Front Page Titles (by Subject) BANK CASH PAYMENTS128 March 1821 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence
BANK CASH PAYMENTS128 March 1821 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 1815-1823.
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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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BANK CASH PAYMENTS
28 March 1821
Mr. Grenfell, referring to the alleged refusal of the Bank of Ireland to receive coin of the realm as deposits [see above, p. 70], said that he had now been assured by the principal director of the Bank of Ireland that there was not the slightest foundation for the statement. Mr. Irving thought ‘that, situated as the Bank of Ireland was, they might have regulated the exchanges better by the distribution of their issues in a more suitable manner than they had done’. Mr. Ellis stated ‘that 500,000l. was voted for the service of those who, having property, could not immediately turn it into specie; but so increased was the liberality of the Bank of Ireland on that occasion, that it actually rendered necessary the application of only 100,000l. of that sum.... With respect to the statement that the low rate of exchange arose from the small quantity of circulating medium in Ireland it appeared to him that that could not justly be cited as the true cause, when it was on record that the exports of corn from Ireland were three times greater in the last than in the former year. That was the circumstance to which the low rate of exchange was attributable, and not to any deficiency in the Bank of Ireland issues.’
Mr. Ricardo was very much gratified at what he had heard from the hon. gent. (Mr. Irving) this night. The hon. gent. was now of opinion that the circulation of the Bank regulated the state of the exchange, and he (Mr. Ricardo) was very happy that the hon. gent. was at last a convert to that doctrine. Those gentlemen who imagined that a lucrative trade could be carried on by exchanging coin for Bank-notes, were, as it appeared to him, very much mistaken, because it was impossible for Bank notes to be more valuable than the coin of the country. It was impossible for a man, who was called on in the course of trade, to purchase any commodity to carry on his trade more profitably with Bank notes than with the coin of the realm. Therefore there was no sort of inducement, as it appeared to him, for any person to exchange his bullion at the Bank for their notes. The Bank of Ireland was, however, placed under very different circumstances from the Bank of England; and they did seem to him to have acted with a degree of energy, which, if it had been the case of this country, they would have found the Bank of England not ready to have adopted. What was the case of the Bank of Ireland? The stoppage of a number of private banks in the country rendered it absolutely necessary that a very great increase in the circulation, of some sort or another, should be provided. Either the diminution of the circulating medium must be supplied by coin, or a powerful effort must be made by the Bank of Ireland to make up the deficiency by an issue of notes. The Bank of Ireland did make that great effort to the amount, he believed, of 50 per cent; and, from what he had himself heard from the Governor of the Bank of Ireland, that issue would have been increased still farther if those securities had been offered on which the Bank of Ireland usually made their advances; but, from the state of Ireland, those securities could not at the moment be found; and the Bank, however willing to increase their issues, had not the power so to do. It was very evident that the Bank of Ireland would not have increased the circulation if they had taken in sovereigns and issued paper. That would have been merely to decrease one circulation, and to increase another. With respect to the management of the debt of Ireland, an hon. gent. had observed that there was a compensation given to the Bank for the care of that debt. Undoubtedly there was a species of remuneration; but when he contrasted that remuneration with what the Bank of England received for the management of our debt, the latter appeared to him to be enormous. At the same time he was one of those who did not think that banks should be called on to serve the public gratis. The word ‘liberality’ had been used, with respect to the conduct of the Bank of Ireland, and, in his opinion, such a phrase was not properly applied, merely because they had issued their Bank notes; because a bank never increased its paper issue without receiving some advantage from it. He fully concurred in the opinion of those who held that the circulation of the Bank of Ireland was, at the time the distress occurred, very deficient; and he looked upon the exchange to have been affected, not by the great increase of the exportation of corn, but as arising from the issue of the Bank of Ireland not being so high, in notes or money, as it ought to have been.