The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1727-1733. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Debate concerning a Bill, To prevent the infamous Practice of Stockjobbing.
April 30. An engross'd Bill, To prevent the infamous Practice of Stockjobbing, was read the third Time, and a Motion being made, That the Bill do pass; the same was oppos'd by Mr Glanville, who stood up, and spoke as fol lows:
'There is, in my Opinion, a very great Hardship to be put, by the Bill now before us, upon the Proprietors of the Publick Funds. As the Law now stands, a Gentleman may sell his Estate, a Merchant or Tradesman may sell his Goods, every Man may dispose of his Property by a Bar gain for Time, or in whatever Manner he pleases: But by this Bill the Creditors of the Publick, those who have put their Trust in the Publick Faith, are to be laid under a particular Restraint; a Restraint which they were no way subject to when they lent their Money to the Publick; and from henceforth they must not dispose of their Property, but in the particular Manner by this Bill prescribed!
'I am, Sir, as great an Enemy to Stockjobbing as any Gentleman in this House, and for preventing that pernicious Practice I shall be glad to join in any Measures, which are not destructive to Publick Credit, and injurious to private Persons, with respect to the free Use of their Property: But, as I think the Measures proposed by this Bill will certainly be destructive of the one, and injurious to the other, therefore I cannot let it pass, without taking the Liberty of offering my Objections against it.
'It is in all Cases a great Hardship put upon People, to subject them to Penalties, which may often by meer Ignorance be incurred: But in this Case, the Hardship is the greater, because there are many Proprietors of the Publick Funds, particularly Women, who cannot be presumed to be Readers of Acts of Parliament: They put an entire Confidence in their Brokers, and, if the Broker happens to neglect some of the Forms prescribed, the most innocent Persons may be brought under great Penalties. Nay, I may say, that if this Bill passes into a Law, it will always be in the Power of two or three Brokers, to subject those that employ them to the severe Penalties to be enacted by this Bill; for if two Brokers should combine together, and enter in their Books a Bargain for Time, as made between two of their Correspondents, they might easily get a third Person to combine with them, and to inform against the presumed Buyer and Seller; the Brokers Books sworn to by the Brokers, whom they usually employed, would be a strong Proof against them; and thus two innocent Men might be brought to suffer severely for an Agreement, which had never entered into either of their Heads.
'It often happens, Sir, that a Gentleman, who foresees that he shall have Use for his Money in three or four Months Time, is well satisfied with the Price his Stock then bears; he cannot then sell out his Stock for ready Money, because he does not know what to do with his Money in the mean Time: But as the Law now stands, he may take Advantage of the then current Price of Stock, he may sell it out at that Price, or perhaps at an advanced Price, to be delivered only when he knows he shall have Occasion for the Money; this he acquaints his Broker of, and the Broker may probably find him out a Man who likes the then current Price, and expects Money to be thrown into his Hands in three or four Months, which he resolves to employ in that Fund: In this Case the Buying and Selling for Time is convenient for both, and it is not to be questioned; but that many are encouraged to become Purchasers of Stock upon this very Account, therefore the forbidding of any such Agreement for the future, will not only prove to be an Inconvenience to many, who are now possessed of Stock, but will prevent some People becoming Purchasers, which, of Consequence, will do Harm to the Publick Credit of the Nation.
'It is well known, Sir, that the chief Support of the Credit of our Publick Funds is owing to the ready Access People have, at all Times, to the Money they have there lodged: But this ready Access will, by this Bill, be made very precarious to all those, who shall hereafter be obliged to sell at once all the Property they have in any particular Fund: For, if the Purchaser should fail to comply with his Agreement, the Seller cannot, upon the Transfer-Day, compound the Difference with him, and sell out his Stock to another, in order to raise the Money he has immediate Use for: No, he must sue the Man he sells to, and for that End he must make a Transfer of his Stock, which Transfer must stand upon the Books during the whole Continuance of the Suit; he cannot in the mean Time sell his Stock to another, for if he did so, he would not be able to shew at the Tryal, that he had made a specifical Performance on his Part, and consequently he would certainly be nonsuited, and obliged to pay Costs. This, Sir, will be a most intolerable Grievance upon all the Proprietors of our Publick Funds, and will make many of them resolve to turn their Money to some other Use.
'I must be of Opinion, that the making a Law to prevent Men's coming to an amicable Composition of any Difference that may be between them, seems to me something extraordinary. This will be such a Discouragement, that no Man, I believe, will chuse to become a Purchaser of any of our Funds, when he knows that he cannot afterwards sell out his Stock, without exposing himself to the Danger of being involved in a Law-Suit, to which he is by Law expresly prohibited to put any End by an amicable Agreement. And if a Purchaser should, by any Disappointment, be disabled to comply with the Purchase he had made, but was willing to pay down, in ready Money, the Difference, which might not, perhaps, amount to five Pounds, it would be very hard to oblige him to stand out a Law-Suit to the very last, which would cost him, at least, treble that Money.
'That Clause, Sir, of obliging a Man to answer upon Oath, in a Case where great Penalties may be incurred, seems likewise to me to be a very new and a very extraordinary Sort of Clause; for it is no way consonant to the Spirit of our Laws, to oblige any Man to accuse himself: And as it lays a Foundation for every Person, that is inclin'd to be malicious, to bring a Bill in Chancery against any Man, who is or ever was possessed of any of the Publick Funds; it will consequently be a great Discouragement to any Man's becoming a Purchaser, or continuing to be a Proprietor of those Funds, and will of course tend to the Destruction of all Publick Credit.
'Another Hardship I shall take Notice of, is, Sir, that if this Bill passes, no Man for the future can employ a Merchant to buy or sell Stock for him; for if a Merchant should be employed, and should charge Commission for his Trouble, he would incur some of the Penalties of this Bill; unless he kept a regular Book, and fairly entered therein all such Transactions, in the same Manner as Brokers are by this Bill obliged to do.
'All these, Sir, are Hardships, which I think the Creditors of the Publick ought not to be subjected to, and therefore I cannot give my Consent to the passing of this Bill. I would sooner have taken Notice of these Things, but there happened to be such a Noise and Disturbance in the House, both upon the second Reading of this Bill, and likewise when it was in the Committee, that I could not expect to be heard; and therefore I did not then rise up to say any thing against it.'
Mr Bowles. ; Sir G. Caswall.
Mr Glanville was seconded by Mr Bowles; and back'd by Sir George Caswall, as follows,
'It is evident, that this Bill will be extremely inconvenient to all the Proprietors or Dealers in any of our Publick Securities: The Words of it are so general, that I do not know but that even Navy-Bills, and Contracts for furnishing the Navy with Provisions, will be comprehended; and if they are, the usual way of Dealing in such Affairs will be entirely prevented, which may be of dangerous Consequence to the Nation; for it is well known, that those who contract for furnishing the Navy with Provisions, seldom or never have as much Money of their own, as is sufficient for making good the Contracts they enter into. It is usual for a Man who has not perhaps 10,000£. of his own, to contract for furnishing the Navy with 40,000£. worth of Provisions; and in such Cases the Method always hitherto observed is, for the Contractor, as soon as he has made such Contract, to go to some monied Man, who furnishes him with what Money he stands in need of, upon his becoming bound for the Money advanced with Interest from the Date and obliging himself to deliver Navy-Bills, at the Price then agreed on, equal to the Principal Money then advanced, and the Interest that shall in the mean time grow due.
