An Order in Council empowers the Bank of England to
issue additional notes to the amount of 475,000/. to supply the defi- ciency in the apportioned paper currency of the country, created by the failure or discontinuance of joint-stock and private banks authorized to issue notes. This is not to be taken as a step to- wards the relaxation sought by a portion of the trading commu- nity. When the last Bank Charter Act was arranged, the esta- blished circulation of the country and private banks was taken
into account ; it was foreseen that some diminution might en- sue in that section of the paper currency, on the discontinu- ance of individual country banks • and it was arranged that as joint-stook and private banks should fall in, the Bank of England should make good the deficiency. The fresh issue, therefore, now authorized in terms of the Bank Aot, does but fill up a void in the system as it was arranged by Sir Robert Peel ; and instead of being in relaxation of the act, it is in the direction of more strictly fulfilling that statute.
If the nature of the measure were misunderstood, it might en- courage the notion of a concession. It can, of course, have a very trifling effect of any kind; but certainly it cannot supply the amount of money or capital abstracted from the currency, and still more from the available means of the country, for the simple fact that a large proportion of our capital is _ devoted, not to repro- ductive employment in trade, but to employment in war—em- ployment in a process of waste, consuniption, extinction. We send our sovereigns—upon which one considerable portion of the note- currency is based—our clothing, our provender, to be consumed by soldiers and sailors at a distance; we get nothing in return for the expenditure except the constraint of Russia. On political grounds, that return may be deemed sufficient; on economical grounds, in the long run, it may be hoped that it will repay us. But at present there is no return to commerce. Our money and means have simply gone ; and we can no more improve our state by an additional issue of paper, than a free• signing of bills of ex- change could supply the larder or the water-tanks of a ship at sea. We have no great reason to complain of our state, whatever it may be. The pressure is-infinitely less than on powers who oppose us, or do not aid ns. Our doubtful ally, Austria, is about to try the critical experiment of eubsoriptions to the Credit Mobilier, but no one can anticipate any great success. Russia is showing a condition almost, it may be said, of beggary. We may doubt the accounts of the excessive pressure upon the rural classes, although those accounts are probable enough; but we cannot suppose that the people are paying their taxes, or that the Russian treasury is well stored, when we see that a new loan is opened at Hamburg at 82 to bear 5 per cent interest, and that the subscriptions are " not very successful." The figure of 82, indeed, is high as compared with the previous loan of Russia; but the offer is made in the form, apparently, of a Dutch auction, where the biddings are downwards. At the same time, it is an- nounced that in the Treasury and Imperial Banks of Russia the proportion of bullion in relation to bank-notes is to be diminished, suspension of payments of the national debt is expected, and "a money panic" is foreseen. We need not, however, look to the future : the single fact of the loan offered in a foreign country, with its comparative failure, is enough to expose the bare state of the exchequer at St. Petersbarg.