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and the money system would thus approach as near to perfection as a paper money circulation could do. - This would also be the case, had we a gold or silver money standard in general circulation, and a paper money convertible, at the will of the holder, into such metallic money on demand. Suppose the mint by law to be compelled to pay 61. an ounce for goldthat is to say, to give 6 sovereigns, or 6 pieces of gold money called pounds, each piece of money or pound coined of the weight of 80 grains of gold, on demand, for every ounce of gold carried to the mint, it is obvious that no one would then sell gold for less. The Bank being also compelled to pay their notes on demand in this gold money--that is to say, to give a sovereign, or a piece of gold money containing 80 grains of gold, for every pound note demanded of them, it is also evident that gold would never rise in price above 6l. an ounce.
Gold would then never rise or fall in its money price, but would invariably remain at 61. an ounce, or at whatever other rate should be fixed upon by law. The same arguments apply to silver, should silver at any time again be made the metallic money standard. In speaking of gold and silver here, it must be understood, that standard gold or silver, or one fixed fineness, is uniformly meant.
If the committees which have been repeatedly appointed, to examine into the state of the currency, instead of occupying so much of their time to show that the currency had become depreciated; a fact which ought to have been obvious to every man who pretended to judge of this question, or who could reason at all upon the subject, and which might have been clearly proved in a very short time; instead of devoting so much of their time to that part of the subject, after having agreed upon that fact, (a fact which even those who before denied it, have since been compelled to assent to,) they ought then to have applied themselves to a careful investigation of the effects which had been introduced into all the transactions of the country through that depreciation, and to have examined into the numerous and permanent acts of hardship and injustice, which must be committed upon the cou.munity by returning to the ancient metallic standard, or by restoriug that depreciated paper-money currency again to its former value ; and they ought to have considered, whether or not, situate as the Country then was, and now is, overburihened with debt and taxes, it would not have been infinitely more just to have permanently continued that depreciation, as an act of necessity which the war had forced upon us. By so doing, or by acting upon the principles of the plan recommended by Lord Lauderdale in 1813, they might have prevented that terrible and ruinous fall in prices, and depreciation in the value of property, and have averted nine tenths of the ruin, misery, and distress, which have already taken place, and the still greater and more permanent injuries and evils, which will take place, if this measure be persevered in. And if the Parliament and the Ministers have the interest of the community at heart, and wish to do justice to the country at large, a committee will be instantly appointed, to inquire into the effects which had been produced by the previous depreciation of the money, and also to inquire into the contrary effects, which will be brought upon the community by returning permanently to the old metallic standard ; and immediately adopt measures to avert the impending and general ruin which must otherwise inevitably take place.
There is no doubt but it is the acting upon the bullion payment plan, or the preparation by the Bank of Ireland to return to the ancient metallic standard, which is now producing the present ruin and distress in that country, and before it proceeds further, those members of Parliament, who are more particularly interested in the welfare of that country, ought to consider, if greater evils even are not being committed in Ireland, than will be committed in this country, through its unjust, ruinous, and cruel operation. The currency of Ireland was about 10 per cent. less in value, than the currency of England ; but it would appear, that the Act of 59 Geo. 3rd. Chap. 99. which compels the Bank of Ireland to pay. in bullion, at the same price with the Bank of England, and at the old standard price of the English mint, is actually a raising of the standard of the Irish currency 10 per cent. more in value in proportion, than is so impolitically and unjustly being done in England; and will be virtually a raising of the taxes in Ireland, and of all debts and incumbrances, 10 per cent, more in value in proportion, than they ought to be.
There is not an instance in our history, (or in that of any country in the world) where the currency, that is, the whole circulating medium or standard of value, having once been depreciated in value, has ever afterwards been enhanced again, which may be proved from authentic documents; and Mr. Peel was equally unfortunate in his observations relating to rency in Edward Sixth and in Elizabeth's reigns, as he has been in William the Third's, having very much mistated what actually did take place, as to the state of the currency, and the alterations made in it, at those periods; which shall be explained in a future letter, in which further arguments shall be adduced, to prove the great injustice and utter impracticability, at this time, of restoring the ancient metallic standard permanently to circulation.