'These Bills, Sir, I look on as Publick Securities, because they are generally every Year provided for by Parliament; and therefore I take them to be within the general Words of this Bill; and as all such Bills vary a great deal in their Price, insomuch, Sir, that I have known them at 45£. per Cent. Discount, it will for the future be impossible for those, who contract for furnishing the Navy with Provisions, to enter into any such Agreement with any monied Man whatever; consequently no Man can hereafter contract for furnishing the Navy, with more Provisions than he can purchase with his own Money, which will of course make the providing for the Navy much more difficult than heretofore. This, Sir, is one very great Inconvenience which must arise from this Bill; but there are so many others, that, in my Opinion, the Title of the Bill ought to be altered, and instead of calling it a Bill for preventing the scandalous Practice of Stock-jobbing, it ought to be called a Bill for the destroying of Publick Credit.'
Sir John Barnard.
Hereupon Sir John Barnard stood up in Favour of the Bill, and said,
'I did not offer, Sir, to rise up sooner, because as we are now upon the third Reading of this Bill, against which there were few or no Objections made in any Part of its Progress through this House, I was willing to hear all the Objections that were to be made against it, before I rose up to answer; that I might thereby give you as little Trouble as possible I am, indeed, surprized to hear any Gentleman say, that there was upon any Occasion such a Noise in the House that he could not be heard: It is true, when a Bill is passing which is thought to be a Bill of course, there are but few Gentlemen give great Attention to it; and upon such Occasions, when Gentlemen are not otherwise employed, they will fall a talking with one another, which must of course occasion some little Noise in the House: But every Gentleman knows, that upon any such Occasion, whoever inclines to speak to the Bill in Hand, may rise up and call to the Chair, It is then the Duty of the Chair to order Silence, and then the House will become attentive to the Gentleman who is to speak. This is the Method of proceeding in this House; and this, Sir, you have always taken a proper Care to see punctually observed.
'I wish, Sir, with all my Heart, that the Gentlemen had made their Objections to this Bill, when it was before the Committee; for then it might have been made to their own Liking, if it be possible to make any such Bill to their Liking. When any Bill is brought into this House, it is usual for all Gentlemen, who have a mind that some Bill of that Nature should pass, to make their Objections to the Parts of it they find Fault with, either upon the second Reading, or upon its being committed; because, that if their Objections be well founded, such Amendments may be then made to the Bill, as may obviate all Objections that can be reasonably made against it: But when Gentlemen have no mind that any Bill of that Nature should pass, it is well known that they reserve all their Objections to the very last, in order to throw out the Bill upon its third Reading. For this Reason I must, Sir, have some Suspicion, that those Gentlemen, who now begin to make their Objections against the Bill we have at present before us, have no mind that any such Bill should pass, as would effectually put an End to the Practice of Stock-jobbing.
'I find, Sir, it is granted upon all Hands, that the Practice of Stockjobbing is pernicious to the Trade, and to the People of this Nation: This then is an Evil that ought to be remedied, if possible; and by the Bill now before us, we are, at least we propose, to remedy this Evil. Now, Sir, in all such Cases, it is certain that no Remedy can be proposed, but what will be attended with some Inconveniencies, and therefore we are to consider on which Side the Balance lies; whether the Inconveniences, design'd to be remedied by the Law proposed, are more considerable than the Inconveniences that may be occasioned thereby; or if the last be more considerable than the first? If we judge that the first are the most considerable, we are surely to pass the Bill, notwithstanding those Inconveniences that may be occasioned thereby: If we judge that the last are the most considerable, we are to throw out the Bill; and rather continue under the former Evil than subject ourselves to a greater. This, Sir, is certainly the proper Rule to judge by in the present Case, and therefore by this Rule let the Bill now before us be tried.
'The many had Consequences of Stockjobbing are, I believe, well known; and that it is high time to put an End to that infamous Practice, is, what I hope, most Gentlemen in this House are convinced of. It is a Lottery, or rather a Gaming-House, publickly set up in the Middle of the City of London, by which the Heads of our Merchants and Tradesmen are turned from getting a Livelihood or an Estate, by the honest Means of Industry and Frugality; and are enticed to become Gamesters by the Hopes of getting an Estate at once. It is, Sir, not only a Lottery, but a Lottery of the very worst Sort; because it is always in the Power of the principal Managers to bestow the Benefit-Tickets as they have a mind. It is but lately since, by the Arts and Practices of Stockjobbing, the East-India Stock was run up to 200£. per Cent. and in a little Time after it tumbled down again below 150£. several Millions were lost and won by this single Job, and many poor Men were undone; so bare-fac'd were some Men, at that Time, in the infamous Practice of Stockjobbing, that, after that Stock began to fall, they sold it cheaper for Time than for ready Money; which no Man would have done, unless he had been made acquainted with the Secret which came afterwards to be unfolded, but was then known to a very few.
'We know, Sir, how apt Mankind are in their own Nature to become Gamesters; but to this Game of Stockjobbing, our Merchants, Tradesmen, and Shop-keepers are prompted not only by their own Inclinations, but also by some of their Acquaintance, who have taken up the Trade of being Brokers in Exchange-Alley. It is natural for Men to endeavour to make the most of the Business they pursue; and where there are such a Number of Brokers, we may believe that some of them do endeavour to persuade all those of their Acquaintance to become Stockjobbers. The Broker comes perhaps to the Merchant, and talks to him of the many Fatigues and Dangers, the great Trouble and the small Profits, that are in the way of Trade; and after having done all he can to put the Man out of Conceit with his own Business, which is often too easily effected, he then tells him, that if he will allow him to dig for him in the rich Mine of Exchange-Alley, he may get more for him in a Day than he could get by his Trade in a Twelvemonth. Thus the Merchant is persuaded; he engages, he goes on for some Time, but never knows what he is doing 'till he is quite undone; his just Creditors are surprized; what, say they, this Man had a good Stock to begin with, he has had a good Trade for several Years, he never lived extravagantly, what is become of his Effects and Money? They inquire, they search into his Affairs, and at last perhaps they find out, that the whole was gam'd away by his Broker in ExchangeAlley.
