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And this was done at the very time that the supply of the metallic circulation in the whole world had sunk from 52,000,000 dollars to 28,000,000, and that the consumption of gold and silver from many causes had so much increased; and in a country weighed down with public and private debt, almost entirely dependant upon the price of the articles of industry, and where millions were the holders of commodities upon which a fall in price was necessarily ruinous! It may be doubted whether speculation, miscalled philosophy, ever yet conferred so disastrous a gift upon mankind.
The necessary effect of this prodigious diminution in the circulating medium, was a great fall in the money price of all articles of commerce, a great enhancement in the weight of all money debts, and a great contraction in the efforts of commercial enterprise. Grain, and with it almost all the articles of commerce, fell to nearly half their value; wages declined, consumption decreased; the holders of commodities found them constantly getting cheaper on their hands. Speculation, instead of being profitable, turned out ruinous, and all dealers with slender capital speedily found themselves in the Gazette. Industry was blighted by the constant fall in the price of its produce; and enterprise cramped by the experienced impossibility of finding the accommodation requisite to sustain its exertions. Thus distrust, gloom, and despondency became universal; credit, that most sensitive of created things, was suspended, and successful enterprise, confined to the class who could command considerable capital, was limited to a comparatively few hands, and that among the most wealthy, among the promoters of commercial undertaking.
The effect of the change upon public and private debts, was, if possible, still more disastrous. By reducing the price of every article of life, and consequently the income of every person dependant on productive industry, at least a third, it added by that amount both to the national and every private debt. The debt of L.800,000,000 has become as burdensome as twelve hundred mil
The contraction of credit which has arisen from this enormous diminution of the paper circulation of the country, is one great cause of the extreme distress which has prevailed in England of late years. Loans and accommodation of every sort, it is to be recollected, are plentiful or scanty just in proportion as paper is plentifully or scantily issued from the great fountains of credit. The moment the Bank of England contract their issues, every bank in England does the same; credit is suspended; every man finds his whole creditors on his back at once, while he experiences proportional difficulty in getting payment of his own accounts. In such a state of things, industry is necessarily palsied, and expenditure diminishes from the contraction of the supplies on which it is dependant. Every man practically acquainted with business knows that this is precisely the state in which industry has been in England ever since the suppression of the small notes fully took effect.
From these considerations we may perceive the practical wisdom of the vigorous stand which the Scotch made against the destruction of their paper currency in 1826, and the fatal rashness with which political speculation then threatened to dry up all the sources of our national prosperity. By rising like one man against the ruinous innovation with which English theory threatened to visit this land, the blow was averted, and what has been the consequence? Scotland has eminently prospered during the period when England has so grievously suffered, and till the Reform agitation commenced, no
distress was here perceptible: while the English revenue has been con stantly declining, that of Scotland has been constantly increasing, and is now L.5,113,000; being L.700,000 more than that derived from Ireland, though it has at least four times the extent of arable land, and more than three times the number of inhabitants. The revenue is indeed now declining, and distress is universal; but that is from the agitation of Reform, which, like a destroying angel, is wasting all the energies of this once prosperous land.
We never can be sufficiently proud of that great national stand which the Scotch made against the suppression of their small notes in Spring 1826, and the defeat of that stretch of theoretical tyranny which prompted the English Political Economists, and so large a portion of the Government, to declare Bellum ad Internecionem against the system of Scotch Banking. Had their efforts proved successful: had they not been met and defeated by a national feeling as strong, and a national union as complete in this country as that which defeated Edward II. at Bannockburn, the admirable system of Scottish Banking, tried by a century's experience, which had been weighed in the balance and not found wanting, would have been sacrificed at the altar of English innovation. Because the English country banknotes were on a bad footing, therefore they were clear to demolish the Scotch bank-notes which were on a good footing; and because bankruptcies to an alarming extent had followed the rotten English paper, therefore sweeping destruction was to visit the sound Scottish circulation. It may be doubted whether reckless innovation, blind theory, ever yet proposed so unnecessary and perilous a change in any country. And we tell the innovators of England how it was defeated; not by reason, not by eloquence, not by facts, for they were brought in as great profusion against it, as they have lately been against the Reform bill; but by national exertion and steadfast resolution. Slowly and reluctantly the English Government were brought to allow Scotland to retain the system which had covered its valleys with harvests, and dotted its
mountains with flocks; which had multiplied its cities, and quadrupled its riches; which had studded the Atlantic with its ships, and covered the world with its fabrics.
Experience has now abundantly proved the admirable wisdom of the Scotch system of banking. It has stood the terrible trial of December 1825, which produced such widespread misery in the southern part of the island, as well as of an hundred years before that time. It has sustained the fortune of this part of the empire amidst much subsequent suffering, arising from extraneous causes; and while the revenue of England and Ireland have been constantly declining under the contrac tion of industry, consequent on the destruction of so large a part of their currency and credit, that of Scotland has been constantly increasing, under the fostering influence of the banking establishments ;-a memorable example of what can be effected against the combined force of philosophers, innovators, and government, even by a small portion of the empire when cordially and firmly united; and a lesson to present statesmen in a still greater cause, and in defence of yet more important interests, never to despair that the voice of truth will at last prevail, if sent forth by united bands, and supported by courageous resolution.
