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the supply of them. If, for instance, out of circulation by means of the while the quantity of silver continu. silver coin. ed the same, the quantity of gold was That this is not mere theory may increased, the price of gold, as mea. be proved by a reference to what sured in silver, would fall ; or, one took place in this country in the beounce of gold, instead of exchanging ginning of the eighteenth century. for twenty ounces of silver, would At that period the quantity of bul. exchange only for nineteen or eigh- lion contained in a guinea was, at teen ounces. On the other hand, the relative prices of gold and silver if the quantity of silver increased, in the market, worth twenty-one while the quantity of gold remained shillings and fourpence, while a the same, the value of silver, as guinea could legally be exchanged measured in gold, would fall; or only for twenty-one shillings; and twenty ounces of silver, instead of yet this small profit of fourpence purchasing one ounce of gold, on a guinea was sufficient to withwould purchase only 18 or 18 of draw them from circulation; for the

bullion in a guinea being obtained in Let us now suppose, that while exchange for twenty-one shillings, the relative value of gold and silver and afterwards sold for twenty-one in coin continue the same, or as 1 shillings and fourpence, the operato 20, that gold in bullion, either tion being frequently repeated, af. from its becoming more scarce, or forded such a profit as induced from silver becoming more plenti- many to embark in the trade. ful (for these circumstances both To apply these remarks and iloperate to the same effect), becomes lustrations to the topic more immeof greater value than as 1 to 20 to diately before us :-By the present silver in bullion; so that one ounce' mint regulations with respect to the of gold will exchange for twenty- silver coinage, the relative value of two ounces of silver :-what will silver in coin, and gold in coin, is be the consequence with respect to different from the relative value of the gold and silver coins? Un- silver in bullion and gold in buldoubtedly the gold coin will dis- lion. Twenty-one shillings are still appear, and the mode by which it deemed equivalent to a guinea, and will be taken out of circulation is will exchange for one ; but twentyby no means difficult to be pointed one shillings no longer contain as out. By the supposition, twenty much silver as they did ; therefore ounces of silver in coin are equal in the same quantity of gold in coin is value to, or will exchange for, one purchased by a smaller quantity of ounce of gold in coin; but one ounce silver in coin than could be for. of gold in bullion is equal in value to, merly; whereas it requires as much or will exchange for, twenty-two silver in bullion to obtain any given ounces of silver in bullion. A person, quantity of gold in bullion as it did therefore, who with twenty ounces formerly. of silver in coin, obtains one ounce Hence a little reflection will show of gold in coin, obtains that which, us that there must be a profit in when reduced to the state of bule withdrawing the gold coin from lion, will purchase twenty-two circulation. A pound of silver of ounces of silver in bullion :-a lu- the standard fineness is coined at crative traffic, therefore, will be car. Birmingham, or any other place ried on, by drawing the gold coin except the mint (for the mint by keeping back the seignorage would and silver in coin should be the same prevent any profit from the transe as their relative value in bullion, it action), into fifty-six shillings of is necessary that the guinea should the legal weight; with fifty-two of exchange for 22s. 71d. of our prethese shillings as much gold coin sent silver money ; and the price can be obtained as will pay for the of gold in that silver money ouglon pound of silver, which was thus to be 41. 3s. per ounce, in order to coined, leaving a profit of four shil. render the relative value of our sillings (with the exception of the er- ver coin, and gold bullion, the same pense of coinage) upon the trans. as the relative value of silver bul. action. We say that fifty-two of lion and gold bullion : but as at these shillings will purchase as present silver in bullion can be pure much gold as will pay for the pound chased for 5s. 4d. per ounce, and of silver, because the relative value when converted into coin, is worth of our gold and siver coin remains 5s.6d. the ounce; and as, morethe same, that is 31. 175. 6d. the over, gold may be purchased in that ounce for gold, and 5s. 2d. the silver co for 41. Iso per ounce, ounce for silver.

an ounce.

keeping standing of its history, as well as to

whereas it is worth in it 41. 3s. acThis operation will continue ei. cording to the relative value of ther till all the gold coin is with gold and silver bullion, it is evident, drawn from circulation, or till the that if the mint were to issue twenty price of gold in the new silver coin millions of sovereigns instead of advances in proportion to the de. four or five millions, they could not preciation of that coin ; for to retain be kept in circulation so long as the the same name to any coin when silver coin is issued of its present its intrinsic value is lowered, by its reduced weight, while only the containing a smaller quantity of the same number of shillings are alprecious metal, is in fact a depre- lowed to be given in exchange for ciation of such coin. Now, in order that gold coin. that the relative value of our gold

CHAPTER VIII.

