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in Ireland. In the year 1824, they surrendered this exclusive privilege, as far as regards those places which are situated at a greater distance than fifty Irish miles from Dublin; and in 1826, the Bank of England made a similar surrender, with regard to places at a greater distance than sixty-five miles from London. As eleven Irish miles are equal to fourteen English miles, fifty Irish miles are equal to about sixty-five English miles. But it must be observed, that Dublin is situated on the sea-coast, therefore, the Bank of Ireland had only the monopoly of a semicircle, whose radius is fifty Irish miles. But London being situated inland, the Bank of England had the monopoly of a whole circle of 130 English miles in diameter.
The Bank of Ireland was established by an Act of Parliament passed in 1782, 21 and 22 Geo. III. cap. 16. The following are the provisions of this Act :
The capital was £600,000, which was lent to Government at 4 per cent. No one person was permitted to subscribe more than £10,000. If the bank incurred debts to a greater amount than their capital, the subscribers were answerable in their private capacity to the creditors in proportion to their subscriptions. The bank were not either to borrow or to lend money at a higher interest than 5 per cent., nor to engage in any business but banking. The stock to be transferable and deemed personal estate, and as such to go to the executors of the holders, and not to their heirs. No transfer of bank stock to be valid, unless registered in the bank books in seven days from the contract, and actually transferred in fourteen days; the charter to expire at twelve months' notice after the lst day of January, 1794, and repayment of all sums due by the Government to the bank.
The charter is dated May 15, 1783, and contains as follows:-Such persons as should subscribe before January 1,
1784, the sum of £600,000, were to be formed into a corporation, to be styled the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland. The corporation were to have a governor, deputy-governor, and fifteen directors; which governor, deputy-governor, and directors, or any eight or more of them, shall be called a Court of Directors, for the management of the affairs of the corporation.
Fifteen directors shall be chosen annually, between March 25 and April 25 in each year, and not above twothirds of the directors of the preceding year to be reelected.
The notice for the meeting of general courts of proprietors to be affixed upon the Royal Exchange in Dublin at least two days before the time of meeting. The qualification for a voter at a general court shall be £500 stock, to be held for six months preceding, unless it came by will, marriage, &c. The qualification for governor shall be £4,000 stock, and for deputy-governor £3,000, and for director £2,000.
No dividend shall at any time be made by the said governor and company, save only out of the interest, profit, or produce, arising by or out of the said capital, stock, or fund, or by such dealing, buying, or selling, as is allowed by the said Act of Parliament; nor without the consent of the members of the said corporation, in a general court qualified to vote as aforesaid.
The governor, or deputy-governor, shall summon four general courts at least in every year. One in the month of September, one in December, one in April, and another in July.
The governor or deputy-governor shall also summon a general court, whenever requested to do so by nine members, each holding £500 stock.
If governor and deputy-governor be absent one hour
after the usual time of proceeding, at any general court or court of directors, a chairman shall be chosen for that time only, who shall have like privileges as the governor or deputy-governor.
Governor, deputy-governor, or chairman, not to vote in general courts, or court of directors, save when there shall happen to be an equal number of votes on each side.
The Bank of Ireland commenced business at St. Mary's Abbey, June 25, 1783. After the Union, its office was removed to the Parliament House.
In the year 1821, the capital of the Bank of Ireland was increased from £2,500,000 to £3,000,000 Irish currency. The additional sum of £500,000 was taken from the bank's surplus fund and lent to the Government at 4 per cent., to be repaid by the 1st January, 1838. The increased capital was divided among the proprietors, at the rate of £20 for every £100 they possessed. In consideration of this increase of capital, the bank consented to a clause in this Act, whereby persons in partnership, residing fifty miles from Dublin, might carry on the business of banking, al. though such partnership might consist of more than six partners; but that such partnership should possess no other privilege than being allowed to sue and be sued in the name of a public officer, should Parliament hereafter think fit to grant such a power. This privilege was of little practical use, for, according to the construction put upon the Act, it required that all the partners in these banks should reside in Ireland.
In this year an Act was passed (5 Geo. IV. cap. 73), “to relieve bankers in Ireland from certain restraints imposed by the provisions of the 29 Geo. II., and to render all and each of the members of certain co-partnerships of bankers, which may be established, liable to the engagements of
such co-partnerships, and to enable such co-partnerships to sue and be sued in the name of their public officer.”
Those clauses in the former Act that required the names of all the partners to be subscribed to the notes, and which prohibited bankers being traders, are by this Act repealed. Banking partnerships exceeding six persons, and carrying on business at any place beyond fifty miles from Dublin, shall be registered at the Stamp Office, Dublin; and also the names of the public officers in whose names such partnerships sue and are sued. The names of those public officers were also required to be subscribed to all notes and receipts issued by the company. Judgments against the public officers to operate as judgment against the partnership, and execution upon judgment may be issued against any member of the society, and the public officer to be saved harmless.
In the year 1825 was passed the “Act for the better regulation of co-partnerships of certain bankers in Ireland.” It was obtained by the directors of the Provincial Bank of Ireland, as the Acts previously granted did not furnish the facilities which the Provincial Bank required for the beneficial exercise of its operations. It confirmed the permission granted by former Acts to establish joint-stock banks at a greater distance than fifty miles from Dublin, and
permitted persons resident in Great Britain to become shareholders in such banks. The banks were required to register at the Stamp Office in Dublin an account of the names of the firms, the several partners therein, and the public officers thereof. The partnerships shall sue and be sued in the name of their public officers. Parties obtaining judgments in Ireland may authorize the acknowledgment of like judgment in Great Britain ; and, in like manner, parties obtaining judgment in Great Britain, may proceed thereon in Ireland. Judgments against public officers shal
operate against the society, and execution upon judgment may be issued against any member of the co-partnership. All transfers of shares must be registered at the Stamp Office.
In this year, too, an. Act of Parliament was passed to assimilate the currency of Ireland to that of England. It is entitled, “ An Act to provide for the assimilation of the currency and monies of account throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” (6 Geo. IV. cap. 79.) The Act recites, that the pound sterling in Great Britain and Ireland respectively is divided into twenty shillings, and the shillings into twelve pence; but the silver coin which represents a shilling in Great Britain is paid and accepted in Ireland for thirteen pence, and the pound sterling of Great Britain is, at the par of exchange, paid and accepted for one pound one shilling and eightpence of the currency of Ireland; and that great complexity of accounts, and other inconveniences, arise from the said difference of currencies. It then enacts, that the currency of Great Britain shall be the currency of the United Kingdom, and all receipts, payments, contracts, and dealings, shall be made in such currency. And all contracts, debts, &c., made or contracted previous to the commencement of this Act, shall be carried into effect, and satisfied by payment in British currency of 12-13ths of the amount according to Irish currency. All duties and public revenues, and all funds and public debts shall be estimated in British currency, and the accounts thereof kept accordingly. After a day to be named by proclamation, British silver and gold coins shall be current in Ireland at the same rate of pence as in Great Britain. On the like proclamation, Irish copper coin shall be brought into the Bank of Ireland, and exchanged there for British copper coin, at the rate of twelve pence British for thirteen pence Irish, and the Irish copper coin shall cease to circu