DISTRESSES OF THE COUNTRY:
DEMONSTRATED IN A
RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF LIVERPOOL,
FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY.
That the distresses of the country continue rather to increase than to diminish, is a fact which seems to be admitted on all sides ; and it is equally evident that there is no public confidence, either that the cause of these distresses has been satisfactorily ascertained, or that any of the various remedies proposed will remove the evils, of which there is so much reason to complain. In the Houses of Parliament, the subject, in some shape, is almost daily adverted to; and members, of different interests and opposite politics, are actively and eagerly engaged in discussing those questions, which are supposed to affect our national prosperity. The Poor Laws, the Corn Laws, Cash Payments, Liquidation of the Public Debt, Depression of Trade, Ruin of Agriculture, or Reform in Parliament, are the daily topics of senatorial eloquence. Session after session, since the decisive battle of Waterloo, have the talents of the first men of the age been exercised on various subjects relative to the situation of the country, and nothing has been done, or rather, no cure has been effected. Year after year passes away, and our difficulties augment as we go on.
Remedies seem to be proposed and adopted before the cause of the disease has been accurately defined. For the two or three first years after the peace, the sudden transition from war, and the revulsion, as it was called, of commerce, were said to be the causes of all our calamities; that we were suffering a temporary evil, which would very soon cure itself. Certainly a change from war to peace must affect many thousands of individuals, but it cannot for a moment be admitted to be a national calamity, even of short duration. This opinion
does not now prevail. Experience has taught that it is not true, and people seem to be at a loss to what to attribute the distresses of the country. It is indeed inconsistent with common sense to suppose, that a nation can be in a state of less prosperity in peace than in war ; that poverty can be the consequence of diminished expenses with undiminished means; and that a free commerce to all parts of the world can be productive of less profit to the nation than the confinement of it under severe restrictions, expenses, and dangers, to particular countries, as was the case during the war. These things cannot be; they are utterly at variance with common sense. It is not, therefore, the peace which has produced the evils of which we so loudly complain. There must then be some other cause for our distress. Enlightened statesmen, political economists, and writers of various descriptions, all admitting the fact, have assigned to it different causes ;-The disciples of Mr. Malthus hint at a redundant Popution ;-Mr. Tierney says it is Paper Currency ;-Mr. Brougham, excessive Taxation ;-Mr. Baring, restrictive Trade ;-Sir Francis Burdett, want of Radical Reform ;-While others attribute all the calamities of the country to the Poor Rates.
I will endeavour to prove that these causes, jointly, or separately, are not sufficient to account for the great stagnation and poverty which cover the face of the land ; and first I will show that it is not a redundant Population.
A nation cannot be said to be over-peopled if sufficient food be generally produced for the consumption of its inhabitants: I believe that in the United Kingdom a sufficiency is generally produced, and that it is only in bad seasons that we are compelled to seek the aid of foreign countries : if we had only one half our present population, we might still be sometimes under the necessity, if the seasons became worse, of importing food from abroad. That we do so occasionally is therefore no proof that there are too many people in the country'
"I admit that there is a redundant Population in the educated parts of society, which occasions much misery to that portion who have to maintain themselves by the exercise of mental talent. The competition in the pro. fessions, and in the middle ranks of the trading community, is dreadful. It is the source of much wretchedness to many thousands; and it is our misfortune that these men, of all others, are ihe least fit for emigration. The consideration of this subject will be well worthy the attention of the public, and may tend to discourage that spirit of educating all ranks of people, which seems to be very much the fashion of the day. I do not, however, believe that redundant Population, generally speaking, is the cause of our distress.