LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
‣ Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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No work e’er gained true fame or ever can,
But what did honour to the name of man.—Young.
Sing a song of sixpence.—Baby Ballad.

Harmonious friendships formed about the period of which I am now recalling the prominent passages, and cemented by uninterrupted cordiality and increase of esteem to the present day, except where the dissolver of all earthly ties has broken them off; and many gratifying connections of a slighter nature, in contributing to which, my good offices were no minor recommendation, the remembrances of which often delight me on casual meetings, yet with those who are only too prone to magnify their value; and the admission on favourable terms to an enlarged circle of the highest society, now entered very considerably into the routine and essence of my life.

These three ingredients gradually made great alterations in my position, and shaped nearly the entire course of my public pursuits and private habits. Among the warm friend-
G. P. R. JAMES.211
ships to which I may allude, there is not one more sincere, more lasting, or more grateful to my feelings, than that which I have the honour and delight to couple with the admired and estimable name of
G. P. R. James. I think it was the production of “The Ruined City,† for private circulation, which first introduced us to each other; and from that hour (I remember the pleasure I received from his volunteering a trial of his skill occasionally in the “Gazette†), I now look back on a quarter of a century, upon a close intercourse of minds and hearts, without a passing shade to dull its bright and cheering continuity. I need not dwell on those voluminous writings which have placed Mr. James in the very foremost rank of our national fictitious literature; nor need I, in his case, illustrate my theme of the uncertainty of literature as a remunerative pursuit—with a private fortune, and the genius which has produced so many admirable works, the author has now fallen back upon a consulate at Norfolk, in America, where, if report speaks truth, he is exposed even to danger in consequence of petty resentments against something he wrote long ago about Slavery!—but, I may say, from nearer and more abundant observation than the world could attain, that the utmost appreciation of his genius must fall short of what is due to his personal worth and nobility of nature. As no author ever excelled him in the purity and rectitude of his publications,—every tone of which tends to inspire just moral sentiment, and exalted virtue, and brotherly love, and universal benevolence, and the improvement, carrying with it the progress and happiness of his fellow-creatures,—so no man in private life ever more zealously practised the precepts which he taught, and was charitable, liberal, and generous, ay, beyond the measure of cold prudence, and without an atom of selfish reserve. To his fellow-labourers on the oft-ungrateful soil
of letters, he was ever indulgent and munificent; and were this the fitting time, I could record acts of his performing that would shed a lustre on any character, however celebrated in merited biographical panegyric. I trust I may state, without compromising the privacy of friendly confidence, that I knew him, as he was ever ready to make sacrifices to friendship, sacrifice half a fortune, legally in his possession, to a mere point of honourable, I might say, romantically honourable feeling, and founded indeed on one of those family romances in which we find fact more extraordinary than fiction; and amongst lesser instances of his general sympathies for all who stood in need of succour, I may mention his procuring me the gratification of handing over 75l. to the Literary Fund, as the price received from Messrs.
Colburn and Bentley for a MS., entitled “The String of Pearls.” To this Fund I have already referred, but I may here also notice, that almost contemporaneously with Mr. James’s gift, my Lord Mulgrave (now Marquis of Normanby) enabled me by a similar transaction to add 50l. more to the subscription—proving the valid title I have to claim the character of having been one of its most zealous and successful supporters, for which I am sorry to say I received a very ungracious return. But let that pass; though the above and other liberal benefactions which were wont to figure in the annual lists as they ought, were it only pour encourager les autres, have been dropt out of them without a record,—a piece of ingratitude, the very reverse of the practice pursued by every other charitable institution in London, which are anxious to keep recorded on their annual books, from first to last, the names of those to whom they have been indebted for even the smallest services.*

Another of the cherished intimacies which grew out of

* See Appendix H.

