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John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money [1856]

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John Ramsay McCulloch, 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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About this Title:

The second of two important collections of early economics works made by McCulloch. This volume deals with coins and coinage, the export of gold and silver, and the history of coinage in Scotland, Ireland, England, and ancient Greece and Rome.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [ii]

This Volume has been printed by the Political Economy Club of London for distribution amongst its members and their immediate friends. The Tracts contained in it have been taken from originals supplied by J. R. McCulloch, Esq., who has also contributed the Preface and Notes

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

Quærenda Pecunia primum est.


Ibit in immensos ni provideatis abusus, præclara res Numaria.

Budelius, de Monetis
Edition: current; Page: [iv]


Edition: current; Page: [v]


This collection of scarce and valuable Tracts and Treatises on Metallic Money, comprises the following articles, viz.

  • I. A Discourse of Coin and Coinage, &c. By Rice Vaughan, of Grayes Inn, Esq. 1675.
  • II. Speech of Sir Robert Cotton, Knt. and Bart., before the Privy Council, in 1626.
  • III. Advice of His Majesty’s Council of Trade concerning the Exportation of Gold and Silver in Foreign Coin and Bullion. 1660.
  • IV. Sir William Petty’s Quantulumcunque. 1682.
  • V. A Report containing an Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins. 1695.
  • VI. Note on the Recoinage of 1696-99.
  • VII. Representations, by Sir Isaac Newton, on the Subject of Money. 1712-17.
  • VIII. Tables, illustrative of the Changes in the Standard and Weight of English Money.
  • IX. Note on Scotch Money, with Tables, shewing its Successive Changes.
  • X. Observations on Coin in General, with Proposals for Regulating the Value of Coin in Ireland, by Edition: current; Page: [vi] the Author of the List of Absentees from Ireland. 1729.
  • XI. An Essay upon Money and Coins. Parts I. and II. 1757-1758.
  • XII. Reflections on Coin in General, on the Coins of Gold and Silver in Great Britain in Particular, &c. 1762.
  • XIII. An Inquiry into the Value of the Ancient Greek and Roman Money, by Matthew Raper, Esq. 1771.
  • XIV. Tables of Greek and Roman Money.

The first of these tracts, by a member of the legal profession, though published in 1675, must have been written long previously, probably in the interval between 1630 and 1635.* It is the earliest work in the English language that gives a general view of the origin of money, the materials of which it has been formed, its uses, and the abuses to which it has been subjected. It could hardly be expected that a treatise on subjects involving so many rather abstruse principles and delicate considerations, should be put forward at this early period with uniformly correct or just views. On the whole, however, the reader will, perhaps, be disposed rather to wonder at the general soundness of the writer’s conclusions than at the errors into which he has occasionally fallen. The old and deeply-rooted heresy that the value of coins was to a considerable extent dependent on the stamp by which they were impressed, retained, in the Edition: current; Page: [vii] early part of the 17th century, a powerful influence. And this circumstance, combined with the erroneous notions then very prevalent respecting various points in the theory of exchange, have, in great measure, occasioned the tedious discussions in which the author engages in regard to the effect of reductions in the standard of the coin, of the expediency of regulating the coins of one country with reference to those of others, and so forth. In most instances, however, he arrives, though by a very circuitous route, at the right conclusion; and the correct principles on the subject are so admirably stated in the treatise of Harris, in a subsequent part of the volume, that the errors in that of Vaughan can no longer impose on any of its readers.

The editor of this treatise, though, as he tells us, a near relation of the author, appears to have been very ill-fitted for his duty. It is printed with such extreme incorrectness that the statements are frequently quite erroneous, and in parts all but unintelligible. And though we have endeavoured to obviate these defects, we are not sure that we have always succeeded in apprehending the meaning of the author, or that the dates and figures we have supplied are in all instances correct. But we flatter ourselves that the errors by which it may still be infected are of no great consequence, and that they cannot sensibly influence any part of the reasoning.

The next tract in this volume,* the “Speech of the celebrated Sir Robert Cotton, before the Privy-Council in Edition: current; Page: [viii] 1626,” has been much referred to, and possesses a very high degree of merit. It was made in opposition to a proposal then entertained for degrading the standard of the coin. And we do not know that the arguments against such a proceeding have ever been stated more briefly or with greater force. It is creditable to the parties to whom it was addressed that they were so impressed by it that they abandoned the project.

The prohibition of the exportation of the precious metals was long regarded as a sound principle, which it was endeavoured to enforce in this and most other countries. But the opening of the trade to India, which has always afforded an advantageous outlet for these metals, and more especially for silver, gradually led to the adoption of a more liberal policy. The old system had been relaxed in favour of the East India Company, when it was established in 1600. And the advantages resulting from this relaxation, with the experience of the impossibility of enforcing the prohibition, produced in the end a strong desire among commercial men for its repeal. In 1660, the matter was referred to the consideration of the Council of Trade; and the “Advice” or “Report” of the latter forms the third article in this volume. It is a clear, well-reasoned, conclusive paper. The reference to the Council related only to the exportation of bullion and foreign coins, the trade in which they recommended should be made perfectly free. But no one who reads the Report can doubt that such, also, was the opinion of its authors, in regard to native coins. But, while the latter did not Edition: current; Page: [ix] officially come under their cognizance, they probably thought that their free exportation would be reckoned too bold a measure; and that by recommending it they might endanger the loss of the other, which was of incomparably more importance. The Council’s recommendation was carried into effect in 1663, by stat. 15, Ch. II. c. 7, § 12.

The next tract, by the famous Sir William Petty, entitled “Quantulumcunque Concerning Money, addressed to the Marquis of Halifax,” was printed in 1682. It was republished in 1695, during the discussions on the recoinage; but it has been excluded from the collection of Petty’s tracts published in Dublin in 1769, and is now very scarce. In this brief but remarkable tract, Petty shows the folly of supposing that we should gain anything in our intercourse with foreigners by reducing the value of the coins, a measure which can be productive only of the most injurious consequences. He has also condemned the laws which then, and down to a late period, limited the rate of interest, justly observing that there may as well be laws limiting the rate of exchange and the premium of insurance.

The tract next in order, which attracted a great deal of attention when published, viz. a “Report, containing an Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins,” by Mr. William Lowndes, Secretary to the Treasury, appeared in 1695. This Essay contains an elaborate and valuable investigation of the successive changes made in the standard and weight of English coins, from the earliest times Edition: current; Page: [x] down to the period when it was written. But its notoriety rests on a very different and less solid foundation, that is, on the proposal made by the author, and which he has strongly recommended, for adding 25 per cent. to the nominal values of the coins. We regret to have to add that this nefarious project met with considerable encouragement both in and out of Parliament. Happily, however, it was defeated, principally by the efforts, which cannot be too highly appreciated, of Montagu, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the House of Commons, and of Locke, out of doors. It was then that this great philosopher published his tracts on money, which, though involving sundry errors, refute the various arguments brought forward by Lowndes and others, in favour of a reduction of the standard, with an amplitude, or rather a redundancy, of illustration, that leaves nothing to be desired. We have not reprinted Locke’s tracts, because they may be found in all the editions of his works, and would make of themselves rather a large volume. But we have printed a Note on the re-coinage of 1696-99; and have given tables which exhibit in a brief space the various changes in the purity and weight of English and Scotch coins, from the Conquest down to 1717.

It would be an impertinence to direct the reader’s attention to the “Representations by Sir Isaac Newton,” which follow Lowndes’ tract. Sir Isaac was then Master of the Mint, and in this capacity he was called upon to advise government in regard to the rating of the coins in Ireland, and the exportation of the new silver coins Edition: current; Page: [xi] from England. Nothing can be clearer or more conclusive than his statements. The disorders which were at the time incident to the coins of both countries, were, to some extent, similar, and sprang in a considerable degree from the same causes. In England the silver coins of the great recoinage of 1696-99, had no sooner been issued than they began to be melted down and exported; and the inconveniencies thence arising forced themselves, in no long time, on the public attention. On Newton being consulted, he saw at once that the exportation complained of resulted from the over-valuation of the guinea, which passed current for 21s. 6d. Having inquired into the comparative values of gold and silver, he suggested that the value of the guinea should be reduced to 21s. or 20s. 8d.; and pursuant to this advice, the guinea was made legal tender in 1717 for 21s. But despite this reduction, it still continued to be over-valued; and it consequently became in practice the only legal tender, while all silver coins of the standard weight and purity were either melted down or exported.*

The next tract, “Observations on Coin in general, with some Proposals for regulating the Value of Coin in Ireland,” was published at Dublin in 1729. It is by the author of the “List of Absentees from Ireland,” that is by Thomas Prior, Esq., of Rathdowney, a genuine patriot, the friend and correspondent of Bishop Berkeley and the Earl of Chesterfield. The “List of Absentees,” which was long looked upon as of standard authority, is valuable Edition: current; Page: [xii] for the information which it gives with respect to the number of absentees, the value of their estates, and so forth. But, while the reasoning in regard to the injurious influence of absentee expenditure is as fallacious as can well be imagined, it tended, by fostering and perpetuating popular prejudices on the subject, and fixing the public attention on an imaginary grievance, to withdraw it from the real causes of the poverty and barbarism of the Irish. The tract here reprinted is of a very different character, and is, speaking generally, correct in its statements and sound in its principles. With the exception, indeed, of Mr. Simon’s “Treatise on Irish Coins” (4to. Dublin, 1749), it is the most valuable work on the coins of Ireland that had appeared down to a recent period.

We come now to one of the best and most valuable treatises on the subject of money that has ever seen the light, the “Essay on Money and Coins,” in two parts, which respectively appeared in 1757 and 1758. Though anonymous, it is known to be the work of Joseph Harris, Esq., then Assay-master of the mint. It is clearly and forcibly written. And, in addition to an exposition of the circumstances which determine the value of coins and the course of exchange, it contains some good illustrations of the influence of commerce and of the division of labour in furthering the increase of wealth. Part II. is principally occupied with an investigation and refutation of the various statements that have been from time to time put forward in vindication or excuse of a degradation of the standard; and all who read this convincing and masterly exposition, will be inclined to sympathise with the author, Edition: current; Page: [xiii] when he says that, “Whatever may be the fate of future times, and whatever the exigencies of affairs may require, it is to be hoped that that most awkward, clandestine, and most direful method of cancelling debts, by debasing the standard of money, will be the last that shall be thought of.” (See post. pp. 502, 503.)

But though there be no longer much to fear from any attempt being made to disturb the measure of value by tampering with the coins, we must not fancy that there is in this respect any material improvement in the morality of statesmen, or of the public. What was formerly done by degrading the standard of coins, is now done with greater facility, and to an inconceivably greater extent, by making that paper legal tender which has ceased to be exchangeable for the coins it professes to represent. This though a less direct, is a more dangerous and disgraceful species of fraud. A degradation of the standard is an open and avowed act of injustice, of which the extent and limits are defined and known to every one; but none can tell how far the depreciation of paper may be carried. It has frequently, indeed, arrived at such an excess, as to appear almost incredible. In France, for example, after the explosion of the Mississippi Scheme, and again, after the country had been deluged with assignats, a man might have died of want, with notes of the nominal value of 100,000 frs. or 1,000,000 frs. in his pocket! Even in this country, we have had, and at no distant period, ample experience of the baleful influence of the over-issue, and consequent depreciation, of paper. This, in truth, is one of the sins which most easily beset us; Edition: current; Page: [xiv] and there is none that should be more vigilantly guarded against. Instead of weakening in any degree the obstacles that stand in the way of a more copious supply of paper, they should be carefully maintained and strengthened. Its depreciation necessarily subverts every existing contract and engagement. And while it produces universal confusion and insecurity, it enriches certain classes who have no peculiar merits, at the expense and by the spoliation of others quite as deserving, and as well entitled to that protection against injustice which it is the bounden duty of every government to afford to every portion of its subjects.

The short treatise, entitled “Reflections on Coin in general, on the Coins of Gold and Silver in Great Britain in particular, &c.,” was published in 1762. It contains a singularly clear and neat summary of the principles that should be kept in view in the issue of coins. It also shows the cause, arising from the over-valuation of gold as compared with silver, why coins of the latter of full weight were sent to the melting pot and exported. It further shows the advantage of using only one metal, and that the most precious for the standard of the currency; and of employing paper as a substitute for gold.*

The last treatise in this volume, “An Inquiry into the Value of the Ancient Greek and Roman Money,” by Edition: current; Page: [xv] Matthew Raper, Esq., F.R.S.,* was printed in the Philosophical Transactions for 1771. It is a work of the highest excellence, and in its own line is probably unrivalled. But notwithstanding their importance, inquiries into the values of the monies, weights, and measures of the Ancients, were for a lengthened period but little attended to in this country. And, owing partly to this circumstance, and partly to its being buried in the vast mass of the Royal Society’s papers, this Treatise was almost entirely lost sight of, and its existence generally ignored. Latterly, however, these inquiries have begun to command some portion of the attention to which they are eminently entitled; and Raper’s Tract has in consequence been brought to the knowledge of the public, and elicited the most honourable mention. In his valuable Essay, on the monies, weights, and measures of the Greeks and Romans (8vo. Oxford, 1836), Mr. Hussey refers to it as follows:—“In 1771, his (Raper’s) Essay appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society; a work of which it is not too much to say, that it is the best attempt yet made to combine a general view of the money of the Greeks and Romans in their best times, with an accurate statement of the proofs on which the system rests.” (Introduction p. 8.) And Mr. Smith, the learned author of the excellent articles, on weights, measures, &c., in Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, does not hesitate to Edition: current; Page: [xvi] call Raper, “the best of all writers on metrology.” Nothing that we could say could add to the weight of these recommendations; and we beg to congratulate the reader, on his being at length supplied with this admirable Essay in an accessible and commodious shape.

To complete the work, we have added from Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, tables showing the denominations and values of the principal Greek and Roman Coins.

Edition: current; Page: [xvii]


  • I. A Discourse of Coin and Coinage; the first Invention, Use, Matter, Forms, Proportions and Differences, ancient and modern: with the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Rise or Fall thereof, in our own or Neighbouring Nations: and the Reasons. Together with a short Account of our Common Law therein. By Rice Vaughan, late of Grayes-Inn, Esq. 1
  • II. A Speech made by Sir Robert Cotton, Kt. and Bart., before the Lords of His Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council, at the Council-Table; being thither called to deliver his Opinion touching the Alteration of Coin. Sept. 2. Annoque Regni Regis CAROLI I. 1626 . . . . . . . . 121
  • III. Advice of His Majesty’s Council of Trade, concerning the Exportation of Gold and Silver, in Foreign Coins and Bullion. Concluded 11th December, 1660 . . . . . . 143
  • IV. Sir William Petty, his Quantulumcunque concerning Money. To the Lord Marquess of Halyfax. Anno. 1682 . . . . . . . 155
  • V. A Report Containing an Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins. . . . . 169
  • VI. Note on the Re-Coinage of 1696-99 . . . 259
  • VII. Representations of Sir Isaac Newton on the Subject of Money, 1712-1717 . . . 267Edition: current; Page: [xviii]
  • VIII. Tables Illustrative of the Successive Changes in the Standard, in the Weight of the Coins, and in the Relative Values of Gold and Silver in England, from the Conquest down to 1717. . 281
  • IX. Note on Scotch Money with Tables; showing the Successive Changes in the Standard, in the Weight of the Coins, and in the Relative Values of Gold and Silver, from 1107 to 1707, when Scotland ceased to have a peculiar coinage. . . . . . . . 285
  • X. Observations on Coin in General. With some Proposals for Regulating the Value of Coin in Ireland. By the Author of the List of the Absentees of Ireland . . . . . 291
  • XI. An Essay upon Money and Coins. Part I. The Theories of Commerce, Money, and Exchanges. 339
  • XII. An Essay upon Money and Coins. Part II. Wherein is shewed, that the Established Standard of Money should not be violated or altered, under any pretence whatsoever. . . . 431
  • XIII. Reflections on Coin in General, on the Coins of Gold and Silver in Great Britain in particular; on those Metals as Merchandize, and also on Paper passing as Money . . . 513
  • XIV. An Inquiry into the Value of the Ancient Greek and Roman Money. By Matthew Raper, Esq., F.R.S. From the “Philosophical Transactions,” Vol. LXI., for 1771 . . . 525
  • XV. Tables showing the Denominations of the principal Greek and Roman Coins, and their Values in Sterling Money . . . . . . 585
  • Index . . . . . . . . . 595
Edition: current; Page: [3]







The first Invention, Use,

Matter, Forms, Proportions and

Differences, ancient & modern: with

the Advantages and Disadvantages

of the Rise or Fall thereof, in

our own or Neighbouring

Nations: and the Reasons.

Together with a short Account of our Common

Law therein.

By Rice Vaughan, late of Grayes-Inn, Esq;

London, Printed by Th. Dawks, for Th. Basset,

at the George, near Cliffords-Inn, in Fleetstreet.


Edition: current; Page: [4]

TO The Right Honourable HENRY
Earl of Clarendon, Viscount Cornbury, and Baron Hide of Hindon; Lord Chamberlain to the Queens most excellent Majesty.

Most noble Lord,

IT being become a thing so usual in this most scribling Age, (nam scripturire quam parturire mallet hoc sæculum) to crave shelter under the Wings of some renowned Person, from the severity of Censurers; without which, Learning shall scarcely have Admittance: and this piece though not my own, yet coming to my hands amongst other manuscripts of a Gentleman of Grayes Inn, lately deceased; (and very near related to me) whose Genius, I may safely say, was not a little curious in the search of other knowledge than the Law, (to which he served five Apprenticeships.) And humbly conceiving nothing could more seasonably appear in View Edition: current; Page: [5] for the better instructing our worthy Countrymen in the knowledge of a thing whose want is so generally complained of, yet the Invention, Use, and Species with their Advantages scarce truly understood; I presumed through that true knowledge of your Lordships Person, and most zealous Honour of your greatly to be admired Endowments, with your Love to Learning, which the most plebeian ears and eyes were not ignorant of, to recommend unto your Lordships hand this Treatise, in a more ample and different manner than that lately published out of the Mss. of the never to be forgotten Earl of Sandwich, shewing the first Invention, Use, Matter, Forms, Proportions, and Differences, Ancient and Modern of that Coy Lady Pecunia, with the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Rise or Fall thereof in our own and neighbouring Nations; and the Reasons Pro and Con, with other things in the other piece not contained. And here I cannot, without great unworthiness, be silent in the due praises of his most Excellent Majesty that now is, who with abundance of Royal Care and Wisdom, with no small charge, hath set forth a Coin in Form, Shape, Goodness and Beauty, not second to any used in the World, in Common Commerce, and so uneasy to be patterned or imbellished, a thing of no small consequence in Commonwealths. Herewith you have a short account Edition: current; Page: [6] of our Books of Law; as also Tables of the value of all sorts of Pearls, Diamonds, Gold, Silver, and other Mettalls.* I shall not undertake to say, but that in the Tables of values, in these mutable times, some variation may happen, to the common practice of Artists, in that nature, whose private unmeasurable Ends are, to some more their Gods than Justice or Honesty their Practise: but the Grounds being herein plainly stated; a pregnant wit, with a little Commerce, may soon rectify those diary Deceits, and for the other part, whose Theory perhaps in some places, may be thought too much to reflect on the too often practised Abuses of the Gold-Smiths in that Nature; I hope all but themselves will readily grant me Pardon for the Publishing, and they being but a few, and Justice on our side, the Authors Bones I trust will not disturb, nor I much suffer by the selfish Censures of a People so obstinately unreasonable. My Lord, I shall now only beg pardon for this presumption, in hopes of success, till time give opportunity to testify how much I am

My Lord,
truly devoted to your Lordships service,
and your Admirer,
Edition: current; Page: [7]

The Contents of the Chapters.

  • Chap. I. Of the First Invention and Use of Money . fol. 9
  • Chap. II. Of the Matter of Money . . . . 11
  • Chap. III. Of the Forms of the Money anciently, and now in use . . . . . . . . 14
  • Chap. IV. Of the Proportions held between Gold and Silver, Antient and Modern . . . . . 18
  • Chap. V. Of the raising of the Price of Money both of Silver and Gold . . . . . . . 23
  • Chap. VI. Of Base Money . . . . . 30
  • Chap. VII. Of the Inconveniences in general grown in the matter of Money . . . . . . 35
  • Chap. VIII. Of the low Price of our Silver . . 41
  • Chap. IX. Of the Prohibition of Forrein Moneys, especially Spanish . . . . . . . 47
  • Chap. X. Of the unequal Coinage of our Moneys . 51
  • Chap. XI. Of the great increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them; by which there is grown a greater want of Money in England than was in Antient times, and of the Causes thereof, and of the Remedies which may be applied . 56
  • Chap. XII. Of the raising of the Price of Moneys by our Neighbours, and the defect of our not raising of our Moneys accordingly . . . . . 73
  • Chap. XIII. Of the Benefits which do grow unto the State by the raising of Moneys, and the Prejudices which do grow by not raising of it . . . . 74
  • Chap. XIV. The Benefits which do grow to the State by the not raising of Money, and the Prejudices which do grow by the Raising of it . . . . 77
  • Chap. XV. Examinations of the Reasons for the raising of Money . . . . . . . . 81Edition: current; Page: [8]
  • Chap. XVI. Examinations of the Reasons for the not raising of Money . . . . . . . 85
  • Chap. XVII. Of Contracting with forrein Nations by Ambassadors to keep their Moneys at a certain standard . . . . . . . . . 88
  • Chap. XVIII. Of the Ordaining of solid Payments . 90
  • Chap. XIX. Of equalizing the Exchange . . . 94
  • Chap. XX. Of Reducing Moneys to the Lowness of ancient Values . . . . . . . 97
  • Chap. XXI. Of raising our Moneys according to the raising of our Neighbours . . . . . 102
  • Chap. XXII. Of introducing two different Species of Money . . . . . . . . . 105
  • Chap. XXIII. Of Coining of Moneys without Distinction of Weights . . . . . . . 108
Edition: current; Page: [9]

Of the First Invention AND USE of MONEY.


THe first Invention of Money was for a Pledge and instead of a Surety, for when men did live by Exchange of their Wants and Superfluities, both parties could not always fit one another at the present; in which case the Corruptions of Man’s Nature did quickly grow to make it behooful, that the party receiving should leave somewhat worthy to be esteemed for a Pledge, to supply the givers want upon the like occasion: Time did easily find out that this Pledge should be something not too common, not easy to be consumed with use, or spoiled for want of use, and this was Money.

The first use of Money was then by it to supply every man’s particular wants. This introduced a second use of Cauponation, when men did by the Pledge of Moneys procure not only those things which they themselves wanted, but which they might sell to others for more money: and under that kind is all Trades comprehended, whether it be grose sale, or retale; and this use hath brought in a third use of Money, for the gain of cauponation did give a Colour to those that lent Money to such Edition: current; Page: [10] as did encrease it by Trade, to take usury for it, which is therefore termed the most unnatural use of Money, because it is most remote from the natural Institution. Of this there are many kinds of which the most refined is that of Exchange, which is mix’d with an usury of place, as that is of time.

Thus did Money grow inseperably necessary to all Exchange, to make the things exchanged equal in value, for that all exchange is either by the actual or intellectual valuation of Money; that is to say, Either the thing is exchanged for Money, or if it be exchanged for another thing, the measure of that exchange is how much Money either of the things exchanged is conceived to be worth; and Practice hath found out that in values, which the Geometricians have found out in quantities, that two lines which are equal to a third line, are equal to one another: So is money a third line, by which all things are made equal in value, and therefore it is not ill compared to the Materia Prima, because, though it serves actually to no use almost, it serves potentially to all uses. It is not impertinent to examine these things from their ground in nature, or in use: For intending to treat by what meanes the course of money may best be governed to the advantage of the Common-Wealth, (a matter of so curious and subtil a search as the most solid understandings are dazled with it) it is necessary, first to lay down the first and plainest principles of the Subject, by which the understanding of the Writer and the Reader may be guided in the Labyrinths ensuing; and this subject being much obscured, not only by the intricasie of its own nature, but by the Art and Terms of those who do manage these affairs, I do intend to lay open all the mysteries to the comprehension of the attentive Reader. And for that purpose, I intend first Historically, to set down by what Degrees, and upon what Reasons the forms of Money and of Coinage, now practised are grown into use, and without Edition: current; Page: [11] any censure or observation upon them: and I will afterwards treat a part of the inconveniences grown into this Subject of Money, and of the Remedies that may be applied thereunto.

CHAP. II.: Of the Matter of Money.

OF all things whereof Money could be made, there was nothing so fit as Metalls, as Copper, Silver, but above all, Gold; for they are first useful, which doth give them a value, then they are not over common, which doth increase it; they may be divided into as little parts as you will, and then returned into a greater mass: they are susceptible of any form, mark or impression to be made and fit to conceive it; they are of an exceeding long indurance against the Injuries of time or accident, they are hardly subject to any natural corruption, especially Gold, of the continuitie and incorruptableness whereof the Alchimists, who have most vexed that body, do write wonders; so as one affirmeth, That it is harder to destroy Gold than to make it; and they have sundry other properties accomodating them for the matter of Money; as the world hath by a general consent, and from all times received them for that purpose, especially Gold and Silver, of which chiefly I mean to treat: It is true that many particular Countries, have antiently, and do at this day use other things in stead of Money: (as to instance in some of the modern) in Æthiopia they use certain stones of Salt in stead of Money; in Guinney, Shells; in New Spain, Cacao, Coco in Peru, one of which is a fruit, the other an herb: but in all these Countries you shall find that there is a certain value set upon Gold and Silver, by which chiefly the value of all other things is raised, and that these other things do but serve as base Money doth in sundry Countries of Europe, where it is current in certain limits, by Edition: current; Page: [12] the Law or Custom of the Place; but yet they cannot be without Gold and Silver Money, unless they will barr themselves from all commerce with other Nations: And to that purpose the Invention of Licurgus was admirable, who desiring to lock up his Citizens from all commerce with other nations, did upon great penalties banish all Gold and Silver out of the City; and as long as that Prohibition was observed, the manners and Customs of the City were preserved entire from the mixture of other Nations: but when their ambition and voluptuousness had entangled them in the Commerce of other Nations, then did Gold and Silver grow into use in despite of all Laws, by this universal value given unto Gold and Silver. I shall convince* hereafter an important and a popular Error, by which many are perswaded, that Princes can give what value they list to Gold and Silver, by enhansing and letting fall their Coins, when as in truth Gold and Silver will retain the same proportion towards other things, which are valued by them, which the general consent of other Nations doth give unto them, if there be a Trade and Commerce with other Nations: By which intercourse it comes to pass, that if the price of Gold and Silver be raised, the price of all Commodities is raised according to the raising of Gold and Silver; so as let any particular Prince or State raise the price of Gold and Silver as they list, yet they will still hold the same proportion towards other things valued by them, which the general consent of other Nations neer about them doth give unto them: and this universal value of Gold and Silver, the mint, even in money, do call Intrinsical, and the local value they call Extrinsical, as depending upon impression of the mark and ordinance of the State. Now Money is said to have an Intrinsical value so much as there is Gold & Silver in it in fineness & weight, which Edition: current; Page: [13] is computed in France (and was antiently likewise the Computation in England.) first for Gold, it is divided into 24 parts, which are called Carrats, and so when they say, the Gold is 23 Carrats fine, then it is understood there is a 24th part base, which is Allay mingled with Gold; or if they say, it is 22 Carrats fine, then there is a 12th part of Allay: or if they say 22 Carrats and one quarter fine, then there is so much Allay as there wants to make up 24 parts.

Silver is divided into 12 Deniers, and every Denier into 24 grains; as if it be said, that Silver is jj Deniers and 12 grains fine, then there is 12 grains of allay, which is a 24th part; or if it be said to be jj Deniers and 6 grains fine, there is then so much allay as it wants in the fineness to make it 12 deniers: But with us in England, ever since the time of Edward the third, the Computation hath been dividing the Gold into 24 carrats, and every carrat into a 4 grains, and every grain into so many parts as there is occasion offered to divide it; as for Example, The antient Standard of the sterling* Gold was 23 Carrats, 3 grains, and one half of fine, and half a grain of Allay, which is the 192nd part; and the Silver is divided in England into 12 Ounces; every Ounce into 20 Pence, every Penny into 24 grains; as for Example, The old sterling standard is jj Ounces fine, and two Penny weight, then there remains eighteen Penny weight of Allay and, if there were jj Ounces two Penny weight, and 6 grains fine, then there would remain 17 Penny weight, and 10 grains of Allay: and again, when mention is made of a Pound of Silver fine, Edition: current; Page: [14] and Gold fine, the meaning is so much Gold or Silver pure, is a pound weight, besides the Allay which is mingled with it, but a pound of Gold or Silver wrought, is but just a pound weight as it is wrought either in Money or in Plate. The Alley being mingled with it according to the ordinance of the State, for the practise is now, almost in all States, to set a price upon Silver and Gold, according to the weight and fineness, above which price Gold-Smiths or others who trade in those metals wrought in Money, may not sell them; which price is in certain proportion underneath the value which is given to the same metals wrought in Money; the over-value allowed to the Money, being so much advantage given to the State in recompence of the charge of Coynage, and in Acknowledgment of the Soveraignty, which hath with it likewise this necessary use, that it makes the Money so much the less valuable to him that either would transport it into forrein parts, or melt it, and consequently retaineth the Money so much the better within its proper limits and natural form.

CHAP. III.: Of the Forms of the Money anciently and now in use.

IT follows in the next place to be Considered, by what degrees Gold and Silver came into these forms of Money, which are now in use. And for that purpose it is most manifest that the most proper measure in nature for mettals is weight; and the notice of Antiquity doth confirm it that it was so in practice; for when the use of money hath excited the industry of men to search for these rich metals and by study and practice to discover their natures, it was easily found out that there was no measure so fit to them as weight: But it was speedily found out and discovered that weight alone was not a Edition: current; Page: [15] sufficient measure for them, by reason that they are subject to mixture, and therefore there was an examination made of the pureness of them, and a mark impressed upon them to shew that they were approved; which was of no other nature, but as the Assaymaster in the West Indies doth mark the wedges of Silver to shew that they were approved of such a fineness, and as the Corporation of Gold-smiths in London, and other Cities, do mark the Bullion which is melted as a Testimony of fineness, but not to make it Current at any price, because the mark hath no relation to the weight but onely the fineness. The most ancient and most undoubted Testimonies whereof are in Scripture: as that of Abraham, when he had bought the field of Ephron for the burial of Sarah, for which it is not said that he paid, but weighed four hundred shekels of silver, approved among Merchants; which denoteth the fineness. And it is said that the sons of Jacob brought back their Silver in the same weight that they carried into Egypt; and Tobit lent unto Gabael the weight of ten Talents: By which it is manifest they did not count their Moneys in pieces, as they did in succeeding Ages, or by imaginary, or abstracted sums, as we do make their valuation, but by weight, the fineness only is approved of by the mark. It were tedious to search the proofs of Antiquity in this kind, but it is manifest that almost all the Names of Moneys, both among the Hebrews and Greeks, were not properly the names of any species of Money, but of several sorts of weight. As of Sicle, Mina, Talent and Drachma; so likewise the Original Moneys, both of the Romans, the Francks, and of the Monarchy of England, were the As, the Livre, the Pound and the Mark; and amongst the Romans, the ancient Receivers were not called numeratores, but libripendes; the names of Moneys being originally only the proportions of weight, and the mark serving only for a proof of the pureness of the Metal: There did succeed Edition: current; Page: [16] a form of Money, wherein the impression did not only signify the fineness, but the weight also. This among the Romans was called moneta, from whence our name of Money is derived a Monendo: it is attributed to Servius Tullius, to have bin the first in Rome, to have stamped with an Impression a certain piece of Money which was called As (as being of Copper, and weighing a pound weight) and that he coyned lesser parts, distinguished by ounces: it was long after in the Consulat of Quintus Fabius, that the first Silver coin was made, called Denarius, because it was valued at ten As, and at the same time were made half and quarters of the Denarii, called Sestertii, marked LLs, to signifie duas libras cum semisse. The first Denarii were made of Sextula or six in the ounce: it was above threescore years after ’ere any Gold was coined, the first pieces were of such a weight as 40 made a pound: which Example of the Roman Coins, I do not alledge as the first, for it is manifest, that both the Median, Persian and Grecian states did use Coins, which by their Impression did signify both the weight and fineness; but because they were the first, whereof I have any certain relation, and upon whose ground all these parts of the World have formed their Coins and made their divisions of weight. It doth not appear what Allay was mingled or what Tribute was charged in the first Roman moneys of Gold and Silver; by which word of Tribute, I do understand whatever was substracted out of the Intrinsical value of the Money, and allowed to it as an over-value towards the charge of Coinage, or right of Soveraignty, rated by the State, or what remedies were allowed for their weight and fineness; only it appeareth by their medals that they were cast in a mold. But after ages did grow to stamp their Coins finding how useful it was to have lesser coins than could well be cast in a mould, and also to avoid counterfeiting, which is with more difficulty in Coins stamped: and because it was hard to observe an exact Edition: current; Page: [17] proportion of weight, there was a certain remedy of grains, beyond which, if the pieces of Coin did not fail of their just weight, they were to be received of Officers appointed, otherwise they were rejected to be new coyned. There was a Remedy of fineness, for when Allay grew to be mingled in the Coins, the workmen could not constantly and precisely hit upon the mixture, and therefore had allowed them a certain proportion for Remedy, which if they did not exceed, their work was not subject to censure. This Allowance of Remedy hath been of two sorts, for when States would Coin their Money strong and rich in value, they did not give any allowance to any pieces of Coin under the just weight and fineness: but if they were of a just weight and fineness, not exceeding the grains of Remedy, then they were allowed; so as in this case, the Coins were upon accompt to be recompence for so much as the over-put in the Money, being within the remedy permitted, and this they call in French Battre le fort. But all States rather inclining to make their Moneys weak than strong, there is in these latter Ages another way practised, which is more general; that is, that Coins are not made one jot above the just proportion of weight and fineness, but (notwithstanding) the fail of either, so as it be no more than the grains of remedy, they are allowed as compleat: and by this means, upon Accompt, the Coiners are to make recompence to the State of so much as is short in their Coins, of the just weight and fineness, being within the permission of their remedy, which in French they call Battre Sur le foible. This is as much as I hold fit to be spoken of the Antient and Modern forms; Except I should discourse of the Inscriptions or Characters, or of the Figures of Money, which in some times and places, have been long, oval, or square, and are now almost everywhere round, which to the searchers of Antiquity might prove grateful, but to my purpose would be of no use.

Edition: current; Page: [18]

CHAP. IV.: Of the Proportions held between Gold and Silver, Antient and Modern.

USE and Delight, or the opinion of them, are the true causes why all things have a Value and Price set upon them, but the Proportion of that value and price is wholy governed by Rarity and Abundance: And therefore the Proportion of value between Gold and Silver must needs differ in several Times and Places, according to the scarcity or abundance of those Mettals. There is much Variety amongst Authors what Proportions Gold and Silver held to one another amongst the Hebrews, not out of the Difference of Times, but out of the Difference of Interpretations; for Bodine doth alledge the same places to prove that the Proportion was twenty five for one, which other Authors do alledge to prove it to have been 45 for one; and others 10 for one. There is a Passage in Thalia, of Herodotus, (§ 95) by which it appears, that Thirteen Talents of Silver were valued at one of Gold in the Revenues of Darius. And there is an Opinion received, That in the time of the flourishing of the Grecian Common-wealths, those Mettals were in the Proportion of twelve to one. It is also reported in Pliny, (without mentioning any certain time). That antiently the Romans did value a scruple of Gold at twenty Sestertii of Silver, which, if it were when the Sestertii were at the greatest weight, made the Proportion of twenty for one: and if it were when they were at their least weight, it made the Proportion of fifteen for one. But there is a clear Passage, in the 8th Book (§ 11) of the 4th Decade of Livy, of an Accord between the Romans and Ætolians, that the Ætolians might pay, instead of every Talent of Gold, ten Talents of Silver; and (in Suetonius) it is said, that Cæsar, at his coming out of Gallia brought such a quantity of Gold, that the Proportion betwixt Gold and Silver abated to seven and Edition: current; Page: [19] one half of Silver to one of Gold:* the abatement had not been credible, if the Proportion of Pliny had been twenty for one, or fifteen for one. But to come to later times, and to our Neighbours, which have therefore a more near Relation to us, both in time and place.

The proportion in France, in the time of King John, who was contemporant with Edward the Third, was 11 for one: and in the time of Charles the Fifth, who succeeded next to him, it was 11 and almost 12 for one. And ever since the Proportion has been held between 11 and 12 for one. But by the Edict of this French King now reigning, December 1614, the mark of Gold fine is valued at 27l. 16s. 7d. the mark of Silver called Argent le Roy, is valued at 14s. 6d. and almost one half penny. But adding a 24th part to the two, to make it fine, which the Silver called Argent le Roy doth want of fineness, the proportion will arise into 13, wanting about a seventh part to one of Gold. In Germany about the year 1610, the Proportion held 13 for one, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less; though antiently the Proportion was eleven for one. The Proportion in Spain hath a long time remained near about twelve for one. The Proportion in the United Provinces, by the Placcard 1622. (which is yet in force) is about 12 and two thirds fine silver, to one of Gold. But before I come to set the Proportions that have been held in this Kingdom of England I shall first set down, How I do inquire and resolve of the said Proportions, to the end I may satisfy such whose Curiosity may carry them to examine the truth of the said Proportions.

I do first examine by the Records of the several times, how much the Gold, then coined in work, is valued at, then I do examine what proportion of Allay is mixed in Edition: current; Page: [20] the said Gold coined in work, and add to the same the said proportion of Allay, as if it were fine Gold, and so make up a full pound of fine Gold; and do just in the same manner, value the full pound of fine Silver and then calculate what proportion is between the value of the pound of fine Gold and the value of the pound of fine Silver. To which examination, I cannot conceive what can be objected other than this, That the remedies which are allowed, being different in the Gold from the Silver, and different in themselves, in different times, must needs breed an errour in this Calculation. But to that objection I answer, that the remedies do make so small a difference that it is not considerable; and besides it were impossible to consider the remedies in this Calculation, because they are casual in the work and are supposed to fall out sometimes as well beyond the just standard as deficient: And from all Antiquity it is provided in the Indentures, that the remedies shall be allowed, if the defects appear to be casual and not voluntary. The Truth is, that they were an invention by which the Masters of the Mint made their advantage under colour of Contingency of the work, which appears to have bin first apprehended by King Henry the VII. who in the first year of his reign made the Masters of the Mint accountable to himself for so much of the remedie as was found deficient from the standard. The first clear record that I can find for the values of our Moneys, is in the eighteenth year of Edward III. and then a full pound of fine Gold was valued at 11l. of fine Silver, and eight pence over: From that time to the 25th of Edward III. there was some variety in the Moneys, but not worth the mention. But in the 25th a full pound of fine Gold was valued at 11l. of fine Silver, and 3s. 2d. over; and so it remained all Edward III. time, and all Richard II. time, and until the 13 of Henry IV; at which time both Gold and Silver were raised by advice in Parliament, Edition: current; Page: [21] upon complaint that by reason of the low prices of Gold and Silver, the Money of the Realm was exhausted. And by that Ordinance a pound of fine Gold was valued at ten pounds of fine Silver and almost one half, and so it remained all his time, and all Henry V. time, and until the 49 of Henry VI. time, and then the Gold and Silver was again raised, and a pound of Gold fine was valued at 11l. of fine Silver and 6s. over. In the fourth of Edward IV. the Gold was abased in value, and the Silver left at the same price; by which means a pound of fine Gold was valued at ten pound of fine Silver, and 6s. 7d. over. But in the 8 of Edward IV. the Gold was again raised to the former price, as it was in the 49 of Hen. VI. and so the proportion remained just the same both all Edward IV time, and Henry VII. time, and the beginning of Henry VIII. time: In 18 of Henry VIII. there were Letters Patent granted to the Cardinal of York and to such of the King’s Council, as he should call unto him, authorizing them to give such Directions, as they should think meet, for the alteration both of the standard and values of the Kings Moneys, and a Commission was accordingly issued to the Officers of the Mint to pursue the said Directions; the Colour whereof was, That the Moneys of the Realm were transported secretly by reason of the excessive raising of Moneys in France, and in the Low-Countries, and that the King, having sent unto other Princes, could obtain no redress for the raising of their Coyns: Upon this Commission did arise great confusions in the prices and standards of the Moneys; which, with certainty I cannot trace any further, because the matter passing by private direction, there are no publick Records extant of them. In the third of Edward VI. a Commission was granted to coin Gold at 22 Carrats fine, of the value of 34l. the pound: and Silver of 8 ounces fine, of the value of 4l. 16s. the Pound. whereby a pound of Gold fine was valued at 37l. and almost 2s. and a pound Edition: current; Page: [22] of Silver fine was valued as 7l. 4s. and by that rate, a pound of fine Gold was as five pound of fine Silver and 22s. over: which could not so fall out but through the excessive gain which the King did make upon the Silver more than on the Gold: and it seems that the proportion was much other between the Merchants in Bullion, for neer about the same time the King gave Commission to buy Gold for the Mint of 24 Carrats fine, at 58s. the ounce; and Silver of 12 ounces finc 5s. 4d. which is almost jj for one. These confusions did still remain all King Edward and Queen Maries Reigns, but in 14 of Queen Elizabeth the antient sterling standard both of Gold and Silver was renewed, and a pound of Gold fine valued at 11l. of fine Silver, and 7s. 10d. over: In the 24th of Elizabeth the standard of Gold was abased one quarter of a grain, and of Silver one pennyweight, but the proportion between two metals near upon the same point: And although in these times the Crown Gold was coined upon another standard, yet the proportion in the Intrinsical value was kept the same. In secundo Jacobi, the proportion was 12 for one; but every 20s. being afterwards by Proclamation raised to 22s; one pound of fine Gold of 24 carrats, is valued at 13l. of fine Silver of 12 ounces fine and one fifth over.

And these are the Antient and Modern proportions of Gold and Silver to one another in price, as punctually and authentically as by diligent search I could gather them. There is yet another proportion between mettals, which is not unnecessary to our purpose to be understood, which although I have not by mine own trial examined, yet having taken it from good Authors, I will not omit; and that is a natural and a constant proportion which mettals do hold differently to one another in weight in the same value and superficies: which is, that Gold weighs 48 parts, Quick Silver 27 parts, Silver 24 parts, Lead 22 parts, Tinn, Iron, Coper, 15 parts; which different proportion Edition: current; Page: [23] of weight was the ground of that Conclusion of Archymedes whereby he found out how much Silver the workmen of Hiero put into his Crown of Gold; and which is likewise the ground of many other subtil Conclusions, which have bin found out for the deprehension of mettals, and other mechanical works; and by this proportion those of China do examine the fineness of the Gold which is current amongst them, who by constant Relation, being said to be most subtile and exact in mechanical trials of mettals, have not the Gold which is current amongst them coined, but reduced into powder, which they do pass to one another in their commerce by weight, and do easily deprchend if there be mixture of Allay amongst it by measuring the powder, and then tempering the weight and measure together.

CHAP. V.: Of the raising of the Price of Money both of Silver and Gold.

IT is to be understood that there are three ways of raising the price of Moneys either Gold or Silver: The first is without alteration of the Species of the Money, by encreasing the value of it, by giving more parts to it than originally it had, as by ordaining an Angel or a Soveraign to be valued at eleven shillings, which was coined for ten, or a shilling to be valued at fourteen pence. The second way is by diminishing the matter, but leaving the same name and value to the Money which it had before, as if Shillings or Angels, or Soveraigns were coined by the same name and value as before, but were diminished so many grains in weight: or, if new names were given to them and the same value retained, but the weight diminished; for in this case, there being really less Gold and Silver in weight in the piece than there was before and the value remaining the same, the Silver and Edition: current; Page: [24] Gold which remains hath a higher price set upon it. The third is when the value remaining the same of the species of Money, and the weight of the same, the fineness is abased by putting more Allay into it, for then there is really less Gold and Silver in fineness.

There are two causes of the raising of Money: the first and most antient cause of raising Money, was a gain which the State made of it in their Necessities, which hath not often been practised in this Kingdom. But the second and most frequent cause hath been, an Art which States have used to rob one another of their Money, by setting on higher prices upon it; so that some States being induced, by an unjust device, to draw to themselves the Money of their Neighbours, and others by a necessity to keep their own. All these parts of the world, for some few hundreds of years, have done nothing but vye one upon another who shall raise their Money highest, which hath brought great Confusion in all States; and doth threaten much greater, if it be not prevented.

But first to shew the Antiquity of the practice of raising of Monies we will begin with the Romans. The As, which was originally coyned of a pound weight, was, during the first Punick War for help of publick necessities, brought to 2 ounces, and all the lesser parts of the As, as ounces and others, were abated in proportion. During the Dictatorship of Fabius Maximus the As was brought to one ounce weight, and yet reduced again by Papirius to half an ounce. The Denarii of Silver were at first current for ten As, and the Sestertii, which were quarters of the Denarii, for two and a half as. But when the weight of the as was diminished to one ounce the denarius was made worth sixteen as, and the sestertius worth four as. They did likewise make sundry abasements (by means) of the Allay, whereof that of Livius Drusus was excessive, mixing an 8th part of Copper. And hereby the confusions grew so great, that Tullie in a passage Edition: current; Page: [25] of his Offices saith, Jactabatur enim Temporibus illis Nummus, sic ut nemo posset scire quid haberet (in pecunia); where-upon Marius Gratidianus, who being Triumvir monetæ cudendæ, brought in an exact Ordinance for the regulating of this Money, had Statues erected to him by the people.* The first gold pieces were coined of 40 pieces in the pound, and in the time of Justinian, the same pieces, called Solidi aurei, were 72 in the pound. After the great inundations of the Barbarous people into the Roman Empire, the Confusions in this subject of Money grew incredible.

Charles the Great, in whose time the Monarchy of the Francks grew to the Height, made a new Reglement of Moneys, which is the same that continues to this day in France, and is the same which we do now practice in England, for the division of Moneys, though for the Values of them the difference is grown exceeding great: For he renewed again the Account by Livres or Pounds, and divided the Pounds into twenty Solidi, which in France they call Sols, and we Shillings; The Solidus again into 12 Denarii, which in France they call Deniers, and we pence. But the values are grown so different as every of our Shillings, our Pounds, our Pence are valued at ten of theirs: and yet in intrinsical value are more. Many do hold that by the Institution of Charles the Great, twenty Sols contained in them a Pound of silver. But it is authentically to be proved, both by unquestionable Records, and by Pieces themselves, of which I have some extant, that many hundred of years after, in the time of St. Lewis, who was contemporary with our Henry the Third, that the Sols then contained in intrinsical value near six Sols of this present King, so much hath the Money since that time been raised in price, and abased in substance, which is the same. In the Reign of Philip the Second, in the year 1181, the French Mark of fine Gold, Edition: current; Page: [26] which makes almost 8 ounces of our Pound, was valued in the Moneys then at 44 livres, and the Mark of the King’s Silver was valued at 2 livres, 13 sols, and 4 deniers. And by the Edict of this present King, in the year 1614, the Mark of the same Gold was valued at 278 Livres, 6 Sols, 6 Deniers. And the Mark of the same silver was valued at 20 Livres, 5 Sols; so that in this time, the Gold hath been raised to six times, and almost the third part of the price which then it did bear; and the Silver hath been raised much above seven times the value which then it did bear.

I will not trouble the Reader to set down by what degrees this Price has grown to so great an height which have been very various, the Price having been sometimes excessively raised and sometimes sudainly reduced back again by the French Kings, and most commonly to make a Levy of Monies upon the People, which hath bred infinite Confusions, and sometimes Rebellions in that Kingdom.*

But I will now come to the Kingdom of England, where the raising of the Price hath been with a more constant hand, and, almost alwayes, out of a kind of Necessity to follow the raising of other States; yet, from time to time we shall not finde the Rates of the raising much to differ from those of France. But I cannot begin from so antient (a date) as in France; The first Record that I can find for this purpose being in the eighteenth year of Edward the Third, which was in the year of Grace about 1344. And then a pound of Gold of sterling Standard, which is 23 carrats, 3 grains, and one half fine, was valued at 13 pound 4s. 8d. and a pound of Silver of sterling Standard, at 22s. 2d. The 20th of Edward the Third, the pound of Gold of the same Standard was raised to 14 pound, and the pound of Silver to 22s. 6d. In the 27th Edition: current; Page: [27] of Edward the Third, the same Gold was raised to 15 pound, and the same Silver to 25s. the pound: the rest of the reign of Edward the Third, and during all the Reign of Richard the Second, and until the Thirteenth of Henry the Fourth, the same prices remained. And then by the Advice of the Parliament, to prevent Transportation, the same Gold was raised to 16 pound, 15s. and the same Silver to 30s. the pound; and this price remained all the rest of the reign of Henry the Fourth, and during all the Reign of Henry the Fifth, and until the 49th of Henry the Sixth; and then the same Gold was raised to 22l. 10s. and the same Silver to 37s. 6d. But in the fourth of Edward the Fourth, the price of the same Gold was brought back to 20 pound 16s. 8d. the Silver remaining as before. And in the eighth of Edward the Fourth, the Gold was again raised to the former price of 22l. 10s. the Silver still remaining at 37s. 6d. And this price remained all the rest of the Reign of Edward the Fourth, all the Reign of Richard the Third, all the Reign of Henry the Seventh, and all the beginning of Henry the Eight: But in 18th of Henry the Eight, a Commission issued forth for the Alteration of the Standard, and of the Prices of Moneys, according to the Directions to be given by the Cardinal of York, and such other of the King’s Council as he should call unto him: from whence issued so great a Confusion, both in the prices and Standard of the Moneys, as would prove very difficult to trace out, and tedious to read, as well for the Obscurity as for the great Variations, which succeeded: And therefore I pass over all the rest of his Reign, as also those of King Edward and Queen Mary, and until the fourteenth of Queen Elizabeth, when was again coined Gold and Silver of the antient sterling Standard, the Gold at 36l. the pound, and the Silver of the old Standard at 3l. the pound: and although there were at the same time and after much crown Gold coined, yet the intrinsical value of Edition: current; Page: [28] it was governed by (the weight and fineness of) the Angel of Gold: In the 25th and 26th of the Queen, she abased the standard of the Gold one quarter of a grain, and the standard of the Silver one penny weight, whereby the price of the Gold was raised one shilling 10 pence in the pound, and the price of Silver 3d. in the pound.* But in the second year of King James, the price of the Soveraign, in gold which is but 22 carats fine, was raised to 37 pound, 4 shill. being almost one eleventh part more; and by the Proclamation, by which every 20 shilling piece was made current for 22 shillings, the said Gold was yet raised another tenth part; so that the increase of the price of Gold has been such by the Degrees before specified, that every pound sterling, by reckoning of Gold-coin, and every part of a pound, as Marks, and Shillings, &c. in coin of Gold, did in the eighteenth of Edward the Third contain in intrinsical value (id est) in pure Gold, thrice as much and above a third part more than the same pound sterling in reckoning of Gold-coin, marks, shillings, &c. does at this day contain. And every pound sterling in reckoning of Silver-coin, and every part of a pound, as marks, shillings, &c. in Silver-coins did in the 18th year of Edward the third, contain in intrinsical value, (id est) in pure Silver, thrice as much, wanting about 1-6th part as the same pound sterling, in reckoning of Silver-coins, marks, shillings, &c. does at this day contain.§

There is yet another Proportion of Gold and Silver to be inquired into as necessary to be known; and peradventure Edition: current; Page: [29] more necessary than either of these: And that is to enquire what Proportion our Gold and Silver holds in Value, being in Bullion, as it is presented to the Mint by the Merchant, in Comparison of the near adjoyning Countries: For by this Proportion we shall discover the Reason why the Merchant Brings Gold into England rather than Silver, and Silver into Holland rather than Gold, or, why he carries both, or either of them, into one Country rather than into another. And for that purpose, I will first begin with England, and then compare it with some of the nearest neighbouring Countreys.

In England, where the Merchant for so much Gold fine of 24 carats, as makes a pound, Tower weight, doth receive 43l. 7s. 1d. according to the rate of the Mint, which is 41l. 5s. for a pound weight of Sterling Gold.

In France, according to the Edict of this King, Anno 1614, which is yet in force, the Merchant receiveth at this Mint for so much Gold of 24 Carats, as makes a pound of Tower weight, but 426 livres, 4 sols, so as receiving ten livres French for a pound sterling: the Merchants in England for the same Gold receive 14s. and about 9d. sterling, or 7 livres, and about 7 sols and one half French more at the Mint in England for the same quantity of Gold, than the Merchant doth receive at the Mint in France. Of Silver, the Merchant, at the Mint in England receives for so much fine Silver as makes a pound, Tower weight, 3l. 4s. 6d. the Merchant receives at the Mint in France, for the same quantity of fine Silver, 34 livres, 7 sols: so that the Merchant receives at the Mint in France, for the same quantity of Silver, 2 livres, and 2 sols French, or 4s. and almost 2d. half penny more than the Merchant receives at the Mint of England. This Account I do make reckoning the 12 ounces, Tower weight to make, as by tryal it has been proved, 12 ounces and 6 deniers, Paris weight.

As for the United Provinces, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [30]

CHAP. VI.: Of Base Money.

I Do not mean by base Money, Money of pure Copper, which in all States and in all Ages hath almost always been used, at the first for want of Gold and Silver, and now since, for the necessity of the poorer sort onely, and not for Commerce and Trade, as our farthings have lately bin introduced: But I mean that mixture of Metals, wherein Silver is incorporated with other baser Metals, not for Allay but to the extinction of the denomination of Silver; as Wine, when it is watered beyond a certain proportion looseth the name of Wine. And in all the Countries of Europe, as far as I can learn, except England and Muscovia, is used for Commerce and Trade amongst the people: which mixtion of mettals however it hath been practised at times in former Ages, out of the extream Necessities of the Common wealth, yet I do not find that it hath been constantly embraced (as now it is in all parts) until about Eightscore years since, about which time it was introduced into France by Charles the Seventh. The pretences whereof were these.

First, That there was no Intention thereby to raise the price or to diminish the weight of Silver, but that this Money should be as good in intrinsical value, as in the Money of purer Silver, save only a small charge laid upon it for the Coinage: then that by coining small pieces of a penny, two pence, or three pence, or thereabouts, the pieces, by the mixtion should have a greater bulk, and so be preserved from loss, which must needs frequently happen by reason of the smallness of the pieces, if they were made of pure Silver, so likewise they should be preserved from wearing: and again, that the Gold-Smith should by Edition: current; Page: [31] this means be kept from melting them, and the Stranger from exporting them, because the charge of refining them and drawing the pure Silver out of them would far exceed the profit: These are the Pretences by which base Money was first introduced, but if they be weighed against the Inconveniences, which have followed upon it, it will be found one of the most mischievous Inventions that ever was found in matters of Money. I could hardly resolve with myself to insert this Chapter in this Discourse, because having mine aim only at the good of this State, it seemed unnecessary to treat of this Subject, since we have no base Money in England; but when I consider, that in some unhappy seasons heretofore we have had base Money; and that it is not impossible, but that the like Projects may again be revived, I determin’d not only to treat, but to go through with it all at once, and not to interrupt this Discourse any more with that Subject: And therefore to set down the Inconveniences that have followed it, which in the former Chapter I did forbear, reserving both the Inconveniences and the Remedies to be treated of apart. The first Inconvenience then of the great mixture of Mettals, is the falsifying of them; for both in reason it is too true, that by this mixture both the Colour, Sound, Weight, and the other more hidden Qualities of the different mettals are so confounded as the falsity cannot be discovered, but with extream difficulty: and by experience it is verified, that in all those Countries where base Money hath course, the greatest part of it is not coyned by the State, but either counterfeited by the Natives, or brought in by several Strangers.

Secondly, It is true that the base Money was first coined in France, of an intrinsical value, almost equal to that of purer mettalls, and so it continues to this day, for so much of it as is coined by ordinance of the State, (the greatest part being falsifyed:) But in most other Countries (as namely in Spain) the State it self, to raise a Edition: current; Page: [32] Tribute upon the people, hath extreamly falsified the intrinsical value, by which means both the State hath for gain, Coins much more than there is occasion to use, and there is incomparably more counterfeited by others, so as the mischief doth hourly multiply.

Thirdly, The values of Money are continually raised from time to time, which is no new Device (as is already more particularly declared) the base Money must then in Proportion be likewise raised, which cannot be done by increasing the value of the particular pieces for being of so small price, the fractions would be irreconcilable, so as there is no other way left to raise the base Money, but by coining new, of a weaker Intrinsical value. I would then gladly know what becomes of all the old base Money, either it is melted down by the Bullioners, which is the name in French of those who by culling and trying of Coins make their profit to melt them; or it is transported by strangers, so as in effect the use of base Money doth bring that inconvenience, the avoiding whereof was made one of the chiefest Pretences for Coinage of it.

Fourthly, It is truly observed, that in all those Countries where base Money is current, there the price of Gold and Silver is daily raised by the people, not only without the Ordinance of the State, but contrary to, and in despight of all Prohibitions to the contrary, which draws with it extream disorders and mischiefs, so it is in the Low Countries, so it is in France, so in Germany, and in Spain; although the Ordinance for the value of the Gold and Silver may securely be maintained by this help, that no Forrein Coin is there current; yet when you come to change base Money for Silver or Gold, you shall find how the people there raise the price unto you of the purer Money; But in England and Muscovia, where no base Money is in use, there the people never raise the price of Gold and Silver (except by Ordinance of the State it be directed,) neither doth Experience only try Edition: current; Page: [33] this Conclusion, but Reason also; for the people when they see the Money of base and uncertain mixture, do disesteem it, and in comparison thereof do esteem the Money of purer Gold and Silver above the proportion, and so do raise the price of it; and this esteem is not meerly out of opinion, for that really, that piece of base Money which hath as much fine Silver as a penny, is notwithstanding not worth a penny, because the mixture makes that you cannot extract this penny in pure mettal, without loss and charge: and if the people do hold this base esteem of this mixture which hath in it the intrinsical value for which it is current, how much more base esteem must they hold of that mixture, which they know hath not neer in it that intrinsical value for which it is current, and how much more must they needs raise the Silver. And certainly base Money, when either it is at first coined much in the intrinsical value under the extrinsical, or is by degrees brought unto it and long so continued, doth in the end breed either Insurrections among the People, or rejections of it; whereof the examples of Insurrections are very frequent, and therefore I will forbear to instance in them. But I cannot omit one example of Rejection, because it is so fresh in Memory, which was in Ireland in the end of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; which Country although it was newly vindicated from Rebellion, and did patiently endure all the imperious Directions which a late fresh Victory did bring with it, yet as soon as the Exchanges of base Moneys sent thither did cease in England, it was instantly rejected there, and would not pass current for so much as in the true intrinsical value it was worth, but was bought up at under rates by such as made profit by melting it.

Fifthly, The Dishonour that accompanies base Moneys, is of a more important Inconvenience than all the rest, for what can be more dishonourable than to have the Image of the Prince, or the Mark of the Publick Attestation Edition: current; Page: [34] impressed upon false and counterfeited stuff: according to the saying of an Emperour, Quid enim erit tutum si in nostra peccetur Effigie? And if there be gain made of it, it is a manifest breach of the publick Faith, for that it hath no other course than as it hath publick warrant to be good. Nay, this point of Honour hath so far prevailed in the World, that it hath been made an Observation by many, that in all great Divisions in States and Monarchies, that party hath infallibly the juster cause which doth most loyally use this publick trust of Money, and doth most warily proceed, either to the raising of the price, or the abasing of the matter thereof: which Observations are not without warrant of Experience nor of Reason also; for that all raising of the price and abasing of the matter of Money for gain, drawing with it an unjust, ruinous and unequal burthen upon the people, they that maintain the better cause, like the true Mother, will choose to loose the cause than that the Child should be destroyed. In which loyal maintenance of the public Faith in matters of Money our Kings do incomparably outshine all other Princes and States of Europe: for if Spain, and some other States do equal them in the pureness of the mettals, and the low values of their Monies of Gold and Silver, yet they have made themselves farr inferiour unto them by filling their Countries with base Money. And if in Muscovy they have coined no base Money, yet they have raised the Standard of their Silver so high, by diminishing both the fineness and weight, that the Silver itself scarcely deserves that name. And this I hold for a glorious mark of the equitable Government of this Kingdom; and let them that list admire forreign matters, for my part, I am perswaded both out of what I have seen and can learn by other means, that there is no State in the World more excellently tempered than this of England, or wherein the Prince is more absolute in all things, wherein it is good for himself and the publick, Edition: current; Page: [35] that he should be absolute; or where the great men are more honoured without license of oppressing the People; or where the People do live more freely or so happily as in England. As for the Remedies of this Inconvenience of base Money, I do leave those Countries to struggle with them that are afflicted with it, for us in England the remedy is plain and easy, which is mainly and constantly to keep it out. Thus far I have proceeded in the History of Money to set down, as briefly as I could, by what degrees Money hath grown into that form and state as now it is governed; but have forborn to speake of the Inconveniences grown therein, and of the Remedies thereof, save only in this last Chapter, which I mean to propound and debate in the rest of this Discourse, for the opening of the Readers understanding without making any positive conclusion, but leave that to every ones private Judgment.

CHAP. VII.: Of the Inconveniences in general grown in the matter of Money.

THE Inconveniences which are accident to this Subject of Money are in general but two, Raritie and Confusion; which although they do coincide many times in the subject, that is, that Rarity breeds Confusion, and Confusion breeds Rarity, yet in their Nature they do differ, and many times likewise in the Subject; and there is seen Confusion without Rarity, and Rarity without Confusion: yet this latter branch of Confusion will yield small matter to our discourse, because in Eglannd no forrein Coins are current, nor base Money; there is no variation in the Mints, there being but one; and there is very small Edition: current; Page: [36] Varietie in Allayes; in the Silver Money none at all, and in the Gold, but two, all which are occasions of confusion in the matter of Money. As for the other branch of Rarity, the causes thereof, when we come to handle them, will appear both very various and very intricate. And, if I were to handle this Subject as part of a Treatise of the best Form of a Common-wealth, I would first endeavour to search out what proportion of Money were fittest for the Common-wealth, for if Money were invented for the Exchange of things useful to man’s life, there is a certain Proportion for that use, and there is as well a too much as a too little: Because that the want of Money makes the life of the Citizens penurious and barbarous, so the over-great Abundance of Money makes their lives luxurious and wanton, by reason of the great Commutability of all things for Money, by which the vain and vicious Fancies of men are presently supplied with all that they do affect. But I must apply my Conceit to the Common-wealth as it is, not as a Philosopher may frame it by discourse: and therefore ought rather to Imitate a good Rider, than a good Breaker of Horses, whose part it is to perfect the Horse in all his natural actions, and to redeem and win him from all vicious affections; but for the Rider it is enough if he do use him to the best Advantage such as he finds him.

Now all the Common-wealths of the World are grown to such a Depravation, that not only the exchange of Necessaries, for which Money was first invented, but all things else are valued by Money, the services and duties of the Common-wealth, the virtue and the lives of the Citizens; so that in the common opinions, that State that abounds in Money, hath Courage, hath Men, and all other Instruments to defend itself and offend others, if it have wisdom how to make use of it: and upon this ground it was said, during the time of the late Wars in France, that that side that had the last Crown to spend must be infallibly Edition: current; Page: [37] victorious. And it seems that in the Low-Countries, on both sides they are of the same opinion; for so they may draw Money by it from their Enemies, they do furnish them with Victuals and other Provisions to sustain their Armies by Pasport and publick Avowal. Hence it is that in the modern Forms of Common-wealths there is no Proportion, no Mediocrity of Money, but all do strive to abound with it, without any stint. And hence it is that Rarity is almost the sole Inconvenience in matter of Money; The Rarity of Money doth grow out of these Four Causes following, viz.

First, Want of means to bring in the Materials of Money.

Secondly, Facility of exporting them.

Thirdly, The wasting of them in the Kingdom.

Fourthly, The great encrease of the proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them.

First, the want of means to bring in the Materials of Money, may be reduced into these heads.

First, The want of Manufactures, for Manufactures do breed Money, and Money again doth breed Manufactures, which is apparent in divers States and Cities, that have no natural commodities of their own, either to exchange for other Commodities or to bring in Gold and Silver, which do yet notwithstanding abound with both by reason of their Manufactures, and as the Stocks of their Money do encrease, so do their Manufactures encrease withall. But the ways of encreasing and maintaining Manufactures do depend upon other considerations in civil Government, and in no sort upon the course of Money except by accident, that the good Government of the course of Money may breed plenty of Money, and plenty of Money doth help to encrease Manufactures, and therefore to speak no more of this Subject; I propose.

A Second Cause of want of Means to bring in the Edition: current; Page: [38] Materials of Money, is the want of Sumptuary Laws to be made and executed, for as in private Families there is no so easie and certain way to thrive, as the cutting off superfluous expences, so is it in the Common-wealth; and that which the Industry and Will of the Master doth perform in every Private Family, that the Magistrates and Law ought to perform in the Common-wealth. But this Title likewise hath no Coherence with my Subject; and therefore I do omit to speak any further of it.

A Third cause, is the want of Sufficient Search of these Mettals in the Bowels of the Earth within the Kingdom, and it is a certain Experiment that there are sundry Mines of Silver in this Kingdom: and there is ground to believe both that they are of great Profit and of long continuance, if the working of them shall be well regulated by the State, and judiciously prosecuted by the Undertakers: but this also hath no dependance upon my Subject, and therefore here I leave it.

The fourth cause of the want of means to bring in the Materials of Money is the impediments of Trade, which are very many, and of subtile disquisition; but have no dependance upon our Enquiry, but by accident; and therefore I leave them to be discussed where it appertaineth.

A fifth Defect, in the bringing in of the Materials of Money, is the Prohibition of Forrein, especially Spanish, and this Title hath entirely relation to our Subject, and hereof I purpose hereafter to examine the Inconvenience apart, together with the Remedies propounded.

A sixth cause, is the Low price of our Moneys, especially of our Silver Moneys, which is the cause assigned by many that much of the Materials that would be brought hither into England, if the price were higher, is now transported into other parts: And in this Title I mean first to examine apart the disproportion between our Edition: current; Page: [39] Money of Silver and Gold. But the low price of our Money in respect of our Neighbours and the raising of it higher, or not raising of it, or the reducing of it yet lower, according to the values of more ancient times, and the Inconveniences that may grow by the one or the other, and the remedies propounded will occurr to be considered in every division of the causes of the Rarity of Money. But to avoid Confusion, I do purpose to handle them all together in one Chapter.

The Second cause of the Rarity of Money and the Materials thereof, is the facility of exporting them out of the Kingdom which doth arise out of these Causes;

First, out of raising of prices of Moneys by our Neighbours, which in effect is the same with the former of the low prices of our Moneys; for by giving a greater price for our Moneys, than it is valued here with us, they allure both our own and Forrein Merchants to carry our Moneys to them.

A Second Cause is the unequal Coinage of our Moneys, by which it cometh to pass that those pieces which are over heavy and of finer Allay, are tried and culled out, and either exported into Forrein parts, or melted down for other uses. And although it might be thought that the strict care used by the State in this behalf should have prevented this mischief, yet daily experience doth shew that great Quantities of the weightiest and best Moneys are daily exported, and that the Silver which remaineth amongst us is so much under the Standard as is hardly credible: which matter I purpose to handle, being naturally incident to this subject. The want likewise of Manufactures and Sumptuary Laws, are two causes of the facility of the exporting the Money and the Materials thereof out of this Realm, for by the encrease of Manufactures, the Commodities of the Kingdom are increased, and by Sumptuary Laws Forrein commodities are made less useful, both which conduce to the keeping of the Edition: current; Page: [40] Money and Bullion within the Realm. But these causes are not of our consideration.

A third cause of the Rarity of Money and the Materials thereof, is the wasting and consuming it within the Kingdom, as in guildings, gold and silver-thread, and inlayings, all which is consumed in a manner to nothing; the excessive use likewise of Plate maketh Money scant, but all these Defects are to be remedied by Sumptuary Laws. The laying up of Money also in Treasure, is likewise a Cause of Rarity: But the Interest of Money is so high and quick in England, as I believe that cause doth little prejudice.

The fourth cause of the Rarity of Money and Materials thereof, which is the great Encrease of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and things valued by them is entirely of our Consideration. And this cause doth diminish the quantity or decrease the weight or fineness of the Gold and Silver, but doth encrease the use and want of Gold and Silver, and so maketh the Money and Bullion of the Realm in general, and of every man in particular, less in effect and value, though the quantity do increase. As for Example: If a pound of Silver of the sterling Standard, coined into Money in Edward the Thirds Reign, would have bought two fat Oxen, or seven quarters of Wheat; and that now at this day, two pounds of Silver of the sterling Standard coined into Money, will do no more than buy one fat Ox, or three quarters and one half of Wheat: and, if other things are increased in price according to that value, and that the like proportion doth hold also in Gold; it doth then follow that although the Realm in general, and every man in particular should have now twice as much of Gold and Silver in weight and fineness, as in King Edward the Thirds Reign; yet in use and effect they should have but half as much as then, because this double quantity in weight and fineness would in proportion to things valued by Gold and Silver, arise Edition: current; Page: [41] but to half so much as then; and so the great Increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and things valued by them, doth induce a Rarity and Scarcity of these Mettals, though the Quantity should increase. But what the just increase of this Proportion is, and by what means it may be certainly proved, and how the Raritie may be remedied, I purpose to treat hereafter.