'This, Sir, may, for what I know, increase Publick Credit for a Time; but I am sure it is a great Discouragement to Trade, which is the chief, the only solid Support of Publick Credit, and it is the Ruin of all private Credit; it destroys that mutual Faith among Merchants, by which only our Trade can be made to prosper and flourish. This, Sir, is a domestick Evil, an Evil which, tho' fatal in its Consequences, yet does not perhaps immediately draw any Money out of the Nation; but there is a foreign Evil attending the Game of Stockjobbing, by which the Nation may be plundered of great Sums of Money at once. It is, by the means of Stockjobbing, always in the Power of every foreign Court, to raise Contributions upon this Nation whenever they please; They have no more to do but to send over, and order a great deal of Stock to be sold out at the current Price for Time, then raise an Alarm of the Pretender, or some such Alarm, by which they may make all our Publick Funds fall perhaps 20£. per Cent. and so purchase Stock 20£. per Cent. cheaper than they sold; in order to perform their Part of the Contracts they had before made for Time. Thus, Sir, they may make a Harvest of the Fall of our Publick Funds; and as they know best when the Alarm will blow over, they may make a new Harvest of their Rise.
'These, Sir, are but a few of the many Inconveniences that arise by Stockjobbing. Give me leave now to examine those Inconveniences which, 'tis pretended, will be occasioned by the passing of this Bill into a Law. As to the real and honest Creditors of the Publick, I have as great a Regard for that Faith, which ought to be preserved towards them, as any Gentleman whatever: I shall never be for doing any Thing that may lessen their Security, as to the Payment either of their Principal or Interest, and I wish that every Gentleman in this House were of the same Mind: But can it be said, that the making such Regulations, as the Publick Good requires for the transferring of their Property from one to another, is any Impeachment of the Publick Faith? The preventing of Stockjobbing is so far from being a Breach of Publick Faith, that I am sure it is what all the honest Creditors of the Publick wish and desire; and as there is nothing in the Bill that can be a Hardship upon any fair Purchaser or Seller, it will be so far from being destructive to Publick Credit, that it will rather increase it; because it will make the Value of every Man's Property in the Publick Funds more certain and invariable. All those, who have no other Aim but to receive their Dividends punctually, and to have their principal Money secure, choose to be in that Fund which is subject to the fewest and least Mutations; and this is the Reason that we always see the Annuity-Funds bear a higher Price in Proportion than any of our Trading-Stocks.
'To say, that no Penalty ought to be inflicted on a Practice that is found to be inconsistent with the Publick Good, because Persons ignorant of the Law may thereby suffer, seems to me, Sir, to be a very odd Pretence. I hope Gentlemen will, in all other Cases, be as careful of inflicting Penalties upon the Subject; it is indeed what ought never to be done but in Cases of the utmost Necessity: But where the Advancement of the Publick Good, or the Security of private Property, can be come at in no other Way, it must be done; and every Man is obliged to know the Law, or to apply himself to those that do. In the present Case, no Man can by Ignorance subject himself to the Penalties proposed by this Bill, without some dishonest Intent; for I am convinced, that no Man ever did, or ever will either buy or sell Stock for Time, unless he knows more, or at least thinks he knows more, about that Stock than the Man to whom he sells, or from whom he buys; which Intention is certainly not very fair, tho', when it is not extended too far, it may be necessary to overlook it in the Way of Commerce.
'This, Sir, leads me to consider the pretended Convenience of Bargains in Stock for Time. Suppose a Gentleman finds he must sell out his Stock three Months hence; suppose another expects Money in three Months Time, which he intends to lay out on the Purchase of Stock; I believe neither the one will purchase, nor the other sell 'till that Time comes, unless he knows, or thinks he knows, some Secret relating to that Stock which other People are not aware of; for if he that is to sell expects no Variation in the Value of his Property, why should he sell 'till he has Occasion for his Money ? But granting that he is so much satisfied with the then current Price, that he absolutely resolves to sell at that very Time, may he not sell for ready Money, and lodge his Money in the Bank 'till he has Occasion for it, since no Man can pretend but that his Money is as secure when lodged in the Bank, as it can be in any of our Publick Funds? And as to the Buyer, I am sure no wise Man will venture to purchase Stock 'till he has the Money at Command; unless he does it in Expectation that the Stock will rise, which is downright Gaming, and what is intended by this Bill to be prevented.
'As to a Man's being obliged to answer upon Oath to any Bill filed against him, it can be no Hardship; because whoever does so answer, and fairly discovers the Agreement made, is free from all Penalties; he becomes liable to nothing but to return the Money which he received; and as the Law now stands, whoever receives Money to another's Use, is obliged to answer upon Oath, and will be obliged to return the Money he confesses so to have received.
'To pretend, Sir, that by this Bill Men may be subjected to great Penalties, by the Perjury and Conspiracy of two or three Brokers, is another Objection for which there is no Foundation; for against Perjuries and Conspiracies there can be no Guard but that of a fair Trial by an honest Jury; by such a Tryal any such Conspiracy might probably be discovered; it would be almost impossible for three Rogues to concert their Story so together, but that the Conspiracy would be discovered by examining them apart, and cross-questioning each, in the Manner usual at all Trials; so that this too is nothing but an imaginary Evil, and is as strong an Objection against every penal Law, that ever was or ever can be enacted, as it is against the Bill before us.
'There is nothing in this Bill, Sir, that can oblige any Man to go to Law, ether as Plaintiff or Defendant, contrary to his Inclinations, or that can prevent his making up any Difference there may be between him and another; for tho' the Buyer of the Stock may not perhaps be able to pay for the Stock he had bought, because of some Disappointment he has in the mean Time met with, yet it is not to be presumed, that he will not be able to pay the Difference in ready Money; and if he can pay that in ready Money at the Books, cannot he immediately sell out the Stock to another at the then current Price; and thereby raise the rest of the Money, which he may order to be delivered to the Man who sold to him ? May not every Bargain be thus specifically performed, if the Parties are inclined so to do ? In this the only Inconvenience is, that there must be a double Transfer, which is performed with so little Trouble or Expence, that, I hope, it will be no way regarded in the present Debate: And as it may be supposed, that, if this Bill passes into a Law, there will be few or no Purchasers, but such as are able to perform it the Time they purchase; therefore, the other Objection of the Seller's being obliged to keep his Stock 'till the End of a tedious Law-Suit is of no Weight; for as every Purchaser will be able, and will probably be willing to perform his Part of the Agreement, it is not to be presumed, that there will be any Law-Suits upon that Head.
'I am really surprized, Sir, to hear Gentlemen talk of their being, by this Bill, prevented from employing a Merchant or Friend to buy or sell Stock for them; such Gentlemen do not, it seems, know that Commission and Brokerage are two different Articles: If a Merchant is employ'd to buy or sell Stock for another, he may either do it himself, or he may employ a Broker; if he employs a Broker, he charges both Brokerage and Commission, and if he does it himself he charges only Commission: In neither Case does he act as a Broker, nor will he be obliged to keep any Book for that Purpose.
'I have now, Sir, gone through all the material Objections I have heard made against the Bill. I hope, I have shewn that there is no Weight in any of them; I hope, I have shewn that all the Inconveniencies, which are pretended to arise from this Bill, are imaginary; and I think, I have shewn very real Inconveniencies arising from the infamous Practice of Stockjobbing; and every Gentleman in the House may suggest to himself a great many more. We ought to consider that no bad Custom or Practice ever crept into any Nation, but what some People got by; and, let the Practice be as pernicious as it will, we may presume that those who get by it, will endeavour to raise Objections against every effectual Remedy that can be offered; but as no Gentleman in this House can be any way concerned in the Gettings by Stockjobbing, so, I hope, they will not allow themselves to be missed by any frivolous Objections started, without Doors, by those who are.'
