Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXIII.: Of Coining of Moneys without Distinction of Weights. - A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money
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CHAP. XXIII.: Of Coining of Moneys without Distinction of Weights. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money 
A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money from the Originals of Vaughan, Cotton, Petty, Lowndes, Newton, Prior, Harris, and Others, with a Preface, Notes, and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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Of Coining of Moneys without Distinction of Weights.
THE Proposition, intended under this Title, is this, That the Money, hereafter, both of Gold and Silver should be coined of the same fineness, that the Silver and crown-Gold now are, but that there should be coined no pieces of a certain weight either of Gold or Silver, but that the Allay being certain, the weight should remain uncertain; that all Money now current should be valued by a certain weight.
As for Example, That every ounce weight of Silver should be valued at 5s. and every ounce weight of Gold at twelve times as much, or thirteen times so much, or such a Proportion as should be thought most equal; and that all former Contracts should be acquitted in weight, by reducing every 100l. sterling, into 400 ounces of Silver, or a proportionable weight of Gold, but that all future Contracts should be directly made in weight, as in pounds, ounces, and the Sections of the ounce, either in Silver or proportionable weight in Gold: That there should be only coined a certain Proportion of small Moneys in Silver, not in value above a penny, or two pence sterling, of a certain weight for the accommodation of small ordinary payments. But that all the main mass of Money, both of Silver and Gold, should have no certain weight imposed on it, but should be current according to the weight it had, as it should fall out. The Authors of this Proposition maintain.
That the first Institution of Money was in this manner. That this Addition of certainty of weight to the Allay, by making the stamp to serve as a publick Testimony that the piece so stamped or coined is not only of such a fineness but of such weight also, have given occasion to all the Inconveniences that have since grown in this Subject of Money, and that there is no other way to reform these Inconveniences stablely and permanently but by reducing the Money to this original Institution.
And therefore they say, That the imposing of certain weight to the piece by the stamp hath given the Opportunity to the Kings and Common-wealths to help themselves in their necessities, diminishing the Intrinsical value, and marking the piece of such a weight, when as really it weigheth not so much; and thus much may be observed inthe first part of this Discourse of the Historie of the Moneys of the Grecians and the Romans and other modern States.
They say likewise, That this diminution of the intrinsical value by substracting from the true weight of which the several pieces of Money were first marked, hath introduced that practice of draining of Money from other Nations, by raising the price of it, which is the Mischief now grown into this Subject.
They say, That it hath given occasion to the culling of the heavier Money from the lighter, which is one of the greatest Instruments of Exportation, that it hath also given the occasion of washing, scaling, and clipping of Money, mischiefs that are now grown very frequent.
Lastly, It hath given occasion by the use and wearing of the old Money to raise the price of the new and weighty Money in the Estimation of the People, and consequently to melt the old.
But although it should be acknowledged that these Inconveniences have been introduced by these forms of Coinage now in use, yet it remains to be considered how they would be reformed by this new form of Coining. And first it is true, if the form were used, it were not possible for any King or State to make any advantage either by the raising of the price of Money or diminishing the weight: neither could they indeed make any Advantage by addition of Allay, if the Proposition be truly observed. As for the raising of Money by other Nations, It is plain that the Observation of this Proposition, here in England, would not hinder them to raise still, as now they do; but then it is to be considered, whether their raising would turn to our Disadvantage as now it doth.
And first, if other Nations raise their Money, they can neither by that raising make their Moneys valuable to us, nor make our Money more valuable to them; when as before their raising or after their raising, they can give it no other value than by weight, because the pieces are uncertain.
But it may be objected, That when our Neighbours raise their Money, then will our Money (being all by weight) go further to be coined into theirs, than it would have done before and consequently for that profit will be transported until the price of their commodities do grow up unto their Money.
To which it may be answered, That they cannot set an higher price upon the pieces of our Money as now they use to do, because the piece hath no certain weight, then they cannot cull out the pieces as (now they do) which are over-weight, and so by converting them into their own Money, make benefit of them, so as there is no way left unto them to make profit of our Money when it is transported, but to deliver it into the Mint to be here coined into their Money; in which case the Transporter must of necessity loose all the charge of the coinage here, together with the Kings Tribute, and he must also loose the like charge in the place where he coins it a new. Both which put together would make so great a Proportion, as no raising for the drawing of Silver or Gold, into any State at one time hath hath ever equalled it.
