Three times ‘Peel’s Act’ has been suspended because the Banking Department was empty. Seeing the dreadful state in which the public were, we rendered every assistance in our power.
But in exact proportion to the power of this system is its delicacy I should hardly say too much if I said its danger. The goldsmiths, who then carried on upon a trifling scale what we should now call banking, used to deposit their reserve of treasure in the ‘Exchequer,’ with the sanction and under the care of the Government. The Indian branches obtain immediately the funds enabling them to take the trade bills, the offer of which had seemed to them to be at sufficiently satisfactory rates to make the transaction taken as a whole worth while. Policy as to how much of the gold should be kept in London and how much in India has fluctuated from time to time. the bank had added to its reserve against a time of difficulty. For this purpose only a little money is wanted. But taking the whole mass of the supply of commodities in this country, as shown by the plain test of the quantities imported, it has not diminished, but augmented.