« FöregåendeFortsätt »
who agreed to give them thatamount, rofit by the wrong. By the passing of Mr. Peel's Bill, it is considered that twenty millions a year are thus added to the taxes; I agree therefore with the first speaker, in attributing our distress principally to enormous taxation, and I would have a rigid economy enforced, but one far more efficacious than he hints at. With the argument of the second speaker, so far as it is directed aainst the re-enactment of the Bank striction Act, I have nothing to do, being as averse to that act as he can be. But when he speaks of the fictitious value of paper money, he advances to a position which I know to be untenable, and can easily prove to be so. The Bank-note and promissory note are alike the representatives of value, and they carry that, value with them, let them pass into whatever hands they may. No man can get the one or give the other without some property to that amount becoming responsible for the bill. But do not men deceive the Banker? does not the Banker himself often fail?aud are not promissory notes often returned for want of effects?, Certainly: but in all this the country is not entitled to complain, of the fictitious value of paper money, for in each instance some other person's property has made good the deficiency, and he has no .# to complain of a loss to which, perhaps, want of due caution, or too, great eagerness for gain, exsed him: still less is he entitled to lame paper money, as the cause of his loss, for it was properly imputable to his giving credit. ...But shall we be told that nobody ought to trust another, person? Yes: absurdities at as this have found advocates of e in the frenzy with which men have been led to quarrel with anything, when something, they know not what, distresses and provokes them, But whither does the view of the opponents of a free paper currency carry them P. By the mouth of the second speaker, who says, he expresses the sense of those financiers who are best acquainted with the whole bearing of this great question, we learn, that the agricultural interest is not yet above half way down to the level to which they expect it ...to sink. The English farmer is to be
brought to a competition with the foreign farmer who produces his grain at 40s. a quarter. Now let us pause, and seeing what misery has attended our present reduction of price, let us only give a moment's consideration to the fate which in the opinion of this gentleman and his friends awaits us. They have witnessed an increase of taxation to the amount of twenty millions a year, by the operation of Mr. Peel's Bill, but this is only while it is proceeding to restore money to its true standard; and “one good effect of it is the daily bringing the English farmer to a state of competition with the foreign grower.” And how many millions will that cost us? Far above twenty more. Yes, it has ruined hundreds of the most industrious and respectable families in this country, and it will according to this information continue daily to add to their numbers, till the farmer and all who are dependent on him are ground down to the dust, “low as their rooting #". o This brings me to the third speaker, who, as if to show the propriety of all
this destruction of the farmer's pro
perty, calls it “the work of retributive justice," and says, “that to repeal the act would be absolute spoliation.” If I am wrong, I beg his pardon, but I understand, by retributive justice, that the farmer is losing now, in some proportion to his former gains.
But perhaps it is not the same man
who gained? Then it was his father or his grandfather, as the wolf said to the lamb in the fable. Yes; and the , offending farmer who did gain, is as much deserving punishment for it as the unoffending sheep. He had a beneficial lease or a kind landlord, and he made a handsome profit of his farm. But he did not contrive all this benefit to himself—he did not make a contract, and then make a law turning that contract more to his own advantage than his unsuspecting landlord imagined. He worked hard, had much enterprize, cultivated his land with superior skill, and improved in his fortune as might be expected from these exertions, as well as from the greater, plenty of money. But he did not keep that money in his chest. He lived freely, and even expensively, communicating to a vast number of tradesmen the wealth