§ MR. J. B. SMITH
said, he rose to all the attention of the House to the Report of the Master of the Mint on our Gold Coinage, and to inquire of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer in reference to an International Gold Coinage. It appeared that a very large portion of our gold coinage was now worn and dateriorated in value. There were upwards 31,000,000 of gold pieces in circulation, of which about the value of 25,000,000 were deteriorated, and were no longer legal coin of the value which they were supposed to represent. In fact they had become mere tokens. Under these circumstances, it would be necessary to re-coin them, and the question arose — a question which he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer—who was to bear the loss, which would be a very serious one? In this country the Mint made no charge for converting bullion into coin. In every other country a charge was made for coining. Was our Mint to be the only manufactory in the world which sold the manufactured article at the same price as the raw material? In our own possessions in Australia there was a charge of 1 per cent for coining gold. In India there was a charge of 1 per cent for gold and 2 per cent for silver, and in the United States of America there was a charge of 1 per cent for gold. In 1865, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy entered into a Convention to establish international coinage in those dominions, and great convenience had arisen from that Convention. Gentlemen who had visited those countries since 1865 must know that to be the case. When, twenty-five years ago, he went to Italy through France and other countries he had to change his money fourteen times. Recently he went to Italy, and he had only to change it once. These countries had also an international system of weights and measures, which gave them a great advantage in trading with each other. In 1867 the French Government invited a Conference of nations to consider the question of international coinage. About twenty nations attended the Conference, which was held at Paris, and after several days' sitting they resolved on adopting —first, a single standard of gold; second, nine-tenths proportion of fine gold in 1409 the coin. Some other nations had since recognized the Convention; Greece, Austria, Home, and, he believed, Sweden had since coined 10 franc pieces. Our representatives at the Conference had made a Report, which was referred to a Royal Commission which sat last year. That Report was signed by the Master of the Mint and Mr. Wilson. The Royal Commission of last year said we entertain no doubt that a uniform system of coins as well as a uniform system of weights and measures would be productive of great general advantage, and also recommended another general international Conference, and that led him to the next Question he had to ask of the right hon. Gentleman, whether the Government proposed to recommend any measure extending to this country a system of international coinage, as recommended by the International Coinage Convention of December, 1865? The matter was of great importance to the United States as well as to England, being the two largest gold producing countries in the world; although America was saddled with an enormous debt, and had nobly resolved to pay it off, principal and interest, in gold, they would prefer the advantages of an international coinage, notwithstanding the temporary inconvenience that would result to themselves. To England it would be no inconvenience whatever, for it happened that by the mere alteration of the charge of about 1 per cent upon the mintage our coin would then be equivalent to a 25 franc gold piece; and the Master of the Mint had demonstrated in his Report that if we were to return to the old coinage of the time of Edward III., when 100 pence made a noble and ten. pence made a franc, we should then be in exact unison with France. What was wanted was a common identical unit of account known to all the world, in the same way as notes representing musical sound could be interpreted by any musician, no matter what his nationality. It was desirable that this country should take the lead in a matter of such great importance as that of international coinage, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be able to give an answer worthy of an enlightened country and the age in which we live.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, it would perhaps be convenient if he interposed 1410 before the Chancellor of the Exchequer replied to the Questions put to him, and asked for some further explanation than had been given by the Secretary of the Treasury the other evening respecting the new appointment to the office of distributor of stamps for the county of Ayr, consequent on the resignation of Mr. Oswald. In former times it was the custom to appoint to the office of county distributor of stamps gentlemen of position, at salaries ranging between £1,500 and £3,000 a year, not so much because of their competence for the duties they had to discharge—for their office might be described as a sinecure—but because they were able to find adequate security for the proper discharge of those duties. But as in process of time postal communication became more easy and safe, and the Board of Inland Revenue extended its ramifications throughout the country, it was found unnecessary to fill those offices, and by a Treasury Minute following certain correspondence between the Board of Inland Revenue and the Treasury, it was determined some twelve or fourteen years ago that in future no fresh appointment should be made to them. This Minute had been acted on in the case of many