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mode of warfare was to discredit them as speedily as possible. For this purpose large quantities were manufactured in England, at Langley paper-mill, near the city of Durham, as was sustained in a court of law, through the fraudulent dishonor of a bill of exchange. These were sent over in ship-loads, and disbursed by royalist agents in all parts of France, particularly in paying emissaries to stimulate the atrocities of the Jacobin Club, of which, singularly enough, Mr. Huskisson, subsequently Minister of England, was a member and co-laborer with Robespierre and Danton, and Louis Philippe, present king of the French, was the door-keeper! These atrocious forgeries, added to the natural tendency of paper, speedily destroyed the “ assignats" as a currency. As soon as the Bank of England suspended, its paper naturally began to depreciate, and two prices to show themselves one for coin and another for paper. To perinit this was speedy ruin. The bank, which previously had issued no notes below £5, was allowed to issue them for £1 and £2. These filled the small channels of circulation. The next step was to make these bits of paper a legal tender. This was not done directly ; but a law was at first passed to exempt from arrest any person who offered notes as a tender, and subsequently the tender was enforced. To prever an apparent rise in the price of gold, a law was passed to inflict punishment for selling coin, unless it was light, for more than its nominal value. At the same time ministers were giving 27s. per sovereign for gold to send abroad. Although persons were prohibited from selling full weight pieces for more than 20s., light ones were sold as high as 25s. each. With the depreciation of paper, forgeries were frequent, and it was made death to utter a forged note. For this offence 501 persons were committed in thirteen years, and 207 hanged ! These murders were committed on the oath of an hired " inspector of bank notes," who swore simply that the note was “not genuine," and the holder was sent to the scaffold. Juries at last grew timid, and the ipse dixit of the inspector was not thought a sufficient death-warrant-more particularly when they were discovered in a few cases to have been mistaken. All this did not prevent the depreciation of the paper currency from showing itself in a general rise in prices. Official salaries were raised, wages advanced, rents increased, and still prices outran the means of the working classes. When the peace took place, in 1815, it was found impossible to resume specie payments amidst such an inflation. The currency of the country was nearly as follows: Bank of Eng. -Country Banks. Total circula.
Excheq. Bills. circula.
.£6,130,000. 23,014,470. .22,000,000 26,901,000.
49,610,000. ..67,000,000 18,326,430. .710.......10,576,245.. .28,902,675. .27,000,000 .. 20,120,000....
7,790,585.... ...27,910,585.. ..30,000,000 When bankers were not required to pay their notes, banks multiplied to any extent ; 740 were created in the fourteen first years of the present century. Their circulation was only partially reported at that time. Alexander Baring, now Lord Ashburton, estimated the amount under £5 at £45,000,000; Mr. Lloyd estimated the whole at £50,000,000; Lord Louderdale placed it at £28,000,000, and the committee of 1818 made it £29,232,000.' The exchequer bills we have put as currency, because, when they are depreciated, they act as such in the discharge of duties. Like our treasury notes, they bear interest; but when money is dear they fall to a discount, and return to the treasury for taxes. With this large circulation, and prices inordinately high, specie payments were impracticable on the return of peace, and two parties contended for its expediency ;-one advocated a continuance of the suspension, on the ground that such a reduction in
1800. 1814, 1822. 1846..
prices as the payment of gold would bring about, would be ruinous and oppressive; and the other contended for a return to specie payments, because of the impracticability of maintaining depreciated paper in a commerce with other nations. It was not until 1819 that a law, called "Peel's Bill,” passed, suppressing notes under £5, after 1822, and providing for a return to cash payments at that date. In the seven years from the close of the war to the resumption, the utmost distress prevailed; disbanded soldiers returned home seeking employ; the vast expenditure of the government ceased; the demand for war munitions, both for England and the nations of Europe, was at an end; re-opened commerce, by allowing foreign goods to come to England, affected certain branches of industry before new ones were created ; and European capital, that had been invested in English stocks, was withdrawn and sent home. All these circumstances affected prices, and would have done so in spite of any inconvertible paper that might have been used as a currency. The banks at the same time rapidly curtailed their issues, adding to the distress, and by so doing had raised paper to the level of specie, when the resumption took place, in 1822 ; but not without dification of that part of the law which required a suppression of small notes. That event has ever been looked upon by one class as an immense“ blunder,” and they strive for its repeal. Certain it is, that if it had not taken place, and inconvertible paper money had continued to be used, the whole system would long since have ceased to be. Resumption was the salvation of the public credit and the funded interest. But, say the anti-bullionists, it has been at the expense of the people and the welfare of the country. The passage of that act, Mr. Canning said, “ set at rest the question forever.” It was hailed by stockholders as their protection, and immediately a season of the wildest speculation commenced ; stocks of all descriptions ran to the highest rates, and immense quantities were created to sell
. All nations of the world took advantage of it, and in two years twenty-six foreign states issued loans in London, amounting to £56,000,000. Of these, sixteen never paid any interest.
