In 1899 he lowered the fixed charge for the National Debt from twenty-five to twenty-three millions - a reduction imperatively required, apart from other reasons, by the difficulties found in redeeming Consols at their then inflated price.
His most ambitious effort was his attempt to effect a conversion of consols in 1884, but the scheme proved a failure, though it paved the way for the subsequent conversion in 1888.
The mutiny at the Nore, the threat of rebellion in Ireland, the alarming fall in consols, argued strongly against continuing the war singlehanded, and in July Lord Malmesbury had been sent to Lille to open fresh negotiations with the plenipotentiaries of France.
In the autumn of 1847 a series of failures in the great commercial centres created a panic in the city of London, which forced consols down to 78, and induced the government to take upon itself the responsibility of suspending the Bank Charter Act.
The land itself in one shape or another formed the security, and guaranteed stock was issued which the holder might exchange for consols.