vacancies which had since occurred — in point of fact, the vacancies had not been filled up. Independently of the saving which would result from the discharge of the duties of county distributor direct from Somerset House, the case of the new appointment he referred to demanded an explanation, because he believed it was not in accordance with modern practice to appoint persons not regularly in the Civil Service to offices under the Board of Inland Revenue. In answer to a Question of his noble Friend the Member for Wigtonshire (Lord Garlies), the House heard from the Secretary to the Treasury that the office of stamp distributor for the county of Ayr had become vacant, and that a re-appointment had been made, subject only to some revision in the matter of salary. No doubt Mr. Brown, to whom the post had been given, was a very respectable and proper person for the office, if it were necessary to maintain it; but he was not a civil servant of the Crown, and had no special qualifications beyond that he was resident in Ayrshire. Now he (Mr. Sclater-Booth), when at the Treasury last autumn, made 1411 inquiries in anticipation of a vacancy occurring, because of the late distributor having succeeded to a very large estate by the death of his brother, and he came to the conclusion that the circumstances of Ayrshire offered no sufficient reason for deviating from the rule set forth by the Treasury Minute to which he had referred. The office was unquestionably a sinecure office in Ayrshire, because the duties had for many years been discharged by deputy; and the appointment made, being that of a near relation of the gentleman who had resigned, whose resignation had been expected for more than a twelvemonth previously, had caused such a stir in the county as made it most desirable the right hon. Gentleman should give the explanation he was no doubt fully able to give for the course that had been taken in filling up the appointment. He proposed to move for the original Correspondence which occurred between the Board of Inland Revenue and the Treasury upon the subject, ending in the Treasury Minute stating that such appointments should not be filled up; for a Return of the vacancies which had occurred in the office of county distributor of stamps, showing what provision had been made for the discharge of the duties in each case; and for the Correspondence between the Board of Inland Revenue and the Treasury, showing the reasons which induced the appointment of a gentleman unconnected with the Civil Service to do duties which, in other cases, it was found quite easy to discharge by the ordinary machinery at the command of Somerset House without such an officer.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I believe the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sclater-Booth) has stated the practice in these cases quite correctly—that is, that it is now the practice, whenever we get the opportunity, to amalgamate the two offices of distributor of stamps and collector of Excise, and, as we wish to amalgamate the two departments, I think the practice is a proper one. In this particular case Mr. Oswald was distributor of stamps in the town of Ayr, and he resigned the office in January last. There was not in the town of Ayr any collector of Excise to whom the office could be given; the nearest collector was too far off—namely at Greenock, where the same person discharged the duties of collector of Excise and distri- 1412 butor of stamps; and therefore, contrary to the ordinary practice, and, as it seems to me, under the pressure of clear necessity, the office of distributor of stamps was filled up without being given to a collector of Excise, just because there was no collector of Excise within reach. This is a simple explanation of the fact why the particular gentleman referred to was appointed; and whether there was anyone else whom the hon. Member would rather have had selected I really do not know. The Government seem to have taken every precaution in an exceptional case, and have done only that justified by the necessity of the case. They have entered into an agreement with this gentleman that his appointment shall be liable to revision both as to the amount of his salary and the transference of his duties, if necessary, at any time, so that he holds his office without any claim, even if it should be taken from him. The salary was reduced from £1,150 a year to £800 a year, and, besides that, we required him to give security for £5,000, so, as there was no person in the place connected with the Excise to whom the appointment could be given, as far as I can judge, the Government have taken every reasonable precaution. They have in no way fettered themselves, but they have left the matter so that at any future time, if it be thought desirable, the salary of this gentleman can be reduced, or he can be deprived of his appointment and it can be given to another person. With all these safeguards I really do not know what more could be required. There being no necessity that this appointment should be given to a person who was already in the Civil service, and it being impossible in this ease to combine the office with that of collector of Excise, it appears to me to be a perfectly defensible and reasonable appointment. I now turn to my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Mr. J. B. Smith), who has introduced to us a very interesting subject, and one which might very well, at a time of less pressure, occupy the attention of the House —namely, the subject of our coinage. The coinage of this country is in a most unsatisfactory state; there is no doubt of that. The waste with which it is earned on is enormous. The