Thus I have set down in general all the constant and certain Causes of the Rarity of Money: of so many of which as are incident to our Subject, I purpose to treat in particular: As for the other Branch, of the Inconveniencies of the matter of Money, which is Disorder and Confusion, I purpose not to make any title a part of it, both because, as I have said before, the occasions of Confusions in England, in this Subject are very few; and that I shall aptly have cause to speak of it by the way, in the Causes of Rarity, which I mean to handle, not in the Method set down in this Chapter, but begin with the plainest and easiest Titles, and of most certain Proof, first to the end that they may serve both to the opening and facilitating the Proof of the more difficult and obscure.

CHAP. VIII.: Of the low Price of our Silver.

IT hath been declared in the Chapter concerning the Proportion between Gold and Silver, that now in England Thirteen pound and one fifth of Silver doth but answer in value to one Pound in Gold, which Proportion is much above the Practice of former Ages in England, and other Countries about, both heretofore and at the present, which is principally grown by the great raising of Gold 2s. in the pound, in the 9th year of his late Majestie’s Reign, at which time or at any time since, Silver hath not been raised: the first Effect whereof hath been, That Edition: current; Page: [42] great Quantities of Gold have since been coined, but little or no Silver, except now very lately. And of that Silver which we before had, the weightiest hath been culled out, and transported or melted, and that which doth remain amongst us, is so light, as the lightness only doth preserve it in use, and the scarcity thereof is so great, that a man may go into a great many shops in London, of great Trade and Commerce before he shall get a 20s. piece in Gold to be chang’d into Silver: and far the greatest part of all paiments is made now in Gold, contrary to former times; whereas the true Rule for the good of the Commonwealth is, That there should be such a Proportion kept between Gold and Silver, as that they might equally abound, and of the two Silver most abound: the Reason whereof is, That the greatest part of the Commerce of the Kingdom, and almost all the Inland Commerce, is made in Silver, the want whereof doth greatly prejudice the same. The Remedy of this Inconvenience is plain and easy in the general, and Theory, which is to reduce the Gold and Silver to an equal Proportion, but when you come to the Practick, there does arise two great Difficulties, the first to find out what this equal Proportion is, the next how to settle it, whether by reducing the Gold unto the Silver, or by advancing the Silver unto the Gold.

I. Concerning the first, Many are of opinion, that the Proportion should be left as it is; for they say, Although our Gold be very high priced, yet it answereth the weight of the King’s Ordinance, being continually weighed, and rejected if it be not weighty. But our Silver is not so, being much lighter than the King’s Ordinance, as will easily be found by whomsoever will make the Experiment, and yet passeth current, being never weighed; so that although by the King’s Ordinance, the Silver be above 13 fine in Silver, for one fine in Gold; yet in Practice, by reason of the lightness of the Silver, the Proportion is Edition: current; Page: [43] much short of that. But they that give this reason do not consider, That in this manner, although our Silver will remain still in use amongst us, as long as it lasteth, by reason of the lightness of it, yet of all that is new coined according to this Ordinance, the weightiest and loyallest will be continually culled out, and transported, or melted: and therefore since the Experience of the scarcity which we have of Silver doth sufficiently prove unto us the Inconvenience of the Proportion, it ought to be altered. Others would have the Proportion to be eleven or thereabouts, because that was the ancient Proportion, both amongst us here in England, and amongst our Neighbours. But since that Proportion is under that of all our neighbours at this present, it would in time fall out thereupon that we should suffer as much scarcity of Gold as we do now of Silver. But the most, and the most Judicious Propositions that I have seen, both at home and in other parts, do agree upon twelve for one, as the most equal Proportion; and it agrees with the Proportion of Spain, upon which in this Subject, we ought principally to have our eye fixed: and for my part, I do the rather incline to this Proportion, because 12 of all the numbers is most proper for Money, being the most clear from fractions and Confusion of an Accompt, (which ought not to be neglected) by reason That of all other numbers it is most divisible, being divisible into unites as all numbers are; into two parts as no odd number is; three parts as no even number is but six, and the numbers that consist of sixes; fourths into which six is not divisible; and into sixths: This Proportion seems like to square with the Conceipt of the Alchymists, who call Gold Sol, and Silver Luna, whose Motions do come near upon the point of 12 for 1, and the Conceipt of many men hath run so strongly upon the Proportion of 12 for 1, that they’d have it hold as well in Money wrought, as in Gold or Silver fine, so as the Pieces of Silver and Edition: current; Page: [44] Gold should weigh one the other; and 12 in Silver should answer in value one of Gold.

But the Proportion cannot hold both in Money wrought, and Silver and Gold unwrought, except the Allay should be likewise made equal, and then it follows that there should be 12 times as much over-value allowed to the Gold as to the Silver, which were a rate beyond the present allowance, and would much weak’n the Money of Gold in intrinsical value; yet that point doth justly meet with the practice which in ancient time was in France, there being in an ancient Reglement of Moneys, this following Article, Que l’on face Monoye d’or a 23 carrats & rendra aux Merchans d’un Marc d’or fine, vn Marc d’or ouvrê, & Monoye a ladite loy. And by the same Reglement the Silver Money was made of 11 deniers and 12 grains fine, called Argent le Roy; and some others do find it a very subtile Inconvenience in the want of laying so many times a greater Charge and Tribute upon the Gold than upon the Silver, as the Gold doth exceed the Silver in value, proportion for proportion; alledging that for one main reason, why the Gold is always raised and esteemed somewhat higher than the publick Ordinance, because the Gold Money is really so much more in value than the Silver Money, according to their rates, by how much there is less Charge and Tribute laid upon the Gold in proportion than upon the Silver. But admitting the Objection made, that if there should be 12 times as much charge laid upon the Gold as upon the Silver, it would be too great a weakning of the Gold Money, and it would be too great a discouragement to the Merchant to bring his Gold to be coined, it may easily be salved here in England, according to the custom of our Mint, by making the price of Gold fine unwrought, somewhat more than 12 for one, and allowing so unto the Merchant, leaving the charge the same, which now it is.

For the Second point to wit, whether the Proportion Edition: current; Page: [45] should be settled by raising the Silver in price unto the Gold, or by reducing the Gold unto the Silver.

First, In speaking thereof, I do not mean to anticipate that Question, Whether it be beneficial for the Commonwealth, that the prices should at any time be raised or not? which is the proper Subject of another Chapter, and is indeed the most Importunate, and the most difficult Question of any other in matter of Money: Although it be true, that the raising one of the Materials of Money doth produce all the Inconveniences that are produced by raising of both the Materials; and it doth likewise breed this further Mischief, that it causeth a greater scarcity of the other Materials which is not rais’d; yet in the present Estate and Condition wherein our Silver doth now stand, we shall find by the subsequent Discussion of this Question, that by the raising of the Silver to a more equal Proportion to our Gold, these Inconveniences have no place.

And First, If you shall abase the Gold to hold a proportion of 12 to 1 with the Silver, besides the general Objection against all Abasements, which is Exportation, there will this particular Inconvenience follow, as we now stand, That you cannot abase it to the just Proportion without new coyning of all the Gold, which will produce both an extream trouble and Confusion, and exceeding loss unto the Kingdom, and is by the Prescripts of many excellent Roman Emperors condemned, as savoring of Injustice and Envy towards the memorie of precedent Princes to deface their Coins. And besides the scarcity of the Silver will still remain, for their continuing still so great a disproportion between the new Silver which shall be coyned according to the antient standard weighty and good, and the old Silver grown so much over-light, partly by the wearing, but especially by that culling out and exporting that which was coined either over-heavie, or of just weight; and that which was coyned over-light only Edition: current; Page: [46] remaining; how will it be possible, but that so much of the new Silver which shall be coined either of over-heavie, or of a just weight, will still be culled out, either to be transported, or to be melted down for other uses? If on the other side the Silver shall be coyned hereafter of a new standard answering to a proportion of 12 for one of the Gold, as now it stands; the Merchant will be encouraged to bring more in, the reminting of the antient Money shall be avoided; and if that supposition be true, that the antient Silver is so much too light, then neither will the antient Silver be exported upon the raising of the new, neither will the price of the things be raised, since the new Money (although in standard it differs) yet in truth of weight will hold so near a Proportion with the antient: and here it will be necessary to observe the Examination which we have made in several places of this Treatise.

First, In what Proportion, for the values of our Gold and Silver, it is most useful for this Kingdom to stand, in respect of our Neighbours neerest about us, and then examine how indeed we do stand with them? Where I do find an exceeding great abuse, because those who do manage the affairs of the Mint do make their Computation of the Standard of Forrein Coins, meerly as the Gold-Smiths do by melting of them: the error of which Computation will easily be apprehended, if any man shall go about to discover the sterling standard by melting of sterling money, the pieces whereof being so unequally coyned, as they are the difference between a piece that is over-light, and again of a piece of the absolute fineness of the standard, and another deficient the full extent of the Remedy allowed, will be so great, as whosoever shall compute the standard by the one or by the other, must needs run into extream Error.

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CHAP. IX.: Of the Prohibition of Forrein Moneys, especially Spanish.

IT is the Opinion of wise men and intelligent in this Subject of Money, that the Prohibition of forrein Moneys especially Spanish is a great hindrance to the coming in of Gold and Silver: and they do ground themselves upon two Arguments:—

The first, in reason, that Spain being the Cistern and Receptacle of almost all the Gold and Silver, which is thence dispersed into the rest of Europe, to forbid Spanish Money to be current, is, in effect, to forbid the coming in of Gold and Silver, and that rather we ought to draw it in by setting an high price upon it. The other Argument is out of the Example of other Nations, which do abound with Moneys, where Spanish Money is not only current, but it is current at higher rates then their own Money, value for value, who have therefore more Spanish Money among them, then of their own coining. These reasons gave occasion to sundry Propositions, to have Spanish Money to be made current. But before it be fit to resolve of that, it should be first maturely considered, What reasons did induce the Prohibition of all Forrein Coins, and how they may be satisfied, least in seeking to salve one mischief we do introduce a greater, and do fall into the complaints of those Countries, which do crie out against the Inconveniences which they do feel by forrein Moneys, and know not how to remedie themselves. If you make forrein Moneys current but just at the rate of the intrinsical value you gain nothing, for they will as well be now brought in for Bullion as then for Money; only this disadvantage you shall have, that whereas that which is now brought in for Bullion, is good and weighty, you shall instead thereof have the same quantity brought in for Money Edition: current; Page: [48] abased and light; which was one of the many reasons why it was made not current. If you make forrein Money current above the intrinsical value, allowing them an overrate for charge of coyning and tribute to the Prince that coined them; Observe then the inconveniences which follow upon it;

First, The dishonour, in that you do communicate a principal point of Soveraignty unto a Stranger, and you do pay a Tribute to a forrein Prince out of your own Country, and you shall never have any material Coin to be coined in your own Mint.

Secondly, You shall fill the Country with light Money of Silver, which is hardly ever weighed, and with counterfeit and base Money of Gold; The punishment whereof lieth not in your hands, the act being done in forrein parts and is so much clear loss to the Country.

Thirdly, You shall give the people occasion to raise it to a higher rate than the publick Ordinance, which is an effect that follows forrein Moneys in all those Countries where it is permitted; or if the people do not raise, yet strangers will raise it higher, and then it will go out faster than it came in, and you have gained this Inconvenience, to have it higher rais’d: the mischief whereof I shall have more occasoin to declare hereafter. But if forrein Money shall come to be current at an over-rate, to the intrinsical value, greater than your own, value for value, as Spanish Money is both in France and in the Low Countries, and as English was in both, till it was discried and valued only as Bullion; but daily varies the value in those parts, then shall you give occasion to have the weightiest of your Money culled out and transported into forrein parts to be coined for Advantage, to be brought back in forrein coin: but above all, your materials in Bullion of Silver and Gold will be transported to that purpose, and the Common-wealth shall cleerly loose so much in substance of Gold and Silver, as the Transporter Edition: current; Page: [49] doth get; as for Example, In the years 1607 and 1608, our Jacobus pieces were ordinarily current in Paris after the rate of 22s. when as three French Crowns, were current but after the rate of 21s. sterling: The Jacobus weighs 7 deniers and 20 grains, and is 22 carrats fine. The French Crown Sol, is 23 Carrats fine bating the Remedy, and weighs by the ordinance 2 deniers, 15 grains, so as three French Crowns full weight, weigh one grain more than a Jacobus, and are worth one 24th part more in fineness, and yet were current in France for 12d. less than a Jacobus. The Jacobus was worth in Holland after the rate of 25s. sterling, in the years 1621, and 1622; then was the Ryder there current, but after the rate of 22s. sterling or little more, and yet the Ryder in intrinsical value is not two pence worse than the Jacobus. In the year 1622, at the Mart at Francfort in Autumn, English shillings were current at a higher rate, fineness for fineness, and weight for weight, than their own Dollars coyned in that Town, so as in these times there was great profit by transporting Dollars out of Francfort, Ryders out of Holland, and French Crowns out of France, and carrying them back again coined in English Coins; and there is no doubt to be made, but that great Numbers were accordingly transported, the subtilty of the Bancquers not omitting any opportunity to make their Advantage of the popular Errors, which daily do exceed in this Subject of Money. But if the permission of Forrein Money at least of Spanish be so useful, and yet the practice so full of danger as hath been expressed, we must then search by what means the Permission may be so qualified as the Usefulness may be retained, and yet the Dangers may be avoided therein. Now that the Dangers are exposed, I do exhort all the furtherers of the Common good to exercise their Invention, as in all other Inconveniences propounded in this Subject. The most probable Proposition that I can find, is that Spanish Money should be Edition: current; Page: [50] made current, but not that any Realls of Silver or Pistolets of Gold should be current at any rate according to the price. But that the Spanish Money of Gold and Silver should be made current according to a certain Rate by the Ounce, which rate should be so proportioned, as that the Spanish Money should have allowed unto it at one value, as great as may answer the charge of coinage, without allowing any thing for the King’s Tribute, to draw it the easiest into the Kingdom. By this means the Dishonour would be avoided, for, although it would be frequently current amongst Merchants, and in all great payments, yet in Fairs and Markets and the Commerce within the Kingdom, it would have no place being not current by the piece. And this defect of the Currencie of the pieces would make a great part of them piece by piece drop into his Majesties Mint. Especially if the Officers of the Mint use their endeavour to buy them for the use of the Mint: then it would necessarily keep out all light Money, or if any were brought in, it would be without disadvantage to us. For,

First, Upon our occasion of raising it, strangers could not raise it higher; both because it would be most concealed from them, and they should not be able to proportion their raising to ours, except they should take the same course, which is almost impossible for them to do, who have Spanish Money in so great abundance already current by the piece.

And lastly, not allowing to it a greater over-value than to your own Money, it will be impossible to transport your own Money for profit to bring it back coyned in Spanish Money. Others have propounded that the Spanish Money both of Gold and Silver should be made current by the piece, allowing an over-value unto it both for the Coinage and the King’s Tribute equal unto our own, but that being of a weight allowable, it should receive the addition of a new stamp at the King’s Mint, for which the King should Edition: current; Page: [51] receive upon the pound, so much as his own clear Profit amounts unto upon his own Coin; and the Merchants in the currency of the pieces should have allowance of so much as the charge of the Coinage amounts unto. But this inconvenience would probably happen in this Proposition, that if the pieces that should have the Addition of the stamp unto them, were made current at a price, the people would likewise receive those that had not the said Addition at the same price.

CHAP. X.: Of the unequal Coinage of our Moneys.

THIS Title doth wholly depend upon the Mechanical part of making Money, which because I am unskilful in, I do handle with much scruple and retention, being forced to apply my self to what I read in others; and peradventure may in some points misunderstand, yet because this is a very main and principal cause of the exportation of Money I cannot omit it: And the first cause of the unequality of the coinage, is the greatness of the Remedies both of the weight and fineness: and I do find that some men of great experience and understanding even in this Mechanical part do hold, that the Moneys both of Gold and Silver may be made without any Remedy to be allowed either for weight or fineness. This I am sure that it doth appear by the Records of former times, that the Remedies allowed have been many times less than now they are, and have been heretofore very variable according to the favour or the skill which the Masters of the Mint did use to make their own Advantage: since Henry VIIths time, the Mint Masters have bin tied to account to the King for half the Profits of the Remedies allowed, by which means it is manifest that half the Remedies allowed might be cut off, and the Kings profits Edition: current; Page: [52] might be better recompenced upon the price of the Coinage. By the Indentures of the Second of King James, The Officers of the Mint are tied to account to the King for the whole profit of the Remedies; but then there is a clause that the King shall give them allowance for so much as they shall over-put above the standard, which clause seemeth to me very captious: But if all the inequality of the Moneys coined did consist in the Remedies, the matter were not so much; but the great profit which hath been made by culling of the Coins by Goldsmiths and Cashiers to Merchants and others, through whose hands great Sums of Money do pass, doth manifestly prove that the inequality of the Moneys is much greater than the allowance of the Remedies can make it; yet when I consider upon what great Penalties the Mint Master is tied, how exact a Course is set down by his Indenture, and observ’d for the Examination and Trial of his work, I cannot imagine much less find out, where the Error lieth, but that there is an Error, and such an one as deserveth strict Enquiry and Redress by the State, I am verily perswaded. The Mint Master knoweth exactly how many pieces he is to sheer out of every pound weight, but whether these pieces are shorn so equal to one another in weight, as there shall be no advantage in culling out the heaviest from the lightest, that is the Scruple: The course is this, out of every proportion of Silver and Gold coined, there is a piece taken at adventure, by certain Officers trusted, and put into a Pix* under their several Keys, and then at the years end, this Pix is opened in the Star Chamber, and telling out so many pieces as are to make a pound, they melt them and examine whether they hold the weight and fineness, within the Remedies required; which Course for the examination of the Fineness seemeth exact enough, but for the weight it may fall out that the pieces taken out of the several Proportions of Edition: current; Page: [53] Money coined, being melted together may hold the weight required within the Remedies, and yet the pieces of those several Proportions may differ in weight from one another, more than the Remedy allowed. The Remedies that are propounded for this inequality are divers:

Some think that it may be redressed by a strict and severe Course to be held with all those, through whose hands the work doth pass for the perfection of their works.

Others are much pleased with belief of some invented Engines, which have been by some work-men offered for a more perfect and exact coining of Moneys, than can be performed by the stamp, and the ways that are now practised.

Others find no so good way as by the Mill, whereof divers experiments have been made both in this Kingdom and in other parts. Of which, because I dare in my self deliver no Opinion, I will only translate what I find written by a French Author, a man of great practise and experience in these Mysteries, but because in some places he hath words of Art which admit of no translation, I must be fain use the original Terms: He saith, That against the Establishment of the Mill it is objected, that after the Invention of it, by reason of the great clipping that belongs to it; the Conductor of it was of Necessity to have an Augmentation for the Workmanship.

2. That the Ressorts, and Wheels, and Squares and Pieces, by which it is governed, are very subject to break and bruise one another.

3. That it wants Expedition, and dispatches but a little work.

4. That makers of false Money will easily counterfeit it.

5. That no man will undertake to make Money with the Mill, but at the same price which is paid for the marks for Silver Counters made with a Mill.

To which five objections I answer.

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1. That the quantity of Clipping Mill Money, is no loss to the Farmer nor to the Workman, and is done without Pain, Charge or Travel; besides the Charge of the wasting is taken away, which is both an expence to the Master and to the Farmer: That the augmentation for the workmanship was not allowed for the new melting of the Clippings, but because there was no reason that the Masters of the Mill should without recompence give those several fashions to the work, which the work-man is paid for, and hath 3 sols allowed him upon the mark, and besides furnish great Cizers, three sorts of Hammers, Anvil and other Instruments. Now the Money being made in the Mill by the Industry of the Master who doth give other like fashions to the work, as the Minters now do, it was but reason to attribute the same right unto him. And in those places where Mill-Money hath remained in use, as at Pau and at Bearne, the fee of the work-man is attributed to the Master of the Mill, as likewise of the Carver and Graver, and that very justly.

2. For the Second Objection, That the Ressorts, Wheels, Squares, &c., are subject to breaking; It may be answered that at the new setting up of the first Mills, the Artisans were not so perfect and expert as they have shewed themselves since by Practice, since the Mills are grown common as now they are: There is nothing harder than to invent, nor more easie than to adde to things invented. There are Mills set up not only at Paris, but at Lyons, Tholouse, Aix, Amiens, Nants, Bordeaux, Poitiers, so that the use of them is now universal, for the Coinage doubles base and abject Money.

3. For the third Objection, That there is no Expedition in Mills, and that the work is not so soon dispatched as with the Hammer: It shall suffice to answer, That it proceeds from a Man that hath no experience in this Subject of Money, because that four Men bred and used to the making of Money in a Mill will do more work than twelve work-men or Moneyers with the Hammer.

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4. For the fourth Objection, That the Counterfeiter of Money will imitate the Money made in a Mill: This Objection were credible if the author could produce one piece of Silver or Gold made in the Mill counterfeited since the Introduction thereof brought into France; and there is nothing that the counterfeiters of Money and their foster Fathers the Alchymists, do more fear and apprehend, knowing that they cannot suborn base and abject mettals, as Copper, Lead, Tinn, (the materials of Counterfeiters) for Gold or Silver, but that the piece will instantly be discovered, because the Moneys made in the Mill will always be equal and of like volume, greatness and thickness, because it all passeth by the same Coupier which cutteth equally, which cannot be the case with the Moneys made with the Hammer, (the Hammer not being governed with an equal force and measure, as in the Mill.) Neither can they be clipped, but that the exposer thereof will be discovered, taken and punished. And it may be avowed that the Teston made in the Mill hath not been seen clipped in France, the perfect representation of the King’s Image seeming to have been retained, and terrified the Clippers.

5. As for the last Objection, That no man will undertake to make Money in the Mill, but at the rate which is paid for the mark of the Silver Counters: This objection proceeds out of Ignorance, because the matter of Silver Counters is Argent le Roy, and therefore of greater fineness than the Money, and requires a greater charge to refine it to that title and degree. Besides the maker of Silver Counters must have a great diversity of Chisels, and Prints of a different sort from those of Moneys, and almost as many as there be different Noble men, Corporations, and Townhouses, that take pleasure to have their Arms or Devises engraven in Silver or Copper Counters; whereof sometimes the very square will cost 20 Livres, which shall serve only for one purse of two marks of Counters; and for Edition: current; Page: [56] proof thereof let the Masters of the Mills for coining of Doubles be called, and he will undertake for the same wages and fees that the Moniers have, to make the Moneys in the Mill. Thus far this Author: but as I said before, I undertook this Discourse of the Mechanical part of Money with Scruple, so I do leave it with Alacritie.

CHAP. XI.: Of the great increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them; by which there is grown a greater want of Money in England than was in Antient times, and of the Causes thereof, and of the Remedies which may be applied.

BECAUSE this Title is of a very curious and perplexed Search, I am inforced contrary to a Logical Method, to set down my Conclusion first, and to explain by the cleerest Expressions I can think of, what it is I intend to prove, and by what ways, and then to set down my Probations afterwards. I intend then to prove that the price of all things, which is the Proportion between Money and the things valued by Money, at this present is much encreased from what it was in antient times: and because I will set down a time certain of Antiquity, I will take the 25th year of Edward the Third, when a pound of Gold of sterling standard made 15l. sterling, and a pound of Silver of the same, made 25s. sterling. I intend to prove that this increase of price and Proportion is not meerly according to the raising of the Money, which hath bin since that, and is about the rate of three for one, as the Money hath been raised, for then the price and proportion should be only nominally, and not really encreased, for that if we pay now 3s. for that which in the 25th year of Edward the Third cost but 1s. and if we pay now 3 Crowns for that which cost then but one; yet Edition: current; Page: [57] if then there was as much fine Gold in one Crown as now there is in 3, the price should only be increased in name; but the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them, would remain the same. But I intend to prove that this increase of Proportion hath bin real, and that the price of things in general is now grown six times as much or eight times as much as then they cost, in name of Shillings, Crowns and Pounds and in reallity of fine Gold and Silver, to double, and almost treble the Proportion of all things, valued by Gold and Silver, in respect of what it was in the 25th year of Edward the Third. Then I intend to prove that this real increase of Proportion, by which all things valued by Money, are valued at more than double, almost treble, the quantity of fine Silver and Gold, that then they were, is grown principally, and in a manner solely, out of the great quantities of Gold and Silver come into the Kingdom of Spain out of the West and East-Indies, within this Hundred years or thereabouts, and thence dispersed into other parts of the World, whereby it is come to pass that the value of Gold and Silver is become more vile and cheap; and generally all things valued by them, are rated higher, at double and almost treble as much Gold and Silver as they were rated at in the 25th year of Edward III. or thereabouts; as one Scale pres’t down doth necessarily make the other rise higher: From those Proportions it will necessarily follow that if the Kingdom of England should have at this day as much Gold and Silver in fineness and weight, or peradventure half as much more, as it had in the 25th year of Edward the Third; yet, because the increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them is so much greater than it was then, to wit, above double and almost treble; that the Kingdom of England is so much poorer and more disabled than it was then, by how much it wants of that quantity of Gold and Silver, which may, in Proportion to Edition: current; Page: [58] things valued by them, countervail the quantity which then was in England, and this great Mischief and Disability doth not only hold in the present Stock, but in the Fruit and growing Wealth of the Kingdom.

Lastly, Having discovered this great Evil, the Danger whereof is not apprehended as it deserves, together with the Causes of it, I intend to set down what Remedies are propounded unto it.

Now when I shall compare the Prices of things at this day with those of antient times, if I should go to set down all things particularly the Labour and Search were beyond measure, and the variety of the Proportions of prices would not be very great between several things, but the same things in several seasons would exceedingly differ in price, and the proofs, would be very disputable so as no certain conclusion would be drawn from them: as for Example, of Corn, Cattel, and Fish, the Proportions of price would not hold the same, and every of these would differ in several seasons for several causes; as Corn through unseasonable weather, Cattel through murraign, Fish through Warr; and every one of these through many other accidents are able to raise or draw down the price again: Cloth, Linnen, Leather, and such like, would have the like variety of prices through the same, and through other causes, as through Impositions laid upon them, new Inventions, whereby the Manufactures may be the more easily and speedily made, engrosing of them, false making of them, want of work-men.

And if these things, which are most necessary for man’s life, are subject to so many varieties of Prices through several causes; how much more uncertain would those Materials prove, which serve only to delights and magnificence, as precious Stones, Pearls, Hangings, Pictures, Embroideries, and such like; which are subject to so many causes of varieties of price, as things necessarie, Edition: current; Page: [59] and are moreover subject to the Humours and Fancies of the Times, by which their price is raised or abased.

But there is only one thing, from whence we may certainly track out the prices, and which carries with it a constant resultance of the Prices of all other things which are necessary for a Mans life; and that is the price of Labourers and Servants Wages, especially those of the meaner sort. And as there is to be found no other certain and constant Cause of the raising of the Prices of all things, but two; viz. the one the raising of the values of Moneys, the other the great abundance of Gold and Silver coming into these parts, in this latter Age, out of the Indies: And although the hire of Labourers did continually rise (when Money was raised), yet it did rise so much and no more, as its value was raised; but after the Discoverie of the Indies, you shall finde the price of the Laborers wages raised in Proportion far exceeding the raising of Moneys, and therefore, for my part, I am certainly perswaded that as long as the values of Moneys are raised, and the Indies do yield that abundance of Gold and Silver which they do, that both the hire of Labourers, and generally the price of all things, especially of things necessary for life, will rise, although for a year, two or three, through uncertain Accidents, sundry particulars may stand at a stay or abate: But that the hire of Labourers and Servants carrieth with it a resultance of the prices of all things generally necessary for a mans life: Besides, that Reason doth convince that there must be a convenient Proportion between their Wages and their Food and Raiment, the Wisdom of the Statute doth confirm it, which doth always direct the Rate of Labourers and Servants to be made with a regard of Prices of Victuals, Apparel, and other things necessary to their use. In the 25th year of Edward the Third, it was provided that in time of Hay-making, none should pay above one penny in the day; that for threshing of one Edition: current; Page: [60] quarter of Wheat or Rye, none should pay above 2½d., and for threshing of a quarter Oats, Barly, Beans and Pease, above one penny half penny; that a Master Carpenter shall have 3 pence, another Carpenter but 2d. a day; a Master free-Mason but 4 pence, a Tyler 3 pence; but either of their servants, a penny half penny: all this is in the Summer time, for in the Winter Wages lessened, and without meat or drink, or any other courtesie, and that in the Country, where Wheat was wont to be given, they shall take for the Bushel ten pence, or Wheat at the will of the Giver.*

In the Twelvth year of Richard the Second these Rates did still continue (so likewise the Money did still continue the same in goodness) but there was further added like wise a yearly rate for Servants wages; and there was allowed by the year for a Bailiff 13s. 4 pence, with a Livery: a Master Hind was rated at 10s. a Carter at 10s. a Shepheard at 10s. an Ox-heard or Cow-heard at 6s. 8d. a Driver of the Plough at 7s. at the most: and all these but the Bailiff, without cloathing or other courtesie. In the Thirteenth of Richard the Second, It was provided that the Justices of the Peace might rate the Daylabourers according to the dearth of Victuals, which seemed to have growth through some accidental Dearth, which then hapened: in the Thirteenth of Henry the Fourth there was raising of Moneys to about the 6th part more, by Advice in Parliament, but there was no new Rate for Servants Wages, until the sixth of Henry the Sixth, the price of things growing higher by reason of the raising of Moneys: It was provided by Statute that the Justices of the Peace might rate as well the Hire of day-labourers as the Wages of Servants, as they should find fit in the Sessions, notwithstanding the former Statute of the 25th of Edward the Third, and 12th of Rich. the Second, and notwithstanding the Money had not been raised above a sixth Edition: current; Page: [61] part, which I attribute to the great want of Servants and Laborers, the Kingdom being then exceedingly exhausted by the long continuance of the Wars in France: but in the 49th of Henry the Sixth Money was exceedingly raised, so as a pound of Sterling Gold made 22l. 10s. and a pound of Sterling Silver made 37s. 6d. which accounting Gold and Silver together was half as much more as they were valued, in the 25th of Edward the Third.

In the 11th of Henry the Seventh (c. 22) there was a new Statute for the rating of Servants wages and the hire of Day-laborers, which in a manner doth agree with the 23rd of Henry the Sixth: but I find this almost only difference between them, that by the 23rd of Henry the Sixth, the Meat and Drink of the Day-labourer is valued but three halfpence, but by the 11th of Henry the Seventh, it is valued at 2d., which correspondeth almost exactly with the raising of the Money in the 49th of Henry the Sixth, the Pound of sterling Gold being (then) brought from 16l. 13s. 4d. to 22l. 10s. 0. and the Silver from 30s. to 37s. 6d.: From the 11th of Henry the Seventh until the 6th of Henry the Eighth, there was no new Rate upon hire of Labourers or Servants wages: but that year there was a new Statute, which notwithstanding was little or nothing different in the Rates from the former, except in some Particulars which are not pertinent to this Inquiry.

So likewise hitherto did the value of the King’s Money remain the same, and so continued until the 18th of Henry the Eight, when the Commission was given for the Alteration of the Coins to Cardinal Wolsey, which brought in great Confusions among the values of Money, which together with the excessive quantities of Gold and Silver, which about those times began to be brought into Christendom out of the West-Indies, were the occasion that the Statutes for Labourers and Servants were no further observed because the prices of all things being much inhansed, Labourers and Servants could not live upon Edition: current; Page: [62] their Hire and Wages ordained by the Statute: and this is acknowledged in the Preamble of the Statute of the 5th of Q. Elizabeth (which is the next Statute for the rating of Servants and Labourers wages, after the 6th of Henry the Eigth) by which Statute all former Statutes for Labourers and Servants are repealed, and an exact Course set down how the Rates for the wages of Servants, and Hire of Labourers shall hereafter be set down by the Justices of Peace, in Sessions, having regard to the price of victuals, and other things for maintenance: so having thus deduced the Rates of Servants and Labourers from time to time. It remaineth now only that I examine some of the late Rates set down in the Counties Adjacent, and compare them with those of the 25th of Edward the Third, and 12th of Richard the Second, and that I do calculate how much these later Rates do exceed the Ancient: and deducting from the later Rates so much as the values of the Moneys of Gold and Silver hath been raised, which induceth rather a nominal than a real Increase of the price, it will follow, That whatsoever increase hath been more of the Rates, that it hath grown from the great quantities of Gold and Silver brought into Spain out of the Indies, within these Hundred years.

In the Statute of 25th of Edward the Third, the threshing of a Quarter of Wheat or Rye, is rated at ijd. ob. By the Rate, in Middlesex, of the 17th of King James, which is the last Rate made there, the Threshing of a quarter of Wheat is eighteen pence, which is above seven times as much as in the old Statute; the stone, either of Wheat or Rye in Essex by the rate now in force is 16d. which is above six for one, wherein it is to be observed that in that they shall give more: and yet we know that the Bushel, and consequently the Quarter in many of the remoter sheirs containeth half as much more as in these Counties near unto London. The threshing of a quarter of Barley, Oats, Pease, or Beans, by the Statute of 25th Edition: current; Page: [63] of Edw. the Third, is rated at 1½d. ob; but by the said Rate in Middlesex the quarter of Barley is rated at 10d. and Beans and Peas at nine pence, which, by a medium comes to be between six and seven times as much. And by the said rate in Essex they are rated at ten pence and eight pence which by a medium, comes to six times as much; and in this likewise the aforesaid Observation of the difference of the measure doth hold.

By the said Statute of 25th Edward III. it is provided that in time of Hay-making none shall pay above a penny for Hay-making, but by the said rate in Middlesex, the hire of a man a day for Hay-making is 10 pence, for a woman is viii pence, and by the same rate in Essex, the hire of a man is rated at xii pence, and the hire of a woman at ix pence, which, by the medium, is ten times as much as the old rate. By the said Statute of 25th Edward III. the work of a master-Carpenter is rated at iii pence a day, a second Carpenter ii pence, a Tyler iii pence, and the Servant of either of them one penny half penny, in the Summer time, without meat or drink or any other courtesie. By the said rate of Middlesex, (17th James I.) master Carpenters and Tylers are rated at xx pence a day, which accounteth to near seven times the old rate. The second sort of the said work-men at 16 pence a day, which amounteth unto 8 times the old; and Labourers of the best sort at 12 pence a day, of the second sort at ten pence a day, which, by medium, is neer eight times the old rate. By the said rate in Essex, Master-Carpenters and Tylers are rated at 16 pence a day, which is not six times the old rate, their Servants 12 pence, which is eight times the old rate.

It is said in the said Statute of 25th of Edward III. That in those Counties where Wheat was wont to be given for work, they should take ten pence for the Bushel, or Wheat at the will of the Giver, by which clause it appeareth that 10 pence was then a large price, even in Edition: current; Page: [64] those Counties where the Bushel was bigger, or else it had been a great Rigour to leave it to the will of the Giver.

By the Statute of the 12th Richard the Second, the yearly wages of a Bayliff was rated at thirteen shillings and four pence, and by the aforesaid rate in Essex the wages of a Bayliff is rated at three pounds three shillings and eight pence, which is (near) five times the old Rate. By the said Statute of 12 R. a master Hind is rated at ten shillings, a Carter at ten shillings, a Shepheard at ten shillings, an Ox-heard at six shillings and eight pence, a Cowheard at six shillings and eight pence. By the said Rate in Middlesex Carters are rated five pound wages, which is ten times the old rate. By the said rate in Middlesex the best sort of Plough-men, Carters, or Shepheards are rated at three pound. The second sort of Hinds and all Servants in Husbandry at two pound six shillings and eight pence, which amounteth in the first, to six times the old rate, and in the second to seven times the old rate; a woman labourer or Dairy woman by the said Statute at Six shillings. By the said rate in Middlesex, the best women servants are rated at forty shillings a year, the second sort at thirty three shillings and fourpence, which by medium amounts to six times the old rate, and somewhat more; and by the said rate in Essex, the best women are rated at thirty three shillings and four pence, the second sort at one pound six shillings and eight pence, which by a medium amounts to five times the old Rate.

And if any man shall object, That the present rates will not, generally through the whole Kingdome, hold thus high, though they are thus rated in the parts near adjoyning to London:

It may be answered. That by the old Statutes it was provided, that in no place any higher rates than these should be given; but they might give less, where less in former times had been used to be given.

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But on the other side it may be much more probably objected, That the rates are now greater than they are here set down, because it is not so strictly observed as it should be; whereas when the old Statutes were first made it is probable that the Rates were with the largest, and were more strictly observed than they now are: and although this computation of the wages and hire of Servants and Labourers be (as I conceive) the most certain way of comparison of the prices of all things between that time of King Edward the Third and this present; yet for Confirmation I will add unto it another Observation, wherein we shall find the same Proportion to hold in a Subject much more general, and therefore so exactly calculated. But therein I must appeal to the well grounded Judgment of my Reader, and that is that I will set down the entire receipts as I find them by undoubted Records of divers years of Edward the Third; and then I will briefly represent the actions of War in the said years, besides the ordinary expence within the Kingdom, and will appeal to the Judgment of the Reader, whether the said ordinary expence and the said actions of War could be now maintained, but by a Proportion so much larger as the rates of wages are now encreased, which I compute between six and eight times as much as they were in the 19th year of Edward the third.

The whole receipts of the Kingdom, as appeareth by the Pell of the Introitus amounted to 72,826 pound 11 shillings 5 pence; in that year the King sent over six hundred men of Arms, and six hundred Archers into Gascoign, under the Conduct of the Earl of Derby, and divers other great Lords, who gathering unto them the other Garrisons, did not only maintain a body of an Army in the field a great part of that year, but recovered divers Towns by Siege: all that year the King did likewise maintain some auxiliary forces of good importance, the Number is not set down, for the aid of the Duke of Brittany Edition: current; Page: [66] under the Command of Sir Thomas Dayworth. And that Year the King likewise made a voyage in great magnificence into Flanders, and continued there long in Treaty with Jacques van Arteveld and the Flemings, to withdraw them from the Homage of their Earl unto his Allegiance. The 20th year of Edward the Third, the whole Revenues of the Kingdom in the Pell, amounted to 154,139 pound, 17 shillings 5 pence. This year the same forces were maintain’d in Gascoign, which did freely ransack and spoil all Xaintong and Poitou, by the favour of the Kings great Victories elsewhere.

And in July the King went over in person, and landed in Normandy, and wasted a great part of that Province, and ransacked many of the principal Towns: his forces transported thereto, are by Hollingshead reckoned 4,000 men at Arms, and 10,000 Archers, besides a great Number of Footmen, but not defined. In the end of Summer he fought that famous Battel of Cressey; and in the beginning of Winter did set his Siege before Calais. This Year likewise was the King of Scots taken prisoner at the Battel of Durham, by the Queen: The 21st year of his Reign his Receipts amounted unto 226,113 pound, five shillings and five pence; almost all this year the King continued his Siege before Calais, having reinforced his Army, both out of England and Gascoign, and kept the Sea by his own Shipping and the Easterlings; and in the end of the year, notwithstanding that the King of France having assembled all his Puissance, sought to rescue it, the Town was yielded, and an English Colony transported thither, and Victuals besides; all this year the King continued his auxiliary forces in Brittany with great success.

Now if King Edward the Third had with his Revenue furnished out Money for these great actions of War, besides the Magnificence of his own house and other necessary expences of his Kingdom, I do appeal to the Judgment of the Reader whether the ordinary expences Edition: current; Page: [67] of the King’s house, and other necessary things within his Kingdom, and the like actions of War could be maintained (not speaking of the success) at this day with any frugality without any other increase of comings in, equal in Proportion to the increase of the hire of Labourers and Servants wages; which I compute at six times or rather at 8 times as much as then it was. And I am sure that whosoever shall exactly weigh all Circumstances, shall find that of the two, this latter comparison will exceed the former.

Having thus, with as much exactness as possible I can, and as I conceive is incident to this subject, made proof of the Proportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them, as it now stands compared with what it antiently was; and namely in the 25th year of Edward the Third; the next that I have undertaken to prove, is, that the different Proportion which is really grown between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them, doth principally and indeed solely arise of the great quantities of the said Mettals, which in these hundred years was brought out of the East and West-Indies. Now although there be many other causes which may produce this effect, as Scarcity or Abundance of the things valued by Money, War, Depopulation, and all other Accidents, by which, either these Mettals are exhausted, or the things valued by them are consumed or made less useful; yet, as before is shewed, all those are temporary and subject to continual variety up and down, and therefore cannot be the causes of a constant effect as this is. And, as for the continual raising of the values of Moneys, it is formerly shewed, that really that breeds no disproportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them; but only it breeds an alteration in the Proportion between the species of Money, so named, as Pounds, Crowns, Shillings, &c. and the things valued by them; and accordingly in the Examination of the Rates of the hire of Edition: current; Page: [68] Servants and Labourers, it might be observed that it punctually arises according to the raising of the value of Moneys, until the discovery of the West Indies, and the navigation of the East-Indies, which have brought in so great a glut of these mettals. There is no other constant cause to produce the real disproportion, but only the abundance of Gold and Silver, by which of necessity they must grow cheaper and abased in their value. A certain Author who wrote about the year 1620, doth calculate, that in the space of 100 year there was at that time brought into Spain and Portugal 900 Milions of Pezoes, worth six shillings and sixpence sterling a piece in Gold and Silver; which calculation doth seem to be excessive amounting to nine millions every year of Gold and Silver out of the Indies, of all which infinite Summ, not one jot did come into these parts in former times out of the West Indies, and very little or nothing out of the East: how is it then possible but that it must abase the value of the Mettals?

And if it be said that we waste this excessive supply in our excesses of Luxurie, as in Guildings, Embroideries, Inlayings, and the like, so as the mass of the said Mettals increaseth not; it is answered, That neither were former times exempt from those vanities; neither are they now sufficient to consume the greatest Proportion of this stock.

And if it be objected that the greatest part of the Stock is drayned away every year to the Eastern Countries:

It is answered, That this is only true of Silver; and yet the Silver cannot be so drained away, but that a great part doth remain in Europe. Now if the Rate of things valued by Money be six times as great as it was in 25th of Edward the Third, allowing the values of Moneys to be raised to treble what they then were by the same names, yet there will be a real Increase of a double Proportion, to what then was of Gold and Silver in weight and fineness, to things valued by them; and if the rate be Edition: current; Page: [69] raised to eight times what it then was, the real increase of the Proportion will be almost treble to what it then was.

To understand then whether this Kingdom be now of the same Wealth and Ability which then it was: We must find out whether there be now double or treble the quantity of Gold and Silver in weight and fineness in this Kingdom which then was, and whether the fruits and growing wealth of the Kingdom will produce double and almost treble the quantity of Gold, in weight and fineness, to what it then did. I am absolutely perswaded that we shall fail of it very much, of which the most certain and assured proof were to calculate for so many years together the quantity of Gold and Silver coined in those days; and then by a medium to compare it with so many years in these times; though this proof were not demonstrative, but probable.

But in those days the Mint was kept at Calais, as well as in the Tower, and much more of the Money of this Kingdom was coined there than here, the Records whereof are all lost and dissipated.

But that our Wealth doth not answer that increase of Proportion at this day, I will endeavour to satisfie the Reader by two Arguments; the one drawn from the Abundance or Scarcity of Gold and Silver; the other from an Effect of it.

For the first it is this, I have alwayes understood it to be observed by all men intelligent and practised in matters of Trade, that although all Commodities in general are raised in price, in comparison of what they antiently were, yet in general that our domestick Commodities are not raised answerable in proportion to Forrein. Now we have a very small quantity of Silver produced within our own Countrey, and of Gold none at all, so that the Stock of these Mettals is in a manner raised wholly out of the over-ballance of our domestick Commodities with forrein: if then ours do not rise in price from what antiently they Edition: current; Page: [70] did bear proportionable unto Forrein, it is a strong Argument to prove that our Stock of these Mettals does not increase in a Proportion answerable to the increase of the Price of other things valued by Money.

The second Argument is from the Effect; now one of the greatest Effects of the abundance of Gold and Silver, is, the Ability which the Kingdom hath to set forth and maintain great actions of War in forrein parts: then let us set forth before our eyes the many and great Armies which Edward the Third did raise and maintain both of Strangers and his own Subjects in the first year of his Warrs against France, and withal let us take into our consideration the Calculation made, in Anno by expert Commissioners, of the charge of one Army to be raised, transported, and maintained for one year, in Forrein Countries, 25,000 Foot and Horse, and proportionable Artillery, which doth account unto and then I doubt not but that every mans own Conscience will convince him that at this day the Kingdom is not able to maintain the like actions in forrein parts which then it did: and yet at that time there were forces maintained against Scotland; a great part of the Realm was imployed upon Monks and Friers improfitable members; besides the substance of a great part of the Wealth of the Kingdom (drawn of) by the See of Rome: and the trade of the Kingdom was in no comparison so great as it is now, and this is an undoubted Effect of this truth, That the increase of our stock of Gold and Silver is not in a Proportion answerable to the increase of the price of other things valued by Money; neither can there be any other analogical reason given of the present disability but this, That although that we do draw some drops of this Indian spring, whereof Spain is the Cistern, yet we do draw them at the second hand, we draw them upon hard terms and conditions, and we do not draw them neer in that Proportion as the prices of all things do arise upon our hands, by the great Edition: current; Page: [71] increase of those Mettals; and the consequence of this hath more advanced the affairs of Spain in these times than can be imagined, for that hereby all the other States of Europe have bin abated half in half. I will propound France for Example, which Kingdom notwithstanding draweth much more Money out of Spain than we do, by reason that the French consume little of the Spanish commodities, make the return of their own for a great part in Gold and Silver.

The Author of the Denier Royal undertaketh to prove that St. Lewis in France, who was contemporary with Henry the Third of England, whose whole Revenues in those days amounted not unto 300,000 French livres, did notwithstanding in Proportion to all things valued by Money, raise more out of his Kingdom than Lewis the thirteenth who now reigneth, and whose Revenue amounteth, unto 3,600,000 pound sterling.

And although he bringeth such Arguments and Authorities for his assertions, as for my part, I cannot see how they can be answered: yet the difference is so great that I could hardly assent to his Conclusion, were it not for this reason. In the time of St. Lewis, Provence, Dauphiny, Gascoign, Brittany and other parts were distracted from the Crown of France, and yet did he transport such Armies and maintain them so long in the Holy-Land, Egypt and Affrick, besides the payment of an excessive Ransom to the Mammalukes for his Liberty, as this present King was not able to do the like, though his Revenue were three times as much as it is, of which there can be no other cause answerable to the effect, but the excessive increase of the price of all things, more than the increase of Gold and Silver in the Kingdom. And if these Kingdoms of England and France are so much impaired in ability by this Means, how much more must those Kingdoms be disabled which are more remote, and draw these Edition: current; Page: [72] Mettals from Spain but at a second or third hand: I am perswaded that the consequence of this hath more advanced the affairs of Spain in these later times than the success of their Armys: neither can any other Remedy be propounded to this Mischief but one, which is to fetch these materials of Money from the fountain it self. And for my part I do confidently believe that future times will find no part of the Story of this Age so strange, as that all the other States of Europe have endured this ruinous Inconvenience with so great Indifference, or rather Stupidity, so long, and that they have not combined together to enforce a liberty of Trade in the West Indies; the restraint whereof is against all Justice, Trade being de Communi Jure an appendant of Peace, and against the Example of former Ages.

It is true, that the Romans who of all other Nations were most advantageous in their publick Contracts, did enjoyn the Carthaginians, that they should not sail beyond certain Promontaries with their vessels of War, but never debarred Commerce and Trade into any parts.

And the Muscovites and those of China, who forbid all Access unto Strangers into their Dominions, do notwithstanding permit all Fairs and Markets in their parts and entries of their Countries for commerce with other Nations, with whom they have no Capitulations of Peace.

But the Spaniards and Portugals do not only forbid all access and commerce to the West and East Indies within their Dominions, but do define and bound their Dominions, in a manner unheard of to all former Ages, and with an arrogancy more than humane; for whereas all other Nations, since the World began, have claimed and denominated their Dominions either from their own possession or the possession of their Ancestors, the Spaniards and Portugals, in a contrary way, draw certain imaginary Mathematical lines through Heaven and Earth, Edition: current; Page: [73] and claim for theirs all that lieth within the compass of these lines, as if they would incroach upon God in Heaven, as well as upon Men on Earth.

CHAP. XII.: Of the raising of the Price of Moneys by our Neighbours, and the defect of our not raising of our Moneys accordingly.

BOTH these Causes are assigned of the Rarity of Money, and are indeed the same, and do both stand and fall together, and both are assigned for causes of Exportation of our Gold and Silver, and for Impediments of the importation of these Materials unto us: For if it be true that our Neighbours by the raising of the price of their Moneys of Gold and Silver, do the more abound in Gold and Silver, it is true likewise, that if we do not raise ours in the same Proportion, we shall much less abound in the same Materials: And if it be true, that they by raising theirs do draw a greater quantity of Gold and Silver into their States, it is likewise true, that they do not only thereby withdraw from us that quantity of Gold and Silver, which would otherwise be imported unto us, but they do facilitate the exportation from us, of that whereof we are already possessed: But, on the contrary, if these Positions be not true, then all the Consequences inferred upon them are not true likewise; Now because almost all the deliberations in matters of Money do resort to the one or the other side of this main Question, Whether the raising of the price of Moneys doth really and stably increase the abundance of Money in any State, or if it do increase the quantity, whether that increase be not more prejudicial than beneficial to the Commonwealth? I intend to handle this Question, and all the incidents pertaining to it, as exactly as I can. And

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First I purpose to set down the benefits that do grow to the State by the raising of the Moneys, and the Prejudices that do grow by the not raising of Moneys: And then I intend to set down the Benefits that do grow by the not raising of Money, and the Prejudices that do grow by the raising of Money: Then I purpose to examine, and to answer, or allow the Reasons made on both sides.

And lastly, I intend to set down what Remedies have been propounded for the avoiding of all Inconveniences which may grow to the State either by the raising or not raising of Moneys, or both of them, and to examine the same: And here I must again require an extraordinary Patience and Attention in the Reader, because that upon the hinges of this Question, the whole Mystery of the Government and ordering of Moneys in the Common-wealth is moved, and the question it self is very intricate and perplexed, and the Reasons alledged on both sides are full of Subtilty.

CHAP. XIII.: Of the Benefits which do grow unto the State by the raising of Moneys, and the Prejudices which do by not raising of it.

THEY which propound to have our Moneys of Gold and Silver raised to a parity at the least with other Nations in general, have their aim and scope but upon one only Benefit to redound thereby to the Common-wealth, which is, the encrease of Money and the Materials thereof; but with that there are many other important Benefits concurring; as.

First, The encrease of Trade and Manufactures, which are always best managed, where Money doth most abound. The venting of domestical Commodities, for that if our Edition: current; Page: [75] own Moneys be as high in value, as those of other Nations, our own Commodities must be vented with them whether we have need of their Commodities, or they have need of ours; because there will be no Profit to fetch their Commodities with our Moneys: and again, the raising of our Moneys doth make Commodities vented in other parts at an higher price; because, when our Neighbours do raise their Moneys, they do still hold in common estimation that Proportion in value to our Moneys, which they held before they were raised, though in Intrinsical value they want so much thereof as they are raised, by which means our Commodities being sold for the same Rates which they were sold for before, are sold for so much less as the Intrinsical value is impaired: But if our Moneys were likewise raised, then our Merchants must of necessity sell our Commodities at higher Rates in name than they did before, or else they should not make their Reckonings. The abundance likewise of Money doth enable Tenants the better to pay their Rents, and all men in general to keep up and maintain their Credits, and to pay all publick Charges and Contributions; and these Benefits may suffice in general without specifying many others, which have concurrency with these or consequently from them.

And for the Prejudices, which do grow by the not raising of our Moneys in a parity to other Nations, they are easily expressed by these, for admitting these Benefits to grow by the raising of Money, the Prejudices which will grow by the not raising of them, will be the contrary to these.

But the main knot of the business is to prove, that the raising of Moneys doth really encrease the quantity of Money in any State, or doth preserve it from diminution. For that they do alledge these reasons:

First, The Practice of all antiquity, in all States whatsoever, which could not possibly fall out except there were Edition: current; Page: [76] found an inevitable necessity to raise themselves to a parity with their Neighbours, of which the Examples are laid down in the former part of this Treatise; but specially that of the thirteenth of Henry the Fourth is very pregnant, where, by advice of Parliament, Money was raised, the reason being alledged, That for want of raising it, the Realm was impoverished and exhausted of Money.

A second Reason which they alledge is the general and constant observation, that when Moneys are raised they grow plentiful, whereof we do see with our eyes an evident demonstration in this Kingdom, for that Gold having been raised in price of late years is grown much more plentiful than it was in the days of Queen Elizabeth: but the Silver having not been raised in Proportion, is grown very scant and rare in respect of the abundance which was then seen.

But these are rather Authorities and Observations than Reasons; but the main Reason whereon the maintainers of this side do stand is this, When your Money is richer in substance and lower in price than that of your Neighbour Nations, as our Silver is than the Silver in the Low-Countries, how can you expect that the Merchant, who only seeketh his profit, will ever bring hither any Silver, when he can sell it in the Low Countries at a higher Rate, and make more money of it here by returning of it from thence hither, or by Exchange, or by Commodities? or, if any Merchant do bring Silver hither, it is to sell it to such who will give a higher rate for it, than can be produced at the Mint, as the price of our Silver Coins now stands; in which manner although there be much brought over, yet being sold in that sort, it is not only directly against the Law but turns to no use of the Common-wealth.

And again, whatsoever laws are made against Transportation of our Moneys, if our Silver be so rich as the Merchant by transporting it into the Low-Countries, or elsewhere, can make profit by returning it in Commodities, Edition: current; Page: [77] or by Exchange; or that, which is yet more clear and evident, by returning it in Gold, must not our Silver be inevitably exhausted? And certainly these Reasons seem to me so evident to sence and apprehension, that instead of propounding the Arguments I should resolve the Question, if the reasons on the other side did not appear at the least as cleer and strong as these, to which I will now proceed.

CHAP. XIV.: The benefits which do grow to the State by the not raising of Money, and the Prejudices which do grow by the raising of it.

THE Benefit which groweth to the State by the not raising of money, is only this, To avoid alteration: But the Prejudices which are alledged to grow by the raising of it, are many;

First, by the Injustice and Oppression which all they undergo who contract for Money current, at the time of the Contract, and are after paid with extream Disadvantage in other Money really less in value, though in Name the same: and although to this it be said, The Creditor is not interested herein, because he paieth away the Money which he receiveth at the same rate he received it; yet that answer is not satisfactory, because admitting this Position for true, That when the Intrinsical value is diminished, the Price of things bought with Money doth rise in Proportion, the Creditor when he paieth out his Money at the same rate, at which he received it cannot notwithstanding with it buy the same Commodities, which he might have bought with the Money, for which he contracted, and consequently is diminished so much thereby, as the price of things is raised.

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And although I did in a former Chapter shew, That the price of things doth rise by experience, as the value of Money is raised, yet because the Truth or Falsehood of this Position doth mainly import all the Deliberations incident to this subject of Money, as I have formerly observed in some Experiments where it did so fall out; so I will now set down the Reasons, why of necessity it must be so, One reason is this:

When the Merchant stranger brings his Commodities, whether he intends to make his return in Moneys or in Commodities, he maketh his own sale by the measure of the Money here, and then examines how much this Money will amount to in the Moneys of his own Countrey, where he bought his Commodities; and if he find the Money here diminished in intrinsical value, he must then demand so much the higher price, or else he cannot make his Accompt.

One other Reason is this, when the extrinsical value of the Money is raised, by which the intrinsical is abased, there is then so much the more profit to return Money into the Kingdom, instead of Forrein Commodities; and by daily experience it is seen that more is returned when the price of Money is raised. Now it is manifest that the less importation you have of forrein Commodities the price of them is so much the more: and both these Reasons do shew, and Experience it self doth confirm, that when Money is raised, the price of forrein Commodities doth first rise: And the price of forrein being once raised, the price of Domestick Commodities will of necessitie be raised also; for the price of forrein Commodities will make great plenty of them to be imported, and the high price of Money will inforce that they must be returned in domestick Commodities: By which means domestick Commodities being much sought for, will of necessity be raised in price, and, the price of both these being raised, it follows that the rate of all mens sallaries and hire of Edition: current; Page: [79] Labourers and Endeavorers must rise in Proportion, or else men shall be forced to defer their Trades and Endeavours, and then the scarcity will encrease the price. By these means it comes to pass, by the raising of Money, that all those who have contracted for antient Rights and Rents are prejudiced, and such as have Rights and Rents settled in perpetuity, can never receive help in this case; and therefore in divers other Countries, there have been very many famous Judgments giv’n in this case, and great volumes written by the Civilians, to prove that the Rents which they call feodats and fanniers, penalties and amercements, which are set down uncertain, ought to be paied according to the value of the Moneys then Current when the said Rents and Penalties were established; and if we do examine it, we shall find it, that much the greatest part of the Common-wealth is prejudiced whensoever Money is raised.

First, all those who have let Leases of their lands. Then all such as live upon Pensions and Wages.

All those that live by their professions either Civil or Military.

All those that live by Trade or Handy crafts, or Labourers. And although it be true when the Leases do come out, the Lords may recompence themselves, and that when the hire and salaries of several professions and endeavorers shall be raised, (as I have showed) that of necessity in time it must come to pass, that Prejudice doth cease unto them, yet in mean time they suffer. But the King who is head of the Common-wealth, and whose Revenue is only truly publick, doth of all suffer most, and most irreparably: Colledges are helped by the Stat. of Corn, and other Corporations do in some sort repair themselves by the fines they take. But the King’s Revenue, which of necessity is managed by multitude of Officers, doth perpetually diminish, as much as the price of Money is raised, so as the same lands yield, in name the same Edition: current; Page: [80] Revenue to the King which they did in Edward the Thirds time, but in truth not the third part: and besides much of his Revenue is assessed by the Parliament by prescription to a certain Summ, all which doth continually diminish so much as the price of Money riseth.

One other Mischief that groweth by the raising of Money is this, When you do so raise your Money, as that you do give a greater price than before unto the Merchant, yo do conceive that he is thereby the rather allured to bring the Materials of Money to your Mint, and so withdraw them from other Nations. But if other nations find that, they will raise the price of their Money likewise, and then what shall you get by raising of yours? or if you raise upon them again, there will be no period to rest in, but you shall continually sow Confusion, until you be constrained to abolish your coins and invent new species, and new measures of weight and fineness, or else with infinite loss to the people, to bring the price back again to an ancient standard.

One other Mischief that groweth by the raising of Money is this, a very great part of the Gold which cometh into Europe, and almost all the Silver doth first aboard in Spain: so that when you raise the price of these mettals, you raise the proper commodities of Spain, and by that means you encrease the greatness and power of that King, of whose greatness and power, of all others, you have cause to be most jealous and apprehensive: And again, in a Kingdom as this is, which hath more Commodities to vent into Forrein parts than it hath occasion to consume of Forrein Commodities, and which hath no materials of Money, as this hath not in any considerable quantity, but must have all their Gold and Silver supplied by the return of their Commodities, as ours is, it is most expedient to keep the price of Money as low as may be, to the end your Commodities may return you the greater quantity of these materials in fineness and weight.

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As for Example, If you should raise the ounce of sterling standard to six shillings; then the Real of eight would be worth near hand six shillings likewise; would it not then follow of Necessity, that you should have by so much the fewer of them in number, for the return of your Commodities? And the like may be said of Gold.

Lastly, when you raise your Money, it bringeth a great confusion.

First, by giving stop and hindrance to Trade and Commerce, all men being fearful and doubtful how to make their Contracts and Exchanges, until there be a settlement by time.

And again, if you coin new species of less intrinsical value than the old either in weight or fineness, or both, there is danger of melting or exporting the old; if you raise the price of the old species, you introduce Fractions and Confusions in reckoning, and do many times inforce him that pays to give more than he intends, especially in reward and gratifications and fees, which are more exactly defined.

CHAP. XV.: Examinations of the Reasons for the raising of Money.

THE first Reason for the raising of Money, is the practise of Antiquity: it is true, as I have shewed before, that the Grecians and the Romans did successively raise the values of their Moneys, but it was not to draw thereby the materials of Money from other States unto theirs; but to supply the State, by that means on great and desperate Necessities, of the Wages thereof; and of the advantage, or disadvantage growing thereby to the Common-wealth, I intend to speak hereafter.

But this invention of raising of Money to draw a quantity of Gold and Silver from your Neighbours, or to preserve Edition: current; Page: [82] our own from being exhausted, is a conceit unknown to the ancient world, and introduced long since the decay of the Roman Empire; when as those Monarchies that are now settled in Europe, by succession from those Northern Nations, which did over-throw the antient Roman Empire, having together with many other necessary Arts, lost the knowledge and orders of the Mint, were fain to use the Subtilty and Industry of the Jews, and those of Genoa and Lucca (who did succeed the Jews in this Trade) for the coining of their Moneys, who for their own Advantage did (by subtil and specious Reasons many times by a seeming and not considerable Profit as Projectors use to do) allure Princes to make unnecessary alterations in their Moneys, from whence this Art of robbing Gold and Silver from one state to another is grown.

And therefore I will speak no more concerning the practise of Antiquity, but will examine the other Reasons: as for the second Reason, which is the Observation, that since King James raised the Gold so much as he did, Gold is grown much more plentiful in the Kingdom than it was before, but Silver having not been raised in Proportion is grown much more scant and rare:—

It is confessed that the Observation is true in this, that whensoever you raise the Material of (one sort of) Money, that material will encrease, and the other will grow scanty in Proportion. And what doth the Commonwealth gain by that, if there be more Gold now than heretofore, if there be less Silver in Proportion? But it is denied, That if you raise equally both the materials of Money, that then either of them will ever a whit the more abound; and this reason is given for it, Whatsoever the value of Money be in other Countreys, they will spend no more of your Commodities than they have use for: if so, the over-value of your (exported) Commodities must of necessity be returned to you either in Gold or Silver, whatsoever the value of them be, high or low: or suppose that, by reason of the low value Edition: current; Page: [83] of Gold and Silver in respect of their price in other parts, the Merchants do forbear the return of the over-values of your Commodities in those Materials, and do choose rather to return Forrein Commodities more than you can vent; this may fall out thus for one year, but two or three or more years, it is impossible it can hold, for that the Merchant should have these Forrein Commodities which are not consumed perish in his hands. And this Reason doth likewise answer.

The third Argument made for the raising of Money which is, That if you do not raise your Money to a parity with your Neighbours, the Merchant, who always seeks his profit, wil carry his materials of Gold and Silver, where he may have most for them; for if this reason stand good, the Merchant shall be constrained to bring his Gold and Silver hither, what price soever they bear.

But because this reason seems so evident and unanswerable in the Judgment of many, and that if it stand good, it doth absolutely confute the practise of all the States of Europe, who have continued many years raising of the values of their Moneys, upon this ground, To attract thereby greater quantities of Gold and Silver.

I intend to make a more strict Examination of this Reason.

And first for a most clear understanding of the Case, Let us suppose that all the Commodities, any way exported out of this Kingdom in one year, be worth one Million of pounds sterling, and that the Commodities imported, be worth but 900,000 pound, and that this Proportion, or near thereabouts, be constant; Then of Necessity, it follows, That an hundred thousand pounds must be brought in in Gold and Silver, what price soever Money bear.

But if it shall appear that the Low values of our Money doth cause the Kingdom to vent more forrein Commodities than otherwise it would vent; and, that where otherwise it would vent 900,000 pound, the Low values of Money Edition: current; Page: [84] cause it to vent a Million or more: then is the force of this argument lost; and it follows, That the low values are the cause why the Materials of Gold and Silver, or less of them than otherwise would do, come not in.

Now then this may come to pass several ways, First, If the value of your Moneys be so low as the Merchant shall lose by bringing you Gold and Silver, he will rather return you forrein Commodities, though he sell them as cheap as he bought them, and so gain nothing by them, than bring you Gold and Silver by which he shall loose.

As for Example, the Merchant trading into Muscovia, will rather return his Cloth in Furr, or in Silk of Persia, though he sell them as cheap as he bought them there, than in Silver and Gold, by which he shall loose the fourth part. Now the cheapness of forrein Commodities makes the greater quantity of them to be spent, as we see of Calico’s, of which few or none were heretofore vented in this Kingdom, the cheapness of them making greater Quantities of them to be spent.

And again, the Lowness of the values of Money may cause a greater Proportion of Forrein Commodities to be consumed, though not in quantity, yet in value.

As for Example, Though the Lowness of the value of Money should not make a greater quantity of Silver to be spent in England, than otherwise would be, yet it would make a greater Proportion in value to be spent, by reason that the Merchant, who in the return of his Commodities brings such a quantity of Silk as he judgeth may be vented here, if he find an over value of his Commodities exported, to those he doth import, he will rather, instead of raw Silks, return Silks manufactured, to equal the over-value by which he may save himself, than return the over-value in Gold and Silver by which he shall loose. As if our Gold were as our Silver in prices, by which the Turkey Merchant shall loose as much by bringing Gold from thence, as he should if he brought Silver, is it not Edition: current; Page: [85] manifest, that instead of Gold, which he now brings with his raw Silk, in return of his Commodities, he would carry both Gold and Silk into Italy, and imploy them in manufactured Silks, though he should sell them here almost as cheap as he bought them, rather than return the over-value in Gold, by which he should loose? And so though the same Proportion in quantity were vented here in Silk, yet a greater Proportion in value would be vented.

As the same may be said of divers other Commodities: and for confirmation of this, it is to be observed, That from Italy, France and the Low Countries, and the East Indies, in all which places the values of Moneys are as high or higher than with us, we draw hardly any Commodities but fully manufactured, and they receive none of our Commodities but either not manufactured at all, or, but so much manufactured as the Severity and Penalty of the Laws do otherwise prohibit to be exported: But in Spain where the Moneys are yet of a lower value than with us, it is clean contrary.

And although it may be Objected that that this Observation doth not hold in Turky and Muscovie, though in Turky the Silver, and in Muscovie both Gold and Silver be much higher valued than here in England;

To that it may be answered, That these barbarous Countries receive our Manufactures by Necessity, because they afford none of their own.

CHAP. XVI.: Examinations of the Reasons for the not raising of Money.

THE first and main Reason against the raising of Money, is, The INJUSTICE and OPPRESSION done to all those, who are in place of Creditors to receive, all which are forced to receive less in Intrinsical value than is due unto them, and less in faculty and extent to supply their own uses. To which reason I never understood any Edition: current; Page: [86] answer made that could have examination but only this: That however the Creditors do receive less in intrinsical value, and less in faculty and extent, to supplie their use by reason that as the Extrinsical value of the Money is raised, the price of the things do likewise rise with it, yet that price doth not rise but by degrees and time, in which time all these Creditors by renewing their Contracts do repair themselves, some sooner, some later, according to the state of their Contracts. But then it is manifest that all those who have any Rents or other Rights which are defined to a certain sum in perpetuity, and the King for the best part of his Revenue are extreamly damnified by the raising of Moneys without Repair, except there should a Law be made that all those kind of payments should be payable according to the values of Money current when they were first created, which, though it were an innovation full of Danger and Confusion, and Impracticable in this State, yet it seemeth to have a foundation in Justice.

A second Reason, made against the raising of Money, is this, If you do raise your Moneys out of the Misconceipt to draw you more Gold and Silver, the other Nations out of the same Misconceipt will raise the Money likewise; and so deprive you of your end: but to this reason it may be answered, That we ought not to raise our Moneys above our Neighbours, but only to a parity with them, and then if they be obstinate to out raise us, we must rather undergo the Prejudice of a continual raising to a parity, thereby to keep our own, than to suffer other Nations by imparity to rob us of what we have: so as this Argument in effect, doth resort to that, which was formerly disputed, whether truly and constantly more Gold and Silver be brought in by the raising of Money.

The two Arguments that follow against the raising of Money will both receive one clear answer.

The First, That in raising of Money you raise the King of Spain’s Commodities, and consequently enrich him.

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The Second, That by raising of Money, you have less Silver and Gold out of Spain in Intrinsical value for your Commodities, the answer thereunto is very plain and clear, which is this, That if the Position formerly laid down be true, which is, That as the value of Money is raised, so the price of Commodities riseth with it, Then it follows that neither the King of Spain shall be enriched by the raising of Money, because the Commodities for which he parts with his Money unto us, shall rise likewise in price, nor shall we receive less of his Money in Intrinsical value for our Commodities, because the Extrinsical value is raised, that our Commodities will rise likewise so much the more in Extrinsical value.