this date, and which was fruitful of years of after enjoyments, was with
John Carne, the amiable and much esteemed author of “Letters from the East,” and other very interesting and justly popular works. When in London our habits led to almost daily familiar intercourse, and when my friends (for I gladly include the congenial wife, sister of Mr. Lane, the admired artist), retired to their country home, my excursions to Cornwall, with its charms of scenery, attractions of mines and museums, and circles of social hospitalities, furnished recreations such as only slaves of the pen can fully appreciate. Cornwall seems to me to be the most interesting county in the island, though Derbyshire possesses many striking features; and at Penzance and Falmouth the well-known scientific mineral and natural collections of Mr. Joseph Carne and Mr. Fox, as well as the superior intelligence of their owners (worthy compatriots of Davies Gilbert and Sir Humphry Davy) supplied very gratifying additional sources of pleasure and instruction. I would fain mention another friend who pertained to this party-period, Mr. Bartlett, soon after our consul at Corunna, whence, during his residence, Grove-House had Ude or Soyer-like cause to rejoice in the gastronomic products of Spain, whose boars’-heads and hams, and Val de Peñas wines from La Mancha often gave a certain degree of culinary and cellular celebrity to its otherwise ordinary entertainments, and added a something to the genial welcome it tried to offer to its guests and friends. There is a common and most mistaken idea prevalent in the world that good taste and neatness are costly; whereas there is nothing on earth less expensive. You sit down to an adequately provided and superiorly arranged table, or, on the contrary, you find matters so heterogeneously got together and so clumsily set out, that you fare in the style called hugger-mugger, and the rather
recherché and enjoyable dinner shall not amount to half the price of the more animal-like feed. A fine and cultivated palate is certainly fastidious, but by no means necessarily extravagant. The zest is in “a grace, a manner, a decorum”—an “elegant sufficiency, content,” and not in heaping Pelions of meat on Ossas of fish in superabundant disorder, till “the sense aches at it.” I had also, at this time, an old townsman and friend, from the West Indies, travelling on the continent for his health; and he, like Bartlett, was fond of remitting a dozen or two, now and then, of any curious wines he happened to encounter. It was not so dear as the port or sherry in home consumption, but it made a figure in the provender of my roof, was not without its influence in drawing together those who could relish it and aid my pursuits and work, nor yet without its being afterwards remembered as a proof of imprudent wastefulness by some who had drunk their full share of it without a warning, or a murmur, save a sigh of satisfaction as it glided down their undeserving throats. The Val de Peñas, in this way, might remind us of the sagacious squire from whose rocky confines it came, the immortal Sancho; who in elevating the bottle to his mouth appeared to take a deliberate aim at the moon, and when his copious draught was finished, stroked his fair round stomach, and exclaimed—“Good liquor, by the Lord!” One sample of the French wine, a claret, may be noted as affording a new reading to a verse in an old Scotch song, the meaning of which was doubtful.

Blythe, blythe, and bonny was she;
Blythe was she, but and ben;
Weel she lo’ed a Hawick gill,
But better far a Tappit hen!

A Hawick gill was understood to be at least a mutchkin or English pint, and the Tappit hen was explained, a crested
hen, and the name given to a quart measure of ale or beer with a top of froth or foam. But the bottles in which this wine, in quantity between a quart and a magnum, was kept, in a moment asserted its right to the title, on other than antiquarian conjectures; for the cork was covered in a peculiar way with wax, so as to present to the eye the most perfect resemblance to the tappit hen, or hen with a top-knot or tuft. Every one who saw it recognised the likeness in a moment; and I shall only add that the fell swoop which demolished the last of my tender chickens (without a dam) was committed, on a return after coffee to the dining-room, by
John Murray, William Murray of the Edinburgh theatre, one of the best of social companions, Owen Rees, and two or three other convives, who took it into their heads that a novelty of this sort ought not to be left, like an indifferent publication or a poor play, on hand.

“Tell us more about yourself,” has been a call made on me in consequence of my preceding volumes: “we want to hear of the ways of life of a literary man,” and I hope this will be my excuse to readers of other minds for the foregoing, and all similar passages of a personal description. Grove House for a dozen of years was a centre for social, literary, intellectual, and political reunions, that could hardly be surpassed. Of ease and welcome there was plenty; of etiquette and ceremony there was none. After this fashion, from the youngest struggler and disappointed aspirant in literature, science, and arts, to the most successful in every branch of human effort, the author, the inventor, the artist, and the loftiest in rank and station of the land, ministers of state, and nobility, who were the patrons of learning and genius, all condescended to encourage my earnest endeavours in the cause, and associate with me on terms too flattering to be thought of except with the deepest sense of gratitude.