possession of a gold and silver coinage I do not look upon myself as a necessity, but 1413 rather as a luxury, and as an indulgence to a popular taste—which, by the way, is a very expensive taste—but as it is the taste of the people of the country, I suppose it will continue to be gratified. It is quite necessary that the coinage of this country should correspond with gold and silver; but I am not aware there is any necessity it should actually consist of those metals. Since the year 1850, according to the calculations of Professor Jevons, who has looked deeply into the subject and has brought great ability to bear upon it, and whose conclusions are adopted by the Master of the Mint, Colonel Smith, and other authorities, we have coined 98,000,000 of sovereigns, and of these 98,000,000 about 44,000,000 have disappeared altogether. Either they have been exported from the country and have not returned to it, or they have been melted down. We have thus had the satisfaction of bestowing a great deal of labour and ingenuity and cost in the manufacture of an article of great merit and neatness in our gold coinage, which has formed a sort of quarry out of which other countries make gold coinage for their own use. The reason of this is not far to seek. As my hon. Friend has said, we, almost alone of the nations of the world who make coin, give to the person who brings us gold the same weight of gold in coin, upon which we have bestowed labour, as we receive from him in a rude un-wrought state. We give him our coinage at less than its cost; we give back weight for weight a manufactured article in exchange for the raw material out of which that article is made. It necessarily follows that, as we choose to circulate our coinage at less than its value, so, as coin, it commands less than its value, and is worth less than it really ought to be. It is impossible to make all sovereigns of the same weight; at least, if possible, it can only be done by a minuteness of machinery and a carefulness of labour which make it not a paying thing to do; the consequence is that, within certain limits, sovereigns are heavier one than the other. These sovereigns having no value given to them in respect of the manufacture, the material coin is so much bullion, and is treated as such; and persons take out the heaviest sovereigns and melt them down—a process by which they make a halfpenny for each. London was for many years the 1414 seat of this manufacture, which was carried on close to the Mint, where the sovereigns were made, so that the two establishments were side by side, one coining money, and the other melting it down. Then the manufacture went to Paris, where it flourished many years; and now it is carried on at Brussels. While this goes on upon the Continent, there is another cause for the sovereign being put into circulation at the price or value of so much bullion. From the fact that the State charges nothing for the labour expended in the manufacture of it, and that it has no more exchangeable value than the bullion out of which it is made, the sovereign is liable to be exported as bullion, and there are great inducements to export it, because it is bullion already assayed and the weight of which is ascertained. All persons know pretty nearly what the weight of the sovereign is, and therefore it is bullion in the most convenient form for export. The consequence is that, whenever the rate of exchange is against us, and there is an export of bullion from this country, it is very convenient, besides exporting bullion in the unmanufactured state, to export it in the manufactured state, in sovereigns, and by that means to cause a violent and sudden contraction of our currency, which would not otherwise occur. Those are some of the evils that arise from our present system, but they are not all the evils. Although we give our currency to the public for nothing, the Government undertaking the business of an unremunerative manufacture, we take not the slightest precaution, when we have issued that currency, that it shall maintain its value. The original weight of the sovereign ought to be about 123.274 grains of gold, and when the sovereign is so worn that it has lost three-fourths of a grain in value —when it has got below 122J grains in value, it ceases to be a legal tender. The legal life of a sovereign is about eighteen years, it having in that time, from wear and tear, fallen below its original value. We take no trouble to call in this coin, and do nothing to save the public from the accident of taking light coin; and the consequence is that, after all our expense and trouble, 31½ per cent of our sovereigns and 47 per cent of our half-sovereigns are not a legal tender, because they are light weight; and that, for a country which prides 1415 itself above all things upon beeping up its gold, standard, and upon having a circulation above all doubt and suspicion, is not only a very great and serious evil, but a great reproach and discredit. I must add that it is an evil which will assume a practical form, because, under these circumstances, a re-coinage will be speedily called for. Something must be done to call in this light coin, and it is assumed that somewhere about £400,000 will be required to re-coin the loss in the weight of our coinage. We are going upon the plan at present of giving out a sovereign, which passes from hand to hand until some unfortunate person finds that it is not a legal tender, and is obliged to sell it for what it is worth for bullion. While we are very liberal in respect of giving our labour for nothing, we seem to be very careless and remiss in taking steps to keep up the integrity and standard of our money.