To the last Argument, of the Confusion which the raising of Money doth bring both by the stopp of Commerce at the present, and the fractions of Reckonings, it is answered, That no alteration in this Subject of Money is without Inconvenience; But if the position be true, that raising of Money is necessary to preserve that which we have, and to bring in more; then are those petty Inconveniences little considerable: and thus I have examined as strictly as I can the Reasons alledged on both sides for the raising and not raising of Moneys; but leave the Reader to his own Conclusion.

I do now come to the Remedies, that by curious search I could ever learn to have been propounded either in this Estate or any forrein Estates, for the Inconveniences that may grow either by raising of Money, or not raising, or both of them, which I do mean likewise to examine, and shew as near as I can, the Difficulties that may grow in settling of the several Remedies propounded, and the evil Consequences that might grow of them, if they were settled, and that so the Reader may more clearly judge which is the best: for which purpose I intend to begin with the Plainest and most easie, to the end that the more intricate may afterwards be better comprehended.

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CHAP. XVII.: Of Contracting with forrein Nations by Ambassadors to keep their Moneys at a certain standard.

AMONGST all the Remedies propounded against the Alterations of Moneys there is none more specious than this, nor more frequent in mention, both in provisionall Edicts, which are made for the Reformation of Moneys, and in Considerations held for the purpose, for it is said to advance it: That if we contract with other Nations for a certain and stable standard of Moneys which may be equal, than we shall avoid all the Inconveniences that do grow by the raising of Moneys, because we shall never raise them; and we shall avoid all the Inconveniences that do grow by the not raising of Moneys, because other Nations shall not raise theirs. Besides for this Remedy there is alledged the example of former Ages, wherein it appears that in many Treaties with forrein Nations our Kings did contract for the mutual standard of their Moneys.

But however the Propositions be specious and frequent, yet, of all other Remedies, if it be throughly examined, it will appear the most difficult, or rather impossible, to be effected; and if it were effected, it would turn to no use, for thus stands the state of this business, Almost all the Silver which is now drawn out of the Earth, cometh from the West Indies, all which intirely aboardeth first in Spain, whence it is dispersed into other Countries Eastward; which do draw it unto them by setting an higher price upon it: for, as if there were no Cloth in all the World but in England, no other Country could have Cloth except they did pay dearer for it than in England; and by so much dearer by how much it were more remote from England, because to the original price, there must of necessitie be added an increase in regard of the time, the charge, and hazard of transporting it: so fares it with Edition: current; Page: [89] Silver, that all Countries which will draw from Spain, do necessarily set a greater price upon it, by how much they are more remote from thence, and this is the Reason why the sphear of Silver seemeth to roll from the West to the East, until it come unto him, where it seemeth to fall into a Gulph. But of Gold it is not so, because that comes in as great abundance from the East as from the West.

Now then it were a great Prejudice for England and France to contract with Spain for a certain standard of Silver, except they could likewise contract for the same standard with the Low-Countries, and Italy, who draw part of their Silver from them, as they draw theirs from Spain; for otherwise, they should give a stop to the coming in of their Silver, and should leave the issue of it open. Nor would Turkey contract, unless they could also contract with Persia for the same, where Silver is yet higher than in Turkey, and so forward into China; neither would the Low-Countrie men contract, except they could contract for the same with the Hanse Towns, where Silver is higher than in the Low Countries; neither would the Hanse Towns contract, except they could contract for the same with Prussia and Poland; neither would they of Poland contract, except they could contract with Muscovie; neither would Muscovie contract, except they could contract with Persia; and so forward in all such places Silver is still at an higher and higher rate.

But suppose it was possible to draw all those Countries to a certain contract, what would be the use of it? I did in a former Chapter observe that most Countries, and particularly France and the Low Countries do seldome or never raise their Moneys: But when People by Custom and general Use have raised the Money before hand, beyond the Publick Declaration, and the State is forced to follow the People whom in this Case they do not master, to Edition: current; Page: [90] what end is it then to contract with those Nations for that which is not in their Power to observe? And that which is alledged for the course of contracting, with forrein Nations, out of the example of former times, doth clearly convince the vanity of this proposition, for it is manifest, as I have shewed in the former Chapters that notwithstanding these Contracts, the Money was continually from time to time raised.

CHAP. XVIII.: Of the Ordaining of solid Payments.

SOLID payments are meant where Contracts are made for payment of so many solid species of Money, or of so many double Pistoles, or so many French-Crowns, or so many English Angels, or Soveraigns or Shillings, and therefore termed solid payments, because they are restrained to those solid species which are contracted for, and do never alter in payment although the value of the species should alter; as however the value of Angels or Soveraigns which were coined for ten shillings, be raised to eleven shillings; yet he which hath contracted to pay so many Angels or Soveraigns shall pay never awhit the less in number, because their value is raised, and so in the other species of French Crowns and Pistoles: But he that made a contract when Angels and Soveraigns were valued at ten shillings, to be paid, at such a day to come, one hundred pounds, before which day the value of Angels or Soveraigns was raised to eleven shillings; whereas he should be paid at the time of his contract for one hundred pounds sterling, two hundred Angels or Soveraigns, he shall now be paid but one hundred fourscore and one Angels or Soveraigns and nine shillings, because the sum of a pound sterling is not restrained to any solid species, but is rather imaginary and abstracted from the matter Edition: current; Page: [91] guided according to the uncertain valuation of the species of Money, wherein the payment is made.

This Proposition of ordaining all contracts for payments to be restrained to solid species of Money, hath bin often agitated in France, as a soveraign Remedy against the main inconveniences which do arise in this subject of Money, for the discussing of the truth and efficacie of which proposition, it will be necessarie to relate the success thereof in that Kingdom, in the years 1575 and 1576.

The people in France, contrary to the King’s Ordinance, and in despight of all Remedies which could be thought of to prevent it, had raised both the Gold and Silver so excessively, as a French Crown in Gold was valued at seven livres and an half, and at eight livres, a Livre in France being the tenth part of a pound sterling, and is an abstracted sum consisting of twenty sols, as our pound sterling doth consist of twenty shillings, there being no certain species of Money called a Livre, and according to the value of Gold, their Silver likewise was overvalued, and the species of forrein Coins both of Gold and Silver were current likewise at the like values in proportion; by means whereof it is hardly credible what quantities of Gold and Silver, both of Forrein and Domestick Coins that Countrie did then abound with. But their Base money which was not raised in proportion to the Gold and Silver, and did really contain in Intrinsical value much more than the Gold and Silver Coins, in proportion to the value at which they were current, was for the most part either transported or secretly melted down to extract the Silver thereout.

And if this had been all the Inconvenience, they would never have complained; but in consequence of this, the prices of all things did rise so excessively, that all such who lived upon Pensions, or Wages, or Fees, or antient Rents did manifestly see themselves unable to subsist: but above all, the King was most heavily prejudiced, so Edition: current; Page: [92] as it was like to grow to some great Confusion in that State.

Hereupon in the year 1577, there was a new Ordinance made, treated and published with the greatest deliberation and solemnity that ever any Edict was of this kind in France. And first the French Crown, weighing 2 deniers and 15 grains, after the French weight, and 23 Carrats fine, from eight livres was reduced to the value of sixty Sols, which is equal to three livres; and all the pieces of Silver of French coins, were reduced to a value answerable to that, the sols likewise, and other base Money coined proportionable thereunto, and to the end they might never be again raised by the People to an higher value.

First, All forrein coins both Gold and Silver, except Pistollets and Doublons of Spain were upon great penalties forbidden to be brought in otherwise then as Bullion, and made incurrent. Then there were very severe Prohibitions made that no man should afterwards make Contracts of payment in livres or any other abstracted sums, but only in the solid species of Crowns: And to the end that payment might be made as well in Silver as in Gold, there were in Silver coined quarter-Crowns, and half quarter-Crowns, and the other species of Silver already extant were valued proportionable to them, only sixty sols were made equal to a Crown, which held no proportion with a Crown either in name or in intrinsical value, by reason, that in the sols and other base Money, the Copper with which they are allayed is valued, and there is a much greater charge laid on the coinage of them than of other Moneys: yet notwithstanding it is very strange, how well this Edict did keep the people of France in order for three or four and twenty years, so as in all that time, the value of the Gold nor Silver was never raised.

But by degrees they did find that the Kingdom grew drained of that great quantity of Gold and Silver with which it formerly abounded, and their Commerce and Edition: current; Page: [93] Trade did visibly decay; they found themselves full of forrein Manufactures, but their own Manufactures had ill vent, and at length the people, notwithstanding the Prohibition, began to take Forrein coins as current, and received both them and their coins, at a higher value than the King’s Edict did admit, so as in the year 1602 their complaint grew as loud and as sharp as in the year 1577, though of a cleer contrary condition, and there grew new consultations and enquiries into the Remedies of these Inconveniences.

Many who were very much taken with the former Edict of 1577, did advise that the same Edict should be more rigidly maintained, and that all forrein coins should be absolutely banished, and that the former Edict might be now reformed in that only point, which was deficient (viz.) That the Sols might either be coined of purer Silver, or if they did remain of the former Allay, that the King would so dispose of the charge of the Allay and coinage as they might answer in their Intrinsical value to the Gold and the Silver; and that for the remedy of the Penury of Money, strict sumptuary Laws might be put in practise against Forrein Manufactures, and superfluous Commodities.

But against this it was objected, That now they found by experience the effect of the former Edict of 1577, and this addition of sumptuary Laws would give little help, because the licence of the times and difficulties in the thing it self were such as they would never be put in execution.

In Conclusion a new Edict was set forth in Anno 1602. by which the Contracts in the solid species in Crowns were abolished and the Contracts in Livres again authorised. The Crown in Gold was valued at three Livres and four sols, and all forrein coins were made current in a proportionable rate: and upon it ensued that the people did every day raise the price of all Gold both forrein and domestick higher and higher by degrees, so as in the year 1614, the King by his Edict was enforced to make good Edition: current; Page: [94] the raising of the people, and to set a value upon the French Crown, of 3 Livres and 15 sols, which is seven shillings and six pence sterling, and yet still the people raised it higher, and all other Gold in proportion, which hath yet this further Inconvenience with it, That being raised by degrees, they cannot raise the Silver together with it, so as in time it will breed so great a Disproportion between the Silver and the Gold as they will have little Silver left; and that such as through the exceeding lightness cannot with profit be made away.

I shall not now need to speak any more of the Inconveniences which may grow by ordaining of solid payments because they have been sufficiently expressed in the relation of these proceedings in France. But I will only add this, that there is no true soliditie in payments, but to contract for so much in weight and so much in fineness, for if you should ordain all payments to be made in such or such species of Money, it is true that the raising of those species of Money could breed no alteration in your payments: but suppose the Prince should coin these species, either baser in Allay or lighter in weight, then should your payment be subject to the same alteration as if you had contracted for abstracted sums.

CHAP. XIX.: Of equalizing the Exchange.

THE Author of Lex Mercatoriæ doth hold, That in those Countries where great Banks are kept, the Bankers do by their Arts and Subtilties by the inequalitie of the Exchange, draw away the Gold and Silver out of other Countries: as for Example; In Holland, suppose a man were by Exchange to make over 100 pound sterling thither out of England, The Exchange, saith he, is such Edition: current; Page: [95] when it is at most advantage for England, by the practise and subtilties of the Banker, as you shall receive for your hundred pound there, less in intrinsical value than you gave; and if you make over a hundred pound out of Holland into England by Exchange you shall receive more in Intrinsical value than you gave. And if this Position absolutely be true, as that the contrary doth rarely or seldom happen, it necessarily follows, That it is more advantage to carry over your Money thither in specie, than to make it over by exchange, and it is more advantage to make over your Money thence by exchange than to bring it over in specie.

But (saith he) if it be effectually ordained, That no man shall give his Money here, to receive less in intrinsical value there by Exchange; and that no man shall give his Money there, to receive more in intrinsical value here by Exchange: it is plain, That no man shall have his Advantage to carry his Money thither in specie, nor no man shall have his Disadvantage to bring his Money thence in specie: and if the same course be observed in all places and at all times, let other Nations use what they please to raise or abase the values of their Money, they shall never prejudice the Kingdom by it.

I have abstracted this Proportion in the plainest manner I could, and purposely omitted to name the sums of the Exchange, to avoid all Question about more or less, and all obscurity: and certainly it carrieth with it a great appearance of Reason; neither do I find any strength in that Objection which is most pressed against it, That this equallity cannot be made with other countries, by Reason that a great part of the Payments is made in Base money; for, if Base money be so current, as for it you may have so much purer Money as will answer the intrinsical value required for the Sum to be paid by Exchange, that Objection will fall: if it be not so current, you may except against the Payment.

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But yet this Proposition, if it be narrowly examined will be found subject to great Exceptions.

And first, The Difficulty, I may say almost, the Impossibility of putting it in Execution is apparent, for although the intrinsical value be the principal Rule by which Exchanges are squared, yet there are many other Circumstances which do vary and alter the Exchange, and this is for a main one; That when there is much Money to be returned to one place by an Accident unlookt for, you shall (not) find Takers in Proportion, except what they make by the price of Exchange do invite them: if then you will force men alwayes to give and take by Exchange at one rate, when through accident there shall want Takers, you will force the Giver to supply his Necessity, to send his Money in specie, and so that which is propounded for a Remedy of Exportation shall turn to a greater Exportation.

But suppose this Difficulty could be overcome, yet would it not suffice to hinder Exportation; for, if in other Countries, they should value your Money higher than their own, as in this Discourse there are formerly Instances set down, of English Money higher valued than their own, in France, in the Low-Countries, and at Francford Mart: he then which at these times would have made over Money by Exchange into those Parts, by this Proposition, should have had but the intrinsical value in Money of these Countries; but he that had carried his Money over in specie, would have had more than the intrinsical value.

Lastly, It is to be considered, That all Countries that do raise little or no Materials within themselves, (which is our Case in England) must not be so careful to hinder Exportation of the Materials, as to provide for Importation for them; What Fruit then shall we receive by this Equality of Exchange, (admitting that it might be made, and that it would hinder the Exportation) if it should be Edition: current; Page: [97] recompenced by the same Degree of Impediment, which it would give to the Importation, which would necessarily follow upon it; as for Instance, If the Equality of Exchange will give impediment to transport Silver out of England into Holland, will not the same equality of Exchange give the same degree of Impediment to import Silver out of Spain into England? Certainly in all appearance it must.

CHAP. XX.: Of Reducing Moneys to the Lowness of Ancient Values.

SOME are of Opinion, that the best course to remedy all Inconveniences in Matters of Money, were to reduce it to the ancient Value:

As for example, A pound weight of Silver of the sterling standard to make but twenty shillings in Silver; and a pound weight of crown Gold to make 12l. sterling; and so Angel-Gold to be coined in Proportion, for (say they,) since that was the first and original settlement of the sterling standard, and that by the raisings of other Nations whom we thought it necessary to follow, we are grown to that excessive diminution of the Intrinsical value of our Money as is manifest, and that the Mischiefs do so threaten us, by the daily raising of our Neighbours, as at length (to bring on) inevitable Confusion; it will be best to reform the Mischief before it be grown to extremity; and the best Reformation will be to reduce it to the first and original settlement: The Commodities whereof are many:

First, The prices of things will be reduced to some antient moderation, then those who live upon antient Rents, and Fees, and Rights, and Tenures of their Lands and Offices, who have received extream injustice by the diminution of the Intrinsical value of Money, shall by Edition: current; Page: [98] this Reduction be recompenced in justice again. But above all, the King, whose Revenue is only publick, shall receive a great and a just enlargement therein: This Diminution of the intrinsical value of Money being not the least cause of the visible wants wherewith the Crown is this day oppressed, and this Reduction being so great and important as it is, all other Nations, and all Merchants in their exchanges, must of necessity come to a new valuation of their Moneys in comparison of ours: and that cannot be, but by a true calculation of the intrinsical value of either of them, by which means if we do now sustain any wrong by the reputed valuation of our Moneys, or exchange of them, we shall then receive right. And England being a Countrie able to send out more Commodities than it hath need to receive, we shall of necessity return the overplus in Bullion.

But to examine the solid Truth of these Allegations, it will be necessary to consider by what means this Reduction may be effected.

First, Therefore if you will reduce Moneys to the antient values, either you must do it by several degrees, (this being the way by which the mischief grew) or you must do it all at once.

As for example of a Reduction by degrees, Silver is now coined at five shillings and two pence an ounce, and Crown Gold at three pound eight shillings and four pence the ounce; begin then, first to reduce by coining Silver at fourteen groats the Ounce, and Crown Gold at three pound one shilling and six pence the Ounce; and when it is thus settled, then some time after reduce them both, yet to a lower price, and so until you come to the Original settlement. But is it not then manifest that if these coins be so much heavier than the former, as this Proportion doth make them, and yet go at the same price as the other did, yet as fast as they are coined, they will be melted or transported for advantage?

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Besides our Merchants will (not) bring this Silver and Gold unto you to so great a loss: on the other side, if you make all the old Money uncurrent, and you do make it so many times uncurrent as you do reduce it towards the antient values, by degrees the confusions will be so great as the Kingdom cannot bear them, and the continual new coining of your Money will consume all the value of your Money in that charge: there is then no other way left but to leave the old Money still current, but abased so much in price as it is worse than the new Money in intrinsical value. But this is hardly possible, considering that the fractions in the old Money will be so confused as no man shall know how to pay or receive it; besides all men of what condition soever that are to pay Money, in what nature soever, shall pay ten in the Hundred more than they should otherwise have done.

But suppose this Inconvenience might be sufferable for once, yet when they must return again, as often as by degrees you do reduce your Money towards the antient values, I do see no possibility to conquer them; it is then best to consider what will follow of it, if this Reduction to the antient values be made all at once, which is thus propounded.

That new Money should be coined at twenty pence an ounce, Silver; and that the old Money should be still left current at the third part of the value for which now it goeth, as six pence to be current for two pence, and twelve pence for a groat, so as all Fractions should be avoided: and the Gold should be reduced to a like Proportion, and that all contracts and payments, from such a day to come, should be made and paid in new Money or in old Money, valuing it only at the third part of the new Money; But if the Proposition were simply thus, it were insupportable, for then he that sits now at a rent of 10l. a year, and is hardly able to pay it should in effect, after the day when the new Money is to be current, pay thirty pounds a year; Edition: current; Page: [100] and he that borrowed ten pounds before that day, after that day shall pay thirty, and so it would be of all other payments. And it is no satisfaction to say, That would be no Injustice, because he that pays Money, either for Debt or Rent, or any other waies, must receive it from others, be it either in Debt, Rent, or for the price of any thing to be sold, and so he shall pay no more in Proportion than he shall receive: for if it be true, which is the mainest Benefit propounded by this Reduction, that as the price of Money shall be abased so the price of all things will abate in Proportion, then he that is to raise his payments out of the price of other things shall raise no more in intrinsical value than he should have done before, yet he shall pay in intrinsical value thrice as much as he did before.

To solve this Objection, there are two ways propounded, but either of them have their Inconveniences;

The first is, that this payment in new Money shall only extend to future Contracts, and that all former Contracts shall either be paid in old Money or in new Money valued at three times the old Money: But if you admit of this, you shall by this Reduction only raise a great rumor and Confusion among the People, and all the Benefits propounded are quite blown away.

Besides the Injustice, as it was very apparent to all that were to pay Money in the former way, so it is as apparent in this way to all that are to receive Money, for that they shall receive in extrinsical value but two pence for six pence, and one shilling for 3 shillings, but above all others, the King would be most prejudiced.

The second way of solving the former Objection is this, That all payments, for the future, should be made in new Money or in old, valuing the old a third part, and that in like manner all antient Contracts, Rents, and Rights reserved should be acquitted in new Money, or in old Money valued at the third part of the new, and that this Edition: current; Page: [101] word of antient Contracts and Rights, should be defined from such a time as since which the prices of things have encreased, as the value of Money is by this Reduction to be abated; As for Example,

Since the year of the eighteenth of Henry the Eighth, when he began to coin Base money, since which time generally the price of things is trebled at the least, in some more, in some less. And that all Contracts and payments reserved, since the eighteenth year of Henry the Eighth, until the day when the new Money is made current, should be acquitted in old Money, or in new Money valued three times as much as the old: By this means the Injustice of the former ways seemeth to be equally parted, in that some Receivers by this way should gain and some Receivers should loose, and some Payers should gain and some should loose.

But this Proposition brings with it a new Inconvenience, which is, That this time of the eighteenth of Henry the Eighth, being so antient, it would breed many Controversies, as to what payments were contracted for or reserved before that time or not. But suppose that this Reduction were effected, and that our Moneys were both by reputed valuation and by exchange compared with Forrein Moneys, according to their true intrinsical value, yet do I not see that this Reformation, for all this, would be stable and permanent; for, if afterwards other Nations shall by degrees again diminish the Intrinsical value of their Moneys, either we must resolve to stand firm to this Reduction, and so to take the hazard of all losses and Inconveniences which the not raising of our Moneys when our Neighbours raise theirs do bring with it; or if we shall raise again as they shall raise theirs, then all the benefit of this troublesom Reduction will be, That we shall yet be three hundred years longer ere we do grow to so great a diminution in the Intrinsical value of our Moneys, as we do at this present undergo.

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CHAP. XXI.: Of raising our Moneys according to the raising of our Neighbours.

OTHERS do propound a clean contrary course to this Reduction of the Moneys to the antient values; For they would have us to observe precisely the raising of the price of Money by our Neighbours, and if not to preceed them, at the least to follow them immediately. And for this purpose they insist upon two main Arguments. The one drawn from Example, the other from Reason: for say they, If we do observe those States, which do soonest and most raise their Money, we shall find that they do most abound with Money; and that Trades and Manufactures do most flourish there.

As for Example, the United Provinces, and the Arch-Dukes Country, and the Hanns Towns; and they do confirm their instance by this reason, Forrein Nations when they raise their Moneys, do thereby make them of less Intrinsical value, than they are reputed.

As for Example, Three pounds two shillings sterling, is reputed equal with five pounds six shillings Flemish; and peradventure when the pound sterling was first cut into 62s. they were equal in intrinsical value, but now by the raising of Moneys, this five pounds six shillings Flemish, say they, contains in intrinsical value no more than two pounds sixteen shillings.

And again, say they, The Ryall of eight and the Rix Dollar are both of them reputed equal to five shillings sterling, but hold in intrinsical value less by ten in the hundred. Hence, (say they,) it follows, That he that bestoweth here three pounds two shillings in English Cloth, and sells it beyond Sea for five pounds six shillings Flemish, or for twelve Ryalls of eight, or twelve Rix-Dollars, Edition: current; Page: [103] with two shillings, maketh his accompt that he hath sold it as dear as he bought it, and whatsoever he can get more is gain towards his hazard, his time, and his charge; and by this means he doth undervalue the English Commodity to the loss of the Realm, six shillings in three pound two shillings: But on the other side, if he bestow his five pound six shillings Flemish, or his twelve Ryalls of eight, or Rix-Dollars, and two shillings in Forrein Commodities, he makes his Accompt that he sells them not here for as much as they cost him, except he have for them three pound two shillings sterling, by which he overvalues to us the forrein Commodities by six shillings in three pound two shillings, by which means the Realm in general is impoverished, but the Merchant in his particular saves himself, for what is lost to him by the undervalue of the English Commodities is again made good unto him by the over-value of the forrein Commodities. And hence it follows that our Money wasts, our Manufactures decay, and their Money and Manufactures do increase.

As for the Objections made against raising of Moneys; they say, They are not considerable in comparison of the benefits, for so as Trade and Manufactures may flourish and Money abound, what imports it though the price of things do rise, when as every man as he pays more, so he shall receive more: as for the King’s loss, he shall be otherwise recompenced by the Riches of the Subjects.

But to come to the Examination of this Proposition and the Reasons made for it.

First, these valuations laid down of our Money in comparison with Flemish Money and Ryalls and Dollars, for a foundation of this Proposition is very uncertain; for as it is true, that as I have heard in publick conference upon these occasions, divers Merchants of great worth and experience to affirm these valuations, so I have heard others of as great worth and experience to deny them, Edition: current; Page: [104] affirming that they knew none other valuation of our Money with forrein, but according to the Intrinsical value of either of them. And by the last Placcard of the Low-Countries, the English shilling is made current for one shilling nine pence Flemish, by which accompt three pound two shillings English will make five pound eight shillings and six pence Flemish.

But admitting the valuations as they are set down in the Proposition, yet it will appear, but a meer Sophism; for the truth is, as it is set down in a former Chapter, That Silver is higher valued in France and England, than in Spain, and in the Low-Countries than in either of them; and in the Hanns Towns than in the Low Countries; and so still higher, the further Eastward: But of Gold it is not so: and upon an exact computation it will be found, That Gold is higher valued in England than in the Low-Countries, and that a pound of fine Gold reduced into the Riders of the Low-Countries, makes but forty five Guilders, and seven Stivers, and allowing ten Stivers and a half for twelve pence English, as it is made current by the last Placcard, there the said sum amounts in sterling Money but to forty three pound thirteen shillings and a penny; but a pound of Gold fine makes in twenty two shilling pieces, forty four pound, eight shillings four pence sterling, which reduced into Guilders after the former accompt makes 446 and a half, so as the pound in fine Gold is valued in Jacobus pieces, at 8 Guilders two Stivers and one half more than in Riders, and in English Money is valued at fifteen shillings three pence more in Jacobus’s than in Riders; so then it follows, that if England do loose any thing in the true price of her Commodities because Silver is higher valued in the Low-Countries than in England, England gains again in the price of her Commodities, because Gold is higher valued in England than in the Low-Countries. Besides all which none of the Objections made against this Proposition are answered, Edition: current; Page: [105] but only elevated, and it is manifest that all those who are to receive Money shall be continually oppressed with this continual raising of Money, and if we shall still vie one upon another who shall raise highest, in the End the Matter must necessarily come to a Confusion.

CHAP. XXII.: Of introducing two different Species of Money.

THE Difficulties and Debate of the former Proposition have produced this, set down in the Title of this Chapter: For if to let our Money stand still in the same Condition, when our Neighbours do raise theirs, be a means to drain away our own Money from us, and to divert that increase of Stock which otherwise should come unto us, and consequently occasion the decay of our own Trades and Manufactures, and the increase of Forrein, as in the former Propositions hath been disputed, Then it were good to raise our Moneys when our Neighbours raise theirs. But if this raising of our Moneys do introduce an unjust Oppression to all those, who do live upon the Rents of their Lands, upon Pensions, upon Fees, upon Wages, or otherwise upon any other Reward of their Industry, if it most of all disables the King, and in the end doth threaten an extream Confusion and Disorder, then is this good of Raising so allayed with the evil that followeth it, that we were as good if not better to be without it: From these Considerations hath this Proposition risen, by which, the Authors thereof do presume, that we may both raise our Moneys as we find occasion and yet not raise; though they seem contradictory: and we receive all the Benefits, which the raising of Money doth bring with it, and yet avoid all the Inconveniences which are alledged to follow it. Now the Propositions Edition: current; Page: [106] which have been made in this kind, both here and in other parts are very many, and differing one from another in their Proportions, and in some other subtile and by considerations, which if they should be set down in particular, would much perplex the Subject. I will therefore by supposition set down a Proposition in a plain and easie Proportion for the more ready apprehension of the Reader.

As for Example, Suppose the King should coin new twenty shilling pieces, which should hold in intrinsical value but eighteen shillings and four pence in Proportion to the present Gold; and new shillings, which should hold but eleven pence in Proportion to the shillings of the present standard, and then it should be ordain’d, that all former Contracts already past, should be acquitted in old Money, or else in new Money, valuing every 20s. but at 18s. 4d. and so in Proportion of lesser sums; but that all new contracts should be paid afterwards in new Money, or else in old, valuing every 18s. 4d. of the old Money at 20s. of the new. By this means, say the Authors of this proposition, we shall bring back our own Money and drain away the Money of our Neighbours, and Trades and Manufactures shall flourish in consequence; yet our Moneys are raised, and yet no man shall receive any injustice by it, for both the King and all other Lords of Lands and antient Rents, and all such who have lent Money or contracted upon former Wages, shall be paid in Money formerly current, or else in new proportionable to the old. And all those which are to pay Money, either out of their own Industry or Labours, or out of the fruits of the earth, or by any other means, when they do see that they must contract for new Money, apparently, according to the Proportion set down, worse than the old, they will help themselves by raising their price in Proportion unto it. There may likewise be alledged Examples for this Proposition, as in Ireland where sterling Money Edition: current; Page: [107] and Irish Money are both current, the one a fourth worse than the other without any Inconvenience. And it seemeth that anciently before the time of Edward the first in England, there were Moneys current of several standards; for although there be a few Records left of Mint matters, more antient than Edward the Third, yet Anno sexto Reg. Johannis membrana septima Dorso, certain old Money of baser standard was made current; But so, as no Jew or Merchant stranger might buy Merchandize, or pay debts with it, or any thing else, (but only victum et vestitum with that old Money,) but in grossa et forti Moneta. And in France, until the time of Philip le Bell (who was contemporant with Edward the Second) it seemeth that there were used several species of Money, And Edicts were made what Contracts should be acquitted in one species and what in another.

But I will come now, as in the former, to the examination of this Proposition. First, the extreme Confusion is to be considered which it will bring among the People by raising Questions what is to be paid in old Money and what is to be paid in new Money.

As for Example, a man who lent Money before the time appointed for the currency of this Money, after the day, receiveth interest for it, and so lets it run on, Whether shall this be interpreted an old contract or a new? and divers other Questions of like nature will arise. But suppose that such Prudence were used before hand as all such Questions might be prevented, yet certainly the intricasie of the accounts between the old Money and the new, by Reason of the confused Fractions which are in it, would be a great molestation to the People: But there lurketh a much greater Inconvenience which would not be discovered but by length of time; which is when you have thus raised the price of your Money, when other Nations shall raise theirs again beyond your new Money, you must then be enforced to make a second new Money Edition: current; Page: [108] of less intrinsical value than the first, and then again, all Contracts between the first and the second new Money, are to be acquitted in the first new Money, or in the second new Money, valued in Proportion to the first, and so in consequence of time, a third new Money would be coined, and a fourth, and a fifth, and so forward; that by degrees both the multiplicity of the Moneys, and the variety of the times of the contracts would pass all humane comprehension.

As for Examples alledged, they make more against the Proposition than for it; for I doubt not, but in the time of King John, and afore and after that, there were great Varieties and Confusions in the Moneys current, and the Histories of those Times are full of Complaints upon that Subject. And therefore they do most highly magnify the Wisdom of King Edward the First, who settled a uniformity in that Subject, by introducing one certain species of sterling Coin.

And for the Example of France, the Histories of that Country do not only justifie that there were great Confusions in this Subject in those times, but by great Insurrections of the People and Rebellions upon that occasion, insomuch, as the reputed Authors of those Inventions were sacrificed to appease the popular Rage.

CHAP. XXIII.: 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 Edition: current; Page: [109] 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 in Edition: current; Page: [110] the 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 Edition: current; Page: [111] 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 Edition: current; Page: [112] 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 Edition: current; Page: [113] 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 Edition: current; Page: [114] 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 Edition: current; Page: [115] 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 Edition: current; Page: [116] 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 Edition: current; Page: [117] 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 Edition: current; Page: [118] 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 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.

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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.

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made by

Sir Robert Cotton, Kt. and Baront.

before the


Of HIS MAJESTY’S most Honourable


At the Council-Table:

Being thither called to deliver his Opinion.

Touching the

Alteration of Coin.

Sept. 2. Annoque Regni Regis CAROLI I. (1626.)


Printed in the Year 1651.

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asterisks 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.).

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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 Edition: current; Page: [126] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [128] 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 Edition: current; Page: [129] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [131] 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.

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The Answer of the Committees appointed by your Lordships to the Proposition delivered by some Officers of the Mint, for infeebling his Majesties Monies of Gold and Silver.

The First Part.
The Preamble.

WE conceive that the Officers of the Mint are bound by Oath to discharge their several Duties in their several places respectively. But we cannot conceive how they should stand tyed by Oath to account to his Majesty and your Honours of the intrinsick value of all Forein Coins, and how they agree with the Standard of the State (before they come to the Mint) for it is impossible and needless: In the one, for that all Forein States do, for the most part, differ from us and our Mony infinitely amongst themselves: In the other, it being the proper care of the Merchants, who are presumed not to purchase that at a dearer rate than they may be allowed for the same in fine Gold and Silver in the Coin of England, within the charge of Coinage. And therefore needless.

To induce the necessity of the Proposition, they produce two instances or examples: The one from the Rix Dollar, and the other from the Royal of Eight; wherein they have untruly informed your Honours of the price and value in our Monies, and our Trade of both of them. For whereas they say that the Rix Dollar weigheth 18. pen. weight and 12 Grains, and to be of the finest at the pound weight, 10 Ounces, 10d. weight doth produce in exchange 5s. 2d. farthing of Sterling Monies. We do affirm that the same Dollar is 18d. weight, 18 Grains, and in fineness 10 Ounces 12d. weight, equal to 4s. 5d. ob. of Sterling Monies, and is at this time in London at no higher price, which is short Edition: current; Page: [133] thereof by 13 Grains and a half fine Silver upon every Dollar, being 2d. Sterling, or thereabout, being the charge of Coinage, with a small recompence to the Goldsmith or Exchanger, to the Profit of England 3s. 6d. per cent.

Whereas they do in their proposition aver unto your Honours, that this Dollar runs in account of Trade amongst the Merchants, as 5s. 2d. ob. English Mony: It is most false. For the Merchants and best experienced men protest the contrary, and that it passeth in Exchange according to the intrinsick value only 4s. 5d. ob. of the Sterling Mony or near thereabouts, and not otherwise.

The second instance is in the Royal of Eight, affirming that it weigheth 17 penny weight, 12 Grains; and being but of the fineness of 11 Ounces at the pound weight, doth pass in Exchange at 5s. of our Sterling Monies, whereby we lose 6s. 7d. in every pound weight. But having examined it by the best Artists, we find it to be 11 Ounces 2d. weight fine, and in weight 17 pennyweight, 12 Grains, which doth equal 4s. 4d. ob. of our Sterling Monies, and passeth in London at that rate, and not otherwise, though holding more fine Silver by 12 Grains and a half in every Royal of Eight which is the charge of Coinage, and a small overplus for the Goldsmiths gain. And whereas they say, that that the said Royal of Eight runs in account of Trade at 5s. of his Majesties now English Mony, the Merchants do all affirm the contrary, and that it passeth only at 4s. 4 ob. of the Sterling Monies, and no higher ordinarily.

And it must be strange (my Honourable Lords) to believe that our Neighbours the Netherlanders, would give for a pound tale of our Sterling Silver, by what name soever it passeth, a greater quantity of their Monies in the like intrinsick value by Exchange; or Edition: current; Page: [134] that our Merchants would, knowing, give a greater for a less to them, except by way of usance. But the Deceipt is herein only, that they continually varying their Coin, and crying it up at pleasure, may deceive us for a time, in too high a Reputation of pure Silver in it, upon trust, than there is unto a Tryal; and this, by no Alteration of our Coin, unless we should daily, as they, make his Majesties Standard uncertain, can be prevented, which being the measure of Lands, Rents, and Commerce amongst our selves at home, would render all uncertain, and so of necessity destroy the use of Mony, and turn all to permutation of such things as were not subject to will or change.

And as they have mistaken the Ground of their Proposition; so have they upon a specious shew of some momentary and small Benefit to his Majesty, reared up a vast and constant Loss unto his Highness by this design, if once effected. For, as his Majesty hath the largest proportion of any both in the entrances and issues; so should he by so enfeebling of his Coin, become the greatest loser.

There needs no other instance than those degrees of diminution from the 18 of Edward III. to this day; at which time the Revenue of the Crown was paid after five Groats the Ounce (which is now five Shillings) which hath lost his Majesty two Thirds of all his Revenue; and no less hath all the Nobility, Gentry, and other his Majesties Landed Subjects in proportion suffered. But since, to our great Comfort, we heard your Honours the last day to lay a worthy blame upon the Mint-Masters, for that intended diminution of the Gold Coin done by them without full Warrant, by which we rest discharged of that Fear: We will (according to our Duties and your Honours command) deliver humbly our Opinion concerning the reduction of the Edition: current; Page: [135] Silver Mony now current to be proportionably equivalent to the Gold.

The English sterling Standard, which was no little Honour to Edward the first, that setled it from an inconstant motion, and laid it a ground, that all the States of Europe after complyed to bring in their account, which was of Silver as eleven to one of Gold, the Kings of England for the most part since have constantly continued the same proportion: and Spain, since Ferdinand, who took from hence his Pattern, have held and hold unchangeably the same unto this day: but since with us, a late improvement of Gold hath broke that Rule, and cast a difference in our Silver of six Shillings in the pound weight; we cannot but with all humility present our Fear, that the framing, at this time, of an equality, except it were by reducing the Gold to the Silver, is not so safe and profitable as is proposed by those of the Mint.

For whereas they pretend this, Our richness of our Silver will carry out what now remaineth: We conceive (under favour) it will have no such effect, but clean contrary. For all the current Silver now abroad hath been so culled by some Goldsmiths and others, the same either turned into Bullion, and so transported, that that which now remaineth will hardly produce 3l. 5s. in the pound weight one with another; and so not likely for so little profit as now it giveth, to be transported. But if the Pound sterling should be as they desire, cut into 70s. 6d. it must of necessity follow, that the new Mony will convert the old Mony (now current) into Bullion; and so afford a Trade afresh for some ill Patriot Goldsmiths, and others, who formerly have more endamaged the State by Culling, than any others by Clipping; the one but trading in Pounds, the other in Thousands; and therefore worthy of a greater Punishment. And we cannot but have just cause (my Edition: current; Page: [136] Lords) to fear that these bad Members have been no idle Instruments, for their private Benefit, to the publick Detriment of this new Project, so much tending to enfeebling the Sterling Standard.

We further (under your Lordships favours) conceive that the raising the Silver to the Gold, will upon some sudden occasion beyond Sea transport our Gold, and leave the State in scarcity of that, as now of Silver.

And to that Objection of the Proposers, That there is no Silver brought of late into the Mint: The Causes we conceive to be (besides the unusual quantities of late brought into the Mint in Gold) one the overballansing of late Trade, the other the charge of Coinage. For the first, it cannot be but the late Infection of this City was a lett of Exportation of our best Commodity, Cloth, made by that suspected in every place. To this may be added the vast Sums of Mony which the necessary Occasions of War called from his Majesty to the parts beyond the Seas, when we had least of Commodities to make even the ballance there. And lastly, Dearth and scarcity of Corn, which in time of Plenty we ever found the best Exchange to bring in Silver. And therefore, since by God’s great favour the Plague is ended, and general Trade thereby restored, and more of Plenty this year than hath been formerly these many years of Corn, we doubt not but if the Ports of Spain were now as free as they were of late, there would not prove hereafter any Cause to complain of the want of Bullion in the State.

The second Cause, that the Mint remains unfurnished, will be the charge of Coinage, raised in price so far above all other places, constraining each man to carry his Bullion where he may receive by Coinage the less of loss. And therefore if it may please his Majesty to reduce the prices here to the Rates of other of our Edition: current; Page: [137] Neighbour Countries, there will be no doubt but the Mint will beat as heretofore.

QUESTIONS to be proposed to the Merchants, Mint Masters, and Goldsmiths concerning the Alteration of the Silver-Monies.

1. WHETHER the English Monies now current are not as dear as the Forrein of the Dollar and Real of 8. in the intrinsick Value in the usual Exchanges now made by the Merchants beyond Seas.

2. Whether this advancing will not cause all the Silver Bullion, that might be transported in Mass or Forrein Coin, to be minted with the King’s Stamp beyond Sea, and so transported, and his Mint thereby set less on work than now?

3. Whether the advancing the Silver Coin in England will not cause a transportation of most of that that is now current to be minted in the Netherlands, and from them brought back again, whereby his Majesties Mint will fail by the exported benefit?

4. Whether the advancing the Silver Coin, if it produce the former Effects, will not cause the Markets to be unfurnished of present Coin to drive the Exchange, when most of the old will be used in Bullion?

5. Whether the higher we raise the Coin at home, we make not thereby our Commodities beyond Sea the cheaper?

6. Whether the greatest Profit by this inhauncing, will not grow to the ill Members of the State, that have formerly culled the weightiest Pieces and sold them to the Stranger-Merchants to be transported?

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Certain General RULES collected concerning Money and Bullion out of the late Consultation at Court.

GOLD and Silver have a two-fold Estimation: In the extrinsick, as they are Monies, they are the Princes Measures given to his People, and this is a Prerogative of Kings: in the intrinsick, they are Commodities, valuing each other according to the plenty or scarcity; and so all other Commodities by them; and that is the sole power of Trade.

The Measures in a Kingdom ought to be constant: It is the Justice and Honour of the King; for if they be altered, all Men at that instant are deceived in their precedent Contracts, either for Lands or Mony, and the King most of all; for no Man knoweth then, either what he hath or what he oweth.

1573.This made the L. Treasurer Burleigh in 1573. when some Projectors had set on foot a matter of this nature, to tell them that they were worthy to suffer Death for attempting to put so great a Dishonour on the Queen, and Detriment and Discontent upon the People. For, to alter this publick Measure, is to leave all the Markets of the Kingdom unfurnished; and what will be the Mischief,5 Edw. VI.the Proclamations of 5 Edw. VI. 3 Mariæ, and 4 Eliz. will manifest;3 Mariæ. when but a rumor of the like produced that Effect to far,4 Eliz. that besides the Faith of the Princes to the contrary delivered in their Edicts, they were inforced to cause the Magistrates in every Shire respectively to constrain the people to furnish the Markets to prevent a Mutiny.

To make this Measure then, at this time short, is to raise all Prizes, or to turn the Mony or Measure now currant into disuse or Bullion: For who will part with any, when it is richer by seven in the Hundred in the Edition: current; Page: [139] Mass, than the new Monies, and yet of no more value in the Market?

Hence of necessity it must follow, that there will not in a long time be sufficient minted of the new to drive the Exchange of the Kingdom, and so all Trade at one instant at a stand; and in the mean time the Markets unfurnished: Which how it may concern the quiet of the State, is worthy care. And thus far as Money is a Measure.

Now, as it is a Commodity, it is respected and valued by the intrinsick quality. And first the one Metal to the other.

All Commodities are prized by plenty or scarcity, by dearness or cheapness, the one by the other: if then we desire our Silver to buy Gold, as it of late hath done, we must let it be the cheaper, and less in proportion valued, and so contrary: For one equivalent proportion in both will bring in neither. We see the proof thereof by the unusual quantity of Gold brought lately to the Mint by reason of the Price; for we rate it above all other Countries, and Gold may be bought too dear. To furnish then this way the Mint with both, is altogether impossible.

And at this time it was apparently proved, both by the best Artists and Merchants most acquainted with the Exchange, in both the Examples of the Mintmasters in the Rix-dollar and Real of 8, that Silver here is of equal value, and Gold above, with the forein Parts in the intrinsick; and that the fallacy presented to the Lords by the Mint-masters, is only in the nomination or extrinsick quality.

But if we desire both, it is not raising of the Value that doth it, but the ballansing of Trade; for buy we in more than we sell of other Commodities, be the Money never so high prized, we must part with it to Edition: current; Page: [140] make the disproportion even: If we sell more than we buy, the contrary will follow.

And this is plain in Spain’s Necessities: For should that King advance to a double rate his Real of 8. yet needing, by reason of the barrenness of his Country, more of forein Wares than he can contervail by exchange with his own, he must part with his Money, and gaineth no more by inhauncing his Coin, but that he payeth a higher price for the Commodities he buyeth, if his Work of raising be his own. But if we shall make improvement of Gold and Silver, being the staple Commodity of his State, we then advancing the price of his, abase to him our own Commodities.

To shape this Kingdom to the fashion of the Netherlanders, were to frame a Royal Monarch by a Society of Merchants. Their country is a continual Fair, and so the Price of Money must rise and fall to fit their Occasions. We see this by raising the Exchange at Frankfort and other places at the usual times of their Marts.

The frequent and daily change in the low Countries of their Monies, is no such injustice to any there, as it would be here. For being all either Mechanicks or Merchants, they can rate accordingly their Labours or their Wares, whether it be Coin or other Merchandise, to the present condition of their own mony in Exchange.

And our English Merchants, to whose Profession it properly belongs, do so according to the just intrinsick value of their Forein Coin, in all barter of Commodities or Exchange except at Usance; which we, that are ruled and tyed by the extrinsick measure of Monies, in all our constant Reckonings and annual Bargains at home, cannot do.

And for us then to raise our Coin at this time to Edition: current; Page: [141] equal their Proportions, were but to render ourselves to a perpetual incertainty: For they will raise upon us daily then again; which if we of course should follow, else receive no Profit by this present Change, we then destroy the Policy, Justice, Honour and Tranquillity of our State at home for ever.

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Council of Trade,


The Exportation of Gold and Silver,



Concluded 11th December, 1660.

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Advice of his Majesty’s Council of Trade, concerning the Exportation of Gold and Silver in Foreign Coins and Bullion.
(Concluded December 11. 1660.)

To the King’s most excellent Majesty.

The opinion and humble advice of your Majesty’s Council of Trade concerning the free Exportation of Gold and Silver in foreign Coins and Bullion.

May it please your Majesty,

The balance of trade (by which we understand the proportion that the commodities exported have in value to the commodities imported) being the sole or principal cause of the Exportation or Importation of Bullion:

If, upon the balance, money is to be exported, the strictest of laws (as by the experience of all ages appeareth) cannot stop it.

But if, upon the balance, money is to be imported, that same law that could not, in the other case, prevent the carrying of it out, hinders, in this, the bringing of it in; for the merchant will rather send his money to Livorne, Amsterdam, &c., (where he may remove it at pleasure) than bring it hither; whence he cannot export it in pursuance of any advantage in trade, without hazarding the loss of it.

However, it evidently gives a greater interruption to the English Merchant, and keeping foreigners (upon the same account) from lodging their money here (as otherwise they would) this being a place so much more convenient than Amsterdam, does consequently lose the great benefit that would arise to your Majesty in your mint and Edition: current; Page: [146] revenue, to the nobility and gentry in their estates, and to the merchant in his trade, by the plenty of Gold and Silver in your Majesty’s dominions.

And though the prerogative your Majesty’s royal predecessors anciently had and exercised of the whole change, exchange, and rechange of Money, Bullion, &c., (which must needs have been invaded, if any other had had the liberty of exporting Gold and Silver) was in those days a sufficient and principal (if not the only reason) for making the several statutes against the Exportation of Money, &c., without the King’s licence; yet, that reason now ceasing, we most humbly propose to your Majesty, as our opinion, and advise (upon the weight of those other preceding reasons, of which your Majesty, by the annexed paper, may receive more full satisfaction) that your Majesty would be graciously pleased, for the better advancing of trade, (and for the general good of your Majesty’s subjects) to dispense with the present penalties upon the Exportation of Gold and Silver in foreign Coin or Bullion for some certain time, and by such public act, as (being without any trouble or charge to traders) may give both encouragement and assurance, unto merchant-strangers, as well as natives, in the importing of Gold and Silver, unless upon public notice, given a year before, your Majesty shall think fit to recall the same.

All which we most humbly submit unto your Majesty’s most gracious will and pleasure.

Reasons aud arguments for the Free Exportation of Gold and Silver in Foreign Coin and Bullion.

The council of trade appointed by your Majesty, having taken into consideration the tenth article of the instructions given unto them by your Majesty, ordering to advise how Bullion may be best drawn into these kingdoms; and having had many days’ examination and Edition: current; Page: [147] debate, of and upon the several ancient laws, forbidding the Exportation of all manner of Gold and Silver in Coins, Bullion, Plate, &c.: After comparing the present course of trade, with that of those ages wherein those statutes were made, and observing the inconveniences growing upon these kingdoms through such prohibitions, and the advantage which other princes and nations make by letting the Exportation thereof free; have drawn up their sense and apprehension upon the whole matter, which they humbly offer to your Majesty as followeth:—

And first, It hath been observed, out of these and other statutes, that all Money and Bullion, once imported, was to be put into the hands of the King’s exchangers, which course is now antiquated. That some of those statutes seem more to intend religious persons, and clerks, than merchants; and all imply, or particularly except, some cases wherein, by the King’s licence, Money and Bullion might be Exported, without being in danger of the forfeitures in those laws. And therefore, finding these dispensations to be your Majesty’s prerogative, preserved entire to the Crown, through so many of your royal progenitors, we have not thought fit to touch any further upon this matter, as being humbly confident that your Majesty’s subjects shall (upon all occasions) be indulged the like, if not more ready relief, and accommodation for their trade, from your Majesty’s royal grace and bounty: only, because the observation was obvious, that, perhaps, all former Parliaments purposely left this door open to the people by the grace of the King, to be relieved by these dispensations as foreseeing how difficult, if not impossible, or how inconvenient, at least, it might be in future times, altogether to restrain the Exportation of Money and Bullion, we could not omit the same in this place.

And secondly, Supposing that it were of absolute necessity to restrain all Money and Bullion, once imported, to be kept within the kingdom. It then came under Edition: current; Page: [148] consideration, whether either the laws hitherto made in that behalf are, or that it be possible to make a law, adequate to prevent the exportation thereof.

And here we were convinced, by experience, that the laws of this kingdom (hitherto made) have been of no effect to the end thereby designed; and looking abroad, as there are no where more strict and severe laws against the Exportation of Coin and Bullion than in Spain and France, we found all to be to as little purpose.

We then, thirdly, enquired, What loadstone attracted this Metal by force of nature to itself, against all human providence or prevention? and soon found, that it was alone the present course of trade and traffic throughout the world, and quite altered from that in former ages when those statutes were made, which hath converted all action into the Commodities which the earth and sea produce, is in continual circumrotation, embraceth all things, and hath enforced at last money (which in former times was only used as the measure to value all Commodities by) to become now itself to a Commodity, subject to rising and falling in price and value as any other merchandize, and to be the only employment of thousands of merchants that deal in nothing else; yet it cannot be denied, that the surest way to bring in money, and to keep it (were there no laws of restraint at all) were to be more sellers than buyers, and to make up such a balance of trade of this kingdom, as it might be judged whether the produce of native goods did exceed the consumption of the foreign; for then the overplus would be found in Money, and remain in the land.

But this point we found would require a vast expense of time, both in council and action, both at home and abroad; and that the result at last would be no more but what experience hath already taught, that Money and Bullion have always forced their way against the several laws; that the trade of the world will not be forced, but Edition: current; Page: [149] will find or make its own way free to all appearances of profit; and that, although there be a method in trade, yet it is held impossible to describe the same.

For Spain hath the mines of Gold and Silver; yet enjoyeth the least part thereof, and for three parts of the year hath scarce sufficient to serve its own ordinary occasions.

On the other side, neither Venice, Tuscany, Genoa, nor the Netherlands, have any mines at all of their own, nor are at all careful to keep in Money or Bullion, by any restraint of laws; yet they are always masters thereof, and some of them abound therein.

But it is true, that Venice once did fall upon the course taken by Spain, France, and England, to keep Money and Bullion within their country by strict laws; but they soon found they had the less thereof by this restraint, and as soon relinquished the same, and have never since complained of any want.

And therefore, in the fourth place, we discovered that, as it is impossible by any laws to restrain Money and Bullion against the use that traffic finds for the same; so also the adhering to this principle of restraining thereof discourageth, as well all natives as foreigners, to Import any Money or Bullion into those lands, where the Exportation thereof, at their own pleasure, is forbidden them; and that this hath been the cause that even the English that lived in Spain, when they had acquired Money and Bullion there, would not transport it hither, but either lodged it in Genoa, Venice, or Livorne, for the trade of the Mediterranean, as those of Holland do for the trade of the German Ocean.

From whence, fifthly, the many advantages (thereby given away clearly to the stranger from the English) present themselves; for the stranger, knowing we must be furnished in one of those places for our occasions, make us pay dearly for our accommodation; and besides, Edition: current; Page: [150] to seek the same there, we are often hindered in our voyages outward, put upon double adventures, and oftentimes hindered of our market.

For there are some trades, that in part, or in the whole, cannot be driven, or managed, to any profit or proportion of advantage with our neighbours, but by Exporting Money or Bullion, either together with their merchandizes, or wholly a merchandize or commodity of itself—Wherein are humbly offered these instances:—

To the East Indies—Though some English commodities be vended there, yet no considerable trade can be driven by us, or any others that buy the commodities of the natives, but with Money carried out of Europe. And if we Export 100,000l. per annum, that will purchase so much goods as do usually yield in England 300,000l., one-third whereof is paid, as the salary of ships, men’s wages, and for customs; and here is one considerable advantage, that redounds, as well to your Majesty’s revenue, as to the navigation of this kingdom; then one-third of the said East India commodities is as much as serveth for the consumption of these kingdoms; and that we have at the price it cost in India; the last third, as also the first third, reckoned to freight, mariners’ wages, and customs, are both exported to the Mediterranean, Spain, France, the Baltic, and other ports, where the proceed of them serves to purchase foreign commodities for us, and helps so far to balance our trade, as that it occasioneth the importation of at least 100,000l. per annum in Bullion, and prevents the Exportation of as much more; which would be wanted to purchase necessary commodities from abroad. Whereas, if we did not follow the East India trade, the Hollanders would drain from us at least 300,000l. per annum, for the East India commodities that we must have from them; for so much, at least, the same goods would cost at their hands, which we now bring home ourselves for 100,000l.

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And all these mischiefs, we avoid, and all their advantages we gain, by the free exportation of 100,000l.

For the Norway trade, which gives a large employment to a great number of shipping, and furnisheth us with a very necessary supply of timber and tar; it cannot be carried on without the liberty of Exporting Money and Bullion, because the kingdom of Norway gives no vent to any of our native commodities, in proportion to the value of what we fetch thence, and therefore Money and Bullion must pay for it; and should the ships first go to Holland or Hamburgh to fetch the dollars, the very time expended in deviating from their designed ports of lading would make the price of timber twice as much as now it is; the freight of it being at least two-thirds of the value of it when it is imported.

The trade of Turkey cannot be driven to advantage, but with some part Money, because the consumption of our manufactures in those dominions, is not sufficient to make payment for what we have occasion to bring from thence; nor can those manufactures be put off, in the most advantageous terms, but by giving some part money with them, in the exchange for the Turkey commodities, which is a trade not to be neglected, because, whereas we now furnish not only our own country with many necessary commodities that are here manufactured, out of the product of that trade, to the great increase of your Majesty’s revenue, and employment of the poor, but other nations also; so that if we left that trade, the Hollanders would presently take it up, and then we must have all this supply from them, to the signal prejudice of our common capitals, and deduction of our manufacture.

And lastly, whereas it hath been objected,

1. That this liberty is the ready way to have no Money at all left in this kingdom, and to set open the Edition: current; Page: [152] door to the Hollanders, and others, to drain us of all Money and Bullion; we have considered, that when the merchants of this kingdom shall have like freedom here at home to Export Money and Bullion directly hence, for the ports of East India, Norway, and Turkey aforesaid, it will not turn to account for them, or any foreign nation, to Export the same hence to their own country; for then it will cease to be a community of traffic; they will have no advantage over us, to oblige us to seek our Monies that we have occasion for there; and Money, of all commodities, is the worst, if it lies still, and if the penny be not daily turned.

That it is all one mischief to the nobility, gentry, and freeholders of this kingdom, whether the Money or Bullion thereof, be drawn from them by the native or stranger merchant.

Herein also we consider, that this nation hath, of its own growth, manufacture, and product, always enough to oblige the importation of Money and Bullion upon all occasions, beyond any other nation whatsoever in Christendom. That Money and Bullion once imported is like a river, which, overflowing in its passage, doth always leave so much behind, as the neighbouring meadows for a long time after feel the benefit thereof.

And this nation hath had one notable experience, that when the Spaniard was permitted to export two-thirds of the Money he imported, and obliged to no more than one-third to be brought into the King’s mint, it commonly happened that the mint got the whole, as the Spaniard found the advantages here, to make better benefit to return the same into Flanders, or in the manufactures, or naturalized commodities of this kingdom.

So that, to wind up all that has been said, the result of the several reasons and arguments herein summed up seemed to be this: That time and experience instruct, and Edition: current; Page: [153] the present state of traffic throughout the world require, that, for the increase of the stock of Money in these your Majesty’s kingdoms, some way of liberty for the Exportation, at least of foreign Coin and Bullion, should be found out, and put in execution; which hath produced the humble advice offered in the preceding paper.

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To the Lord Marquess of Halyfax,

Anno 1682.


Printed for A. and J. Churchill, at the

Black Swan, in Paternoster Row, 1695.

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Sir William Pettys
Quantulumcunque concerning Money, 1682.

To the Lord Marquess of Halyfax.

SUPPOSE that 20s. of new mill’d Money doth weigh 4 Ounces Troy, according to Custom or Statute. Suppose that 20s. of old Eliz. and James’s Money, which ought also to weigh 4 Ounces Troy, doth weigh 3 Ounces Troy; and very variously between 3 and 4 Ounces, viz. none under 3, and none full 4.

Suppose that much of the new mill’d regular Money is carried into the East-Indies, but none of the old light and unequal Money.


Qu. 1. Whether the old unequal Money ought to be new Coined, and brought to an equality?

Answ. It ought: Because Money made of Gold and Silver is the best Rule of Commerce, and must therefore be equal, or else it is no Rule; and consequently no Money, and but bare Metal which was Money before it was worn and abused into Inequality.

Qu. 2. At whose Charge?

Answ. At the States Charge, as now it is: Because the Owner was no cause of its Inequality, but the States neglect in (not) preventing and punishing such Abuses, which are remedied by new Coinage.

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Qu. 3. Of what weight and fineness ought the new Shiling to be?

Answ. Of the same with the other present new Money, and which the old was of, when it was new: Because all must be like, all according to the Statute; and all fit to pay ancient Debts, according to what was really lent.

Qu. 4. Suppose 20s. of old Money may make but 18s. of new, who shall bear the loss of the two shillings?

Answ. Not the States: Because men would clip their own Money: But the owner himself must bear the loss, because he might have refused light and defective Money, or put it away in time; it being sufficient that he shall have new regular beautiful Money for his old unequal Money, at the States Charge, Ounce for Ounce weight.*

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Qu. 5. After this Reformation of Coin, Will more Silver be carried out of England, suppose into the East-Indies, then before; and to the Damage of England?

Answ. Somewhat more: But none to the Damage of England, Eo Nomine; but rather to its Profit: Because the Merchant will be considered for the Manufacture of the new Money; besides the Metal of it, as he only was when he carried out Spanish Reals.

Qu. 6. Whereas the Merchant carries Scarlet and Silver to the Indies, will he not now carry only the new coined Silver?

Answ. The Merchant will buy as much Scarlet as he can for 100 new Shillings, and then consider whether he shall get more Silk in the Indies for that Scarlet than for another 100 of the like Shillings: And, according to this Conjecture, he will carry Scarlet or Shillings in specie, or part one, part the other, if he be in doubt.

Qu. 7. But will not England be impoverished by Merchants carrying out the said 100 Shillings?

Answ. No, if he brings home for them as much Silk as will yield above 100 Shillings (perhaps 200 Shillings) in Spain, and then bring the same 200 into England: Or, if he bring home as much Pepper as an English man will Edition: current; Page: [160] give him 200 of the like Shillings for. So the Merchant and England shall both Gain by Exporting the 100 Shillings.

Qu. 8. But if the new Shilling were but ¾ths of the weight as formerly, then the Merchant would not meddle with them at all, and so secure this fear of impoverishment?

Answ. The Merchant would Export then, just as before; Only he will give but ¾ so much Pepper, or other Indian Goods, for the new retrenched Shilling as he did for the old: And would accept in India ¾ as much Pepper as he formerly had for the old: And consequently there would be no difference, but among a few such Fools as take Money by its name, and not by its weight and fineness.

Qu. 9. If a Shilling was by new Coinage reduced to ¾ of its present weight, should we not thereby havemore of Money then now we have, and consequently be so much the richer?

Ans. You would indeed have ⅓ part more of the new christned Shillings; but not an Ounce more of Silver, nor Money; nor could you get an Ounce more of Forreign Commodities for all your new multiplied Money than before: Nor even of any Domestick Commodities; but perhaps a little at first from the few Fools above mentioned. As for Instance; Suppose you buy a Silver Vessel from a Goldsmith weighing 20 Ounces, at 6s. per Ounce, making 6 Pounds or 24 Ounces of Coined Silver; now suppose that the said 6 Pounds were reduced from weighing 24 Ounces to weigh but 18 Ounces upon the new Coinage; but be still called 6 Pound even by the King’s Proclamation; Can it be imagined that the Goldsmith will give his Vessel weighing 20 Ounces of wrought for 18 Ounces of unwrought Silver? For the Workmanship of Money is of little value. Now the Absurdity is the same in all other Commodities, though not so demonstrable Edition: current; Page: [161] as in a Commodity whose Materials are the same with Money.

Qu. 10. Cannot Authority Command that men should give as much Commodity for the new retrencht Money, as for the old which weighedpart more?

Answ. Then the effect of such Authority would also be to take away ⅓ of all mens Goods, which are Commodities beyond Seas, and give the same to Forreigners, who would have them for ¾ of the usual quantity of Silver: And the same Authority would take away from the Creditor ⅓ of the Money which was due before the Proclamation.

Qu. 11. Whereas you suppose retrenching ¼ in the new Coinage; Suppose it was but 1/10, how would the matter be then?

Answ. Just the same: For Magis et minus non mutant speciem: But it were better you supposed that one Shilling were to be taken for 10 or 20, then the Absurdity would be it self so visible, as to need no such Demonstration, as is needful in such small matters as Common Sense cannot discern: For if the wealth of the Nation could be decupled by a Proclamation, it were strange that such Proclamations have not long since been made by our Governours.

Qu. 12. Will not some men, having occasions to buy Commodities in Forreign Parts, carry out all Money, and so not vend or Export our own Commodities at all?

Answ. If some English Merchants should be so improvident, yet the Forreign Merchants would buy up such English Commodities as they wanted, with Money brought into England from their respective Countries, or with such Commodities as England likes better than Money. For the vending of English Commodities doth not depend upon any other thing, but the use and need which Forreigners have of them. But were it not a folly for an English man not to carry Lead into Turkey: but go thither with Money, in his Ballast, and so loose the Freight Edition: current; Page: [162] of the Lead, which he might sell there; And that a Ship should come from Turkey with Money, in her Ballast also, to fetch Lead from England which might have been carried at first by the English Ship? No: The art of a Merchant is to consider all those Matters, so as no Prince’s Proclamation concerning the Weight and Denominations of Coins, signifies any thing to Forreigners when they know it, nor to his own Subjects pro futuro, what e’re Disturbances it may make amongst them pro præterito. We say again: it were better for a Prince owing 20s. to say he will pay but 15s. than disguishing his own particular purpose, to say that all Landlords shall henceforth take 15s. Rent for 20s. due to them by their Tenants Leases; and that he who hath lent a 100l. on the Monday, (the Proclamation of Retrenchment coming out on Tuesday) may be repaid on Wednesday with ¾ or 75l. of the very Money he lent two days before.

Qu. 13. Why is not our old worn unequal Money new Coined and equallized?

Answ. There may be many weak Reasons for it; But the only good one which I know, is, that bad and unequal Money may prevent hoarding, whereas weighty, fine and beautiful Money doth encourage it in some few timorous Persons, but not in the Body of Trading Men. Upon the account of Beauty our Britannia Half-pence were almost all horded as Medals till they grew common; For if but 100 of those pieces had been Coined, they would for their Work and Rarity have been worth above 5s. each, which for their Matter are not worth that Half-penny they pass for: For in them, Materiam superabat Opus.

Qu. 14. Why hath Money been raised, or retrencht, or imbased by many wise States, and so often?

Answ. When any State doth these things, they are like Bankrupt Merchants, who Compound for their Debts by paying 16s. 12s, or 10s. in the pound; Or forcing their Creditors to take off their Goods at much above the Edition: current; Page: [163] Market rates. And the same State might as well have paid but ¾ of what they ow’d, as to retrench their Money in General to ¾ of the known weight and fineness. And these practices have been compassed by Bankers and Cashiers, for oblique Considerations, from the Favourites of such Princes and States.

Qu. 15. It is then the Honour of England that no such Tricks have been practiced, though in the greatest Streights that ever that State hath been in.

Answ. It hath been their Wisdom, and consequently their Honour to keep up a Rule and Measure of Trade amongst themselves, and with all Nations.

Qu. 16. But is there no Case wherein Money may be justly and honourably raised?

Answ. Yes, in order to Regulation and Equalizing of Species of Coins; As when two Species of one Weight and Fineness are taken at different Rates, then the one may be raised or the other depressed: But this must be rated by the Estimation of the whole World as near as it can be known, and not by any private Nation; and the like may be done between Gold and Silver.

Qu. 17. What do you think of the rising or falling of the Price of Lands, from this following Instance, viz. A piece of Land was sold 60 Years ago for 1000l. that is for a 1000 Jacobusses; and the same Land is now sold for 1000l. or 1000 Guineas, and the Guinea is butthe weight of the Jacobus. Is the Land cheaper now than 60 Years ago?

Answ. It looks like a Demonstration that it is: Yet if Gold be not Money, but a Commodity next like to Money, and that Silver be only Money; then we must see whether 1000 Jacobusses would then purchase no more Silver than 1000 Guineas will do now: For if so, the Land was heretofore and now sold for the same Quantity of Money, though not of Gold; and is neither risen nor fallen by what hath been instanced.

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Qu. 18. What is the difference between retrenching or raising of Money, and imbasing the Metal of the same, as by mixing Copper with Silver?

Answ. The first is the better of the two, if such Mixture be of no use in other things: For if 20s. which contains 4 Ounces of Silver, should be reduced to 3 Ounces of Silver, it is better than to add one Ounce of Copper to the same, in order to make 4 seeming Ounces as before: For if you come to want the said 3 Ounces of Silver mixt with Copper, you must lose the Copper, upon the Test, and the Charge of Refining also, which will amount to above 4 per Cent.

Qu. 19. What do you object against small Silver Money; as against Single Pence, Two Pences, &c.?

Answ. That the Coinage of small Pieces would be very chargeable, and the Pieces themselves apt to be lost, and more liable to wearing; for little of our old small Money is now to be seen, and our Groats are worn away to Three half-pence (worth) in Metal.

Qu. 20. What do you say of Money made wholly of base Metal, such as Farthings, &c.?

Answ. That the want of Materials ought to be made up by the fineness of Coinage, to very near the intrinsick Value; or what is gained by the Want of either, to be part of the King’s Revenue.

Qu. 21. Which is best, Copper or Tin, for this purpose?

Answ. Copper: Because it is capable of the most imitable and durable Coinage: though the Copper be Forreign, and Tin a Native Commodity. For suppose Copper and Tin of the same Value in England; yet if 100 Weight of Tin sent to Turkey will fetch home as much Silk as will fetch above 100 of Copper from Sweden, in such case the Difference between Native and Forreign is nothing.

Qu. 22. This Doctrine may extend to a free exportation of Money and Bullion, which is against our Laws: Are our Laws not good?

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Answ. Perhaps they are against the Laws of Nature, and also impracticable: For we see that the Countries which abound with Money and all other Commodities, have followed no such Laws: And contrarywise, that the Countries which have forbid these Exportations under the highest Penalties, are very destitute both of Money and Merchandize.

Qu. 23. Is not a Country the poorer for having less Money?

Answ. Not always: For as the most thriving Men keep little or no Money by them, but turn and wind it into various Commodities to their great Profit, so may the whole Nation also; which is but many particular Men united.

Qu. 24. May a Nation, suppose England, have too much Money?

Answ. Yes: As a particular Merchant may have too much Money, I mean coined Money, by him.

Qu. 25. Is there any way to know how much Money is sufficient for any Nation?

Answ. I think it may pretty well be guessed at; viz. I think that so much Money as will pay half a Years Rent for all the Lands of England, and a Quarters Rent of the Houseing, and a Weeks Expence of all the People, and about a Quarter of the Value of all the exported Commodities, is sufficient for that purpose. Now when the States will cause these things to be computed, and the Quantity of their Coins to be known, which the new Coining of their old Money will best do, then it may also be known whether we have too much or too little Money.

Qu. 26. What Remedy is there if we have too little Money?

Answ. We must erect a Bank, which well computed, doth almost double the Effect of our coined Money: And we have in England Materials for a Bank which shall furnish Stock enough to drive the Trade of the whole Commercial World.

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Qu. 27. What if we have too much Coin?

Answ. We may melt down the heaviest, and turn it into the Splendor of Plate, in Vessels or Utensils of Gold and Silver; or send it out, as a Commodity, where the same is wanting or desired: or let it out at Interest, where Interest is high.

Qu. 28. What is Interest or Use-Money?

Answ. A Reward for forbearing the use of your own Money for a Term of Time agreed upon, whatsoever need your self may have of it in the mean while.

Qu. 29. What is Exchange?

Answ. Local Interest, or a Reward given for having your Money at such a Place where you most need the use of it.

Qu. 30. What is the Trade of a Banker?