FROS

State of Parties, and their Conduct in Parliament-Ministers-Opposition

-Grenrillites-Sir Francis Burdett and the Advocates for ReformaReinarhs on Reform in Parliament, and other Species of public Reform. PROM the elucidation and dis. It is needless, and would be a

cussion of topics, which are waste of time, to prove that in such rather dry and abstruse, and are a country as Britain a view of the not generally deemed to fall within political parties which exist in it, at the peculiar and legitimate pro- any particular period, and espevince of the historian or annalist, cially of such parties as take a rewe turn to topics of a very different gular and important share in the nature;-we mean the state of polic proceedings of parliament, --is ab. tical parties in Britain during the solutely essential to the right andera due and just appreciation of the were all of them jast and well strength and extent of the different founded. But, in the first place, political principles and feelings, with respect to the opposition (we which must always exist and ope- do not now allude to the opposition rate in such a country as Britain. of the present day, or to any parti • But though such a discussion is cular opposition, but to the oppo. totally uncalled for, and therefore sition as we suppose it hias always need not be entered into, yet it may existed and acted in this country), be proper and instructive to preface with respect to the opposition, is our history of the state of parties in it not proved by their public con. Britain during the year 1817, by duct, that one of their operating, if some remarks on the alleged bene. not atowed principles is, uniformly fits derived from political parties, to oppose ministers? Can it justly and on the inconveniences, if not be said that they give credit and the absolute evils, to which they support to ministers, even in those are exposed.

year 1817

a due

cases in which the measures of miniIt is contended, that unless there sters are most clearly and decidedly were political parties, public busic for the public good? If proof were ness could not be conducted. By wanting of this position, it might political parties is understood an be found in the circumstance, that association of public men who, a. often when an opposition have greeing generally in their political come into power, they have ad. principles, and in the view they opted and defended those very take of the interests of the country, measures which, while out of power, and of their own duties towards it, they reprobated and voted againsta resolve to act together on all public The same remark may be made points. Ministers contend that un- with respect to that party of which less their friends formed such a the ministers for the day are the party; that is, unless they could on head: they almost uniformly objece all great and vital questions depend to measures introduced and recom. on the support of the members of mended by the opposition; so that their party, they could not carry in fact the axiom of each party seems on the business of the nation. While to be that whatever the other party opposition contend, that party must does or recommends must be wrong be opposed by party; and that if and injurious to the country. Can ministers have a firm phalanx of political party therefore be really friends, who on all great and vital beneficial to the country ? can it fail questions vote with them, it is ab- to warpthe minds and soil the conscisolutely necessary that their pha. ences of those who embrace it, if this lanx, however inferior in numbers, axiom is necessary to its existence ? should be as firm and unanimous Let us now consider the separate on all such questions.

members of which any particular This is plausible, and would be party is composed. if they are satisfactory reasoning, provided staunch and really party men, they the members of a political party are expected 10 support their party, were always associated and acted not only on questions which they together, from strict uniformity do not understand (for this conduct of principle; and provided also, may be defended on the plea that that the principles on which they they can confide in the intelligence did associate and act together of the heads of the party), but also