That is as nearly as I can state it the condition of things with regard to the currency of this country. Well, what is the remedy for this grievance '? It is perfectly obvious that it is to be remedied by a natural, simple, and ordinary proceeding; in short, that in manufacturing money we should do as other manufacturers do and take pay for our labour. In effect we sell money to those who bring us gold; for an ounce of gold we give in exchange £3 17s. 10½d., and that is the exact weight of an ounce of gold. It appears to me that, while as manufacturers we are absurdly liberal in this respect, we should be much more wise to follow the example of all other countries and impose a mintage, brassage, or seignorage, or whatever it might be called, so as to indemnify ourselves for the expense of maintaining our currency. The practice of this country has been the contrary ever since the reign of Charles H. The opinion that it is right there should be a mintage for the coining of money has been held by almost every considerable writer on political economy. And I will cite one or two instances. Sir Dudley North says—The free coinage is a perpetual motion found out, whereby to melt and coin without ceasing, and so to feed goldsmiths and coiners at the public charge.Adam Smith says—When the tax upon a commodity is so moderate as not to encourage smuggling, the merchant 1416 who deals in it, though he advances, does not properly pay the tax, as he gets it back in the price of the commodity. The tax is finally paid by the last purchaser or consumer. But money is a commodity with regard to which every man is a merchant. Nobody buys it but in order to sell it again, and with regard to it there is in ordinary cases no last purchaser or consumer. When the tax upon coinage, therefore, is so moderate as not to encourage false coining, though everybody advances the tax, nobody finally pays it, because everybody gets it back in the advanced value of the coin.Therefore, according to Adam Smith, we actually throw away this money we pay for coinage, because it is quite possible for us to get it back at nobody's expense. Another passage to the same effect from Adam Smith is as follows:—The Government, when it defrays the expense of coinage, not only incurs some small expense, but loses some small revenue, which it might get by a proper duty; and neither the Bank nor any other private persons are in the smallest degree benefited by this useless piece of public generosity.That is the highest authority, and his arguments are of force sufficient to convince anyone that the course we are taking is no more warranted by abstract principles than it is successful in the results that it produces. The same opinion is held by M'Culloch. He says—Coins charged with a seignorage equal to the expense of coinage do not pass at a higher value than what naturally belongs to them, but at that precise value; whereas, if the expense of coinage be defrayed by the State, coins pass at less than their real value. A sovereign is of greater utility and value than a piece of pure unfashioned gold bullion of the same weight; because, while it is as well fitted as bullion for being used in the arts, it is, owing to the eoinage, better adapted for being used as money, or in the exchange of commodities. On what principle, then, should Government decline to charge a seignorage or duty on coins, equal to the expense of coinage —that is, to the value which it adds to the coins?That being the case, then, I think the authorities fairly establish for us that there ought to be some seignorage charged upon coin.
But the question still remains—what seignorage? This question is answered in a Paper which some time ago I laid on the table of the House, and which I dare say has attracted the attention of hon. Members — a Paper signed by the Master of the Mint and Colonel Smith, the former Master of the Mint at Calcutta—two of the highest authorities that could give an opinion on the subject. In that Paper 1417 they say that it is the duty of the State to require such a seignorage as would indemnify it for the expense of coinage in the first place, for re-coinage when worn out, and also for the wear and tear, or for the bullion that would be required in restoring the coin to the state in which it was when first issued. They argue this matter in the most clear and conclusive manner, and the conclusion they come to is that a charge of £1 8s. l½d for every 100 sovereigns would be sufficient not only to indemnify the State for coining and re-coining, but also for the wear and tear the coin might undergo. They propose that every year the sovereigns coined eighteen years before should be called in and re-coined, and they prove that by a moderate charge of this kind, amounting to about 1 2–5ths per cent, the coinage of the country could be maintained in its integrity. The question of mintage at this time I shall not push further; though it seems to me that the arguments in favour of the course I have explained are exceedingly strong and convincing. But I am bound to say that there is an argument against it which must be considered, though I have never seen it brought forward in any essay. It has been assumed that if the State gives the coinage for nothing, or manufactures the bullion that is brought to the Mint, making a charge for the labour, the result is exactly the same and the coin is of the same value. No one is more opposed than I am to any attempt to tamper with the current value of the sovereign. Anything which would alter the current value of the sovereign — that is, the value of the sovereign wherever it is legal tender— and oblige a man to make calculations how much more he should pay or receive for the sovereign than he is accustomed to pay or receive, would be impossible to enforce in this country. Now if you charge a mintage for the sovereign, you raise its current