I love improvement. to throw down all the barriers, at once. I dread reform, but I dread it only when But he thought that he might at least say, it is intemperate... Nobody is more con- with truth, tbat such was the bent of their scious than I am of the splendid abilities minds. He still entertained some hope, of the honourable mover, but I tell him at however, that they would pause in their caonce his scheme is too good to be practi- reer, and not force such measures as these cable--it savours of Utopia-it looks well upon the country without being much more in theory, but it wont do in practice~it certain that the effects would be beneficial. will not do, I repeat, sir, in practice, and He again entreated his Majesty's ministers so the advocates of the measure will find, not to be too precipitate, but to pause in if unfortunately it should find its way their measures before they brought misfor. through Parliament. (Cheers.)
tunes on the country, which they could not afterwards so easily remove. The hon. member concluded by saying, that he had thought it necessary to make these general remarks, but that he could not help observing, that the manner in which ministers bad faced the difficulties of the present crisis did them great credit.
MONTHLY ADVICE TO PURCHASERS OF BOOKS, The best advice we can give this month to purchasers of books is to keep their money in their pockets-supposing that they have got any there. In the present ' pecuniary crisis,' however, it is the fashion either not to have any, or to pretend to have none; in both cases, we doubt not, our advice will be deemed peculiarly seasonable. It is not only advice well-adapted to the times, but on every ground the best we can give. Few books have appeared, and these are almost without exception, as far as we know, trashv, both in kind and performance. Some trumpery novels, some twaddling autobiographies, a few volumes of unreadable poetry, and a host innumerable of political pamphlets, constitute the produce of the month. The last are out of our plan; if they were in it at the present moment, our Magazine would be crammed from one end to the other, with Corn Laws, Currency, Existing Distress, Silk Trade, Small Notes, and Mr. Kenrick, subjects sufficiently important, doubtless; but pamphlets are creatures of a day, and will not wait a month for judgment. As to the novels, Brambletye House will be found justly characterised in another part of this Number. The Last Man is an elaborate piece of gloomy folly—bad enough to read-horrible to write. The autobiographies of Cradock and Polwhele, are innocent publications. The few copies destined to escape the trunk-maker, will just deserve standing-room in a very extensive library. The verse will not hear a remark, unless we insert a saving clause for a little volume of Poems by Mrs. C. B. Wilson, of which we may speak more at large in our next.
In our last Number we gave a pretty copious account of a little German book, prefaced and published by the celebrated Göthe, entitled Der Junge Feldjäger, or the Young Rifleman.* Immediately after, if not before, the publication of our Magazine, a translation of this very work was published in London as an original work. The preface of Göthe is garbled and served up as the preface of an English Editor, and in no part of the work does there appear the slightest intimation that it has ever appeared in another shape. The publisher is Mr. Colburn. The public will properly appreciate this attempt at deception; nevertheless, the book is worth reading, and in other times would be worth buying.
* The Adventures of a Young Rifleman in the French and English Armies during the war in Spain and Portugal, from 1806 to 1816. Written by Himself. i Vol.
TABLE TALK. DIMINUTION OF MORTALITY. ADVANTAGES OF Civilization. In the last sitting of the French Academy, (30th January,) M. Fourrier, read a note by M. Benoiston de Chateauneuf, on the changes which the laws of mortality have undergone within the last half century, from 1775 to 1825.
The result of these curious researches is, that, whereas formerly, out of every 100 children born, 50 died within the two first years, not more than 38% Dow perish. In cannot be doubted that this important difference in the mortality of infants is to be ascribed partly to vaccination, and partly to the improvement in the condition of the labouring classes. The comparison is equally in favour of the present time as it regards all the other periods of life. Thus, in every 100 children, 55% formerly died under the age of ten; now, the mortality does not exceed 437. In the same number