But yet this Scruple remains unsatisfied, That at least the Bullion, which otherwise would have come unto you, will be in the mean time diverted until the price of Commodities be grown up to the value of their Money as it is raised. But it is manifest, that all other mischiefs set down before would be taken away by this Proposition, as culling, washing, scaling and clipping of Money, for that no benefit could possibly be made by them, and that equality of Exchange formerly propounded would by this means be brought the nearest to perfection of any other; for that the Merchant, first shall understand the true value of his own Money, and cannot make his accompt of Exchange in a forrein place, but by comparing their Moneys in true weight and fineness with his own; so as he cannot be deceived either by a false reputed value of his own Money, or of the Money which he is to receive by Exchange, and therefore will not make his Exchange to loss, except he be induced thereunto by some other circumstances which have no relation to the Subject of Money.
But having thus far debated of the Commodities and Benefits of this Proposition and prevention of former Inconveniences; It now remains to be inquired what new Inconveniences this Proposition would bring with it.
And first, The alteration would be very strange, and with great difficulty would be received by the People in a matter that is of most general and continual use of all others, in stead of accounting by a pound sterling, angels, shillings, and groats, to come now to accompt by Pound weights, Marks, Ounces, Scruples, and Drachms; to which the only answer to be made is,
That although the Trouble and Difficultie would be very great, yet being once settled, it would be settled for ever, whereas now the Trouble and Inconvenience which the People endure in this matter of Money is often renewed, but never amended.
A second Objection is, The Extream molestation which the People should receive in the practice of it, when as every man should be bound to carry scales in his pocket (as they say they do in China) and upon every little payment be bound to weigh their Money.
To which it may be answered, That there have been antiently Proclamations in England, and very lately in France, to avoid the frequency of washing, clipping and scaling, to oblige the People to weigh their pieces of Silver as well as of Gold, but for the Silver, the People could never be brought unto it; whereas by this Proposition, of Necessity, every man that receives Money must be tied to weigh the Silver as well as the Gold, and all these Inconveniences of scaling, clipping, washing, culling, and wearing, would be avoided with a small part of that trouble to the People, which the weighing of the several pieces of Silver would put them unto, partly because the least and most ordinary payments would be accommodated by the small pieces coined of a certain weight, and partly because the trouble of smaller payments would be recompenced by the ease of the greater; for by this course a thousand pounds will be as soon weighed as twenty shillings can now be reckoned.
A third Objection may be made against it, That by this Proposition Princes and States would be deprived of the means to make secret benefit of their Moneys, which hath been continually practised, and especially in times of eminent necessity, even to the preservation of Kingdomes.
To this is answered, That the Objection though it be true is yet of no weight, because that profit so made, is first made unjustly, and by the breach of publick Faith, and then it is but a false seeming profit, and always mischievous to the People, and really not good for the receivers of it. And (as it was formerly touched) it may be observed, That after the decay of the Roman Empire, the Reglements of the Mint of that great Monarchy being lost, through the Inundations of barbarous People (as many other excellent Institutions were) the Jews (who by God’s Curse were dispers’d into all Nations, and being suffered to acquire no natural possessions, betook themselves to artificial possessions; especially gave themselves to the Study of the nature of this matter of Money as their Patrimony) in most Countries were imployed in the affairs of the Mint: and to them succeeded the Italians, as it may be observed here in England, where for some Ages, after the expulsion of the Jews, there were no Masters of the Mint but Italians of Lucca or Genoa: Now these People being subtil Masters of their Art, and having no natural affection to these Countries where they were imployed, but aiming only to keep their own Mills grinding, did by projects of colourable profit, abuse those States where they were trusted, and keep them in continual alteration of their Coin, which always in the end turned to diminution of the intrinsical value; and therefore, finally this Proposition seemeth to me most strange and remote from common apprehension of all the rest; but, being duly weighed, the least Inconvenient and most likely to produce good effect of any of the others. And thus I have set down all the Remedies, that by enquiry I could learn, to have bin propounded either in England, or in other parts for the Inconveniences grown into this Subject of Money, wherein all the particular Projects that have been offered are not to be found, because several men have made the same projects, varied only in form, or in some by-circumstances, yet I do believe, that hardly (one) can be quoted, whereof the ground and essence is not here set down and debated.