Sir John Barnard having done speaking, Mr Brooksbank stood up next, and spoke against the Bill as follows:
'I doubt not but there was a great deal of Money lost and won by the late sudden Rise and Fall of East-India Stock, and I am persuaded that a great many of those, who became Purchasers upon the Rise of that Stock, were such as never intended to hold the Stock for the Sake of the Dividend, but that they were such as bought only with a View of making an Advantage, by selling it out again at an advanced Price: This, 'tis true, is a Sort of Gaming, but it is of such a Sort as cannot be entirely prevented, even by the Bill now before us; so that in such a Case no great Benefit can be expected by the Bill, and in many Cases it will certainly be attended with great Inconveniencies. I shall mention only two; the first of which is that of the Long Annuities: It often happens that in the Sale of such Publick Securities, the Seller must deduce his Title in the same Manner, as if he were to sell a Land-Estate; so that it will be impossible for him to compleat the Conveyance in ten Days, which is the Time limited in this Bill; and therefore I am of Opinion, that the Sale of such Annuities will, in many Cases, become impracticable, if this Bill should pass into a Law.
'It is certain, Sir, that the Merchants may sell Goods to be delivered at any Time the Contractors shall agree on: I know that in the Russian Trade it is usual for the Merchants concerned in that Trade, to enter into Contracts to deliver Hemp at a certain Price, at a certain future Time, tho', perhaps, at the Time of making the Contract, the Hemp is not so much as purchased or contracted for in Russia: This is a Privilege which is enjoyed by all Merchants with respect to the Goods they deal in, and I can see no Reason why the Proprietors of our publick Funds should not enjoy the same Privilege.
'The other Inconvenience I shall mention, is, That of the Disappointments which some of the publick Creditors may meet with in the Sale of their Properties, which will certainly be much agravated by this Bill: Suppose a Man enters into an Agreement for the Purchase of a Land-Estate, and covenants to pay the Price against such a Day under a great Penalty; for enabling him to perform his Agreement he sells out 10,000£. of his Stock, to be delivered some few Days before that Day on which he is, by his Covenant, obliged to pay for his Estate: Suppose the Purchaser of the Stock does not come to accept of the Stock, or to pay the Price; as the Law now stands, the Seller of the Stock may make a Tender of his Stock at the Books, and may sell it out next Transfer-Day at the Risk of the Buyer, by which he is enabled to pay for his Estate, and he may recover from the Purchaser of his Stock, what he lost by his not accepting and paying for the Stock according to Agreement; But if this Bill passes into a Law, the Seller of Stock must, I presume, keep his Stock 'till the End of the Law-Suit between him and the Buyer, in order that he may be always ready to make a specifical Performance; by which Means, if he has no other Fund for raising ready Money, he must subject himself to the Penalty of his Covenant as to the Purchase of the Estate. As these are Inconveniencies which may often occur, I think it is hard to subject, the Proprietors of the publick Funds to them; and therefore I shall be against the Bill's passing in the Form it is at present.'
Sir R. Walpole.
Sir Robert Walpole spoke next:
'I wish the Objections now started against the passing of this Bill, had been mentioned either upon the second Reading, or in the Committee. I do really think that the Bill might have been drawn up, as to some Parts of it, with something more Perspicuity, so as to have intirely obviated the Objections now made to it: But as most of the Objections now made are founded upon Mistakes, as to the Meaning and Intention of the Bill, I am therefore of Opinion, that they ought not to be of Weight enough to prevent its passing.
'As to what the honourable Gentleman was pleased to mention about Navy-Contracts, I cannot think that they come any Way under the Case now before us. The Navy always contracted to pay ready Money to all those, who agree to furnish them with any Stores or Provisions; and after, a Man has entered into such a Contract, he may certainly sell, or assign any Interest, or any Share of the Interest he has therein to another, notwithstanding the Bill now before us. Upon such Contracts the Money is indeed generally paid by Navy-Bills, but that cannot hinder the private Contracter to raise Money upon his Contract after what Manner he pleases; he may even oblige himself to deliver Navy-Bills at such a Price; for, before they are issued, they cannot be deemed to be Publick Securities; and if, upon delivering the Stores and Provisions, the Navy should actually pay ready Money to the private Contractor, can it be so much as pretended, that he would be then obliged to deliver Navy-Bills to the Person, from whom he had borrowed Money upon his Contract with the Navy: Would not, in such a Case, the Repayment of the Money borrowed with Interest be a full Performance of his Engagement with the Lender? Navy-Bills, indeed, after they are once issued, do certainly become Publick Securities, and then they are to be bought and sold in the Manner prescribed by this Bill, which can no way injure Publick Credit.
'As to the Objection against compounding, or voluntarily receiving any Difference, I cannot think, that the Laws, as to the Performance on the Seller's Part, is any way altered by this Bill. He is not by this Bill obliged to keep the Stock sold, in his Possession, any longer than he was before; he may certainly perform upon his Part by a Tender of the Stock, in the same Manner as he could have done before; he may then sell out his Stock, and he may bring his Action against the Buyer for not performing his Part of the Contract, upon which Action he will recover the Difference by way of Damages.
'Indeed, that Objection relating to the long Annuities has something more in it, and therefore, I wish it had been provided against by some Words, or some Clause in the Bill; but it is a Case that will happen but seldom, and the Difficulty may be, by proper Management and Dispatch, in all Cases surmounted, and therefore I do not think it sufficient for throwing out the Bill; for the Practice of Stockjobbing has been so prejudicial to this Nation, that no trivial Objection ought to take Place against a Bill by which, I think, that Practice will be prevented for the future.
'I have, Sir, long wished for some such Bill: Every one knows, how even the Administration has been sometimes distressed by the Practices of Stockjobbers: They have Correspondents settled at all the Courts of Europe, and upon all Occasions of Moment they have their Expresses, who make much greater Dispatch than the Government's Expresses can do, because they are generally much better paid, and better appointed for that Purpose.