he derived from the soil. They were equally enriched, and raised in respectability with himself. , And as his leases fell in his landlord was not forgotten. It is, perhaps, the endeavour of the latter to secure to himself some portion of this benefit rather longer than is reasonable that supplies the expression of retributive justice; for that term may be applicable to the payment of rent, though not to the payment of taxes. As for the dread of spoliation in the case of recent contracts, set the injustice of the one case against that of the other; and, in the opinion of all impartial men, the obligation to restore the currency to its proper level would be unquestionable. , Let any one calculate the odds for himself: the farmer, who pays the same rent and taxes now which he paid at the end of the war, pays annually one-third at the least more than he ought to pay: we know how many of our neighbours and friends are in this predicament, and pretty generally to what amount they are by this means annually impoverished; and we can compare them with the instances which we know of to the contrary, where the landlord or the contractor will be in danger of losing by leases granted at the present value of money. It is to compare the wound made by a pin, to that of a sword which runs you through the body. But if there should be any real cause for dreading absolute spoliation, let it be avoided. The risk is dissipated by a word. Let the act, which places our currency on its true basis, require, that all contracts entered into within a certain period after the passing of Mr. Peel's Bill, shall be fulfilled in gold; in that case, if a depreciation of paper should ensue, neither of the contracting parties will be injured. Having shown how futile all the objections are which have been urged against a free paper currency, I have only now to .. upon all who are interested in the revival of general proserity, to join in petitioning Pariament to grant the only measure which seems likely to promote it. The agriculturist will need no encouragement, the spur is in his sides, and no other plan offers for its removal. The cause is not less that of the tradesman, manufacturer, and merchant; they will suffer mext, and
speedily too; it is only the loss of the farmer's capital first, in the low prices of produce, which retards for a time the same ruin in its approach to them: nor will the lord of the soil, or the fundholder, escape. Petitions so signed cannot fail of accomplishing their object; for what can the Whigs desire more than a retrenchment to the amount of twenty millions a year; and the Tories have no excuse for non-compliance, who attribute all the distress to Mr. Peel's Bill, and whose only reason for not desiring its repeal, is a groundless fear for those who have entered into recent contracts. We may calculate therefore on having both sides with us in Parliament.
The following form of a petition was drawn up at the request of some friends who wished to be prepared for a public meeting likely to be convened in an important agricultural district of one of the midland counties. It contains, of course, more than is necessary to be inserted in petitions in general, but it will suggest, to those who may wish to adopt the prayer of it, topics worth their consideration. The prayer itself comes into a very small compass: the reason for this is obvious. It was wished neither to embarrass the question, nor to appear to dictate to Parliament, by introducing subjects of detail. Whether the Country bankers should be required to pay in gold, or in Bank of England notes, (the former plan affording a more secure material to those who would rather lose their interest by hoarding money, than entrust their property to their neighbours) is a question for the consideration of Parliament; but not at all necessary to be determined, in order to arrive at the merits of the case before us. In like manner, whether an arrangement should be made with the Bank of England, relative to the establishment of banking companies throughout England, a measure which has been attended with good effects in Scotland, and which the Bank of England charter precludes us from adopting, as it is not essential to the fulfilment of our plan, is left to be argued on its own grounds in the proper place. For the usual recommendations of retrenchment, &c. no precedent here can be wantcd.
