Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/192

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164
A COLONIAL AUTOCRACY.

The charter apparently remained in force although it had been declared null and void.[1] Bigge considered the bank a beneficial institution, but that no royal charter was necessary. Without it indeed he thought a more cautious policy would be ensured.

A curious incident had arisen when the Articles of Incorporation were drawn up and put before a meeting of the shareholders, which was described by Wylde in his evidence to Bigge. The Governor was dissatisfied with the 7th article, which excluded persons who had been convicts from the direction of the bank. "But," said Wylde "had an ex-convict been appointed (and it was known that one would be proposed) all the other directors would have resigned." Wylde saw what was the feeling of the meeting, and proposed and carried the exclusion clause. When he waited upon the Governor later to submit the articles to him, he found that this affair had already been reported, with the result that it had "excited in him a strong opinion and feeling insomuch that I retired from all explanation."[2]

The New South Wales Bank was nevertheless largely patronised by the convict and ex-convict class. They much preferred its facilities to those of the Savings Bank, which gave a lower interest and from which it was troublesome to draw money at short notice.[3] The Savings Bank was founded by the exertions of Mr. Justice Field in June, 1819, for the benefit of convicts and the poor people generally; and its rules, prefixed by "A Plain Address," were printed and distributed to all convicts arriving in the Colony.

"Many of you," so ran the address, "bring small sums of money from England, your own savings or the bounty of your friends, and have no place of safe deposit for them upon landing in this Colony. Instead of trusting those sums to any private individual, you are recommended to place them in the Public Savings Bank". … The convicts, however, responded feebly to this invitation. They preferred to trust to some friend who knew of an investment which promised quick though uncertain

  1. This seems the only inference to be drawn from the statement of Bigge in 1823 that the "present" charter will expire in 1824. Report, III.
  2. Wylde's Evidence, Appendix, Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS.
  3. Interest in Savings Bank was 1s. 6d. per £1.