And, if the Reader, that with attention and care shall have made his way through this intricate Discourse, shall in the end complain that after all his pains, he finds himself as little resolved what is fit to be done in this subject as before, considering the variety and contrariety of the Consideration incident unto it, I must appeal whether I did not from the beginning profess to set down nothing but problematically, and that my Scope was not to render the Reader able to find out the fittest course to govern this matter of Money and Coin, but able to judge of what should be propounded by others: a point of so great Importance, that for want of that ability the wisest States and the greatest Councils of Christendom, for many Ages, have been abused by misterious names, and perplexed subtilties of Mint-men, Gold Smiths, and Exchangers; who, as they had the whole knowledge of this subject in themselves, so they had their several Interests, and I conceive that I have performed all the points that I have undertaken in this Discourse; save one, which is that speaking of the several means of raising of Money, I said that the Occasions thereof had been two,
The one for the drawing of Money from the neighbouring Countries, or preserving of their own.
The other, when the States without any such pretence, but forced only by the violence of Necessity to raise means of Subsistence for themselves, have doubled and trebled, nay sometimes sextupled the values of their Moneys, of which I promised to speak further: and for this purpose, I intend to set down,—
The History of the most memorable Raisings that have been in this kind, both in our Age and heretofore, of what nature they were, and how these States did draw their Benefit and Subsistence out of them.
Secondly, What other Extremities and Confusions, those Raisings did draw upon the said States, and the People thereof.
Thirdly, What Remedies these States have applyed to reduce and settle those Extremities and Confusions whereinto they were fallen, in which History I shall come to touch some Examples very modern, as that which of late years was made by the Emperour which now reigns, especially in the higher parts of Germany, a raising so high and excessive as it equals any of the antient Examples, even of those mentioned by Pliny, to be practised by the Romans in their great extremities in the Punick Wars, whether you respect the excess of the Multiplication, or the Strangeness of the effects which it produced; the most famous Occasions, which I purpose to examine were,
First, Those Raisings, mentioned by Pliny to be, by the Romans in the first Punick Wars, which was to make every piece of Coin current at six times the value of what it was before, since which time, although there were sundry raisings made by the Romans, yet none of them was neer this Proportion.
In the Kingdom of France, I cannot find any extraordinary raisings made of the Money, until the time of Phillip le Bell and Charles le Bell, and then the Kings of France, did raise an ordinary tribute by coining Moneys of a base value, and when they were dispersed in the Peoples hands, suddenly calling them back again, and making them uncurrent, by which they got extreamly both by the coinage and recalling them; for that none might exchange or melt these Moneys so recalled, but the Officers appointed by the King, which was a Gain of a most unjust and grievous condition that ever was practised in any Kingdom, and did accordingly produce great Tumults and Seditions there; yet this practice did remain until the time of CHARLES the fifth, otherwise called the wise, whereof (besides the Records of the Mint in that Kingdom which do shew the perpetual alterations of the Moneys in these times) I do remember two memorable Evidences out of Histories, of which one is,
That at what time the State of France, during the desolation of that Countrey by the English Wars, did grant unto the King the Gabel of Salt, and the Impost upon Wine, they did particularly Covenant, That for such a space the King should not alter the standards of his Coin.
