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during the scarcity which prevailed for two years previous to the peace of Amiens.
VI. That during the period of seventy-five years, ending with the 1st of January, 1796, and previous to the aforesaid restriction, whereof, with the exception of some small intervals, accounts are before the house, the price of standard gold in bars has been at or under the Mint price thirtyfour years and five months; and above the said Mint price thirtynine years and seven months; and that the price of foreign gold coin has been at or under 31. 18s. per ounce thirty-one years and two months, and above the said price forty-two years and ten months; and that during the same period of seventy-five years, the price of standard silver appears to have been at or under the Mint price, three years and two months only.
part and for some time after the
IX. That the amount of bank notes in February, 1787, was. 8,688,000l. and in February, 1791, 11,699,000l.; and that during the same period, the sum of 10,704,0001. was coined in gold and that the exchange with Hamburgh rose about 3 per cent.
X. That between the 25th of February, 1795, and the 25th of February, 1797, the amount of bank notes was reduced from 13,539,000l. to 8,640,000l.; dur
VII. That the unfavourable state of the exchanges, and the high price of bullion, do not, in any of the instances above referred to, appear to have been produced by the restriction upon cash payments at the Bank of England, or by any excess in the issue of bank notes; inasmuch as all the said instances, except the last, occurred previously to any restriction on such cash-payments; and because, so far as appears by such informing which time the exchange ation as has been procured, the price of bullion has frequently been highest, and the exchanges most unfavourable, at periods when the issues of bank notes have been considerably, diminished, and to have been afterwards restored to their ordinary rates, although those issues have been increased.
VIII. That during the latter.
with Hamburgh fell from 36 to 35, being about 3 per cent.; and the said amount was increased to 11,855,000l. exclusive of 1,542,000l. in notes of 11. and 21. each, on the 1st of February, 1798, during which time the exchange rose to 38 2, being about 9 per cent..
XI. That the average price of wheat
wheat per quarter in England, in in 1801, 118s. 3d.; and in 1802, the year 1793, was 50s. 3d., in 67s. 5d.
1799, 67s. 5d. ; in 1800, 113s 7d..
The amount of Bank notes, of 51. and upwards:
In 1793 about 11,527.000. and under 51. 1,810,8001.13,337,000l.
In 1801 In 1802
12,408 5001. 13,421,900l.
That the exchange with Hamburgh was in January, 1793, 38s. 2d.; January, 1799, 37s. 7d.; January, 1800, 328.; January, 1801, 29s. 8d.; being in the whole a fall of above 22 per cent. In January, 1802, 32s. 2d.; and December, 1802, 34s.; being a rise of about 13 per cent.
XII. That during all the periods above referred to, previous to the commencement of the war with France in 1793, the principal states of Europe preserved their independence, and the trade and correspondence thereof were carried on conformably to the accustomed law of nations; and that although from the time of the invasion of Holland by the French in 1795, the trade of Great Britain with the Continent was in part circumscribed and interrupted, it was carried on freely with several of the most considerable ports, and commercial correspondence was maintained at all times previous to the summer of 1807.
XIII. That since the month of November, 1806, and especially since the summer of 1807, a system of exclusion has been established against the British trade on the Continent of Europe, under the influence and terror of the French power, and enforced with a degree of violence and rigour never before attempted; whereby
14,062,300l. 1,851,800, 15,253,7001.
all trade, and correspondence between Britain and the continent of Europe bas (with some occasional exceptions, chiefly in Sweden, and in certain parts of Spain and Portugal) been hazardous, precarious, and expensive, the trade being loaded with excessive freights to foreign shipping, and other unusual charges: and that the trade of Britain with the United States of America has also been uncer. tain and interrupted; and that, in addition to these circumstances; which have greatly affected the course of payments between this country and other nations, the naval and military expenditure of the United Kingdom in foreign parts has, for three years past, been very great; and the price of grain, owing to a deficiency in the crops, higher than at any time, whereof the accounts appear before parliament, except during the scarcity of 1800 and 1801; and that large quantities thereof have been imported.
XIV. That the amount of cur rency necessary for carrying on the transactions of the country must bear a proportion to the extent of its trade, and its public revenue. and expenditure; and that the annual amount of the exports and imports of Great Britain, on an average of three years, ending 5th. January, 1797, was 51,199.1-411.
official value; the average amount of revenue paid into the exchequer, including the profit on the lottery, 19,495.9451. and the average amount of the total expenditure of Great Britain, 42,855,1111. and that the average amount of bank notes in circulation (all of which were for 51. or upwards) was about 11,262,000l. and that 57,274,6171., had been coined in gold during his Majesty's reign, of which a large sum was then in circulation.
That the annual amount of the exports and imports of Great Britain, on an average of three years, ending 5th of January, 1810, was 70,554,7191. the average amount of duties paid into the exchequer, 59,960,5251, and the average amount of the total expenditure of Great Britain, 77,802,6741. and that the amount of bank notes, above 51. on an average of the years 1808 and 1809, 13,763,000l. and of notes under 51. about 4,500,000l. and that the amount of gold coin in circulation was greatly diminished...
XV. That the situation of this kingdom, in respect of its political and commercial relations with foreign countries, as above stated, is sufficient, without any change in the internal value of its currency, to account for the unfavourable state of the foreign exchanges, and for the high price of bullion.
XVI. That it is highly important that the restriction on the payments in cash of the bank of England, should be removed, whenever the political and commercial relations of the country shall render it compatible with the public interest.