'I must say, Sir, that the late Practices in the East-India Stock were really something surprizing; there might perhaps be some, who upon its Rise bought only with a View of selling out again at an advanced Price; but I am persuaded there were others, who bought even at the highest Price with an honest Intention, and without any other View but that of holding the Stock they bought, and taking their Dividends as they should become due. The Price of that Stock, and of every other Stock, must always be according to the Value of Money at that Time, and the Dividend made; or that may probably be made upon the Stock: At that Time our 4£. per Cent. were selling at a Premium, even our 3£. per Cent. were selling at very near Par; and therefore we must conclude, that according to the Value of Money at that Time, an Annuity of 4£. per Cent. was very well worth 100£. principal Money. That Company had divided eight per Cent. for many Years; they but just before paid 200,000£. to the Government for a Prolongation of their Term; and at the same Time they had declared they were able to do all this, and likewise to pay off 4 or 500,000£. of their Bonds, out of the Profits of their Trade: From all which, those who were not in the deepest Secret of their Affairs, had very good Reason to conclude, that they would have been able to have continued the same Dividend for many Years to come, and that therefore 100£. East-India Stock was a cheap Purchase when bought even for 200£. The Resolution was soon after taken for diminishing their Dividend, and that was as natural a Reason for the Fall of their Stock, as their former Declarations had been for its Rise. What were the Motives for this Management I shall not pretend to determine; but I am afraid, that the Game of Stock Jobbing is often the Cause of Managements in that, and all other publick Funds: If we destroy the Cause, the Effects must cease; and of Consequence the Price of all publick Stocks will become more certain and fixed, which will, I am sure, make them more valuable to all honest Purchasers. The fluctuating of the Price can be no Advantage to any but Brokers, and to those who have a Mind to make indirect Advantages by Stockjobbing: Those Practices will, I think, be prevented by this Bill; consequently it will tend to the Improvement of publick Credit, and therefore I shall be for its passing.'
Then Lord Hervey spoke against the Bill:
'In the Debate now before us, I cannot agree with my honourable Friend over the Way. I must be of Opinion, that if this Bill passes, no Seller can sue for any Difference upon the Stock sold, nor can he recover Damage, which I take to be the same with Difference, unless he has the Stock in his Possession the whole Time of the Suit: By this Bill every Bargain is to be specifically performed, and therefore the Seller, as I take it, must sue only for a specifical Performance, which no Seller can pretend to sue for, unless he is, at all Times, during the Continuance of the Suit, in a Condition and ready to perform specifically upon his Part, for which End he must always have of that Stock which he has sold, at least as much as he is obliged to deliver to the Buyer; and therefore, if a Man has sold all the Share he has in any publick Fund, in order to enable him to perform his Part of an Agreement about something else, if the Buyer does not come to take the Stock, and pay the Price, the Seller must subject himself to the Penalty of his other Agreement, or he must give up all Pretences for recovering any thing from the Buyer of his Stock, either by way of Difference or Damages. This will be a great Hardship upon all Stockholders, and as they will, by this Bill, be subjected to a great many other Inconveniences, and to several dangerous and heavy Penalties, I shall therefore be against its passing.'
Sir W. Yonge.
Sir William Yonge spoke next for the Bill:
'In the Case now before us, I take it to be of no Consequence, whether or no the Seller can recover either Difference or Damages, and therefore, whether or no they be in effect the same is no material Question. I am very well convinced, that no Circumstances can everday a Man under the Necessity of selling or buying for Time; no Man can so much as have an Inclination that Way, unless he be endued with something of the Spirit of Gaming, or unless he knows a Secret, by which he thinks he can make an unjust Advantage of the Person he sells to, or purchases from; and therefore, Sir, I look upon the putting a final End to this Practice to be one of the principal Aims of this Bill. I really, Sir, must say, that I have not heard one material Objection offered against this Bill, and as I was one of those appointed to bring it in, I can say, that all possible Care was taken to make the Words as plain, and the Terms as easy, as were consistent with putting an effectual End to the Evils against which the Bill was originally proposed. However, as the Bill is to go to the other House, I do not know but some few Words may be added or altered, in order to obviate, as much as possible, all Objections that have been or may be made to the Bill.'
Then Sir John Barnard spoke again,
Sir John Barnard.
'It is very certain that Long Annuities are included in this Bill; they must not be bought or sold hereafter but according to the Manner perscribed by this Bill: But I am certain this can be no Objection to the passing of it; for no wise Man, no honest Man, will presume to sell any thing 'till he has made his Title to it as clear as the Nature of the Thing can admit of; and therefore I think, that no Possessor of a Long Annuity will presume to sell 'till after he has deduced his Title, and made it so clear, that no Difficulty can be made in approving of it, in which Case all such Bargains may be specifically performed within ten Days after the making thereof; but if any accidental Delay should in the mean Time happen, the Parties may, by mutual Consent, put off the specifical Performance for what Time they please; there is nothing in this Bill that can prevent such a mutual Indulgence.
'I did not before take Notice of the Objection made, That this Bill, if it passes, may be the Occasion of the bringing many Suits in Equity against the Possessors of our publick Funds. This, I must say, I am surprized at. What Guard has any Man, as the Law now stands, against Chancery Suits? May not any Man now bring a Bill in Equity against me, and set forth, that I owe him a large Sum of Money, tho' I never had any Dealings with the Man in my Life? Such a Bill may certainly be brought, but I know what would be the Fate of it; I know it would be dismissed with Costs: This is my Dependence, I know I have never done any Thing that may render me liable to the having of such a Bill brought against me, and therefore I depend on it that no such Bill will ever be brought. And would it not be the same if the Bill now before us should pass? Is it to be supposed, that any Man would subject himself to the immediate Expence of ten or twelve Pounds, and the Danger of being obliged to pay twenty or thirty more, unless he had very strong Proofs against the Man whom he made Defendant to his Bill? This, Sir, is really putting Cases almost impossible, in order from thence to raise Objections against a Bill, for the Remedy of what is, by every Gentleman in this House acknowledged to be, a most insufferable Evil.'
Then Mr Glanville stood up again, and said;
'I must observe, that the Possessor of a Long Annuity, who has a Mind to sell, may think his Title as clear as the Sun at Noon-Day, and yet when he comes to shew it to the Purchaser, he may find several Objections: In such Case it must be laid before the Purchaser's Counsel, he must examine all the Title Deeds, and a Conveyance must be drawn up and settled by Counsel, both for the Seller and Buyer; and this will be admitted, I believe, not to be practicable in ten Days, so that I must still be of Opinion, that the Sale of such publick Securities will, by this Bill, be made very dangerous and difficult, if not altogether impossible.
'As to Bills in Equity it is certain, that no Man will ever file such a Bill unless he expects some Discovery by the Defendant's Answer. As the Law now stands, no Man can expect any Discovery from a Man with whom he never had any Transactions: But by the Bill now before us, every Man will have some Encouragement to expect a Discovery of something he may make an Advantage of by the Defendant's Answer, if such Defendant ever was a Dealer in any of our Publick Funds; because, if he ever made a Contract contrary to the Terms of this Bill, he will be obliged to discover it by his Answer, and tho' he may be thereby discharged from the Penalty, yet the other Party contracting with him is not; so that the Person who files the Bill, may thereby make an Advantage, either by recovering the Money received by the Defendant upon an unlawful Contract, or by grounding an Information upon that Answer for recovering a Penalty from the other Party concerned in such unlawful Contract or Composition; and therefore, I think, it is evident, that if this Bill passes, the Proprietors of the Publick Funds will be more liable to have Bills in Equity preferred against them than any other Persons in the Kingdom are.