Petition roit a rite e PAPER CURRENCY convertti B L E AT ALL TIMEs
To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled, We the Gentry, Clergy, Freeholders, and Occupiers of land in the Hundred of , in the County of , most humbly represent to your Honourable House, That, convinced of the propriety of requiring the Bank of England to resume Cash payments, we yet regret that the end has been attained only by the annihilation of a large amount of Paper currency, which as a representative of value is equally necessary with a Metallic currency to carry on the affairs of the country, and the destruction of which has entailed upon us a greater evil than that from which it was the intention of Parliament to relieve us. By the alteration in the value of the currency which this measure has occasioned, every former money enagement still, subsisting, whether )etween individuals or with government, has been rendered insupportably oppressive to the party which is bound to provide the money; and a scale of low prices has been introduced, which deprives us even of the means of paying our rents and taxes, the amount of which was calculated and agreed on under the operation of a more abundant currency. We would respectfully observe to your Honourable House, that England is very differently circumstanced from other nations, and that from her peculiar situation she requires a very different kind of circulating medium from that which is proper for other countries. Standing on the same footing with them as to the necessity of having a circulating medium adapted to all the ordinary purposes of trade, foreign and domestic, England has doubtless equal occasion with them for a Metallic currency. But in regard to her peculiar situation, from having, in addition to this ordinary demand, the task of supplying annually the very large amount of money which the interest of the national debt, and other charges, require to be placed in the hands of government, she has evi
dently need of an extra and a peculiar currency. Our paper money has supplied us with this extra currency, and with it we were enabled to pay these charges for the public service without suffering any inconvenience from the want of a larger Metallic currency. The only defect of the system was the non-convertibility of 'aper into Gold at all times. But all our money-transactions are now to be represented by a Metallic currency, and thus we are reduced to the following alternative: either to have a small amount of this currency, and the same prices with other countries, out of which prices our public charges are to be defrayed; or to have a larger amount of this currency, and prices so much higher as will include in some degree the amount of those public charges. The former condition would load us with a burthen, the insupportable nature of which we may in part judge of from the weight of taxation on our present low prices; and the latter condition would inflict no less distress upon us, by increasing the number of Absentees, by forcing our extra Metallic currency out of the country to enrich other nations, and by rendering us in the mean time unable to cope with them in foreign markets. And it is not only unjust to ourselves, but a monstrous folly, to suffer other countries to participate in the interior traffic of England,-to give them a beneficial interest in the amount of our taxation—to alienate to them, without claim of right, or shadow of return, our proper and peculiar wealth; yet this is done by requiring Gold to serve as the medium by which property actually in this country is transferred from one resident individual to another. For this purpose a mere memorandum on a slip of paper would suffice; and what is a note of hand but such a memorandum stamped P Again, what is a bank-note, but a note of hand circulating without limitation, till the holder chooses to consider it due, and presents it for payment? And a bank-note possesses this advantage, with the fur
ther quality of not requiring the endorsements of all who have possessed it, to guarantee its validity. We make these remarks to show, that bank-notes are the representatives not of fictitious, but of real property. They have this additional recommendation, they prevent the property which they represent from being carried out of the country. The convenience of these notes has led to their general acceptation as money, and they now form a peculiar currency, which, being the natural product of taxation, and the legitimate representative of that property which constitutes the national debt, is not only well adapted to our peculiar situation, but has the further advantage of always keeping pace in amount with the demands for public service. For instance, if fresh taxes are imposed, or fresh loans are required, more of this peculiar currency will be drawn into circulation; for though we cannot create gold and silver on an emergency, we possess that faculty over paper money: if, on the other hand, taxes should be remitted, or any part of the debt be reduced, paper money equivalent will be thrown out of circulation, to be re-absorbed, perhaps, in some property which had before been pledged for its security. During this fluctuation in the amount of our Paper currency it will of course happen, that it will bear, at different times, a different proportion to that of the Metallic currency. At such times, we humbly conceive, the natural course would be to let the Paper currency find its own value in exchange against the precious metals; and it is certainly the best course, for no uniform value can be assigned to that which is essentially and for ever variable in amount. And we pray that your Honourable House, with a view to fix the Paper currency of this country on a permanent and equitable basis, would lease to rescind an Act, the proessed object of which is the restriction of this Paper currency to the proportion which it bore to gold prior to the year 1797; a proportion so far from being adequate to the present wants of the nation, whose taxes and debt have increased in the ratio of 8 to 3 since that period,