XVII. That under the circumstances affecting the political and
In May the public was surprized with the introduction into parlia ment of a subject of peculiar delicacy a proposed alteration in the act of toleration. It may be proper to premise, that for several years past the established clergy had manifested considerable uneasiness at the rapid growth of me. thodism, which in many places had become a sect entirely detached from the church, and closely allied with other popular classes of separatists. The readiness with which licences for preaching could be obtained according to the usual interpretation of the toleration act, had favoured the multiplication of preachers, of a kind whose manners and language peculiarly fitted them for acquiring influence over the inferior ranks; and by their means numerous congregations hadˆ been formed, to the great diminution of the frequenters of parish churches. How far the measure now to be mentioned was the result of any clerical consultation is not known, but it is affirmed that the noble mover was warmly encouraged to proceed in his design, by letters from persons of eminence in the church.
Mary, and of the 17th of Geo. III. as far as they applied to protestant dissenting ministers. These acts, he said, within the last 30 or 40 years had received a novel interpretation. At most of the quarter sessions where the oaths were taken, and the declarations made, requisite for enabling a person to officiate in a chapel or meeting house, it was now understood that any person, however ignorant or profligate, was at liberty to put in his claim to do those acts before the justices, and to demand a certificate which authorised him to preach, and exempted him from the militia, and from many civil burdens to which his fellow-subjects were liable. In some counties, however, the magistrates admitted no person to qualify, unless he shewed that he was in holy erders, or pretended holy orders, and the preacher or teacher of a congregation. This he conceived was according to the real meaning of the toleration act; and it was in this way that the bill he intended to introduce would explain that act. He should propose, that in order to entitle any person to a qualification as a preacher, he should have the recommendation of at least six reputable householders of the congregation to which he belonged, and that he should actually have a congregation willing to listen to his instructions. With regard to preachers who were not stationary, but itinerant, he would propose that they should be required to bring a testimonial from six householders, stating them to be of sober life and character, together with the belief of such attestors that they were qualified to perform the function of preachers.
His lordship then proceeded to shew the great annual addition made to the number of dissenting preachers of late years, which citcumstance he partly imputed to the increase of population, and of the religious spirit of the people, and partly to the pluralities and non-residence of the clergy, and the deficiency of churches in maný parts, which he thought well worthy the attention of parlia ment. At present, he said, we were unfortunately in danger of having an established church, and a sectarian people.
Lord Holland rose in this early stage of the bill, to declare his total dissent from its principles. One fundamental error, he said, ran through the speech of his noble friend, namely, that the right of any man to teach and preach was derived only from the permis sion of the government under which he lived. For bis part, hé held it to be the unalienable right of every man who thought himself able to instruct others, to do so, provided his doctrines were not incompatible with the peace of society. He thought it highly imprudent to meddle with the act of toleration, and that the evils arising from an abuse of the exemption granted to dissenting ministers was not of magnitude sufficient to justify the interference of this house.
Lord Stanhope made some observations to the same purpose; after which the bill was read the first time, and ordered to be printed.
When the nature and provisions of this proposed bill were made publicly known, an aların was ex- cited among all those upon whom
it was calculated to operate, which produced a more general and zeal lons association between the several elasses of separatists for opposing it, than had perhaps ever been witnessed on a similar occasion, As they could not conceive it to be the real object of the noble mover to add more respectability to the dissenting ministry, they regarded the measure as intended, in effect, to contract the limits of toleration, and subject the licens ing of preachers to the control of magistrates; and although those sects which might be reckoned inferior in rank of life and educa tion, would be chiefly affected by the restrictions proposed, yet the others considered it as a matter of common interest to all who dis sented from the established church. When, therefore, on May the 21st, the bill was to be read a second time, such a deluge of petitions was poured in against it, that the mover was left alone in its support. In his speech on the occasion, he began with complaining of the misunderstanding that prevailed respecting the bill, and endeavoured to shew that it was intended to effect no real change in the toleration laws, but merely to give uniformity to the two acts on which the system of toleration was founded. He then went through the several provisions of the bill, and replied to the objections that had been made against them. He asserted his adherence to the principle of the toleration laws, which, he said, never meant that any person should assume to himself the privilege of a preacher or teacher without some testimonials to his qualification for such an important-office; and could not adVOL. LIH.
mit the broad principle that hau been advanced on this head. In conclusion, he expressed his wish that it should be read a second time, in order that it might go tò a committee, and receive the necessary amendments; and he made a motion to that effect.
The Archbishop of Canterbury then rose, and declared his full conviction of the right of separatists from the national church to profess their own systems of religious opinion. The bill in question hẻ considered as having two ob jects in view; that of producing uniformity in construing the act of toleration, and that of rendering dissenting ministers more respec table by excluding unfit persons from the office. These objects, he said, seemed laudable in themselves; but as the dissenters were the best judges of their own con cerns, and as it appeared from the great number of petitions on the table that they were hostile to the bill, he thought it would be un wise to press the measure against their inclination.
Lord Erskine, after premising that if the bill had been postponed some weeks, ten times the number of petitions would have poured in against it, made some observations to prove that there was no necessity for such a measure. If a man inculcated sedition or blasphemy from the pulpit, there were existing laws to punish him. With respect to the exemptions granted to ministers, the law was clear. If a man was a teacher of religion,“ and had no other avocation, he was the pastor of a flock, frontwhich it was the meaning of the s toleration act that he should notbe abstracted to serve in civil-or [E] military