'I shall conclude, Sir, with taking Notice of one Case where People are often obliged to sell before they can be ready to deliver, and that is in the Case of Executors and Trustees, where the Trust-Stock must generally be sold by a Bill in Chancery. In such Cases, according to the Practice now observed, they must sell before they bring their Bill, because the Purchaser is always made a Party to the Suit; and every Man knows that a Chancery Suit cannot be begun and ended, and the Bargain specifically performed in ten Days Time.'
Mr Bootle spoke next:
'I rise up only to rectify some Mistakes that I find Gentlemen seem to be in, with respect to the present Practice of the Law. According to the present Practice, no Man that sells Stock is obliged to keep his Stock for any Time after the Day, on which he contracted to deliver it: If the Buyer do not come on that Day to accept the Stock, and pay the Price he agreed to give for it, the Seller makes Publication at the Books for him to come and accept, and pay for the Stock which he is then ready to deliver according to his Contract: Then an actual Transfer is made upon the Books, and that Transfer stands 'till the shutting up of the Books for that Day; if, in that Time, the Buyer do not come to accept of, and pay for the Stock so transferred, the Transfer is then cancelled; and upon next Transfer-Day the Seller may sell his Stock to whomsoever he pleases at the current Price of that Day; and if he sells it at a Loss, he has an Action upon a Breach of Covenant against the Buyer, upon which Action he always recovers the Difference by way of Damages. The Publication and Transfer, made at the Books upon the Day agreed on and proved duly in Court, is always taken for a specifical Performance on the part of the Seller; and the Buyer has no Title to come, at any Time after that Day, to demand a new specifical Performance. This is the present Practice in all such Cases, and I am sure there is nothing in the Bill now before us which can alter the present Practice in that Respect; and therefore I must conclude, that as to this Case, no Stockholder can be brought under any Difficulty or Hardship by the Bill now before us.
'With respect, Sir, to the Long Annuities, why may not they be sold as Land-Estates generally are ? In the Sale of Land-Estates, when the Seller finds out one who is willing to be the Purchaser, the first Thing he does is to satisfy him about the Title, before they so much as talk about the Price, or examine particularly into the Value of the Estate to be sold. If this Method be observed with respect to the Sale of Long Annuities, it cannot be said, but that the Agreement may be specifically performed by both Parties, within ten Days after making the same.
'As to the Sale of Stock vested in Executors or Trustees, there is no Necessity of selling it before the Bill in Chancery be filed; there is no Necessity of selling it before a Decree passes for that Purpose: It may be suggested in the Bill, that such a Man is willing to, become a Purchaser, and he may be made a Party to the Suit, as well as if he had actually become a Purchaser; the Effect would be the same, and he would get his Costs in the one Case as well as in the other.
'And as to Stockholders being exposed to the Danger of having Bills in Chancery filed frequently against them, there is nothing in it; no fair Dealer in Stocks can ever be exposed to such a Danger, for whoever files such a Bill must set forth the unlawful Contract particularly; we are not to imagine, that, from any Clause in this Bill, a Man will be allowed to bring a Bill in Equity, and suggest generally that the Defendant has made some unlawful Contracts in Stocks, and pray that he may be obliged to discover all his Dealings; no, the Plaintiff must certainly set forth the particular Contract of which he prays a Discovery; and this he cannot do, unless there has not only been some such unlawful Contract, but such an unlawful Contract as he has had some Information of; and if upon the Issue of the Cause his Information appears to be groundless, he may expect to be made pay all Costs of Suit; so that no Man can have Reason to be afraid of any such Bills being filed against him, unless he has actually made some unlawful Contract; and that no such Man should rest in Security is the very Design of this Bill.
'In short, Sir, from all the Objections that have been started, and all the Cases that have been put, I can see nothing but pretended or imaginary Difficulties; and as the Bill now before us will, in my Opinion, put an End to many real Evils, which are of the most dangerous Consequence both to the Trade and Credit of this Nation, therefore I shall with all my Heart be for its passing in this House, and I hope it will be passed into a Law.'
The Bill against Stockjobbing passes the Commons: But is afterwards drop'd, on account of the Alterations made therein by the Lords.
Then the Question being put, That the Bill do pass, it was carried in the Affirmative by 55 against 49; and was sent up to the Lords, who made so many Alterations therein, that it was afterwards drop'd.
Ld. Tyrconnell moves for a Lottery of 1000000£. for Relief of the Sufferers by the Charitable Corporation.
May 4. The House being in a Grand Committee to consider of Methods for Relief of the Sufferers by the Charitable Corporation, the Lord Tyrconnel mov'd, That a Sum not exceeding one Million be raised, by way of Lottery, for that Purpose. His Lordship was opposed by Mr Sandys; who was answer'd by Sir William Yonge. Hereupon Mr Erle stood up and said,
'I am very much for giving all the Relief we can to such as are Objects of Charity, but I ám as much against doing it by way of Lottery; for by such a Method, in order to relieve those who have been cheated and undone, we shall give a Handle, by which a much greater Number of weak and simple Persons may be undone.'
Mr Palmer spoke next:
'I always was, and always shall be against Lotteries, of whatever Kind, or on whatever Occasion, and therefore I cannot but be against the Proposition now made to us. I shall be glad to see those poor, unhappy People relieved, and I hope that some effectual Methods may be fallen on for procuring that Relief; but do not let us think of giving them Relief by setting up what has been always deemed a publick Nusance; I believe it will be a better Way for us to grant a Sum of Money to the Crown, for the Relief of those of the Sufferers who are really Objects of Compassion: This Method I mention only to the Committee; but, whatever Relief is to be granted, I think it ought to be very much consined, for as to all those who shall appear to have been Gamesters in that Stock, they no more merit the Compassion of the Publick, than those who are undone at a Gaming-Table. I doubt much if any of the Men who became Adventurers in that Corporation deserve much Compassion; I am afraid, that most of them purchased, either with a View of making an unjust Profit by the advanced Price of the Shares they bought, or with a View to have a higher Interest for their Money, than what they were by Law intitled to, and in either Case they are almost as fradulent as those who were the Managers; for he that cheats, or extorts from a Man a Shilling, is as much guilty of Fraud, as he that cheats him out of 1000£. Indeed, as to the Ladies, a great many of them may have been innocently drawn in by those, to whom they intrusted the Management of their Affairs, or by those who, from the Beginning, had a formed Design of cheating them out of their Money: Their Case is really to be pitied, but in my Opinion, of all the Sufferers, they only are the proper Objects of Compassion, and therefore I hope, that whatever Relief is to be given, will be consined to the fair Sex only.'
To this Lord Tyrconnel replied,
'I have as great a Regard for the fair Sex as the Gentleman who spoke last, and with him I think, that they are really the greatest Objects of Compassion; but, Sir, let us consider, that many of those Gentlemen, who have been undone, have Wives and Daughters; and I cannot but look upon the Wives and Daughters of such Men to be at least as great Objects of Compassion, as any of those Ladies who have been undone by their own Act and Deed.'
Sir Charles Wager.