One other is, that Hollingshead in his Chronicle making mention of a voyage made by the black Prince from Burdeaux into Languedock doth cite the Letter of one Sir John Wingfield, a principal Servant to the Prince, wherein he saith, That the Countries and good Towns, which were wasted at this Journey, found to the King of France every year more to the maintenance of his War than half his Realm besides, except the Exchanges of his Money which he maketh every year, and his Customes of Poitou. But the standard of his Moneys was stabely kept from Charles the Fifths time till the first year of Charles the Seventh, at which time the English being in possession of the greatest part of France, Charles the Seventh having no other means to maintain the Wars, did from the year one thousand four hundred seventeen, to the year one thousand four hundred twenty three, raise the Silver by several degrees from eight livres nine sols the mark to 360 livres the mark, so as the Money was raised in six years above forty times the value of what it was before; of all which neither our Chronicles nor those of France do make but [Editor: illegible word] mention, in respect of what they speak of the Pucelle d’Orleans: And yet the Truth of it is evident by the Records of the Mint: and all those who have written of the affairs of the Mint, in that Kingdom, do unanimously agree that this was the Principal mean by which he expelled the English out of France: and that which is as strange as all the rest, is, that at one instant the Money was reduced again to seven livres, ten sols the mark; and from that time there have not been any raisings of Money in France of this nature, although the Moneys there have been continually raised ever since, either to follow the People, who did first raise their Moneys by their estimation, or to follow the raisings of other Nations, or to raise above other Nations, to draw their Money into that Kingdom.
In England there is but one Example of raising in this kind, which was begun in the eighteenth year of Henry the Eighth, and continued in divers Princes Reigns after, and was not absolutely reduced, until the fourteenth year of Queen Elizabeth; and this raising, although it were far short in Proportion to those formerly recited, it was much more inexcusable than they were, for that this Action though it be never justifiable, yet in a case of extream and unresistable Necessitie, it may be excused, which was not the case of Henry the Eight, for although he wanted Money, yet there were much more justifiable wayes to supply it; and it was not imployed to avoid his own ruin, but in ambitious Enterprises.
The next in time was that raising Money by the overmixture of allay made in Ireland, in the three and fortieth year of Queen Elizabeth’s Reign, which although it were not excessive in Proportion, and lasted but a small time, yet had very many memorable Circumstances to be observed in it.
The last which I will mention is that which was made by the Emperor (which now lives) in the year NA who being reduced within the Walls of Vienna, and having almost nothing else left him, but the Soverain title of the Empire, did by coining of the lesser and baser kind of Money five times baser than formerly it was, extend five times further in use, for the present, than otherwise he could have done, all those Moneys which he drew by way of assistance from the King of Spain, or from the Pope, or from other Princes of Italy; and besides, having a part of the profit of the Mint in divers other parts of Germany, he did exceedingly support his Affairs at the present by that means; and it was a principal occasion by which he prevailed against the King of Bohemia, who although for his part also, he raised his Moneys three times in value to what they were before (yet as he was always a strict observer of the contributions of the Empire) he coined no other small Moneys, but those of his own stamp, and they were only current within his own Countries.
Now all these several Raisings which I have mentioned, were not all by one way, but indeed they were by all ways differing from one another; and as the Ways of making profit by the Raising did differ, so the Inconveniences which follow did differ likewise, and as the Inconveniences did differ, so the ways of Reduction did differ also, all which will require a long and curious Disquisition but I do leave it to a second breathing.
Lord Coke’s Account of Coin and Coining.
COIN in 6 E. 1. was but 20d. the ounce, but now it is above thrice so much: Stat. de Glocestr. c. 8.
Co. 2. Instit. f. 311.
The pound of Gold and Silver containeth 12 ounces: 12 graines of fine Gold make a Carrat. 24 Carrats of fine Gold make an ounce, 12 ounces make a Pound of fine Gold of the touch of Paris: but by the Statute of 18 Eliz. cap. 15. 22 Carrats fine make an ounce.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
Polidore Virgil f. 304. &c. saith, That Sterling Money comes ab effigie Sturni (Anglice Starling) aviculæ in altera parte nummi impressa, &c.Vid. 37 E. 3 cap. 7.vel quod nummum haberet notum stellæ, quod Angli Star vocant: Of this Opinion is Linwood the Civilian. tit. De Testamentis. cap. Item. quia verbo centum solid.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
Mr. Skene takes it to come from Scotland, from a place called Striveling alias Sterling.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
But the Esterling or Sterling penny took its name from the workmen, who were Esterlings, that both coined it, and gave it the Allay.Davies Rep. f. 23. 24.Hoveden parte poster. Annalium, fol. 377 b. vet. Mag. Charta 167. The Esterling penny was first coined in Hen. the II. time: and 20d. of Silver made the ounce. Dyer 7 Eliz. f. 82, 83. and 12 ounces made a pound of fine Silver, and 11 ounces fine Silver, and an ounce of Allay maketh a pound weight of sterling Silver, intended within the Act.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
By 18 Eliz. cap. 15. plate of Silver ought to be of the fineness of xi ounces 2d. weight.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
Allay is the mixture of Baser Mettal than Silver or Gold, called in our Books, False Mettal, 9 H. 5 Stat. 2 cap. 4. & 6. 3 H. 7. 10. a. b.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
No more Allay must be put into Money than is limited in the Indentures between the King and the Moniers, upon Pain of Treason. Britton. f. 10 b. Fleta lib. i. cap. 22.
