1 Commons' Report, p. 77.
Do you think, if a metallic circulation were adopted, that there would be a difficulty in maintaining that me-tallic circulation?-I do; because the trade in the south and west of Ireland is periodical; the remittances from those districts of Ireland would force the gold away at certain periods, and it must be returned at others, with considerable expense, to meet the trade of the country." 1
2. A gold currency would be more inconvenient than notes, and would not be so well liked by the people.
Leonard Dobbin-, Esq.,2 Agent for the Northern Banking Company of Belfast, at Armagh.
"Do the people of the north of Ireland manifest any wish for gold in preference to notes, or for notes in preference to gold?-They decidedly prefer notes, and the weavers have refused to carry gold out of the market lately.
"Can you assign any reason for this preference?-There are many reasons that I could assign. The bank notes are now the established currency; the people are perfectly acquainted with them. If a man should lose notes, or a house be robbed, or if there is a forgery, it would be much better for them to trace notes than it would gold. I have often assisted poor people in tracing notes that were robbed, and forged notes, whereas the gold could not be traced so readily. Another reason I would give is this, guineas became light, and were troublesome to the people. When standing beam there was Is. charged, and when lighter than standing beam 2s. 6d.; and when gold was scarce, and bank notes not a legal tender, the land agents refusing to take anything but gold, the tenants were obliged to pay from Is. to 4s. on a guinea, discount. Some agents would only take gold." 1
1 Commons Report, pp. 250, 251.
2 This gentleman was afterwards agent for the Bank of Ireland at Armagh, and M.P. for that place.
J. A. Smyth, Esq., Linen Merchant, and Agent for the Belfast Bank at Londonderry.
"I am in the habit of employing my linen buyers to go to the country markets, and I must supply them with the week's money before they start, perhaps five hundred or a thousand pounds. They have to go through the interior of the country, and do not return for a week. They make their purchases all in small quantities, and it is more convenient for them to carry notes than gold."2
Arthur Guinness, Esq., Director of the Bank of
"I conceive, that with the persons who handle the circulation of the country, there is a decided preference in favour of small notes over cash in every respect. I speak fiom mine own experience; for I remember perfectly well, before the restrictions upon cash payments, when gold was a great inconvenience in trade. I speak of those who handle the currency of the country, among whom I think the prefei-ence is in favour of the small notes, as more convenient, more portable, and less liable to counterfeit. I conceive these to form the general grounds of preference." 3
1 Commons' Report, p. 243. 2 Lords' Report, p. 7.
3 Commons' Report, p. 237.
3. The profits of the banking establishments would be so much diminished, that they could not extend the same accommodation to the agricultural and commercial classes.
W. P. Lunnel, Esq., Director of the Bank of Ireland.
"If the notes under £5 were prohibited, would the profits of the Bank of Ireland be materially affected by such prohibition?-I should expect that they would suffer: they must sacrifice a certain profit.
"Have you considered to what extent the profits of other bankers would be affected?-I should expect that the principal circulation of the country bankers is in small notes, and therefore in that proportion they would suffer."
John Holmes Houston, Esq., Banker at Belfast.
"If all the notes under £5 were prohibited to be issued, would it be worth while, in your opinion, to keep the establishment of a bank at Belfast?-I do not think it would, except by carrying it on in the same manner as it formerly was-to keep a discount office, charging a commission on discounting bills, because £5 notes would not circulate. Then our circulation would be so trifling it would not answer." 2
H. A. Douglas, Esq., Director of the Provincial Bank of Ireland.
"I consider the cash account system and the one-pound circulation so connected, that if the notes are withdrawn, it is understood that our establishment will not grant any further cash-credits. The business which we carry on, even if we charged a higher rate of interest, or a commission, would not be of sufficient magnitude to repay us for the expense of our establishment, independent of our notes. If the issue of small notes be withdrawn, then we cannot afford to allow interest on deposits." l
1 Lords' Report, p. 108. 2 Ibid. p. 35.
4. The abolition of small notes would prevent the investment of British capital in the present banking establishments.
T. S. Rice, Esq., M.P. (Lord Monteagle), Director of the Provincial Bank of Ireland.
"Is it your opinion, that if all notes under .£5 were abolished, a considerable inconvenience would arise in the ordinary traffic in Ireland?-I conceive that it would. I conceive that the first effect of the extinction of all notes below £5 would be a much more considerable diminution of the general mass of the circulating medium in Ireland than in England.
"I fear extremely that if anything were to occur which materially diminished the profits of our establishment, it would have the effect of depriving us of one of the chief benefits of the establishment, namely, the support and control of British capitalists, and conducting the bank by British merchants, and upon British commercial principles. I conceive a rate of profit, rather higher than the average rate of profits, is essential to induce persons so circumstanced to engage in such a business, more particularly when it is considered that there is no limitation of responsibility by the grant of charters." 2
5. The gold currency would be sent out of the country, whenever it bore a premium in England.
1 Lords' Report, pp. 24, 26, 27. 2 Ibid. pp. 47, 51.
Henry H. Hunt, Esq., Local Director of the Provincial Bank of Ireland at Waterford.
"What do you think would be the consequence of a law which prohibited the issue of notes below £5, both by the Bank of Ireland and by any other banking establish-ment in Ireland? - I should think it would be very hazardous indeed: I should very much apprehend that the gold circulation would at times be withdrawn in a very great degree from the country, whenever gold was wanted in London; for instance, a small premium upon