value. At present we sell the sovereign as a manufactured article for bullion of the same weight, and a certain number of sovereigns for a fixed amount of bullion having just the weight of these sovereigns. But suppose we ask more for the sovereign than we do now—suppose we require 1 or 2 per cent more, it is quite evident that nobody will come to exchange bullion for sovereigns until the sovereigns have risen to a value that will make it worth 1418 his while to do so—that is, till they have risen to the value of the extra percentage demanded. It must be remembered that sovereigns are perpetually being destroyed. They are lost in ships, they are melted down, they cease to circulate, and if the supply of them by Government be arrested by an impediment placed in their way, such as an extra price, of course no more sovereigns will be coined until they become so raised in value as to come up to the price that the Government demands for them. The effect of a seignorage in raising the value of the coin is thus described by Adam Smith—Were the private people who carry their gold and silver to the Mint to pay themselves for the coinage, it would add to the value of those metals in the same manner as the fashion does to that of plate. Coined gold and silver would be more valuable than uncoined. The seignorage, if it was not exorbitant, would add to the bullion the whole value of the duty; because the Government having everywhere the exclusive privilege of coining, no coin can come to market cheaper than they think proper to afford it.Ricardo expresses a similar opinion, as follows:—It appears, then, that although a given weight of bullion can never exceed in value a given weight of coin, a given weight of coin may exceed in value a given weight of bullion by the whole expense of seignorage, however great that seignorage may be, provided that there was effectual security against the increase of money through the imitation of the coins by illegal means.And the following passage occurs in Mr. Mill's Principles of Political Economy:—If Government, however, throws the expense of coinage, as is reasonable, upon the holder, by making a charge to cover the expense (which is done by giving hack rather less in coin than has been received in bullion, and is called levying a seignorage), the coin will rise to the extent of the seignorage above the value of the bullion. If the Mint kept back 1 per cent to pay the expense of coinage, it would be against the interest of the holders of bullion to have it coined until the coin was more valuable than the bullion by at least that fraction. The coin, therefore, would be kept 1 per cent higher in value, which could only be by keeping it 1 per cent less in quantity, than if its coinage were gratuitous.And Mr. M'Culloch says—A small seignorage or duty upon the coinage of both gold and silver would probably increase still more the superiority of those metals in coin above an equal quantity of either of them in bullion. The coinage would, in this case, increase the value of the metal coined in proportion to the extent of this small duty; for the same reason that the fashion increases the value of plate in proportion to the price of that fashion. The superiority of coin above bullion would prevent 1419 the melting down of the coin, and would discourage it a exportation. If upon any public exigency it should become necessary to export the coin the greater part of it would soon return again of its own accord. Abroad it could sell only for its weight in bullion. At home it would buy more than that weight. There would be a profit, therefore, in bringing it home again.Therefore, if the Government were to demand a seignorage of 1 per cent, it would really raise the sovereign to a value of 1 per cent beyond its present value; and everybody who owed money would pay 1 per cent more than he bargained for, and everyone who received money would receive 1 per cent more than he had a right to expect. That is the conclusion which Mr. M'Culloch has come to, and he states it as an argument against the imposition of a mintage. I think the difficulty might be perfectly well met by deducting the payment from the sovereign, instead of requiring 1 per cent to be paid in money at the Mint; for it is no matter how you take it, whether by a money payment of 1 per cent, or 2d. for one sovereign, or by giving 122¼ grains of gold instead of 123¼. Whether you take it from the sovereign or take it in the shape of money payment, it does not matter to the State; but the difference is that, in the first case, the sovereign will be worth 2d. more than it is now; in the second ease, the 2d. will be deducted from the metal of which the sovereign is made, and it will retain its present value. If there be a seignorage we must make up our minds to a deduction from the value of the sovereign to the amount of the seignorage we charge, and that not with the view of altering but retaining the value of the sovereign. Unless you take something from its value the effect must necessarily be to raise the coin beyond the value of the bullion for which it is given in exchange. I apologize for going into these matters, but really they are of great practical interest. I am not even proposing anything to the House new, but I merely wish to ventilate the subject, and give hon. Gentlemen and the public at large the means of thinking over this matter, and forming a judgment on a very curious question and one of great interest. There is another side to the transaction, and that relates to the question of an international coinage, to which the hon. Gentleman has called my attention. Well 1420 the French Government have put themselves into communication with us. They have written to me on the subject of international coinage, and wish to know what steps the Government of England are willing to take in the matter. I was in no condition to give any definite