Hereupon Sir Charles Wager said,
'I must think, that the only Means we can think of for relieving the unhappy Sufferers in that Corporation, is to make a Lottery for their Benefit; but I must likewise be of Opinion, that a Lottery of a Million will be too large; I believe one of 500,000£. may be sufficient; and therefore I shall second the Motion to the Amount of that Sum.'
Sir Joseph Jekyll.
Then Sir Joseph Jekyll spoke against the Motion as follows:
'Before we think of granting any Money to the Crown, or of granting Money in any other Way, for the Relief of those Sufferers, we ought first to consider, whether or no we have any Power or Authority to tax the People, or to grant away the publick Money for the Relief of any private Persons. I must really be of Opinion, that we have no such Power; we are indeed to dispose of the publick Money, but then we are to dispose of it for publick Uses; we are not to convert it either to our own Use, or to the Use of any private Person: 'Tis true, we have sometimes granted Money to the King for the rewarding of private Persons, but such Grants have always been made for some Services rendered by those Persons to the Publick; and therefore, what Money was in that way granted, was really for the Use of the Publick. Even the raising of Money by a Lottery is raising Money upon the People, and if any Part of the Money so raised is granted away to private Persons, I must look upon it to be a converting the publick Money to the Use of private Persons, which I think we have no Power to do; and upon that Account, as well as on account of the many Inconveniences that attend Lotteries, I must be against the Motion.'
Mr Winnington spoke next in behalf of the Motion:
'I have always had a great Regard for the Opinion of the honourable and learned Gentleman who spoke last, but I hope he will excuse me, if I say that I do not think the Objections he has now made against the Proposition in Hand, are near so strong as those usually made by him. As to our Power of granting Money for the Relief in Question, I do not know what Power we may have in that Respect; but I am sure there are several Instances, where we have granted even a publick Tax for the Relief of private Persons. One such Instance, Sir, is within my Knowledge, and is so late, that every Gentleman in this House may remember it; that is, the Case of the Suitors in Chancery, whose Money had been lost by the Misconduct of the late Lord Chancellor, and the then Masters in Chancery: It is well known that this House laid a Tax upon the Law, which I take to be a Tax upon the People, because the whole is paid by the Clients in that Court, and not by the Lawyers; and the Money to arise by this Tax was appropriated towards making good the Loss, which the Suitors in that Court had sustained. Another Instance of the same Nature is that Tax, which was granted for Relief of the Orphans within the City of London; and I believe several other Instances could be given, if we were to examine the Journals of this House.
'However, Sir, I do not take this to be the Question now before us. It is not proposed to impose any Tax, or to grant any Money to the Crown for the Relief of those unhappy Sufferers; for I cannot imagine how it can be thought, that the granting a Lottery is either a Tax or an Imposition upon the Publick. By granting a Lottery we do not oblige any Man to pay towards it, no Man is to be forc'd to become an Adventurer; it is not really so much a Grant of Money, as it is a Repeal in so far of an Act of Parliament lately made against private Lotteries; for, if it were not for that Statute, the Charitable Corporation could of themselves set up such a Lottery as is now proposed: And as the making of that Law was occasioned by the many Frauds that were committed by the means of private Lotteries, and the downright Bites that were often put upon People under that Name, the Cause entirely ceases with respect to the Lottery now proposed, from which no Fraud or Bite can be so much as suspected.'
Sir William Wyndham.
After him Sir William Wyndham stood up, and said,
'As to the Affair before us, I am afraid we are beginning at the wrong End. We are now in a Committee, to consider of Ways and Means for relieving such of the Sufferers in the Charitable Corporation, as shall be deemed Objects of Compassion, and we are now going to resolve upon a certain Sum to be appropriated for that Relief, before we know any Thing about the Sufferers; whether there be any, or how many of them there be Objects of Compassion; or what Sum will be necessary for giving them a proper Relief? All these Questions ought, I think, to be resolv'd, before we proceed to grant any Sum for that Purpose, either by way of Lottery or any other way. I am, Sir, firmly of Opinion, that we have no Power to lay on any publick Imposition for the Relief of private Persons; and to think of giving a Relief by way of Lottery, is to establish by Law a new Deceit, for the Relief of those who have suffered by an old one. As to our having it in our Power to relieve private Persons by publick Taxes, the Instances mentioned by the honourable Gentleman who spoke last, are not at all to the present Case. The Suitors in Chancery were in a very different Situation from those we are now about to relieve: The Court of Chancery is one of the publick Courts of the Kingdom, and consequently is the same with the Publick; whatever Money was put into the Custody of that Court, was put into the Custody of the Publick, and if any of it was purloined by those Officers who are appointed by the Publick, there is no Question but that the Publick is obliged to make it good: Besides, those who had their Money in that Court did not voluntarily put it there; they were all obliged, contrary to their Inclination, to leave it in that Court; they could not get it out again without an Order of Court for that Purpose; they could not so much as inquire in what Manner their Money was disposed of; whereas, with respect to the Sufferers in the Charitable Corporation, they have no Pretence of having trusted the Publick with their Money; they voluntarily put their Money there; they might have taken it out when they would, and they might have every Day inquired into the Management of it; so that what they have lost is entirely owing to their own Act and Deed, or at least to their own Neglect; they have nothing but Compassion to plead for granting them any Relief from the Publick, and I am afraid, if we consider the Publick aright, and the Loads it already labours under, we must conclude it is not in a proper Condition for granting such large Charities. That other Instance, Sir, relating to the Tax for relieving the Orphans of the City of London, is still less to the present Case; it is a local Tax; it extends no farther than the City of London; and it was most reasonable that the Citizens of London should be obliged to make good the Loss, that was sustained by Persons who were under a Necessity of trusting their Money to them, or at least to the Officers appointed by them.
'Now as to Lotteries, Sir, the honourable Gentleman mistakes it, if he imagines that the Frauds committed in private Lotteries, was the only Reason for prohibiting by an express Law the setting up of any such. Every Lottery, publick or private, is a publick Nusance, because it makes a great many poor unthinking People ruin themselves by venturing more Money in that Way than their Circumstances can admit of; and, as all Lotteries are a Sort of GamingTables, they give great Encouragement to Idleness and Extravagance, by buoying up weak People with the Hopes of getting Riches in another Way than that of Industry and Frugality, which is the only Way of getting Riches that ought to be encouraged by a wise People; therefore, Sir, the Cause of the Law does not cease with respect to the Lottery now proposed, but will, I believe, grow more strong against it than against any publick Lottery that ever was proposed; for, considering the Expences of Management, it is certain that the Corporation, or the Sufferers therein, can make little or nothing by a Lottery, unless it be made so disadvantageous to the Adventurers, that no Man but a Madman will put any Money into it; and if such a Lottery should fill, it would be a very powerful Argument against this and every such Lottery that can be proposed; for it is really granting a Licence by Act of Parliament to cheat People out of their Money, which in a Sort of Project for raising Money that this House will never, I hope, agree to in any Case whatever.'
