- Prefatory Note to Volumes Iii and Iv
- Pamphlets and Papers Written For Publication 1809–1811
- Note On the Bullion Essays
- The Price of Gold Three Contributions to the Morning Chronicle1809
- The Price of Gold 1
- [first Reply to ‘a Friend to Bank-notes’] to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.1
- [second Reply to ‘a Friend to Bank-notes’] to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.1
- [appendix to ‘the Price of Gold’
- [a Reply By Trower]
- [a Further Reply By Ricardo]1
- The High Price of Bullion 1810– 11
- Three Letters to the Morning Chronicle On the Bullion Report 1810
- [three Letters On the Bullion Report] Report of the Bullion Committee1to Theeditor of the Morning Chronicle.
- [on Sir John Sinclair’s ‘observations’] Bullion Report1to Theeditor of the Morning Chronicle.
- [on Mr Randle Jackson’s Speech] Bullion Report1to Theeditor of the Morning Chronicle.
- Reply to Mr. Bosanquet’s ‘practical Observations On the Report of the Bullion Committee’, 1811
- Chapter I: Preliminary Observations.—mr. Bosanquet’s Objections to the Conclusions of the Bullion Committee Briefly Stated.
- Chapter II: Mr. Bosanquet’s Alleged Facts, Drawn From the History of the State of Exchange, Considered.
- Chapter III: Mr. Bosanquet’s Alleged Facts, In Supposed Refutation of the Conclusion That a Rise In the Market Price of Bullion Above the Mint Price Proves a Depreciation of the Currency, Considered.
- Chapter IV: Mr. Bosanquet’s Objections to the Statement, That the Balance of Payments Has Been In Favour of Great Britain, Examined.
- Chapter V: Mr. Bosanquet’s Argument to Prove That the Bank of England Hasnotthe Power of Forcing the Circulation of Bank Notes—considered.
- Chapter VI: Observations On the Principles of Seignorage.
- Chapter VII: Mr. Bosanquet’s Objections to the Proposition, That the Circulation of the Bank of England Regulates That of the Country Banks, Considered.
- Chapter VIII: Mr. Bosanquet’s Opinion—that Years of Scarcity and Taxes Have Been the Sole Cause of the Rise of Prices, Excessive Circulation No Cause—considered.
- Chapter IX: Mr. Bosanquet’s Opinion, That Evil Would Result From the Resumption of Cash Payments—considered.
- Notes On Bentham’s ‘sur Les Prix’ 1810– 1811
- Notes On the Bullion Report and Evidence 1810
- (a): [notes On the Report of the Bullion Committee]
- (b): [rough Notes On the First Part of the Minutes of Evidence]
- (c): [notes On the Minutes of Evidence] Minutes of Evidence
- Notes On Trotter’s ‘principles of Currency and Exchanges’ 1810
- Observations On Trower’s Notes On Trotter 1811
- Observations On Vansittart’s Propositions Respecting Money, Bullion and Exchanges 1811
[SECOND REPLY TO ‘A FRIEND TO BANK-NOTES’]
To the editor of the morning chronicle.
Had your Correspondent, “A Friend to Bank-notes,” when he first did me the honour to notice my observations on the high price of Gold, contended, as he now does, that Bank-notes were the representatives of Silver, but not of Gold Coin, we should sooner have discovered from whence the difference of our opinions on the subject in dispute between us arose. I should then, Sir, have spared him the trouble of giving so many proofs of that which is indisputable, namely—that if Silver be the sole measure of value, Gold being at 4l.13s. per oz. is not, of itself, evidence of Bank notes being at a discount. Indeed, I thought that in the following observations I had admitted that position—“When we talk of a high price of Gold, it can have no meaning if estimated in Gold, or in Notes which are immediately exchangeable for Gold. It might be high estimated in Silver, or in goods of all kinds.” It was evident from the tenor of that and the subsequent paper, that I considered Gold Coin as the standard of commerce, and by it estimated the depreciation of Bank-notes. I had no reason to suppose that it was otherwise considered by your Correspondent. In one place he called Bank-notes a “substitute for Gold”; in another he observes, that “Had not this restriction been imposed, the great and growing demand for Gold upon the Continent would have drawn every Guinea out of the Country, and would have left us without resource in any emergency which might arise, by which its credit would be shaken.” The restriction could only have enabled the Directors of the Bank, if they had been so disposed, to prevent the Guineas locked up in the Bank from being exported. Those in circulation have been as liable to be sent out by the Country since, as before that measure. But, if Silver only be the standard of currency, as is now asserted, the Bank might have paid their Notes in our present debased Silver Coin; in Shillings, for example, debased 24 per cent. below their standard weight and value, the Guinea, therefore, would not have needed that protection. The Silver would not have been demanded, because it could not have been either melted or exported, but at a loss of 24 per cent. If Silver be the standard of currency, Bank-notes were, in 1797, at a premium of 24 per cent. and are now at a premium of 14 per cent.
But if, as I shall attempt to prove, Gold be the standard of value, and consequently, Bank Notes the representatives of the Gold-coin, I do expect that this writer will agree with me that Bank Notes are at a discount, and that the excess of the market above the mint price of Gold measures the depreciation.