And here I must beg to remark upon this high and gratifying career, and the vicissitudes which followed it, that even had self-interest been the motive for indulging in it, any man looking much farther a-head for his own advancement than ever it was in my nature to do, might (wisely calculating) have adopted the same course for the sake of promoting his own fortunes and securing his ambitious objects. As I may have by and by to show, it conducted me to a point where the turn of a feather defeated my achieving a position, that opened the path to independence (not precarious) and distinction of a more ostensible kind than I could ever hope to attain by the exercise of my limited talents in the higher walks of literature. I, for one, could not blame any of my contemporaries, who whilst they tasted the sweets and the emoluments of great popularity, lived as if their productions were like freehold estates, to endure for ever; and a little farther on discovered that their possessions of the brain, situated on the domain of public mutability or caprice, were liable to be gradually dissolved, and like the baseless fabric of a vision leave little else than a wreck behind. On the contrary, I would sympathise with them and grieve for their venial mistake. The intoxication of literary success gilds the present, too gorgeously, and illumes the future too brilliantly, to admit readily of saucy doubts and fears, and far less of rigid arithmetic and troublesome calculation. An individual basking in the glorious sunshine is too apt to forget that fair and foul, blue sky and cloud, alternate for ever, and that day is sure to be succeeded by night; and though I cannot and do not stand forth as the apologist for foolish imprudence and reckless improvidence, I must assert the generous principle, that such errors as I have pictured throughout these volumes as likely to befal the studious writer busily occupied or absorbed in
ideal dreaming, ought to be viewed as pardonable blots, if blots at all, upon the escutcheon of moral worth, and, in many cases, hardly as impeachments of worldly wisdom. The most popular authors have been and are liable to sudden and severe reverses, from vicissitudes in “the Trade” and in public opinion; and when such misfortunes befal them (checking the powers of individuals seldom fortified by other resources), it seems to me that they are more entitled to the benefit of every doubt in their favour, than to be dealt with as convicted criminals in the inquests held on their mangled remains!

In my own particular instance, the emergence from the plunge under the water in consequence of the panic and revulsion of credit in 1826, was indefinitely protracted by my most prudential efforts. When called on, and in a vindictive manner too, in consequence of the misrepresentation of an attorney, with the business confided to him by the firm, to repay bank advances to the tune of from twelve to fourteen hundred pounds, bringing the crush of more than double that amount on their back with them, I found myself saddled with an establishment trenching closely up to my resources, and burthened with between two and three hundred a year for life-assurances. It is true the attorney acknowledged his mistake, in ascribing a neglect to me I had not committed, and on compulsion, entered the apology in his own hand in his own letter-book, in the presence of my friend sent to him to “know the reason why;” but the mischief to me had been done, and I was crippled severely. And mark what ill-consequences may spring even out of careful prescience. After having paid for years heavy premiums, I could, in most of them, ill spare, a policy of £2,000 in the Equitable, mortgaged to the Rev. Dr. Warneford, the tremendous church-builder and most ostenta-
tious of charity-benefactors, was sold at auction by his directions for what it would bring, and all the happy results to which I had looked forward sacrificed for a few hundred pounds. I have never since then read the announcements of Dr. Warneford’s numerous magnificent donations for religious and liberal purposes, without thinking how different his public acts were from his private dealings; for his agents assured me they had represented in vain what a cruel blight this sale would bring upon my family, and how it would crush my hopes, but the reverend gentleman was as peremptory as Shylock, and such I was told was his custom in regard to the management of his personal concerns.*

Another policy in the same office for £1,600 got out of my hands in some other security for an annuity drain; and how it stands now I am ashamed to confess I really do not know, but I have reason to believe that it is kept up by the parties, and is sufficient, owing to my length of life, to make them more than safe in the transaction.

After the falsehood which led to resentful feelings alluded to in the last page had been proved to be groundless,† and the cloud had passed away, my friendship with Mr. George Twining was renewed, and continued to his death; and, at his request, I had it somewhat in my power to bring into public notice and popularity the first useful writings of Mr. Senior, whose views I contributed much to recommend. With the other branches of this respected family I have also restored amicable relations to the present hour.

* His honoured name will descend to posterity in connexion with many splendid charities; but when I think of his hard griping usage to me I am apt to exclaim: “By’r Lady he must build churches else.”—W. J.

† The attorney reported that I had neglected to pay the insurance on my life, the policy being a banking security I had pledged myself to keep up: hinc illæ lackrymæ. But I had paid it three weeks within the time it was due, and only neglected to send the receipt, lying in the crowd of papers on my desk.—W. J.