Co. 2. Instit. 575.
Sir Robert Cotton, Kt. and Baront.
Of HIS MAJESTY’S most Honourable
Being thither called to deliver his Opinion.
Alteration of Coin.
Sept. 2. Annoque Regni Regis CAROLI I. (1626.)
Printed in the Year 1651.
*?* There is some uncertainty in regard to the author of this remarkable Speech and the time when it was delivered. It was first published in 1641, as the Speech of Sir Thomas Roe, at the Council Table in 1640; and again in 1651 in Cottoni Posthuma, as the Speech of Sir Robert Cotton, before the Privy Council in 1626. In the former case a proposal was made to relieve the urgent necessities of the King by adding enormously to the alloy in the Silver Coins to be issued to the army. There is, however, nothing in the Speech that would lead any one to suppose that it had been made at so critical a period, or that it was intended to oppose so violent a measure. And hence, the probability seems to be, that it was really made in 1626, by Sir Robert Cotton in opposition to a project then entertained for raising the nominal value of the pound weight of Silver from 62s. to 70s. 6d. The arguments against the project are stated in the Speech with great brevity and clearness; and are said to have occasioned its abandonment.—(See Ruding on the Coinage, 3rd edition, i., pp. 382, 392, &c.).
A SPEECH touching the Alteration of Coin.
SINCE it hath pleased this Honourable Table to command, amongst others, my poor Opinion concerning this weighty Proposition of Money, I most humbly crave pardon, if with that Freedom that becomes my Duty to my good and gracious Master, and my Obedience to your great Command, I deliver it so up.
I cannot (my good Lords) but assuredly conceive,Honour, Justice, and Profit. that this intended Project of infeebling the Coin, will trench both into the Honor, the Justice, and the Profit of my Royal Master very far.
All Estates do stand Magis Famâ quam Vi, as TacitusHonour. saith of Rome: And wealth in every Kingdom is one of the essential Marks of their Greatness: And that is best expressed in the Measure and Purity of their Monies. Hence was it, that so long as the Roman Empire (a Pattern of best Government) held up their Glory and Greatness, they ever maintained, with little or no Change, the Standard of their Coin. But after the loose times of Commodus had led in Need by Excess, and so that Shift of Changing the Standard, the Majesty of that Empire fell by degrees. And as Vopiscus saith, the steps by which that State descended, were visibly known most by the gradual Alteration of their Coin; and there is no surer Symptom of a Consumption in State, than the Corruption in Money.
What renown is left to the Posterity of Edward I.Edw. I. in amending the Standard, both in Purity and Weight from that of elder and more barbarous times, must stick as a blemish upon Princes that do the contrary.VI. Thus we see it was with Henry VI. who, after he had begun with abating the Measure, he after fell to abasing the Matter; and granted Commissions to Missenden and others to practise Alchimy to serve his Mint. The extremity of the State in general felt this Aggrievance; besides the Dishonour it laid upon the Person of the King, was not the least Advantage his disloyal Kinsman took to grace himself into the Peoples Favour, to his Sovereign’s Ruine.
VIII.When Henry VIII. had gained as much of Power and Glory abroad, of Love and Obedience at home, as ever any; he suffered Shipwreck of all on this Rock.