Answ. Buying and selling of Interest and Exchange: Who is honest only upon the Penalty of losing a beneficial Trade, founded upon a good Opinion of the World, which is called Credit.

Qu. 31. You were speaking of base Money and Farthings, which are generally below the intrinsick Value, and therefore ought not to be permitted to increase ad infinitum. Is there any way to know how many were enough?

Answ. I think there is: viz. Allowing about 12d. in Farthings to every Family: So as if there be a Million of Families in England (as I think there be) then about 50,000l. in Farthings would suffice for Change; and if such Farthings were but ⅕th below the intrinsick Value, the Nation would pay but 10,000l. for this Convenience: But if this way of Families be not Limitation enough, you may help it by considering the smallest Piece of Silver Money current in the Nation; which how much lesser it is, by so much lesser may the Number of Farthings be: The use of Farthings being but to make up Payments in Silver, and to adjust Accompts: To which end of adjusting Accompts let me add, that if your old defective Farthings were cryed down to 5 a Penny, you might keep Edition: current; Page: [167] all Accompts in a way of Decimal Arithmetick, which hath been long desired for the ease and certainty of Accompts.

Qu. 32. What do you think of our Laws for limiting Interest?

Answ. The same as of limiting the Exportation of Money, and there may be as well Laws for limiting Exchange also: For Interest always carrieth with it an Ensurance præmium, which is very causal, besides that of Forbearance: For Instance, in Ireland there was a time when Land (the highest security) was sold for 2 Years Purchase: It was then naturally just to take 20, 30, or 40 per Cent. Interest; whereas there the Law allows but 10. And since that time, Land being risen to 12 Years Purchase, responsible Men will not give above 8. And insolvent Men will offer Cent. per Cent. notwithstanding the Law. Again, suppose a Man hath 100l. of Land worth 20 Years Purchase, and another 100l. in Houses, worth 12 Years Purchase, and an other 100l. in Shipping worth 2 Years Purchase; and another in Horses, worth 6 Months Purchase; Is it not manifest he must have a greater Yearly præmium for lending his House than his Land, his Ship than his House, and his Horse than his Ship? For if his Horse be worth 100l. he cannot hire him out for less than 10s. per diem, whereas the Land will not yield a Groat for the same time; and these Hires are the same with Interest.

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Containing an


for the


of the

Silber Coins.


Printed by Charles Bill, and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb, deceas’d; Printers to the Kings most Excellent Majesty. 1695.

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To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesties Treasury.

May it please your Lordships,

IN Obedience to your Lordships Command, I have endeavoured to inform myself of divers Matters which concern the Gold and Silver Moneys, and of the most Practicable Methods for New Coining the latter, and Supplying, in the mean time, sufficient Coins to pay the Kings Taxes and Revenues, and to carry on the Publick Commerce; and I do humbly represent to your Lordships,

That I have made diligent Search into several Records, Books, and Writings, to see what Acts or Things have been formerly done or practised, which might serve for Precedents, or give any Light for the Re-establishment of the Coins that should now go, and have Course as the Lawful Money of the Kingdom.

It is true (as I find in a Book of great Authority, remaining in the Exchequer, called The Black Book, written by Gervase of Tilbury, in the time of Henry the Second) that there were anciently Falsifiers and Clippers of Money; for when King William the First, for the better pay of his Warriours, caused the Firmes, which till his time, had for the most part been answered in Victuals, to be converted in Pecuniam Numeratam, he directed the whole from every County to be Charged on the Sheriff, to be by him brought into the Exchequer; Edition: current; Page: [172] adding, That the Sheriff should make the Payment, ad Scalam hoc est (as the aforesaid Author expounds it) solveret preter quamlibet numeratam libram sex denarios; and the Money afterwards declining, and becoming worse, it was Ordained, That the Firmes of Manors should not only be paid ad Scalam, but also ad Pensam, which latter was the paying as much Money for a Pound Sterling, as weighed Twelve Ounces Troy; so that Payment of a Pound de Numero imported Twenty Shillings, ad Scalam imported Twenty Shillings Six Pence, and ad Pensam imported so much as weighed Twelve Ounces. And in the time of King Henry the Second, when the Bishop of Salisbury was Treasurer, who considered, that though the Money did Answer Numero et Pondere, it might nevertheless be mixt with Copper or Brass; therefore (Consilio Regis et ut Regiæ simul et Publicæ Provideretur Utilitati) a Constitution was made, called the Trial by Combustion. The whole Progress whereof, as it was practised in the Exchequer in those Days, is exactly set down in the said Book, and differs little or nothing from the present method of Assaying Silver for its Fineness; as plainly appears in that place where the said Gervase treats of the Office of the Miles Argentarius, and that of the Fusor, an Extract whereof is hereunto Annexed.

It appears also that the Crown Rents were many times reserved in Libris Albis or Blanch Firmes; in which case the Payer was holden Dealbare Firmam, that is, His Base Money or Coin worse than Standard was Molten down in the Exchequer, and Reduced to the Fineness of Standard Silver, or (instead thereof) he Paid to the King Twelve Pence to the Pound by way of Addition.

But the most Remarkable Deceipts and Corruptions found in Ancient Records to have been committed upon the Coins of the Kingdom, by Offenders, were in the Edition: current; Page: [173] time of King Edward the First, when there was Imported a sort of Light Money made with a Mitre; another sort of Light Money with Lyons upon it; a Third sort of Copper Blancht, to Resemble the Money of England; a Fourth sort of Light Money Resembling that of King Edward; a Fifth kind that was Plated: And the Crime of Rounding Money (which I take to be the same with Clipping) was then in Fashion, all which was done out of England. And the Merchants to avoid the Search at Dover and Sandwich, concealed the Parcels in Bails of Cloth, and brought them in by other Ports. Les queux choses si elles suissent longent so efforts (says the Book) elles mettere yent la Monye D’englitere a nient: And the Chief Remedies then Applied were,

First, To Cry down all Money that was not of England, Ireland or Scotland:

Secondly, That such as arrived from beyond Seas, should shew the Money they brought with them to the King’s Officers:

Thirdly. And not hide it in Fardels, upon Pain of Forfeiture:

Fourthly, That the Light Money and the Clipt Money might be Bored through without contradiction:

Fifthly, And that the same should be Received and Paid by Weight at a certain Rate; and that the Persons having such Clipt or Light Money, should bring the same to the King’s Changers, who were settled in several great Towns in the Kingdom, to be new Coined. And by what I have read in Libro Rubeo (which is in the upper Exchequer) concerning the Changers (who, as well as the Masters of the Mint, had several Offices Erected in divers Parts of the Kingdom; Namely, at London, Canterbury, Bristol, Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle and Exeter) a Principal Business of these Changers was to Buy in the Silver of the Bad Money; Edition: current; Page: [174] que les Pollards et Crockards et les autres Mauvaises Moneis Contrefaits Soront, abatues: And there was a Writ then directed to the Sheriffs, to Prohibit the Importation of Clipt or Counterfeit Moneys, and the Use thereof in Merchandizing or Negotiating, under severe Penalties, and Commanding those that had such Money to Bore it through, and to bring it to the King’s Change to be new Coined.

And I find by an Indenture in the Third Year of Queen Elizabeth (at which time there was Base Moneys that had been Coined by Publick Authority) That it was Ordained that Fleetwood, Under Treasurer for the Upper Houses of the Mint in the Tower, should take in by Number and Tale, the Base Moneys therein mentioned, at such Rates or Values as were Appointed by a Proclamation in that behalf; giving Bills to the Parties under his Hand for the Receipt thereof. And the Officers of the Mint were to Melt down and Repay the same in Sterling Moneys, to the Parties or their Deputies, shewing and delivering their Bills, having regard to the time when every Man brought in his Money. And the Base Money Received, and the Sterling Money Repaid where to be Entred in Two Legers; one to be kept by the said Under-Treasurer, and the other by the Tellers. And the Comptroller and Assay-Master were to keep several Books of Refining and Melting the Base Money, to the intent they might be Vouchers to the said Under-Treasurer, who was to Account to the Queen for the whole.

These or such like Provisions might serve well enough in those Times, when there was not much Money, and but little Trade or Occasion for it, and when the Species then in being, which one would think consisted Anciently of Pence or Pieces of small Denomination, were not Corrupted or Diminished to that degree as they are at this day.

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But considering the present low Condition to which our Moneys are almost generally Reduced, and the necessary Use thereof in daily Occasions, and particularly in the ways of Trade, upon which this Nation depends more at this time than it did formerly; I do not see how the Prudence of our Ancestors (which in many Constitutions relating to the Exchequer and the Mint, appears to have been Transcendent and Admirable, especially in Matters of Charge and Discharge, and preventing Frauds and Abuses upon the Crown) can, without the devising new or additional Means and Methods, be made Applicable to a present Work of new Coining the Silver Moneys, and Supplying Current Coins for the Commerce, and for the Payment of Taxes and Revenues in the mean time.

If therefore the King (to whose Regality the Power of Coining Money, and Determining the Weight, Fineness, Denomination and Extrinsick Value thereof doth Solely and Inherently Appertain) shall Judge it necessary to have the old or present Species of Silver Coins, or so much thereof as hath been Clipt or otherwise Diminished, to be Melted down and Recoined, I humbly conceive new Means and Methods for doing the same must be Devised. And in Regard Money (which some Lawyers have called Firmamentum Belli et Ornamentum Pacis) is most certainly of the greatest Importance to His Majesty, in supplying the Taxes, Revenues and Loans, for Carrying on the War, and Supporting His Royal Estate; as also to His Subjects, with relation not only to their Trade and Commerce, but also to all other ordinary Means of Livelihood: The said Means and Methods for Re-establishing the Coins, and the many weighty things depending thereupon, ought to be well Excogitated, and to be Considered and Adjusted by Persons of the greatest Judgment and Sagacity; and (if I had not been Enjoyned by your Lordships) I Edition: current; Page: [176] should scarce have Adventured upon a Subject so very Difficult and Curious.

I have Imployed my thoughts chiefly upon such Matters as are Reduceable to the following Heads, viz.

First, Concerning the Standard of the Gold and Silver Coins, and the Establishment of a Just and Reasonable Foot for the Course of the same.

Second, Concerning the Present State and Condition of the Gold and Silver Coins.

Third, Whether it be or be not Absolutely necessary at this Time to Re-establish the same.

Fourth, The Proposing of Means that must be Obtained, and the Proper Methods to be used in and for the Amendment of the Silver Monies.

Fifth, To Consider what must Supply the Commerce, Pay Taxes, &c., Whilst the Clipt Money is under its New Fabrication.

As to the Particulars.

First, Of the Standard.

This properly brings under Consideration Two matters relating to the Coins; namely, the Degree of Fineness, and the Weight of the Pieces. In treating upon which I shall humbly take leave to observe this Method.

First, To explain what is meant by Sterling Moneys.

Secondly, To set down Historically the Proportions of Fine Gold, and Fine Silver, with the respective Allays, which the Masters or Workers of the Mints have been holden to Observe in the Fabrication of the Edition: current; Page: [177] Moneys of this Realm, by their respective Indentures which I have found out, Beginning with those in the time of King Edward the Third, (the farthest Extant) and Ending with the Indenture of the Mint now in being.

Thirdly, To propose the Standard of Fineness, which (in my humble Opinion) ought to be continued for the new Coins, which His Majesty may be pleased to direct at this time, with my Reasons for the same, to be deduced from the Experience of former times, and an Impartial regard to present Circumstances.

Fourthly, To set forth how the Value of the Gold and Silver in our English Coins hath been Raised from time to time, which considers the Weight and Number of Pieces in a Pound Troy.

Fifthly, To offer my humble Opinion upon that Subject, in reference as well to the Old Coins now in being and Unclipt, as also to the New Moneys, which may be directed to be made, as aforesaid, together with my Reasons for the same, to be also Grounded upon the Experience of former Times, and a due Consideration of present Circumstances: All or most of which Points being of great Moment, to be well weighed in this Affair, I do humbly pray your Lordships that I may Discuss them severally.

First, It is believed by some Authors, (and not without Reason) that in the most Ancient times, when Money was first Coined within this Island, it was made of *Pure Gold and Silver, like the Moneys now Currant in some other Nations, particularly in Hungary and Barbary, where they have Pieces of Gold called Ducats and Sultanesses; and in the Kingdom of Industan, where they have Pieces of Silver called Rupees, Edition: current; Page: [178] which I have seen, and wherein (as I am inform’d) there is little or no Allay: And that afterwards it being found convenient in the Fabrication of the Moneys, to have a certain Quantity or Proportion of Baser Metal to be mixt with the Pure Gold and Silver, the Word Sterling was introduced, and hath ever since been used, to denote the certain Proportion or Degree of Fineness, which ought to be retained in the respective Coins composed of such mixture, as aforesaid. There are some Authors that fancy this Word Sterling took its Name from a Castle in Scotland, as if it were first Coined there. Some have derived it from a Star or Astracism, which they imagine to have been Impressed thereupon. There are those that fetch it from the Name of an Ancient Indenture or Bond which was taken by the Jews (those old Userers) for Security of their debts, and which was called the Jews Star. But others think it comes from the Name of a People called Easterlings, as the first Workers of it in England. Of which latter Opinion is the Author of a very old Treatise concerning Money, Entred at large in the Red Book abovesaid, in the time of King Edward the Third. For my own Part, I do not believe the Word Sterling (denoting the degree of Fineness or Goodness, as aforesaid) was known in the time of the Conqueror, in regard there is no mention thereof in Libro Judiciario or the Dooms-day Book, which Valueth every Manor (as it was worth in the times of the Confessor and Conqueror respectively) in Money ad Numerum, or ad Pensam or ad Pondus, but not in Sterling Money; and yet the Denomination of Sterling was soon after introduced, because the Statute of the Twenty-fifth of Edward the Third refers to Ancient Sterling, and so do the Old Indentures of the Mint, and the Ancient Entries concerning Money. By reading of which it seems evident to me,

Edition: current; Page: [179]

First, That a Sterling or Easterling, in a restrained Sence, signified nothing but a Silver Peny, which at first was about three times as heavy as a Peny is now, and was once called a Lundress, because it was to be Coined only at London, and not at the Countrey Mints.

Secondly, That the Words Sterling and Standard are Synonimous Terms.

Thirdly, That the Ancient Sterling of England, mentioned in the said Statute, and the Standard and Allay of Old Easterling, mentioned in the Indenture, Le 20 jour de May l’an du Regne Edward III. cestassavoir d’ Engletere quarant sisme et de France trent tierce entre le Roy et Bardet de Malepilys de Florence; and the Old right Standard of England, which I find in other Indentures of the Mint, are to be understood thus: A Pound Weight Troy of Gold was divided into Twenty four Carats, and every Carat into Four Grains of Gold; and a Pound Weight of the Old Sterling, or Right Standard Gold of England, consisted of Twenty three Carats and Three Grains and an half of Fine Gold, and half a Grain of Allay. Which Allay (as the Red Book says) might be Silver or Copper. Again, a Pound Weight Troy of Silver, was then (as it has been ever since) divided into Twelve Ounces, every Ounce into Twenty Peny Weight, and every Peny Weight into Twenty four Grains; every Grain of Silver was called a Subtile Grain, Sixty of which were equal to One Grain of Gold, and a Pound Weight of Old Sterling, or Right Standard Silver of England, consisted then, (as it does now) of Eleven Ounces and Two Peny Weight of Fine Silver, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay.

Fourthly, That Sterling Money generally in Judgment of Law, upon the Fines, Covenants, and other Instruments that have had occasion to refer thereunto, hath always imported, and doth still import only such Coins Edition: current; Page: [180] of Gold or Silver, as have been made by successive Masters and Workers of the Mint, in certain Proportions of Fine Metal, mixt with Allays, according to their respective Indentures or Covenants with the Crown, from time to time, and made Currant by the same Indentures, or by Proclamations or Commands of the Sovereign: Which Proportions of Fineness and Allay, have differed from time to time. And (having thus Expounded what is meant by Sterling and Old Sterling) those Differences will come properly to be Considered.

Second, In the next Place therefore, I am to set down Historically the Proportions of Fine Gold and Fine Silver, with the respective Allays, which the Masters or Workers of the Mint have been holden to observe in the Fabrication of the Moneys, by their respective Indentures: Of which there is one mentioned in the Red Book, to bear Date in the Eighteenth Year of King Edward the First, who sent for Workmen from beyond Sea, to inform him of the manner of Making and Forging of Money; but not finding any Indenture by which one can judge certainly of the said Proportions, till the Reign of Edward the Third; from whose time the several Indentures of the Mint, or most of them, are in the Receipt of the Exchequer, in Custody of your Lordships and the Chamberlains there, and where I have had the Opportunity carefully to Inspect and Examine the same. I shall therefore humbly take leave to begin with these, and Proceed in the Order following.

The Standard for the Gold Coins was the Old Standard, or Sterling of Twenty three Carats, Three Grains and Half Fine, and Half a Grain Allay. And the Standard for the Silver Coins was the Old Sterling of Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay.

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20 E 3. } All these imported the same Standard, as above, both for Gold and Silver.
23. }
27. }
30. }
46. }
18 R. 2. }
3 H. 4. }
9 H. 5. }
1 H. 6. }
4. }
24. }
49. }
5 E. 4. }
11. }
16. }
1 R. 3. }
29 H. 7. }

1 H. 8.Ralph Rowlett and Martin Bowes, Masters and Workers, Covenanted to make Two sorts of Gold Coins; to wit, Sovereigns, Rialls, Angels, George-Nobles, and Half-Angels of the said Old Standard, and Crowns of the Double Rose, and Half-Crowns to be Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and Silver Moneys, to wit, Groats, Half-Groats, Sterlings, Half-pence and Farthings of the Old Sterling.

23.Another Indenture to the same Effect.

34.The said Ralph Rowlett and Martin Bowes, Masters and Workers, Covenanted to make the Sovereigns, Half-Sovereigns, Angels, Angellets, and Quarter-Angels of Twenty three Carats Fine Gold, and One Carat Allay; And Silver Money, to wit, Testoons to go for Twelve Pence; and Groats, Half-Groats, Pence, Half-Pence, and Farthings, to be Ten Ounces Fine, and Two Ounces Allay.

36.The King was to have out of every Twelve Ounces of Fine Gold Coined Two Carats, which yielded Fifty Edition: current; Page: [182] Shillings: And the Silver to be Coined after the Rate of Six Ounces Fine and Six Ounces Allay; which was a wretched Debasement.

37 H. 8.The Gold Coins, called Sovereigns, Half-Sovereigns, Crowns and Half-Crowns, were to be only Twenty Carats Fine, and Four Carats Allay; and the Silver Coins, to wit, Testoons, Groats, Half-Groats, Pence, Half-Pence and Farthings to be Four Ounces Fine, and Eight Ounces Allay, which was worse.

1 E. 6.The same with the last Preceding.

3.A Commission to make Sovereigns, Half-Sovereigns, Crowns and Half-Crowns of Gold at Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay: And Shillings of Silver of Six Ounces Fine and Six Ounces Allay.

4.Another to make Sovereigns, Half-Sovereigns, Crowns and Half-Crowns of Gold of the Old Standard; Namely, Twenty three Carats Three Grains and an Half Fine, and Half a Grain Allay.

5.Another to make Shillings of Silver, Three Ounces Fine, and Nine Ounces Allay.

6.To Coin Sovereigns, Angels and Half-Angels of the Old Standard, to wit, Twenty three Carats Three Grains and Half Fine, and another sort of Gold to be Twenty two Carats Fine and Two Carats Allay.

6 E. 6.To Coin Silver Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, Six Pences, Three Pences, Pence, Half-Pence and Farthings, Eleven Ounces One Penny Weight Fine, and Nineteen Penny Weight Allay.

1 Mar.To Coin Gold Twenty three Carats, Three Grains and an Half Fine: and Silver Eleven Ounces Fine.

Phil & Mar.The Old Standard for Gold and Silver.

2 Eliz.To Coin one sort of Gold of the Old Standard, and another sort to be only Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and Silver Moneys of the Old Standard.

3 Eliz.Two Mints were in the Tower, whereof One to convert Edition: current; Page: [183] the Base Money into Sterling, which continued about a Year.Vide Cotton Speech to Cha. I. Ann 1626.And here it may not be improper to Note, that not long after, the Queen in a Publick Edict, told her People, That she had Conquered the Monster which had so long devoured them; meaning the Debasing of the Standard.

The Old Standard perfectly restored both for Gold and Silver Coins.19 Eliz.

The same continued.25.

The same for Gold.26.

A Commission to make Sovereigns, Half-Sovereigns,35. Crowns and Half-Crowns of Gold to be Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay.

To make Angel-Gold Twenty three Carats Three Grains and half Fine,43. the Old Standard; and to make Sovereigns, &c. Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and to make Crowns, Shillings, &c. of Silver Eleven Ounces and Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay, the Old Standard.

To Coin the Unites, Double Crowns, British Crowns,2 Jac. I. &c. of Gold to be Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, and the Old Standard for Silver continued.

To Coin Rose-Rialls,3 Jac. I. Spur Rialls, and Angels of the Old Standard of Twenty three Carats Three Grains and an half Fine.

To Coin Rialls of the same Standard, and Unites,10. &c. Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay.

To Coin Rialls and Angels of the Old Standard of Twenty three Carats Three Grains and an half Fine,2 Car. I. and half a Grain Allay: and to Coin Unites and Crowns Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and to Coin the Silver Moneys of the Old Standard of Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay.

To Coin Rialls and Angels of the Old Standard of12 Ca. 2. Edition: current; Page: [184] Twenty three Carats, Three Grains and an half Fine, and half a Grain Allay; and to Coin Unites and Crowns Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and Silver Moneys of the Old Standard of Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay.

Ca. 2.To Coin the Pieces (since called Guineas) running for Twenty Shillings, Half-Guineas, &c. Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and Silver Moneys of the Old Standard.

ac. 2.To Coin Ten Shilling Pieces, Twenty Shilling Pieces, Fourty Shilling Pieces, and Five Pound Pieces, of Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; and Silver Moneys of the Old Standard of Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay.

V. & M.The same Standard for Gold and Silver.

Upon duly considering this History or Relation for so many years past, it may not be improper to Observe to your Lordships thereupon,

First, That above Four hundred Years ago, the Standard for the Silver Coins was Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay. And so it is at this day by the present Indenture of the Mint, and the same is that which was called the Old Sterling, or Easterling.

Secondly, That the Standard for the Gold Coins Four hundred Years ago, was Twenty three Carats Three Grains and an half Fine, and half a Grain Allay. And at this day the Standard of Gold by the Indenture of the Mint is Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay; the difference of which is only One Carat Three Grains and an half.

Thirdly, That the Old Standard obtained for the most part of the said Number of Years, and the chief Edition: current; Page: [185] Deviations from the same were in the Reigns of Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth.

The which being premised, the Third thing coming under Consideration concerning such new Coins as His Majesty shall think fit to Direct, is my own poor Opinion, which I humbly offer, and (as I conceive) with some clearness, That the present Standard of Fineness or Purity ought to be continued, namely, of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay for the Gold; and Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay for the Silver, in all the New Coins that shall be now directed. And my Reasons for the same are as follows,

First, Because our Ancestors (whose wisdom we have no cause to distrust) have for many Ages endeavoured to keep up the Old Sterling, or to a Standard very near it; which obtained (as evidently appears by the foregoing Narrative) for the greatest part of Four hundred years.

Secondly, Although the former Debasements of the Coins by Publick Authority, especially those in the Reigns of King Henry the Eighth, and King Edward the Sixth, might be projected for the Profit of the Crown; and the Projectors might measure that Profit by the excessive Quantities of Allay that were mixt with the Silver or the Gold: And although this was Enterprized by a Prince who could stretch his Prerogative very far upon his People; and was done in Times when this Nation had very little Commerce, Inland or Foreign, to be injured or prejudiced thereby: Yet Experience presently shewed that the Projectors were mistaken, and that it was absolutely necessary to have the base Moneys reformed; the doing whereof was begun by King Edward the Sixth himself, carried on by King Philip and Queen Mary, and happily finished (though not without great Charge, Vexation and Edition: current; Page: [186] Trouble, the only Offspring of such Designs) by Queen Elizabeth, who (as is noted above) in the Third Year of her Reign, when Money was not plentiful, Erected a Distinct Mint in the Tower, to convert the Base (not Counterfeit Money) into Sterling.

Thirdly, Because making of Base Moneys will Disgrace this Government in future Generations, the Criticks in every Age being apt to Estimate the Goodness or Badness of Ancient Governments by their Coin, as hath been done, especially in the Case of the Romans; and a Temptation of this kind ought not to be left for future Ages, to the prejudice of the Honour of the present King.

Fourthly, Although it must be acknowledged, That the putting a greater Allay into the Coins, so long as they should still retain so much Purity or Fineness as would render them answerable to the Currant Price of Silver in Bullion, would be no real Injury to the Subject: Yet it must be considered, that when the Causes which at present make Silver Scarce and Dear shall cease, Silver it self will fall in its Price. And if in the mean time the Coins shall have been Debased, then after the Retrieving of the Trade and Wealth of the Nation, and the Bringing down of the Price of Silver thereby, the Damage which the Crown will sustain in its Taxes, Revenues, and Loans, and the Loss which the Nobility, Gentry and Commonalty (especially Ecclesiastical Persons) will find thereby, in the payment of their Debts, Rents and Annuities (many of which are so Fixt and Establisht upon previous Reservations or Grants in Fee, or in Tail, or for Lives, or Years certain, or are so payable by Assurances, already perfected, as that it will not be in their powers to alter the same proportionably to the Debasement of the Coin, and the loss or damage, after such Bringing down the Price of Silver, will be proportionable to the excessive Allay to Edition: current; Page: [187] be put into the Money) will continue and have duration at least till all such Base Money can be abated: The meer Reforming of which would take up a considerable time, and be a new trouble and difficulty after the Ending of the present War, and after the Re-establishment of the Trade and Wealth of the Kingdom.

Fifthly, Our present Standard is well known in the World, the same agreeing with most of the Foreign Mints in Europe, and all Foreigners that deal with us, regard the Intrinsick Value more than the Extrinsick Denomination, and Exchange with us accordingly. If Base Mouey should be made, the Intrinsick Value thereof would be uncertain, or might be disputed; and in Disputes of such a Nature, it is more likely that they will gain upon us, than we upon them, and so the Exchange become more to our prejudice than it is at present.

Sixthly, The Debasing of Money by Publick Authority is needless and frivolous; for whatsoever Advantages (grounded upon necessity) can be propos’d thereby, will arise more easily, and have better Precedents in Raising the Value of the Standard; which is the next Subject to be Discussed: Not doubting but that your Lordships by these, and other Reasons which might be given (if they were not too tedious) will be fully convinc’d, That the present Standard of Fineness is to be continued.

The Fourth thing which I have undertaken, in respect of the Standard, is to set forth how the Value of the Gold and Silver in the English Coins hath been Rais’d from time to time, which considers the Weight and Number of the Pieces in the Pound Troy. And because (in case of new making Silver Moneys) the Adjusting and Establishing the Extrinsick Value or Denomination thereof, at which the same must have Course, is of the greatest Moment and Consideration Edition: current; Page: [188] in this Affair, both to the King and all his People; I could not spare my self the trouble of making the following Deduction from the Indentures of the Mint; which being duly meditated upon, will give a good deal of Light and Precedent for the Rates, to which the Value of Gold and Silver in our Coins are to be Raised and Established at this time.

28 E. I.An Indented Tryal-piece of the goodness of Old Sterling was lodged in the Exchequer, and every Pound Weight Troy, of such Silver was to be shorn at Twenty Shillings Three Pence, according to which, the Value of the Silver in the Coin, was One Shilling Eight Pence Farthing an Ounce.

Memorandum, I find no farther Indentures concerning this Matter from Edward the First, till Edward the Third.

18 E. 3Every Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard abovementioned, namely, Twenty three Carats, Three Grains and a Half Fine, and Half a Grain Allay, was to be Coin’d into Fifty Florences, to be Currant at Six Shillings apiece; all which made in Tale Fifteen Pounds, or into a proportionable Number of Half-Florences, or Quarter-Florences: This was by Indenture between the King and Walter de Dunflower, Master and Worker.

Eod. an.A Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard abovementioned, was to contain Thirty nine Nobles and an Half, at Six Shillings Eight Pence apiece, amounting in the whole to Thirteen Pounds Three Shillings and Four Pence in Tale, or a proportionable Number of Half-Nobles and Quarter-Nobles: Which was by an Indenture between the King and Percivall de Perche.

Memorandum, By this Indenture the Tryal of the Pix was Established.

Edition: current; Page: [189]

20 E. 3.A Pound Weight of Gold of the said Old Standard, was to make by Tale Fourty Two Nobles at Six Shillings Eight Pence apiece, amounting to Fourteen Pounds, or a proportionable Number of Half-Nobles, and Quarter-Nobles: And a Pound Weight of the Old Sterling Silver was to make Twenty-two Shillings Six Pence: And Percival de Perche was Master.

23.The like when John Donative, of the Castle of Florence, and Philip John Denier were Masters and Workers.

Memorandum, By this Indenture were also Coined Half-pence and Farthings of Silver.

27.A Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard was to make by Tale Fourty five Nobles, amounting to Fifteen Pounds, or a proportionable Number of Half or Quarter Nobles: And a Pound Weight of Silver of the Old Sterling to make by Tale Seventy five Grosses (i. e. Groats) amounting to Twenty five Shillings, or One hundred and fifty Half-Grosses, going for Two Pence apiece, or Three hundred Sterlings going for Pence apiece: And Henry Brissell was Master and Worker.

30 E. 3.The like, only adding Half Sterlings, of which Six hundred in a Pound Troy.

37.The like.

46.The like: And Bardet de Malepilys was Master and Worker.

18 R. 2.The like: And Nicholas Malakin, a Florentine, was Master and Worker.

3 H. 4.The like: And here Half-pence are called Mailes.

9 H. 5.A Pound Weight of Gold of the said Old Standard was to make by Tale Fifty Nobles, or One hundred Half Nobles, or Two hundred Quarter Nobles, amounting to Sixteen Pounds, Thirteen Shillings, and Four Edition: current; Page: [190] Pence in Tale. And a Pound Weight of Silver of the said Old Standard, was to make by Tale Ninety Grosses or Groats, or One hundred and eighty Half-Groz, or Three hundred and Sixty Sterlings, or Seven hundred and twenty Mailes, or One thousand four hundred and fourty Farthings, amounting to Thirty Shillings: And Bartholomew Goldbeater was Master and Worker.

1 H. 6.A Pound Weight of Gold of the said Old Standard was Coin’d into Fourty five Rialls, going for Ten Shillings apiece, or a proportionable Number of Half-Rialls, going for Five Shillings apiece, or Riall-Farthings, going for Two Shillings and Sixpence apiece, or into Sixty Seven Angels and an Half, going for Six Shillings and Eight Pence apiece, or a proportionable Number of Angelets going for Three Shillings and Four Pence apiece: And consequently the Pound Troy of Gold was Coined into Twenty two Pounds Ten Shillings by Tale, and a Pound Weight of Silver of the Old Sterling was Coined into One hundred and twelve Groats and an half, making in Tale Thirty seven Shillings and Six Pence, or a proportionable Number of Half-Groz, Sterlings or Pence, Half-pence or Farthings: And here Sir Giles Dawbeny was Master and Worker.

4 H. 6.Is the same with that of the Ninth of Henry the Fifth, lowering the Gold to Sixteen Pounds Thirteen Shillings and Four Pence, and the Silver Moneys to Thirty Shillings: and Robert Mansfeild was Master and Worker.

Note, Here the Value of the Silver as well as the Gold in the Coins was brought down again.

49.The same.

24.A Pound Weight of Gold of the said Old Standard was to make by Tale Sixty seven Angels and an Half Edition: current; Page: [191] at Six Shillings Eight Pence apiece, amounting to Twenty two Pounds Ten Shillings, and a Pound Weight of Silver of the said Old Sterling was to make by Tale One hundred and twelve Groats and an Half, amounting to Thirty seven Shillings and Six Pence, or proportionably in the lesser Coins: And Sir Richard Constable was Master and Worker.

A Pound Weight of Gold of the said Old Standard was to make by Tale Twenty Pounds Sixteen Shillings and Eight Pence,4 E. 4. and a Pound Weight of Silver, Old Sterling, was to make Thirty seven Shillings and Six Pence, as in the last Article: And William Lord Hastings was Master and Worker.

A Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard was to make Fourty five Nobles going for Ten Shillings apiece,5. or Ninety Half Nobles, or One hundred and Eighty Quarter Nobles, or Sixty seven and an Half of the Pieces impress’d with Angels going for Six Shillings Eight Pence each, and consequently was Coined into Twenty two Pounds Ten Shillings by Tale, and the Silver Moneys were shorn at Thirty seven Shillings and Six Pence the Pound Weight Troy. This Indenture was between the King and the Lord Hastings His Chamberlain, and Master and Worker and Warden of all his Exchanges and Outchanges in England and Calis.

The like.8 E. 4.

The like.11.

The like.16.

The like:22. But Bartholomew Read was Master and Worker.

The like:1 R. 3. And Robert Brackenbury was Master and Worker.

The like:H. 7. And Robert Fenrother and William Read were Masters and Workers.

Edition: current; Page: [192]

*1 H. 8. A Pound Weight of such Gold to be Coined into Twenty seven Pounds by Tale; to wit, into Twenty four Sovereigns, at Twenty two Shillings and Six Pence apiece, or Fourty eight Rialls at Eleven Shillings and Three Pence apiece, or Seventy two Angels at Seven Shillings and Six Pence apiece, or Eighty one George-Nobles at Six Shillings and Eight Pence apiece, or One hundred fourty and four Half Angels at Three Shillings and Nine Pence apiece, or One hundred sixty and two Fourty-peny Pieces, at Three Shillings and Four Pence apiece; and a Pound Weight of Gold of the Fineness of Twenty two Carats only, was to be Coined into One hundred Crowns and an Half of the Double Rose, or Two hundred and one Half-Crowns, making by Tale Twenty five Pounds two Shillings and Six Pence; and a Pound Weight of Silver of the Old Sterling, was Coined into One hundred and thirty five Groats, or Two hundred and seventy Half-Groats, or Five hundred and fourty Sterlings (i.e. Pence) or One thousand and eighty Half-pence, or Two thousand one hundred and sixty Farthings; and so every Pound Weight of Sterling Silver was Coined into Fourty five Shillings by Tale: And Ralph Rowlett and Martin Bowes were Masters and Workers.

23 H. 8.The like.

34 H. 8.A Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty three Carats Fine, and One Carat Allay, was Coined into Twenty eight Pounds Sixteen Shillings by Tale (by which Indenture there were Coined Sovereigns at Twenty Shillings apiece, Half-Sovereigns at Ten Shillings, Edition: current; Page: [193] Angels at Eight Shillings, Angelets at Four Shillings, and Quarter Angelets at Two Shillings apiece) and a Pound Weight of Silver of Ten Ounces Fine, and Two Ounces Allay, was Coined into Fourty eight Shillings by Tale, Namely, into Testoons (going for Twelve Pence apiece) Groats, Half-Groats, Pence, Half-Pence and Farthings.

A Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine,36 H. 8. and Two Carats Allay, was Coined into Thirty Pounds by Tale; to wit, into Thirty Sovereigns at Twenty Shillings apiece, or Sixty Half-Sovereigns at Ten Shillings apiece; or One hundred and twenty Crowns at Five Shillings apiece, or Two hundred and fourty Half-Crowns: And the King had Two Carats of Fine Gold for Coinage, which yielded him Fifty Shillings. And Silver was Coined by the same Indenture of Six Ounces Fine, and Six Ounces Allay, into Fourty eight Shillings by Tale. This Silver was to be Coined into Testoons, Groats, Half-Groats, Pence, Half-Pence, and Farthings; and the Indenture was between the King and Sir Martin Bowes, and others.

A Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty Carats Fine,37 H. 8. and Four Carats Allay, was Coined into Thirty Pounds by Tale, as in the last; and the King had Four Carats, which yielded him Five Pounds Two Shillings: And a Pound Weight of Silver of Four Ounces Fine, and Eight Ounces Allay was Coined into Fourty eight Shillings by Tale, which raised the Pound Weight of Fine Gold to Thirty six Pounds; and the Pound Weight of Fine Silver to Seven Pounds Four Shillings.

A Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty Carats Fine,1 E. 6. and Four Carats Allay, was Coined into Thirty Pounds by Tale, out of which the King had a great Profit; and a Pound of Silver of Four Ounces Fine, and Eight Ounces Allay, was Coined into Fourty eight Shillings; after which Rate every Pound of Fine Silver made in Edition: current; Page: [194] Currant Money Seven Pounds Four Shillings, and the King’s Profit on every Pound Weight was Four Pounds Four Shillings: John York and others were Masters and Workers of the Mint in Southwark.

Eod. an.Another Indenture to the same Effect with William Tilsworth at Canterbury.

Eod. an.Another Indenture to the same Effect with Sir Martin Bowes for the Tower.

2. E. 6.Another Indenture to the same Effect with George Gale for the Mint at York.

Eod. an.Another Indenture to the same Effect with John York for Southwark, differing only in the Charge of Coinage.

Eod. an.Another Indenture to the same Effect with William Tilsworth, differing only in the Charge of Coinage.

3 E. 6.A Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, was to be coined into Thirty four Pounds by Tale, into Sovereigns at Twenty Shillings apiece, Half-Sovereigns at Ten Shillings apiece, Crowns at Five Shillings, and Half-Crowns at Two Shillings Six Pence apiece: And a Pound Weight of Silver of Six Ounces Fine, and Six Ounces Allay, was to be Coined into Seventy two Shillings; which Shillings were to go for Twelve Pence apiece by Tale, of which the Merchant, for every Pound Weight of Fine Silver, Received Three Pounds Four Shillings, and the King above Four Pounds Gain, by a Commission to Sir Edmund Peckham and others.

4 E. 6.A Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard, of Twenty three Carats, and Three Grains and a Half Fine, was Coin’d into Twenty eight Pounds Sixteen Shillings by Tale, to wit, into Sovereigns at Twenty four Shillings a piece, Half-Sovereigns at Twelve Shillings a piece, Angels at Eight Shillings apiece, and Half-Angels at Four Shillings apiece, by a Commission to Sir Edmund Peckham and others.

Edition: current; Page: [195]

A Pound Weight of Silver of Three Ounces Fine,5 E. 6. and Nine Ounces Allay, was Coined into Seventy two Shillings at Twelve Pence apiece; And the Merchant Received for every Ounce of Fine Silver which he should bring to the Mint, Ten Shillings of such Money, by which means Twelve Ounces of Fine Silver was exorbitantly Raised to Fourteen Pounds eight Shillings, by a Commission to Sir Edmund Peckham and others.

A Pound Weight of Gold,6 E. 6. of the Old Standard aforesaid, was Coined into Thirty six Pounds by Tale, to wit, Twenty four Sovereigns at Thirty Shillings apiece, Seventy two Angels at Ten Shillings apiece, or One hundred fourty four Half-Angels: And a Pound Weight of Crown Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, was Coined into Thirty three Pounds by Tale, viz. Thirty three Sovereigns at Twenty Shillings apiece, or Sixty six Half-Sovereigns at Ten Shillings apiece, or One hundred thirty two Crowns, or Two hundred sixty four Half-Crowns: And a Pound Weight of Silver, consisting of Eleven Ounces, One Penny Weight Fine, and Nineteen Peny Weight Allay, was Coined into Three Pounds by Tale, viz. Twelve Crowns, or Twenty four Half-Crowns, or Sixty Shillings, or One hundred twenty Six-pences, or Two hundred fourty Three-pences, or Seven hundred twenty Pence, or One thousand four hundred and fourty Half-Pence, or Two thousand eight hundred and eighty Farthings.

A Pound Weight of Gold,1 M. of the Old Standard, was Coined into Thirty six Pounds; and a Pound Weight of Silver Eleven Ounces Fine, was Coined into Three Pounds by Tale: And Thomas Egerton was Master and Worker.

A Pound Weight of Gold,2 Eliz. of the Old Standard, of Twenty three Carats three Grains and an Half Fine, was Coined into Thirty six Pounds by Tale; to wit, Edition: current; Page: [196] into Twenty four Sovereigns at Thirty Shillings apiece, or Forty eight Rialls at Fifteen Shillings apiece, or Seventy two Angels at Ten Shillings apiece, or One hundred fourty and four Half-Angels at Five Shillings apiece: And a Pound Weight of Crown Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, was Coined into Thirty three Pounds by Tale (to wit, Thirty three Sovereigns at Twenty Shillings apiece, or Sixty six Half-Sovereigns at Ten Shillings apiece, or One hundred thirty two Crowns at Five Shillings apiece, or Two hundred sixty four Half-Crowns). And a Pound Weight of the Old Sterling Silver, to wit, Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay, was Coined into Three Pounds by Tale, of Half-Shillings, Groats, Quarter-Shillings, Half-Groats, Three-half-peny Pieces, Pence and Farthings, by Indenture between the Queen, Sir Thomas Standly and others.

19 Eliz.John Lonison, Master and Worker, Covenanted to Coin a Pound of Gold of the Old Standard into Seventy two Angels at Ten Shillings apiece, One hundred fourty four Half-Angels at Five Shillings apiece, or Two hundred eighty eight Quarter-Angels, amounting in Tale to Thirty six Pounds; and a Pound Weight of Old Sterling Silver into Half-Shillings, Three-pences, Three-half-peny Pieces, or Three-farthing Pieces, to make Three Pounds by Tale.

25 Eliz.Richard Martin Covenanted to Coin Gold, as in the last; and a Pound of Silver into Sixty Shillings, or into Three Pounds by Tale, in any of the Denominations mentioned in the last Indenture.

26.A Commission to him to Coin the Pound Troy of Old Standard Gold into Fourty eight Nobles at Fifteen Shillings apiece, or Twenty four Double Nobles at Thirty Shillings apiece, making Thirty six Pounds.

35.The same to Coin the Pound Weight of Gold of Edition: current; Page: [197] Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay into Thirty three Sovereigns, at Twenty Shillings apiece, or Sixty six Half-Sovereigns, or One hundred thirty two Crowns, or Two hundred sixty four Half-Crowns, making Thirty three Pounds by Tale.

The same to Coin the Pound Weight of Old Standard Gold into Seventy three Angels at Ten Shillings apiece,43 Eliz. or One hundred fourty and six Half-Angels, or Two hundred ninety two Quarter Angels, making Thirty six Pounds Ten Shillings in Tale; and the Pound Weight of Gold, of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, into Thirty three Sovereigns and an Half, at Twenty Shillings apiece, or Sixty seven Half-Sovereigns, or One hundred thirty four Crowns, or Two hundred sixty eight Half-Crowns, making Thirty three Pounds Ten Shillings in Tale; and the Pound Weight of Old Standard Silver into Three Pounds two Shillings by Tale; Namely, into Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, Six-pences, Two-pences, Pence and Half-pence.

Sir Richard Martyn Knight, and Richard Martyn his Son,2 Jac. 1. Masters and Workers, Covenanted to Coin a Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, into Thirty seven Pounds four Shillings by Tale, viz., into Unites going for Twenty Shillings, Double-Crowns at Ten Shillings, Britain-Crowns at Five Shillings, Thistle-Crowns at Four Shillings, and Half-Crowns at Two Shillings Six-pence apiece; And a Pound Weight of Silver of the said Old Standard, into Sixty two Shillings by Tale; Namely, into Shillings, Six-pences, Two-pences, Pence, Half-pence, Crowns and Half-Crowns.

A Pound Weight of Gold of the Old Standard of Twenty three Carats,3 Jac. 1. Three Grains and an Half Fine, was Coined into Fourty Pound Ten Shillings by Tale; to wit, into Rose-Rialls at Thirty Shillings apiece, Edition: current; Page: [198] Spur-Rialls at Fifteen Shillings, and Angels at Ten Shillings apiece.

9 Jac. 1.There was a Proclamation for Raising Gold Two Shillings in every Twenty Shillings.

10.A Pound Weight of the Old Standard Gold was to be Coined into Fourty four Pounds by Tale; to wit, Rose-Rialls, Spur-Rialls, and Angels; and a Pound Weight of Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, was Coined into Fourty Pounds Eighteen Shillings and Four Pence; to wit, into Unites at Twenty two Shillings, Double-Crowns at Eleven Shillings, British-Crowns at Five Shillings and Six-pence, Thistle-Crowns at Four Shillings and Four Pence Three Farthings, or Half-British Crowns at Two Shillings and Nine Pence apiece.

2 Car. 1.A Pound Weight of Gold, of the Old Standard of Twenty three Carats Three Grains and an Half Fine, and Half a Grain Allay, was Coined into Fourty four Pounds Ten Shillings by Tale, to wit, into Rose-Rialls at Thirty Shillings apiece, Spur-Rialls at Fifteen Shillings apiece, or Angels at Ten Shillings apiece; and a Pound Weight of Crown Gold of Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, into Fourty one Pounds by Tale, to wit, into Unites at Twenty Shillings, Double Crowns at Ten Shillings, or British-Crowns at Five Shillings apiece; and a Pound of Silver of the Old Standard of Eleven Ounces, Two Peny Weight Fine, into Sixty two Shillings by Tale; Namely, into Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, Half-shillings, Two-pences, Pence, and Half-pence, by Indenture between the King and Sir Robert Harleigh.

12 C. 2.The like both for Gold and Silver Moneys, by Indenture between the King and Sir Ralph Freeman.

22.An Indenture between the King and Henry Slingsby Master and Worker, to Coin Crown Gold Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay into Fourty four Edition: current; Page: [199] Pounds Ten Shillings by Tale; to wit, into Pieces to run for Ten Shillings, Twenty Shillings, Fourty Shillings, or Five Pounds apiece; and a Pound of Silver of the Old Standard into Three Pounds Two Shillings by Tale, to wit, into Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, Half-shillings, Groats, Half-sixpences, Half-Groats and Pence.

A Pound Weight of Gold,1 Jac. 2. Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, to be Coined into Fourty four Pounds Ten Shillings by Tale; and a Pound Weight of Silver of the Old Standard into Sixty two Shillings by Tale, just as the preceding Indenture: And Thomas Neale, Esq.; was Master and Worker.

The like.1 W. & M.

By the careful observing of which Deduction here made, from the Indentures of the Mint for above Four hundred years past (many of which are yet extant, and have been seen and examined by me) it doth evidently appear, That it has been a policy constantly Practised in the Mints of England (the like having indeed been done in all Foreign Mints belonging to other Governments) to Raise the Value of the Coin in its Extrinsick Denomination, from time to time, as any Exigence or Occasion required; and more especially to Encourage the bringing of Bullion into the Realm to be Coined (though sometimes, when the desired End was obtained, the Value has been suffered to fall again.) So that in the whole Number of Years, from the Twenty eighth of Edward the First, until this time, by such Variations the Extrinsick Value or Denomination of the Silver is Raised in about a Triple Proportion; that is to say, In the Reign of the said King Edward the First (as is plain by this Narrative) a Pound Weight Troy of Sterling Silver was shorn at Twenty Shillings and Three Pence, and consequently Two hundred fourty three Pence, or Twenty Shillings and One Fourth of a Edition: current; Page: [200] Shilling, or One Pound and One Eightieth Part of a Pound by Tale, were then Coin’d, out of the said Pound Weight Troy: Whereas at this day, and for about Ninety years past, a Pound Weight Troy of like Silver, is and hath been Coin’d into Seven hundred fourty four Pence, or Sixty two Shillings, or Three Pounds, and One tenth of a Pound by Tale, the Pound Weight Troy having then and now the same Weight and Fineness. And as to the Gold, I need only to observe from the foregoing Deduction, That in the Eighteenth of Edward the First, a Pound Weight Fine, Twenty three Carats, Three Grains and one Half, was Coin’d into Fifteen Pounds by Tale: Whereas at this day a Pound Weight of Gold, of the Fineness only of Twenty two Carats, is Coin’d into Fourty four Pounds Ten Shillings. And this Method of Raising the Extrinsick Value of the Gold and Silver, in the Denominations of the Coins, as it hath been constant almost in the Reign of every King, so no Inconvenience, Disgrace or Mischief (as can be observed) has ever accrued by the doing thereof at any time, when a Just, Necessary or Reasonable Cause gave Occasion thereunto,

The which being Premised, and every Project for Debasing the Money (by the Reason before given) being Rejected as Dangerous, Dishonourable and Needless: It remains that our Nation in its present Exigence, may avail it self, by Raising the Value of its Coins, and this may be effected, either by making the respective Pieces called Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, &c., to be lesser in Weight, or by continuing the same Weight or Bigness, which is at present in the Unclipt Moneys, and Ordaining at the same time, that every such Piece shall be Currant at a higher Price in Tale.

But before I proceed to give my Opinion upon this Subject, it seems necessary for me to assert and prove an Hypothesis, which is this, namely, That making the Edition: current; Page: [201] Pieces less, or ordaining the respective Pieces (of the present Weight) to be Currant at a higher Rate, may equally raise the Value of the Silver in our Coins. The former of these finds many Precedents in the Indentures above recited, but the latter seems more suitable to our present Circumstances, as will afterwards be shewed more at large.

This Hypothesis or Theorem is easily demonstrated thus, Let it be granted, That a Crown Piece by the present Standard contains in Sterling Silver (as it really doth) Nineteen Penny Weight, and 354838/1000000 parts of a Peny Weight: Or (which is the same thing) Nineteen Peny Weight Eight Grains and an Half, and a very small fractional part more, going at this time for Five Shillings, or Sixty Pence. And let it be supposed (which is practicable, and the thing aimed at) that this very Crown Piece be ordained to pass for Six Shillings and Three Pence, or (which is equal) Seventy five Pence. Then I say by Inverse Proportion, as Seventy five Pence are to Sixty Pence, so Sixty will be to Fourty eight Pence, which are equal to Four Shillings. From whence I infer, That if the Extrinsick Value of the Silver now in a Crown were to be Rais’d to Six Shillings and Three Pence (by diminishing the Weight of the Piece according to former Precedents) then such Diminitive Crown must weigh only Four fifths of the said 19. 354838/1000000 Peny Weight, that is to say, it must weigh Fifteen Peny Weight, and 4838704/10000000 parts of a Peny Weight, and in this case Five Three Pences to be Coin’d in the same Proportion, to compleat the Rais’d Value of Six Shillings and Three Pence, must weigh One fourth part of the Diminitive Crown, as in the Margin.15.4838704 3.8709676 Again (by direct Proportion) if 15.4838704 Peny Weight of Sterling Silver is to go or be Currant for Five Shillings, or Sixty Pence, then 19,354838 Peny Weight of Sterling Silver (which is the Quantity Edition: current; Page: [202] in an Unclipt Crown by the present Standard, 19.3548380 and equal to the Sum or Aggregate of the other Two Quantities) ought to go and be Currant for Six Shillings and Three Pence, or Seventy five Pence, and consequently will Raise the Extrinsick Value of the Silver, as much as diminishing the Pieces would do; which was to be demonstrated.

And now (having cleared my way) I humbly take leave to offer my Opinion, That all such Silver Moneys as are after Enumerated of the Lawful Coins of this Realm of England,* Memorandum, Moneys Clipt or Unclipt, are afterwards Described by certain Weights. which are now in being, and are not at all diminished by Clipping, Rounding, Filing, Washing, or any other Artifice, be Raised by Publick Authority to the foot of Six shillings and Three pence for the Crown, and proportionably for the other Species, namely, the Crown to go for Seventy five pence, the Half-Crown to go for Thirty seven pence and an half-peny, the Shilling for Fifteen pence, and the Half-shilling for Seven pence half-peny, leaving all the other old Unclipt Pieces as the Thirteen pence half-peny, the Nine pence, the Groat, Two pence, &c. which are very few in Number, and much worn, to go upon their present Foot, and to find their Values in pence, and parts of a peny, as they do at this day. And that the New Coins to be made, either of the Clipt Money, as it shall be brought in, or of any other Sterling Silver, be made, in their respective Weights or Bigness, by the present Indenture of the Mint, that is to say, One Piece which may be called the Sceptre, or the Silver-Unite, or by such other Name as His Majesty shall Appoint, and to be exactly of the Weight and Fineness of the present Unclipt Crown Piece, but to run for Seventy five Pence Sterling; of which Pieces so made, there shall be Twelve, and Two fifths of such piece in a Pound Weight Troy; and Three of the said Pieces called Sceptres or Unites, or by such other Name, as aforesaid, together with a Fifteen Peny Piece, Edition: current; Page: [203] after mentioned, shall make by Tale One Pound Sterling, or One Pound of Lawful Money of England, in all Accounts and Lawful Payments whatsoever. Another Piece which may be called the Half-Sceptre or Half-Unite, or by such other Name as His Majesty shall Appoint, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to a present Unclipt Half-Crown, but to run for Thirty seven Pence and an Half-peny Sterling; of which Pieces last mentioned, there shall be Twenty four, and Four Fifths of such a Piece in a Pound Weight Troy; and Six of the said Pieces called Half-Sceptres or Half-Unite, or by such other Name as His Majesty shall Appoint, together with One Fifteen Peny Piece after-mentioned, shall make by Tale One Pound Sterling, or One Pound of Lawful English Money, in all Accounts and Legal Payments whatsoever. One other Piece which may be called the Testoon, or Fifteen Peny Piece, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to a present Unclipt Shilling, but to run for Fifteen Pence Sterling, of which there shall be Sixty two in a Pound Weight Troy, and Sixteen of the said Pieces called Testoons, or Fifteen Peny Pieces, shall make in Tale One Pound Sterling, or One Pound of Lawful English Money; or Ten of these Testoons, together with Two such Grosses or Groats, as are after mentioned, will make a Mark Sterling, or Five of them, and One such Gross or Groat, will make a Noble, which the Law used to call the Hauf Merk, or Eight of them will make the Angel, or Four of them will make the Crown, or Two of them will make the Half-Crown: And they may be proportionably varied, many other ways in all Accounts, Reckonings and Legal Payments whatsoever. One other Piece, which may be called the Half-Testoon, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to the Half-shilling by the present Standard, but to run for Seven Pence Half-peny Sterling, of which there shall be One hundred Edition: current; Page: [204] twenty four in the Pound Weight Troy; and Thirty two of the said Pieces to be called Half-Testoons, shall make in Tale One Pound Sterling; or Twenty of these, with Two of the Grosses or Groats, will make a Mark in Tale; or Ten of these Half-Testoons, with one Gross, will make a Noble: or Eight of the said Half-Testoons will make a Crown by Tale; or Five of them with a Half-Groat, will make the Half-Noble, or Three Shillings and Four pence by Tale; or Four of the said Half-Testoons, will make an Half-Crown; or Thirty two of them will make Twenty Shillings by Tale; or Sixteen of them will make Ten Shilling by Tale; or Eight of them will make Five Shillings by Tale; and they may many other ways be proportionably varied in all Accounts, Reckonings and Legal Payments whatsoever. One other piece which may be called the Gross or Five-peny piece, to be equal in Weight and Fineness to a Groat by the present Standard, but to run for Five pence Sterling, of which there shall be One hundred eighty six in the pound Weight Troy; and Fourty eight of the said Grosses or Five-peny pieces, will make in Tale One Pound Sterling; or a proportionable Number of them in many Cases (too tedious here to enumerate) will answer to the said Denominations of Pounds, Marks, Half-Marks, Quarter-Marks, Angels, Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, and Pence used in Accounts, or in Acts of Parliament, Records, or other Legal Instruments, which are absolutely necessary to be continued. One other piece which may be called the Quarter-Testoon, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to a Three peny piece by the present Standard, but to run for Three pence three farthings Sterling, of which there shall be Two hundred fourty eight in a Pound Weight Troy, and Sixty four of these Quarter-Testoons will make in Tale One Pound Sterling, or a proportionable Number of them will answer in a greater Number of Cases to the said Denominations Edition: current; Page: [205] used in Accounts, or in the Laws of England. One other Piece which may be called the Half-Groat or Half-Gross, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to a Two peny piece by the present Standard, but to run for Two pence half-peny Sterling, of which there shall be Three hundred seventy two in a Pound Weight Troy, and Ninety six of the said Half-Groats will make in Tale One pound Sterling, or a proportionable Number of them will answer, in most Cases, to the said Denominations used in Accounts, or in the Laws of England. And one other Piece which may be called the Prime, which shall be equal in Weight and Fineness to a present Standard peny, but to run for Five farthings, or for One peny, and the fourth part of a peny Sterling, of which there shall be Seven hundred fourty and four in a Pound Weight Troy, and One hundred ninety and two of the said Primes will make in Tale One pound Sterling, or a proportionable Number of them (the Combinations whereof are almost infinite) will answer almost in all Cases to the said Denominations used in Accounts, or in the Laws of England. And because it may be convenient to have the Denomination of Shillings continued, let there be added One Piece to be called the Shilling, or Twelve peny Piece, to be equal in Fineness, though not in Weight, to any Standard Money now in being, to run for Twelve pence Sterling, (which will be a Fifth part less in Weight then the present Shilling) of these there shall be Seventy seven and an Half in a Pound Weight Troy, and Twenty of them will make a Pound by Tale, whereby every Pound Weight Troy of the Silver Moneys aforesaid, will be and hold in Number and Tale, and in the Value will be Rais’d from Three pounds Two shillings, to Three pounds Seventeen shillings and Six pence Sterling, by the Pound Troy: And my Reasons for this Opinion are as follows:

Edition: current; Page: [206]

First, The Value of the Silver in the Coin ought to be Raised to the Foot of Six Shillings Three Pence in every Crown, because the Price of Standard Silver in Bullion is Risen (from divers necessary and unnecessary Causes, producing at length a great scarcity thereof in England) to Six Shillings Five Pence an Ounce: This Reason (which I humbly conceive will appear irrefragable) is grounded chiefly upon a Truth so Apparent, that it may well be compared to an Axiom even in Mathematical Reasoning, to wit, That whensoever the Extrinsick Value of Silver in the Coin hath been, or shall be less than the price of Silver in Bullion, the Coin hath been, and will be Melted down. Although the melting down of Coin, for private Lucre, be done in secret (because ’tis Punishable by *Law) yet no man can doubt but that it has been Practised for a long time past, to such a Degree, upon the Weighty Money, as that in particular, the Crowns and Half-Crowns of Edward the Sixth and Queen Elizabeth are quite vanished: Those of King James the First are become very rare: Those of King Charles the First (though the most numerous of all that remain) are in a great measure Reduced, and will appear to be so the more plainly, when they come to be distinguished from the Counterfeits, which are mostly contrived to Resemble these: The Crowns, Half-Crowns, and indeed the lesser Coins of King Charles the Second (the far greatest part whereof were Milled Money) in all Payments at the Edition: current; Page: [207] Exchequer, and other Publick Offices, do not, by Estimation, exceed the Proportion of Ten Shillings per Cent. or a Two hundreth Part. And if this Wicked Fact of Melting down has been notoriously Committed, at times when there was no great difference between the Value of the Silver in the Coin and that in the Bullion; or when the Goldsmiths and other Artificers could make no other Profit thereby, than the small Overweight, which (by Weighing and Culling the Pieces Coin’d at the Tower) they found to be in some of them, which being Molten, might be carried back to the Mint, and there Re-coin’d at the King’s Charge into a greater Number by Tale for their own Use: Then one may easily conclude, That the temptation of Melting down, is grown of late much more prevalent; since, at this day, Standard Silver in Bullion is commonly sold at the said Price of Six Shillings and Five Pence, or for Seventy seven Pence an Ounce. And in regard Twenty Peny Weight (equal to an Ounce) bears the same Proportion to Seventy seven Pence as Nineteen Peny Weight, and 354838/1000000 of One Peny Weight (equal to the Standard Silver contained in a Crown Piece) doth to Six Shillings and Two Pence Half-peny; it is most plain, that he that now Melts down (for instance) a Crown Piece, which whilst it retains the Image and Superscription of His Majesty, or either of the late King’s runs only for Five Shillings, can immediately sell the Silver of it here for Six Shillings and Two Pence Half-peny, and gain the Sum of Fourteen Pence Half-peny upon every such Melted Piece, by such Sale of the Silver here, or (by reason of the great Loss which this Nation at present suffers in its Foreign Exchange or Remittances) he may make a greater Profit of the same Silver, by Exporting it into Foreign Parts, if he can effect the same, either by Stealth, or by Eluding the late Act of Parliament, Prohibiting such Edition: current; Page: [208] Exportation. One may also foresee, that continuing the Silver Moneys (either Old or New Coins) upon the present Foot, whilst Bullion is so much dearer, will inevitably produce Consequences pernicious to the whole; in effect it will be nothing else but the furnishing Offenders with a Species to Melt down at an extravagant Profit, and encouraging not a necessary, but a violent and exorbitant Exportation of our Silver to the Foreign Parts, for the sake of the Gain only, till we shall have little or none left in the Kingdom. And upon an Impartial Consideration of these Matters, we may be able to make a more mature Judgment upon the Suggestion that has been raised by some Men; Namely, That Raising the Value of our Coin, or Continuing it on the present Foot will be the same thing. If these Gentlemen mean, that Silver in Bullion will always, during this War, be dearer than Silver in Coin, because of the necessity to Export it for the Foreign Expence of the War, and to answer the Ballance of Trade, occasioned by the Interruption of our Navigation, I answer,

First, That this Necessity may be diminished; but it cannot in any Sence be Augmented, by Raising the Value of our Coin.

Secondly, That supposing the worst, to wit, a further Advance of the Silver in Bullion, yet even in that case, the Offenders before mentioned will not find so much Incouragement or Temptation, when their Profit, whatsoever it be, upon every Raised Crown, must evidently be less by Fourteen Pence Half-peny than it is at present, upon a Crown running in Payment for Five Shillings only.

Thirdly, It is hoped that the Exchange to Holland, (which by the way has risen a little of late) may by the Success of some good Designs now on Foot (though the War should continue) be kept at a stand, at least Edition: current; Page: [209] from falling much lower. In which Case I think the Arguments of these Gentlemen will have little or no Weight.

Fourthly, There must be a great difference with regard to the Service and Disservice of the Publick, between a necessary Exportation of Bullion or Coin, (perhaps the One may be as well Dispensed with as the other, by Publick Authority, and to a Limited Sum only for the Service of the War) and such an Exportation thereof, as proceeds Originally from the said exorbitant Profit of the Melters, who being Goldsmiths, Refiners, or other Traders, and by this Means, and by the Clippings, getting great Quantities of Molten Silver into their Hands, know well enough (though by Unlawful or Indirect Means) to convey the same beyond Sea, either to buy Gold there, which is afterwards brought hither and Coin’d into Guineas, passing at Thirty Shillings apiece; or to buy Prohibited Goods, as Lace, Lustrings, Muslins, divers East-India Goods, or other enumerated Commodities, or for other Purposes, which, though unlawful or needless, do all help or combine, at this time, to Augment and Inhance that Ballance of Trade between us and our Neighbours, very much to our Detriment, as will be shew’d hereafter.

Fifthly, These Gentlemen consider only the use of our Coin in England, as it hath Relation to Foreign Exchanges or Remittances, whereas it serves principally the Inland Commerce, and supplies many other occasions, which will be advantaged by the Rise and Plenty thereof. And whereas it is apprehended that the proposed Advance of the Silver in the Coin, will produce a proportionable loss in all Rents and Revenues, Publick or Private, settled or ascertained by Antecedent Reservations, Grants or Agreements, and in all Debts now standing out upon Specialty, or without Specialty: I humbly conceive these Apprehensions must entirely Edition: current; Page: [210] vanish, when it shall be impartially considered, That this Nation is, and hath been for some time past, ingaged in a necessary War, which hath not only caused a great Expence of our Wealth in Foreign Parts of Europe, but hath Interrupted the Navigation, which used to Supply us from East and West Indies, and from other Parts of Asia, Africa and America, with much greater Quantities of Goods than served our own Consumption, and consequently afforded us a large Overplus, which, together with our own Native Product or Manufacture, were Exported to our Neighbour Nations, in Barter or Exchange for the Goods we received of them. That reckoning on the one side the Value of the Naval Stores, Linens, Silks, Salt-Petre, and many other Enumerated Commodities, which we receive from our Neighbours, and adding thereunto our Foreign Expence for the War: And on the other side the Value of so much of our Native Manufactures, or Produce, and the small Overplus of Goods brought from the East and West Indies, &c. as we have lately Exported, or can Export into our Neighbour Nations of Europe, there would appear a great Difference or Excess between the one side and the other of such Account or Reckoning; which Difference or Excess is or may be called the Ballance of Trade. That it cannot be conceived how this Ballance, Difference, or Excess hath been or can be answered by us in any thing other than our Coin or Bullion. That to answer this Ballance of Trade, there hath been already Exported a great part of our Coins and Bullion, namely, Clippings, which I think must have been equal in Value to at least a Fourth part of our whole Species of Silver Moneys, the Molten Silver of a good part of our heavy Coins, part of our heavy Coins themselves, our whole Stock of Foreign Silver; for I am told there is little or none of that to be bought in England at this time, and the Molten Silver of a Edition: current; Page: [211] great deal of our English Plate and Vessels, which People have been induced to part with at a good Price. That by this means Silver in Coin or in Mass is actually grown very Scarce in England. That every thing having any Value or Worth whatsoever, when it becomes Scarce grows Dear, or (which is the same thing) it Riseth in Price, and consequently it will serve to pay more Debt, or it will buy greater Quantities of other Goods of Value, or in any thing else it will go further than it did before. That Silver in England being grown Scarce, as aforesaid, is consequently grown Dearer. That it is Risen in Price from Five Shillings and Two Pence, to Six Shillings and Five Pence an Ounce: And by Daily Experience Nineteen Peny Weight and Three Tenths of a Peny Weight in Sterling Silver (equal to the Weight of a Crown Piece) in England, doth, and will Purchase more Coined Money than Five Shillings by Tale, (though the latter be delivered bonâ fide in Unclipt Shillings, or in a good Bill) and consequently doth and will Purchase and Acquire more Goods or necessaries, or pay more Debts in England, or (being delivered here) it fetches more Money in any Foreign Parts by way of Exchange, than Five Shillings by Tale, or the Sixth Part of a Guinea by Tale, or Goods to the Value of Five Shillings in Tale only, do or can Fetch, Purchase or Acquire. That this Advanced Price of the Silver has been growing for some time, and is Originally caused by the Ballance, Excess or Difference abovementioned, which Naturally and Rationally produces such an effect. And there is no reason to expect that Silver will decline in its Price or Value here, till it be made more plentiful, by turning the Ballance of Trade to our Advantage, which seems to be a Work that can be accomplished with Success in times of Peace, or by such a Protection of our Trade, as will render our Exportations as large as they used to be in times of Edition: current; Page: [212] Peace. That the Raising the Value of the Silver in our Coins to make it equal to Silver in Mass, can in no Sence be understood to be a cause of making Silver Scarce. That there can never be propos’d any just or reasonable Foot upon which the Coins should be Currant, save only the very Price of the Silver thereof, in case it be Molten in the same Place where the Coins are made Currant, or an Extrinsick Denomination very near that Price: It being most evident, That if the Value of the Silver in the Coins should (by any Extrinsick Denomination) be Raised above the Value, or Market Price of the same Silver, reduced to Bullion, the Subject would be proportionably Injured and Defrauded, as they were formerly in the case of the Base Moneys Coin’d by Publick Authority; but if the Value of the Silver in the Coins be less than the Value or Market Price of the same Silver reduced to Bullion, then the Coins are always Melted down for Lucre, as they have been, and are at this day in the Case of the Unclipt Moneys, and as they will certainly be, in Case of any New Coins that shall be made, to be Currant upon the Old Foot of Sixty Pence for the Silver of a Crown Piece; which sufficiently proves, That the Medium propos’d is the true Foundation for the Course of our Moneys. That for this purpose we need only to consider the very Price that Silver bears in England, where these Coins are to be Currant, although if we will have Relation to Neighbouring Countreys, particularly to Holland, we shall find that the Currant Price of an Ounce of Silver there, adding thereunto the Difference of Exchange from London to Amsterdam or Roterdam (which Difference in the Exchange, is but another Effect of the Ballance of Trade beforementioned) will still make up the Price of Six Shillings and Five Pence for the Ounce of Silver at London. And if this were not so, your Lordships might be sure that Edition: current; Page: [213] no body would buy Silver at London for Six Shillings and Five Pence an Ounce, carry it to Holland, and sell it there perhaps for Five Shillings and Five Pence an Ounce, or for so much in their Coins, the Silver whereof is not equal to Five Shillings and Five Pence by our Standard. That it ought not to be Alledged that Silver has no Price; for every Indenture of the Mint (having first Ascertain’d the Extrinsick Denomination of the Currant Coins) has taken care also to Determine the Price or Value of the Silver to the Merchant or Importer, which was to be Answered in those Extrinsick Denominations; and daily Experience shews every Man, in Buying or Selling of Silver, that it has a Price or Value still Reckoned in those Extrinsick Denominations, although at present it much exceeds, as aforesaid, the said Rate of Sixty two Shillings for a Pound Troy. That Five Shillings Coin’d upon the Foot hereby proposed, will actually contain more real and Intrinsick Value of Silver by a great deal, than is in the Currant Moneys now commonly Applied to the Payment of the said Rents, Revenues and Debts, upon which the imaginary Loss is Apprehended, and in Reason will and ought to go further to all Intents and Purposes, than Five Shillings in Clipt Moneys, or in the Sixth Part of a Guinea, doth or can go; which will be better understood, when the Mischiefs of these Clipt Moneys and Guineas come to be Explain’d in the Third Chapter. And lastly, That as the Foot or Foundation hereby Proposed, for the Course of the Moneys, will be Just and Reasonable, with regard to the Price of Silver, and more Advantagious to the Receivers thereof, than Payment in Clipt Moneys or Gold at the present Price; so every Person that shall Receive any Money Coin’d or made Currant upon this New Foot, will have the Payment, Issuing and Expenditure thereof at the same Rate. And it is freely submitted to Impartial Judgments, Edition: current; Page: [214] whether the propos’d Advance of Silver in the Coins can infer a Real Loss upon any Persons, other than such as can propose to themselves particularly the Receipt of Moneys in Weighty or Unclipt Pieces only, and the Conversion thereof to an Advantage, which Law or Reason would not allow them.

