"The principal points to which they have directed their attention are -
"First. - Whether the paper circulation of the metropolis should be confined, as at present, to the issues of one bank, and that a commercial company; or whether a competition of different banks of issue, each consisting of an unlimited number of partners, should be permitted.
"Secondly. - If it should be deemed expedient that the paper circulation of the metropolis should be confined, as at present, to the issues of one bank, how far the whole of the exclusive privileges possessed by the Bank of England ,are necessary to effect this object.
"Thirdly. - What checks can be provided to secure for the public a proper management of banks of issue, and especially whether it would be expedient and safe to compel them periodically to publish their accounts.
"With respect to the circulation of paper in this country, the committee have examined, - First, into the effect produced by the establishment of the branch banks of the Bank of England; and secondly, into the expediency of encouraging the establishment of joint-stock banks of issue in the country.
"On all these, and on some collateral points, more or less information will be found in the minutes of evidence; but on no one of them is it so complete as to justify the committee in giving a decided opinion.
"The period of the session at which the committee commenced their labours, the importance and extent of the subjects, and the approaching close of the session, will sufficiently account to the House for the limited progress of the inquiry, and for the incompleteness of the materials which have been collected for the purpose of forming an opinion; - they have thought it better, therefore, to submit the whole of the evidence which they have taken, with a very few exceptions, to the consideration of the House.
"In their opinion, no public inconvenience will arise from this publication. The only parts of the evidence which they have thought it necessary to suppress, are those which relate merely to the private interests of individuals.
"The House will perceive that the committee have presented, as part of the evidence which they have taken, the actual amount of bullion at different times in the hands of the Bank of England. This information has never before been given to the public; it is, however, very essential to a complete knowledge of the subject, and if it had been suppressed by the committee, many parts of the evidence would have been unintelligible, and a false impression would have been produced in the minds of the public, that the bank were not so well provided with bullion as is desirable, which might have a very injurious effect. The House will, however, observe that the bank is amply provided with bullion at the present time; and it does not therefore appear to the committee that this information being now given to the public can be productive of any injurious consequences.
"The committee, however, by no means wish it to be understood, from their having felt themselves called upon to include this evidence in their report, that they have formed any opinion as to the propriety of periodically publishing the affairs of this or of any other bank of issue. There appears to be a difference between a publication of the affairs of the bank when an inquiry is instituted for the purpose of deciding whether the bank charter shall be renewed or not, and a periodical publication during the course of its ordinary transactions.
"Of the ample means of the Bank of England to meet all its engagements, and of the high credit which it has always possessed and which it continues to deserve, no man who reads the evidence taken before this committee can for a moment doubt; for it appears that, in addition to the surplus rest in the hands of the bank itself, amounting to £2,880,000, the capital on which interest is paid to the proprietors, and for which the State is debtor to the bank, amounts to £14,553,000, making no less a sum than .£17,433,000 over and above all its liabilities."
1833, May 31. A meeting of the proprietors of bank stock was held at the Bank of England, to receive a communication from the court of directors, of the result of the negotiation with his Majesty's government, respecting the renewal of the bank charter. The following letter from Lord Althorp, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was read by the secretary: -
"Downing Street, May 2, 1833. "Gentlemen,
"After duly considering the conversation I have had with you, the substance of which I have reported to my colleagues, his Majesty's government have directed me to make the following proposals to you for the purpose of renewing the bank charter.
"1. We propose to renew the charter for twenty-one years, subject, however, to this condition: - that if at the end of ten years the then existing government should so think fit, they may give a twelvemonth's notice to the bank that the charter shall expire at the end of eleven years.
"2. That no banking company consisting of more than six partners shall issue notes payable on demand within the metropolis, or within sixty-five miles from the metropolis. Banking companies, however, consisting of any number of partners established at a. greater distance from the metropolis than sixty-five miles, shall have the right to draw bills on London without restriction as to their amounts and to issue notes payable in London.
"3. Bank of England notes shall be a legal tender, except at the Bank of England, or at any of its branches.
"4. Bills not having more than three months to run before they become due, shall not be subject to the usury laws.l
"5. An account, similar to that laid before the bank committee, of the amount of bullion and securities in the hands of the bank, and of the amount of notes in circulation, and of the deposits in the hands of the bank, shall be transmitted, as a confidential paper, weekly, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer: these accounts shall be consolidated at the end of each quarter, and the average state of the bank accounts for the preceding quarter published quarterly in the Gazette.