Eliz.When his daughter Q. Elizabeth came to the Crown, she was happy in Council to Amend that Error of her Father: For, in a Memorial of the Lord Treasurer Burleigh’s hand, I find that he and Sir Tho. Smith (a grave and learned Man), advising the Queen, that it was the Honour of her Crown, and the true Wealth of herself and People, to reduce the Standard to the ancient Parity and purity of her Great GrandfatherIV.King Edw. IV. And that it was not the short ends of Wit, nor starting holes of Devices, than can sustain the Expence of a Monarchy, but sound and solid Courses: For so are the words. She followed their Advice, and began to reduce the Monies to their elder goodness, stiling that Work in her first Proclamation Anno 3. A Famous Act. The next Year following, having perfected it as it after stood; she tells her People by another Edict, that she had conquered now that Monster that had so long devoured them, meaning the Variation of the Standard: And so long as that staid Adviser lived, she never (though often by Projectors importuned) could be drawn to any shift or change in the Rate of her Monies.
To avoid the Trick of Permutation, Coin was devised, as a Rate and Measure of Merchandize and Manufactures; which if mutable, no Man can tell either what he hath, or what he oweth;Justice. no Contract can be certain; and so all Commerce, both publick and private, destroyed; and Men again enforced to Permutation with things not subject to Wit or Fraud.
The Regulating of Coin hath been left to the care of Princes, who are presumed to be ever the Fathers of the Common-wealth. Upon their Honours they are Debtors and Warranties of Justice to the Subject in that behalf. They cannot, saith Bodin,Bodin. alter the Price of the Monies, to the Prejudice of the Subjects, without incurring the Reproach of Faux Monnoyeurs. And therefore the Stories term Philip le Bell, for using it, Falsificateur de Moneta. Omnino Monetæ integritas debet queri ubi vultus noster imprimitur,Theodoret the Goth. saith Theodoret the Goth to his Mint-Master, Quidnam erit tutum si in nostra peccetur Effigie? Princes must not suffer their Faces to warrant Falshood.
Mirror des Justices.Although I am not of opinion with Mirror des Justices, the ancient Book of our Common-Law, that Le Roy ne poit sa Mony Empeirer ne amender sans l’assent de touts ses Counts, which was the greatest Council of the Kingdom; yet can I not pass over the Goodness and Grace of many of our Kings (as Edw. I. and III. Hen. IV. and V. with others, who out of that Rule of this Justice, Quod ad omnes spectat, ab omnibus debet approburi, have often advised with the People in Parliament, both for the Allay, Weight, Number of Pieces, rate of Coinage and Exchange): and must with infinite Comfort acknowledg, the Care and Justice now of my good Master, and your Lordships Wisdoms, that would not upon information of some few Officers of the Mint, before a free and careful Debate, put in execution this Project, that I much (under your Honours Favour suspect, would have taken away the tenth part of every Man’s due Debt, or Rent already reserved throughout the Realm, not sparing the King which would have been little less than a Species of that which the Roman stories call Tabulæ novæ, from whence very often Seditions have sprung: As that of Marcus Gratidianus in Livy, who pretending in his Consulship that the current Mony was wasted by Use, called it in, and altered the Standard; which grew so heavy and grievous to the People, as the Author saith, because no man thereby knew certainly his Wealth, that it caused a Tumult.
Profit.In this last part, which is, the Disprofit this infeebling the Coin will bring both to his Majesty and the Common-wealth, I must distinguish the Monies of Gold and Silver, as they are Bullion or Commodities, and as they are Measure: One the extrinsick Quality, which is at the King’s pleasure, as all other Measures to name; the other the intrinsick Quantity of pure Mettal, which is in the Merchant to value. As there the Measure shall be either lessened or inlarged, so is the quantity of the Commodity that is to be exchanged. If then the King shall cut his Shilling or Pound nominal less than it was before, a less proportion of such Commodities as shall be exchanged for it must be received. It must then of force follow, that all things of necessity, as Victual, Apparel, and the rest, as well as those of Pleasure, must be inhaunced. If then all Men shall receive in their Shillings and Pounds a less proportion of Silver and Gold than they did before this projected Alteration, and pay for what they buy a rate inhaunced, it must cast upon all a double Loss.
What the King will suffer by it in the Rents of his Lands, is demonstrated enough by the Alterations since the 18 of Edw. III. when all the Revenue of the Crown came into the Receipt Pondere & Numero, after five Groats in the Ounce; which since that time, by the several Changes of the Standard is come to five Shillings, whereby the King hath lost two third parts of his just Revenue.
In his Customs, the Book of Rates being regulated by Pounds and Shillings, his Majesty must lose alike; and so in all and whatsoever Monies that after this he shall receive.