that it was even then obviously inefficient and impossible to be kept at that level, as the passing of the Bank Restriction Act testifies. We presume not to say what positive enactments may be necessary to give the requisite protection to our Paper currency. If the price of gold be given in every Gazette, and if the Directors of the Bank of England be required to sell gold at that price on demand, in exchange for their own notes, it may, perhaps, be sufficient. The country banker may either pay his own notes in gold, or in those of the Bank of England. At the same time, it will be well to allow to all persons the privilege of partaking in the advantages, if any, of the free purchase and sale of the precious metals, whether in coin or otherwise. Among the beneficial consequences of placing our Paper currency on a proper footing, we look with confidence to the following: 1. An increase in its issue, which, causing an advance in the prices of all commodities, will make the present rate of rent and taxes payable with less inconvenience, and will thereby benefit the tenant and the land proprietor, the trading and the mercantile interest. 2. This advance on the price of our goods at home, * imposed solely by our national and peculiar burthens, and represented by a currency peculiar to England, will leave the Metallic price unaffected by the advance. It follows, therefore, that we shall be able to sell our goods for the same quantity of gold as other nations, the difference of cost being made up to us by the increased value of that gold when it comes to England. The same result will attend the operation if carried on by barter: the goods of foreign countries will sell here for as high a price in English currency as the goods cost which are exchanged for them. So that the transaction, when completed, will be found, as far as price is concerned, equally advantageous to the English as to the foreign merchant: and hence it is evident, that our foreign trade would not suffer from the measure. 3. With a free Paper currency we shall be able to withdraw from circulation a considerable portion of our Metallic currency, for purposes of use. or show ; and thus gold and silver will become more abundant in our houses, which, independent of other advantages, will secure us a store of the precious metals, serviceable, perhaps, at some future period, should war unfortunately call again for its well known sinews. 4. An invariable standard of value will be established, to which the nation may constantly appeal for determining the relative worth of any property; for instance, Rent, calculated and agreed on in gold, at the value of 4!. per ounce, would give the landlord precisely the same value when gold should rise to be worth 5l. per ounce; and it would be the same to him, whether he received the payment each time in gold, or whether 100l. at one time, and at another 125l. were given him in paper money as the equivalent; and the tenant would find it equally just in both cases. In like manner, if a Corn protecting price were considered fair
and just at the value of an ounce of gold per quarter, it would remain un
disturbed as a fair price, though that ounce of gold, and with it the quarter of corm, should advance in value from 4l, to 5l. . . " - -
- * . . . . . . . . . . * -- * * * * =
REPORT of Music. "
The most important circumstance attending the art of which it is our province to speak, is the patronage which His Majesty has begun to extend towards English Music and Musicians. . When it is recollected that the determined 1 attachment of the late King to the compositions of Handel was productive of a strong influence upon the taste of the country, and served, as much as the intrinsic excellence of the music itself, to rivet the general, and almost exclusive favour to the works of that composer; such an event cannot but be of moment to native professors. With such establishments as the Opera, and the Philharmonic Concerts, giving a decided support to foreign musicians and foreign music, and thereby leading most, if not all other concerts towards the same performances, English talent certainly had not fair play on English ground. 5
and to make *} able in gold, on t
5. When gold shall have advanced in price, with respect to our Paper currency, it will cause a kind of tax to fall on Absentees, whose wealth cannot then be converted into a Metallic or European currency without losing its English value. Thus, if gold were 5l. per ounce, the absentee, for every 100l. here, would only carry abroad 80l.
Lastly. No one could be injured by the depreciation of the circulatin medium; for gold, being .# in quantity, would be unaltered in value; and Paper money, though subject to variation, would always be increased in quantity before it became reduced in quality.
We therefore humbly pray, that your Honourable House will please to take the subject of a free Paper currency into consideration, and adopt such measures as you in your wisdom shall deem most expedient, to remove the present injurious restraints upon it, and to allow it free action; to protect it equally with the Metallic currency of the realm;
the equitable principle of mutual value.
The works of Haydn and Mozart had in themselves sufficient to attract the musical public, and every impulse that compositions could possibly receive has been addressed to the general circulation of their melodies and pieces. To these Rossini has succeeded, as the acquaintance with the Italian language has daily become more general. The music of the Italian composers is far more voluptuous, far more airy and melodious, and is directed to the senses; while such pieces of English construction as are best known, and have maintained their ground at the ancient concert, the oratorios, and provincial meetings, the compositions of Purcell, Handel, and Arne, speak only to the sublimer affections. Foreign instrumentalists and singers, taken en masse, have also been more eminently gifted, and more