Secondly, The Value of the Silver in the Coin ought to be Raised, to encourage the bringing of Bullion to the Mint to be Coin’d. It is a Matter of Fact well known to your Lordships, and (by the small Number of the Pieces of the present King, or of His Majesty and the Deceas’d Queen) it is perceivable by every body else, that since Bullion hath born a greater Price than Silver in the Coin, there has been none brought to the Mint to be Coin’d, either by Importers or others, unless some small Parcels, that were Seiz’d or sent thither by Publick Authority. And it is utterly against Reason for any Man to think, that any Bullion of Silver will be carried thither voluntarily to be Coin’d, till the Value of Silver Coin’d be Raised, at least as high as the Value of Silver in Bullion. By the propos’d Advance to Six Shillings and Three Pence, the Sterling Silver in the Coins will be set at Six Shillings and Five Pence Half-peny per Ounce, which will exceed the present Price of Sterling in Bullion by One Half-peny per Ounce, and give (though by a small Profit) an encouragement to those that have English Silver or Plate, and particularly to the Retailers of Wine, Beer, Ale and other Liquors, (whose Tankards and other Vessels are herein after propos’d to be brought in) and generally to all those that have or can have Silver Imported, to carry the same to the Mint to be Coin’d. And this will be agreeable to the Policy that in past Ages (as hath been observed upon the aforesaid Deduction) hath been Practised not only in our Mint, but in the Mints of all Politick Governments, namely, Edition: current; Page: [215] to Raise the Value of Silver in the Coin, to Promote the Work of the Mint.

Thirdly, The Raising the Value of the Silver in the Coin, will increase the whole Species in Tale, and thereby make it more commensurate to the general need thereof, for carrying on the Common Traffick and Commerce of the Nation, and to answer the Payments on the numerous Contracts, Securities, and other daily Occasions, requiring a larger Supply of Money for that purpose. This Reason may be further Illustrated, by considering that the want of a sufficient Stock of Money, hath been the chief Cause of Introducing so much Paper Credit (which is at best hazardous, and may be carried too far) and the Setting up of Offices, both in City and Country, for Bartering of Goods or Permutations.

Fourthly, The Silver in the Old Unclipt Moneys, and in the New Coins now Propos’d to be made, ought to be Raised (as I have offered) Equally, to avoid Confusion and Uncertainty in Payments: For if Pieces, having the same Bigness, should have different Values, it might be difficult for the Common People (especially those not skilled in Arithmetick) to Compute how many of one kind will be equal to the Sum of another; and there might be some Dispute about the Lawful Money of England, to be Paid upon Mortgages, Bonds, Contracts, or other Legal Securities referring thereunto.

Fifthly, The Foot of Six Shillings and Three Pence for the Crown, here Propos’d, will not only be suitable to the present Rate of Bullion, but it happens to be such a Sum as is Deviseable into a great Number of Aliquot or other Integral Parts, to serve for the lesser Coins before Propos’d, so that none of them will come forth in any Fractional Part of a Farthing, which will obviate much Perplexity amongst the Common People: Edition: current; Page: [216] And I think there is scarce any other Sum near it that is Deviseable in like manner.

Sixthly, By this Project, all Computations in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence, used in Accounts; and the Reckonings by Pounds, Marks, Half-Marks, Shillings, and Pence, practised in the Law of England, and in the Records, Contracts and other Instruments, relating thereunto, will be Preserved as they ought to be.

Seventhly, By this Method, the bringing in of the present Unclipt Coins, to be cut into lesser Pieces, are rendered needless; which Species being at present (for the most part) Hoarded, will, upon Raising their Value, come forth, and go a great way towards Supplying the Commerce and other Occasions, whilst the New Money is making. And I think it will be Granted to be utterly impossible, in this time of War, to Re-Coin the Clipt Moneys, if at the same time the Unclipt shall be brought in to be new Cut; or if the Unclipt Pieces should not (by such an Encouragement) be brought forth to Supply the Commerce, Pay Taxes, and serve other Occasions in the mean time.

Eighthly, It is difficult to Conceive, how any Design of Amending the Clipt Moneys can be compassed, without Raising the Value of the Silver remaining in them, because of the great Deficiency of the Silver Clipt away; which (upon Re-Coining) must necessarily be Defrayed or Born one way or other.

Ninthly, As our Unclipt Moneys, and the New Coins here Propos’d to be made, will, by the former Proposition, retain the Ancient Sterling, or Old Right Standard of the Mint for Fineness and Purity (the Alteration of which could never be Justified by any Necessity;) so by this Proposition they will both Continue the Present Standard of the Mint in the Weight or Bigness of the respective Pieces, without being cut into Less, as they have formerly been (the New Shilling only excepted:) Edition: current; Page: [217] These Propositions indeed, dealing with nothing but the very Value of the Silver in the Coins, to make it equal to the Currant Price of our own Bullion or Silver in Mass, with a very little Excess, to wit, of an Halfpeny in an Ounce, to encourage the Coinage, and to make it bear the like Reason or Proportion to the Price of Foreign Moneys now Currant amongst us: Namely, the Pillar Dollars, which go at Seven Shillings and a Peny per Ounce, and Sevil and Mexico Dollars at Seven Shillings per Ounce, and to effect an equality in all Pieces, having the same Extrinsick Denomination, and thereby to cure such Mischiefs relating to our Coin, as are not to be Parallel’d in the Records of former Ages: Which Raised Values may be Lowered again by the Wisdom and Authority of Parliament, when the Wealth of the Nation shall (by God’s Blessing) be Re-establisht without Trouble or Charge of Re-coining or Cutting the Silver Pieces into other Sizes.

As to the Gold Coins which are now almost wholly Reduced or Converted into the Pieces called Guineas and Half-Guineas, they were first Coin’d by King Charles the Second, not long after the Restauration; and were ordained to go at the Rates of Twenty Shillings for the Guinea, and Ten Shillings for the Half-Guinea; but I do not remember that they ever passed at so little, as the Prices which were then set upon them, because our Nation has been always too apt to overvalue its Gold. And at this time the Guinea runs for Thirty Shillings, although the Gold of it (if it were carried to Spain, Italy, Barbary, and some other Places of the World) would not Purchase so much Silver there, as is equal to the Standard of four of our Crowns, or Twenty Shillings. And here it is necessary for me to Observe, That if the Gold had Advanced proportionably with the Silver, then because as Five Shillings (the Standard Value of the Silver in a Crown) is to Six Edition: current; Page: [218] Shillings and Two Pence Halfpeny, the present Value of the same Silver in Mass, so Twenty Shillings (the Standard Value of the Gold in Guinea) is to Twenty four Shillings and Ten Pence; It should follow by Reason that a Guinea at this day should go for about Twenty four Shillings and Ten Pence, but it apparently runs for about Five Shillings more, so that in the time that the Silver in a Crown is Risen about a Fifth part, the Gold in a Guinea is Risen in a much greater proportion, namely, a compleat Third part. Which Advance of Five Shillings in a Guinea (over and above the proportionable Rise which it should have had to make it keep pace with the Silver) is exceedingly detrimental to our Nation at this Day (as will be hereafter shewed more at large.) And seeing it can be attributed to nothing but the present Badness of our Silver Coins, which are so exceedingly Counterfeited, and Clipt, that the Common People will take Guineas almost at any Rate, rather than stand the hazard and vexation of such Silver Moneys as are now Currant amongst them: I am therefore humbly of Opinion, That altering the present Standard of our Gold Coins (which prescribes Twenty two Carats Fine, and Two Carats Allay, and that Fourty four Guineas and an Half shall be cut from a Pound Weight of such Gold) would avail nothing. And that the only remedy to fix these Gold Coins upon a right Foot, will be the Re-establishment of the Silver Coins, which (as soon as Atchieved according to these Propositions) will in all likelihood and probability, presently reduce the Guineas to about Twenty five Shillings apiece by the most Natural and Easie way, without fixing any limited Price thereupon by Publick Authority, which (if one were to judge by past Experience) would never be observed, at least for any time.

A Corollary: The abovementioned Ballance of Trade being (as is before observed) the Original Cause of the Edition: current; Page: [219] scarcity of Silver in England, and of the Loss by the Foreign Exchange or Remittances, he that can propose any proper Expedients, either to lessen that Ballance, or convert it to our Advantage, ought to be well heard. But any Proposal which supposes the Ballance of Trade must be Rectified before our Coins be Amended, or a Reasonable Foundation can be fixed for the Course of the same, does but postpone the Cure of a Disease which may destroy us before such a Remedy can take effect.

The True and Reasonable Adjustment of that which is called by the French, Pied de Monoye, and by others Anciently Pes Monetæ, was and is of principal consideration in this whole Affair: And therefore I hope your Lordships will excuse me for having been so prolix in the subject of the Standards.

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The Second General Head concerning the present State and Condition of the Gold and Silver Conis.

IT cannot be thought improper before the Enterprizing of a Work of so great importance as the Re-establishment of the Moneys, and Determining a New Foot for the Course of the same, to be instructed (with as much certainty as is possible in things of this Nature) in the present State, Plight, or Condition of the Coins of this Realm; wherein one must necessarily consider several Matters of Fact, whereof some can be known or found out, and others can only be estimated or guessed at. I have endeavoured, as much as I could in a little time, to Inform and Satisfie my self in the Particulars following:

First, The several Forms or Fashions which have been used in the Fabrication of the Moneys, and which of them have been and are most likely to be most Secure against Clipping and Counterfeiting.

Secondly, The Quantities of Silver Coins Clipt and Unclipt, that may be reasonably thought or imagined to remain in the Kingdom at this day.

Thirdly, How far the Clipt Pieces now in being may be Conjectured to have been diminished in their Weight. And upon Consideration of these Articles, I have endeavoured to Compute the Loss, which (upon Re-coining the Clipt Moneys) must be born either by a Publick Aid, or by Particular Persons, or by both; and to make such other Remarks and Inferences as may be suitable to the present Occasion: In all which, my Sence and Opinion are humbly presented to your Lordships in the manner following.

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As to the Particulars; All the Moneys we have now in England, both Gold and Silver, are reducible to Two Sorts; the one Stampt with the Hammer, and the other Prest with an Engine, called the Mill. The Gold or Silver of the Hammer’d Money is first Cast from the Melting Pot into long Bars, those Bars are cut with Sheers into several square Pieces of exact Weights, for Sovereigns, Angels, Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, &c. Then with the Tongs and Hammer they are forged into a round shape; after which they are Blanched (that is, made White, or refulgent by Nealing or Boiling) and afterwards Stampt or Impressed with an Hammer to make them perfect Money. This Method of making Money with the Hammer (as appears in the said Red Book) was practised in the Reign of King Edward the First; who (amongst other great Atchievements of his most Prudent Government) left that of Restoring and Establishing good Moneys for the Use of his People, to recommend his Name to subsequent Generations. He sent for Mr. William de Turnemire, and his Brother Peter, and others from Marseilles, and one Friscobald, and his companions from Florence, and Employed them in the Working this kind of Money, and the Buying and Exchanging of Silver for that purpose, for which he had Thirty Furnaces at London, Eight at Canterbury (besides Three the Arch-Bishop had there) Twelve at Bristol, Twelve at York, and more in other great Towns, in all which Places they made the said Hammer’d Money of Silver, supply’d by the Kings Changers Established at the same Places, who (according to certain Rates or Prices prescribed to them) took in the Clipt, Rounded and Counterfeit Moneys to be Recoined, and Bought Gold and Silver of the Merchants, and others, to be Fabricated into New Money; at the same time Ordaining, Quod Proclametur per totum Regnum quod nulla fiat tonsura de Nova Moneta sub Edition: current; Page: [222] periculo Vitæ et Membrorum et amissionis omnium Terrarum et Tenementorum, &c. And this kind of Hammer’d Money continued through all the Reigns of Succeeding Kings and Queens, till about the Year of our Lord 1663. when by several Warrants, and Command of King Charles the Second, to wit, by One Warrant Dated the Fifth of November, 1662. One Warrant Dated the Eighth of April, 1663. And a Third Warrant Dated the Twenty fourth of December, 1663. The other sort called Milled Money was first Fabricated to be Currant in England in this manner: First, The Gold or Silver is cast out of the Melting Pot into long flat Bars, which Bars are drawn through a Mill (wrought by a Horse) to produce the just Thickness of Guineas, Half-Guineas, Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, &c. Then with forcible Engines, called Cutters, which answer exactly to the respective Sizes or Dimensions of the Money to be made, the Round Pieces are cut out from the Flat Bar, shaped as aforesaid (the Residue whereof, called Sizel, is Melted again) and then every Piece is Weighed, and made to agree exactly with the intended Weight, and afterwards carried to other Engines (wrought secretly) which put the Letters upon the Edges of the larger Silver Pieces, and Mark the Edges of the rest with a Graining. The next thing is the Blanching perform’d, as above; and at last, every Piece is brought to the Press, which is called the Mill (wrought by the Strength of Men) and there Receives the Impression, which makes it perfect Milled Money.

By duly reflecting upon these different Kinds, and Considering that the Principal Offences against the Coins of the Realm, have been, and are either Clipping, Counterfeiting or Melting down, It may be proper to Remark,

First, That the Crime of Clipping has been Practised Edition: current; Page: [223] upon the Hammer’d Money in all Ages more or less, but most exorbitantly of late Years; notwithstanding the many Examples of Justice: For that the Offenders make an excessive Profit by doing a thing so easie in it self, that even Women and Children (as well as Men) are capable of the Act of Clipping or Rounding. But this Practice of Clipping has never been Exercis’d upon the Mill’d Money, and I think never can be, because of its Thickness and Edging, although no further Provision against the same should be made by Law.

Secondly, That as to Counterfeiting, the Hammer’d Money is liable thereunto, because the Tools for Resembling the same, are cheap, and easily made and procured, and the Fabrication thereof may be performed in a little Room, and with less Art; so that Smiths and other Artificers can readily attain thereunto. But the Engines for the Mill’d Money are many and very costly, not easie to be procured. The Makers or Users of such Engines cannot be conceal’d without great difficulty, and the Mill’d Money it self, being of a much Finer Print than the other, requires more Solemnity, Skill, and curious Workmanship in its Fabrication; and when it’s finished, shews better the true Colour of the Silver, to distinguish its Genuine from its Counterfeit Pieces: Which latter could never be brought to Perfection. So that Reckoning only since the said Year 1663 (without any regard to the Precedent time) I verily believe for every single Piece of Mill’d Money, that has been Counterfeited, or rather been attempted to be Resembled, there have been more than One thousand of the Hammer’d Moneys not only Counterfeited, but actually Impos’d upon the People, who have been defrauded therewith, and are now likely to suffer greatly thereby.

Thirdly, That as to the Crime of Melting down, it has plainly affected both the Hammer’d and Mill’d Edition: current; Page: [224] Moneys in their respective turns very fatally; insomuch that the Hammer’d Gold Coins which were made in the Reigns of the several Kings and Queens, from Edward the First inclusively, till the beginning of the Reign of King Charles the Second (which would amount to an incredible sum, if they were all in being) are almost totally vanished, having been Molten (as I suppose) from time to time, either to make Vessels or Utensils, or to Export for Lucre, or to Convert into Gold Coins of more Modern Stamps (in which last Case the same Metal came to be Coin’d over and over again) it being evident that we have now in England only the Pieces called Guineas, and Half-Guineas, or few other of Gold Coins, as is before observed. And I think the like must have been done with all the Hammer’d Silver Moneys that were made before the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, a very few only excepted; although the latter would amount to many Millions, if they were all now in being. As to the coins of that Queen, and her Two immediate Successors (though they make the Bulk of our present Cash) the Number of them must needs have been extreamly diminished by Melting, especially whilst they were weighty, and not much worn. But since the Mill’d Money came into Play, because of its Intrinsick Weight and Worth, I believe the Crime of Melting hath been chiefly practis’d upon that kind, which has apparently reduced it to a small Quantity. Nevertheless, when both kinds come to have the same Weight and Fineness, and to be currant at the same Price, I think the one will not be more liable to this Mischief than the other; and I hope both will be Secured against the same, when the Silver in the Coin will fetch as much as the Silver in the Bullion.

Secondly, The Quantities of Silver Coins Clipt and Unclipt that may be reasonably thought or imagined to Edition: current; Page: [225] Remain in the Kingdom at this day, cannot with any certainty be Computed. I know several conjectures have been made thereof, very different, and (as I think) without any Grounds at all, and I confess my self to have none but such as follow.

First, To Compute all the Silver Moneys Coin’d in the Three Reigns of Queen Elizabeth, James the First, and Charles the First.

Secondly, To Guess how much thereof may have been Molten or Lost.

Thirdly, To Substract the Latter from the Whole. And,

Fourthly, To the Difference to add something for the small Remainder, as well of Moneys Coined before the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, as of those Coined since the Reign of Charles the First.

l. s. d.
The Silver Moneys Coin’d in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (as I am inform’d by the Master of the Mint) did Amount to Four Millions Six hundred thousand Pounds: But by a Copy which I took some time since from the Archives at Westminster, of an Account which was Compiled by Arch-Bishop Williams, which I take to be more exact (which Archives, with the Choice Collections thereof are since Burnt) all the Silver Sterling Moneys Coin’d in the Reign of the said Queen, (excluding some base Irish Moneys that were then made) did amount to 4632932. 3. 2¾.
The Silver Moneys Coin’d in the Reign of King James the First (as the Officers of the Mint inform me) cannot be known at their Office, because their Memorials thereof are either Imperfect or Lost: But by the abovesaid Copy I find, That in the first Twelve Years of his Reign there was Coin’d in Silver Sterling Moneys, One Million Five hundred fifty eight thousand and Fourteen Pounds, Nine Shillings and Nine Pence; and I find, That in the last Seven years of his Reign, the Silver Moneys Coin’d did amount to One hundred and two thousand Nine hundred and eighty one Pounds Nine Shillings and eight Pence, and then adding 39004l. Os. 7d. by estimation for the Two or Three intermediate years of the same Reign, the whole of the Silver Sterling Money Coin’d by King James the First, was } l.
And it appears by an Account from the Officers of the Mint, That there was Coin’d of Silver Moneys in the Reign of King Charles the First } l. s. d.
8776544. 10. 3.
l. s. d.
In all 15109476. 13.
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Now considering how far this Sum is to be abated.

First, By the want of the Crowns, Half-Crowns, Groats, Quarter-Shillings, Half-Groats, Three-half-peny Pieces, Three-farthing Pieces, and Half-pence of Queen Elizabeth, which are wholly sunk.

Secondly, By the Diminution of the Number of the Shillings, and Six-pences of the same Queen, many of which may be supposed to be Melted down, Re-coined, or Lost.

Thirdly, By the Loss of the Crowns, Groats, Two-Pences, Pence, and Half-Pence of James the First, and Charles the First, which seem to be quite gone, and by the Melting, Re-coining, or Loss of many (if not most) of the Half-Crowns, Shillings, and Six-Pences of those Two Kings, one can hardly believe there is now in being, of the Coins of the said Three Reigns, above One Third Part, which Amounts to Five Millions Thirty six thousand Four hundred ninety two Pounds: to which if there be added Five hundred Sixty three thousand Five hundred and eight Pounds more, for the Unmelted Silver Coins of Charles the Second, James the Second, King William and Queen Mary, and for the small Quantities which remain of those which were made before the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; then the whole of the Silver Sterling Coins Clipt and Unclipt, Hoarded and Currant now in England, will be Computed at Five Millions and Six hundred thousand Pounds. And if it be Granted that Four Millions of this Sum consists of Pieces that are Diminished, some more, some less, by Clipping, then it will follow, that there remains in the Kingdom about One Million, and Six hundred thousand Pounds of Heavy Money, a great part of which is supposed to lie in Hoards, and the rest Currant chiefly in the Counties most remote from London.

Thirdly, I am to Compute, as well as I can, How far Edition: current; Page: [228] the Clipt Pieces, now in being, may have been Diminished in their Weight. In reference to which, your Lordships may be pleased to be Reminded, That when the Earl of Rochester was Lord Treasurer, several Good Orders were Established by him for the Exchequer; One of which was, to have all the Bags of Money there Received to be Weighed. And I have Extracted from the Books of One of the Tellers, the Weight of Five hundred seventy two Bags of One hundred Pound each, which were brought to the Receipt promiscuously, in the Months of May, June and July last. Now, whereas the Weight of One hundred Pounds Sterling in Silver Moneys, according to the Standard of the Mint, ought to be Thirty two Pounds, Three Ounces, One Peny Weight, and Twenty two Grains Troy, and consequently the said Bags,See the Annext Account for this. containing Fifty seven thousand Two hundred Pounds by Tale, ought to have Weighed Two hundred twenty one thousand Four hundred and Eighteen Ounces, Sixteen Peny Weight, and Eight Grains Troy: It was found that the said Fifty seven thousand and Two hundred Pounds by Tale (comprizing some Weighty Pieces, though few) Weighed only One hundred and thirteen thousand Seven hundred and Seventy one Ounces and Five Peny Weight Troy. So that if all the said sum of Fifty seven thousand and Two hundred Pounds by Tale were good Silver, yet it was Deficient in Weight, One hundred and seven thousand six hundred fourty seven Ounces, Eleven Peny Weight and Eight Grains Troy; from whence I infer,

First, That the Moneys commonly Currant are Diminished near one Half, to wit, in a Proportion something greater than that of Ten to Twenty two.

Secondly, That going by the Medium of the said Number of Bags, and making but a very small Allowance for the Unclipt Pieces in the said Bags, and for the Difference of Money brought to the Exchequer, and Edition: current; Page: [229] that which passes amongst the Common People (the former being in most Payments the best of the Clipt Moneys) every one must be convinced, That if all the Clipt Pieces of Silver Moneys in England could be weighed together, they would be found Deficient a full Half of their Standard Weight. Again,

Thirdly, If all the Pieces in England that are more or less Clipt, do Amount by Tale to Four Millions (as is before supposed) then I infer, That by Re-Coining the same upon the Old Foot, it will make but Two Millions, and the Loss would be as much: But by Re-Coining the same upon the Foot of Six Shillings and Three Pence for the present Crown Piece, as is above proposed, the same Quantity of Clipt Money will make Two Millions, and Five hundred Thousand Pounds, and the Loss will be Fifteen hundred thousand Pounds, to be born either by Publick Aid, or by the Particulars interested in the Clipt Moneys, or by both.

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The Third General Head Discusses this Question, Whether it be or be not absolutely Necessary at this time to Re-establish the Coins.

IT will readily be Granted, That the Melting and New Fabricating the much greater Part of all the Silver Moneys of the Realm (as the Clipt Pieces are) would be a Work very improper to be Enterprized in the heat of an Important and Expensive War; if the doing thereof were not indispensibly necessary, to render effectual the very Ways and Means, which in Parliament may be Resolved upon, in reference to Aids or Supplies for Carrying on of the same War, and to produce a Species of Money that may be Useful and Serviceable for the Upholding of the Commerce, and for answering not only of the Publick, but also of all Private Revenues, Rents, Debts, and other Occasions, which concern the very Existence of the great Political Body.

It were enough for me upon this Occasion, to say, That the House of Commons judg’d it necessary to have the Clipt Moneys Re-Coin’d, having Resolved thereupon, after many long and mature Deliberations, in the last Session of Parliament. But the Evils which for some time past have been growing upon us, in respect of the Coins, being at length actually Arrived, and more sensibly Felt, I shall take leave humbly to State the same according to the best of my Understanding, and submit the Judgment thereof to Publick Authority.

First, Because such of the Silver Coins as are usually Edition: current; Page: [231] Currant, or offer’d in Payments, are very Bad and Defective; the Common People (without any visible Reason, other than to avoid the Danger and Vexation of such Moneys) by almost an Unanimous Consent and Agreement, do take Guineas at Thirty Shillings apiece, little more or less, which Raises the Gold here (as hath been observed) to a much higher Price in Proportion than Silver in Bullion now goes at, or than Silver in Coin will go for, when it shall be Raised to the Foot of Six Shillings and Three Pence for the Crown Piece according to this Projection. And this exorbitant Price of Gold here, hath encouraged Foreign Merchants to Import it upon us in great Quantities: And in Return for the same,

They either Export our Silver in Coin or Molten; which lying in a little Room, the Exportation thereof cannot easily be Prevented. Or,

Secondly, They Buy our Native Commodities (the Interruption of the Navigation, not allowing us such an Overplus of Goods, brought from our Colonies in America, and other Foreign Parts, wherewith England in times of Peace could at least Ballance its Trade with its Neighbours.) Or,

Thirdly, They draw back the aforesaid Value of their Gold, by Bills of Exchange or Remittances. In every one of these Cases, they make an unreasonable Profit by their Gold, which must needs, in a little time, Exhaust a great part of the Real Stock and Wealth of our Nation; But particularly in the first Case, the Bullion or Coin in Silver that is Exported, is really worth much more than the Gold Imported for it; and the Difference becomes a Dead Loss to England, which Labours too much already under the Scarcity of Silver, and will inevitably find it much Scarcer and Dearer than it is, if this Golden Trade continues. In the Second Case, they can Furnish Foreign Markets with Edition: current; Page: [232] our Native Commodities, which would be carried thither by our own Merchants, who want the aforesaid Profit of the Gold, to enable them to Buy those Goods as Dear, and Sell them as Cheap as the Foreigners can. And in the Third Case, by the great occasion they have for Bills to draw back the Value of their Gold to the Places from whence it came, they have Contributed in a great measure towards Lowering the Exchange to Low Countries: which from divers causes (whereof the Importing of Guineas is none of the least) is sunk so very Low, that the Publick loses about Four Shillings in the Pound upon all the Moneys Remitted thither; which Loss Amounts to a great deal in the Charge of the Army. And the Exchange to Hamburgh and the East Countreys for all Naval Stores, and other Goods, is Lower, and to all Places in the Mediterranean (where our Fleet is at present) the Exchange is yet more to our Prejudice. And in regard the aforesaid excessive Advance of the Guinea Pieces, at least a great part thereof, can be Attributed (as has been before observed) to nothing else but the Baseness and Defects of the White Moneys, there is no Prospect of Reducing the Gold to a more moderate or reasonable Price, by any means consistent with the Interest of the Nation, other than the Amendment, and Restoring of the Silver Coins.

Secondly, In the present Condition and Circumstances of our Silver Money, this Nation and the Trade and Dealings thereof, are in a great measure Deprived of the Use and Benefit of the whole Species now in being, as well the Heavy Pieces as the Light; the former of which (especially since the Parliament in the last Session appear’d desirous of making a Reformation or Amendment) have been for the most part Hoarded by the particular Persons Possessed thereof, in Prospect that the Silver contained in those Weighty Pieces will Edition: current; Page: [233] be Raised to a Value suitable to the Bullion thereof if Melted, which they may think will turn more to their Profit than Lending at Interest, Purchasing or Trading therewith in the mean time; or at least they may think these Hoarded Moneys (when the Mischiefs of Corrupting and Diminishing their Coins, come to their last Extremity) will particularly stand those Men in stead that have them; however it be, its certain the Weighty Moneys at present do very little appear Abroad, and it is not likely they will soon be brought to Light, without Raising their Value, and Re-Coining the Clipt Moneys; and as for the latter, a great Part thereof, when offered in Payments, is utterly Refused, and will not Pass, and consequently doth not serve to the end or Purpose for which it was made: so that both the one and the other (for the greatest part) are become as it were a Dead Cash in the Kingdom.

Thirdly, In Consequence of the Vitiating, Diminishing and Counterfeiting of the Currant Moneys, it is come to pass, That great Contentions do daily arise amongst the King’s Subjects, in Fairs, Markets, Shops, and other Places throughout the Kingdom, about the Passing or Refusing of the same, to the disturbance of the Publick Peace; many Bargains, Doings and Dealings are totally prevented and laid aside, which lessens Trade in general; Persons before they conclude in any Bargains, are necessitated first to settle the Price or Value of the very Money they are to Receive for their Goods; and if it be in Guineas at a High Rate, or in Clipt or Bad Moneys, they set the Price of their Goods accordingly, which I think has been One great cause of Raising the Price not only of Merchandizes, but even of Edibles, and other Necessaries for the sustenance of the Common People, to their great Grievance. The Receipt and Collection of the Publick Taxes, Revenues, and Debts (as well as of Private Mens Edition: current; Page: [234] Incomes) are extreamly retarded, to the Damage of His Majesty, and to the Prejudice of a Vigorous Prosecution of the War; so that there were never (at least since I had the Honour to serve the Crown) so many Bonds Given, and lying Unsatisfied at the Custom-Houses, or so vast an Arrear of Excises. And as for the Land Tax, your Lordships know how far ’tis affected with the Bad Moneys, by the many Complaints transmitted daily from the Commissioners, Receivers, and Collectors thereof, and by Comparing the Sum brought into the Exchequer this Year, with the timely Payments of the like Tax in preceding Years. In fine, the Mischiefs of the Bad Money (too many to enumerate) are so sensibly Felt, that (I humbly conceive) they are sufficient to Confute all the Arguments against the Re-Coining the same in this time of War, and even the Objections against Raising the Silver in our Coin to the Propos’d Value. Which Arguments and Objections (how Plausible or Weighty soever they have been heretofore) have not at this time sufficient Ground or Reason to Support them, especially when the doing of these things is not Projected for the particular Gain or Profit of the Crown (which formerly Received a Duty of Seigniorage upon Coining or Re-coining of Moneys) but for the Common Good and Utility of the King and his People. But whether all the Evils and Mischiefs before mentioned, and the Increase thereof, which the Nation must undergo, till a Remedy be Applied, do infer, or are tantamount to an absolute Necessity for the present Enterprising the Work aforesaid, must be and is with all Humility submitted to a better Judgment than my own.

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The Fourth General Head is to propose the Means that must be Obtained, and the proper Methods to be used in and for the Re-establishment of the Silver Coins.

IN Case his Majesty (taking into His Princely Consideration the great Inconveniencies which the Nation Labours under by the badness of the Moneys) shall be pleased to Direct, That all such Silver Coins called Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings or Testers, as have been formerly Coin’d in the Royal Mint, or Mints of England with the Hammer, and are more or less Diminished by Clipping, Rounding, Filing, or any other Artifice, shall be Melted and Re-Coin’d, my humble Opinion is, That the General Cautions following are to be Observed;

First, That the Work ought to be Performed and Finished in as little time as may be, not only to Obviate a further Damage by Clipping in the interim, but also that the needful Advantages of the New Money may be the sooner Obtained for the Service of the Nation.

Secondly, That the loss, or the greatest part of it ought to be born by the Publick, and not by Particulars, who being very Numerous will be prejudiced against a Reformation for the Publick Benefit, if it is to be Effected at the Cost of particular Men, and who have great hopes of being Indemnified by the Votes Passed in their favour in the last Session of Parliament.

Thirdly, This whole Affair must be rendered Easie, and very Intelligible to the Common People, so that they must not be compelled to Travel very far when they part with their Clipt Money, or when they receive back the Value of it in the New Coins; and in the Edition: current; Page: [236] mean time they must be furnished with a Useful and Transferrable Credit that must take Place in Course of Repayment, as fast as the New Coins can be made.

Fourthly, That no room must be left for Jealousie. And therefore all the Clipt Moneys in the several Counties, far or near, are not to be brought entirely to London, to be Minted there; which would leave all the Countries very bare, and create great Suspicions till its Return.

Fifthly, That as soon as the King’s Officers begin to take in the Clipt Moneys, or presently after, the Course for Repaying the Stated Value thereof in New Moneys ought to begin also, and to be Carried on by the New Moneys, which shall be Coin’d from the Silver of the Old, so far as it will Extend; And that an Aid be given in Parliament to Supply the residue, in such time and manner, as that there be no Interruption or Intervals in the Course of Repayment, till such times as the Registers for the Clipt Moneys to be brought in shall be fully satisfied.

According to these General Propositions, and some other Requisites which have Occurred to me, I have imployed my Thoughts to Reduce this whole Affair into Practice, and do humbly Offer to your Lordships Consideration the Particulars following, as the Scope and Design of my Report: That is to say,

First, That an Aid be granted in Parliament, and strictly Appropriated for or towards the making good of the Loss by the said Clipt Moneys, or so much thereof as shall be thought Reasonable to be Defrayed by the Publick, and the incident Charges which shall be necessary in the Performance of this Service. Which Aid, if it be Commensurate to the whole Loss, will, by Estimation, as above, Amount to Fifteen hundred thousand Pounds; and if it be Resolved that the Publick shall bear but half the Loss, or any other Edition: current; Page: [237] part of it, then the Aid (in the grant thereof) may be proportioned accordingly. And the said Aid is humbly proposed to be either by a Land Tax of Twelve Pence in the Pound, or by a yearly Sum to be Answered out of the continued Impositions upon Goods imported, or some other certain Fund, to take Effect within a year to come at the farthest.

Secondly, That all the New Moneys, whether they be Gold or Silver, shall in the Coining thereof be made in Fineness or Purity, according to the present Standard, that is to say, the Gold to be Twenty two Carats Fine and Two Carats Allay: And the Silver Coins to be Eleven Ounces Two Peny Weight Fine, and Eighteen Peny Weight Allay, for the Reasons above given.

Thirdly, That every Pound Weight Troy of such Gold, shall be cut into Eighty nine Half Guineas, or Fourty four Guineas and an Half, or proportionably for greater Pieces, as the same ought to be by the present Indenture of the Mint; with a Remedy for the Master, of the Sixth Part of a Carat, in Case the Gold be found too strong or too feeble in Weight, or in Fineness, or in both. And that every Pound Weight Troy, of the New Silver Moneys, to be made as aforesaid, be cut into such Numbers of Pieces as will correspond in Weight with the Undiminished Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, Six-pences, Groats, Three-pences, Two-pences and Pence, Coin’d by the late Indentures, except the Twelve Peny Pieces, all which may be performed, as is above offered. And that the Master be allowed a Remedy of Two Peny Weight in every Pound Weight Troy, of the Silver Moneys, in case they be found too strong or too feeble in Weight, or in Fineness, or in both.

Fourthly, That by Authority of Parliament, or by a Royal Proclamation to be Grounded on an Act of Parliament, the Silver Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings Edition: current; Page: [238] and Six-pences of the Lawful Coins of this Realm now in being, and not Diminished by Clipping, Rounding, Filing, Washing, or other Artifice, be Publicly Cried up, and Raised to the Foot of Seventy five Pence for the Crown, and proportionably for the rest, as I have also proposed; and that the other small Pieces of the Old Coins (which are few in number) go as they do at present. And that the New Coins to be called the Sceptre, or Unite, the Half-Sceptre, or Half-Unite, the Testoon or Fifteen Peny Piece, the Shilling or Twelve Peny Piece, the Half-Testoon, the Gross or Five Peny Piece, Quarter-Testoon, the Half-Gross and Prime be made Currant upon the same Foot, as I have also proposed, Pag. 61, &c.

Fifthly, That Coin, as well as English Bullion, not exceeding a limited Sum yearly, may be Exported for the Service of the present War by His Majesty’s Warrant and Command, and not otherwise; which will help to keep down the Price of Silver.

Sixthly, That all the New Moneys be made by the Mill and the Press, and not by the Hammer.

Seventhly, That all the present Silver Pieces called Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings and Six-pences of the Hammer’d kind, which are Diminished by Clipping, Rounding, Filing, Washing, or other Artifice, be Cried down, so as not to be Currant after a Day to be prefix’d. And that no Person whatsoever shall hereafter be obliged to accept in Legal Payment any Money whatsoever that is already Clipt, or may hereafter be Clipt or Diminished; and that no Person shall Tender or Receive any such Money in Payment under some small Penalty, to be made easily Recoverable; the Passing, Selling, or Changing of such Clipt or Diminished Moneys, in Order to the Re-Coining thereof, as is herein after mentioned, only Excepted.

Eighthly, That no Crown Piece (of Old Hammer’d Edition: current; Page: [239] Money) shall be said or alledged to be Clipt or Diminished, or be Refused as such in any Payments whatsoever if it hold Eighteen Peny Weight; and proportionable Weight shall render the Half-Crowns, Shillings and Six-pences of the said Hammer’d kind to be Currant in all Payments; which seems necessary, because of the wearing of the Old Pieces, though they are not Clipt.

Ninthly, That besides the Principal Mint within the Tower of London (where Six Presses can be wrought at the same time) there be Settled and Established Nine other Mints within England and Wales, to Work with Two Presses in each, Namely, One at Newcastle upon Tyne, to serve principally for the Counties of Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland: One at York to serve for the Counties of York and Lancaster: One at Nottingham to serve for the Counties of Nottingham, Lincoln, Derby and Leicester: One at Chester to serve for Cheshire, Staffordshire, Salop, and North Wales: One at Hereford to serve for the Counties of Hereford, Gloucester, Worcester, and South Wales: One at Exeter to serve for Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset: One at Salisbury to serve for the Counties of Wilts, Dorset, and Hantshire: One at Oxon, to serve for the Counties of Oxon, Bucks, Warwick, and Berks; And One at Cambridge to serve for Norfolk, Suffolk, Huntingdon, Cambridge, and Bedfordshire: and that at London will serve for the rest. Nevertheless these several Mints are not intended to be so Restrained but that a Man may carry his Money to any of them that lies most in his way; whereby there may be Coined Weekly (as I am inform’d) about Fifty or Sixty thousand Pounds easily, which will finish the whole Work in much less than a Years time. And that the Dyes, Presses and other Implements may be providing with Edition: current; Page: [240] as much haste as is possible, so as to be all fit for Use by or before Christmas next.

Tenthly, That the Warden, Master Worker, Comptroller, and Assay-Master of the Mint do continue at the Tower, and take the immediate Care of the Work there: And that they Substitute Fit and Skilful Persons as their Deputies (such as the King, or the Lord Treasurer, or Commissioners of the Treasury for the time being, shall approve of, and such as must be Answer’d for by their respective Superiors) to Carry on the Works of the said Nine Mints in the Countrey; which Substitutes shall be all Sworn, for the faithful Discharge of their respective Trust; and that the Members of the Corporation of the Moneyers, and other Ministers, Officers, and Servants, be distributed accordingly, and small Private Marks (if thought fit) may be made to distinguish the Money that shall be Coin’d at the respective Mints.

Eleventhly, That the Charge of making every Pound Weight Troy of Silver Moneys, which at present is One Shilling and Four Pence Half-peny, be made more Reasonable, now so much is to be Coin’d and Re-Coin’d.

Twelfthly, That at or near every Town or Place where there shall be a Distinct Mint Established, as aforesaid, there shall be also Settled and Fixt an Office, which shall be, and be called An Office of the Kings Change; and the Chief Officer therein (to be Named by His Majesty, or the Lord Treasurer, or Commissioners of the Treasury for the time being) shall be called The Kings Changer; and that these Changers shall have Tellers or Substitutes under them. And they, as well as their Substitutes, shall be Sworn for the Due and Just Execution of their respective Trusts, with regard not only to the King, but also to every Person that shall have to do with them in respect of their places.

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Thirteenthly, The said Officer called The Changer, with such Tellers or Substitutes as shall be necessary, shall daily and every Day (Sundays only excepted) attend at the Publick Office whereunto he or they shall be Assigned, or at some other Market Town within the Counties of his District; and when he is to attend at such other Market Town, he shall cause the same to be Publickly Notified there, by Affixing a Paper in some open Place in the Market next preceding; and at the said Publick Office, or at such other Market Towns, as aforesaid, the said Changer by himself, or by his Tellers or Substitutes, shall Receive and Take in all such Clipt or Diminished Money as are beforementioned, as any Person or Persons shall bring to him in order to be Re-coin’d; and in Performance of his Office or Duty, he or they shall be holden to Observe the Rules following.


“HE or they shall carefully View and Examine by the Sight every Piece or Parcel of the said Moneys as shall be so brought in; and if he or they shall Observe any Piece or Pieces, which shall seem to be so Weighty, as that by the Eighth Proposition, the same ought to be Currant upon the New Foot (of Six Shillings and Three Pence for the Crown) abovementioned, he or they shall forthwith cause the Weight thereof to be Tried in the Scale; and if he or they do thereby find, that such respective Piece or Pieces are of such Weight, as that the same ought to be Currant upon the said New Foot, without being Melted down, the same shall be immediately Marked (with some Impression) by a Hammer, and Redelivered to the Bringer thereof to be Currant at the Raised Value, intended Edition: current; Page: [242] as aforesaid. The Marking is Design’d chiefly to prevent his being troubled with it again at the Office.


“IF the Changer, or his Teller or Substitute, shall suspect any Piece or Pieces of Money, brought in as aforesaid (either Alone or in a Sum) to be Counterfeit, or to be such money as was not Originally Coin’d in the Royal Mint of England, that then, and in every such Case, he or they shall and may cause such Suspicious Piece or Pieces (in the Presence of the Bringers) to be Divided by Shears for that Purpose to be kept and used in the Office. And if upon Dividing the same, it shall Appear by the Grain or the Touch, that such Piece or Pieces are of the goodness of Sterling Silver, that then and in every such Case, he or they shall retain such Silver (as if it were not divided) in order to be Re-coin’d. But if upon such Division, the Silver shall appear to be worse than the Goodness of Sterling, every Piece so divided shall be delivered back to the Bringer thereof, who in that case must be contented with his own again, in such a Condition that it will not serve to Defraud any Body else.


“AS to all the said Clipt or Diminished Moneys, which shall consist of the Old Crown, holding any Weight less than Eighteen Peny Weight; the Half Crown holding any Weight less than Nine Peny Weight; the Old Shilling holding any Weight less than Three Peny Weight, and Six Edition: current; Page: [243] Tenth Parts of a Peny Weight; and the Old Tester or Six-pence holding any Weight less than One Peny Weight, and Eight Tenth Parts of a Peny Weight, which shall be so brought in to be Melted down and Re-Coined; whereupon the loss above-mentioned is to be Born either by the State or by particular Persons, or Both; It is not certain at present, how much of the said Loss, by the Resolution of the Parliament, shall fall upon the one or the other. Nevertheless, for the Explanation of this Project, and to shew how far it is practicable, one may (as I humbly Conceive) Assume any certain Part of this Loss, to be born by the Public, as if it were Resolved. And Considering that One hundred Pounds by Tale of all these Clipt or Diminished Moneys, if they were in One Heap, would not (by the Estimation which I have made thereof under the Second General Head) hold above Sixteen Pound Weight Troy, or thereabouts, one with another (which the King’s Subjects dealing therein, do also find by daily Experience) I do from thence infer, that if the said Sixteen Pounds Weight Troy (which now Runs for One hundred Pounds by Tale) be brought to the Changer, to be by him Received at Eight Shillings per Ounce; then the said Eight Shillings per Ounce, when it comes to be Paid in the New Money, will Amount to Seventy six Pounds and Sixteen Shillings, which will plainly cast about Half the Loss upon the State and the rest upon the Owner of the Money (who will also find some Recompence in the Raised Value of his Unclipt Moneys, if he has any such.) Therefore let Eight Shillings per Ounce in the New Money be the Assumed or Stated Price, to be Computed by the Changer, for all the real Silver which he shall find to be remaining in these Clipt Moneys; which Method Edition: current; Page: [244] of making good part of the Loss to the Subject by Allowing him a large Price for every Ounce of the real Silver remaining in his Clipt Money, seems to me to be much more secure, and to be (in all respects) a better way, than by Allowing him a Market Price only for the said Silver remaining, and Contributing to his Loss in Proportion to the Deficiency or Silver Clipt off; because in the latter Case it will be in his Power before he brings in his Money to Clip it over again, and Reduce it so low, as that the deficient Weight (if it were to be made good at the Charge of the Publick) might be Twice, Thrice, Four times, Five times, &c. as much as the real Silver brought in by him would amount to. Whereas by this Third Rule, the danger of farther Clipping is perfectly obviated, for no Man will Clip off Silver to Sell at Six Shillings Five Pence an Ounce by the Market Price, when he may carry it to the King’s Change, and there Receive Eight Shillings per Ounce for it.


“WHEREAS the said Clipt Moneys, so to be brought in, do retain very different and uncertain Weights and Sizes, as they are more or less Clipt; and it is evident that a Clipt Crown, holding more than Twelve Peny Weight and Twelve Grains, will produce more than Five Shillings in New Money if it should be Changed by it self at Eight Shillings an Ounce; and an Half-Crown holding more than Six Peny Weight and Six Grains, will (if it were Changed by it self for Eight Shillings an Ounce) produce more than Two Shillings and an Half in the New Money; and the like may be said of the Old Shillings and Six-pences not Edition: current; Page: [245] Clipt to a lower Degree in Proportion. I have Considered (although the Government would not suffer in this Case) that Goldsmiths and other Subtil Dealers in Money, will be very apt (if an effectual Remedy be not Provided against their Artifices) to Cull out the Heaviest of their Clipt Pieces, and to get such into their Hands from their Neighbours, to Change them at Eight Shillings an Ounce, and thereby Gain for them more New Moneys in Tale than ever they Amounted to in their old Denominations. And in regard One hundred Pounds by Tale of the said Clipt Moneys, holding in Weight Two hundred and fifty Ounces Troy, when it is Changed at the said Rate of Eight Shillings an Ounce, will produce One hundred Pounds in Tale of the said New Moneys; therefore it is Proposed, That every Person who brings any Clipt or Diminished Moneys to be Changed, as aforesaid, shall be obliged to mingle so many of his lighter Pieces with his heavier Pieces, as that upon the Draught or Weighing of them together, they may not at the said Rate of Eight Shillings an Ounce fetch more of the New Moneys in Tale than the said Clipt Money was Coined for in its Old Denominations, that is to say, One hundred Pounds by Tale of such Clipt Moneys, shall be so mingled with heavier and lighter Pieces as that it shall not exceed Two hundred and fifty Ounces in Weight; and every other Sum of Clipt Money shall be restrained to the same proportion: This will effectually prevent the said trick of Culling, and create little or no Difficulty in Practice, because amongst all the Clipt Moneys, those which might be converted to the Advantage above-mentioned are few in comparison of the rest, and a Sum consisting only of such Weighty Pieces will not in probability ever be brought to the Changers by any, but by Crafty Edition: current; Page: [246] or Designing Men. And by this device your Lordships may be pleased to take notice that there will be no need of Weighing every individual Piece, which (as I think) would render the Work endless and impossible. The Changer, or his Substitute, when he shall have carefully Counted and Weighed the said Clipt Money (observing the Caution aforesaid) shall compute the Value to be paid for the same, at the said Rate of Eight Shillings an Ounce, and enter into a Leger Book to be kept for this purpose, the Day, Month and Year of his Receipt thereof, the Name of the Person that brings it, the Sum of the Clipt Money told, the exact Weight thereof, and the said Value which is to be paid for the same in New Moneys in several Columes to be made for that purpose, for which Value a Bill or Ticket is to be given, as is after-mentioned.


“THE Changer, or his Substitute, shall from time to time deliver over the Clipt or Diminished Moneys, by him or them received or taken in, as aforesaid, to the proper Officer of the respective Mint for that District where it was Received, in Order to be Re-Coined, taking Receipts for the same, by the Weight and Tale of every Quantity so delivered over; which Receipts are to be the Vouchers for the Account of the Changer, and the same, together with his Leger, will serve to Charge the Accounting Officer of the Mint.


“THAT there shall be provided for every Changer a Book or Books, in which every Leaf shall be divided into Two Columes by a Figure Edition: current; Page: [247] or Cypher to be Printed therein, and shall be so drawn with Lines cutting the Cypher at Right Angles, as that Six Pair of Bills may be contained in every Leaf, and so that every Counter part may be separated from its Principal Indent-wise, by cutting through the Cypher or Flourish, all which Bills shall be numbred in Pairs Arithmetically (1, 2, 3, &c.) as far as there shall be occasion, and there shall be Printed thereupon the Name of the Place (where it is at last to be satisfied) and other Words to this Effect:

No. 1. Nottingham. This Bill Intitles the Bearer to the Sum of to be paid with Interest, after the Rate of Five Pounds per Centum per Annum out of the Fund Settled by Parliament for Satisfaction of the Register for Clipt or Diminished Money kept at the Place aforesaid.

“And the said Changer, or his Substitute, upon Adjusting (by the Third and Fourth Rules aforesaid) the Value of which is to be paid in New Money for any Parcel of Clipt or Diminished Moneys brought in, as aforesaid, shall deliver to the Party bringing the same, an Indented Note (to wit, one of those of the Extream Colume) cut out from the said Book, and Signed by himself for the said Value, to be paid in Course as is hereafter mentioned, taking Care that the Sum Expressed in the Note so delivered be also Written in Words at length in the Counterpart remaining in the Book, which Book by this means will not only be useful and ready in the City or Countrey to Cheque the Principal Bill, if there should be occasion for so doing, but will also well serve for an Exact Register (without making any other) to Guide and Govern the Payment of the Principal in the due Course intended, and the just Edition: current; Page: [248] Computation and Payment of the Interest upon every such Bill.


“THAT no such Bill shall be given, or asked for any Sum less then Twenty Shillings in Tale of the New Money; and if several Pieces be brought to the Change for any Sum or Sums smaller than Twenty Shillings, several of them may be joyned in One Bill, which may be taken in such Name as the Owners of the Money shall desire; and if they cannot agree, it may be in the Name of the Mayor, Bailiff, or other Chief Magistrate of the Place or (if there be no Magistrate) in the Name of the Minister of the Parish, in Trust for the several Owners of such small Sums.

The Seven Rules before going concern the Duty and Office of the Changer only.

Fourteenthly, That all the Silver which will arise from the said Clipt or Diminished Moneys, or from the Plate of the Vintners and Victuallers, or that shall be brought to be Coined by the Merchants, or by any other means, shall be Coined into Moneys, according to these Propositions. In the doing whereof the Chief Officers of the Mint, and all their Substitutes, Officers and Servants shall be subject to the same, or the like Constitutions and Orders touching Assaying, Melting, Refining, Trying, Charging, Discharging, or any Matters or Things relating to the Fabrication of these Moneys as are already Established for Moneys made at the Tower of London: And that the respective Substitutes shall be Accountable to their respective Superiours, and that the Superiour Officers shall be answerable to the King, as now they are.

Fifteenthly, That the aforesaid Bills for the Values of Edition: current; Page: [249] the Clipt or Diminished Moneys shall be payable to the respective Bearers, who shall shew forth, and bring in the same Bills, whereby the Property thereof will be easily Transferrable without writing; and the Voluntary Acceptance thereof in payment shall be a good Discharge, as if the Payment were made in Money. And the better to Encourage the Currancy of these Bills, it is Proposed, That they bear an Interest after the Rate of Five Pounds per Centum per Annum from the Date thereof (which will plainly appear not only in the Bill it self, but in its Counter-part, remaining in the Register Book) until its full Satisfaction. So that it cannot be doubted, but these Bills being Charged upon so good a Fund, in so near a Course, and made Profitable by the Interest, will be preferrable to the Bills of any Banks, or Goldsmiths, or private Persons whatsoever, and serve as well (to all intents) as so much Cash, whilst the Clipt Money is Converting into Sterling Money; and for the sake of the Interest those that have the Clipt Moneys will bring them in the more speedily.

Memorandum, As soon as the Bill becomes payable in Course, although the Owner do not fetch his Money, it must be reserved for him, only the Interest must cease from that time.

Sixteenthly, That the time for taking in of the Clipt Moneys be limited to Six Months.

Seventeenthly, For Settling and Establishing an ample and Sufficient Fund and Security for the Payment and Satisfaction of the Principal and Interest, to be contained in the aforesaid Bills, in such due Course and Order, as that every Person who parts with his Clipt or Diminished Moneys, may plainly see and be satisfied, That he or his Assigns shall certainly receive the Value thereof; and that the Course of the Payments will Commence in a very little time, and be continued without Edition: current; Page: [250] any Interruption till the whole be compleated (which will very much influence this whole Affair) It is humbly propos’d that it may be Enacted as follows,

1st, “That all the New Moneys which shall be Coin’d in every distinct Mint of the Silver of the Old Clipt or Diminish’d Moneys brought into the Office of Change, to be particularly Assigned to or for the same Mint, shall be Appropriated to the Payment of the Bill standing in the Register belonging to that Office, and shall be applied thereunto de die in diem, as fast as the said old Moneys can be Re-Coin’d. And as the Kings Changer shall be obliged in the giving out his Numbred Bills, to observe and have regard to the Day or Time upon which the Party brings his Clipt or Diminish’d Money; so in the paying off the said Bills he shall keep a due course, as they shall be Numbred and Stand in the Book of the said Register, without giving an undue Preference, under pain of Forfeiting double the Value to the Party grieved.

2ndly, “That it shall and may be lawful to or for any Person or Persons, Bodies Politick or Corporate to Advance or Lend at the Exchequer, in such Unclipt Moneys as will be Currant by this Project, any Sum or Sums of Money not exceeding, Eight hundred thousand Pounds (which by Estimation will make good so much of the loss as is to be born by the State, or Publick, if the Clipt Moneys are taken in at the said assumed Rate of Eight Shillings an Ounce) and such Loans will consequently be accepted in Money at the Raised Value abovementioned. And the same, together with Interest after the Rate of Seven Pounds per Centum per Annum, may be Charged upon the aforesaid Aid, in the same manner as Loans at the Exchequer have usually been Charged upon other Aids. And that the Weighty Moneys that Edition: current; Page: [251] shall be so Lent, be also Appropriated, and be made Auxiliary to the Paying off the said Bills in the several Registers thereof, and be Applied, Distributed and Transmitted to and amongst the same, by the Commissioners of the Treasury, and the Lord Treasurer for the time being, in such Proportions as they shall find to agree with the Sum, that shall be Due and Owing from time to time upon those Registers respectively.

3rdly, “That any Merchant, or other Person whatsoever, having, or that shall have any Silver Bullion whatsoever, whether it be Foreign Silver, Plate in Vessels, the Silver of Counterfeit Moneys, or any other kind of Bullion whatsoever, shall have liberty to carry the same to any of the said Mints, and have it in his own Election, either to have it Coined into New Money, upon the New Foot to his own use; in which case he must receive his Coin’d Money according to the present Course of the Mint; or else to declare that he will Lend the Value of it at the Exchequer, as part of the said Sum, not exceeding Eight hundred thousand Pounds. In which Case last mentioned, the Officers of the Mint shall Certifie to the Officers of the Exchequer the Quantity of Sterling Silver, or Silver reduced to Sterling, that shall be so delivered to them, and the Value thereof, after the Rate of Six Shillings and Five Pence Halfpeny an Ounce, and the Officers of the Exchequer, upon producing these Certificates shall give to the Party Tallies and Orders, Charged upon the said Aid, for the Values so Certified, as if it were Lent in the said Currant Money at the Receipt, in part of the said Sum not exceeding Eight hundred thousand Pounds, and for the Interest thereof. And in this Case the New Moneys which shall proceed from the Bullion so Lent, shall be Edition: current; Page: [252] Appropriated, and be Transmitted, and Distributed to and for the satisfaction of the said Registers, in the like manner as the other Moneys which shall be lent, as aforesaid.

4thly, “In Case the Silver of the Clipt Moneys, and such Loans, as aforesaid, shall not suffice to clear all the Registers, then the Remainder must be paid by the Overplus Moneys, to be Collected for the Aid it self; and in Default thereof (which is not very likely) the last Deficiency ought to be paid out of the then next Moneys to be Raised by Parliament.

Eighteenthly, That the present Coinage Duty may be Applied towards the Charge of the said Mints in general.

Nineteenthly, That the Commissioners of the Treasury, or Lord Treasurer for the time being, and such Person as the King shall Appoint to be the Under Treasurer, or Supervisor for this purpose, shall have the Oversight, Rule, Order and Government of this Affair, according to the Laws that shall be Enacted for the same, and shall have power to administer the Oaths, and take sufficient Securities in the Kings Name, from all the Officers belonging to the Change, and such of the Officers of the Mint as ought to give Security, and to require Weekly, or other Accounts from the several Offices, and particularly to cause the general Accounts of the said Changers, and of the Accompting Officers of the Mint, to be Passed in the Exchequer, in such due Form as they ought to be, and to allow such Salaries, and Incident Charges as shall be reasonable for the performance of this Service, and also to allow the reasonable wast in the Coinage.

Twentieth, That all Persons Concerned may have free Access to the several Legers and Registers beforementioned; and no Fee or Charge shall be asked or taken of them, for any Matter or Thing which is to be done by any Officer in Execution of this Project.

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Twentyfirst, That at the first Session of Parliament after Michaelmas, 1696, the said Commissioners of the Treasury, or Lord Treasurer for the time being, and the said Under-Treasurer or Supervisor General for this Affair, shall deliver fairly Written to each of the Two Houses of Parliament, a True and Exact Account of all the Clipt or Diminish’d Moneys which shall have been brought in to be Re-coin’d, by the Tale and Weight thereof, appearing in the respective Offices of the Changers; and of all the New Moneys which shall have been Coin’d in the said several Mints, distinguishing those proceeding from the Silver of the Old Moneys from the Coins made of any other Bullion, and shewing particularly the Plate of the Retailers of Wine, Beer, and other Liquors, and the Quantities of Money made thereof; also the Totals of the said Registers for the Values of the Clipt Money, and the Discharging of the same, and how much (if any part) shall then remain Unsatisfied, and the like Account shall be Presented to His Majesty.

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The Fifth General Head Considers what must Supply the Commerce, Pay Taxes, &c. whilst the Clipt Money is under its New Fabrication.

THIS Question is to be Answered, by Reminding your Lordships of several Particulars which have already occurred in this Report, with a small Addition, as follows.

First, The Weighty Money (both Mill’d and Hammer’d) now Hoarded, will come forth at a Raised Value, which (according to the above Estimation) may make One Million and Six hundred thousand Pounds more or less; besides the Guineas and Half-Guineas, which are but too numerous at their present Rate.

Secondly, The Bills for the Clipt Money will be so Profitable and Certain, and have such a quick Course of Payment, as aforesaid, that they will serve as so much Running Cash: and in the coming forth, the Number of them will encrease from day to day; that from First to Last, they will by Estimation amount to above Three Millions.

Thirdly, As those Bills are Paid off, the New Moneys Coin’d, with the Silver of the Clipt, will come in their stead, the Fabrication whereof will begin presently, and the Work will be Carried on with as much Expedition as can be made by Ten Mints.

Fourthly, Importers of Bullion, and all others that have or can have any Foreign or English Silver (even the Silver of Counterfeit Moneys) in their Hands, will have a visible Encouragement to carry the same forthwith to the Mint to be Coin’d.

Fifthly, It may be Enacted, That all Persons that Edition: current; Page: [255] Sell Wine, Strong-waters, Bear, Ale or other Liquors by Retail, shall by a Prefixt Day, bring their Tankards, Cups, Dishes and other Plate to some or one of the Mints, to be Coin’d into New Money, at the Rate of Six Shillings and Five Pence Half-peny an Ounce, under Pain of Forfeiture thereof, and that the New Money proceeding from the same shall be Delivered to them according to the present Course of the Mint.

I have (my Lords) in this difficult Matter Considered and Digested as many things as were possible for me in so short a time; and I cannot forbear (before I end) to Alledge, that if the Coins are to be Amended and Established according to these Propositions (which may be Rectified and Improved by Men of greater Judgment and Skill) I cannot foresee that even whilst the Work is Carrying on, there will Accrue such Publick Disorder, Damage or Distress, as the Nation Labours under before the Work is put in hand.

All which is most humbly submitted to Your Lordships great Wisdom and Judgment.
Edition: current; Page: [256]

In quodam libro vocato nigro scripto tempore Regis Henrici Secundi, per Gervasium Tilburiensem, de Necessariis Scaccarii, remanente in Curia Receptæ Scaccarii, inter alia sic continetur.

Cap. 21.: Officium Militis Argentarii & Fusoris.

PORRO Miles Argentarius ab inferiore Scaccario ad superius differt Loculum examinandi Argenti, cujus supra meminimus, quem cum intulerit Signatum Sigillo Vicecomitis, sub omnium oculis effundit in Scaccario xxiiii. Solidos quos de Acervo Sumptos prius Signaverit, factaque Commixtione eosdem, ut ponderi respondeant, mittit in unum Vasculum trutinæ libram ponderis, in alterum vero de Denariis quod Oportuit, Quo facto, numerat eosdem ut ex numero constare possit, si legitimi ponderis sint, cujuscunque vero ponderis inventi fuerint, seorsum mittit in Ciffum libram unam, hoc est xx. Solidos, ex quibus examen fiat, reliquos vero xxiiii. Solidos mittit in Loculum. Item duo Denarii præter libram examinandam dantur Fusori, non de Fisco, sed de parte Vicecomitis, quia in præmium sui laboris.

Tunc eliguntur a Præsidente vel a Thesaurario, si ille absens fuerit, alii duo Vic. ut simul cum Argentario, Necnon et Vicecomite, cujus examen faciendum est, procedant ad Ignem, ubi Fusor ante præmonitus, præparatis Necessariis, eorum præstolatur adventum. Ibi iterum præsente Fusore et hiis qui a Baronibus missi sunt, diligenter computantur, et Fusori traduntur. Quos ille Suspiciens manu propria numerat, et sic disponit eos in Vasculum ignitorum Cinerum quod in Fornace est. Edition: current; Page: [257] Tunc igitur Artis Fusoriæ lege servata, redigit eos in Massam, conflans et emundans Argentum: Cæterum cavendum est ei, ne citra perfectionem subsistat, vel importunis æstuationibus vexet illud atque consumat. Illud propter Regis, hoc propter Vicecomitis Jacturam, set Modis omnibus provideat et quanta procuret industria ut non vexetur, set ad purum tantum excoquatur, hoc autem ipsum providere dicunt hii qui ad idem missi sunt a Majoribus. Facto igitur examine defert illud Argentarius ad Barones, Comitantibus illis, et tunc in omnium Oculis ponderat illud cum libra prædicta ponderis, supplet autem mox quod ignis consumpsit, appositis denariis ejusdem loculi, donec æquilibriter se habeat examen cum pondere. Tunc inscribitur idem examen desuper ducta Creta hiis verbis, Everwicscir, libra arsit tot vel tot denarios, et tunc illud Essaium dicitur. Non enim inscribitur nisi præconcessio quod sic stare debeat. Quod si Vicecomes, cujus est, Calumpniatus fuerit, illud quasi plus justo consumptum fuerit ignis scilicet exæstuatione vel plumbi infusione, vel et Fusor ipse, qualibet Occasione defecisse fateatur examen, iterum numerentur xx. Solidos, qui residui sunt in loculo prædicto, coram Baronibus sicut demonstratum est, et eadem ratione Servata, fiat examen. Hinc igitur constare potest, qua consideratione de acervo magno propositæ pecuniæ xliiii. Solidos seorsum ab initio mittantur in Loculum, apposito Vicecomitis Sigillo. Notandum vero est, quod Fusor duos percipit denarios pro Examine, sicut diximus. Quod si quovis Casu aliud faceret, et si tertio examinaverit, non percipiet quicquam, set contentus erit semel susceptis duobus.

Discipulus. Miror a tantis tantam adhiberi diligentiam in unius libræ examinatione, cum nec magnus ex ea quæstus nec multa jactura proveniat.

Magist. Non propter hanc tantum fiunt hæc, set propter omnes illas quæ ab eodem Vicecomite sub eodem Edition: current; Page: [258] nomine firme simul cum hac persolvuntur. Quantam enim ab hac libra per ignem purgatorium decidit, tantundem ex singulis aliis libris Noverit Vicecomes de summa sua substrahendum, ut si centum libras numeratas solverit, et libra examinis iii. denarii exciderint, Non computentur ei nisi nonaginta quinque.

A Computation of the Common Weight of a Hundred Pounds by Tale, in Ordinary Silver Money at this Day, taken from a Medium of the Bags, Weighed at the Receipt of Exchequer, in May, June, and July last.

Memorandum, The Weight of One hundred Pounds by Tale in Silver Moneys, according to the Standard of the Mint, ought to be Thirty two Pounds Three Ounces, One Peny Weight and Twenty two Grains Troy.

No. Bags. What they ought to Weigh. Weight at the Exchequer. Deficiency.
oz. dw. gr. oz. dw. gr. oz. dw. gr.
40 15483 16 16 8095 5 0 7388 11 16
74 28645 1 20 14373 5 0 14271 16 2
133 51483 14 22 27318 0 0 24165 14 2
120 46451 10 0 23496 15 0 22954 15 0
105 40645 1 6 20899 15 0 19745 6 6
100 38709 11 16 19588 5 0 19121 6 16
572 221418 16 08 113771 05 0 107647 11 08
oz. dw. gr.
The Medium of the Weight of each Hundred Pounds 198 18 00⅓ fere.
The Medium of the Deficiency 188 03 21 3/5 [Editor:?]
387 01 22
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THE proposal of Mr. Lowndes for degrading the Standard of the Currency by Raising the Nominal Value of the Crown, or 5s. piece, to 6s. 3d. (25 per cent.) and so in proportion with other Coins, was chiefly defeated through the vigorous resistance of Mr. Locke. To oppose it that great philosopher published his celebrated tracts on “Raising the Value of Money,”* in which he examined and refuted the various arguments by which Mr. Lowndes and others had endeavoured to vindicate the policy of such a proceeding. But, though the Old Standard was happily preserved in its integrity, some of the principles that should have been kept in view in settling the basis on which the Currency was henceforth to be placed appear to have been all but wholly overlooked.

The regulations under which Gold and Silver Coins were circulated in England previously to 1663 differed at Edition: current; Page: [262] different periods. In that year the Guinea* was first coined, and its value (though fixed by the Mint regulations at the low rate of 20s. in silver) and the values of the other Gold Coins then in circulation, varied according to the fluctuations in the market values of Gold and Silver, the latter being in effect the only legal tender. Gold, however, had, for a lengthened period, been coming more and more into circulation; and, owing to a variety of causes, the principal perhaps being its greater aptitude to serve as Currency, combined with the worn, clipped, and extremely unsatisfactory state of the Silver Coins, it was used in the reign of Charles II. in preference to Silver in all large payments. Previously to the great Re-Coinage of 1696-99, Silver Coins were so much degraded that the Guinea passed current for 28s. and 30s.

When, therefore, the subject of the Re-Coinage came to be considered, the first questions to be examined were, whether Gold or Silver should be selected as the Standard of the Currency? or whether both metals should be used as Standards?

Both Lowndes and Locke agree in considering Silver as having hitherto been in fact the only Standard of the Currency; and the latter was impressed with a strong (though we believe ill-founded) conviction of its great superiority in that respect to gold. Such being their opinion, it is plain that the proposal of Lowndes was neither more nor less than a proposal to degrade the Standard to the extent of 25 per cent. And we are under the greatest obligations to Locke and his supporters in Parliament by whom so nefarious a project was successfully opposed.

Edition: current; Page: [263]

But Parliament, wholly engrossed by the Re-Coinage of Silver, does not appear to have ever considered what was to be done with Gold. And yet it is plain that if it was intended that Gold Coins should continue in circulation, and be legal tender indifferently with Silver, the future state of the Currency would depend on the Mint valuation of Gold and Silver, or on the rate at which the one was to be received for the other. If this valuation had been made so as to correspond pretty exactly with the real values of the metals then, as little or nothing would have been gained by using the one rather than the other, Coins of both might have continued to circulate together. But it is difficult at any time to make such an accurate adjustment of the values of the two metals; while, supposing it were made, it could not, owing to changes in their real values, be maintained for any considerable period. And whenever a change takes place in their comparative values, it becomes the obvious interest of everybody to use that metal in preference which is over-valued, the other being employed in the arts, or exported to places where it passes at its fair value.

But though sufficiently obvious, and set in a clear light by Mr. Locke, these considerations were completely lost sight of in 1696-99. After the Re-Coinage had been effected, the rates at which Gold and Silver Coins were to be interchanged were not fixed by authority—that is, the rule laid down in the Proclamation of 1663 was not interfered with. But this rule had fallen into desuetude, and after the Re-Coinage the value of the Guinea was estimated by the Public at 21s. 6d., and it was readily received at that rate in all payments.*

It appears, however, from the best attainable information, that this valuation of 21s. 6d. was really equivalent Edition: current; Page: [264] to a premium of 10d. in favour of the Guinea, it being worth only about 20s. 8d. of the new Coins. And in consequence of this marked, though unintentional preference of Gold, it was used, to the exclusion of silver, in all considerable payments; while the new Coins of the latter, being not only under-valued but in excess, immediately began to be exported.