This cause, indeed, is of such universal and powerful operation, that it must have produced effects of still more wide-spread misery than have actually occurred, if it had not been counteracted by other circumstances of an opposite tendency, which helped to support the drooping energies of the nation under so rude a shock.
The first of these was the vast and rapid increase of the population, amounting to no less than 16 per cent on the last ten years, which has extended the domestic consumption of manufactures to a very considerable degree, and compensated to many branches of industry the failuré of the national income. These additional mouths behoved to find subsistence: they set themselves accordingly vigorously to discover channels of employment; and thus under the pressure of necessity have contrived to bear up the national
fortunes, even under r the most ad- 1820
Universally we see that the
Solo 94t nogu beskond to stst Table of the British Revenue from 1818 downwards.bony gb 1979 54,100,000 53,440,000
1824 (Joint-stock mania) 56,000,000 57,662,000
1828(Small note act begun)57,485,000 1829 55,824,000
1830 (Beer tax taken off) 54,840,000 1831 (Reform) 46,420,000
Thus it appears that the revenue has declined fully eleven millions since 1821. Much of this decline is no doubt to be ascribed to the progressive reduction of taxes during that period; but much is also to be attributed to the change of prices which has taken place, and the universal fall in the value of every species of industrious property since the demolition of the bank paper in 1828, by the operation of the small-note act passed in 1826,
collected, is, not whether the counThe question, it is always to be retry banks in England were on a good footing prior to the catastrophe of December 1825, or whether some great change would have been expedient in the constitution of these establishments. This may all be, and to all appearance is, perfectly true. The real question is, whether it was either expedient or necessary, instead of putting the banks late the small notes altogether, and on a solid foundation, to annihireduce the national paper circulation from L.60,000,000 to L.29,000,000 ? When we consider the enormous amount of that reduction, and the simultaneous contraction of the supply of the precious metals, from the distracted state of the South American colonies, and the great amount of indirect taxes which have at the thing that appears astonishing is, that same time been remitted, the only the revente down to 1830 maintained its amount so well as it did. The immense reduction in the last year, is clearly owing to a totally different cause, and is to be ascribed to the springs of industry in the country. Reform agitation drying up the
It need hardly be observed that no argument can be drawn from this consideration in favour of that most disastrous and infernal of all the projects of the Radical Reformers, an equitable adjustment, as it is called,
her slaves, the flame
tre of the Empire would speedily set
in other words, a direct robbery, of the national debt. The contract with the fundholder contemplated no change on the recurrence to cash payments; the bond of the nation contains no clause dispensing with full payment in the current coin of the realm. The fundholders have been better situated than the industrious classes for the last ten years; but have they forgot how matters stood during the war? Have they forgot the twenty long years during which the price of commodities was constantly rising, and the prosperous state they were in during that period, while the fundholders and the annuitants were languishing in want and privation? A similar change would take place to a great degree on the recurrence of any considerable war; and is the nation, on the recurrence in these demoof a long peace, to break faith with cratic days; the mobs in the centre those who supported them during a of political influence prevail I over the period of difficulty and danger? The greatest interest at its extremities, first moment that any invasion of the because they are the depositaries of funded property takes place, is the power, and the dismemberment of last not only of the faith and honour, the Empire must be the consequence. but the prosperity and the independ-This puts the ence of England.
It would appear that Ministers are unable, even on the plainest subject
own Putfit hoor P are not the colonies
our presenormous folly of
in their finance clearest light. S Seeing, as they did, as they ought to
exported with finance, to avoid the have done, that the na the rat
ruinous tendency of their political speculations. They proposed to take off the Tobacco Tax last session, which burdened no one and injured no one; and now they resist the reduction of one-fifth on the sugar duties. They cannot afford, they say, to lose L.900,000 a year to save colonies on the brink of ruin from destruction; but they did not hesitate last year to propose to relinquish double that sum to secure the applause of the tobacco-chewers of England. The refusal of relief to the West Indies is monstrous. If a new tax were necessary in Britain to supply the deficiency, it should be imposed rather than run the risk of losing colonies which take off more than a third of the whole British ex
ports. Their case is the more crying, because they are suffering entirely under the consequences of British government; weighed down with a load of taxation of 100 per cent. on all their produce, and burning from the conflagration lighted by the flame of Reform in this country. Two months ago we predicted that the delusion of Reform and fanaticism in the cen
had been declining at
THE blue, deep, glorious heavens!-I lift mine eye,
Of their calm temple still!-that never yet
That now still clearer, from their pure expanse,
As of kind eyes, that woo my soul away:
I bless Thee, O my God!
That I have heard thy voice, nor been afraid,
And the wild sounds of waters uncontroll'd,
And if thy Spirit on thy child hath shed
Far in man's heart-if I have kept it free
And pure-a consecration unto Thee :
I bless Thee, O my God!
If my soul's utterance hath by Thee been fraught
I bless Thee, O my God!
Not for the brightness of a mortal wreath,
That I have loved-that I have known the love