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Joseph Lowe.

The present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France online

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them. Thus, a witness of evident ability, and in the habit
of very extensive discount transactions, gave (p. 124'.) the
following evidence :

" Do you know, in point of fact, whether such transac-
tions as you have now described, were in practice previous
to the suspension of the cash payments of the Bank ? —
Yes ; they were.

" Do you know whether they were practised to a similar
extent ? — No ; they were not.

" In what proportion, compared with the present time ?
-»— 1 cannot form any exact criterion.



A pp.] Our Cmrencjj and Exchanges. [25}

" Can you stale to the Committee, the cause of such thf-
ference? — I beheve it to be on account of the increase of
country paper, and also Bank of Enghmd paper."

Wlien a witness of such inteHifjence, in accouiittu'; for
the augmentation of discounts, leaves out of consicleratiou
the effects of the increase of our population anil productive
industry from 1797 to 1810, we need hardly wonder that
they should have escaped the attention of the Committee.
Jn fact, the errors of the latter may be easily accounted for.
The chief writer of the Report, however temperate, impar-
tial, and likely to rise in reputation, had his life been pro-
longed, was a stranger to the practice of business ; antl
could not, from his youth, have had nmch acquaintance
with the state of our money transactions previous to 1797.
Of his coadjutors, one was a banker, never remarkable for
clearness or accuracy; another, a man of undoubted ability^
l)ut at that time new, as he has himself admitted *, to ques-
tions of this nature. Accordingly, in historical and com-
mercial matter the Report is very defective ; no notice is
taken in it of the pecuniary embarrassments of 1795 and
1 79G, arising from the double drain of specie for subsidies
and corn; nor is the recurrence of these causes in 1799 or
1809 adverted to, although it was to them that we owed the
chief increase of our bank notes. Nothing would have con-
tributed so much to obtain the conviction of the mercantile
body, we may say of the public at large, as a course of rea-
soning supported by facts. Such an inquiry, conducted
with the candour that marks the Rej)ort, and was so con-
spicuous in the general parliamentary conduct of Mr. Hor-
ner, would have led to several very important conclusions;
— to an estimate of the share in depreciation to be ascribed
in the first place to the expenditure then making in Spain;
next, to the corn imports then in progress from the Conti-
nent; and, lastly, to the interruption of the trade of the
United States. Ilad the effect of the last been proved to
be considerable, the iucjuiry might perhaps have led to a
most desirable measure — the repeal of our Orders in
Council before the United States resorted to the alter-
native of war.

Qiiestions at issue beiMoeen the Opponents



Online LibraryJoseph LoweThe present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France → online text (page 33 of 40)