The growing scarcity of Silver consequent on this exportation being in the end productive of considerable inconvenience, an attempt was made to stop it in 1717, by reducing by Proclamation the value of the Guinea from 21s. 6d. to 21s., Gold and Silver being respectively made legal tender in that proportion, or in the ratio of 1 lb. of Gold to 15286/1364 lb. of Silver. But notwithstanding this reduction, which was made pursuant to the advice of Sir Isaac Newton (see post), the Guinea was still over-valued as compared with Silver. This over-valuation was estimated at the time at about 4d. in the Guinea, or 118/31 per cent.* And as the value of Silver compared with Gold continued to increase for most part of last century, it afterwards became considerably greater; a circumstance which rendered it more and more the interest of all parties to pay in Gold rather than in Silver. Hence Gold became in practice, what Silver had formerly been, the sole legal tender; and during the lengthened period from 1717 down to 1816, no Silver Coins of the legal weight and purity would remain in circulation, but were either melted down or exported, the Silver Currency consisting entirely of light worn Coins.

It is evident from these statements that Locke and those who effected the Re-Coinage of 1696-99 should, to be consistent, and prevent the immediate exportation of the new Coins, have reduced the Mint value of the Guinea Edition: current; Page: [265] to 20s. 8d. or 20s. 6d., or have made it optional merely to take Gold at its market price.* But it is probably better that they did not. The over-valuation of Gold gave us a Gold Currency which, besides being incomparably more commodious, is, despite the dictum of Locke, in most respects preferable, especially in a country like this, to a Silver Currency.

Had Lowndes, instead of an excessive reduction of 25 per cent. in the value of the Silver Coins, contented himself with proposing a reduction of 3 or 4 per cent., and his proposal been agreed to, it is probable that Gold would, notwithstanding, have continued to be preferred by the Public, and Silver been used only in small payments; and if so, the system of 1816 would have been to some extent anticipated. But the degradation which he proposed was so very great that, unless the ratio of Gold to Silver had been at the same time very largely raised, or the Gold Coins been called in and their weight proportionally reduced, they would have been entirely banished from circulation. It is quite impracticable, where two sets of Coins are equally legal tender, to degrade the one without at the same time degrading the other, or forcing it abroad.

In the system established in 1816, Silver is received at the Mint at the rate of 5s. 2d. per oz. and issued at the rate of 5s. 6d. per do. the 4d. being retained as a seignorage to defray the expense of Coinage. Silver was then, also, made legal tender to the extent of 40s. only in any one payment. In consequence, it has become a merely subsidiary currency. This system, which was suggested by the first Earl of Liverpool, has answered extremely well.

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to the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain.
May it please Your Lordship,

ACCORDING to your Lordship’s Order, signified to me by Mr. Secretary Harley, in his Letter of February 26th last, I have considered the Letter of his Grace the Duke of Ormond, Her Majesty’s Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, sent to your Lordship, together with the Representation sent to his Grace from the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council of that Kingdom, mentioning a late Proclamation for making current in that Kingdom some Pieces of Foreign Gold and proposing to make current there, by further Proclamation, several other Pieces of Foreign Gold therein named, to prevent the Counterfeiting thereof: and as to the Value of the Pieces, I humbly represent, that the Spanish Pistoles, one with another, as they are brought hither by the Merchant, weigh 103 Grains each at a Medium, and are in Fineness half a Grain worse than Standard, and after the Rate that a Guinea is valued in England at 1l. 1s. 6d. are here worth 17s. 1d. and in Ireland, where the Silver Money is raised a Penny in the Shilling, if the Gold be raised in the same Proportion, become worth 18s. 6d. And in Proportion to the Quadruple Pistole weighs 412 Grains, the Double Pistole 206 Grains, and the Quarter Pistole 25¾ Grains: But in the Representation the Quadruple Pistoles are said to weigh 408 Grains, the Double Pistole 204 Grains, and Edition: current; Page: [270] the Quarter Pistoles 25 and an half Grains, whence I gather, that in the former Proclamation the Weight of the Pistole was but 102 Grains, which is a Grain lighter than the just Weight, this Grain, as I conceive, being abated to give a legal Currency to such lighter Pieces as want not above a Grain of their just Weight; and upon this Consideration the Quadruple, Double, and Quarter Pistoles may be put in Weight and Value as is expressed in the Representation; and so may the Double and Quarter Luidores, they being of the same weight, Fineness and Value with the Double and Quarter Pistoles.

The Moydores of Portugal, one with another, as they are brought hither by the Merchant, weigh 165¾ Grains at a Medium, and a Quarter of a Grain better than Standard, and in England are worth 27s. 8d. Half-penny, and being raised a Penny in the Shilling, become worth 30s. in Ireland: In the Representation their Weight is put 168 Grains, which is certainly too much; and thence it comes to pass, that they are therein valued at 1l. 10s. 6d. which is 6d. too much. I have examined the Weight of 30 Parcels of Moydores, containing a Thousand Moydores in each Parcel, and thereby found, that the Moydore, at a Medium, weighs only 165¾ Grains; if in Favour of the lighter Pieces the Fraction be abated, their Weight and Value, in a new Proclamation, may be put as follows. The Portugal Piece of Gold, called a Moydore, and weighing 165 Grains, to pass at 1l. 10s. the Half Moydore weighing 82 Grains and an half, at 15s. and the Quarter Moydore, weighing 41 Grains and a Quarter, at 7s. 6d.

Gold is over-valued in England in Proportion to Silver, by at least 9d. or 10d. in a Guinea, and this Excess of Value tends to increase the Gold Coins, and diminish the Silver Coins of this Kingdom; and the same will happen in Ireland by the like over-valuing of Gold in that Kingdom. But it’s convenient that the Coins should bear the same Proportion to one another in both Kingdoms, to Edition: current; Page: [271] prevent all fraudulent Practices in those that Trade between them, and that the Proportion be ascertained by Proclamation.

All which is most humbly submitted to your Lordship’s great Wisdom.
Is. Newton.


to the
Right Honourable the Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain.
May it please Your Lordship.

IN Obedience to Your Lordship’s Order of Reference signified to me by Mr. Taylor in his Letter of June 16 inst. I have perused the Representation from the Lords of the Privy Council of Ireland, touching a late Order of Council here for giving Currency in that Kingdom by Proclamation to some Foreign Coins, which were omitted in a former Proclamation, a printed Copy of which they have sent, desiring a Clause to be added to the said Order, for making such Allowance for light Pieces as was made in the said Proclamation; and that the Order may comprehend also the foreign Coins mentioned in that Proclamation, because the Original thereof under the Great Seal was destroyed by the late Fire that happened there at the Council-Chamber, so that the Clark of the Council cannot now certify that the printed Edition: current; Page: [272] Copy agrees with the Original verbatim as the late Act of Parliament requires for the Conviction of Counterfeitors of those Coins. And upon comparing the said Representation with the said late Order of Council and printed Proclamation, I humbly represent, that the Weight of the single Pistole and Luidore, being in the said Proclamation put 4 Penny-weight 8 Grains; the Weight of the Double Pistole and Double Luidore ought in Proportion to be put in a new Proclamation 8 Penny-weight 16 Grains, and that of the Quadruple Pistole, or Double Doubloon, 17 Penny-weight 8 Grains. And that the Moydore of Portugal (which as the Merchants bring them hither a little worn, weigh one with another 6 Penny-weight 21¾ Grains, and before wearing may be a Quarter of a Grain heavier or above) may be put in Weight 6 Penny-weight 22 Grains in the same Proclamation, and valued at 30s. For in Ireland, where an English Shilling passes for 13d. the Moydore of this Weight is worth 29s. 11½d. reckoning Gold 22 Carats fine at 4l. per Ounce, as is usually done, and 30s. is a Medium, and the nearest round Number. And a Grain being allowed for Wearing, this Piece will be current till it weighs but 6 Penny-weight 21 Grains, as was stated in the late Order of Council, and after that it will be still current by abating 2d. per Grain in its Value for what it wants of the Weight of 6 Penny-weight 22 Grains. For the latter Part of the printed Proclamation, concerning the Allowance for light Pieces, and concerning the Scales and Weights for weighing them, I am humbly of Opinion, should be continued in the next Proclamation.

I humbly beg leave to represent further to your Lordship, that the Weights and Values of the Silver Coins in the printed Proclamation would answer better to one another, and to the Coins themselves, if 2d. were taken from the Value of the Crusado of Portugal, and 18 or 20 Grains added to the Weight of the Dollars, for the Edition: current; Page: [273] Crusado is reckoned in Portugal to be the 10th part of the Moydore in Value, and the Moydore is worth 30s. in Ireland as above, and yet the Crusado is valued in the Proclamation at 3s. 2d. It’s Weight before Wearing is 11 Penny-weight 4 Grains, and a Crusado of this Weight is worth but 3s.

Rix-Dollars, Cross-Dollars, and other Dollars, are in the Proclamation put of the same Weight and Value of the Pieces of Eight and Lewises, and ought to be 18 or 20 Grains heavier to be of the same Value. Rix-Dollars are of several sorts, and before Wearing Weighed about 18 Penny-weight and 6, 8, or 10 Grains, and Cross-Dollars 18 Penny-weight 1 Grain. That they may be worth 4s. 9d. which is the Value in the Proclamation, they should weigh at least 17 Penny-weight 18 Grains.

I am humbly of Opinion therefore, that the Gold Coins should be of the Weight and Fineness expressed in the Paper hereunto annexed,* and the Silver ones, as in the printed Proclamation, unless for the Reasons above mentioned, it should be thought fit to take 2d. from the Value of the Crusadoes, and add 18 Grains to the Weight of the Dollars.

All which is humbly submitted to your Lordship’s great wisdom.
Is. Newton.
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to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Revenue.
May it please your Lordships.

IN Obedience to your Lordships Order of Reference of August 12th, that I should lay before your Lordships a State of the Gold and Silver Coins of this Kingdom in Weight and Fineness, and the Value of Gold in Proportion to Silver, with my Observations and Opinion, and what Method may be best for preventing the Melting down of the Silver Coin; I humbly Represent, That a Pound Weight Troy of Gold, 11 Ounces fine, and 1 Ounce Allay, is cut into 44 Guineas and Half, and a Pound Weight of Silver, 11 Ounces, 2 Penny Weight fine, and 18 Penny Weight Allay, is cut into 62 Shillings; and according to this Rate, a Pound Weight of fine Gold is worth 15 Pounds Weight 6 Ounces, 17 Penny Weight and 5 Grains of fine Silver, reckoning a Guinea at 1l. 1s. 6d. in Silver Money. But Silver in Bullion exportable is usually worth 2d. or 3d. per Ounce more than in Coin. And if at a Medium, such Bullion of Standard Allay be valued at 5s. 4d. Half-penny per Ounce, a Pound Weight of fine Gold will be worth but 14 Pound Weight 11 Ounces, 12 Penny Weight 9 Grains of fine Silver in Bullion. And at this Rate, a Guinea is worth but so much Silver as would make 20s. 8d. When Ships are lading for the East-Indies, the Demand of Silver for Exportation raises the Price to Edition: current; Page: [275] 5s. 6d. or 5s. 8d. per Ounce, or above: but I consider not those extraordinary Cases.

A Spanish Pistole was coined for 32 Reas, or 4 Pieces of Eight Reas, usually called Pieces of Eight, and is of equal Allay, and the 16th Part of the Weight thereof. And a Doppio Moeda of Portugal was coined for 10 Crusadoes of Silver, and is of equal Allay, and the 16th Part of the Weight thereof; Gold is therefore in Spain and Portugal of 16 times more Value than Silver of equal Weight and Allay, according to the Standard of those Kingdoms; at which Rate, a Guinea is worth 22s. 1d. But this high Price keeps their Gold at Home in good Plenty, and carries away the Spanish Silver into all Europe, so that at Home they make their Payments in Gold, and will not pay in Silver without a Premium. Upon the coming in of a Plate-Fleet, the Premium ceases, or is but small; but as their Silver goes away and becomes scarce, the Premium encreases, and is most commonly about 6 per Cent. which being abated, a Guinea becomes worth about 20s. 9d. in Spain and Portugal.

In France a Pound Weight of fine Gold is reckoned worth 15 Pound Weight of fine Silver; in raising or falling their Money, their King’s Edicts have sometimes varied a little from this Proportion, in Excess or Defect; but the Variations have been so little that I do not here consider them. By the Edict of May 1709, a new Pistole was coined for 4 new Lewises, and is of equal Allay, and the 15th Part of the Weight thereof, except the Errors of their Mints. And by the same Edict, fine Gold is valued at 15 times its Weight of fine Silver, and at this Rate a Guinea is worth 20s. 8d. Half-penny. I consider not here the Confusion made in the Monies in France, by frequent Edicts to send them to the Mint, and give the King a Tax out of Them; I consider the Value only of Gold and Silver in Proportion to one another.

The Ducats of Holland and Hungary, and the Empire, Edition: current; Page: [276] were lately currant in Holland among the common People in their Markets and ordinary Affairs, at 5 Guilders in Specie, and 5 Stivers, and commonly changed for so much Silver Monies in three Guilder-Pieces, and Guilder Pieces as Guineas are with us for 21s. 6d. Sterling; at which Rate a Guinea is worth 20s. 7d. Half-penny.

According to the Rates of Gold to Silver in Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, a Guinea is worth about 20s. and 7d. 6d. 5d. or 4d. for the Proportion varies a little within the several Governments in those Countries. In Sweden, Gold is lowest in Proportion to Silver, and this hath made that Kingdom, which formerly was content with Copper Money, abound of late with Silver, sent thither (I suspect) for Naval Stores.

In the End of King William’s Reign, and the first Year of the late Queen, when Foreign Coins abounded in England, I caused a great many of them to be assayed in the Mint, and found by the Assays, that fine Gold was to fine Silver in Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, and the Northern Kingdoms, in the Proportion above mentioned, Errors of the Mints excepted.

In China and Japan, one Pound Weight of fine Gold is worth but 9 or 10 Pounds Weight of fine Silver, and in East-India it may be worth 12. And this low Price of Gold in Proportion to Silver, carries away the Silver from all Europe.

So then, by the Course of Trade and Exchange, between Nation and Nation in all Europe, fine Gold is to fine Silver as 14⅘, or 15 to one; and a Guinea at the same Rate is worth between 20s. 5d. and 20s. 8d. Half-penny, except in extraordinary Cases, as when a Plate-Fleet is just arriv’d in Spain, or Ships are lading here for the East-Indies, which Cases I do not here consider. And it appears by Experience as well as by Reason, that Silver flows from those Places where its Value is lowest in Proportion to Gold, as from Spain to all Europe, and from all Edition: current; Page: [277] Europe to the East-Indies, China and Japan; and that Gold is most plentiful in those Places, in which its Value is highest in Proportion to Silver, as in Spain and England.

It is the Demand for Exportation which hath raised the Price of exportable Silver about 2d. or 3d. in the Ounce above that of Silver in Coin, and hath thereby created a Temptation to export or Melt down the Silver Coin, rather than give 2d. or 3d. more for Foreign Silver; and the Demand for Exportation arises from the higher Price of Silver in other Places than in England, in Proportion to Gold, that is, from the higher Price of Gold in England than in other Places, in Proportion to Silver, and therefore may be diminish’d by lowering the Value of Gold in Proportion to Silver. If Gold in England, or Silver in East-India, could be brought down so low as to bear the same Proportion to one another in both Places, there wou’d be here no greater Demand for Silver than for Gold to be exported to India; And if Gold were lowered only so as to have the same Proportion to the Silver Money in England, which it hath to Silver in the rest of Europe, there would be no Temptation to export Silver rather than Gold to any other Part of Europe. And to compass this last, there seems nothing more requisite, than to take off about 10d. or 12d. from the Guinea, so that Gold may bear the same Proportion to the Silver Money in England, which it ought to do by the Course of Trade and Exchange in Europe; but if only 6d. were taken off at present, it would diminish the Temptation to export or melt down the Silver Coin, and by the Effects, would shew hereafter better than can appear at present, what further Reduction would be most convenient for the Publick.

In the last Year of King William, the Dollars of Scotland, worth about 4s. 6d. Half-penny were put away in the North of England for 5s. and at this Price began to flow in upon us: I gave Notice thereof to the Lords Commissioners Edition: current; Page: [278] of the Treasury, and they Ordered the Collectors of Taxes to forbear taking them, and thereby put a Stop to the Mischief.

At the same time the Lewidors of France, which were worth but 17s. and 3 Farthings a Piece, passed in England for 17s. 6d. I gave Notice thereof to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and his late Majesty put out a Proclamation, that they should go but at 17s. and thereupon they came to the Mint, and 1400000l. were coined out of them; and if the Advantage of 5d. 1 Farthing a Lewidor sufficed at that Time to bring into England so great a Quantity of French Money, and the Advantage of 3 Farthings in a Lewidor to bring it to the Mint, the Advantage of 9d. Half-penny in a Guinea, or above, may have been sufficient to bring the great Quantity of Gold which hath been coined in these last 15 Years without any Foreign Silver.

Some years ago the Portugal Moydores were received in the West of England at 28s. a Piece; upon Notice from the Mint, that they were worth only about 27s. 7d. the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury ordered their Receivers of Taxes to take them at no more than 27s. 6d. Afterwards many Gentlemen in the West sent up to the Treasury a Petition, that the Receivers might take them again at 28s. and promised to get Returns for this Money at that Rate, alledging, that when they went at 28s. their Country was full of Gold, which they wanted very much. But the Commissioners of the Treasury considering that at 28s. the Nation would lose 5d. a Piece, rejected the Petition. And if an Advantage to the Merchant of 5d. in 28s. did pour that Money in upon us, much more hath an Advantage to the Merchant of 9d. Half-penny in a Guinea or above, been able to bring into the Mint great Quantities of Gold without any Foreign Silver, and may be able to do still, ’till the Cause be removed.

If Things be let alone ’till Silver Money be a little Edition: current; Page: [279] scarcer, the Gold will fall of it self; for People are already backward to give Silver for Gold, and will in a little Time, refuse to make Payments in Silver without a Premium, as they do in Spain; and this Premium will be an Abatement in the Value of the Gold: And so the Question is, Whether Gold shall be lowered by the Government, or let alone ’till it falls of it self, by the Want of Silver Money?

It may be said, That there are great Quantities of Silver in Plate, and if the Plate were coined, there would be no Want of Silver Money: But I reckon that Silver is safer from Exportation in the Form of Plate than in the Form of Money, because of the greater Value of the Silver and Fashion together; and therefore I am not for coining the Plate till the Temptation to export the Silver Money (which is a Profit of 2d. or 3d. an Ounce) be diminished: For as often as Men are necessitated to send away Money for answering Debts Abroad, there will be a Temptation to send away Silver rather than Gold, because of the Profit, which is almost 4 per Cent. And for the same Reason Foreigners will choose to send hither their Gold rather than their Silver.

All which is most humbly submitted to Your Lordships great Wisdom.
Isaac Newton.
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TABLES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE Successive Changes in the Standard, IN THE WEIGHT OF THE COINS, AND IN THE Relative Values of Gold and Silver IN ENGLAND, From the Conquest down to 1717.

Edition: current; Page: [282] Edition: current; Page: [283]

A Table showing the successive Nominal Values of One Pound Weight of Fine Silver and Fine Gold; and the Proportion, true Value, or Number of Pounds Weight of Fine Silver in One Pound Weight of Fine Gold, from 1344 to 1717. N.B. The Pound Weight till 18 Henry VIII. is that of the Tower (11 oz. 5 dwt. Troy), and since that time the Pound Troy. (Snelling’s Gold Coins, p. 34.)

Name of the King and Year of his Reign. Nominal Value of one Pound Weight of Fine Silver, in Pounds Sterling. Nominal Value of one Pound Weight of Fine Gold in Pounds Sterling. True Value of one Pound Weight of Fine Gold, or the Proportion of Fine Silver to Fine Gold.
£ s. d. £ s. d. lbs. oz. dwt. gr.
18 Edward III 1344 122/111 1 3 11½ { 1515/191 15 1 1213444/25403 12 8 14
{ 1345/191 13 4 111175/25403 11 0 11 2
20 1346 15/37 1 4 1414/191 14 1 5 111627/2865 11 6 16 7
27 1353 113/37 1 7 1515/191 15 1 11151/955 11 1 17 22
13 Henry IV 1412 122/37 1 11 10½ 16144/191 16 15 10190/573 10 3 19 13¾
4 Edward IV 1464 21/37 1 0 22118/191 22 17 7¼ } 11151/955 11 1 17 22
18 Henry VIII 1527 210/37 2 8 279/22 27 8 2 }
34 1543 222/25 2 17 306/115 30 1 1010/23 10 8 19 13
36 1545 4⅘ 4 16 0 326/11 32 14 69/11 6 9 16 13
37 1546 } 7⅕ 7 4 0 { 36 36 0 0 5 5 0 0 0
3 Edward VI 1549 } { 371/11 37 1 55/35 5 1 16 8
4 1550 } { 34141/191 34 14 9 45671/6876 4 9 17 22
5 1551 142/5 14 8 0 34141/191 34 14 9 25671/13752 2 4 18 23
6 1552 357/221 3 5 36 36 0 0 111/20 11 0 12 0
1 Mary 1553 33/11 3 5 5 3636/191 36 3 1111/191 11 0 13 19
2 Elizabeth 1560 39/37 3 4 10¼ { 36 36 0 0 111/10 11 1 4 0
{ 3636/191 36 3 11151/191 11 1 17 22
43 1601 { 366/11 36 10 10¾ 10618/682 10 10 17 3
{ 36132/191 36 7 105824/5921[Editor: ?] 10 11 7 13
2 and 3 James I 1604 { 4032/53 40 11 12186/1705 12 1 6 4
{ 40136/191 40 14 12876/5921 12 1 15 12
9 1612 313/37 3 7 { 4416/25 44 12 13248/775 13 3 16 19
{ 44748/955 44 15 1310739/20805[Editor: ?] 13 4 7 1
15 Charles II 1663 { 486/11 48 10 10¾ 14331/682 14 5 16 11
{ 50107/110 50 19 152859/13840 15 2 10 7
William & Mary 5241/220 52 3 1510597/27280 15 6 17 5
3 George I 1717 50107/110 50 19 152559/13640 15 2 10 7
Edition: current; Page: [284]

A table showing the number of Pounds Sterling contained in One Pound Weight, both Tower and Troy, the Quantity of Standard Silver contained in One Pound Sterling, and the Proportion the former Pounds Sterling bear to the present. (Snelling’s Silver Coins, p. 51.)

Name of the King and Year of his Reign. Pounds Sterling in 1 lb. Weight Tower. Tower Weight of Standard in 1 pound Sterling. Pounds Sterling in 1 lb. Weight Troy. Troy Weight of Standard in 1 pound Sterling Proportion of Pounds Sterling.
£ s. d. oz. dwt. gr. £ s. d. oz. dwt. gr. £ s. d.
Conquest 1066 1 0 0 12 0 0 1 1 4 11 5 0 257/96 2 18
28 Edward I 1300 1 0 3 11 17 03/9 1 1 7⅗ 11 2 5⅓ 247/34 2 17 5
18 Edward III 1344 1 2 2 10 16 13 1 3 711/16 10 3 2331/332[Editor: ?] 2 12
20 1346 1 2 6 10 13 8 1 4 0 10 0 0 27/12 2 11 8
27 1353 1 5 0 9 12 0 1 6 8 9 0 0 213/40 2 6 6
13 Henry IV 1412 1 10 0 8 0 0 1 12 0 7 10 0 115/16 1 18 9
4 Edward IV 1464 1 17 6 6 8 0 2 0 0 6 0 0 111/20 1 11 0
18 Henry VIII 1527 2 2 5 6 16 2 5 0 5 6 16 117/45 1 7
34 1543 2 10 0 4 16 0 2 13 4 4 10 15 113/80 1 3 3
36 1545 4 3 4 2 17 142/5 4 8 10⅔ 2 14 0 0279/400 0 13 11½
37 1546 6 5 0 1 18 9⅗ 6 13 4 1 16 0 093/200 0 9
3 Edward VI 1549 6 5 0 1 18 93/6 6 13 4 1 16 0 093/200 0 9
5 1551 12 10 0 0 19 4⅘ 13 6 8 0 18 0 093/400 0 4
6 1552 2 16 5 3 14 7103/111 3 0 357/221 3 19 1513/37 11/35 1 0
1 Mary 1553 2 16 8 3 13 2395/111 3 0 66/11 3 19 626/37 11/42 1 0
Elizabeth 1560 2 16 3 3 14 16 3 0 0 4 0 0 11/30 1 0 8
4 1601 } 2 18 3 12 634/45 3 2 0 3 17 10⅔ 1 1 0 0
And ever since }

N.B. The two last columns are the same, the last having the value of the Fraction reduc’d into Shillings and Pence.

Edition: current; Page: [285]

NOTE ON SCOTCH MONEY, WITH TABLES Showing the Successive Changes in the Standard IN THE WEIGHT OF THE COINS, AND IN THE Relative Values of Gold and Silver, From 1107 to 1707, WHEN SCOTLAND CEASED TO HAVE A PECULIAR COINAGE.

Edition: current; Page: [286] Edition: current; Page: [287]

The English derived their system of coinage from the French, and the Scotch theirs from the English. From 1107 to 1355, the coins of both divisions of the island were of the same size and purity. But, at the last mentioned period, it was attempted to fill up the void occasioned by the remittance of the ransom of David II. to England, by degrading the coins. Till then the money of Scotland had been current in England, upon the same footing as the money of the latter; and the preservation of this equality is assigned by Edward III. as a reason for his degrading the English coins. But this equilibrium was soon afterwards destroyed. In the first year of Robert III. (1390), Scotch coin passed only for half its nominal value in England; and, in 1393, Richard II. of England ordered that its currency as money should entirely cease, and that its value should thenceforth depend on the weight of the genuine metal contained in it. “To close this point at once,” says Pinkerton, “the Scottish money, equal in value to the English till 1355, sunk by degrees, reign after reign, owing to succeeding public calamities, and the consequent impoverishment of the kingdom, till, in 1600, it was only a twelfth part of the value of English money of the same denomination, and remained at that point till the union of the kingdoms cancelled the Scottish coinage.”*

Edition: current; Page: [288]

The annexed tables exhibit the successive degradations of the Scotch Silver and gold coins.

At the Union, in 1707, it was ordered that all the silver coins current in Scotland, foreign as well as domestic, except English coins of full weight, should be brought to the Bank of Scotland, to be taken to the mint to be recoined. In compliance with this order, there were brought in,

Of foreign silver money (sterling), £132,080 17 9
Milled Scottish coins, 96,856 13 0
Coins struck by hammer, 142,180 0 0
English milled coin, 40,000 0 0
Total £411,117 10 9

Ruddiman conjectures,* apparently with considerable probability, that the value of the gold and silver coins not brought in, amounted to about as much more. Much suspicion was entertained of the recoinage. And that large portion of the people who were hostile to the Union, and did not believe in its permanence, brought very little money to the Bank. A few only of the hoarded coins have been preserved, the far greater part having either been melted by the goldsmiths, or exported to other countries.

Edition: current; Page: [289]

Account of the number of pounds, shillings, and pennies Scotch, which have been coined out of one pound weight of silver at different times; with the degree of purity of such silver or its fineness, from the year 1107 to the year 1601. (From Ruddiman’s Introduction to Anderson’s “Diplomata.”)

ad Anno Regni. Purity. Alloy. Value of money coined out of a lb. of silver.
Oz. Pw. Oz. Pw. L. s. d.
1107 Alexander I } 11 2 0 18 1 0 0
David I }
William }
to Alexander II }
Alexander III }
1296 John Baliol }
From } Robert I 11 2 0 18 1 1 0
1306 }
to }
1329 }
1366 David II 38 11 2 0 18 1 5 0
1377 39 11 2 0 18 1 9 4
From } Robert II 11 2 0 18 1 9 4
1371 }
to }
1390 }
1393 Robert III 4 11 2 0 18 1 12 0
1424 James I 19 11 2 0 18 1 17 6
1451 James II 15 11 2 0 18 3 4 0
1456 20 11 2 0 18 4 16 0
1475 James III 16 11 2 0 18 7 4 0
1484 24 11 2 0 18 7 0 0
1488 James IV 1 } 11 2 0 18 7 0 0
1489 2 }
1529 James V 16 11 0 1 0 9 12 0
1544 Mary 3 11 0 1 0 9 12 0
1556 14 11 0 1 0 13 0 0
1565 23 11 0 1 0 18 0 0
1567 James VI 1 11 0 1 0 18 0 0
1571 5 9 0 3 0 16 14 0
1576 10 8 0 4 0 16 14 0
1579 13 11 0 1 0 22 0 0
1581 15 11 0 1 0 24 0 0
1597 31 11 0 1 0 30 0 0
1601 35 11 0 1 0 36 0 0
Edition: current; Page: [290]

Account of the number of pounds, shillings, and pennies Scotch, which have been coined out of one pound weight of gold, with the degree of their purity, and the proportion that the gold bore to the silver. (From Ruddiman’s Introduction to Anderson’s “Diplomata.”)

ad Anno Regni. Fineness. Alloy. Value of the coin coined out of one pound of gold. Pound of pure gold weighed of pure silver.
oz. pw. gr: oz. pw. gr: L. s. d. lb. oz. pw. gr:
1371, etc. Robert II. . . . 11 18 18 0 1 6 17 12 0 11 1 17 22
1390, etc. Robert III. . . 11 18 18 0 1 6 19 4 0 11 1 17 22
1424 James I. . . 19 11 18 18 0 1 6 22 10 0 11 1 17 22
1451 James II. . . 15 11 18 18 0 1 6 33 6 0 9 8 4 14
1456 20 11 18 18 0 1 6 50 0 0 9 8 4 14
1475 James III. . 16 11 18 18 0 1 6 78 15 0 10 2 0 20
1484 24 11 18 18 0 1 6 78 15 0 10 5 7 9
1488 James IV. . . 1 11 18 18 0 1 6 78 15 0 10 5 7 9
1529 James V. . . 16 11 18 18 0 1 6 108 0 0 10 5 7 9
1556 Mary . . . . . 14 11 0 0 1 0 0 144 0 0 10 5 8 6
1577 James VI. . 10 11 0 0 1 0 0 240 0 0 10 5 8 6
1579 13 10 10 0 1 10 0 240 0 0 11 5 2 20
1597 31 11 0 0 1 0 0 360 0 0 12 0 0 0
1601 35 11 0 0 1 0 0 432 0 0 12 0 0 0
1633 Charles I. . . 9 11 0 0 1 0 0 492 0 0 13 2 7 11
Edition: current; Page: [291]








For regulating the

Value of Coin



By the Author of the List of the Absentees of



Printed by A. Rhames, for R. Gunne, in Caplestreet. M DCCXXIX.

Edition: current; Page: [292] Edition: current; Page: [293]

OBSERVATIONS ON COIN in General, WITH Some Proposals for Regulating the Value of Coin in IRELAND.

HAVING in a Treatise lately published, taken Notice of the great and constant Drains of Money out of this Kingdom, for the Support of our Gentlemen abroad, and of the Scarcity of Money among us occasioned thereby: I shall now beg Leave to take into Consideration the Inconveniences we labour under, for want of a due Regulation of our Coin. For ’tis our Misfortune not only to have little Money current among us, but even that Little to consist of such Sorts, as are the most unfit for the Management of our Domestick Dealings. This Evil arises from the Want of a due Proportion in the Values of our several Species: For not only the Value of our Gold in Proportion to Silver, is different from the Proportion observed by all other Countries we deal with, but also the Value of Gold is different in the several Species current among us, no just Regard being had to the intrinsick Value thereof; Gold in a Moydore is valued higher than Gold in a Luidore or Pistole, and Gold in a Luidore or Pistole higher than in a Guinea, and all of them higher in Proportion than Silver in other Countries. The Consequence of these Disproportions has been, that Edition: current; Page: [294] the greatest Part of all our Silver Species, and of those Gold Species, which are under-rated, have been carried out of the Kingdom, and little left among us but Moydores, which are highest valued.

This Disproportion in our Coin has given all those, who traffick in Money, a Temptation to carry out one Species, in Order to bring in another, to their own Advantage indeed, but to the Prejudice of the Kingdom: And as the Demands of our Absentees upon us have of late over-ballanced all our Profit by Trade, there was a Necessity of sending away that Ballance in Specie; which our Remitters and Exchangers did not fail to do in those Sorts of Coin, which they could get or save most by: on this Account it was that our Silver was carried off first, as being the lowest valued, then our Guineas and Luidores, so that at length we are reduced to Moydores, the most inconvenient Coin of all others in our present Circumstances: For since we are in great Want of Half-pence and Farthings, are almost stripped of all Sorts of Silver Coin, and have very little of the small Gold Species left among us, it is become very difficult to change Moydores, in Order to buy or sell any Commodity: This Want of Change greatly embarrasses the Dealings of poor People, and is a great Obstruction to all Sorts of Business; so that at present we not only labour under a great Scarcity of Money, but even the little we have, is not of half that Use to us, as it would be, if it was divided into small Pieces, which could easily be changed.

The Affair of our Coin is now grown of great Importance to us, and as we every Day are more sensible of the Inconveniencies we suffer for want of a Regulation thereof, it is high Time to think of some Measures which may remove them. Very few Gentlemen have made it their Business, or have had Opportunities of being rightly informed of the Nature of Coin and Exchange, and generally reckon it to be an intricate and abstruse Affair: Edition: current; Page: [295] And they who make dealing in Money their Profession, are either unable or unwilling to give such Light therein, as may be of Use to those, whose Desire and Intention it is to make just Regulations of our Coin, which are so much wanted for the Ease of the People, and Benefit of Trade.

Having for my own Amusement, and Information, spent some leisure Hours on this Subject, I shall presume to offer my Thoughts to the Publick: judging it may be of some Use to give any Light, how small soever, in a Matter of this Consequence, wherein so many are in the Dark: And as a Subject of this Nature, ought to be treated with all possible Clearness to be of any Service, I shall endeavour to trace it from its first Principles, and put it in as clear a Light as so intricate an Affair will allow of.

In Order to this I shall throw my Thoughts into the following Method. 1st, I shall lay down certain Principles, Rules and Observations, which as they will be easily understood and assented to, will serve as a Foundation to form a right Judgment in these Matters.

2dly, I shall particularly set forth the Inconveniencies we suffer for want of a due Regulation in our Copper, Silver, and Gold Species, and the Causes from whence such Inconveniencies arise.

And 3dly, I shall mention several Schemes for the Regulation of our Coin, taking Notice of the Advantages and Disadvantages of each, and shall leave it to others to make Choice of such, as they shall judge to be most expedient for us in our present Circumstances.

In treating on the first Head I shall explain the Nature of Coin, and Exchange, shew the Consequences of raising or lowering Money, give several Rules for ascertaining the Values of Coins, with a Table of the Values of foreign Coins in England, and Ireland, and exhibit some Reports of Sir Isaac Newton relating to Coin, with such other Edition: current; Page: [296] Observations as I shall judge necessary for the right understanding this Matter.*


FIRST then I am to Observe, that Men in Order to relieve one anothers Wants with Ease and Justice, found it necessary to fix on one or two Things, and agree, by giving them Values, to make them universal Commodities, which all trading Nations may take as Equivalents, in Exchange for all other Commodities they have to part with.

The Things agreed upon, by the Consent of all Nations, for this Purpose are Gold and Silver, two Metals which are well fitted for this End, by their being beautiful, durable, scarce, not easily counterfeited, of equal Goodness in all Places when free from the Mixture of other Metals, and by their being easily divided into small Pieces of different Sizes and Weights.

All which Qualities taken together, make small Quantities of these Metals of great Value, when compared with other Things; and therefore fit to be chosen as Equivalents to pass in Exchange for them: By this Means Gold and Silver are the Measures of the Value of all other Commodities, which are dear or cheap, as they can be exchanged for greater or lesser Weights of these Metals.

As these Metals are naturally soft, it was found convenient to mix certain Proportions of some baser Metal with them, to give them such a Hardness as may hinder their wearing too fast. And to prevent their being adulterated with too great a Mixture of baser Metals, every Nation took Care to ascertain the Proportion which the baser Metals should bear to the Gold or Silver in their Coins; and to avoid the Trouble of proving every Piece, affixed certain Stamps thereon, as publick Vouchers of Edition: current; Page: [297] their Fineness and Weight; and this obtained the Name of Money or Coin.

The Values of these Metals, as of all other Commodities, are proportional to their Scarcity and Demands for them, or rather to their Scarcity alone, for since they are made Equivalents for all other Commodities, we may suppose the Demands for them to be everywhere much the same.

All the Uses and Conveniences of Money could not so conveniently be answered by any one Metal alone: But required several Metals of very different Values to make all Payments easy, and without Trouble. For the great Scarcity of Gold, as it made it of great Value, and fit for the Payment of large Sums, so at the same Time rendered it unfit to be divided into Pieces small enough for the Conveniencies of low Commerce: and though Silver by Reason of its Plenty, may be parcelled out into Pieces of small Value, yet too great a Weight and Bulk thereof would be required to make large Payments with any tolerable Conveniency. It was therefore found necessary to introduce both those Metals into Coin, especially when Trade increased; the first to answer large, and the second small Payments; and also to bring Copper into Coin, for making Payments for Commodities under the Value of the lowest Silver Pieces, and for the more convenient Change of the Coins of the finer Metals.

Gold and Silver being agreed upon, as Equivalents for all things which Men want from one another: they very well answer this Intention without occasioning any Confusion or Disturbance in Commerce; nay will be much more convenient than either Metal alone; provided a just Proportion be preserved in their respective Values. For in Order to constitute a Measure in Commerce, ’tis not necessary to confine that Measure to one Thing, or to make that one Thing invariable in its Value; since several Things may at the same Time, by general Consent, be Edition: current; Page: [298] equally Measures of the Value of all Commodities, and it may be altogether indifferent which of them are used for that Purpose. And in Fact we find that Gold and Silver, and even Copper in some Places, are equally Measures of the Value of Things, for as much as all Things can be exchanged for them. And there is no other Difference in these Metals considered as Measures, but that a greater Weight of Copper, than of Silver, of Silver than of Gold, is required to equal the Value of one and the same Thing. In like Manner an Inch, Foot and Yard are all Measures of Length, with this Difference only, that more Inches than Feet, and more Feet than Yards, are required to measure the same Length.

Herein I differ from Mr. Lock, who in his Further Considerations concerning the raising the Value of Money, pag. 20. of the Octavo Edition, says, Silver therefore, and Silver alone, is the Measure of Commerce. Two Metals, as Gold and Silver, cannot be the Measure of Commerce both together in any Country; because the Measure of Commerce must be perpetually the same, invariable, and keeping the same Proportion of Value in all its Parts. But so only one Metal does or can do to it self: So Silver is to Silver, and Gold to Gold, an Ounce of Silver is always of equal Value to an Ounce of Silver, and an Ounce of Gold to an Ounce of Gold. But Gold and Silver change their Value one to another. This Assertion, if I understood him right, carries this Sense with it, that one Metal only, and that Silver, can be the Measure of Commerce, and the same must be perpetually of the same Value.

With Submission to so great an Authority, I think it to be quite otherwise in Fact; for unless we should suppose an extraordinary Interposition of Providence to prevent the Silver current among us from being diminished, or increased, I do not see how it is possible that Silver should continue always of the same Value, since its Value must vary as its Quantity, and Demands for it vary. ’Tis Certain that Edition: current; Page: [299] by the vast Importation of Silver into Europe, since the Discovery of the West-Indies, the Value thereof has greatly lessened among us: In the Reign of Henry the VII. a Bushel of Wheat was sold in England for Sixpence, which then had as much Silver in it, as Nine Pence of our present Money, and the said Bushel now sells for about 4s. ’tis very probable that the Quantity of Corn, raised yearly in those Days, bore the same Proportion to the Number of People then in England, that the Quantity of Corn now raised, bears to our present Number; and if so, it follows, since one Ounce of Silver could purchase five times as much Wheat in that Reign as it can at present, that therefore Silver was five times more valuable then, than it is now.

If two Metals cannot be the Measure of Commerce both together, because they may at different Times change their Value one to another; the same Argument will hold good against one Metal, which at different Times may also vary in its Value; for though one Ounce of Silver will always be equal in Weight to another Ounce of Silver, yet it may differ in its Value at different Times, if compared with the Value of other Commodities, for which it is Exchanged.

There is a Change in the Values of these two Metals, as often as there is a Change in their Quantities, and yet this does not hinder them from being Measures of the Values of Things. If there be five or six times as much of these Metals in Europe now, as there was 200 Years ago, this Increase of Quantity will lessen their Value, and by Consequence cause more of them to be given for other Commodities, than when they were scarcer. For they are not Measures by their Weights alone, but by their Weights and Scarcities taken together, to which their true Values are proportional. And the not attending to this, was the Cause of Mr. Lock’s Mistake in his Reasonings on this Subject; which however did not affect his Edition: current; Page: [300] Argument against Mr. Lowndes, which he maintained with great Strength and Clearness.

Gold and Silver, which are pure and without any Mixture of baser Metals, are called Fine Gold, and Fine Silver.

The Gold and Silver, out of which the Coins of Nations are made, are Mixtures of Fine Gold and Fine Silver with certain Proportions of baser Metals, called Allays; which Mixtures, appointed by Law in each Nation, make the Standard Gold and Standard Silver of it.

A Pound Weight of the Standard Gold of England contains 22 Carrats of fine Gold, and two Carrats of Allay, or 11 Parts of fine Gold and one Part of Allay, and is cut into 44 Guineas and an half: And a Pound Weight of Standard Silver contains 11 Ounces 2 Penny-weight of fine Silver, and 18 Penny-weight of Allay, and is coined into 62 Shillings.

In estimating the Weight of Gold and Silver Pieces, we make use of the Troy-Pound, and divide it into 12 Ounces, each Ounce into 20 Penny-weight, and each Penny-weight into 24 Grains: And in Assaying Silver, we use the same Division of this Pound: But in Assaying Gold we divide the same Pound into 24 equal Parts, called Carrats, and each Carrat into 4 equal Parts called Carrat Grains, so that a Carrat is half an Ounce, or Ten Penny-weight, and a Carrat-Grain is Two Penny-weight and a half, or 60 ordinary Grains.

Any one that desires to know the Standards of the Coins of other Countries, may satisfy himself by looking into the Tables of the Assays, Weights and Values of foreign Coins herein published; where in the Column of Assays, he will see the Fineness of several Gold Coins, expressed in Carrats and Carrat-Grains, either Worse or Better than the English Standard: For Instance, if he would know the Standard of the Old Luidore, he will find in the Table that it is half a Grain in a Pound Weight Edition: current; Page: [301] worse than our Standard, and to express the same in Numbers, he may make Use of the small Table of Carrats and Carrat-Grains inserted here; for by substracting .125 (which is half a Carrat-Grain in Decimals) from 22 Carrats (the English Standard) there will remain 21.875 Carrats, the Standard of the Old Luidore.

It would be a great Advantage to Commerce, if Gold and Silver bore the same Proportion in Value to one another in all Parts of the World; for where this Proportion fails, there will be a Want of a sufficient Quantity of one or other of these Metals to carry on Trade in an easy and convenient Manner: For ’tis observed that these Metals constantly follow the best Market, and consequently every Country will lose all those Coins that are undervalued with Respect to other Countries, and abound with such as are over-rated, which in Time will become the only current Species.

We have a remarkable Instance of this in Spain, where Gold is higher valued in Proportion to Silver than it is in other Parts of Europe; hence it follows, that Spain pays all its Ballances of Trade to other Nations in Silver, rather than Gold; and other Nations make their Payments to Spain in Gold, rather than in Silver; nay, will send their Gold thither to purchase Silver. By this Means Spain, which furnishes Europe with most of its Silver, is frequently overstocked with Gold, and wants a sufficient Quantity of Silver to carry on its Trade with Ease, and when this Scarcity happens, a Præmium of near 6 per Cent is given for Payments in Silver, which Præmium continues till a new Plate-Fleet comes in, and then it ceases, till the flowing away and Scarcity of Silver make it necessary again.

This may in some Measure account for the sending of great Quantities of Gold at this Time from all Parts of Europe to Spain; for the great Treasure brought from the West-Indies being lately distributed among the Proprietors, Edition: current; Page: [302] Silver may now be had there for Gold without a Præmium, or rather a Præmium may be expected for Payments in Gold; this Silver being carried to other Countries, will give a Profit of above 6 per Cent; for since Gold in Spain is of 16 Times more Value than Silver, and but of 15 Times more Value in other Countries, Traffickers in Money will get above 6 per Cent by sending Gold to Spain, to purchase Silver, and carrying it thence to other Countries where ’tis of more Value: And there may be a farther Profit of about 4 per Cent, which may be got from the East-India Companies for Silver in Bullion; and therefore ’tis no Wonder that Gold now flows in great Quantities to Spain, and that the Value of it has risen of late very considerably among us.

As long as Gold in Proportion to Silver is produced in greater Plenty in Asia, Africa, and Brazil, than in the Spanish West-Indies it will follow, that the Value of Gold in Proportion to Silver will be different in those Countries. And farther, these Metals being scarcer in the East-Indies than in Europe, the Prices of Labour and Manufactures will consequently be lower there than with us, and for this Reason we export very few Manufactures to that Part of the World; but to purchase their Commodities are obliged to send Specie thither: And Silver in Proportion to Gold being higher valued there by above 40 per Cent than with us, we yearly export thither Silver in great Quantities: And the Demands of the East-India Company’s for this Exportation being at certain Times very great, the Price of Silver in Bullion at those Times rises considerably above the Value of Silver in Coin. But when the usual Supplies of Silver from the West-Indies are yearly imported into Europe without Interruption, we then find little Difference in the Value of Bullion and coined Silver. Whenever there is a Stop put to the coming Home of the Plate-Fleet, the price of Silver in Bullion rises 2, 3, or 4 Pence in an Ounce above Silver in Coin, and the Price of Edition: current; Page: [303] Gold Bullion to 8, 10, or 14 Pence an Ounce above coined Gold; so that the Exportation of Silver to the East-Indies never failing yearly, and the Supply from the West-Indies having been of late Years frequently interrupted; ’tis no Wonder that the Value of Bullion is much raised above that of Coin. And when this happens to be the Case we find that no Laws, how severe soever, are sufficient to prevent the melting down our new or heavy Coin, and turning it into Bullion; for where there is a strong Temptation to violate a Law, and the Violation of it can be performed with great Secrecy and Safety, no Penalty can be sufficient to secure the Observation of it.

The Values of Gold and Silver being, as I have observed, proportional to their Weight and Scarcity, it plainly follows, that at one and the same Time, in which we can suppose no Change to be made in the Scarcity, the Value of each will be proportional to its Weight; or to its Quantities of fine Metal, in Case any baser Metal be mixt with it. But as, at different Times, there happens to be a considerable Difference in the Scarcity of these Metals, their Values will become different on this Account, and the same Weight of each, will in Proportion as its Scarcity is increased or lessened, become more or less valuable than it was before, and this is the Market Value, which is the Price that a given Weight can sell for.

The Legal, Nominal, or Mint-Value of Gold and Silver, is the Value put upon it by the Laws of each Country.

It is very probable that when the legal Values were first established, they were the same with the Market Values. The legal Values of the English Coins are such, that Silver is worth 5s. 2d. an Ounce in England, and something more than 5s. 7d. in Ireland; and the Market Values of Silver in Bullion in England and Ireland are at present about 5s. 5d. and 5s. 10d. an Ounce.

In former Ages, the Eastern Parts of the World supplied Edition: current; Page: [304] the rest with most of their Gold and Silver: And during the Time of the Roman Empire, and before, Gold was generally ten or eleven times more valuable, than the same Weight of Silver; and in the Eastern Countries the same Proportion very nearly still continues; but the Discovery of the West-Indies about 240 Years ago, and the Importation from thence of vast Quantities of Silver, altered that Proportion in these Parts of the World; and made Gold to be about 15 Times the Value of Silver. And the late Discovery of Gold Mines in Brazil, and Importations from thence of about a Million of Gold yearly has a little lowered that Proportion; and in Time, in all Probability, will reduce it much lower; especially when we consider that about one Million in Silver is yearly exported from Europe to the East-Indies, which is much more than we formerly used to do; so that Silver becomes scarcer, and consequently of more Value among us. From hence ’tis evident that no certain Standard or Proportion between Gold and Silver can be settled, or continue long, since it must fluctuate and vary by the Increase or Decrease of either of those Metals.

It is observed, that near equal Values of Gold and Silver are brought yearly from the West-Indies to Europe, when Trade is free and open; and by Consequence since Gold at a Medium in Europe is worth about 15 Times its Weight of Silver, 15 Pounds Weight of Silver are brought from thence for every Pound Weight of Gold: Hence arises the Foundation in Nature for this Proportion; for since all Things are valuable in Proportion to their Scarcities, and the Demands for them; Gold from its being 15 Times as scarce as Silver, in the Mines from whence we have it, ought to be 15 Times as dear, if we suppose the Demands for these Metals to be equal.

This Proportion of Gold to Silver has of late Years been considerably altered by the Trade to the East-Indies, which carries thither near a Million yearly in Silver, and Edition: current; Page: [305] thereby creates a Scarcity of it in Europe. And if so much Treasure shall flow for any considerable Time in the same Channel, it may put an End to that Trade: For such large Remittances in Silver, must in Time make this Metal plenty in those Parts, and as its Quantity increases, its Value will lessen: so that by Degrees Silver may come to bear the same Proportion to Gold in the East-Indies, as it does in Europe, and their Commodities will rise in Proportion.

In England the Proportion of the Value of a Pound Weight of Gold to a Pound Weight of Silver at the Mint, is 15.072 to 1. but at present a Pound of Silver in Bullion sells for 66s. which Pound in Coin is worth but 62s. and by Consequence, the Proportion of Gold in Coin to Silver in Bullion is only 14.159 to 1. This Difference in the Value of Bullion and coined Silver, creates a Temptation to melt down the weighty Coin, prevents Bullion from being coined, and occasions a Scarcity of Silver Money.

This Scarcity will be farther increased by the Wear of Silver Coins, which has lessened their Weights considerably. It has been found here by Trials, that 100l. in Six-pences has lost 10l. 17s. 5d. in Shillings 8l. 10s. in Half Crowns 3l. 7s. 7d. and in Crowns 2l. 17s. 1d. and consequently, that 100l. in 25l. of each Species has lost 6l. 7s. Now if we suppose all the Silver Money in England, concerned in Trade, to have lost so much of its Weight by wearing, as to be 6 per Cent. worse now, than when it was first coined, then if the whole Quantity be five Million, as ’tis reasonable to suppose, the Loss will be 300000l. and if we suppose farther the Silver of England to be 25 Years old at a Medium, it then has lost about 5s. per Cent. in a Year; and by Consequence, if it was to wear equally every Year the Silver Coin of England would be worn out quite in 400 Years, half worn out in 200 Years, and quarter worn out in 100 Years.

Coins are according to the real Value, when the legal Edition: current; Page: [306] or nominal Values thereof are equal to the Values of pure Metal in them at Market, or only differ from them by the small Charge of Coinage.

The real or natural Values of Gold and Silver cannot be raised or lowered by the Authority of a Prince, being always governed by their Weights, Scarcities, and Demands for them.

Money may be raised by Law two Ways, either by giving higher Denominations to Coins, without altering their Weights of Gold or Silver; or the same Denominations to less Weights of those Metals. And on the contrary may be lowered, either by giving lower Denominations to the same Pieces, without altering their Weights; or the same Denominations to Pieces containing greater Weights of those Metals.

Nations which Trade with one another, regard only the Quantity of Gold and Silver, they give or take for their respective Commodities: If one Nation should raise or lower its Money, it cannot be imagined, that another Country will on that Account give more Gold or Silver for their Commodities, or take less for their own.

A Change made in the legal Value of Money will cause a proportional Change in the Values of Commodities; for Money is really and truly the Measure of the Values of Commodities, and Equivalent to them by its true and not its legal Value, and by Consequence the Value put upon it by Law will not affect it, considered as an Equivalent or a Measure.

Suppose, for Instance, all the Coins of Ireland raised 20 per Cent. so that 100 Moydores which now make 150l. will make 180l. the Irish Merchant who pays 100 Moydores for a Parcel of Foreign Goods, must after such Raising still pay the same Number of Moydores for the same Goods, which Moydores now make 180l. whereas before they made only 150l. and consequently the Price Edition: current; Page: [307] of Foreign Goods must rise in the same Proportion that the Coin is raised.

The Value of Goods at home must likewise rise in the same Proportion, because our Merchant who got at a Foreign Market one hundred Moydores for 100 Pieces of Linnen-Cloath, will after such raising of our Coin, still get the same Number of Moydores at the same Market for the same Quantity of Cloath, and consequently can afford the Farmer or Manufacturer the same Number of Moydores which he gave him formerly, which now after the supposed Change are worth 180l. and consequently the Price of those Goods will rise at home: For if our Goods did not rise in Proportion with our Coin, Foreigners would not fail to carry them off at 20 per Cent. less than their Value, and tho’ on such raising of the Coin, our Commodities may not immediately rise in the same Proportion, yet in a very little Time they will not fail to do it.

On the contrary, suppose our Coin lowered 20 per Cent. in which Case 100 Moydores will make only 120l. The Prices of all Goods in which we Trade with other Nations will fall; for all Goods carry’d to Foreign Markets or bought up there, will still sell for the same Number of Gold and Silver Pieces, as before, and by Consequence their nominal Values will be 20 per Cent. less than they were before.

The Irish Merchant who pays 100 Moydores for a Parcel of Foreign Goods must still pay the same Number of Moydores for the same Goods, which Moydores after the Reduction make but 120l. whereas before they made 150l. and therefore the Price of Foreign Goods will be less in the reduced Coin, tho’ they cost abroad as much Gold and Silver as before: The Price of all Goods must also fall at home, for a Foreigner, who gives 100 Moydores for 100 Pieces of our Cloath, will still give the same Number of Moydores and no more for the same Goods, Edition: current; Page: [308] and those Moydores after such Reduction being worth but 120l. which before were worth 150l. it is evident, the Price of those Goods must fall at home, in Proportion to the lowering of the Money.

Another general Effect of raising the Coin of any Nation is this: all Landlords, Creditors, and others, who by Contract are to receive any certain legal Sums, will by such raising lose in Proportion to the Alteration made. For suppose Money rais’d 20 per Cent. so that a Moydore shall pass for 36s. ’tis manifest that a Tenant who pays 120l. yearly Rent, can after such raising pay the said Rent with 66 Moydores and two thirds of a Moydore, whereas before, it required 80 Moydores to do it; by which, the Landlord who receives it, loses above 13 Moydores or Twenty per Cent. and the Tenant gets 20 per Cent. because his Goods will advance in Price as the Money is raised, and the Landlord must pay 20l. per Cent. dearer for all Commodities he has occasion for.

On the contrary, if we suppose the legal Value of Coins to be lowered 20 per Cent. so that a Moydore shall pass for 24s. we shall find the Effects to be the direct contrary, for the Tenant who now pays his yearly Rent of 120l. with 80 Moydores must after such Reduction pay 100 Moydores to discharge the said Rent, and to enable him to procure the 20 Moydores extraordinary, he must part with more of his Commodities to purchase so much more Gold; the Prices of all Things falling in Proportion as Money is lowered: By this Means the Tenant, Debtor, and all Persons who are obliged to pay any certain legal Sums, must lose 20l. per Cent. and so in Proportion for any other Reduction; and the Landlord or Creditor will gain 20l. per Cent. more than he ought, and at the same time may buy all Commodities so much the cheaper.

I shall now lay down some Rules for ascertaining the Proportion of the Value of Gold to Silver, and the English Values of foreign Coins.

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The General Rule for determining the Proportion of the Mint or Market Value of allayed or fine Gold, to allayed or fine Silver, is this.

RULE I.: THE Mint or Market Value of a given Weight of allayed or fine Gold, being divided by the Mint or Market Value of the same Weight of allayed or fine Silver, will give the Proportion of the first to the last.

For Instance. A Pound Weight of Standard Gold is cut into 44 Guineas and a Half, and each Guinea passing for 21s. the legal or Mint Value of the said Pound Weight in England is 934.5 Shillings and the Value of a Pound Weight of Standard Silver is 62s. but 934.5 divided by 62, gives 15.072. Therefore the Proportion of the Value of Standard Gold to Standard Silver is 15.072 to 1.

Again. To find the Proportion of the Value of a Pound of Gold in Coin, to a Pound Weight of Silver in Bullion, supposing Silver in Bullion to be worth 66 Shillings a Pound Weight at Market; let 934s. .5 the Value of a Pound of Gold in Coin, be divided by 66, and it will give 14.159. Therefore the Proportion of a Pound of Gold Coin to a Pound Weight of Silver at Market is 14.159 to 1.

And by the same Rule the Proportion of the Value of any Sort of Gold to any Sort of Silver, knowing their Allays, may be found.

The English Values of foreign Gold and Silver Coins may be found by these Rules.

RULE II.: AS the Weight of pure Gold in the Guinea, is to the Value of the Guinea in England, so is the Weight of pure Gold in any Foreign Coin, to the Value of that Coin in England.

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The Quantity of pure Gold in any Piece is had, by knowing the Weight of the Piece, and the Weight of Allay in a given Weight of the Gold, out of which that Piece is made: for Instance, in the Standard Gold of England, a Pound Weight, or 24 Carrats, contains 22 Carrats of fine Gold, and the same Weight of Portugal Gold, from the Column of Assays in the Table, being a Quarter of a Carrat Grain, or the .0625 Part of a Carrat, better in a Pound than English Gold, will contain 22,0625 Carrats of fine Gold. Then, as 24 is to 22, so is 129.438 Grains, the Weight of the Guinea, to its Weight of fine Gold; and as 24 is to 22.0625, so is 166 Grains the Weight of the Moydore, to its Weight of fine Gold. The Weight of fine Gold in the Guinea will therefore be lf1412_eq001.jpg and the Weight of fine Gold in the Moydore will be lf1412_eq002.jpg and rejecting the common Denominator, will be expressed by 22 × 129 .438, and 22 .0625 × 166.

Then as 22 × 129 .438 is to 21 Shillings, the Value of the Guinea, so is 22.0625 × 166 to the Value of the Moydore in England, which Value is therefore equal to lf1412_eq003.jpg that is, equal to 27.04 Shillings.

RULE III.: AS the Weight of fine Silver in the Shilling, is to its Value in England, so is the Weight of pure Silver in any Foreign Coin, to its Value in England.

The Quantity of fine Silver in any Piece is had, by knowing the Weight of the Piece and the Weight of Edition: current; Page: [311] Allay in a given Weight of Silver, out of which that Piece is made.

For Instance. In the Standard Silver of England a Pound Weight, or 240 Penny-weights, contains 222 Penny-weights of fine Silver, and the same Weight of Spanish Silver out of which the Mexico Piece of Eight is formed, contains 221 Penny-weights. Then as 240 is to 222, so is 92.9 Grains, the Weight of the Shilling, to its Weight of fine Silver; and as 240 is to 221, so is 418.5 Grains the Weight of the Mexico Piece of Eight, to its Weight of pure Silver. The Weights of fine Silver in the Shillings and Mexico Piece will therefore be lf1412_eq004.jpg and lf1412_eq005.jpg and rejecting the common Denominator, will be expressed by 222 × 92.9 and 221 × 418.5.

Then as 222 × 92.9 is to 12 Pence, the Value of the Shilling, so is 221 × 418.5 to the Value of the Mexico Piece of Eight in England; which Value is therefore equal to lf1412_eq006.jpg that is, equal to 53.82 Pence, which is near 54 Pence.

When the Weights and Allays of Coins are known, it is easy to determine by these Rules, at what Value they ought to pass in any other Country.

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I SHALL now proceed to consider the Nature of Exchange.

The Intercourse and Dealings between the People of different Nations, having made it necessary to make frequent Payments of Money to one another for the Purchase of Commodities; the Method of Drawing and Remitting Money by Bills of Exchange was found out, to avoid the Hazard and Trouble of carrying Money from one Country to another.

Exchange is the paying or receiving Money in one Country, to receive or pay it in another, the Remitter is he, who pays Money in one Country, to receive its Value in another; the Banker or Exchanger is he, who receives the Money in one Country to pay it in another.

When the Remitter is to receive an equal Value, that is, an equal Quantity of Gold or Silver, in the Money of one Country, for what he paid in another, the Exchange is at Par, and he neither gains nor loses by it.

When the Money he is to receive is of less Value, than what he paid, the Exchange is high or above Par, and he loses by it.

And when the Money he is to receive is of greater Value, than the Money he paid, the Exchange is low or under Par, and he gains by it.

The Necessity that trading Nations were under to pay, and receive Money in different Countries, and the Hazard of sending Specie forward and backward, to answer those Demands, made them have Recourse to the Method of discharging their mutual Obligations by Bills of Exchange; Edition: current; Page: [313] for hereby People were mutually served, the one paying his Money to the Person who wanted it at Home, to receive from him the Value thereof abroad, where his Occasions required it. And to make this Affair of Exchange more convenient and easy, some Merchants have made it their Business to have Stocks of Money or Credit in different Countries, to answer the Demands of all People.

By this Means, while the Demands of the People of one Country, are equal to the Demands of those of another Country, these Demands can be mutually answered, without either Country’s sending any Money to the other: But when the Demands of one Nation exceed those of another, and cannot be paid by Commodities, then there arises a Necessity of sending out Specie to make good the Ballance; and this Necessity always raises the Exchange, in Proportion to the Ballance to be paid.

For the better Explanation of the Nature of Exchange, I shall suppose that a Banker of Ireland, has 20000l Stock in Dublin, and 20000 more in his Correspondent’s Hands in London; if the Remittances on both sides are equal, then the Exchange will be at Par, or within one per Cent. of it, which the Banker always has for his Trouble; in this Case the Banker’s Stock on both sides will still be the same, he and his Correspondent having received on each side as much as they pay’d.

But if the Remittances from Dublin to London should amount to 20000l. and the Remittances from London to Dublin in the same Time to 10000l. then the Banker will have 30000l. of his Stock in Dublin, and only 10000l. in London; and in that Case he will raise the Exchange upon the the Remitters for his Bills, in Regard a greater Number of Buyers always raise the Market. And if the Remittances should still increase in the same Proportion, the Banker will still raise his Exchange higher, and be under the Necessity, when most of his Stock is drawn to Edition: current; Page: [314] one Side, to send over Specie, that his Correspondent may be enabled to answer his Bills; and for the Charge and Hazard of doing this, the Banker will require 2, 3, or 4 per Cent. above his usual Profit; which Profit of Exchange can seldom rise higher, or even continue long at this Heighth, because in this Case, Gentlemen and Merchants generally choose to send over the Specie themselves, and thereby save all the high Exchange, excepting the Charge of sending it.

Whenever Exchange is at or near Par, then none of our Money is exported, because all Remittances are then negotiated cheaper, and with less Trouble by Bills of Exchange; but when Exchange runs high, on Account of great Demands upon us, either to pay for Foreign Commodities, or to maintain our Gentlemen Abroad, then Specie must be sent by one Hand or other: And in that Case we find by Experience, that not only Bankers send off Money to their Correspondents to support their Credit, but Merchants, private Gentlemen, and Agents, and perhaps these are the Persons who chiefly carry it off, to avoid the Loss of high Exchange, especially when the Sums to be remitted are large.

And if we have Cause to complain of the Loss of our Money by these Means; ’tis plain, since the Ballances of our Trade with most Countries are in our Favour, that this Loss is wholly owing to the Remittances made to support our Gentlemen Abroad.

Exchange runs high against a Country that becomes in Debt to another, and for the same Reason, when One Country has Occasion to buy up at certain Season of the Year great Quantities of the Commodities of another, and for the Purchase thereof must lay out larger Sums of Money than usual at those Times, the Exchange will rise in Disfavour of the Country that buys, and in Favour of that which sells those Commodities.

Thus in Ireland, between June and December, when the Edition: current; Page: [315] Demands from England and other Countries are great for our Linnen, Wooll, Beef, Butter, Tallow, and Hides, which then come to Market, the Exchange falls often to near Par, and sometimes below it: which at other Seasons of the Year is commonly above it considerably.

When a Nation is under a Necessity of sending out Specie to pay the Ballances in its Disfavour, the raising of its Coin will not prevent the sending out one Farthing less, for Foreigners will regard only the Quantity of Gold and Silver we pay them, and not any arbitrary Values we give them by Law.

Trading Nations make it their Business to settle the Par of their Coins, and in Order to this they Assay their Coins, and by their Assays and Weights know how many Pieces of the Money of one Country, are equal in Value to any certain Number of Pieces of another, and by that Means they fix the Par of Exchange among themselves. For Instance 37 Dutch Skillings nearly being equal to one Pound English, the Par between England and Holland is 37.

The Par continues constantly the same between two Nations, until one or other of those Nations alters the Value of their Coin, and then the Par changes, and will be adjusted again according to the intrinsick Values of their respective Coins. But this Alteration of the Par, has no Effect on Foreign Trade, since Foreigners regard only the real Value or Weight of Gold or Silver in Coin.

The Coins current in Ireland being raised above their Value in England 8l. 6s. 8d. in English Silver, and 11l. 2s. 2d. in Moydores. This Difference of their Values is commonly called Exchange. And when Silver was in great Plenty among us, and most Payments were made therein, the Par of Exchange was said to be 8l. 6s. 8d. per Cent; and for the same Reason, because we have but little Money current at present but Moydores, Par is now Edition: current; Page: [316] said to be at 11 per Cent, that is, 111l. Irish is equal to 100l. English Money.

The Rate of Exchange being the Sum or Præmium given on paying any certain Sum in the Coin of one Country, for receiving an equal intrinsick Value in the Coin of another, the Value of that Præmium above or under Par, determines the Rate of Exchange.

The Course of Exchange above or under Par, constantly attends the Ballance of Trade, so as to run high in a Country when the Ballance of Trade lies against it; and low, when it is for it.

Exchange is then only a Loss to any Person, when it is above Par, and when it is so, is attended with this Effect, that all Persons, who have Occasions to remit Money abroad by Bills of Exchange, will lose so much per Cent. as the Exchange is above Par; and all Foreign Commodities bought with such Bills, will in the same Proportion be imported the dearer.

HAVING premised thus much in General in Relation to Money, which I thought proper to lay down as a Foundation, for the better understanding of any Schemes, which may be proposed for the Regulation of our Coin;

I shall now proceed to consider the second Head. Under which I propose to shew the Inconveniences we suffer on Account of our Coin, and the Cause from whence those Inconveniences arise. And first as to the Copper Money current among us.

’Tis certain that at present we are far from having a sufficient Quantity of Halfpence, which we are very sensible of in all our Domestick Dealings, wherein we labour under great Difficulties for small Change in Copper Money. This Scarcity is a general Complaint all over Edition: current; Page: [317] the Kingdom, and throws poor People into Distress, disabling them in a great Measure from carrying on their small Dealings with one another; and their Grievance is much heightened by an absolute Want of Farthings, of which we have hardly any left in the Kingdom. There is not a Country in Europe, besides our own, but what has a sufficient Quantity of Copper Money current among them to answer all small Payments, whatsoever Want they may otherwise have of Gold and Silver; this Species being so useful, and every where easily procured from the Plenty and cheapness of this Metal.

About Twenty Years ago, we had too great a Stock of Half-pence and Farthings current among us, and suffered our Traders to carry them off in great Quantities to New-England, Pensilvania, and other Parts of the West-Indies, where they passed at a higher Value; this we did not think fit to oppose at the Beginning, when we were too much loaded with them at Home, but then we should have put a Stop to this pernicious Traffick in some reasonable Time, which might have prevented all the Inconveniences we now labour under on that Account; but no Care being then taken to prevent this Export, it did not cease till there was no more Halfpence to be got to send off: And thus we have been reduced to a total Loss of our Farthings, and to a great Scarcity of Halfpence, which has created a Temptation to coin a vile Sort of Halfpence, of little or no intrinsick Value, which could not have been obtruded upon us, or received by us, but for the great Want we lie under of small Change.

And as to the Value of our Halfpence, ’tis certain, we never had any coined in Ireland of a sufficient intrinsick Value. All Copper coined in a Nation should have no more Value put upon it than what arises from the Value of the Metal and the Charge of Coinage: If a Pound of Copper sells for 18d. and the Charge of Coinage amounts to 6d. it ought not to be coined into more than 48 Half-pennies, Edition: current; Page: [318] or 2 Shillings. Giving this Value to the Coins, is the only effectual Remedy to prevent other People coining upon us, because they will not find it turn to any Account to do so. Those who have hitherto obtained Patents for coining Halfpence and Farthings for the Use of this Kingdom, were not obliged to give a sufficient Quantity of Copper in the Pieces, and very rarely complied with the Rules prescribed to them, either as to the Quantity or Quality of the Copper: and they never ceased coining still on, till they glutted the Market, and loaded us so much beyond all our Demands, that great Quantities lay upon their Hands: Some of them entered into Covenants to give Gold or Silver for any Quantities of their Halfpence that should be returned to them: But these Covenants were easily eluded, by the Impossibility of proving that such Halfpence were of their Coinage, and not of the Coinage of others, who did not fail to be privately at the same Work, when a considerable Profit was to arise to them thereby: And sometimes when the Patentees had coined as much as they could dispose of, they disappeared, and left no Body to make good their Engagements to the Publick.