I mention some of these things without bitterness, though not always without reproach. The conduct of the attorney alluded to created a coolness between my friend Mr. George Twining and me which lasted some time; for friendships interrupted any how, do not easily warm up and coalesce again, and never, perhaps, return to their pristine fresh and boundless confidence—like certain chemical and culinary preparations, in which an accidental chill is fatal to their perfection. Even after the man confessed that he had been misinformed, and proceeded upon the assumption that an act which was duly performed had not been performed, simply because it had not been formally announced, matters and feelings were never perfectly restored to their former footing. Yet cordiality to a less effervescent extent resumed its sway; and, among other proofs, I remember Mr. Twining earnestly embarking my literary services in the advent of the gentleman I have named, then commencing the arduous career in which he has since risen to such prosperous eminence.

The private circumstances of a man completely immersed in literary pursuits, are part and portion of his literary life, and therefore I offer no excuse for these particulars. Mischances are forgotten in books, and injuries lost in the conception of new thoughts, and absolute self-sufferings merged in the necessity for contemplating unreal characters and imagined events. The study is the oblivion of the kitchen and parlour; and, for the periodical writer, the public call concentrates in the internal refuge the toils of the pen, the trials of all the external world.

I have more than once in this memoir had occasion to speak harshly of persons connected with the law, and have reason enough to look upon the black sheep of that profession as the great oppressors and curses of the community.
They are placed in a bad position. All their interests are adverse to humanity, and their hearts harden as they go on over-reaching, plundering, and desolating. They are exposed to more temptations than any other class, and they see so much of the roguish side of society, that they come by degrees to reconcile themselves to the idea of general depravity, and fall the more readily into the odious rank. It requires great firmness and high honour to withstand the seduction, but when these are found, what a noble character is made. Many of my most intimate and valued friendships, affectionate, lasting, and sacred, as friendships of many years do become, have been and continue with lawyers, both belonging to the bar and bench, and the order of solicitors and attorneys. Knowing such as these, forces me to regret the more, that so many of similar name in the profession should be such worthless embodiments of evil and injury. There is a balance in all things. If I were asked whether I would forego my present solace and gratifications in the intimacy of old friends, eminent ornaments to various branches of the legal profession, to have redeemed (if possible) all that I have suffered from the chicanery and rascality of base practitioners, I would pause on the option, and, I think, abjure the worthless, and adhere to the worthy side. ’Tis pity the bad set have so much put in their power by angry, litigious, and often blind and irrational people, to inflict the wrongs they do; but it looks as if the rhymester spoke something near the truth when he wrote—
Men are unanimous in every town,
When once a man is down, to keep him down.

In the year twenty-six, two countries at least were in financial difficulties, viz., Greece and Great Britain. For the former a loan was negotiated, and for the latter my
Mr. John Trotter and I prescribed a remedy. In the Greek Loan I happened incidentally to become much interested in consequence of revelations made to me by Captain Blaquiere, who was, indeed, heart and soul, a true Philhellenist. His communications, I lament to repeat, involved the fair fame of several personages still living, and enjoying high reputation in the world, respecting whose alleged transactions I must be dumb. That the Greek cause was made a trading concern, I cannot entertain a doubt; for I had certain proofs of that fact in my hands, and was entrusted (see p. 154) to lay them before Mr. Canning. His demeanour on the occasion I can but poorly describe. As the names and the lights flashed upon him, he started up from his chair and paced the room, uttering such broken sentences as these: “No, no. It is impossible! He could not be guilty of such an act.” “* * * * * *! Ah! bad. I could not have believed it. But he has been connected with strange affairs.” “There is corruption in many unsuspected places.” “Oh, this cannot be true, I would not believe his own acknowledgment.” “* * * * * * * well, well that may be, it is not unlikely.” “* * * * pooh! must be an error.” And so throughout the whole, the final determination being to take no notice of the complicated charges and unquestionable complicity of some of the parties.

The truth had been previously hinted at in the “Literary Gazette,” at the close of the preceding year, on the publication of Mr. Emerson’s, now Sir Emerson Tennent’s, first literary production, “A Picture of Greece,” and a work of so much intelligence and interest, that I awarded no less than three numbers for its review; and I here rejoice in citing my justly fortunate friend as another example of the clearness of my estimates of youthful talent (for he was
then barely of age), and of the gratifying consequences flowing out of such anticipations—sincere attachments during after life! In the last of these papers I had observed, “But, ere we dismiss the matter altogether, we may be allowed to turn from the foreign tales of Greece to those connected with it at home. What has become of the Greek Committee in London? It never meets; it does nothing. Has the gambling rot of speculation broken it up? and who of its members are to blame? Abominable jobs have been practised with the loan and the Greek securities; the cause has, we suspect, been made but the stalking-horse for greedy mercantile and private aims; and a country risked, if not sacrificed, for the gain of pounds, shillings, and pence.” In short, the whole transaction was disgraceful, and the more so as it was carried on with all the cant of exalted sympathies in the glorious cause of emancipated Greece. The inglorious cause of the Stock Exchange flourished upon it. Money could not even be found to educate the five Greek boys
Blaquiere brought over with him for that beneficial purpose; and the sums which were sent to Greece were just enough to set rival partisans to cut each other’s throats for their shares of the booty.

