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(A): [NOTES ON THE REPORT OF THE BULLION COMMITTEE] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 3 Pamphlets and Papers 1809-1811 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 3 Pamphlets and Papers 1809-1811.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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[NOTES ON THE REPORT OF THE BULLION COMMITTEE]
[p. 9.] The Report points out that there have been considerable importations of gold into England from South-America.
The committee seem anxious to prove that there have been considerable importations as well as exportations of gold, but this fact is not in the least material to the principle which they are attempting to support.
[p. 21.] The Report quotes from the evidence of the Continental Merchant: ‘The Exchange against England fluctuating from 15 to 20 per cent. how much of that loss may be ascribed to the effect of the measures taken by the enemy in the North of Germany, and the interruption of intercourse which has been the result, and how much to the effect of the Bank of England paper not being convertible into cash, to which you have ascribed a part of that depreciation?—I ascribe the whole of the depreciation to have taken place originally in consequence of the measures of the enemy; and its not having recovered, to the circumstance of the paper of England not being exchangeable for cash.’
21 It is difficult to believe that the cause here assigned were adequate to produce such an unfavorable exchange as from 15 to 20 pct.: much of it must in the first instance be attributed to the circumstance of Bank of England paper being excessive and not convertible into cash.
[pp. 55–56.] The Report exposes the fallacy of ‘not distinguishing between an advance of capital to Merchants, and an additional supply of currency to the general mass of circulating medium’, under a system of paper currency: ‘In the first instance, when the advance is made by notes paid in discount of a bill, it is undoubtedly so much capital, so much power of making purchases, placed in the hands of the Merchant who receives the notes; and if those hands are safe, the operation is so far, and in this its first step, useful and productive to the public. But as soon as the portion of circulating medium, in which the advance was thus made, performs in the hands of him to whom it was advanced this its first operation as capital, as soon as the notes are exchanged by him for some other article which is capital, they fall into the channel of circulation as so much circulating medium, and form an addition to the mass of currency.’
55 The advance is not useful even in the first instance if the amount of currency have already attained its natural limit. It can only be useful to one merchant in the same degree as it becomes hurtful to another. It enables one to make purchases, but, by the increase of prices, it deprives others of the ability of carrying on the same extent of trade.
[pp. 57–58.] The Report reads: ‘The suspension of Cash payments has had the effect of committing into the hands of the Directors of the Bank of England, to be exercised by their sole discretion, the important charge of supplying the Country with that quantity of circulating medium which is exactly proportioned to the wants and occasions of the Public. In the judgment of the Committee, that is a trust, which it is unreasonable to expect that the Directors of the Bank of England should ever be able to discharge. The most detailed knowledge of the actual trade of the Country, combined with the profound science in all the principles of Money and Circulation, would not enable any man or set of men to adjust, and keep always adjusted, the right proportions of circulating medium in a country to the wants of trade. When the currency consists entirely of the precious metals, or of paper convertible at will into the precious metals, the natural process of commerce, by establishing Exchanges among all the different countries of the world, adjusts, in every particular country, the proportion of circulating medium to its actual occasions, according to that supply of the precious metals which the mines furnish to the general market of the world. The proportion, which is thus adjusted and maintained by the natural operation of commerce, cannot be adjusted by any human wisdom or skill. If the natural system of currency and circulation be abandoned, and a discretionary issue of paper money substituted in its stead, it is vain to think that any rules can be devised for the exact exercise of such a discretion; though some cautions may be pointed out to check and control its consequences, such as are indicated by the effect of an excessive issue upon Exchanges and the price of Gold.’
58. The proportion of currency which can conveniently be maintained in a country where a paper currency not convertible into specie exists can be adjusted by human wisdom and skill, as the Comm̃ee themselves assert in several parts of the report. It is precisely at its proper limit whilst gold does not rise above or fall below the mint price.
[p. 65.] The Report refers to the crisis of 1793: ‘In this crisis, Parliament applied a remedy, very similar, in its effect, to an enlargement of the advances and issues of the Bank; a loan of Exchequer Bills was authorized to be made to as many mercantile persons, giving good security, as should apply for them; and the confidence which this measure diffused, as well as the increased means which it afforded of obtaining Bank Notes through the sale of the Exchequer Bills, speedily relieved the distress both of London and of the country.’
Perhaps after all that confidence was on the point of being restored at the very moment that recourse was had to this boasted measure.