There is no safe and effectual Way to prevent our being incumbered with too great a Quantity of Halfpence, and abused by a vile Sort of them, but by making Irish Halfpence bear the same Proportion in their intrinsick Value to English Halfpence, as the Gold and Silver of Ireland does to that of England, English Halfpence have such a Quantity of Copper in them, that ’tis not worth any one’s While to coin privately any of that Sort.

2d. In like Manner the Inconveniences we labour under for want of a sufficient Quantity of Silver Species, for the common Occasions of buying and selling are extremely great, and universally felt. All Foreign Silver Coins, with which we formerly so much abounded, and also the greatest Part of the English Silver have been carried off, Edition: current; Page: [319] so that we are now reduced to a small Proportion of the latter; what the Quantity thereof still remaining among us may be, cannot easily be ascertained, perhaps it may be 30 or 40000l. but whatever the Quantity is, ’tis altogether insufficient for the Management of our Domestick Dealings, and for the making of small Payments with any tolerable Ease; it has been judged by those who have entered into Computations of the Proportion of Gold and Silver Species necessary for carrying on the Inland Commerce of any Country with Ease and Conveniency, that where a Million and a Half is wanted, the Silver should be about one Third, and the Gold two Thirds.

If we suppose the circulating Cash of the Kingdom to be 400,000l. and that our Silver makes but 40000l. then it will follow that our Silver is but a 10th Part of our present Coin; whereas by the above Rule it ought to be 133333l. 6s. 8d. which is a Third of our whole Species.

If the current Money of England amounts to 15 Millions, and 10 Millions thereof be Gold, and 5 Millions Silver; and if the Number of People be 7 Millions, then there are above 40 Shillings for every Head, 13s. 4d. in Silver, and the rest in Gold. And if the Cash of Ireland be 400,000l. and but 40000l. of it Silver, and the People of Ireland be in Number 1800,000, then it will follow, that there is but 4s. 5d. ¼ for each Head, 5d. in Silver, and the rest in Gold; this plainly shews that our present Stock of Money of all Sorts, especially Silver, is altogether insufficient for carrying on that Variety of Business, which must every Day be negotiated among so many People, which Business must of Consequence frequently stand still in some Branches, and move very slowly and heavily in all the rest. And were it not for Bankers Notes, which we have passing in good Plenty, it would be impossible to manage our Domestick Traffic half so well as we do.

This Want of Silver Coin is more sensibly observed in Edition: current; Page: [320] the North of Ireland, where the buying of Linnen-Yarn, and single Pieces of Cloth, requires Payments to be made in Sums, much below the Value of Moydores which are almost our only current Species of Gold: And the Difficulty to get Change to answer these Payments, throws the Buyers and Sellers into great Streights, and puts either one or other to the Necessity of paying four, or six Pence in the Pound or more, to get Change to answer the Sum agreed for on the Sale: In so much that it has been observed, that in the Space of one Day at a Fair, the same Moydore has been traced, and found to have been changed for Silver 5 or 6 Times, with a Loss of 6 Pence at each Time: This hinders the Sale of our Commodities, is the Occasion of spending many idle Hours, perhaps at Ale-Houses, makes our Linnen come dearer to Foreign Markets, and thereby prevents the Sale of it in so great a Quantity as it might otherwise be disposed of.

’Tis very easy to acconnt for the Loss of our Silver Coin, and to shew from what Cause this arises. Our Silver Coin being valued above 2½ per Cent below our Moydores, ’tis not to be wondered at, that when ever we were under a Necessity of exporting Specie to answer the Ballance of Trade, or Demands from Abroad, which for some Time past have amounted to great Sums; our Remitters or Exchangers, should always do it in that Species they lost least by: For this Reason our Silver went off first, and continued to be exported in great Quantities, till at last it was not possible to get any Quantity of it to send abroad; and our Traffickers in Money found it for their Advantage, even when there was no Necessity of sending out Species to answer Demands upon us, to send out Silver which was valued low, to buy up Moydores abroad, and import them to us at 2½ per Cent Profit; and by making several Returns in the Year, made perhaps 15 per Cent Profit by this Traffick in Money. And as the East-India Company frequently gave 3d. an Ounce for exportable Edition: current; Page: [321] Silver, above its Value in Coin, which is about 5 per Cent, this tempted our People to send all our Foreign Silver to London, to take the Benefit of such an advanced Price, and also to melt down all our weighty English Silver, and send it off as Bullion, or work it up at Home, when 2 or 3 Pence per Ounce extraordinary could thus be got or saved by it.

The English Silver current among us, is so much worn by the Quickness of its Circulation, that every Body must lose by melting it down; there is not perhaps any Country in the World, where so small a Quantity of Silver passes so swiftly from one to another, as in Ireland, by Reason of our Necessities; and this makes it wear faster than the Coin of any other Nation.

The English and Scotch Colliers also, as they carried off very little in Exchange for their Coal, but Specie, and that to the Value of 60000 Pounds yearly, they always did it in Silver, when that could be got; and even now when Silver is so scarce, that a Premium of 4 or 6 Pence is given for the Change of a Moydore; they choose to give this Discount, rather than carry off Moydores, which seldom pass for above 1l. 6s. 6d. with them at Home: For all the Reasons above mentioned, we may easily account for the Loss of our Silver, and that it is owing altogether to the Disproportionate Value given to it, in Respect to the Gold Species current among us.

3dly. As to our Gold Species, we find, that Moydores passing for 30s. are, as to their intrinsick Worth Valued about 2½ per Cent above our Silver, and about 1½ per Cent above our Guineas and Luidores; this Over-Value has been the Occasion that we have been deprived of our Silver, and most of all our other Species of Gold Coin, so that we have little left but Moydores, the most inconvenient sort of all others in our present Circumstances, since we have neither a sufficient Quantity of Halfpence, nor of Silver Coin, nor of the small Species of Gold Coins, Edition: current; Page: [322] to change Moydores with: if we had a due Proportion of Guineas and half-Guineas, Luidores and Pistoles, and half Luidores, and half Pistoles, or even of half and quarter Moydores, they would in some Measure supply the Want of Silver, and make Change easy: But all these being carried off also, we are greatly embarrassed in all our Dealings, and cannot with any tolerable Conveniency buy or sell in our Markets, for want of fit Species to pass in Exchange for Commodities. All this Disturbance in our Affairs is principally owing to the disproportionate Value set upon our several Coins, for not only the Value of Gold to Silver among us is different from the Proportion observed by other Countries we deal with, but also the Value of Gold is different in the several Species thereof current among us, which must needs create a Confusion in our Dealings, and give Foreigners, and our own Cunning People an Opportunity of taking an Advantage of these Disproportions in our Coin, to the great Loss of the Kingdom.

Having thus laid down the Inconveniencies we lie under with Respect to our Coin, and the Causes from whence they arise. I shall now,

IN the third Place, mention several Methods and Schemes for the Regulation thereof; and shew the Conveniencies and Inconveniencies of each.

In Order to this we must observe, that the greatest Part of all our Dealings is negotiated with England directly, and that the Business we have with other Countries is mostly transacted by the way of London; and for this Reason in all Regulations to be made in our Coin, particular Care should be taken, that our Gold and Silver Coins may bear the same Proportion to one another in Ireland, as they do in England.

If we had all along governed our selves by this Rule, on Edition: current; Page: [323] settling the Values of our Coins by Proclamation, we should have prevented all the Inconveniencies, we now labour under; and there would have been no Temptation to carry out, or bring in, one Specie more than another; but we should have had a due Mixture and Variety of each, to enable us to make all Payments with great Ease and Exactness.

A just Proportion in the Values of our several. Coins, may be settled either by raising the Silver, or lowering all the Gold Coins, or by lowering some of the Gold Coins, and raising others.

But we ought to take Notice, that whether we raise or lower our Coin, whether we make a Hundred Pounds English to pass in Ireland for 108, 110, 112, or 100l. whatever we make the Par to be, such Alteration will have no Manner of Effect upon our Trade with other Countries: For Foreigners in that Case will not sell their Commodities to us, one Farthing the cheaper, or give one Grain of Gold or Silver more for our Goods exported to them: The Values of all Commodities will still be governed by the Quantity of Gold and Silver paid or received for them, without any Regard had to any new Denomination we give to our Coin at Home.

But then such an Alteration of our Coin will have a great Effect on Payments and Contracts to be made good among our selves. For in the Case of raising our Specie, ’tis evident that Tenants, Debtors, and Others, who are under Obligations to pay any certain Legal Sums, will after such raising pay the said Sums in a less Quantity of Gold and Silver, and therefore Landlords and Creditors will be hurt by such a Change. For instance, if 66 Moydores and 20s. pay 100l. and those were raised and made to pass for 31s. each, then 64 Moydores and 16s. will discharge the said 100l. by which Landlords and Creditors will really receive 3l. 4s. less than they ought to receive in the Payment of an 100l. And on the contrary, if all Edition: current; Page: [324] our Species be lowered, all Tenants and Debtors after such lowering must pay greater Weights of Gold and Silver, in Order to discharge the said Sum. For Instance, 66 Moydores and 20s. now pay 100l. but if Moydores were reduc’d to 29s. each, then 69 Moydores, wanting one Shilling would be required to answer the said Sum of 100l. and the Tenant must part with a greater Quantity of his Commodities, to enable him to purchase so much more Gold as will make it up.

For it must always be remembered, that the Prices of Commodities, will be higher or lower in the altered Coin, as the Coin is raised or lowered; for in the Trade of Nations, or the buying and selling Commodities to one another, People have no Regard to the nominal Values put on the several Species of Coin, but consider only the Weights of pure Gold and pure Silver contained in them. For Instance, if a Crown Piece, which passes in England for Five Shillings, and contains near an Ounce of Silver, can now purchase a Bushel of Wheat there, and if the said Crown should be lowered to Four Shillings, it cannot be imagined, that a Foreigner will still give Five Shillings in the reduced Value for the same Bushel, by which he must pay a Fourth Part more than he did before the lowering: And in Case the said Crown should be raised to Six Shillings, the English wou’d be great Losers, if they should sell their Bushel of Wheat to a Foreigner for Five Shillings in the advanced Coin; for at that Rate the Foreigner wou’d purchase the same Commodity for a Fifth Part less in Bullion than he did before.

But tho’ the Rates of Commodities may not always immediately rise or fall in the same Degree, that Money is raised or lowered, in Time they will not fail to come to the same nominal Values of the Coins. In this Interval indeed the Cunning Men will be the first to sell their Goods, on the Reduction of the Coin, and the first to buy on the Raising of it. Of this we had a remarkable Instance Edition: current; Page: [325] in the Messisippi Times, when the French raised their Money to an extravagant Height, but did not advance the Rates of their Goods at first in the same Proportion; for the Dutch laid hold of the Opportunity, and by pouring a great deal of French Money at that Juncture into France, bought up its Commodities about a Third or Fourth Part below their true Value, and thereby were able for some Time to undersell the French in their own Goods 20 per Cent. in all Foreign Markets.

We find by Experience, that in all Trading Countries the Values of Commodities are always governed by the Rates which Foreigners give for them.

The Value of a Moydore in England compared with the Value of Gold in a Guinea at the Mint, is 27s. and the Value of a Luidore and Pistole at the Mint of England is 16s. 9d, .32.

The following Table shews, what Number of the several Species therein mentioned make 100l. in England, and what their Values amount to in Ireland, and at the same Time shews the Differences per Cent. of those Values.

l. l. s. d.
400 Crowns make in England, 100 and in Ireland, 108 6 8
95 Guineas and 5s. 100 109 10 6
74 Moydores and 2s. 100 111 2 2
119 Pistoles and 3s. 2d. 100 110 5 0

It is to be observed, that Moydores being almost the only current Species of the Kingdom, the Par of Exchange, is at present regulated by them, and is about 11 per Cent.

In all Schemes for the Regulation of our Coin, these three Things ought to be principally in our View, and carefully observed.

1st. That whatever Alteration we make in our Coin, we should preserve the same Proportion between Gold and Silver in Ireland as is observed in England, so that it shall be equal, which Sort we send out of or bring into the Kingdom.
2d. That we should so regulate the Value of Foreign Silver, so as to encourage the Importation thereof, to relieve our present Want, without making a Traffick of it.
3d. That we should take great Care to avoid hurting Landlord or Tenant, Creditor or Debtor, as much as possible by such Regulation.

I shall now mention several Schemes for the Regulation of our Coin.


THE first Scheme, I shall take Notice of is that which is for raising the English Crown to 5s. 7d. ½, and the other Coins in Proportion.

If the Crown should be thus raised, then to preserve the English Proportion between the Crown, and our Gold Species, as near as conveniently we can;

l. s. d.
The Guinea must be raised to 1 3 8
The Moydore to 1 10 5
And the Pistole and Luidore to 0 18 10½

as will appear by the following Table, wherein the Irish Values of 100l. English in each Species so raised are set down.

l. s. d.
100l. English in Crowns so raised, make 112 10 0 in Ireland.
in Guineas 112 13 10
in Moydores 112 13 0
in Pistoles and Luidores 112 9 7

This Scheme has this to recommend it, that it preserves Edition: current; Page: [327] a pretty just Proportion in the Values of the several Species; but then by raising all our Species so high, ’tis manifestly injurious to all Landlords, Creditors, and other Persons, who are by Agreement, pay or salary, to receive any certain legal Sums; for in the Discharge of the said Sums, they will receive less Gold and Silver by 2 or 3 per Cent. than they would have done before the Raising, and consequently will feel the Loss in the Price of all Commodities, they shall have occasion to buy, which will always rise in Proportion as Money is raised.

As to the Merchants Scheme, which proposed to raise the Crown to 5s. 7d. ½, and the Pistole to 18s. 8d. and to leave the Guinea and Moydore as they are at present; it is so much out of all due Proportion in every Species, especially between the English Gold and Silver, that it would only serve to introduce in another Manner the same Disproportion and Evil, and the same Traffick in Money which we have already suffered by.

This Disproportion appears by the following Table wherein the Irish Value of 100l. English in each Species so raised are set down.

l. s. d.
100l. English in Crowns so raised, make 112 10 0 in Ireland.
in Guineas, 109 10 6
in Moydores, 111 2 2
in Pistoles so raised, 111 4 10


THE second Scheme, I shall consider, is that, which is for reducing all our Gold Species to the Value of English Silver current here, and for raising the Mexico Dollar to 5s.

In this Case, if Regard be had to the Value of our Gold Coins at the Mint of England, mentioned in the Table of Foreign Coins.

Edition: current; Page: [328]
l. s. d.
The Guinea must pass for 1 2 9
The Moydore for 1 9 3
The Pistole and Luidore for 0 18 2

’Tis certain that by this Scheme the due Proportion of the Values of our several Coins are preserved; and it must be acknowledged, that if Ten Years ago, when the Guinea was reduced in England from 1l. 1s. 6d. to 1l. 1s. we had at the same Time reduced all our Gold Coin in the same Proportion (as in true Policy we ought to have done) we should not have lost our Silver and smaller Species of Gold, and have been reduced as we are at present, to one large Species of Moydores; we should then have continued in the Possession of such a Variety, and equal Mixture of every Kind, as would have answered all our Payments and Dealings with the greatest Ease.

But it may be said, if a Reduction of our Gold would have been an Advantage to us 10 or 12 Years ago, it will be the same now. But I am humbly of Opinion, that the Case is very different now from what it was then, for the following Reasons.

1st. ’Tis well known that 15 Years ago the greatest Part of our current Species was Silver; that it was very difficult to get any large Payments in Gold, and that even Premiums were given then, to get Gold for Silver; that the Gold we then had was mostly Pistoles and Luidores; and that Moydores made the least Part of our Cash.

2d. Our Government in 1712 or 1713, some Time after Moydores began to flow in great Quantities from Brazil into Europe, settled their Values here by Proclamation at so high a Rate, that they were raised about 2½ per Cent above Silver, and much higher than any other Gold Species. As we then had a great Quantity of Silver among us, we were glad to get Gold in Liew thereof; our Edition: current; Page: [329] Traffickers in Money laid hold of this Opportunity, and made great Advantage by sending out first our Silver, and after that our other Species, and importing Moydores in their Stead; and they continued to do this, till no more could be got to send abroad. By this Means Moydores are become almost the only current Cash of the Kingdom, and have been so for some Years. This Overvalue of the Portugal Gold having thus Spirited away all our other Species, has in Effect, though not originally designed by the Government, been a Raising of our whole Species, since we have hardly any other left among us besides this, which has been highest raised.

3d. We must consider, as our Money has been raised, that in Consequence thereof the Prices of all Commodities and Lands have risen also. We are all very sensible that the Lands of Ireland have been generally set very high of late Years, and perhaps higher, with Respect to the Profit to be got by the Tenant than any other Lands in Europe, and that Rack-Rents have taken Place, since the Time that Moydores became our common Cash, and therefore may in some Measure be ascribed to the high Value of that Coin.

Now if our Moydores, which are almost our only Species, should be reduced Two and a half per Cent, it must be an Injury to all Tenants, who have taken Lands at high Rates, since Moydores have been so common among us, and also to all Debtors, and other Persons, who have of late Years entered into Contracts to pay certain legal Sums, which cannot be answered but by giving two and a half per Cent more in Moydores than they do at present: And since the Government has fixed this high Price on Moydores, and that, under that Value, and Presumption of its Continuance, People have entered into Contracts and high Rents; such a Reduction will in Effect fix an additional Rent, on all those, who are to pay any certain legal Sums of Money: And what is Edition: current; Page: [330] this, but to oblige great Numbers of innocent Persons, who had no Hand in raising the Coin, to pay yearly more than they ought to do to others, without any Appearance of Reason for it.

Besides, such a Reduction must be a manifest Loss to the Kingdom, for if our Absentees now draw yearly out of the Kingdom 600,000l. at Two and a Half per Cent Loss by Exchange; on such a Reduction they will save that Two and Half per Cent, and consequently must carry out of the Kingdom yearly 15000l. more than they can at present. This is an Indulgence, not due to them, who pay no Part of the Taxes of their Country, and cannot in Reason expect that we should enter into Measures, which may enable them to carry more out of the Kingdom, who carry off vastly too much already.

If our People had of themselves raised the Price of their Moydores, without the Governments interposing therein, they must have done it at their own Peril, and could have no Reason to complain, if the Government should think fit at any Time to fix another Value on them: But as all has hitherto been done by publick Authority, the said Authority no doubt will avoid hurting great Numbers of People, without a pressing Necessity for the same, which does not appear in this Case.

Perhaps it may be said, if Moydores are reduced 9d. a Piece, that this Loss can affect those only, who have them in their Possession, which will be but a small Loss to the whole Kingdom, and for once only.

But I conceive the Case to be quite otherwise, and that this will be a Loss not only to those, who shall have Moydores in their Possession at the Time of the Reduction, but a constant yearly Loss to all Tenants and others, who are bound to pay any certain legal Sums, for and during the remaining Terms of their Leases and Contracts: for in order to pay the said Sums, they will be obliged to pay more Pieces, or greater Weights of Gold, which cannot be Edition: current; Page: [331] done but by parting with more of their Commodities to purchase them.

It may be asked what Effect the Raising or Falling of Money has upon Exchange and Trade. ’Tis evident that on raising the Money of a Country, the Par of Exchange will rise, and will fall as Money is lowered. But this changing of the Par, as it arises only from a change made in the Nominal Values of equal Weights of Gold and Silver, in the Coins of two Countries, and not from any real Change made in those Weights, so it has no Effect on Trade; which regards only the Weights of Gold and Silver, and not any Nominal Values put upon them; for Commodities will still be bought and sold for the same Quantity of those Metals, notwithstanding a Change made in the Nominal Values of the Money of either Country.

But the raising of Exchange above Par, is occasioned by one Nation’s becoming in Debt to another, for in this Case Specie must be sent by one Hand or other to pay the Debt or Ballance, and this Necessity raises the Exchange. So that the Par of Exchange depends on the Nominal Values of the several Species, and varies with such Values. But the Exchange above or under Par depends entirely on the Ballance of Trade, and not on the raising or lowering of Money.

But it may be said, an Englishman, who comes into Ireland to buy Goods, and takes the Benefit of the high Exchange, will trade to more Advantage by having the Benefit of such Exchange, than an Irishman can: But I think they are both in this Respect on an equal Foot: for tho’ the Englishman on paying 100l. in London, can receive 111l. in Dublin, when Exchange is at 11 per Cent. and thereby has an Advantage in buying our Commodities; yet an Irishman who lays out 111l. here in the same Commodities, and has the Value of them returned to him from Abroad, will, upon the Return thereof into Edition: current; Page: [332] Ireland, have the same Benefit of high Exchange, which the Englishman had before.

But if we are not to raise our Silver, or lower our Gold, in the Manner already mentioned: it may be asked, What must be done? since some Regulation of our Coin seems to be absolutely necessary.

It must indeed be owned, that a Regulation is much wanted, and yet ’tis very difficult to make it in such a Manner as could be desired; This Difficulty arises from several causes; first from our Coin’s being made up of the Money of several Countries, each of them of different Allays, Weights, and Values. 2d, From our reckoning our Money by Pounds, Shillings, and Pence, without having any one Species, that answers any of those Denominations. 3d, From our Coin’s being divided into such cross and unequal Parts, that it is almost impossible to make Alterations in their Values, without running into inconvenient Fractions, especially considering we have but few Farthings, and no Denominations under them.

I shall now propose a Scheme, which is a Medium between the other two Schemes, and though not such as I could desire, because of the Difficulties above mentioned, yet, I believe will be found to have much fewer Inconveniencies than the others, and to be attended with these Advantages, 1st, That a pretty just Proportion in the Values of our Coins is observed therein. 2d, That neither Landlord nor Tenant, Creditor nor Debtor, is injur’d thereby, or but very inconsiderably. 3d, That some Encouragement is given to import Foreign Silver without making a Traffick of it.


IN this Scheme it is proposed to raise the Crown a Penny, and to settle the Values of the Gold Species as near as may be, to the Proportion of Gold to Silver in Edition: current; Page: [333] England. And the Values of the several Gold and Silver Coins will stand thus.

Pieces. Values.
l. s. d.
The Crown 0 5 6
Half-Crown 0 2 9
Shilling 0 1
Sixpence 0 0
Mexico Piece of Eight 0 5 0
Guinea either 1 3 0
or 1 3 2
Moydores either 1 9 10
or 1 9 8
Pistole and Luidore 0 18 6

The following Table shews the Difference per Cent of the foregoing Values of the several Species.

l. s. d.
100l. English in Crowns will be 110 0 0 In Ireland.
Mexico Dollars 111 2 2
Guineas at 1l. 3s. 109 10 6
at 1l. 3s. 2d. 110 6 4
Moydores at 1l. 9s. 10d. 110 9 10
at 1l. 9s. 8d. 109 17 6
Pistoles and Luidores 110 5 0

In this Scheme I have observed the same Proportion between the English Silver and all our Gold Species, which is observed in England, as far as the Crossness of our Coins will allow of, without giving any Temptation to import and export one Species more than another, except the Spanish Silver, which is valued about 1 per Cent. higher than the rest, in order to supply our present Want of Silver.

By this Scheme the Par of Exchange, or Difference between English and Irish Money, will be a little above 10 per Cent. at a Medium, which is something less than it is at present; and for that Reason Landlords and Creditors Edition: current; Page: [334] will have an Advantage, and Tenants and Debtors a Disadvantage, but the Advantage of the one, and Disadvantage of the other, are small, and hardly worth considering.

Thus all the Ends we propose to ourselves in regulating our Coins, will be answered, which are, to settle a due Proportion of their Values, to avoid hurting any one as much as possible by such Regulation, and to give some Encouragement for importing Foreign Silver.

The greatest Inconveniency of this Scheme is this, that the Shilling is to pass for 13d.¼ and yet we have no Farthings to change it. ’Tis true, we have very few at present, but ’tis hoped we shall not continue long without them. For this Purpose I shall suggest, in what follows, a Way to be immediately supplied with a Stock of them.

Raising the Crown a Penny, cannot hurt any Body, since we have but little Silver among us, and ample Amends is made for that in the Reduction of the Moydore, which is almost our only current Specie.

It may be said, if the English Six-pence shall pass but for 6½d. there will be a Loss in all those Pieces of half a Farthing. But to this it may be answered, that as every one will pay them, as he receives them, no Body will lose by them: And if two of those Pieces be made to pass for 13d.¼ there can be no Loss but in the single Six-pence. It may be also said, that Five single Shillings will be worth a Farthing more than the Crown; ’tis true this Disproportion happens, but this is the same Inequality we formerly had, when the Crown-Piece passed for Six Shillings, and the Shilling but for 14d. in consequence of which 5 of them made but 5s. 10d. this indeed encouraged the importing of Crown-Pieces, rather than Shillings, into the Kingdom; and if the small Disproportion here taken notice of can have any Effect, it will be bringing in Shillings rather than Crowns, which would be more for our Service.

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In the Values here exhibited of our several Coins, I have Regard only to the Standard Value of Gold and Silver at the Mint of England, because I think we ought to govern ourselves therein by the same Rule that England does: If England should think proper at any Time to raise the Silver in Respect of Gold, we ought to follow their Example, but to make no Alteration till then.

But after all that has been said for regulating our Coin, when we consider that almost all our Money is made up of Foreign Coins, of different Weights, Standards, and Values; that Foreign Nations often change the Standard and Weights of their Pieces, and that on these Accounts it must ever be difficult accurately to adjust the Values, which the several Species, great and small, ought to bear to one another; I say, when these Things are duly considered, it will be found that there is no other Way of freeing us from these Inconveniences, but by having either a Mint established in Ireland, or Money of our own coin’d in the Mint of England.

All these Difficulties would be effectually removed by Coining several Species of Copper, Silver and Gold Coins, of such Standards, Weights, and Values, compared with the English, as shall be thought proper and most convenient for us. Then we should be so happy, as to have Coins, which would pass without weighing, which would be a great Blessing to all our People; Foreign Coins would pass only as Bullion, and we should not then be imposed upon by counterfeit, clipt, or base Money, as we always were, when we had a Multitude of Foreign Coins.

’Tis not to be doubted, but His Most Gracious Majesty, out of his Affection for his Faithful People of Ireland, will be pleased to grant them this Favour, which does not in the least interfere with the Interest of any other of his Subjects, since it wholly relates to our selves, and is desired only to remove the many Inconveniencies we suffer in our Domestick Commerce, by the Disproportion of our Edition: current; Page: [336] Coin: Nay will it be an Advantage to Great-Britain, for when we have Coin of our own passing among us, we shall not be tempted to draw out of England any of their Species.

In Case it should be thought proper to establish a Mint here, since it must take a considerable Time before we could be furnished with Money from thence, it may, in the mean Time, be adviseable to make some Regulation in the Values of our Coins, either upon the Plan of the last Scheme, or any other that may be thought better; and not to fail to give Encouragement to the Importation of Spanish Silver, especially at this Time, when the Effects of the Galleons are distributed, and we may well expect that a good deal of Silver will be imported, if we give it such a Value, as shall encourage People to bring it, and to keep it here; and it will have this good Effect also, that when we shall come to coin Silver Species, we shall then have Silver in the Country to keep the Mint at Work.

I do not see any Apprehensions we need fear of our being over stocked with Silver, I am sure we are in great Want of it at present; and if we shou’d find at any Time too great a Quantity pour in upon us, which is not likely to be our Case, ’tis an easy Matter to stop this Glut, by lowering the Dollar a Penny or Two Pence by Proclamation.

But in Regard we cannot have Half Pence, or Farthings, which we want so much, in any convenient Time from our own Coinage: It may be adviseable to endeavour to get from the Tower of London (with his Majesty’s Leave) a Supply of 10000l. worth of Half Pence and Farthings: The Mint-Masters are now at Work in the Tower, and employ five Presses in coining Half Pence for England; and when this Work is over, they may be employed in coining Half Pence and Farthings for Ireland Edition: current; Page: [337] at 10 per Cent. less Value than English Half Pence, and be paid by us for the Copper and Coinage.

Thus without any Loss to England and some Gain to the Mint, we might be furnished with a sufficient Quantity of Half Pence and Farthings of more intrinsick Value than any we have hitherto had, and which wou’d of course prevent any new Half Pence of less Value from being coin’d upon us.

If we shou’d be favoured with a Mint here, it wou’d be adviseable to divide the new Silver and Gold Coins, into one, two, and four Pieces, which Division of the Coin is best suited for reckoning, and is observed by most other Nations, and by the English in their Gold Coins; for they divide their Silver Coins into one, two, five, and ten Pieces, which are not commensurate with the Pieces of other Coins.

Our Gold Species may be coined into Pieces of 10s. 20s. and 40s. and the Silver into Pieces of 6, 12, 24, and 48 Pence, and will thereby be well fitted for reckoning, and if the Difference between English and Irish Money be settled at 10 per Cent. then 11s. Irish will be equal to 10s. English.

As long as Foreign Coins passing among us must be weighed, it would be convenient in that Case, to order that a Penny only should be abated, when half a Grain in Gold is only wanted; whereas now, if a Piece wants the least Thing to make it standing Weight, Two Pence is allowed for it when perhaps there is Three Half Pence more Gold in it than it passes for. This gives our Cunning Men an Opportunity in such Cases to file off Three Half Pence worth of Gold; but if only a Penny was allowed when a half Grain was wanting, no Body could lose more than a Penny with very bad Scales. If it be said, that a half Grain is too small to be handled with Ease, this may be remedied by adding a new Weight of a Grain and a half.

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In weighing Silver Coins, it would be proper to have a Weight of Four Grains, and to allow a Half Penny for the Want of it. Whereas at present we have no less Weight than 12 Grains or half a Penny Weight, which is worth Three Half Pence: For want of such a Weight we must at present allow, as much, when a Piece wants only one Grain as when it wants twelve. This gives a Temptation of clipping Foreign Coins, and to take of a Penny or more of their Value, so that the Piece may just turn upon the Scale; and if a Person imported from Abroad Four Quarter Dollars, and each of them wanted a little of Weight, perhaps not a Half Penny or Four Grains in the Whole; then there was abated Six Pence for Want of Weight. And this was likely the Reason that we had formerly but few of the small Foreign Silver Pieces current among us, our Merchants judging it better not to import them at all, or to melt them down, because they were likely to lose considerably by the Manner of weighing them.

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The Theories of Commerce, Money, and



Printed: Sold by G. Hawkins, at the Middle Temple

Gate, Fleet-street. M.dcc.lvii.

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To the Honourable Richard Arundell, Esq;

As a testimony of Esteem for his great Worth and Abilities, and as a grateful acknowledgement for many Marks of his Favour and Regard, during a long course of years; this Tract

Is humbly Inscribed and Dedicated, by

His most faithful
and obedient Servant,
The Author.
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THE main part of the following essay, was drawn up many years since for a truly great and good man; one who, if it had pleased God to have continued his life but a little longer, intended, amidst his other great designs for the good of this country, to have made such regulations in regard to our coins, as probably would have obviated all complaints about them for the future. The chief design of this first part, is to unfold the true nature and theory of money: A subject wherein every one is interested, and that in some measure in proportion to his property; and yet, a subject it seems, that very few understand; and concerning which, many, and those too of some note, are under gross mistakes.

In order to clear the way, and for the better settling of things upon their first and true principles, it hath been thought necessary to take a general view of wealth and commerce, which is the subject of the first chapter; and the third, concerning exchanges, is not quite foreign to the main design.

Some of the points here touched upon, deserved to have been discussed more at large, if the designed brevity of the whole would have permitted. The author is clear as to the goodness of his intention, and hopes that his ill state of health, while these sheets were printing, will be admitted as an apology for such faults as may have happened in the execution.

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  • CHAP. I. Of the nature and origin of wealth and commerce.
    • LAND and labour, the sources of wealth; and in countries deemed wealthy, labour hath the greatest share, page 9 to 11
    • Things in general are valued, according to the land, labour and skill required to produce them... ... ... ... ... ... 12
    • Natural products less permanent in their value, than artificial, 13
    • The price of labour, the chief standard that regulates the values of all things ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 14
    • Some estimate of the value of labour ... ... ... ... 14 to 16
    • That charitable contributions are necessary ... ... ... 16
    • Different professions have a right to better wages or stipends, in proportion to the cost of education, the genius, skill and confidence required in them ... ... ... ... ... ... 17
    • Origin and usefulness of arts and commerce; usefulness of keeping to distinct trades, and of the various classes of dealers. The excellency of many of the English artists, and the great advantages thence accruing to their country... 17 to 25
    • Of the comparative riches or wealth of nations. Great Britain possessed of many natural and peculiar advantages 25 to 27
    • In a commercial country, sumptuary laws might prove hurtful ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28
    • The good effects of industry, and some of the means of promoting it. Public spirit a great source of national happiness ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28 to 30
  • CHAP. II. Of Money and Coins.
    • The inconveniency and insufficiency of mere barter ... ... 30
    • Money a standard measure of the values of all things, and an equivalent for them ... ... ... ... ... ... . . 31 to 34
    • How money differs from other measures ... ... ... ... 34
    • and from bills ... ... ... ... ... ... 36, noteEdition: current; Page: [345]
    • Of some requisite properties in the material of money, 35 to 36
    • Metals the fittest materials of money; and of these only silver and gold, these metals being universally of equal goodness, 37 to 40
    • Usefulness of coins: Their names, and those of integral sums of money, have been taken chiefly from weights ... ... 40
    • Of our present weights, and divisions of money ... ... ... 41
    • The coins in most countries have been, at different times, debased; but the same names still continued ... ... ... 42
    • Standard of monies, particularly explained ... ... 43 to 45
    • Why coins and plate have alloy ... ... ... ... ... 45
    • That there can be but one standard of money ... ... ... 46
    • Silver the money or standard measure of all Europe; the fittest material hitherto known for money; a fit standard, though its plenty varies. Gold too dear for a standard... 47 to 50
    • Gold coins should pass as money, but under certain restrictions... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 50
    • Of Tokens, or base coins ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 51
    • Money finds its own value, according to the whole quantity of it in circulation; and this value is not controulable by any laws ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 52 to 56
    • Price of bullion not according to the prime cost at the mines, 56
    • Money alters its value by slow degrees ... ... ... ... 57
    • Why the effect of an increase of money, is not more sensibly felt; and why the prices of commodities have not rose in proportion to the increase of money ... ... ... 58 to 60
    • A nation having no foreign commerce, will not stand in need of any specific quantity of money ... ... ... ... 60 to 62
    • Any sudden fluctuation of money would be pernicious, 60 to 65
    • Ballance of trade, what ... ... ... ... ... ... 65 to 67
    • The quantity of money everywhere, naturally finds a certain level or proportion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 67 to 70
    • Any artificial methods of increasing tale money, pernicious, 70 to 72
    • Hoarding the precious metals, beneficial; and hence the usefulness of encouraging a fashionable use of plate ... ... 72
    • Of Banks: Instituted chiefly to prevent the abuses from bad coins, and legal adulterations of money: Bank money, and Aggio, what ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73 to 75
    • Complaints of the want of money, whence... ... ... 75 to 77
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  • CHAP. III. Of exchanges.
    • Bills of exchange, what: Of vast advantage to commerce, 77 to 82
    • Par of exchange, what: This par difficult to be ascertained, 82 to 84
    • Course of exchange, what ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 85
    • Price of bullion, how influenced ... ... ... ... ... ... 86
    • National interest how influenced by the course of exchange, 87 to 88
    • The course of exchange influenced by various causes, 88 to 89
    • Bullion not exported till the exchange is at a certain limit from par ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 89 to 91
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PART I.: The Theories of Commerce, Money, and Exchanges.

CHAPTER I.—: Of the nature and origin of wealth and Commerce.

I.: Of wealth, what, and wherein it consists.

1. THE earth abounds with an infinite variety of materials, for the comfortable subsistence of human life: Besides the great diversity of food, vegetable and animal, more than sufficient to satiate the most gluttonous appetite; how admirably are wood, stones, metals, &c. adapted to their various uses! What is there left unprovided, and of what kind is that other material that could have added to human conveniency? But amidst this vast profusion of things, the earth spontaneously produces but few that are ready fitted for our use: Some pains and industry are required on our part, without which our condition upon this globe would, perhaps, be the most forlorn and uncomfortable of any of its inhabitants. But of this we have no cause to complain: Labour or bodily exercise, in a certain degree, is not only easy but pleasant to us, conducive to our health, and every way suited to our nature; and we are endued with ample powers for adopting and fitting the materials about us, according to our various exigencies and occasions. Land and labour together are the sources of all wealth; without a competency of land, there would be no subsistence; and Edition: current; Page: [348] but a very poor and uncomfortable one, without labour. So that wealth or riches consist either in a propriety in land, or in the products of land and labour.

In wealthy countries, the value of the labour is much greater than that of the land.

2. The proportional values of land and product, differ very much in different countries; as the soils are respectively more or less fertil, and the inhabitants more or less industrious, and skilful. Without some kind of tillage, much land will be requisite to maintain a few inhabitants; and a small field of wheat will afford nourishment to more people, than a large forest yielding nothing but acorns and wild fruits. The annual produce of labour in England, I imagine, is of much greater value than the rent of the land; but their exact proportion to each other, cannot be easily assigned. It is commonly supposed that a farmer, to be enabled to live comfortably, must make three rents of his land; and when we consider the coarseness of those commodities, that are commonly expended in a farmer’s house, in comparison of many others consumed by those of more affluent fortunes; the value of labour to that of land, must be with us greater than that of 2 to 1. Wool wrought into cloth is much advanced in its value; thread may be of above 100 times the value of the flax whereof it was made. The value of the materials in* watches, and innumerable other things made of metals, is but small in comparison of the value of the workmanship. But we must not pursue this notion too far: The numbers employed about these costly things, may not bear a large proportion to those who are either idle, or occupied about Edition: current; Page: [349] tillage, buildings, or other manufacturies; where the raw materials are worth near as much, or sometimes more, than the labour bestowed upon them. The British merchant computes the value of labour to that of land in England to be as 7 to 2*. He supposes the people of England to be 7 millions, and each man at a medium to expend 7 pounds each, which makes the whole annual consumption of England 49 millions; 45 millions of which he supposes to be our own product, 4 millions foreign commodities; and the rents of the lands he makes 14 millions.

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II.: Values of things, how estimated.

3. Things in general are valued, not according to their real uses in supplying the necessities of men; but rather in proportion to the land, labour and skill that are requisite to produce them: It is according to this proportion nearly, that things or commodities are exchanged one for another; and it is by the said scale, that the intrinsic values of most things are chiefly estimated. Water is of great use, and yet ordinarily of little or no value; because in most places, water flows spontaneously in such great plenty, as not to be with-held within the limits of private property; but all may have enough, without other expence than that of bringing or conducting it, when the case so requires. On the other hand, diamonds, being very scarce, have upon that account a great value, though they are but of little use. A quicker or slower demand for a particular commodity, will frequently raise or lower its price, though no alteration hath happened in its intrinsic value or prime cost; men being always ready to take the advantage of one another’s fancies, whims or necessities; and the proportion of buyers to sellers, or the demand for any particular commodity in respect to its quantity, will always have an influence on the market. The intrinsic value of a particular commodity may be also enhanced, though its quality is debased; as a bushel of musty grain at one season, may be worth much more, than the like quantity of good grain at another.

Cheapness, how estimated.

4. Commodities are called bulky or said to be* cheap, which bear but a small proportion of value to others of Edition: current; Page: [351] equal bulk; and these are natural products, either growing spontaneously, or requiring no great art and labour in their cultivation; as grain of all sorts, cattle for food or labour, timber and stone for building, fuel, &c. The goodness of Providence having so ordered things, that those main supports of life should abound every where, according to the exigencies of different climates. And of metals, that most useful one, iron, is in our happy clime the cheapest.

Natural products, &c. subject to a greater variation in their value, than artificial.

5. The quantity of corn, &c. produced from the same number of acres, and from the same quantity of labour, being sometimes very different, according to the difference of seasons; grain of all sorts, as also cattle from mortality amongst them, or other casualties, are subject to much greater variations in their values, than artificial products; and a bushel of corn may be worth twice or thrice as much cloth, at one time as at another. Corn must be had; and the farmers will endeavour to make as much of their small stock, as when they had a greater plenty; on the other hand, when the market is full, they must lower their price; till, after reckoning the value of the land, the labour bestowed in raising a bushel of corn, and in fabricating the thing for which it is exchanged, are on both sides nearly equal. Things of a more limited vent, are subject to vary yet more from their usual price, than corn, as apples, hops, &c.

Things are the more valued, the farther they are from the place where they were first produced.

6. Things near the place where they are produced, whether by nature or art, have naturally a less value in proportion to other things, than they have in places more Edition: current; Page: [352] remote; and this in proportion to the risques of all sorts, and expences of carriage. Silver is naturally cheaper in Mexico than in Spain, and in Spain than in the rest of Europe. Things that are rare, or for which there is no great demand, are generally dearer than in the above proportion: For, when there are but few dealers in any commodity, they seldom fail to enhance its price, and that sometimes very exorbitantly. One great mystery of trade, is to keep off new adventurers, by concealing its profits; and whilst that may be done, the gains will be large.

III.: The price of labour, the chief standard that regulates the values of all things.

7. The values of land and labour do, as it were of themselves, mutually settle or adjust one another; and as all things or commodities, are the products of those two; so their several values are naturally adjusted by them. But as in most productions, labour hath the greatest share; the value of labour is to be reckoned the chief standard that regulates the values of all commodities; and more especially as the value of land is, as it were, already allowed for in the value of labour itself.

Men’s various necessities and appetites, oblige them to part with their own commodities, at a rate proportionable to the labour and skill that had been bestowed upon those things, which they want in exchange: If they will not comply with the market, their goods will remain on their hands; and if at first, one trade be more profitable than another, skill as well as labour and risques of all sorts, being taken into the account; more men will enter into that business, and in their outvying will undersell one another, till at length the great profit of it is brought down to a par with the rest.

Some estimate of the value of labour.

8. It may be reasonably allowed, that a labouring man Edition: current; Page: [353] ought to earn at least, twice as much as will maintain himself in ordinary food and cloathing; that he may be enabled to breed up children, pay rent for a small dwelling, find himself in necessary utensils, &c. So much at least the labourer must be allowed, that the community may be perpetuated: And as the world goes, there is no likelihood that the lowest kind of labourers will be allowed more than a bare subsistence; if they will not be content with that, there will be others ready to step into their places; and less, as above observed, cannot be given them. And hence the quantity of* land that goes to maintain a labourer, becomes his hire; and this hire again becomes the value of the land; the expences of manuring and tilling it, being also included. There is a difference in the proportion of the value of an acre of land to a given quantity of labour, all over the world; and this ariseth, not only from the different goodness of the land, but also from the different ways of living of the peasants in different places. For, where labour is very cheap, that is, where the labourers live very poorly, land will be also cheap; as the poor, from their numbers, are the principal consumers of the grosser products of the earth. So that every where, I think, the price of land is influenced by the price of labour; that is, by the quality of food and raiment consumed by the labourers; for of some sort, they must have a sufficient quantity: It seems then to be no good policy in the rich to deal too hardly with the poor; besides, that such treatment must needs greatly check arts and industry, discourage matrimony among the lower class, and inspire them with thoughts of quitting their homes, in hopes of bettering their state elsewhere. But the benevolence here hinted at, is to be tempered with discretion: Edition: current; Page: [354] The children of the poor should be brought up and inured, as early as may be, to some useful labour; and be taught with due care, the great principles of religion and morality. But all are not agreed that reading and writing, are qualifications necessary for the obtaining of those ends; some think, that these accomplishments are useful only in higher stations; and that to instruct at a public expence the youth of the lower class in reading, writing, &c. is a kind of intrusion upon the class next above them; that these qualifications, instead of being advantageous to the poor who possess them, serve only to render their state more irksome, and to inspire them with notions subversive of society. There must be labourers; and that most useful class of men should be duly cherished and taken care of: But books and pens will not alleviate the weight of the spade, or at all contribute to dry the sweat off the labourer’s brow.

Charitable contributions necessary.

9. The price of labour being fixed, so that one labourer can earn about twice as much, or something more, than what will maintain himself; if he has several young children, a sickly wife, an aged and helpless parent, or is himself disabled; he will want, and will have a right to ask, the charitable aid of some of his opulent neighbours: It is therefore almost unavoidable, but that some of the lowest class will be destitute of subsistence, who must or ought to be maintained and taken due care of, by public contributions or establishments*. If a man be single, he will earn as much as the married man; for no regard to a man’s circumstances will be had in the price of his labour; Edition: current; Page: [355] and so the single man may feed and clothe himself better than the other; and if he is frugal, he will save somewhat against he is married, which little savings may enable him to live more comfortably all the rest of his life.

Mechanics earn more than labourers, &c.

10. To bring up a child to a trade, there is not only an expence in fitting him out, and during his apprenticeship, but also a risque of his dying before he is out of his time; from which considerations a mechanic is entitled to better wages than a common labourer: And as any given trade is attended with greater risques of any sort, requires more skill, more trust, more expence in setting up, &c. the artificer will be entitled to still better wages. In like manner those professions that require genius, great confidence, a liberal education, &c. have a right to be rewarded proportionably. And thus, the prices of labour and services of different sorts, have a considerable difference founded in the nature of them: But the wages of the lower class, wherein is to be included, as well the common artificers as the husbandmen, seems to be the main and ultimate standard that regulates the values of all commodities: and if those wages be regulated by and paid in bullion, that specific bullion will be the true and real money of the country where it is so applied, notwithstanding what else may pass in greater transactions.

IV.: Of trade or commerce.

11. By the wise appointment of divine Providence, a mutual intercourse and commerce amongst men, is both conducive and necessary to their well being. Every man stands in need of the aid of others; and every country may reap advantages, by exchanging some of its superfluous products, natural or artificial, for those which it wants of foreign growth.

The first employments that a colony of people, newly settled in an uncultivated country, would naturally fall Edition: current; Page: [356] upon, would be to clear, till and sow, or plant the ground with seeds and roots proper for their nourishment; and to provide themselves with some kind of dwellings and garments, to shelter and protect them from the inclemencies of the weather: In order to obtain which, they would soon find themselves under the necessity, and feel the comforts, of associating together, and of establishing a certain mode or form of government. For, all the labour and skill of any one man, or of any one family unconnected with others, would scarce be able to procure them the common necessaries of food and cloathing; and much less would they be ever able to furnish themselves with those various conveniences, which we now so plentifully enjoy.

Men are endued with various talents and propensities, which naturally dispose and fit them for different occupations; and are, as above observed, under a necessity of betaking themselves to particular arts and employments, from their inability of otherwise acquiring all the necessaries they want, with ease and comfort*: This creates a dependance of one man upon another, and naturally unites men into societies. In like manner, as all countries differ more or less, either in the kinds or goodness of their products, natural or artificial; particular men find their advantages, which extend to communities in general, by trading with the remotest nations.

It was the necessities of men that gave birth to the arts, and long experience hath brought many of them to a surprising degree of perfection. The most curious arts now subsisting are the growth of Europe, and chiefly of the last and present age; and herein, our own country hath much to boast of.

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Usefulness of distinct trades, farther illustrated.

12. The advantages accruing to mankind from their betaking themselves severally to different occupations, are very great and obvious: For thereby, each becoming expert and skilful in his own particular art; they are enabled to furnish one another with the products of their respective labours, performed in a much better manner, and with much less toil, than any one of them could do of himself*. And the world now abounds with vastly Edition: current; Page: [358] greater quantities and varieties of artificial products, than could ever have been effected by the utmost efforts of small and unconnected societies. The farmer is the most likely person to be able to subsist of himself; but he would find it very difficult to get even implements for his husbandry, without the aid of the smith and the carpenter; and they again, find it their interest to truck with him for what they want, instead of tilling the ground themselves. In building and furnishing a house, the business becomes still more complex; and more variety of arts are necessary. And should any one undertake to provide a coat only, by going himself through the various operations of shearing the wool, carding, spinning, weaving, tucking, &c. half the labour and toil in his own particular profession, would not only have equipped him with a better garment, but also procured him other necessaries*. Besides the great incumbrance of tools, that would be requisite for the finishing of most things from the beginning; it would be next to impossible for any one man, either to find time, or to acquire skill sufficient, for the making of all those tools; he would soon find himself at a loss, and under a necessity of seeking the aid of others.

Usefulness of dealers.

13. The usefulness of people betaking and confining themselves to particular arts, is very manifest. And from Edition: current; Page: [359] hence naturally arise employments for another class of men; I mean, dealers of all sorts, from the meanest shopkeeper to the merchant: These, without applying themselves to any of the manual arts, are busied in collecting, and afterwards in distributing, the various sorts of products or commodities; and by their arts and industry, the products of the remotest places are collected, as it were, into grand store-houses; where every one may be readily supplied, according to his desires.

The dealers, like the artificers, are subdivided into distinct trades, and so, become mutually serviceable to each other. Without this subdivision, commerce would have been strangely embarrassed; many parts of it must have been totally neglected; and a monopoly here would have like bad effects, as if men tried themselves to make all the things they wanted.

Usefulness of commerce farther exemplified.

14. To exemplify the nature of commerce a little more particularly: Amidst the farmers, which we will suppose are dispersed at convenient distances over the whole country, there will be villages of different sizes, dispersed at yet greater distances. In these villages, besides some farmers, and some poor husbandmen; there will be most likely a smith, a carpenter, an alehouse-keeper, perhaps a butcher; if not a shoe-maker, at least a cobler, a petty grocer, &c. In larger villages, there will be more of these trades, and some others besides: All these have their food of the neighbouring farmers, and are supported by what they earn of them, and of one another. Their overplus, the farmers carry to the adjacent market-towns; wherein are a greater number, and a greater variety of artificers; more shops, and better sorts of goods; more publicans, and better entertainments, than are in the villages. The several shopkeepers here, fetching many or most of their goods from remote places, in large quantities at a time, Edition: current; Page: [360] can afford to furnish their respective customers at a much cheaper rate, than they could furnish themselves; as they save each of them the trouble, risque, loss of time, and expence of a long journey. These shop-keepers know also, how to procure their goods at the best hand; and they take care to furnish themselves, with whatever is necessary for the consumption of the adjacent country. The farmers, likewise, find it their advantage to dispose of their superfluous cattle, butter, cheese, &c., to drovers and chapmen, that come to meet them at known appointed fairs; and they again, know where to drive and carry, by wholesale, those commodities to a better market.

The trade of large towns, is again branched out into greater varieties; these not only supplying the lesser towns, as they do the villages, but also affording many curiosities, fit only for the gentry and people of affluent fortunes. In like manner, manufacturers and dealers, find it their interest to seek each other: Knowing before-hand where and how to dispose of his goods; the one, is enabled to pursue and cultivate his art, without that loss of time and interruption, to which he would be otherwise liable; and the other, having in his warehouse various sortments of different goods, bought at the best hand from different manufacturers, furnishes not only the petty shop-keepers or chapmen of his neighbourhood, but also many others in remote places, with all the sorts they want; which would have been endless and too expensive for them to have done, by going themselves for their little quantities to the several manufacturies, which might be dispersed at great distances.

Thus, as in the manual arts, it is the interest of each dealer, to confine himself within a certain district; and this, likewise, is of mutual advantage to the whole: By this œconomy, each particular trade becomes better understood, better cultivated, and carried on easier and cheaper; the whole community is, as it were, thereby linked together Edition: current; Page: [361] in one general commerce; and by a daily intercourse and correspondence, a large country becomes in effect as one great city; greater numbers, creating more employments, and contributing to each other’s better subsistence: It being a constant observation, that the poorest living is in thin inhabited countries. Indeed, it is trade that makes countries populous, as well as what procures the inhabitants a comfortable subsistence. Again, by the diligence of the merchant, in investigating and dispersing the products of different countries; all nations become, as it were, connected together in a commercial interest; and all enjoy the benefits of the various productions of different climates.

Of foreign commerce.

15. In a nation skilful in arts, and abounding in products for the necessaries of life; the due ordering of its own internal trade, must be its greatest concern: But yet foreign commerce is advantageous, in many respects. By the great and almost inexplicable circuit and labyrinth of trade, the peculiar riches of each respective country, are dispersed every where, to the mutual benefit of all mankind; and the whole world becomes, as it were, one community or great trading city; every climate, by the means of commerce, enjoying the peculiar fruits of the rest: By commerce, not only commodities natural and artificial, but the arts themselves are also communicated, improved, and extended; industry promoted, and useful employments found for a greater number of hands. There is perhaps no nation in the world, but what might subsist of itself; most countries abounding with means of sustaining life, suitable to their respective climates; and yet, perhaps, there is no country so fertil, or nation so polite, but what may be greatly benefited by a foreign commerce. In the West Indies, where labour is toilsome, a small degree of it suffices to procure plenty of roots for bread; Edition: current; Page: [362] and a sufficiency of flesh, fish, and fowl, are easily obtained. But the artificial products of Europe, are a beneficial exchange for the produce of the cane; and this again is convenient and acceptable to the Europeans.

Every nation should have a watchful eye over its foreign commerce; for it might so happen, that a trade which enriches the merchant, might impoverish the public. That trade is most beneficial, which exports those commodities that are least wanted at home, and upon which most labour hath been bestowed; and which brings in return the reverse sort; that is, simple products, either necessary for immediate consumption, in the form they are imported; or as materials to be wrought into commodities, wanted either for home use or exportation. In few words, that trade is best, which tends most to promote industry at home, by finding employment for most hands; and which furnishes the nation with such foreign commodities, as are either useful and necessary for our defence, or more comfortable subsistence. And that trade is the worst, that exports the least of the product of labour; that furnishes materials for manufacturies in other countries, which afterwards might interfere with some of its own; and which brings home unnecessary commodities, either soon perishable, or of a precarious value. But no nation can in all cases chuse for itself: The immediate disadvantages of some trades are to be overlooked, if in the long run and great circle of commerce, they at last turn out to be beneficial. Natural alliances, and natural rivalships, for such there are, and ever will be, betwixt particular nations, are also subjects of great moment to the statesman, though not to the merchant, in the consideration of a beneficial commerce. And to a maritime country, the increase of shipping and of mariners, is an object of great importance.

I am unwarily entered upon a large field; but my view under this head, being only to give a general idea of the Edition: current; Page: [363] nature and benefit of trade, by sketching out some of the principal lines, I must here proceed no farther: To treat this subject with tolerable accuracy, would be a large, curious and useful undertaking*.

V.: Of the comparative riches or wealth of nations.

16. The comparative riches and strength of nations, are not to be reckoned from the extent of their dominions, or simply from their numbers of people; but rather from the fertility and aptness of the soil, for furnishing useful and necessary products; from the industry of the inhabitants, and their skilfulness in arts; and besides all this, from their having a well-modelled, and well-administered government: For a good government is itself a most valuable treasure, a main source of riches, and of all temporal Edition: current; Page: [364] blessings. The Russian map, takes in a larger extent of country than all Europe; and yet that nation till of late, made no great figure upon the stage of the world. I am inclined to think that the territory of Great Britain, is more* valuable, though less extensive, than France; and the English artists upon the whole, take the lead of all the world. The French are much more numerous than we are, and perhaps also more skilful in the arts of war; and their government, for sudden enterprises, is better framed than ours: But the English commonalty are more robust, brave and intrepid when roused; and have from their soil and skill in arts, such great resources and advantages, that if they do but preserve their constitution entire, maintain a public spirit, with union and concord amongst themselves; they may continue their independency upon other nations, to the latest times. But futurity is not ours: Let us, whilst we are, each in his place, act our parts like men, and all will be well.

The stock of a nation in all sorts of productions, natural and artificial, is to be included in the idea of its riches; and more especially its stock of those things that are necessary for the support of life, and for defence against enemies: For as men are circumstanced, this last also is a necessary ingredient. An industrious and skilful nation, having the land well stocked; the houses well furnished; Edition: current; Page: [365] the shops, warehouses, granaries and magazines of all sorts, well filled; may with great propriety be said to be rich: To this estimate, must be also added all the goods in foreign warehouses, that are the property of its merchants. When the riches of a country, are considered under this extensive view; the whole amount of its cash or bullion, cannot make so considerable a part, as people are apt to imagine. We shall consider more particularly hereafter, in what sense, and how far, gold and silver are riches: But we are not to form an idea of the riches of past ages, from the abundance they had of those metals. The Inca’s of Peru were not the richer, for the immense masses of gold they possessed; and its being so greedily eoveted, proved the cause of the loss of their country: Could they have changed their gold into iron, it would have been vastly more serviceable to them; and with it, they might probably have defended their country, against those merciless invaders, that used them so barbarously. We should not yet perhaps, reckon those people so very despicable and poor, because they had but few of the arts amongst them: They were in possession of a goodly country; had plenty of sustenance; of such apparel and buildings, as gave them content: If they had no learning, they yet had good manners, probity, and a regular government; worthy, in many respects, the imitation of the politest Europeans. But we, having tasted the sweet fruits of arts, could not part with them, without feeling the utmost reluctance; without being in a high degree sensible of the calamitous distresses of poverty. It is in the product of arts, that riches chiefly consist; and if we reckon by this standard, the present age is probably richer than any of the past; and our own nation is herein, not inferior to any of its neighbours.

Of sumptuary laws.

17. The desire of increasing in wealth and riches, is Edition: current; Page: [366] universal; many cry out against luxury, and wish to have it stopped by sumptuary laws. But this is a matter of great delicacy, and requires a nice judgment: Such laws, if not well considered, might be productive of effects, contrary to their intention. The curious arts of all sorts, are beneficial to a country; and the discouraging any of them, will, instead of begetting riches, bring on poverty. If men had contented themselves with bare necessaries, we should have wanted a thousand conveniencies, which we now enjoy; and many of the talents given to us, would have been quite useless, for want of opportunities of exerting them. The word luxury hath usually annexed to it, a kind of opprobious idea; but so far as it encourages the arts, whets the inventions of men, and finds employments for more of our own people; its influence is benign, and beneficial to the whole society. But if luxury, or fashion, tend to discourage the arts and industry at home; to stock the nation too much with costly trifles from abroad, of no real use; or with consumable commodities, not really wanted; thereby transferring the employments from our own poor, to those of other nations; to nations, it may be, not our friends; luxury then, degenerates into evil, and should be suppressed in time. Vanity, though it ruins many individuals, is yet perhaps beneficial to the community; and the ways of indulging it, should not be too much straightened: Prevent its leading to any intemperances, that may affect either the healths, morals, or industry of the people, and no harm will be done.

VI.: Industry the source of wealth, and good order that of industry: Public spirit the great fountain of national grandeur, and happiness.

18. I shall conclude this chapter, with observing again; that labour, skill, and industry, are the true sources of wealth; and the means of distributing it, in a due proportion, Edition: current; Page: [367] among all the members of the body politic. It is not any specific quantity of money, but the due distribution of it, that renders that body healthy and vigorous in all its parts. Idleness is the bane of society; the great source of vice and confusion; the fore-runner of public distress and calamity. Industry produces the contrary effects; and is to be promoted by all possible methods: These are various; they are chiefly good laws, speedily, righteously, and cheaply executed; wise regulations of commerce, as well internal as foreign; good examples; a watchful care in the magistrates, to suppress in the first instances, vice, sloth, and all kinds of immoralities; a due care of the indigent and feeble, that none perish from want, when there is more than sufficient for all; the securing of private property; a due disdain of all chicanery, quibbling and sophistry, more especially, in schools and courts of justice; ability, uprightness and dispatch in public offices; the countenancing of probity, of plain dealing, of arts and sciences; and in all cases, an inviolable maintenance of public faith. These, are some of the ways, to breed and cherish a public spirit, among all ranks of people; without which, no nation can be happy; no community can long subsist.

A nation skilful in arts, abounding in products, untainted in its morals; where public spirit prevails, above local and personal interests; and under a wise and righteous government, duly tempered, so as to be secure itself, and all under it secure; a nation, I say, under these circumstances, must needs within itself, be rich, flourishing and happy. But power, grandeur, and influence abroad, depend chiefly on the numbers of industrious inhabitants at home. A limited number, cannot acquire above a limited degree of wealth, or strength: The way to increase both, is to break down the barricadoes of local enfranchisements; to encourage matrimony among the lower class, by giving some privileges to those who have children; Edition: current; Page: [368] finding employments for those who are able; and supplying with necessaries, the helpless and indigent. Moreover, if you please, you may invite hither foreign Protestants; by giving the privileges of free denisons, to all that are desirous of incorporating themselves under the banner of our laws, and enjoying the benefits of our happy constitution. But some better regulations should be made with regard to our own poor, before strangers can be induced to come among us.

CHAPTER II.—: Of Money and Coins.

I.: Of Barter.

19. THE first commerce amongst men, was undoubtedly carried on by barter, or the exchange of one commodity for another; and indeed, this is the true and ultimate end of all commerce, whether foreign or domestic. But as men and arts increased, a mere barter of commodities became inconvenient, and insufficient, in abundance of instances. For it must needs frequently happen, that one man would want goods of another, that wanted none at the present, of those goods which he had to give him in exchange; and therefore to him, these goods would be but of small value; and it might be a tedious and intricate course, before the goods of the first man could be so often bartered, till at length they became exchanged into that particular commodity, which the second wanted. The same inconvenience would attend private bills, or promissory notes; for the note could not well be discharged, till the man who gave it, met with a customer, that had goods which suited him, to whom the said note had been given. Add to this, that contracts payable in goods were uncertain; for goods even of the same kind, differ in value. One horse is worth more than Edition: current; Page: [369] another horse: Wheat off one field, is better than wheat off another. Cows, horses, swine, &c. wheat, barley, oats, &c. might differ greatly in their value; a great disparity also would frequently happen, between artificial things of the same sort, as one workman excelled another. So that in this state of barter, besides the endless difficulties people were under to suit one another; there was no scale, or measure, by which the proportion of value which goods had to one another, could be ascertained*.

II.: Money, what, and whence it arose.

20. To avoid the great inconveniencies of mere barter, a material or commodity that should be universally accepted in exchange for all other things, was soon agreed upon; and this is what we call money. As soon as this Edition: current; Page: [370] invention became established, men reckoned the value of their goods by money; and the terms prices, buying, and selling came in use; a greater or less quantity of money going to the purchase of all things, in proportion to the respective values which before had been set upon them, as well in respect of that commodity now made money, as of one another.

Thus, money is a standard measure, by which the values of all things, are regulated and ascertained; and is it self, at the same time, the value or equivalent, by which, goods are exchanged, and in which, contracts are made payable. So that money, is not a pledge, to be afterwards redeemed, but is both an equivalent and a measure; being in all contracts, the very thing usually bargained for, as well as the measure of the bargain: Or, if one thing be bartered for another, the measure of the bargain is usually the quantity of money, which each of the things bartered, are conceived to be worth.

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To illustrate this subject farther, let us suppose silver to be that commodity, which was fixed upon as money. Silver had before a known value, from its uses as a metal; and being durable, portable, divisible without loss, and of equal goodness every where, as will be explained hereafter, was found every way convenient for the purpose of money; and having been applied to that use, silver received an additional value to that which it had before, as a mere metal, from the greater demand for it thence arising. As soon as silver was made money, it was used, both as the value in which contracts were made payable, and also as the measure, by which goods were valued; and consequently, of the proportion of value of different goods to one another. Thus, as Mr. Locke observes, “the value of lead to wheat, for instance, and of either of them to a certain sort of cloth, is known by the prices of each, or their value in silver or money. As if a yard of cloth be worth or sells for half an ounce of silver, a bushel of wheat for one ounce, and a hundred weight of lead for two ounces; any one presently sees and says, that a bushel of wheat is double the value of a yard of that cloth, and but half the value of an hundred weight of lead.” And according to these proportions, any quantity of the above commodities will exchange, either for money, or for one another. So that, as before observed, money is always the standard that* measures the values Edition: current; Page: [372] of commodities; and, most commonly, is also what is given for them, or the equivalent with or for which they are purchased.

How money differs from other measures, and also from commodities.

21. In the idea of money, the quality of the material is supposed to be unchangeable, and to be universally or every where the same: And therefore, the material being once fixed or agreed upon; all that is to be included in the idea of money, is the quantity only of that material, as in other standard measures, whether of weight or extension: And the only essential difference betwixt them, is this; that money is not only a measure, but also an equivalent, and as such passes from one to another; whilst other measures, may rest indifferently in the buyer’s or seller’s, or a third person’s hands, it matters not whose they be.

Money also differs from all commodities in this, that, as such, its value is permanent or unalterable; that is, money being the measure of the values of all other things, and that, like all other standard measures, by its quantity only; its own value is to be deemed invariable: And all contracts or engagements, are to be deemed fully discharged and satisfied, by the payment of the specific quantity or sum of money, agreed upon; without having any regard to the value of money, with respect to other things, at the different times of contracting and discharging of debts.

This is a fundamental characteristic of money, without which, it would lose its use as such; nor can money, with Edition: current; Page: [373] any propriety, be considered as being subject to vary in its value, without referring it to something else as a standard; and thereby, departing from its use as money, and making it a mere commodity.

Of some requisite properties in the material of money.

22. That money may continue in esteem, and preserve the public estimation, as an equivalent, and a standard measure; it is necessary that it be made of a material or commodity, which is not too common, not too cheap or bulky, not growing spontaneously, or to be found without a valuable consideration in labour or land; not very subject to be consumed with use, or to be spoiled for the want of use, nor subject to expence in keeping. For money, like other things, whatever pains may be taken to shew, or some may think to the contrary; will soon find a value, in proportion to the labour and skill, that are necessary to acquire it; or in a reciprocal proportion to its plenty. Though we reckon by money; yet labour and skill, are the main* standards, by which, the values of all or most things are ultimately ascertained; and there will require a greater or less bulk of money, to purchase the very same thing, according as there is a greater or less quantity of money in circulation; that is, according as the material of money is cheaper or dearer, or in greater or lesser plenty.

The use of money is very general, as well as antient; and many poor states, that had scarce any arts or traffic amongst them, had yet a sort of money. In some parts of Africa, the small shells called by us couries, passed as money; and in some other parts of that barbarous continent, salt, being very scarce, and therefore much valued, was used as money: In the one place, a certain number of shells; and in the other, a certain measure or weight. Edition: current; Page: [374] of salt; going to the purchase of such and such a commodity. But among trading and polite nations, such common materials or commodities, would not do for money; their money must be such as hath an intrinsic value, and thence, an universal esteem among those they traffic with.

A nation secluded from the rest of the world, might indeed, fall upon various methods of supplying the use of money: And we see that some of our plantations, make a shift without any money, properly so called; using only bits of stamped paper, of no real value. But, wherever that material, which passeth as or instead of money, hath no intrinsic value, arising from its usefulness, scarcity, and necessary expence of labour in procuring it; there, private property will be precarious; and so long as that continues to be the case, it will be next to impossible for such people, to arrive at any great degree of power and splendour*.

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Metals, the fittest materials of money.

23. For the purpose of universal commerce, metals seem the fittest materials for a standard measure, or money; as copper, silver, or gold; they having all the properties above required: They are moreover divisible into minute parts, which parts retain nevertheless an intrinsic value, in proportion to their quantity or weight; because those parts may, without injuring the metal, be again united together in a greater mass. These metals are durable, and also susceptible of any form, mark, or impression; and are convertible from money or coins, into utensils of various kinds; and from these, into money again. These properties are what give money, which is generally made of one or other of the above metals, a real and intrinsic value. There is scarce room to imagine, that money, made of a material good for no other purpose, would long continue in esteem, as such; the usefulness and scarcity of the materials, are both considered in the common estimation of money.

Base metals not fit materials of money.

24. Again, it is requisite that that metal which is made money, or the standard measure of commerce, should be either of equal goodness every where, according to its quantity or weight; or, that there should be some certain criterion, by which might be ascertained, the true proportional value of any given mass of that metal, when compared with any other given mass of the same metal. Money cannot be a proper or exact measure of the values of other things, if its own value is questionable; for if it could be doubted, whether my ounce of money, be precisely of the same value with any other person’s ounce of money; it would create such a distraction in all kinds of traffic, that would frustrate the very end and design of money.

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The base metals, as copper, tin, lead, and iron; have none of them the above quality, or that precise certainty of value, required in money. For, although the artists employed about them, can soon find that this mass of copper, for instance, is better or worse than that other mass, at least for their particular purposes; yet, there is no method of ascertaining, to any exactness, what is their respective pureness; or what is the specific difference betwixt, or what is the true proportional value of, different masses of that metal in respect of one another. And therefore* copper, is not a fit material for money: And the other base metals, are still more unfit; for the like, and other reasons, that are sufficiently obvious. Their great plenty and cheapness, is a farther objection to the making money of any of the baser metals.

III.: Fine silver and fine gold, of equal goodness every where.