The scheme of National Polity and Finance was, while it lasted, an affair of infinite planning, consideration, reconsideration, consultation, and trouble. My excellent friend, Mr. Trotter, was in this, as in all other matters to which he gave his mind, full of even restless energy and activity. Before I left bed, and sometimes when late enough to have sent a seasonable hour-keeper to it, his messengers would find their way to Grove House; and an answer to write to some inquiry that had occurred to him, or a drive over to Connaught Place used to be for several months my
frequent “call.” The finished pamphlet, when published by Messrs.
Longmans, was at any rate a literary if not a financial curiosity. It was not paged, but the lines numbered, as is seen in long poems, 5, 10, 15, and so throughout to 2855, the penultimate line of the publication. Blank leaves alternated for the use of those whose observations were sought, and when I name Mr. Huskisson, Sir Coutts Trotter, and Mr. Booker among the number, I need not say that the best opinions and the most weighty objections were courted. The project excited considerable attention, and much correspondence upon it ensued. Good or bad, impracticable or feasible, the bullionist theory of the day was too firmly fixed for our scheme, as it has been for all its successors ever since; yet as there are still not a few statisticians who fancy that, even in spite of Californian and Australian gold fields, a paper currency, founded upon other bases than the precious metal, would be the safest and best for our commercial country, I will devote a few lines to its illustration. Lord Liverpool laid the foundation when, in the House of Lords, he opposed the dogma that “nothing was better than a paper circulation convertible into gold,” and said, “My Lords, for my part, I believe the proposition to be fallacious, and only true to this extent,—that such a circulation carries its own cure along with it. I repeat, the thing is evil, but carries its own remedy. And what remedy is that, my Lords? We have all witnessed its effects lately; we can trace it in the past ruin, and the now subsiding panic; it is visible in the ruin of trade, the confusion of the money-market, and the total destruction of public and private confidence. It is a cure, my Lords, which is operated by the misery of the poor, the destruction of the rich, the loss of thousands, and the ruin of hundreds of thousands. This is the objection, the vital
objection, to a paper circulation convertible into coin. It is a doctrine carrying with it destruction to property, and utter ruin to credit, public as well as private.”

Entertaining the same opinion, and holding that it was the true object of every description of currency to mate the value of property as steady and as little variable as possible, Mr. Trotter matured and brought out his project with admirable perseverance. It purported to ensure the country a sound, settled, unchangeable, and imperishable currency, a currency of real value, representing absolute tangible property, and, from the ampleness of its security, not being subject to question or depreciation from any cause whatever, by fabricating a sterling national paper, founded on landed and funded property, and issued and controlled under responsibility as doubtless and lasting as the British Constitution itself, in every respect, therefore, preferable and preferred to gold! And the main principles were thus enunciated:—

“1stly. It is proposed, that government shall stamp all the paper (as well as bullion) intended to be issued as the current money of the country: that the notes so framed and executed shall be deemed the lawful currency of the realm; and in order to prevent the evils attendant on the abuse of issuing notes without limit, it shall be unlawful for any banker, or others, to issue any other notes than those so framed and executed.

“2ndly. That there be established one national bank, from which alone the said notes shall be issued for circulation.

“3rdly. That all bankers, or others, requiring notes for circulation, shall apply for the same to the National Bank; to which, previously to their receiving the said notes, they shall pledge, as a security of the payment of the same, either freehold land or funded property, unencumbered, of the value
of two hundred pounds sterling money for one hundred pounds sterling paper currency, and at the same rate for any sum whatever.

“4thly. That there he kept, subject to public inspection, a national register, in which shall be registered a full description of the security pledged, its bonâ fide value, and the proprietor’s name and address.

“This is the principle of the plan. The land of England shall be coined to a certain limit, and a part of the funded wealth of the country shall be convertible into a circulating medium—double, or a greater proportion of both, being pledged in security to the note-holder, from one pound to millions of pounds.

