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effort for the amelioration of their prisons will not be withheld. To these remarks may with propriety be added the following notice :

Some time since, a Society was formed in London, for the suppression of Juvenile Delinquency and the Improvement of Prison Discipline. The Committee of that Society have been indefatigable not only in procuring information respecting prisons, and in sug.. gesting the requisite improvements, but in forming plans for the erection of new jails to the greatest advantage and at the least possible expense. It is peculiarly desirable that those, who have it in view to erect new prisons, should avail themselves of the ad. vice and assistance of these gentlemen, who, from motives of benevolence, have made the subject their study, and are already in possession of much experience respecting it. Any letters on this subject, addressed to Thomas Fowell Buxton, M. P. Spitalfields, or to the Committee, Samuel Hoare, jun., 62, Lombard-street, will not fail to receive at their hands a ready and early attention.

:

IMPRACTICABILITY

OF

The Resumption

OF

CASH PAYMENTS;

OF

THE SUFFICIENCY

OF A

REPRESENTATIVE CURRENCY IN THIS COUNTRY,

UNDER DUE REGULATIONS ;

AND OF THE

DANGER OF A REDUCTION OF THE CIRCULATING

MEDIUM

IN THE PRESENT STATE OF THINGS.

BY SIR WILLIAM CONGREVE, BART.

Member of Parliament for the Borough of Plymouth.

LONDON:

ADVERTISEMENT.

The following pages must be received as containing merely an outline of certain important propositions connected with the Resumption of Cash Payments, and with the sufficiency of a Representative Circulating Medium, which are here offered more with a view to elicit consideration, than as affording complete investigation. The writer was led to the view of these subjects by having been lately employed, in a public capacity, in the solution of a vital problem connected with this important question; and, though his present limits do not allow of more detailed explanations, still he feels some confidence, from the consideration which he has given to the subject, that his principles are, in general, correct.

OF THE

RESUMPTION

OF

CASH PAYMENTS,

&c. &c.

WI paper and money circulated together in this country, without affecting the relative value of each other, the proportion of the latter to the former was about equal, or one-half of the whole circulating medium, which was then rather more than forty millions; about twenty-two millions of which was in specie, and never less than twenty. Since that time, as the issue of paper has increased in its proportion, the specie has gradually disappeared; and this the Bullion Report assigns as the natural consequence of a disproportion between these two ingredients in a mixed currency: nor have I any intention of denying it, but merely, on this very ground, to prove the impossibility of the resumption of Cash Payments in the present moment.

Admitting these facts, and the full force of the deduction, it follows, that the least proportion of specie that can circulate in conjunction with paper, is about one-half; and such, indeed, are not only the proportions which would be assigned by the principles of a physical equilibrium, but must be those also given by the calculation of the relative values of paper and money in a mixed currency, where the quantity of the representative values is equal to that of the intrinsic values; for, as in such a circulation there would always be found a pound sterling of gold or silver for every pound sterling of paper, so it must follow, that, under such circunstances, the value of the one must always be precisely equal to that of the other: while, as this state of uniform value in a mixed circulation depends upon this principle of equilibrium, it is qually evident that equality of values, so compared, must cease when the representative value exceeds the intrinsic.

Let us enquire, therefore, how these principles bear in the present state of increasedowealth in the country. The income of the country may be stated at upwards of two hundred millions per annum, Now as this is an accumulating amount, the effect of its grudual or increasing diffusion throughout the country will be the same as that of the constant action of its

mean,

or of one-half of the whole amount; the amount, therefore, of the circulating medium, or of the representative instrument constantly required for the diffusion of this income, must be calculated with reference to the mean of the income and not the whole of it; that is, with reference to this latter sum of one hundred millions. But as it may be supposed that not more than two-thirds of the income of the country are expended in the year, so this sum of one hundred millions must be further reduced to somewhat about seventy millions, as the amount of the circulating medium required for the diffusion or expenditure of its income. I speak here not of the mercantile operations of men, but of what may be called their ready-money transactions—the receipt and payment of salaries, of rents, interests, wages of labor, the butchers' and bakers' bills, &c. which absolutely require the instrumentality of money; and I conceive, on the general principles above stated, that the necessary amount of the circulating medium, properly so called, that is to say, of specie, Bank of England notes, and private bank notes, for the performance of these operations, with an annual income of above two hundred millions, cannot be assigned at much less than seventy millions. The mercantile operations of the country have a representative medium of their own, in bills of exchange, promissory notes, &c. the amount of which is supposed to be not less than three hundred millions. But even these transactions cannot be entirely settled without the aid of the circulating medium; as, with the utmost contrivance, the fractional parts or balances must necessarily be paid in what is called money. This, therefore, is an additional reason to suppose that the amount above stated cannot exceed the real demand.

It may be, and indeed is contended, that this great amount and increase of income in the country is more fictitious than real; that it is now only the shadow, of which the substance has been consumed. Yet where but in the country itself hias this substance been expended ? a very small proportion only excepted. Loans could not have been raised without the existence of real property; and that property, thus paid into the hands of the Government, has returned again amongst the people, and excited fresh energies and

1

It is 'not here affected to fix these amounts with absolute precision; but to assign them in round numbers on general principles,

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