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Bills Of Exchange—No 2

Volume 48: debated on Thursday 4 July 1839

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On the Order of the Day for the Committee on this bill being read,

objected to going into the subject at that hour. The bill, in his opinion, was too extensive in its operation. It went to an almost total repeal of the usury laws.

said, that the present bill was brought in instead of one which had already passed that House and been sent up to the House of Lords, whence it had been returned with such amendments as would render its passing into a law very inconvenient. For instance, the Lords removed all loans on deposits of goods from the operation of the usury laws. Now, one effect of that would be to repeal the Pawnbrokers' Act, which certainly was not contemplated on the introduction of the bill. There were other amendments by the Lords, to which there was no objection; but instead of agreeing to the amendments of the Lords in the original bill, it was thought better to bring in a new bill, which, while it adopted those amendments, did so without risking the repeal of the Pawnbrokers' Act. He would not make any motion on the bill as returned from the Lords until he should ascertain what would be the fate of this in the other House, If any objection were urged to going into the Committee now, he would not press it.

The House in Committee.

On the first clause,

objected to the operation of the bill being restricted to sums above 10l.

said, the bill as sent from the Lords had repealed the usury laws on contracts with deposits of goods. Here was a case of contract without deposit of goods, to which the bill would not apply. The result would be, that a person who could obtain money on simple contract would derive no benefit from the bill, but the slightest deposit of goods would legalize the contract. There was no practical change in the bill as sent from the Lords but that which made it more reasonable and consistent with law.

wished to propose a proviso to the first clause to this effect, "That nothing herein contained shall extend to produce or stock in the hands of the growers."

the effect of that would be, that a farmer having 100 quarters of grain, and his neighbour 100 bags of cotton, the former would be prevented from raising money on his 100 quarters of grain, while the holder of the cotton would have a monopoly of the money-market. But if they supposed two proprietors of 100 quarters of grain each, one the grower and the other the factor, the latter would be able to raise money on his stock, while the unfortunate farmer's would be useless in that respect. The chief object of this bill was to afford brief aid in raising money for short periods; another was to extend it to long engagements, such as bills of twelve months. He could assure his hon. Friend that if he had the misfortune to carry his amendment, he could not indict a greater blow on the class of persons he wished to serve.

thought, that the facility of raising money on deposit of stock would be an advantage to the farmer, as it would frequently prevent the sacrifice of his stock at a ruinous loss.

said that the proposition of the hon. Member (Mr. Cayley) would place the farmer in a worse condition than he was before.

said, that the, bill would. be of great advantage to the farmer by enabling him to borrow money for a short period at a high rate of interest it was true, but which he could better afford than he could to raise money by selling his stock at a ruinous loss. The extensive farmers governed the sales of the market, and when they were obliged to sell below the market-price, that lowered the market, and did great injury to all the farmers as well as to themselves. By the facility of borrowing money they would be enabled to get out of their difficulties without sinking the market price.

believed the bill would ultimately do mischief by leading to speculation, though it might afford present aid to individuals; but on the whole he thought it would be far from placing things on a sound footing.