“Hence we think we may have abundance without superfluity; we may have abundance combined with perfect security; we may have abundance subject to prudent regulation. To what height of prosperity such a currency is capable of raising a country, we shall not pretend to determine; but we are free to express our firm persuasion, that if the principle were considered to be inapplicable to an old people, and were yet acted upon by a new government (firmly established, so as to impart to it the needful confidence and stability), it would speedily render that nation the greatest upon the face of the earth.”

The “Times” newspaper (the organ of the metallic school), in an elaborate article admitted that “this would unquestionably furnish us with a more economical circulation than that consisting of the precious metals, and one to which no reasonable objection could be made on the score of security,” but objected that in times of embarrassment, when the temptation to abuse was strongest, the government of the day might depreciate it by increasing the issues to an infinite amount. I need scarcely add that by perpetual publicity and
other guards,
Mr. Trotter had completely provided against the possibility of such an abuse.

This is not the time or place however to occupy my readers with the details of our system. It was established on a Ledger Credit, in which the securities mortgaged for the required issues were inscribed; and these issues regulated according to the wants of the larger and smaller, nearest and most remote circles (subdivided into districts or parishes), which demanded them for a circulating medium within their limits. Many other advantages were predicated of the plan, viz., such as its doing away with public-house resorts, preventing forgery, acting as passports to ensure the safety of the bearers, fulfilling all the uses of road or travelling notes, putting an end to gambling with foreign exchanges, and finally as reducing taxation to a very considerable extent. The general result was to be a sound currency, susceptible of constant adjustment and arrangement—ample, but not superabundant—equable and shared, to their comfort, by the lower classes of society—not exposed to be affected by panics; and permeating, like the vital stream, through every minute vessel, as well as the larger arteries and veins of the body politic, so as to vivify and invigorate its every fibre. Between April and December my friend and I laboured on this plan, and ultimately laid it before the public as perfectly calculated for “establishing a sound and settled currency, liable to no fluctuations, but susceptible of easy and perpetual regulation, as circumstances required; representing real property, and being doubly, or more than doubly, secured; preserving the precious metals, and precluding the possibility of panic; being liable to neither redundancy nor scarcity; affording essential relief to the people by sharing among the many what now feeds overgrown monopoly, and lightening taxation; and in fine,
combining all the great and all the humbler interests of the community in one bond of union beneficial to the whole;”—and we summed up thus: “We have proposed what we consider to be unobjectionable in theory, and readily practicable in execution; and we are sincerely convinced, that if our plan were adopted and acted upon (either entirely at once, or partially by way of experiment), that it must lead to unbounded prosperity and the highest human happiness in our native land. This we assume, also, not merely upon our own views and impressions; but because in all the discussion, public and private, to which the measure has given rise, not one radical objection has been alleged against its foundations, nor one tenable argument urged against its details, nor one dark foreboding thrown forward over the bright prospects which it holds out.

“Instead of a currency of every kind and colour, furnished by individual interests for the sake of individual profits, tending chiefly to realise those emoluments, and not directed to a common end, we have demonstrated the means of having a circulation belonging to the people, and having no other destination but the common good. We have shown that the concern of government with this Design of a National and public Credit, and a National and public Bank, could be no source of unconstitutional influence, though a matter of the most anxious care,—since every government would serve itself in promoting the general diffusion of wealth, ease, tranquillity, and contentment. It would be an Argus to regulate the machine, so that it should not go wrong, rather than a power to prescribe or control its operations. By the simple fact of making our Sterling Note a legal tender for taxes and government annuities, and not convertible at the will of the holder, it would stamp and recognise this currency with sufficient character, and by returns and
re-issues in these two ways alone, create an annual circulation (in a circle, if we may say so, pervading the entire kingdom) of Thirty Millions in every year. Thus sanctioned by the legislature, and resting on the sure bases of landed and funded security for more than double its amount: we ask, fearlessly, who would not prefer this Sterling Paper to Gold Coin, which seems to be principally and purposely formed to encourage the injurious traffic in foreign exchanges and bullion?”

Such is the broad outline of a plan which I am yet inclined to believe would raise the nation to a pitch of prosperity such as never has been and never can be reached by any other means than a system of polity and finance the same as, or very similar to, that on which I expended no small portion of valuable time, thought, and pains-taking. I had indeed ample compensation in the pleasure of so constant an intercourse with Mr. Trotter and his amiable and accomplished circle. So passeth away the grave speculations and the social delights of our changeable span: the shades and sunshine of human life.