answer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer can speak with no other breath than that of the House of Commons, and until I knew the feeling of the House of Commons I could not venture to give any opinion; but in my answer I ventured to go thus far. There are two things perfectly plain—the one that, under any circumstances, we could not have any hope of establishing an international coinage — on the chance of which I do not wish to dilate now—with a country that has two standards. France has a gold and a silver standard. A gold and a silver standard is not a double, but an alternate standard. The two metals are always fluctuating in their relations to each other; it is in the nature of things for the cheaper metal for the time being to drive out the dearer. Therefore, when the silver standard drives the gold coin out of circulation, it leaves us nothing to compare our international coin with except the silver standard, to which it would have no exact relation. And so I ventured to say, in answer to the question, that it would be impossible to hold out hopes of assimilation until France made up her mind to give up the silver standard and have only a gold standard; and I am happy to say that France is favourable to the abandonment of her silver standard, as I gather from the Report of a Commission on the subject which I have received. Again, it seems to me, on abstract principles, that we should never have an international coinage, unless the coin were identical in weight and fineness, and unless the seignorage charged on it were identical in both countries; because, if I am right in my view, that the value of coin is affected by the terms on which it is put into circulation—that is, the amount of mintage charged for it—then, on the supposition of having different mintages, we should have coin put into circulation having different values. People would take their gold to be coined where the thing could be done most cheaply, and thus the coin for which the higher mintage was paid would be reduced in value by the more 1421 abundant produce of the cheaper mint. That is all I hare ventured to say in reference to the matter to the French Government, and I trust that I have not gone beyond the proper limit in saying it. The conditions which I have mentioned are really elementary conditions of the whole question. But I wish here to point out that I believe it is possible for England and Franco, if they can make up their minds to give up a little of their prejudices for the sake of the great advantage of having an international coinage, to obtain that object, and I will just show the House how that could be done. The French are proposing to coin a 2 5-franc gold piece, 5 francs more than the Napoleon. That would be less in value than the sovereign by 22 centimes, or about 2d. If we were about to impose a seignorage of about 1 per cent, or 993 of a grain, and take gold to that amount from the coin, our sovereign would be identical with the 25-franc piece. It would still remain as a current coin in this country of exactly the same value as now, and it would have the additional advantage that it would be identical in value with the 25-franc piece. But, in order that that might be done, France would have to make a sacrifice on her part. I forget the mintage she charges; I believe it is between a fifth and a quarter per cent. If she could be prevailed upon to make it 1 per cent, we should have solved the problem as far as England and France are concerned, of an international coinage. The operation would be performed by modifications of the same principle—France would, as now, take the payment in money, England would deduct from her coin, and thus equality would be obtained. It is singular to remark what a number of coins in the world approach one another in value. The Spanish doubloon, the Prussian Frederick, the half-eagle of America, approach exceedingly near in value to each other, and I think it very possible, if France would meet us in this way—should Parliament be induced to look at the matter from the point of view I have put it—we might come to some arrangement by which we should get the blessing of one coinage throughout Europe, a great step in civilization. These are the remarks I had to make to the House. They are not given with any great confidence in 1422 my own opinion. All I am anxious to do before we separate is to give to hon. Gentlemen and the country at large a subject for consideration. It appears to me that the subject is not so difficult as might be supposed; and that by a single measure we may secure to ourselves the great benefit of saving all the expense incurred on our own gold coinage, without imposing those expenses on anyone else, and at the same time of striking a coin which would have the advantage of an international circulation.
§ MR. SCLATER- BOOTH
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not stated whether he would grant the Papers he had asked for.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. Gentleman had not stated what were the Papers he asked for. It was not usual to give the correspondence between Departments of the Government. At present, he really did not know what were the Papers for which the hon. Gentleman moved; but if the hon. Gentleman would put himself in communication with the Government they would give him all the Papers they could. Of course the hon. Gentleman was quite aware that he could not move for their production on that Motion, and therefore he would lose nothing by acceding to his suggestion.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, he had stated in his speech what Papers he wished to move for, and the Secretary of the Treasury had just promised to give them.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
thought in that case it was hardly worth the right hon. Gentleman's while to ask him again for them.