This was followed by a revulsion, that in effect broke the bank. In 1832, Mr. Jeremiah Harman, agent for the Russian government, and the head of a banking firm, gave evidence in relation to that crisis before the Parliamentary committee, as follows:
“ Was there a period in December, 1825, during which the bank contemplated the probability of being entirely exhausted of gold? At the latter end of 1825, decidedly."
“Do you recollect the lowest quantity of gold which the bank possessed during the period of December, 1825 ? I do not remember, but it was miserably low.”
“ Was it under £1,300,000 ? Unquestionably."
" What would, in your opinion, bave been the consequence of suspension ? I hardly know how to contemplate it."
The bank issued one pound notes at that period." “Was that done to protect its remaining treasures ?"
Decidedly, and it worked wonders. And it was by great good luck that we had the means of doing it; because one box, containing £1 notes had been overlooked, and they were forthcoming at the lucky moment."
· Had there been no foresight in the preparation of those notes ? None whatever, I solemnly declare ?"
• Do you think that the issue of those £1 notes did arrest a complete drain ? As far as my judgment goes, it saved the credit of the country.”
So narrowly did the system escape 22 years since. It must be remembered, however, that the witness failed last year, having been fraudulently bankrupt for many years. In 1826, a law to restrain the issue of small notes after 1829 was passed, except for Scotland, where they continued to circulate at the solicitation of a deputation of banks, at the head
of which was Sir Walter Scott, who had been ruined by the explosion of 1825. Under the restricted currency the revenue of the government was continually falling short, amid general distress, until, in 1832, Wellington was made " dictator," to put down the popular meetings in favor of the reform bill. He immediately adopted military measures, and when his troops were about to march, a placard with the words, “ To stop the Duke and go
for gold," appeared in all public places. The effect of this was a drain of £2,000,000 in two days from the bank, a resignation of Wellington, and the return of whig ministers to power. The bank had its charter modified in 1832, and, to favor the procurement of a loan of £22,000,000, to emanci pate the negroes of the West Indies, in 1834 she made money so plenty, that speculation ran riot over the face of the earth, and, followed by a bad harvest, resulted in virtual failure in Nov., 1839, when she was saved by a loan from the bank of France. In 1829, Lord Goderich, seeing the temporary benefits to a minister of an inflated currency, had passed a bill to authorise joint stock banks, and these came into operation in 1834, by hundreds, adding to the excitement. In 1844, the charter of the bank expired, and Sir Robert Peel being in power, the opportunity was seized upon 10 carry out the policy began by the currency bill of 1819. It was admitted on all sides that the taxes upon labor were too heavy; and one party said, diminish them by returning to inconvertible paper for home use, and let there be two prices, one for foreign trade in specie and another for internal trade in paper. The government adopted the other plan, on the theory that the money in the country should ebb and flow with the wants of trade, as freely as any other article. . And to enable it to do so, taxes should be removed from consumable articles, and a state of entire free trade approximated. That instead of laborers being relieved of taxes by allowing them to pay in depreciated paper, they should be relieved of the taxes themselves, and the latter drawn from property. With this view, the bank was restrained from issuing more than £14,000,000 of paper on credit, but might issue as many more bills as there was gold to represent it. The country banks were restrained also from issuing more than £8,417,471 of notes on credit. During the last seven years, bullion has accumulated in the bank, until the vast railroad speculations have enhanced the consumption of foreign goods to an inordinate extent, and deficient crops in Ireland have swelled the demand for food. These have created such a run upon the bank that she is again in jeopardy. What will now be the result ? In 1745 she was saved by paying out sixpences. In 1797 she failed, but her credit was saved by an "order in council for “state reasons.” In 1825 she was saved by à" lucky box of notes." In 1832, by the resignation of the Duke of Wellington. In 1839, by help from Paris. In 1847, by what? The Emperor of Russia has sent thither £2,000,000 of gold, but will that suffice? £8,000,000 have been added to the debt, for account of Ireland, and the chances are that £9,000,000 of exchequer bills must be funded, adding £27,000,000 to the national debt. This amount of exchequer bills fell due on May 21, and being at a heavy discount, three modes of meeting them remained to the chancellor, first, to pay them, second, to raise the interest, third, to fund them. The second mode was adopted, and the rate raised to 44 per cent. per annum, when the bills scarcely commanded par. We believe this is the first time that an English government 44 per cent. would not bring more than par. United States treasury notes, in time of war, at 53 interest, bring 106. In this state of affairs, the prospect is that the whole £9,000,000 of exchequer bills must be funded, increasing the permanent debt of the country, through one year of distress, to a sum double the expense of one year's war to the United States. The pre