The price of standard Silver bullion was on Tuesday last 5s. 9½d. per oz. On the same day, the price of standard Gold bullion was 4l. 10s. per oz. An ounce of Gold was therefore equal to about 15½ oz. and not 18 oz. of Silver.
If, then, we estimate the value of Bank Notes by the price of Gold bullion, they will be found to be 15½ per cent. discount. If by the price of Silver bullion 12 per cent. discount. But your Correspondent would no doubt observe, that this conclusion from the price of Silver bullion would be correct, if our Silver currency were not degraded by wearing and clipping, but as it was known to be depreciated by being deficient in standard weight, the high price of Gold bullion might in a great measure, and that of Silver bullion wholly, be caused by that deficiency. Bank Notes are, according to this argument, the representatives, not of our standard Silver currency, but of our debased Silver Coins.
It is observed by Lord Liverpool, in his letter to the King on the state of the coins, that the law now is, and has been since the year 1774, “That no tender in payment of money made in the Silver Coin of this realm, of any sum exceeding the sum of 25l. at any time, shall be reputed in law or allowed to be legal tender, within Great Britain or Ireland, for more than according to its value by weight, after the rate of 5s. 2d. for each ounce of silver.”
Bank-notes are not then the representatives of the debased silver coins. A holder of a Bank-note of 1000l. might refuse to take more than 25l. in the present debased Silver currency. If the remaining 975l. were paid him in shillings, he would receive them by weight, at their Mint value of 5s. 2d. per oz. which, with the 25l. of debased Silver, when sold at the present price of 5s. 9½d. per oz. would yield 1110l. in Bank-notes. Here then it is proved, on this writer’s own principles, that if Silver be the standard currency, Bank-notes are at a discount of 11 per cent.
For the following reasons given by Lord Liverpool, in the work before mentioned, I consider Gold as the standard measure of value. He observes, “that the Silver Coins are no longer the principal measure of property: all commodities now take their price or value in reference to the Gold Coin, in like manner as they took their value in a former period in reference to the Silver Coins. On this account the present deficiency of the Silver Coins, great as it is, is not taken into consideration, in paying the price of any commodity, to the extent in which they are legal tenders. It is clear, therefore, that the Gold Coins are now become, in the practice and opinion of the people, the principal measure of property.”
He then states, that in the reign of William the Third, the Guinea was current at even so high a value as 30s.; that the Gold Coins rose or fell as the Silver Coins were more or less perfect. “No such increase or variation in the value of Gold Coin has taken place since the year 1717, when the rate or value of the Guinea was determined by proclamation, and the Mint indenture, to be 21s. and the other Gold Coins in proportion; though the Silver Coins now current have long been, and are still, at least as deficient as they were at the beginning of the reign of King William. The Guinea and other Gold Coins have, notwithstanding, constantly passed since 1717, at the rate or value given them by the Mint indentures.”
“The two foregoing reasons clearly prove the opinion of the people of Great Britain on this subject, in their interior commerce and domestic concerns. I will in the next place shew what has been the opinion of foreign nations concerning it.” In the reign of King William the exchanges rose or fell according to the perfection or defect of our silver coins. Before the recoinage in 1695, the exchanges with all foreign countries were 4s. in the pound against England, and with some of them considerably more. “The same evil, however, has never existed since the year 1717, though our silver coins have, during all this interval, been very defective. But, on the other hand, our exchanges with foreign countries were very much influenced to our disadvantage, when our gold coins were defective, that is, previous to the reformation of our Gold Coins in the year 1774.” Lord Liverpool considers this as a proof that foreigners consider our Gold Coins as the principal measure of property. Another argument is drawn from the prices of gold and silver bullion. When our Gold Coin was defective previous to the re-coinage in 1774, gold bullion advanced considerably above its mint value, but immediately on its being brought to its present state of perfection, gold bullion fell to something under the mint price, and has continued so for twenty years previous to 1797. “It is evident, therefore, from these facts, that the price of gold bullion was affected by the state of our gold coins, though the price of this bullion had not since the year 1717, been so affected by the defective state or condition of our silver coins.” The price of silver bullion has, since the year 1717, been affected by the perfection or defect of our Gold Coins, but has not been so by the defective state of our Silver Coins.—“From all which it is evident, that the value of Gold or Silver Bullion has, for 40 years at least, been estimated according to the state of our Gold Coin solely, and not according to that of Silver Coin. The price of both these metals rose when our Gold Coin was defective; it fell when our Gold Coin was brought to its present state of perfection; and it may, therefore, justly be inferred, that, in the opinion of the dealers in the precious metals (who may be considered as the best judges on a subject of this nature), the gold coin has in this respect become the principal measure of property, and consequently the instrument of commerce.” In another passage, Lord Liverpool considers a pound sterling to be 20–21 of a guinea. The same opinion is advanced by Sir J. Stewart—“At present (says he) there are no sterling pounds in silver money; there is no silver in England in any proportion to the circulation of trade; and, therefore, the only currency by which a pound can be valued is the guinea.”
The Bank-Directors must have been of the same opinion, when they stated in their evidence before Parliament, that it was their usual practice to limit the amount of their notes when the market price of gold exceeded the mint price.
In the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords in 1797, it is observed, that “Gold is the mercantile coin of Great Britain, and silver has for many years been only a commodity, which has no fixed price, and is very rarely carried to the Mint to be coined, but varies according to the demand for it at the market.”
I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,