en questions which they believe to the consequences which Aow from be injurious to the country. That parties thus formed and acting, this is no unfounded or exaggerated we shall now proceed to a view of statement, the history of all periods the different political parties, in of Britain will sufficiently prove ;--- the year 1817. and yet can political party require The circumstances by which such conduct in its members? If it the present ministry of Britain at. does, are the benefits it bestows on tained their power, and been enathe public an adequate and full bled to reduce the influence and atonement for such dereliction of the numbers of opposition almost to principle ? for it can be called no- absolute insignificancy, have been thing else. What then, it may be already detailed in some of our said, ought to be the leading and preceding volumes. They may,howfundamental rule on which a public ever, be here briefly recapitulated; man should act? ought he not to indeed, they may be summed up unite himself with any set of public in two particulars:--the unexpected men? To this it may be replied, success of ministers, arising much that the only bond of union should more from good fortune, than wise be sameness of principle and uni- conduct on their part; and the total formity of views on all grand public want of prudence, we had almost questions. We are much mistaken said of common sense, in the opif public conduct pursued simply, position, at the time when politi. and in all cases, according to this cal power was either in view or rule, would not more benefit the actually in their grasp. Not even nation, than public conduct as it is the most zealous and devoted adnow pursued ; and we are confi- herent of ministers will contend dent, that if public men acted on that they are men of superior tathis rule, they would gain and pre. lents: in fact, without one excepserve a much larger share of the tion, they are men of very inferior approbation and confidence of the talents, when compared with the people-which in fact would at great statesmen of former times; once add to their strength, and en. and yet the unparalleled difficulsure those public benefits which ties of the period at which they their measures were calculated and obtained power--whether we look. intended to produce : for a mea- to political events, or to the state sure, in itself really beneficial to a of the country with respect to its nation, will often prove neutral, or commerce and finances seemed to actually injurious in its effects, if it require the most profound abilities, is not agreeable to the wishes of the acting upon, and sharpened by, the people; while it will take a deeper utmost degree of experience as root, spread more widely, and pro- statesmen. They exhibited, howduce more lasting benefit, if it not ever, during those difficulties great only meets the wishes of the people, steadiness, and no common share but also is the act of those men who of prudence, moderation, and good have secured their approbation and sense: their steady adherence to a confidence.

line of conduct which required Having premised these observa- rather perseverance than activity, tions on the mode in which par- and which certainly did neither reties are formed in this country, the quire nor admit of much deviation, principles on which they act, and benefited them in the same man1817.

R

ner,

ner, as a mau's life is often saved like habits, would in too many in the midst of a storm, in a dark points yield to lord Grenville's ponight, by standing still, till the litics, destroyed a large portion of şturm passes away. Mr. Pitt had his popularity. On his death, lord been active in his opposition to Bo- Grenville's influence being now naparte; he had infused his ac. much ir.creased, the whig ministivity into the potentates of Eu- try became still less popular; por rope, but not into the minds of did the cause of their going out of their subjects: the consequence was, office regain them that hold on the that all his measures increased and feelings, good wishes, and contistrengthened that power which he dence of the nation, which they had wished and expected to destroy. lost by not pursuing measurres of The present ministry, on the other economical and political reform hand, allowed Bonaparte to destroy while they were in power. At himself by his own measures; they the time of the regency in 1811, only stood by, prepared to take ad- and afterwards on the death of Mr. vantage of his blunders, Thus Perceval, they might have come with little real risque, and with into power; but they conduct d very inferior talents, they witnessed themselves with so little prudence, the accomplishment of that, which and raised up so many frivolouis Mr. Pitt had in vain so long ene obstacles, that it almost seemed as deavoured to achieve. Hence they if they wished to have some excuse became popular : and till their con- for declining power. duct in 1817, (which we shall pre- Since the latter of these periods, sently describe,) they continued the successful termination of the popular, from the hold which their war against Bonaparte, and the success had given them on the death of their most eminent leaders, minds of the people, as well as by have greatly weakened their influthe nioderation and good sense of ence both in and out of parliament. their most important measures. Such is a general view of the

The opposition have been once in state of the ministerial and the oppower, and iwice has power been position party at the beginning of within their grasp: but at none of 1817. During that year, their acthese times did they conduct thein- tual as well as their relative state selves either with prudence and changed.--Let us first consider the good sense, or in such a manner ministerial party. There are at least as to secure the confidence and ap- three men in it, to whom the naprobation of the people. Mr. Fox tion has always been disposed to had lost a considerable share of his give credit for moderate and liberal popularity before he came into views and conduct, and for feelings power, in the year 1806,-not so and principles by no means in unison much perhaps by his opposition to with tory notions of government; the war with France, as by his -we allude to the earl of Liver. backwardness to rejoice in victories pool, lord Sidmouth, and Mr. gained by British valour: he was Vansittart; the two latter had in. still

, however, very popular when deed formed part of the whig adhe came into power at the period ministration, and therefore, from alluded to: but his union with lord them might be expected some whig Grenville, and the persuasion that notions on government.

But a his easy temper and un-business. very different idca was formed of

lord

a

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