sent crisis is by far the most formidable that England has encountered ; and it results from the fact, that her available capital has been vastly diminished within a few years, and has been nearly ruined by the losses of the harvest. The available capital of a country consists in its commodities being the annual product of the aggregate labor. Great Britain's consists, first, of the soil, peopled by 27,000,000 people; 2d. Of the dwellings, buildings, factories, machinery, ships, fixed capital ; and thirdly, of the annual produce of the general labor, in the shape of commodities. These latter, with some £40,000,000 of gold and silver, constitute the real wealth. Of the 27,000,000 of people, 8,000,000 live in Ireland, and of these, one-half produce nothing in usual years but what they eat; at the end of the year the soil and the people only remain. There is no “hoarded labor" in the shape of any commodity. The other half raise surplus, which, for the most part, goes out for absentee rents and taxes; sọ that, although they annually earn more than they consume, yet nothing remains at the end of the year, available, in Ireland ; scarcely the fixed capital is kept good, to facilitate the annual products. In England, in usual years, there has been an accumulation of capital. That is to say, at the close of the year there has remained, in the shape of goods, colonial produce, stocks of food, and gold coin and bullion, hoarded labor, to a considerable extent, available on an emergency. The accumulation has been aided, indeed, by the fact, that the people at large consume less than they ought, while profuse expenditure is confined to but few. The soil of England and Ireland has generally yielded enough to feed all the inhabitants of Great Britain, that is, to keep them from starving; and the labor of the manufacturing population has produced exportable goods somewhat in excess of what was necessary to pay for imports of raw materials and colonial produce. Some labor has, therefore, been " hoarded,” in the shape of gold and silver, increased stocks of goods, and of colonial and foreign produce in warehouses. In former years, money pressure has been caused by too large an importation of these articles diminishing the price of gold, and it has been relieved by sending them to the continent to sell, and draw against, by which operation exchanges would turn, and gold flow into the country. This year the pressure arises from different causes. In the first place, £100,000,000 was appropriated to the building of railroads, and 500,000 persons were employed. Now, the application of such a sum of money does not mean the actual payment of this amount in coin. It means that $500,000,000 worth of commodities were appropriated to the consumption of 500,000 persons, taken from other employments, and put to the construction of iron roads. So large an employment required higher wages; that is to say, iron masters asked more for iron, and were compelled to pay more to their workmen; all the persons employed on the roads got more, and consumed more commodities than usual. Probably £30,000,000 more of commodities or capital was consumed, than would have been the case had usual employments been continued. The failure of the harvests took £30,000,000 more capital; the scarcity of raw materials, particularly cotton, took £30,000,000 more capital from the country, by diminishing the proceeds of labor, and requiring more money to pay for the same quantity of material. For these reasons, mainly, the stocks of food, colonial produce, and goods, have been exhausted, and the only description of capital available is gold and silver. This has been expended to the extent of £7,000,000 ; and even should there be a good harvest, £20,000,000 may be required. No other description of wealth will answer but gold, wherewith to buy food. In this state of affairs what is the bank to do? or what avails it on what “ system of finance" its business is conducted ? The proposition to issue £l notes, to the extent of
£30,000,000, is based on the notion that they will rapidly supplant gold in circulation, and drive it into the bank, where it will be made available to export; that is to say, it is a proposition to expend the last resource of hoarded labor or capital ; and, as a desperate movement, to stave off starvation for the moment, may be a good one; but suppose the notes all out, the gold extracted from circulation, and sent to the United States for food, and that the next harvest should be short, where then will be the bank and this funding system ?
JACQUELINE PASCAL. *
EVERY thing that concerns those great men with whose names we have been familiar from our very childhood, is possessed of a deep interest. We are not satisfied to know all we can of their lives as public men; we wish for something more. We wish to seat ourselves around their family fireside, to become acquainted with those beings who, during their infancy or their youth, watched over them as the guardian angels of their lives.Mr. Cousin, in the work we have before us, was no doubt actuated by this natural impulse. After having studied, with that energetic perseverance which is one of the characteristics of this distinguished French writer, the works of Blaise Pascal, his attention was called to the family of the great philosopher. Pascal himself is known to every man who pretends to any education. He is the pride, not only of France and of Catholicism, but of the whole Christian and civilized world. His works have been read, not only in the original, but also in all modern languages, and are justly ranked among the most remarkable productions of the human mind. The two sisters of this extraordinary man had heretofore been almost unknown; the glory of their brother seemed to have cast them in the shade; and yet the memory of these two women was well worthy of being preserved. Jacqueline, in particular, deserved to be remembered. The affinity between her and her brother is remarkable, and could not fail to strike one who, like Mr. Cousin, had spent so much time in meditating on the works of that immortal genius. He consequently resolved to give the world an account of the life and writings of so remarkable a woman,—we would rather say, child--for she preserved through life that virgin purity which bears so strong a resemblance to the innocence of childhood. “Gifted with a genius,” says Mr. Cousin, "which, with a greater degree of cultivation, might have made her an incomparable person ; beautiful and full of animation; of a serious turn of mind, but an amiable character ; endowed with the greatest facility for poetry, she was born to be the delight of her family and the ornament of a select circle of friends. But, suddenly seized with an exaggerated spirit of piety, she renounced the world, and, at the age of twenty-six, retired into a convent, where she died, ten years later, in all the anguish of a troubled conscience."
Such is the person whom Mr. Cousin has delineated in his book. The method he has followed in the composition of the work has given to it a
* Jacqueline Pascal. Par Victor Cousin. Paris : Didot. 1845.