At a meeting held at the same place, on the 16th of December, Sir John Wrottesley, Bart., M.P., the chairman, reported to the meeting the result of the interview of the deputation with Lord Goderich and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that day, and read their answer as follows: "Lord Groderich and the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated to the deputation, that they were fully sensible of the great importance of the subjects which were brought before them by the deputation; and that, although it was obviously impossible that they could undertake, on the part of the government, to express upon that occasion any opinion upon the matters under consideration, they could assure the deputation that all that had been communicated should receive the most deliberate and serious attention."
The country bankers complained, too, that the branch banks, instead of meeting them on the footing of equality, had refused to take their notes, unless the bankers had previously opened accounts with the branch banks, and provided funds for the purpose.
1828. Another subject of complaint on the part of the country bankers. - The Bank of England had always issued its notes and post-bills unstamped. in consideration of paying, as a composition for the stamp duties, £3,500 per annum on every £1,000,000 in circulation. When the branches were established it issued bills, drawn upon the parent establishment in London, at twenty-one days after date, without being stamped, alleging that these were included in their imposition. At the same time the country bankers could not draw bills upon London without paying the stamp duty. In a memorial presented to the government by the bankers in the town and neighbourhood of Birmingham, it was shown that the stamp duty on a bill drawn at twenty-one days on London, is three shillings and sixpence, while under the composition the Bank of England would pay but fivepence; and that a circulation throughout the year of £10,000, in bills of exchange of £20 each, would subject the Bank of England to a payment, in lieu of stamp duty, of only £35, while other banks would have to pay £650. An Act of Parliament (9 Geo. IV. c. 23) was accordingly passed, to enable country bankers to compound for their stamp duties on the same terms as the Bank of England, and to include bills drawn upon London at twenty-one days' date in the composition. By this law the country bankers have the advantage of paying duty only on the amount of notes in circulation.
1828. May 9. "The humble memorial of the country bankers in England and Wales" was presented to "the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury" against the branch banks. It concludes thus: -
"Your memorialists therefore deeply regret that your lordships do not feel justified in adopting measures for the withdrawal of the branch banks, and they hope that your lordships will be pleased, as far as lies in your lordships' power, to prevent any interference with the business of your memorialists; and that your lordships will be pleased to institute an inquiry into the system of country banking, and take into your lordships' consideration the claims of the country bankers to be regarded as parties in the intended application for the renewal of the bank charter, and that no special privilege or monopoly be granted or continued to the governor and company of the Bank of England; but that they may be placed on a perfect equality with country bankers in the competition which, by means of their branches, they are now carrying on with your memorialists."
The government replied, that "the interests of the country bankers should not be neglected in any negotiation between the government and the Bank of England for the renewal of the bank charter."
1830. The government reduced the interest on the new four per cent. stock to three and a half per cent. This stock was formed in the year 1822, by the reduction of the navy five per cents. to four per cent. The holders had the option of receiving for every £100 new four per cents. either £100 stock at three and a half per cent., not redeemable until the year 1840, or £70 at five per cent., not redeemable until the year 1873. Most of the holders chose the former. This stock is called "new three and a half per cent.," and amounts to above £139,000,000. The other stock, formed by those who chose the £70, is called the new five per cents., and amounts to little more than £466,000.
1832. May 22. A committee of secrecy was appointed by the House of Commons, to inquire into the expediency of renewing the charter of the Bank of England, and into the system on which banks of issue in England and Wales are conducted.
On the 11th day of August the committee delivered the following report: -
"The secret committee appointed to inquire into the expediency of renewing the charter of the Bank of England, and into the system on which banks of issue in England and Wales are conducted, and to whom the petition of certain directors of joint-stock banking companies in England was referred, and who were empowered to report the minutes of evidence taken before them, have agreed upon the following report: -
"Tour committee have applied themselves to the inquiry which the House has committed to them, by calling for all the accounts which appeared to them necessary for the purpose of elucidating the affairs of the Bank of England, and have examined evidence for the purpose of ascertaining the principles on which it regulates the issues of its notes, and conducts its general transactions. They feel bound to state that the directors of the Bank of England have afforded to them every facility in their power, and have most readily and candidly answered every question which has been put to them, and produced every account which has been called for. The committee have also examined such witnesses as appeared to them, from their practical knowledge and experience, most likely to afford information on the important subjects under their consideration, who have all been ready to give the committee the most ample information.