The profit by this Change in Coinage, cannot be much nor manent. In the other the loss lasting, and so large, that it reacheth to little less than yearly to a sixth part of his whole Revenue: for hereby in every pound tale of Gold there is seven Ounces, one penny weight, and 19 Grains loss, which is 25l. in account, and in the 100l. tale of Silver 59 Ounces, which is 14l. 17s. more.
And as his Majesty shall undergo all these Losses hereafter in all his Receipts; so shall he no less in many of his Disbursements. The Wages of his Soldiers must be rateably advanced as the Mony is decreased. This Edward the Third (as appeareth by the account of the Wardrobe and Exchequer) as all the Kings after were enforced to do, as oft as they lessened the Standard of their Monies. The prices of what shall be bought for his Majesties Service, must in like proportion be inhaunced on him. And as his Majesty hath the greatest of Receipts and Issues, so must he of necessity taste the most of Loss by this device.
It will discourage a great proportion of the Trade in England, and so impair his Majesties Customs. For that part (being not the least) that payeth upon trust and credit, will be overthrown; for all men being doubtful of diminution hereby of their personal Estates, will call in their Monies already out, and no man will part with that which is by him, upon such apparent Loss as this must bring. What danger may befal the State by such a sudden stand of Trade, I cannot guess.
The Monies of Gold and Silver formerly coined and abroad, being richer than these intended, will be made for the most part hereby Bullion, and so transported; which I conceive to be none of the least inducements that hath drawn so many Goldsmiths to side this Project, that they may be thereby Factors for the Strangers, who by the lowness of minting (being but 2s. Silver the pound Weight, and 4s. for Gold; whereas with us the one is 4s. and the other 5s.) may make that Profit beyond-sea they cannot here, and so his Majesties Mint unset on work.
And as his Majesty shall lose apparently in the alteration of Monies a 14th in all the Silver, and a 25th part in all the Gold he after shall receive; so shall the Nobility, Gentry, and all other, in all their former setled Rents, Annuities, Pensions, and Loans of Mony. The like will fall upon the Laborers and Workmen in their Statute-Wages: and as their Receipts are lessened hereby; so are their Issues increased, either by improving all prices, or disfurnishing the Market, which must necessarily follow: For if in 5 Edw. 6. 3. Mariæ, and 4. Elizabethæ, it appeareth by the Proclamations, that a Rumor only of an Alteration caused these effects, punishing the Author of such reports with Imprisonment and Pillory; it cannot be doubted but the projecting a Change must be of far more consequence and danger to the State, and would be wished that the Actors and Authors of such disturbances in the Common-wealth, at all times hereafter might undergo a Punishment proportionable.
It cannot be held (I presume) an Advice of best judgment that layeth the Loss upon our selves, and the Gain upon our Enemies: for who is like to be in this time the greater Thriver? Is it not visible, that the Stranger that transporteth over Monies for Bullion, our own Goldsmiths that are their Brokers, and the forein Hedg-minters of the Netherlands (which terms them well) have a fresh and full Trade by this abatement? And we cannot do the Spanish King (our greatest Enemy) so great a Favour as by this, who being the Lord of this Commodity by his West-Indies, we shall so advance them to our impoverishing; for it is not in the power of any State to raise the price of their own but the value that their Neighbour Princes acceptance sets upon them.
Experience hath taught us, that the enfeebling of Coin is but a shift for a while, as Drink to one in a Dropsie, to make him swell the more: But the State was never thoroughly cured, as we saw by Hen. the Eighth’s time and the late Queens, until the Coin was made rich again.
I cannot but then conclude (my Honourable Lords) that if the Proportion of Gold and Silver to each other be wrought to that Parity, by the Advice of Artists, that neither may be too rich for the other, that the Mintage may be reduced to some proportion of Neighbour Parts, and that the Issue of our Native Commodities may be brought to overburthen the entrance of the Forein, we need not seek any way of shift, but shall again see our Trade to flourish, the Mint (as the Pulse of the Common-wealth) again to beat, and our Materials, by Industry, to be a Mine of Gold and Silver to us, and the Honour, Justice, and Profit of his Majesty, (which we all wish and work for) supported.