Lord Hervey spoke next in Favour of the Motion:
'There is, in my Opinion, no possible Relief to be given to those unfortunate People, but what must be attended with some Inconveniencies. I am, in general, as much against encouraging Lotteries as any Gentleman in this House; but where no real Fraud is committed, I cannot think that a Lottery is a Thing of so bad Consequence; where the Money thereby raised is duly applied, and no underhand Dealings allowed to be put in Practice, which, to be sure, will be taken Care of in the present Case, it cannot be attended with many Inconveniencies; and as a Lottery is the only Method which I have yet heard mentioned, or can think of, for giving Relief to those Objects of Compassion we have now under our Consideration; I have so much Pity for them, that I think the few Inconveniencies, that can attend such a small Lottery as that of 500,000£. ought in the present Case to be overlooked.
'Upon the Petition of the Proprietors of this Corporation, we have all had two Things under our Consideration. The first was that of doing Justice by punishing the Guilty; in this we have gone on as we ought to do in all such Cases; we have proceeded with the utmost Caution; because, if we had been rigorous in that Point, we might readily have deviated into Severity, which in all Cases ought to be carefully avoided; but as to the other Point, which is that of giving Relief to the unfortunate Sufferers, and which is the Point now before us, there is no need of so great Caution: If in this we should go a little too far, it is erring upon the safe Side; the greatest Fault we can be guilty of, is that of shewing too much Compassion and Pity for those innocent Persons, who have by the Frauds of others become proper Objects of Compassion.
'It cannot, I think, be said, that we are beginning at the wrong End, by voting for a 500,000£. Lottery, before we know the Number of the Sufferers that are Objects of Compassion, or the Sum that will be wanted for giving them a proper Relief; because, Sir, we are not now to settle the Scheme of the Lottery: Before that is settled, there will be Time to inquire into what Sum will be necessary for giving such Relief, and according as that Sum is large or small, the Lottery may be made the more or the less advantageous for the Adventurers; If 100,000£. should be found to be necessary for relieving all those of the Sufferers, who are really Objects of Compassion, there must be a fifth Part of the Money contributed by the Adventurers sunk for the Use of the Sufferers; and, if it should be found, that half that Sum will be sufficient for the End proposed, then it will not be necessary to sink above one tenth of the Money contributed by the Adventurers; and whatever is thus sunk by the Adventurers, is not really to be looked on as Money thrown away, it is to be looked on as so much Money given by them for a charitable Use; and the raising of this Charity by way of Lottery, is proposed only as an Inducement for some People to contribute towards a charitable Use, who would not perhaps otherwise contribute to the most charitable Use that can be imagined.'
Sir Joseph Jekyll.
Then Sir Joseph Jekyll spoke again:
'I am very much convinced, and I find it is generally allowed, that a Lottery is in itself a bad Thing; and, I think it is likewise allowed, that there is no Reason for our coming into such a Measure at present, but only the Necessity we are under, and because no other Means of Relief can be thought of. There is no Sort of Lottery can be set up, but what must expose Multitudes of People to be undone; and it is impossible to prevent several of those fraudulent Practices, which are always set up under the Sanction of every Publick Lottery. If then a Lottery be in itself a bad Thing, surely the less we have of it the better; why should we vote for a Lottery of 500,000£. if one of 250,000£. will do the Business? This Consideration alone makes it, Sir, in my Opinion, necessary first to consider who are Objects of Compassion, and what Sum will be sufficient to relieve them; for if upon such Inquiry it be found that a Lottery of 250,000£. will be sufficient for the End proposed, it would certainly be very wrong in us to vote a Lottery of 500,000£. for we seem all to be convinced, that a Lottery for any Sum will do Mischief; but a Lottery for a small Sum can never do so much Mischief as one for a larger.'
Mr Heathcote spoke next as follows:
'I must confess that what is now proposed seems to be a new Method of raising Charity; but I hope the charitable Disposition of the People of this Nation is not as yet so much decayed, as to make it necessary to trick them into the giving of Charity; when they are fully convinced that the Use, for which the Money is raised, is really charitable, in such Cases I have never as yet observed the People backward in their Contributions; I am, indeed, afraid that the Objects of Charity now under our Consideration would not meet with any great Relief from the People; for the Generality of the People do generally think, that those who are undone by any sort of Gaming or Stockjobbing, are not proper Objects of Charity. Those who are ruined by Shipwrecks, by Fire, or such Accidents, are certainly much greater Objects of Charity, and more intitled to a Parliamentary Relief, than those who ever were or ever can be undone by the Management of any Publick Stock whatever; because every Proprietor may look into the Affairs of the Company, and may prevent the Mismanagement, if he is but tolerably careful of his own Interest; and yet we have never seen any of the former so much as claim a Relief from Parliament.
'I must observe, Sir, that what we are now about may come to be a very bad Precedent; it will for the future make all Proprietors of Publick Funds less careful of their Directors and Managers; so that I am afraid, we may have many Applications of the same Nature. There is now a Company under our Consideration, which will likewise, I believe, stand in need of the same sort of Relief; and I do not know, but that in nine or ten Years, another great Company may find themselves under a Necessity of applying for something of the same Nature; especially if they should go on with their present Scheme of diminishing so considerably their Trading Capital, and loading it with all the Debts they now owe. For these Reasons, Sir, as well as a great many others, I cannot but be against the Motion now in hand.'
A Lottery of 500,00£. voted for Relief of the Sufferers by the Charitable Corporation.
This Debate being over, a Motion was made, That the Chairman leave the Chair: But the Question being put thereupon, it was carried in the Negative by 85 to 61; after which the Committee came to several Resolutions, which upon the Report were agreed to; and a Bill brought in for the Relief of the Sufferers by a Lottery of 500,000£. which passed into a Law.
June 11. The King came to the House of Lords, and the Commons attending, his Majesty made the following Speech to both Houses.
King's Speech at putting an End to the Sixth Session.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
THE Season of the Year, and the Dispatch you have given to the Publick Business, make it proper for me to put an End to this Session of Parliament.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I return you my Thanks for the Provisions you have made for the Service of the current Year. I have never demanded any Supplies of my People, but what were absolutely necessary for the Honour, Safety and Defence of me and my Kingdom; and I am always best pleased, when the Publick Expences are supply'd in a Manner least burthensome to my Subjects.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I cannot pass by unobserved, the wicked Endeavours, that have lately been made Use of to inflame the Minds of the People, and by the most unjust Misrepresentations, to raise Tumults and Disorders, that almost threatned the Peace of the Kingdom; but I depend upon the Force of Truth, to remove the groundless Jealousies, that have been raised, of Designs carrying on against the Liberties of my People, and upon your known Fidelity, to defeat and frustrate the Expectations of such as delight in Confusion. It is my Inclination, and has always been my Study, to preserve the Religious and Civil Rights of all my Subjects.
'Let it be your Care to undeceive the Deluded, and to make them sensible of their present Happiness, and the Hazard they run of being unwarily drawn, by specious Pretences, into their own Destruction."
The Parliament prorogued.
After which, the Lord Chancellor, by his Majesty's Command, prorogued the Parliament to the 26th of July: They were afterwards farther prorogued to the 17th of January.
The End of the Second Volume.