THE history of George III.'s long and eventful reign presents to us no one domestic event so important in its consequences, both immediate and remote, as the rash and hazardous tampering with the currency, first by Mr. Pitt, under the pressure of the pecuniary embarrassments which his wars had occasioned, and next by the Liverpool ministry and the Whigs in their determination to restore the standard suddenly and without compromise.
In 1797 the Bank of England was found to labour under extreme difficulties, from the export of bullion, the state of trade generally, and the financial demands of a Government which was borrowing millions yearly to fill the devouring gulf of war expenditure, and to subsidize half the continental powers. It was perceived that either the War or the Bank must stop, and the latter alternative was at once chosen. An Order in Council was issued to prohibit it from paying in specie; an Act was passed to sanction this order, and enable country banks to pay in Bank of England paper; and the slaves of the Government, through the press and in Parliament, contended for five long years that this stoppage had no tendency to depreciate Bank notes, and had no tendency to increase their issue! That the over-issue, and consequently the depreciation, was for some years