Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Letter of Malachi Malagrowther

Walter Scott's first letter under the pseudonym Malachi Malagrowther focused primarily on the economic issues inherent in England's proposed banking reforms in the aftermath of the Panic of 1925/26.  Specifically, Malagrowther argued against eliminating small Scottish banking notes (under L5), which provided the credit on which the Scottish economy ran.  The second Malagrowther letter was more a call to patriotism in resisting the changes.

"...Let every body of electors, from Dumfries to Dingwall, instruct its representative upon their own sentiments, and upon the conduct which they desire he should hold during this great national crisis; and let the Administration be aware, that if any of our members should desert the public cause on this occasion, they are not like to have the benefit of their implicit homage in the next Parliament..."

England's proposed uniformity in banking rules is viewed by Malagrowther as an intrusion on Scottish rights:

"...do not let us, like our ancestors at Falkirk, fall to jealousies among ourselves, when heart, and voice, and hand, should be united against the foreign enemy. I was about to erase the last word; but let it remain, with this explanation---that the purpose of this invasion of our rights is acknowledged to be kind and friendly; but as the measure is unauthorised by justice, conducted without regard to the faith of treaties, and contrary to our national privileges, we cannot but term the enterprise a hostile one. When Henry VIII. despatched a powerful invading army to compel the Scots to give the hand of their young Queen Mary to his son Edward, an old Scottish nobleman shrewdly observed, ``He might like the match well enough, but could not brook the mode of wooing.'' ...

Malagrowther points out to Ireland that she should unite with Scotland in opposition to the banking regulations:

"...Patrick, my warm-hearted and shrewd friend, how should you like this receipt for domestication, should it travel your way? You have your own griefs, and your own subjects of complaint,---are you willing to lose the power of expressing them with energy? You have only to join with the Ministry on this debate---you have only to show in what light reverence you are willing to hold the articles of an Union not much above a century old, and then you will have time to reflect at leisure upon the consequences of such an example. In such a case, when your turn comes (and come, be sure, it will,) you will have signed your own sentence. You will have given the fatal precedent to England of the annihilation of a solemn treaty of incorporating Union, and afforded the representatives of Scotland vindictive reasons for retaliating upon you the injury which you aided England in inflicting upon us. Whereas---step this way, Pat ---and see there is nobody listening---why should not you and we have a friendly understanding, and assist each other, as the weaker parties, against any aggressions, which may be made upon either of us, ``for uniformity's sake?''..."

And, Malagrowther reinforces aspects of his first letter, calling the legality of England's proposal into question:

"...I have stated in my former Letter, that the system respecting the currency, which is now about to be abrogated, has been practised in Scotland for about one hundred and thirty years, with the greatest advantage to the country and inhabitants. I have also shown from the Treaty of Union, that it cannot be altered, unless the preliminary is established to the conviction of Parliament, that the alteration is for the =evident advantage= of the subjects in Scotland. No advantage, evident or remote, has ever been hinted at, so far as Scotland is concerned: it has only been said, that it will be advantageous to England, to whose measures Scotland must be conformable, as a matter of course, though in the teeth of the article stipulated by our Commissioners, and acceded to by those of England, at the time of the Union. I have therefore gained my cause in any fair Court..."

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