25. Silver and gold, when pure and unmixed with base metals, are called fine, or fine silver, and fine gold. And these, called the precious and noble metals, when thus pure, have every where the same characteristics, and in all respects the same qualities, so far as hath hitherto been discovered; that is, an ounce of any fine silver, is exactly of the same intrinsic worth or value, with an ounce of any other fine silver: And the same of fine gold, with respect to fine gold.

But these precious metals are seldom found pure, till they are made so by art for particular purposes; and when they are not pure, the metal commixed with them is called alloy. This alloy is reckoned of no value; that is, if to an ounce of fine silver be superadded, suppose, an ounce Edition: current; Page: [377] of copper; this addition of copper, though it increases the mass to double the quantity, yet gives that mass no additional value: So that one ounce of fine silver, is of as* great value as the two ounces of this mixed mass. And the reason of it is, because these metals cannot be again separated, either without a total loss of the copper, or without more cost than profit. In like manner, not only copper, but silver also, is an alloy to gold; and when they are commixed together, the silver is reckoned of no value, unless it be in such proportion to the gold, as to make it worth the refiner’s while to separate them.

Silver and gold, when alloyed, are said to be of such a fineness, according to the proportion there is of fine silver or fine gold, to the whole mass. Thus, a mass of silver, containing eleven parts of pure or fine silver, and one part of alloy, is said to be 11/12 fine; or with us in England, cleven ounces fine; because our pound for weighing gold and silver, is subdivided into twelve ounces.

IV.: Silver and gold the only proper and fit materials of money.

26. The degrees of fineness of both silver and gold, are discoverable, by skilful assay-masters, to great exactness; and these metals, being universally of equal goodness, Edition: current; Page: [378] according to their purity, they are proper materials of money. And indeed, they have manifestly a peculiar fitness for that purpose, above any other material hitherto known; and accordingly, these metals only are used as such, by all the polite and trading nations of the world.

V.: Of Coins.

27. As the intrinsic qualities, or degrees of fineness of given masses of silver and gold, are not discoverable without art, trouble and expence; the expediency of coining was soon discovered. The public stamp upon coins, is a voucher and security to every one, that the coins that wear it, are of a certain fineness, and intrinsic value, according to their size or weight: And coins also, being more distributive than bullion, are, upon that account likewise, more convenient for trade, and in the common affairs of life.

Names of coins, and of integral sums of money, taken chiefly from weights.

28. In antient times, the names of given sums of money, do not seem to have been properly the names of any species of coin, but of different proportions of weight: As the talent, shekle, mina, drachma, &c. and in later times, pound, mark, &c. The mark is now disused by us; but in several of the neighbouring countries, it is still their integer for weighing metals, and is subdivided into eight ounces. And when the art of coining became established, the coins took their names from certain weights, used in the respective countries; to which weights, the coins at first exactly corresponded. The integral sums of money, were also denominated, from integral weights; as the livre in France, and the pound in England and Scotland: and so many of the coins as made the sum of one pound, or a money pound, made also exactly a pound in weight. At Edition: current; Page: [379] present, we have only the names pound and penny, that are common both to money and weights: Antiently a shilling was here the name of a given weight; and 240 pennies made the sum, as at present, of one pound, and a pound weight. But now, a silver penny is only the 10/31 of a penny-weight Troy; which is a little more, than a third of what a penny weighed at the conquest.

Of our present weights, and divisions of money.

29. It is thought that the livre, or pound weight, of silver, was instituted as the money integer, by Charlemagne: And this he subdivided into sols, and deniers, which bore exactly the same proportion to the pound, as our shillings and pence, now do, to our money pound, or pound sterling. I have not met with any distinct account of the Saxon weights; but it is very probable, that the weight called the pound of the Tower of London, was the old Saxon pound. This pound contained 11¼ ounces Troy; and did not very sensibly differ, from 12 ounces of the weight still used in the money affairs of Germany; and there known, by the name of Colonia weight. The Tower weight continued in use at the mint there, from the conquest till the 18th year of the reign of Henry VIII; at which time it was laid aside, and the Troy weight introduced in its stead. The Saxon or Tower pound weight, was divided, as our money pound now is, into shillings, pennies and farthings; and it seems very probable that antiently, the weights answering to these names and subdivisions, were those in common use.

I was obliged to my late learned friend Martin Folkes, Esq., for this account of the Saxon weight, &c. long before he published his curious Table of English silver coins, where the same is to be met with: A work which none, who are desirous of having an exact history of our coins, should be without; and from which, as a farther illustration Edition: current; Page: [380] of this subject, I beg leave to make the* following extract.

That coins in all or most countries have, at different times, been debased; but the same denominations still continued.

30. The antient denominations given to money, in the Edition: current; Page: [381] several countries, have been still continued; but the coins which made up the sums so denominated, have been since, at different times, greatly debased or diminished in their value.* And now coins, are so far from being serviceable as weights, which they once were; that, with us, as well as in the neighbouring countries, the weight of each piece is not readily known; being very different, from any of the weights in common use.

The original standards of coins, having been once impaired; and the same names still remaining, after the substance had been diminished, people did not know where to stop; and they seem to have thought, that coins had their value, some how, from the stamp they bore. And hence, for no better reason can be assigned, sprang those adulterations of the coins, and the distractions and complaints consequent thereupon, that are to be met with in the histories of most countries.

VI.: Standard of monies.

31. Coins being so very convenient, they only, are commonly considered and used, as money; whilst bullion, or gold and silver unwrought and unstamped, are reckoned mere commodities. And in all countries, there is established a certain standard, both as to fineness and weight, Edition: current; Page: [382] of the several species of their coins. In England, the silver monies are to contain 111 parts of fine silver, and 9 parts alloy; and 62 of those coins called shillings, are to weigh a pound Troy: That is, the pound Troy with us, contains 11 ounces 2 penny-weights of fine silver, and 18 penny-weights of alloy; and of a pound Troy of this standard silver, our money pound called the pound* sterling, contains 20/62 parts; or the pound sterling is = 20/62 of 11/12·1 of a pound Troy of fine silver. And this standard hath continued with us invariably, ever since the 43d year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

The standard of our present gold coins, is 11 parts of fine gold, and 1 part of alloy; and 44½ guineas are cut out of a pound Troy; so that a guinea is = 1/44½ of 11 ounces of fine gold. The fineness of gold is not with us, reckoned by the common weights, but by imaginary ones, called carats: The highest degree of fineness, or pure gold, is called 24 carats; so that our standard is 22 carats of fine gold, and 2 carats of alloy. The carats are subdivided into 4 parts called grains, and these again into quarters; so that a carat grain, with respect to the common Edition: current; Page: [383] divisions of a pound Troy, is equivalent to 2½ penny-weights.

The standard of money farther explained.

32. It is carefully to be remembered, that by the standard of money, is always meant, the quantity of pure or fine metal contained in a given sum; and not merely the degree of purity or fineness of that metal; but the fineness and gross weight are both included. Thus, the standard of a pound sterling, is 3 oz. 11 dwt. 1422/31 grains Troy of fine silver; which is equal to 3 oz. 17 dwt. 10⅔ gr. of silver 11 oz. 2 dwt. fine, which is our standard of fineness. The standard of a shilling, is 7329/31 grains Troy of fine silver, or 8028/31 grains of silver 11/12·1 fine.

The standard of our money, strictly speaking, remains the same, so long as there is the same quantity of pure silver in the respective coins having the old or given denominations; though the coins may be varied, by making them, either of finer silver and lighter, or of coarser silver and heavier. But such deviations from the old method of coining, would be imprudent; as it might create suspicion of some unfair dealings, and would answer no good purpose. On the other hand, the standard may be debased or lowered, either by coining the several species lighter, but of the old fineness; or by retaining the old weights, and making them of coarser silver; or without altering the respective coins, by making a smaller number of them go to the pound sterling, which is our Unit or money standard. And by debasing the standard, I every where mean, the lessening of the quantity of pure silver in the pound sterling, or in the respective specie which by law is ordained to make up that sum; without regarding the particular manner in or by which, this may be done.

Why coins and plate have alloy.

33. As the alloy mixed with silver and gold, is reckoned Edition: current; Page: [384] of no value; it may be asked, why any alloy is put into coins, and plate? The reasons are these: 1. It is seldom or ever, that silver or gold, are found pure in the mines; and the trouble of refining to make them so, would be very great and expensive: And 2. a certain proportion of alloy, renders these metals harder, and fitter for the uses to which they are commonly applied. The standard of about 11/12 fine, is very convenient: For, if it be much coarser, both silver and gold will lose of their colour, beauty and ductility; and if the standard be much finer; those metals will be too soft for many purposes, and a great expence of refining will be unavoidable.

VII.: There can be but one standard of money.

34. Hitherto, we have considered both silver and gold, as being either of them a fit material to be made, or used as money. But although there may be good reasons for coining each of them; yet it is very certain, that one only of these metals can be the money or standard measure of commerce, in any country. For the standard measure must be invariable, and keep the same proportion of value, in all its parts: Such is silver with respect to silver, and gold to gold; that is, an ounce of silver is always worth just an ounce of silver; and two ounces of the one or the other of these metals, is just double the value of one ounce of the same. But silver and gold, with respect to one another, are, like other commodities, variable in their value; according as the plenty of either, may be increased or diminished; and an ounce of gold that is worth a given quantity of silver to-day, may be worth more or less silver, a while hence. And therefore it is impossible, that both these metals can be a standard measure of the values of other things, at the same time; and one of them must be a mere commodity, with respect to the other.

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Silver the money or standard measure of the greatest part, if not of all Europe.

35. Silver coin is, and time immemorial hath been, the money of accompt of the greatest part of the world; and in all countries where it is so, silver is truly the standard measure of commerce; and all other metals, gold as well as lead, are but commodities rateable by silver.

In England, accounts are kept or reckoned by the pound sterling; which, as hath been before observed, is a certain quantity of fine silver appointed by law for a standard. It is according to this standard, that the public revenues are established; lands are let; salaries, stipends, and wages settled; and universally, all sorts of contracts both public and private, are made and governed by this standard. And altho’ it be supposed, that with us, more payments, or of greater value, are made in gold than in silver coins; yet that doth not alter the standard, whilst the accounts are kept in silver; so long, in all our internal dealings at least, the gold can be only a commodity, supposed to be worth so much silver as it passeth for*: And the case would be the same, although our silver coins should grow yet scarcer.

VIII.: Silver the fittest material, hitherto known for money.

36. All nations having, for so many ages, made use of silver for the standard measure of the values of other things; that alone, seems to be a sufficient reason for continuing the same standard; and the altering it now, from silver to gold, was the thing it self practicable, would beget great perplexities in all kinds of dealings and accompts. But farther, silver being of a more moderate Edition: current; Page: [386] value than gold, is* for that reason, better suited for the purpose of money. For the integer and its several parts, should bear an exact and due proportion of value to each other; and this would be impossible, if they were made of different materials. There must be coins of about the values of shillings, and six-pences; and it would be better, if we had some that were still smaller: Those sorts of coins are the most frequently wanted; and there is no doing without them, or some substitutes in their stead. But these substitutes, being made of a different material from the standard money, are not themselves to be reckoned money; for the using such, would be a deviation from the true use and intent of money; and would subject the people where they passed, to losses and perplexities. A coin of a shilling, or even of half a crown value, would be too small in gold; and therefore at present, gold is much too valuable for a standard of money. And it would be a ridiculous and vain attempt, to make a standard integer of gold, whose parts should be silver; or to make a motly standard, part gold and part silver. These different materials could not long agree in value; and silver being the most common and useful coin, would soon regain its antient place of a standard measurer.

Silver, I think, is less subject to variation in its value than gold. For silver having been distributed in great quantities over all Europe, as well in coin as in plate of various sorts; a sudden influx, or efflux of it, by a quicker or slower production of the mines, doth not so soon affect the whole mass. The wages of day-labour, being also Edition: current; Page: [387] usually paid in silver, may be another great reason, of a more even and permanent value of this metal. But without laying much stress, upon the greater variations in the value of gold; which perhaps may be also partly owing, to its being every where in the eyes of the laws a mere commodity; I think, it is sufficiently evident that silver at present, is a much fitter standard to measure with, than gold.

Silver a fit standard, though its plenty varies.

37. It may be here objected, that as the value of silver, like all other commodities, must needs be variable, according as the plenty of its is increased or diminished; silver cannot be a* fixed standard, like that of mere extension as a yard or a bushel, for measuring the values of other Edition: current; Page: [388] things. It probably cannot; and perhaps silver is now quantity for quantity, of three or four times less value, than it was two or three centuries ago. But yet, silver being durable, well known, esteemed, distributed in considerable quantities over all Europe; and its growth, plenty, goodness or intrinsic qualities, not immediately depending upon seasons of weather and other casualities; the alteration of its value hath been, for the most part, gradual; and is not likely hereafter to be very considerable of a sudden, though it may in a long course of time. And therefore, silver is as good a standard measure or money, as the present state of things will admit of; and very fit and useful to be continued as such.

We are at present but little concerned, with what might be the value of silver in former times; and as little, with what may be its value hereafter. The prices of things will naturally conform to the standard, whilst the alterations in it are slow and gradual, and not forced. But, from the nature of things, the proportion of money to goods, is ever subject to some variations; and all that can be done, to prevent the inconveniencies that might thence arise, is to limit contracts within a moderate term of years: For, in contracts, quantity only is to be considered; and no regard can be had to the future value of money, without deviating entirely from its use as such, and rendering all contracts uncertain.

IX.: Gold coins should pass as money.

38. Although silver is the only standard measure of all our contracts; yet gold having every other quality fitting it for money, excepting its being too dear; it may be very fit and useful to coin gold, to ascertain its fineness; and to let these coins pass in lieu of money, at some* Edition: current; Page: [389] given rate: For gold coins are very convenient, in large payments. But it should not be said or understood, that a guinea, for instance, should be always an equivalent for the same quantity of silver. For as gold, like other commodities, must be ever subject to alter in its value, with respect to silver; the price of this dazzling metal can be no otherwise settled, than pro tempore. And in all contracts, the price of gold at the time of payment is only to be considered; and not what price it might bear, at the times when the contracts were made.

X.: Of TOKENS, or base coins.

39. Although silver, bulk for bulk, is now about 26 times cheaper than gold; yet silver is too dear to be coined into specie of the lowest denominations of our money. A silver penny is too small for common use; and yet pence, and their halfs, and quarters, enter daily into accounts. To supply the want of very small silver coins, a kind of tokens or substitutes have been instituted; these, are now with us, all made of copper, and of two species only, called half-pence, and farthings; and these are a legal tender in all sums below six-pence, which now is our smallest current silver coin.

The use of copper coins should be strictly confined within the above limit; and therein they are very convenient: But these base coins should never be thrust upon the public in too great abundance; or be made to pass for more than the value of the copper, and the necessary expence of workmanship; otherwise, they will be counter-feited, Edition: current; Page: [390] notwithstanding any laws to the contrary. And to lessen the call for copper coins, it were to be wished that we had in common currency, either silver three-pences, or silver groats, and two-pences.

XI.: Money finds its own value, according to the whole quantity of it in circulation.

40. The quantities of all commodities are proportioned, as near as may be, according to the demand or vent for them; and their ultimate prices include the prime cost, and the profits taken by the several dealers, thro’ whose hands they pass: If the quantity of any commodity exceeds, or falls short of that proportion, its price will fall or rise accordingly; and sometimes, a change of fashion, or humour, may reduce the price of a particular commodity, almost to nothing. The prices of things in general are proportioned sufficiently near, according to the above rule; or, according to their prime cost to the manufacturer, and the progress they make from him to the consumer. But some things, as above observed, are subject to be reduced by caprice much below this standard; whilst others are raised much above it, by the arts and avarice of monopolizers. And although the silver and gold mines, are in few hands; yet, perhaps, there is nothing whose value is so little in the power of men to regulate, or that keeps so even a pace with the quantity sent to the great market of the world, as bullion. For,

Money, exchanging universally for all commodities, the demand for it is without any limits; it is every where coveted, and never out of fashion: And therefore, on the one side, the whole quantity of money, cannot exceed the whole demand; and on the other side, the whole demand must not exceed, or it must rest satisfied with, the whole quantity. For money, is not like food, cloaths, and other things, that must be proportioned to our bodies.

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Therefore, as soon as money becomes properly diffused throughout any community; the value of the sum total of it in circulation, will be equal to the whole quantity of commodities in traffic, in that country: For so much money and goods as lie dormant, or are out of currency and traffic, fall not within the present consideration*. And so far as gold and silver, make the money of the world; so far, the whole quantity of these metals in circulation, may be said to be equal in value to all the commodities of the world, exchangeable by them: And as the total of the one, is to the total of the other; so will any given part of the one, be to a like part or proportion of the other.

And hence, the value of a given quantity or sum of money, in any country, will be less or more, according as the sum total, or the whole quantity of money in currency, is greater or less, in proportion to the whole of the commodities of that country, exchangeable for money: Or, the value of a given sum of money will be always, pretty exactly, in a reciprocal proportion to the sum total, or the whole quantity in circulation; that is, the more money there is in currency, the less will be the value of a given sum in proportion to other things; and vice versâ. Hence again, it naturally follows, that, if, in any country, the whole quantity of money in circulation, be either increased, or diminished; the value of a given sum will be accordingly lessened or increased; and that in proportion, as the said Edition: current; Page: [392] sum becomes thereby, a lesser or a greater part, of the whole stock in currency.

The above* proposition, is a very fundamental one as to the property of money; and the doctrine it contains is undoubtedly proved, as far as the nature of the thing will admit of, by universal experience: Nor is there room for any doubt to remain, when it is considered that money, by its very institution, is an exchange for all commodities; and applicable, as money, to no other purpose whatsoever. Money being universally diffused, no one hath the power to command the market, or to settle the prices of things; and every one being desirous to have his share of things, according to his income; all the money, in the long run, will be brought into the great market of the world; and its value, or the prices of things, will naturally be adjusted, notwithstanding any efforts to the contrary, according to the proportions above explained.

By way of farther illustration of this subject: Let us suppose that in a certain district, there is ordinarily consumed a thousand bushels of corn a week; and that, (after their money is duly proportioned for the purchasing of all other necessaries, according to the ways of living of the inhabitants,) the weekly allotment for the purchase of corn, is a thousand ounces of money: The price of a bushel of corn, at an average of the several markets within this district, will be an ounce of money. Let us suppose again, that within the said district, the ordinary Edition: current; Page: [393] consumption of a labouring man, or rather of a poor family, is about the value of a bushel of corn a week; part of which is expended in bread, part in other food, and the remainder is reserved for the purchase of cloaths, fuel, for the payment of rent, &c. Here then, the price of labour will be at the rate of about an ounce of money per week; the lowest kind of labourers having a little less, and the common artificers a little more, than in the said proportion. And hence, labour becomes naturally settled, in a certain proportion to the whole stock of money in circulation; and this price again becomes, as hath been before observed, a natural standard of the values or prices of most commodities.

XII.: Laws cannot regulate or alter the value of money.

41. Silver being made money, and thereby becoming, as it were, a commodity universally coveted; wherein every one deals, and to which every one hath a right, according to his respective share of property: No set of men have it in their power to settle, alter, or in any wise regulate the value of money; nor can laws do any thing in the case, otherwise than as by their influence, they may increase or diminish, the whole quantity in circulation; and so affect the value of a given sum, or the prices of things.

The prices of particular commodities are every day subject to change, from natural causes; and the same may be brought about, by artificial means. But to alter the value of money, would be to alter uniformly and universally, the prices of all commodities; a thing manifestly out of the reach of laws, and no other way to be accomplished, than by altering the proportion between the sum total of the one, and the sum total of the other; and this, perhaps, is continually done, though gradually and insensibly, by the common course of things.

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It is the business of laws to establish rules for coining; that is, to fix a standard, both as to weight and fineness, for coins having certain denominations; and a standard being fixed, it would be difficult to shew, why it should be afterwards deviated from. For, do what you can; coins, as soon as they are out of the mint, are quite free throughout their whole progress, to find their own value, according to the quantity of pure metal they contain; that is, to purchase as much of any thing, as the marketprice will allow. And it seems quite a paralogism to say, which yet I have often heard said, that in any country, money is either too cheap or too dear; or, that its value is in any wise subject to legal restraints or regulations, otherwise than as such regulations might affect the quantity of the whole stock in currency.

Value of bullion not according to the prime cost at the mines.

42. The value of bullion doth not, like most other things, keep pace with the prime cost, at the mines. If the mines continue working, so that the quantity of bullion is increased beyond the consumption; altho’ the expence to the proprietor of the mine continues the same, or even be increased; yet, if the additional quantity of bullion be thrown as money into circulation, and is not hoarded, or worked up into plate, &c. the value of a given part of this bullion will be diminished; and that in proportion, as it is now a less part of the whole, than it was of the old stock in circulation. The owner of the mine, must either take less profit, or proportion his works more adequately to the consumption of his products.

An increase of any commodity beyond the consumption, will, after the same manner, depreciate the value of a given part; but perhaps in no case so uniformly, as in that of bullion or money.

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As the profits from the American mines, have, more than probably, been continually decreasing, ever since the time of their first discovery; it may be wondered, that they have held out so long to yield profit sufficient to tempt the owners to work them. This is to be accounted for, by supposing, what is very natural to suppose, that at first, the profits of these mines, were exorbitantly great: Suppose that the first cargo of bullion, brought from thence into Europe, yielded a profit of 100 to 1: If this cargo was sufficient to double the quantity of bullion before in Europe, the profits of the next would be reduced to one half, or as 50 to 1; and so on, the value of a given part would be decreased, as the sum total was increased.

But as the navigation to the East-Indies, was discovered much about the same time, and a vent was found there for a considerable quantity of bullion; this hath prevented its value from decreasing, in the proportion that the quantity brought into Europe hath increased; and sufficient profits may yet arise from those mines, for a considerable time to come. But, although we should suppose those mines to be inexhaustible; yet, if no new vent be found for their products, they must in time be left to rest; that is, as soon as they cease to yield a profit.

XIII.: Money alters its value by slow degrees.

43. It is very manifest, that many commodities are subject to considerable variations in their prices, from natural causes; as dearth, plenty, &c. and the prices of others, may be enhanced or debased by artificial methods, by taxing them, or by a change of fashion, &c. But money being universally coveted, and its vent in no wise depending upon fashion; its value, in respect of other things, will be, as before observed, in proportion to the whole quantities of the one and the other in the market; that is, in a reciprocal proportion to the whole quantity of Edition: current; Page: [396] money in circulation. If one commodity be cried down, another will arise in its stead; and people will, according to their means, part with their money for such things, and in such proportion too, as they like best, notwithstanding any laws to the contrary. Buyers and sellers must be left free to make their own bargains; and there are natural causes that regulate the market.

But money is less subject to a sudden rise or fall of its value, than other commodities, and is therefore so far the safest treasure for hoarding; because its value is greatly affected by settled establishments of revenues, rents, stipends, &c. and it must have time also to penetrate throughout the whole community. Yet nevertheless, an increase or decrease of money will operate as surely, though by slower and more insensible degrees, as an increase or decrease of any commodity.

Why the effect of an increase of money, is not more sensibly felt.

44. As there hath been a great quantity of bullion annually imported from America, besides what is furnished by the European mines; it may be reasonably concluded, that the quantity of money in Europe, hath been increasing for many years; and the present prices of things in general, compared with what they bore a good while ago, very manifestly shews that it hath increased. But if we take a short space, as a year or two, the effects of the increase of money in that time, are not usually perceptible; because the superadded quantity, though in its self a large sum, may yet bear but a small proportion to the whole stock, real or imaginary, in circulation; and it may be in a manner dissipated, before it hath reached to all sorts of commodities. Yet, if there be no obstructions, the effects of an increase or decrease of money, will in time reach to the remotest parts; though by reason of Edition: current; Page: [397] their slowness or smallness, those effects may not be sensible.

The natural and frequent alterations in the prices of many commodities, arising from their greater plenty or scarcity, in proportion to the demand for them; take off our attention from the share that belongs to money, and render the effects of an increase or decrease of its quantity, the less conspicuous. But yet these effects, in the long run, will not be the less certain: And we may safely repeat here, what hath been before advanced, viz.

Any given sum or quantity of money, will have its value in a certain proportion, as it is a part of the whole stock or quantity in currency; and any increase or diminution of the whole, will in proportion, lessen or increase the value of any given sum.

Why the prices of commodities, have not rose in proportion to the increase of money.

45. It is next to impossible to ascertain, to any exactness, the proportion between what is the present cash of Europe, and what it was two or three centuries ago; for one of the Indies, drains away a great part of the superfluous bullion of the other. Nor will the price of any particular commodity, or of even labour it self, which is perhaps the best standard of all, enable us to make a true estimate. For, the improvements of arts, lessen the values or prices of particular commodities; and the improvements of husbandry, in particular, lessen the prices of corn and cattle; and thence again, the price of labour will be lessened.

From all these considerations, it is natural to suppose that the quantities of goods in Europe, have increased, since the discovery of the Indies, far beyond the people; and therefore, the value of any given commodity hath lessened, in proportion as the sum total or whole stock of Edition: current; Page: [398] commodities hath been increased. And if all the above circumstances could be accurately ballanced; I make no doubt but it would be found, that the prices of things are agreeable to the rule before laid down; that is, the value of any particular commodity, will bear nearly the same proportion to the sum total of commodities, disposed of within a given term; as the said value bears to the sum total of money, circulating within that term. The totals on both sides, being always equal, or nearly equal, in value; so that either can purchase the other.

But, without considering the increase of commodities; there may be another cause of preventing the value of money from decreasing, in the same proportion that the quantity of bullion brought to Europe is increased. If the annual consumption of bullion in Europe, both by the East-India trade, and by the conversion of it into plate, be equal to what the American mines annually supply; the value of money taken abstractedly, or without referring it to commodities, will remain invariable: But if the said consumption be less, or more, than the said produce of the mines; the whole quantity of money will be accordingly increased, or diminished; and the value of a given part or sum, will be lessened, or increased, in that proportion.

It is the real quantity of coins, or of their substitutes, that affects the value of money. And this, together with the improvements of arts and increase of commodities; is the reason, why things in general have not raised in their prices, in proportion to the supposed increase of bullion in Europe, during the last 200 years.

XIV.: A nation having no foreign commerce, will not stand in need of any specific quantity of money.

46. In a country having no foreign commerce, any quantity of money will, in a manner, be sufficient for all Edition: current; Page: [399] purposes; and any increase or diminution of the original stock, if it be but gradual and slow, will scarce be attended with any consequences of moment. This, although to many it may seem a paradox, yet clearly follows from what hath been already shewed. But as a farther illustration of this subject:

Let us suppose that many ages ago, a certain nation consisted of half a million of people, and that they had in the whole a million of pounds sterling; and that afterwards the mines or the mint were no farther worked, than to keep the money exactly to the same or the original quantity of a million. We may suppose also, that a regular government, and all the necessary arts, were established amongst them; and likewise that all the money was distributed betwixt them, in due proportion according to their several ranks; so that the hire of a labourer, we will suppose, was ten-pence a day. By degrees, they increase in number one tenth; and with the people, all sorts of commodities, naturally increase in proportion: But the whole quantity of money remaining the same, its value increased also one-tenth; and nine-pence now going as far as ten-pence would before, the wages of a day-labourer is reduced one penny: But this he doth not feel the want of; and he hath as much plenty of all sorts of necessaries now, as he had formerly.

In process of time, and that before they had any foreign commerce, the people are increased to five millions; and the price of labour, which at first was ten-pence, is now reduced to a penny a day. And all this while, there were no complaints of the want of money, though every one’s share came to but a tenth part of what his ancestors possessed. On the contrary, by the improvements of the arts they had set out with, and the inventions of many new ones; all ranks of people lived more comfortably, with more ease and affluence than their fore-fathers had done.

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By these improvements of the arts, the whole stock of commodities was increased beyond the increase of the people; and each particular commodity bore less than a tenth part of its antient price: More people in proportion could be spared from labour, for particular services and professions; for in many of the arts, one man could perform now, more than two men could formerly. With the increase of the people, the taxes on each individual grew naturally lighter; and yet the government grew daily more powerful and splendid: Altho’ rents and all other things, sunk in their nominal values; yet a greater affluence and splendor of living, was every where to be seen. So true it is, that numbers of industrious people, and not money, is what enriches a country.

Had the money increased with the people, that would have made no manner of difference in the values of things with respect to one another; nor would it have been very material, if the original stock of money had decreased upon their hands; the only difference which that would have created, would have been in the nominal prices of things with respect to money. Had the money increased faster than the people, suppose 24 times; the price of labour would have become then 20 shillings a day, and yet the workman would have been no ways benefited by that greatness of wages.

The case above supposed of the quantity of money remaining invariable, whilst the people increased, is the very same in effect, as if we had supposed the number of people to have continued the same, whilst the original stock of money had continually decreased.

XV.: Any sudden fluctuation of money, would be pernicious.

47. Money as such, though very useful and necessary in all sorts of traffic, yet scarce falls within the idea of Edition: current; Page: [401] riches*. Money in its very institution, is professedly of no use, but to measure the value of, and as an exchange for, things that are useful: It is so much coveted, not for its own sake, but for what it will bring; and it is very manifest, that in a regular and well-established community, a greater or less stock of money doth scarce at all affect its wealth and prosperity. The greatest effect of money is in its fluctuation, and this if it be sudden will be generally pernicious in its consequences.

If money be a flowing in, some branches of trade will be enlivened, and in reality great numbers of individuals will grow richer; as what they pay in taxes, rents, and for natural products, will be less or of less value than before; till you come to the lowest class, who, though their wages are raised, will yet find little or no advantage by this torrent of money. On the other hand, the government will grow weaker, the nobility, and in general all who live upon estates and established stipends, will become poorer; till by an increase of taxes, advancement of rents, &c. things can be re-established. But before this can be accomplished, many and great alterations will naturally happen: The government being thus weakened and distressed, disorders will inevitably arise; as peace and good order cannot be preserved, unless the strength of the government bears a due proportion to that of the governed: Edition: current; Page: [402] The nobility must change their fashion of life, and abate of their antient splendor; new debts will be contracted, increased, lands mortgaged; and before the antient owners have a right understanding of the cause of their distresses, many must part with their estates, and give place to new comers.

And this is a natural consequence of a sudden flux of money;* the enriching of one part of the community, at the expence of the other; a change of manners amongst all ranks, some perhaps for the better, and some for the worse; until, this tide having spent itself, things are again resettled, tho’ perhaps in quite a new form.

On the other hand, if the tide of money is a running out; during this ebb, trade will stagnate, some merchants and shopkeepers will break, some manufactures will be laid aside, many hands will be unemployed, and murmurs and complaints will be heard among all sorts of people concerned in trade. These distresses will continue, till by an abatement of taxes, lowering of rents, of wages, of stipends, &c. a due equilibrium among the different ranks of people is again restored; and then, altho’ a great part of the money is gone, riches, plenty, and good order, will again abound.

Thus it is manifest, that a sudden fluctuation of money, would be pernicious whilst it lasted, and for some time afterwards; and that whether the tide be flowing in or going out. But whilst it glides and circulates smoothly and freely, in its natural course and channels, money is Edition: current; Page: [403] not only a harmless but a beneficial thing; it cherishes and invigorates the whole community, and this equally, whether the stream be large or slender.

XVI.: Ballance of trade, what.

48. The ultimate ballance of trade is reckoned in money; and it is by this scale that the profits of trade are usually computed. But as money in it self is of no farther use, but merely as a kind of instrument for the circulation of products or commodities; a very beneficial commerce may be carried on between different nations, without any of them having any money to receive at the close of their accounts. Not only the mariners navigating the ships, but also the whole train of artificers employed in the various branches of manufactures, bred and nourished by such a commerce, innumerable brokers, &c. gain all of them a comfortable subsistence: Each country is accommodated, with what it wanted of the products of the other; and the* merchants on all sides increase in wealth, though at last their accounts are even as to money, or yet though one pays a ballance in money to the other.

If bullion be the sole or chief end of commerce; why are ships sent to any other parts, besides Cadiz and Lisbon? Silver and gold are in a manner, the peculiar commodities of Spain and Portugal; and in the usual phrase, these nations must pay a ballance upon their trade to all the world. And yet they, as well as the rest of the world, are gainers by trade; they obtain various necessaries and conveniences, which their bullion could not have procured them, whilst they kept it at home; and so long as they Edition: current; Page: [404] keep working the mines, so long probably they will stand in more need of the aid of foreign commerce, than other nations.

A ballance paid in money, doth not necessarily infer a loss by trade: Suppose that last year, Great Britain paid a ballance upon the whole of its foreign trade, of a hundred thousand pounds in specie; but that the national stock of necessaries, in naval stores of various sorts, &c. were increased to double that value: By the usual reckoning, we must have lost the last year, an 100,000l. by our trade; but by mine, we were gainers by it to the net value of that whole sum. But had the above supposed additional stock of foreign commodities, been in wines, brandies, fine linnens, toys, or even jewels, &c. which were to be all consumed at home, I should readily have joined in the common estimation, of our having been losers by our trade. Gold and silver are valuable commodities, because they are neither perishable, nor over bulky; and because the monies of the world are made of these metals, they retain a more even and permanent value, and are more universally coveted than other things. But the Spaniards are an instance, that a nation may be injured, weakened and impoverished, by an over-stock of these metals.

However, any nation having gained upon the whole of its commerce a ballance in bullion, may be truly said to be a gainer for that time of so much as that bullion amounts to; and if it can keep that bullion as a dead stock, either by turning it into plate or by any other method, so as to prevent its getting into trade as money; it may continue to go on increasing in more bullion, which in this case will be a real increase of wealth. For as bullion hath little or no workmanship bestowed upon it, and is every where after it hath once got from the miner’s hands, a kind of dead stock, applied to no use like other commodities; a nation that pays ultimately upon Edition: current; Page: [405] its trade a ballance in bullion, is a loser of so much of its dead stock; and a loser also, if its exports maintained fewer of its own inhabitants, than its imports did of those of foreign nations. Let an increased stock of bullion get out again into trade, and it will soon turn the ballance the other way.

XVII.: The quantity of money every where, will naturally find a certain level or proportion.

49. It is a received opinion, at least with many people, that a certain specific quantity of money, is necessary for the carrying on of foreign commerce; and that any nation not abounding in money, will trade to a great disadvantage with the rest of the world: Were this the case, those nations who have most money, should reap most advantage by trade; and Spain and Portugal ought to carry the prize from all the world. But if this matter be examined, ever so slightly, it will appear in a different light; and it will appear also, that no trading nation can be long in want of money, or be able to keep above a certain quantity of circulating cash, in proportion to its trade. What is hoarded and kept out of the market, either in cash, bullion, plate or furniture of any sort, is out of the present question.

Suppose that the present stock of circulating cash in England, was at once reduced to one half, by each person’s losing a moiety of his own share. This would strike a great consternation in all, and be matter of real calamity to many; as the prices of things would not at once abate, in proportion to this great loss of money. But those distresses would not last long: The prices of all commodities, and of labour, would fall by degrees; this cheapness would give them a quicker vent in all foreign markets, and all sorts of manufactures would be carried on here brisker than ever; whilst at the same time, and for the same Edition: current; Page: [406] cause, the consumption of foreign commodities with us would be greatly diminished. By the cheapness of labour, England becoming the best market for bullion; that is, bullion fetching more labour and commodities here than in other countries, it would naturally be sent hither preferable to other things; and bullion would not cease flowing in upon us, till it became as cheap, that is, in as great plenty here, in proportion to our traffic, as in other places.

This supposed sudden loss of money would at first, as hath been before illustrated, create many disorders: By the sudden change it would cause in the proportion of property, a damp would be thrown upon manufactures, until the price of labour could be duly reduced; and the nation would be under a great disadvantage, in the purchasing of foreign commodities for ready cash. But these disadvantages would not last long; and whilst things were advancing towards their former state, it is probable that people in general, especially the lower class, who are the most numerous, would abound more in affluence than at any other period. Labour would be more valuable here, in proportion to commodities; because of the great demand for those commodities, in those countries where money was cheaper, and labour dearer; until at length the equilibrium of money was again restored. Had we supposed the loss of money to have been less, as only, for instance, the tenth part; the consequences thereupon, though less perceptible, would have been, upon the whole, the same in a proportionable degree.

Let us suppose our former stock of money to be now completely restored to us, and it would not be long before it returned again: If we think to increase this stock much farther, we shall be disappointed; the causes that brought it to a certain level, will prevent its rising much above that level. Where money is grown into great plenty, whatever be the causes of that over-plenty; labour, and all sorts of manufactures will grow dear, too dear for foreign markets: Edition: current; Page: [407] And at the same time that the exportation of home-commodities is decreasing, that of bullion for foreign goods will be increasing; till at length the tide of the over-plenty of money hath spent its self; leaving behind it perhaps, too much the marks of profusion, and disorders of various kinds.

In order to illustrate this subject, I have supposed cases that are not likely to happen; the state of things, altho’ ever fluctuating, yet change by slow degrees. Riches are comparative things; and one nation’s growing or declining in wealth, is to be reckoned either with respect to its former state, or the present state of its neighbours. But the question before us being solely about money, which ever way that is turned, it seems to me evident, that commerce will settle the due proportion of money every where; I mean the proportion in respect to the whole wealth and traffic of any country, and not the proportion between one country and another; for this last will be ever different and ever variable. Every one sees that an increase of his own cash would be an advantage to him, and hence money is universally coveted; but no one sees or considers, that his own peculiar advantage would cease, if every body’s cash was increased in the same proportion with his own. Another hath in his eye some beneficial trade, which he could enter into if he had but money*: It is none of his business to consider, that the trade of the world is limited; that his entering into it, would not extend trade in general. It is the want of vent, and not the want of money, Edition: current; Page: [408] that limits trade; and sometimes also the want of able and skilful workmen removes trade from one province or kingdom into another.

All that hath been here advanced, is well illustrated and corroborated, by the course that manufacturies have taken in our own country. They have been first erected in parts that had but little money in common currency; that is, in places where labour, provisions, and all the necessaries of life were cheap: By degrees they enriched those provinces, till at length provisions of all sorts, and consequently labour, became very dear; too dear to sustain, or to be sustained by those manufacturies any longer. This naturally carried them to other places, where money was in less plenty: And this will ever be the case, unless part of the increased stock of money is kept out of the common circulation, and is either hoarded or directed into some new channel; without this, not only trade will move to different provinces of the same country, but it will move also into different countries.

XVIII.: Any artificial methods of increasing tale-money, pernicious.

50. Any artificial methods of increasing the quantity of tale-money in circulation, beyond its natural bounds, will be attended with pernicious consequences; and this effect is perhaps not the least evil of our great national debt. As the values of all things are measured by money, it is, I think, by this time sufficiently manifest, that their prices will be in a certain proportion to the whole quantity of cash in circulation. If this quantity be greater in proportion to the trade of the nation, than in foreign countries; things manufactured at home will become too dear for foreign markets, as is the case of Spain and Portugal. As we have no mines, trade will keep, as before observed, real money to a proper level; but yet this level may be exceeded by artificial substitutes, as paper-bills, having no Edition: current; Page: [409] bullion locked up in their stead, and light coins having less value than what they pass for; and by both these methods the nation is injured; By making all things dearer at home, the public is not only defrauded of so much bullion as these substitutes amount to; that is, to the whole amount of the paper above the bullion locked up in its stead; but it also suffers by the loss of the whole deficiency upon the light coins.

Although this subject hath been in effect illustrated before, yet is it of that importance as to deserve to be farther exemplified. Let us suppose that one tenth of the whole stock of circulating cash in this country, and ’tis not material to our argument what the specific sum amounts to, is some way lost or destroyed: If no artificial substitutes be made to intervene; it has been before shewed, that trade will gradually restore this supposed loss of bullion; as, till this be accomplished, bullion will be dearer or fetch more commodities here, than in other countries.

On the other hand, supposing the sum total of money, real and fictitious, now annually circulating in this country, to be 100 millions; 20 millions of which is in cash, and the rest in paper credit both public and private: If this paper credit be increased, by the creating of more bills, suppose to the amount of ten millions; one of the following will necessarily be the consequence: Either all our commodities will rise ten per cent. in their nominal value, which will render them too dear for foreign markets; or, this addition of paper bills will drain away ten millions of our cash, and so impoverish us in reality to that whole amount; or, the effect most likely will be, partly the one, and partly the other; but which ever it is, the nation will be equally endamaged. May this be ever a caution to statesmen, how they listen to projects that must clog our trade, banish our coin, and in the end bring on a general bankruptcy.

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Let us suppose again, that the same quantity of tale or nominal money continues, but that the real substance of the current coin is diminished one tenth. So long as the people pay no regard to this diminution, the prices of things will continue the same as before, and the nation will be a loser of this tenth part of its treasure. For, if the currency of the light coins had been stopped; or, which is the same thing, if they had been restrained from passing otherwise than by weight; trade would have furnished the same quantity of tale in heavy money, as there is now of light; as it is manifest that in both cases, the nominal prices of things would be the same; and every one would receive for the same service or commodity, the same number of heavy coins in the one case, as he would of light coins in the other. Foreign exchange may make some difference here; but as the ballance of foreign trade is but small in comparison of fixed establishments at home, the difference upon that account will not be very considerable, till things come towards an extremity.

What hath been said of the national loss by the passing of light coins, will hold the very same, if bills be passed to a greater value than there is bullion in their stead. All private securities also are productive of equal evils, and frequently of more. To close this subject, I would observe here one essential difference there is between bills and light coins. Every one hath a right to call upon the issuer of a bill, to make it good in standard or lawful money. But he that hath light coins in his possession, is liable to bear the whole loss that there may be upon them, he took them in full consideration of a given sum, and if they prove deficient, he hath no body to blame but himself; and he merits the less compassion, as by his unwariness he was a sharer in, and a promoter of, a public evil.

Hoarding the precious metals, beneficial.

51. Gold and silver, for many reasons, are the fittest Edition: current; Page: [411] materials hitherto known for hoarding: They are durable; convertible without damage into any form; of great value in proportion to their bulk; and being the money of the world, they are the readiest exchange for all things, and what most readily and surely command all kinds of services. In the days of prosperity therefore, it would be prudent to lay up a kind of dead stock of the precious metals, against any emergencies that might happen. This stock must be kept out from the circulating cash; for an increase there, would not answer the end; and indeed an overflow of money in circulation, would spend it self, by draining up the sources that produced it. But people in general will not hoard up cash; all like to display their wealth, and to lay out their superfluities in some costly things. There seems then no method so effectual for the securing of a dead stock of treasure, in any country, as the encouraging the use of plate; by making it fashionable, preferable to more brittle or more perishable* commodities. Plate would be a national resource in case of emergency, and not the less so, because the precious metals had not as yet received the shape of coins. But this dead stock, whilst it remained such, would not be without its use; real wealth is ever accompanied with credit, and the influence of credit is frequently of the greatest moment. He that is ready armed, is less liable to be assailed; and silver and gold are keen and destructive weapons.

XIX.: Of Banks.

52. The several banks now subsisting in Europe, are of Edition: current; Page: [412] a modern date; but it is not my intention here to meddle either with their histories or particular constitutions. In great trading cities, a public bank that issued no bills without an equivalent in real treasure, whether in cash or bullion it matters not much, must needs, I think, be very convenient; as therein, merchants and others may safely deposite large sums, and thence again draw their money out at such times, and in such small parcels, as may suit with their several occasions. Such a bank may be also of some support to national credit, as the great sums known to be there locked up, would be ready upon an emergency. Bills of undoubted credit, are of great conveniency in large payments, and besides, save the wear of coin. But their extent should be restrained within due bounds: Should they increase much beyond the real stock of bullion that ought to be in their stead, they would prove mischievous two ways; by increasing in effect the quantity of circulating cash beyond its natural level; and by endangering, in a cloudy day, their own credit. But the profits to be made by lending, as I may say, of credit, are temptations too strong to be resisted; and it may be questioned, if any of the banks now subsisting, keep exactly within the above rule, tho’ some of them are formed upon the very model here laid down.

Banks instituted to prevent the abuses from bad coins, and from adulterations in the standards of monies.

53. The oldest bank now in Europe, I think, is that of Venice; and the chief, if not all, of the rest, were instituted in the last century, and much upon the same model. The bank of Amsterdam was established in 1607; that of Hamburgh in 1619, and that of Nuremburgh in 1621.*

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It appears, that the main if not the sole design of erecting these banks, was for the fixing a kind of an indelible standard of money; and thereby, to secure merchants and others from losses by bad coins, whether base or light; and from the dire effects of adulterating the standards of monies, either at home, or by the neighbouring states. These banks have answered admirably well the ends of their institution; and it were to be wished, that those ends had been more regarded in the establishment of our own. At the times of establishing the above banks, certain known coins of given weights and fineness, then current at certain rates in the respective places, were fixed upon as a perpetual standard, which from thenceforward were called bank money. As the current coins became afterwards diminished, either by legal adulterations at the mints, or by wear, or otherwise, a distinction was made between current and bank money, called aggio; and according to the real difference between these two sorts of money, the aggio amounted to more or less per cent. These wise establishments contributed greatly, towards stopping those baneful measures of adulterating the standards of money, that had been so frequently and so generally practised, in the dark preceding ages. The genius of trade breathes and requires a certain degree of security and freedom; and banks, such as we have been speaking of, can hardly ever take place under arbitrary governments.

Complaints of the want of money, whence.

54. The doctrine that we have been inculcating is so contrary to the common notions, that a want of money is a common cry. All the scramble is for money; few think they have enough, and many complain. This probably will be ever the case, nor would setting the mint to work cure the evil; and perhaps there is no where more want, Edition: current; Page: [414] than where there is most money. The beggar hath no property, nothing to exchange for money; and if he will not work, none would come to his share, if the common stock was ever so much increased; a greater plenty of money would be so far from being advantageous to him, that he would run the greater risk of starving, as bread and provisions of all sorts would then be so much the dearer. The farmer complains, and thinks that if there was more money in the country, his corn and cattle would fetch a better price: They would fetch more money, but not more of any thing else that he wants; and he would not be at all bettered by this higher price, unless so far as a sudden increase of money might ease him in his rent, by lessening the intrinsic value of the specific sum which he had agreed to pay. The same may be said to the merchant, shop-keeper, &c. while all commodities keep the same proportion of value in respect of one another, no one reaps any advantage by the raising of the price in respect of money, of his particular commodity. The complaints of particular persons arise, not from a deficiency of money or counters in circulation; but from their own want of property, want of skill, address, or opportunity of getting more money; or perhaps only for want of frugality, in spending more than their income or proper share. Anticipation is the grand source of distress and poverty, and is an evil that takes off much from the use of credit.

There is a limit to the vent and consumption of all sorts of commodities. If, from an uncommon prolific season, or because of a great demand at some late market, or from any other cause, as a new course of trade, &c. more of any specific commodity be produced, than what the usual or necessary consumption requires; the price of it will fall, and some will be left on the owner’s hands. Things growing out of fashion will frequently undergo the same fate; and in both cases, the manufacturers and dealers in those commodities will be complaining, the Edition: current; Page: [415] workmen will be turned adrift, and all imputing their losses and disappointments to the want of money in the country. But a greater plenty of money would not mend or better their condition; those who have it, will not be persuaded to purchase more of this or that commodity, than what their own wants, conveniency, or fancy prompt them to; and those who cannot make so much profit in their respective professions as formerly, must either turn themselves some other way, or be content to live more frugally. But all will not be wise in time; emulation in show is a powerful incentive; few can bear the thoughts of retrenching while it is yet time, and many finding themselves upon the decline, will grow desperate and precipitate themselves the faster. In all great towns, bankruptcies will happen, and perhaps no where more frequent than where wealth and money most abound. These evils, if upon the whole they be evils, are what the mines cannot cure, but are rather what have been introduced and fostered by them.

CHAPTER III.: Of Exchanges.

AS the accounts of particular persons living in remote places, are frequently liquidated and discharged by bills of exchange, without the intervention of money; and this being a subject of importance, and not generally understood, excepting by particular merchants, it may not be amiss in this place to give a brief account of the nature and use of exchanges.

I.: Bills of exchange, what.

55. It hath been before observed, that the chief end or Edition: current; Page: [416] object of commerce betwixt nations, is a mutual exchange of commodities one with another; and this may be, and frequently is, carried to a great extent without the intervention of money. But nevertheless the accounts are every where kept and stated in money; and it is almost unavoidable, but that in all great trading towns, there will be merchants, some having bullion owing to them in one place, some in another; some or other again that are indebted to all those places, or to some other place which is indebted to some one of those; and so, by a kind of chain, all trading countries become in some sort accomptants with each other.

To avoid the charge, trouble and hazard of transporting bullion backwards and forwards, for the supplying of these different occasions; the method of discharging debts, by bills of exchange was introduced. This was an excellent* Edition: current; Page: [417] invention; these bills being as subservient in foreign commerce, as coins are in home traffic; for by shifting of debts and credits from one place to another, they so far answer all the purposes of money. Bills drawn betwixt places in the same country, are called Inland bills; as those drawn between different countries, are called Foreign bills of exchange.

In all countries there are peculiar laws and customs, relating to this business of exchanges, which merchants and others immediately concerned should be well versed in. It is not my design here to meddle with the practical part of this useful commerce, but to explain its theory or principles as briefly as I can. A part of what I here propose is so very well done to my hands in the* British Merchant, that I cannot do better in this place, than giving the following extract from that useful work.

“Suppose the tenant in Wiltshire is to pay for rent 100l. to his landlord in London; and the woollen-draper in London is to pay the like sum to his clothier in Wiltshire: Both these debts may be paid, without transmitting one farthing from the one place to the other, by bills of exchange, or by exchanging one debtor for the other, thus: That is, the tenant may receive his landlord’s order to pay 100l. to the clothier in the country; and the woollen-draper may receive his clothier’s order to pay the like sum to the landlord in town. These two orders are properly call’d bills of exchange; the debts are exchanged by them, that is, the woollen-draper in town, instead of the tenant in the country, is become debtor to the landlord; and the tenant in the country, instead of the woollen-draper in town, is become debtor to the clothier: And when these orders are comply’d with, the two debts between London and the country are discharged, without sending one shilling in specie from the one to the other.”

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“In like manner, the warehouse-man in London is indebted in 100l. for stuffs, to the weaver in Norwich; and the linen-draper in Norwich is indebted in the like sum to the Hamborough merchant in London; both these debts may be paid by bills of exchange, or by the exchange of one debtor for the other, by placing one debtor in the other’s stead; that is, the warehouse-man may receive the order of his weaver, to pay 100l. to the Hamborough merchant; and the linen-draper may rereceive the order of the Hamborough merchant to pay the like sum to the weaver. These orders are bills of exchange; the debtor in one place, is changed for the debtor in the other; and thus both debts may be paid, without sending one single shilling in specie from the one city to the other.”

“If the debts reciprocally due between London and Norwich, are equal; whether they are 100l. or 10,000l. they may be all discharged in this manner by bills of exchange, without sending any money in specie from the one to the other.”

“But if the debts due from both places are not equal, then only the same quantity of debts on both sides, can be paid by bills of exchange. The ballance must be sent in money from the city, from whence the greatest sums are due. For example: If by the trade between London and Norwich, the former owes 10,000l. to the latter, and the latter no more than 9000l. to the former, it is manifest, that only the debts of 9000l. on each side can be discharg’d by bills of exchange; the ballance of 1000l. must be sent either from London or some other place indebted to London, to even the accompt between both the cities.”

“Let us suppose then, that to send and insure 1000l. in specie to Norwich, would cost 5l. or 10s. per Cent. which of the debtors in London would be willing to be Edition: current; Page: [419] at this charge? It is natural to believe that every one will endeavour to shift it off from himself, that every one will endeavour to pay his money by a bill of exchange; it is natural to believe that every one, rather than stand the cost and hazard of sending 100l. in specie, would pay 100l. 5s. in London for a debtor in Norwich, upon condition that the Norwich debtor should pay 100l. for him in that city. By which means the Norwich debtor would pay his debt of 100l. in London with less than that sum, while the London debtor would be obliged to give more than that sum for the payment of 100l. in Norwich. And if such for years together were the course of exchange between London and Norwich, there could be no question to which of the two cities a sum must be sent in specie to pay the ballance; that city undoubtedly pays the ballance that gives more than the par, that undoubtedly receives the ballance that gives less than the par for the bills of exchange. The course of exchange in this case would sufficiently decide, that the ballance of trade is on the side of that city that procures bills of exchange upon the most easy terms.”

Foreign exchanges further explained.

56. The above example taken between two English towns, explains the theory of exchanges very distinctly. And from hence it may be easily conceived, how the business of exchange may be carried on between any number of foreign towns. As, suppose that London is indebted to Paris in a sum of 100,000 ounces; Paris in a like sum to Hamborough; Hamborough in the same sum to Leghorn; Leghorn to Amsterdam; Amsterdam in the like sum to London. All these several debts may be cancelled and discharged by bills of exchange, without the transportation Edition: current; Page: [420] of one ounce of bullion or one penny of money. For instance, London discharges its debt at Paris, by a bill drawn upon Amsterdam; Amsterdam pays this bill by another drawn upon Leghorn; Leghorn again draws upon Hamborough; and lastly, by this rotation the debt from Paris to Hamborough becomes likewise discharged; and all the above named towns respectively are cleared of all accounts with each other. And the several debts above supposed being equal, the debts of the respective places will be discharged with the exchange at par, or without loss or gain to either. But as all the above towns may have mutual accounts, each with all the rest, and with many others; the real practice of exchange branches out into an immense labyrinth, not easily unfolded without much experience and application.

II.: Par of exchange, what.

57. The exchange is said to be at par or even, between two places, when a given sum paid in the one, will purchase a bill for the like or a sum of the same intrinsic value, to be received in the other. To avoid all ambiguity, the several accounts in the preceding article were stated in ounces. But as all countries keep and state their accounts in their own money, and most places have pecuculiar coins of their own; this makes it necessary that merchants, who are citizens of the world in a stricter sense than any other, should know exactly the true proportional values of the monies of all countries in respect of one another; that is, how much fine silver, or fine gold, if the accompts are kept in gold, are contained in the respective standards or monies of the several countries to or with which they traffic. These proportions being known and stated, the monies of the world are thereby in effect reduced Edition: current; Page: [421] to one common standard; and it may be readily seen, how much of the money of one country is an equivalent to, or contains an equal quantity of silver with, a given sum in another country.

The equality of silver, expressed by different denominations of coins, constitutes what is usually called the par of exchange betwixt any two countries. In stating this par, some particular specie or sum of the money in one country, is usually made the unit or integer, which always remains fixed and unalterable; and the proportion or equality is expressed in specie of a smaller value of the other country; and it is in these specie that the price is expressed as the exchange varies: As if the exchange betwixt London and Paris be reckoned in pence and ecu’s, and a French ecu contains as much silver as there is in 29¼ pence sterling; then the ecu is the unit, and 29¼ is the par of exchange betwixt London and Paris. In the mercantile language of exchange, that country wherein the unit is established, as in the above instance Paris in respect of London, is said to give the certain for the uncertain; as London again gives to Paris the uncertain for the certain. London gives the certain for the uncertain, that is, the pound sterling for their schillings, to Holland, Flanders and Hamborough; and to France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, London gives an uncertain number of pence, as the exchange governs, for a certain sum in their money.

Those who are not accustomed to this business, are apt to be in doubt whether the exchange rising, for instance, be in our favour or against us. This doubt may be always cleared by this short rule: The higher the exchange between any two countries is, the more it is in favour of that wherein the unit or invariable sum is established; and the lower, the more in its disfavour. Thus, the higher is the exchange betwixt London and Amsterdam, the more is it in favour of London, as then the more Dutch schillings are given for the pound sterling. On the contrary, the Edition: current; Page: [422] higher is the exchange between London and Paris, the more is it against London, as then the French ecu exchanges for a greater number of pence sterling.

III.: The true par of the exchange between different countries, difficult to be ascertained.

58. Those who have made the proper experiments, find that most of the foreign mints are very inaccurate; and this makes it difficult to ascertain what are the precise values in respect of one another, of the legal monies of different countries; and this is all that is usually aimed at by the calculators of the par of exchanges. But this knowledge, if it could be obtained with ever so much precision, would be of very little service to the merchant, as the state of the coins in most places now stands. What the merchant must regard, is, the amount in bullion of what he usually receives in consideration of a given sum of money.

If the ballance due from any country, be usually remitted in coins, and those coins be wore or otherwise diminished below the legal standard; this will make a seeming difference in the true par, and the exchange in appearance will be against that country when it is really even.

If in any country, gold be over-rated with respect to silver, this will naturally drain away its silver coin, and gold coins will become most current in large payments; In this case, the merchant will make gold his standard, and rate the exchange accordingly. This will create a difference from the nominal par of the exchange, which will be more or less, according as gold is more or less over-rated; and with this cause of over-rating gold, the lightness of the coins both gold and silver will also cooperate, in proportion to the quantities of them exported; Edition: current; Page: [423] from both which causes the difference between the true and nominal par may be very considerable.

These observations may serve to dispel the gloomy apprehensions which some are apt to entertain, from the course of exchange in general appearing so much against England; and they also plainly shew that the course of exchange betwixt different countries, is not so critical and exact a rule for measuring the ballance of trade, as is commonly imagined; since it is hardly possible to ascertain what is the true par. But the exportation of bullion, is a certain sign of the exchange being really in favour of that country to which it is sent; and the variations in the exchanges, point also the variations in the ballance of trade; though, in general, the rate of the exchange at a particular time, is scarce sufficient for determining on which side the ballance then turns.

IV.: Course of exchange, what.

59. The price at a certain time and place, of bills of exchange for given sums drawn upon another place, is called the course of exchange between those two places at that time; and this is frequently different from the par, and more or less than an equivalent in fine silver or fine gold is to be paid in one place, for a given sum to be received in the other. Thus, supposing the par of exchange betwixt London and Paris to be 29¼ pence sterling for a French ecu; it might happen at one time that a bill upon Paris might be purchased at London, at the rate of 28 pence for an ecu; and that at another time no bill could be had under 30½ or 31 pence.

As the ballance of accounts between the several trading nations of the world, must be continually varying, and frequently shifting to different sides; so the course of exchange will be ever fluctuating, and it will be more advantageous to make remittances through certain channels Edition: current; Page: [424] at one time, and by different ways at another. But as it would be difficult for the gross body of merchants to unravel these intricate clues, and to find out and supply each other’s wants and conveniences; particular persons apply themselves to this business, and drawing and remitting by bills of exchange is it self a distinct trade. The remitter* or trader in bills of exchange, must have a real stock or credit in the several places with which he corresponds; for bills, strictly speaking, pay no debts; they only transfer credit from one place to another; and whenever the demand for bills to one place, are greater than the remitters can answer by their credit or stock in other places, they must then transport as much bullion as will satisfy their correspondents. But the principal skill of a remitter consists in finding where and when bullion will fetch most, or where credit or bills are to be had cheapest, and where and when to transfer this credit to most advantage. For bills of exchange being substitutes for bullion, are themselves as much a commodity as bullion, or any thing else; and the dealers in them make their profits in the very same way that other merchants do, by observing the advantages of different markets.

V.: Price of bullion, how influenced.

60. A demand for bills upon a particular place, raises their prices, as in other cases; and when these prices have got up to a certain degree above par, the price of bullion will be also advanced above the standard of the country. For, dearness of bills causes a demand for bullion to be exported, and in proportion of the demand to the stock in Edition: current; Page: [425] the market, the price of bullion will be raised. To take advantages when and wherever they offer, is the object and business of commerce. Again, by transporting of bullion the price of bills will be lowered; that again will gradually lower the price of bullion, until the prices of each are again brought to a par. The price of bills may be reduced below par; but bullion can never be lower than the established standard, the mint being always open to receive it at the standard or mint price.

VI.: National interest, how influenced by the course of exchange.

61. It seems, upon the first view of the thing, that a country which oweth a ballance to another, must pay a præmium upon all the bills that pass between them. As, supposing that in the accounts betwixt England and Holland, we owe the Dutch an 100,000 ounces; and that they owe us 90,000 ounces; and supposing also that this ballance of 10,000 ounces which we owe to them, brings the exchange against us one per cent. It seems, I say, as if we must pay this one per cent. not merely upon the ballance of 10,000, but upon the whole 100,000; and on the other hand, that we shall receive short from them one per cent. upon the whole 90,000 which they owed us; that is, that we must pay the Dutch 101,000, whilst they will discharge their debt to us with 89,100; so that our whole loss, upon the above suppositions, amounts to 1,900. This at first view seems to be the exact state of the case; but upon examining this matter a little closer, I think, it will appear that the loss to England by the exchange, is ordinarily no more than what falls upon the ballance of 10,000. Suppose the whole account at London to stand betwixt two persons, both Englishmen; B at London oweth D at Amsterdam an 100,000; C another Dutchman at Amsterdam oweth A at London 90,000. B pays to A Edition: current; Page: [426] 91,000 for a bill upon C to pay D 90,000; by this transaction the 90,000 Dutch debt at London is quite cleared, and what B lost was gained by A. If the affair had been transacted at Amsterdam, the gain would have fallen to the share of the debtor C, and the loss on the creditor D; for C with 89,100 would have purchased of D a bill for 90,000 upon B. But although affairs of this kind are always transacted between several persons, yet at last it comes to the same thing; and the whole gains, so far as bills will reach in liquidating the accounts, falls to the creditors on one side of the water, and to the debtors on the other. In the case above supposed, if some of the Dutch creditors reside at London, or some of the English creditors at Amsterdam, this will turn the scale to the prejudice of England. These observations plainly shew, that any calculations of national profit or loss from the course of exchange, must needs be very precarious. Yet is it almost certain that by these transactions, that country will sustain some loss against which the exchange bears; and there is no other way of bringing the ballance even, but by the exportation of goods or bullion.

VII.: The course of exchange influenced by various causes.

62. A demand for bills upon a particular place, may proceed from various causes; but these are chiefly reducible to the ballance of trade upon the whole, or between particular places. Bullion, like other commodities, traverses through different climes, and is ever of least value where it most abounds. Spain and Portugal being the chief sources from whence this commodity is drawn to the rest of Europe, it is there cheapest and their chief staple; and hence, in the usual phrase, the ballance of trade and the course of exchange will be every where against them. This is natural, and is no more to their prejudice, than it would be to the English to have the ballance against them, Edition: current; Page: [427] if the money of Europe was tin; as would then be the case, because we have the most considerable mines of that metal. In like manner, and for the same cause, it is natural that the ballance of trade, and with it the course of exchange, between the more southern and the northern parts of Europe, should be in favour of the latter; and this in general is the matter of fact.

The business of exchange between England and Germany, and the northern countries is chiefly transacted at London and Amsterdam. The course of exchange then between us and Holland, indicates how the state of accounts stands between us and all those countries in general, but not in respect of any one in particular. The ballance of our trade to Holland may be greatly in our favour, and yet the exchange to Amsterdam be generally against us; both which are supposed to be matters of fact. Our debt to foreigners operates in the same manner as a ballance of trade against us, to the whole amount of the dividends owing to them; and the same is true as to all foreign subsidies. If those dividends paid to foreigners contribute to enlarge our manufacturies and exports, our loss is thereby alleviated; but if they do not, that is, if our commerce remains in statu quo, we are losers to their whole amount, and that equally whether their produce is exported in goods or bullion; if they are sent in goods, they prevent so much bullion from coming to us. This is an affecting consideration, and the sources of this country must be prodigious great to be enabled to sustain so great a burden. But let us not be too secure, and neglect a matter of so much importance.

VIII.: Bullion is not exported till the exchange is at a certain limit from par.

63. Merchants always prefer bills of exchange, whilst they are to be had at moderate rates, before bullion or Edition: current; Page: [428] cash, which with them is the same thing; and bullion is never transported from one place to another, till the exchange is at a certain distance from par; and this distance is again limited by the expence of transporting bullion, wherein is included, besides the freight, commission and insurance. And hence, the whole fluctuation in the course of exchange is very different between different places. Betwixt London and Paris, the exchange must vary about ¾ per cent. from par, before bullion, at least in any quantity, will be sent from either side. The freight of bullion from London to Calais is about ¼ per cent. from thence to Paris about ⅛, insurance in the whole to Paris about ⅜, which make altogether ¾ per cent.; and so much at least the exchange must be against us, before any bullion will be sent from London to Paris; and it must be as much in our favour, before any bullion will be brought hither from thence. By this reckoning, the exchange betwixt London and Paris may vary 1½ per cent. before gold or silver will move towards either side. To Amsterdam, the expence of transporting bullion from London, is less than to Paris; to some other places, this expence is greater, and accordingly the exchange varies less or more between different countries; because, as hath been before observed, the transportation of bullion keeps the course of exchange within a certain limit.

Bills are frequently drawn, and bullion carried, between two places that are even in their accounts, to pay debts in a third place. If the exchange betwixt Calais and Paris be against Calais, and it be at par directly between Calais, London and Paris; a merchant at Calais will pay his debts at Paris by a bill upon London: And if the exchange betwixt him and Paris and betwixt London and Paris will permit, our Calais merchant will purchase a London bill by sending gold thither, instead of sending it directly to Paris. It is in finding and taking the Edition: current; Page: [429] advantages of the several markets, that the mystery of this traffic by exchange doth principally consist.

This short account may suffice to explain the general theory of exchanges; a theory curious in it self, and the practical part is extreamly useful for the purposes of foreign commerce. But to meddle with that, doth not fall within the compass of my design.

The End of the First Part.
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wherein is shewed,

That the established Standard of MONEY should not be violated or altered, under any pretence whatsoever.


Printed: Sold by G. Hawkins at Milton’s Head, by the Middle Temple-Gate, in Fleet-street.


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One of the Lords of the Treasury, Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, and one of the Lords of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy-Council.


THE subject of the following sheets, peculiarly requires and deserves the protection of an able and honest patron; for, important as it is to the public welfare, few men perfectly understand it, and too many have industriously perplexed it, some perhaps, for private views of their own.

The free access which your friendship hath allowed me, hath given me many opportunities of observing the close application you are always ready to give to every subject, in which the interest of your country is concerned; and of admiring the happy talent you possess of explaining those which are of the most intricate nature, with the greatest clearness, strength, and precision.

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Permit me therefore, Sir, to inscribe the following tract to you, as a token of the affection I bear to your private as well as of the respect I pay to your public character.

I am,
Your most faithful
and obedient servant,
The Author.
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IN the preceding part of this essay, I have endeavoured to explain the theory and nature of money, in such a manner, as to leave no room for any doubts or difficulties concerning it. But notwithstanding all my care, I do not expect universal approbation: Such are the infinite diversities and warpings of the human mind; and such are the inadvertencies, perversenesses and prejudices of many, that unanimity in any one point is hardly to be expected. And unfortunately, money is a subject wherein men in general have given themselves the least trouble of enquiry; and yet a subject upon which they think themselves best qualified and best entitled to decide: A subject upon which, more jejune, incoherent and dangerous positions have been held, and more glaring absurdities advanced, than, perhaps, upon any other whatsoever. But truth is mighty; and to as many as can think freely for themselves, and have considered what I have already laid before them, I hope that what is here offered will appear evident and incontestible.

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The design of this second part is a very arduous and important one: It is to defend and preserve every man’s right and property; to preserve unsullied the national faith, honour and credit; to preserve a reign hitherto distinguished by equal laws and equal administration of justice, from a blot that would remain to all posterity: To vindicate and defend all these, I say, from an assassination in the dark, by a debasement of the long established standard of property. Some of our opponents in this question, no doubt, mean well; and persist in their errors for want of understanding the subject, and that perhaps too, only from their not having duly considered it. Others, it is to be feared, seek only their own private gain; in competition with which, it is not to be expected that with such men, either the dishonour or distresses of their country, should have much weight.

Towards the close of the last century, this country swarmed with projectors, who were for debasing the standard of money. These were fully answered, if they would have taken an answer, by the great Mr. Locke, as to the point then in debate. The very ill state of our coin at that time, might mislead many well meaning people into wrong notions, as to the means of redressing that great evil, which the nation then labour’d under: But, after what was then said and done, to have the same false doctrine maintained Edition: current; Page: [437] and propagated at this day, is truly matter of astonishment.

Mr. Locke seems to have been called to this work, before he had considered the subject at large; and although he was perfectly right as to the main point then in debate; yet it must be owned that his tracts upon this subject, though voluminous, if considered as a system of the theory of money, are very deficient and imperfect, if not in some places bordering upon mistakes. It is with much reluctance, but it is with a very honest design, that I say thus much to the disparagement of this truly eminent author: It is to guard the reader against trusting too far to a guide, that would scarce be able to conduct him clear of many obstacles that might fall in his way.

I have endeavoured to supply this defect, to remove all those difficulties which seem to have misled people upon this delicate, complex, and important subject, and to frame the whole structure upon self-evident principles. It should not be here concealed that we have on our side of the question, some of the most distinguished names that this or any other country hath produced: No less than the great Lord Burleigh, Lord Halifax, Lord Sommers, Sir Thomas Rowe, Mr. Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Folkes, Esq.; &c. Some of these are quoted, in their own words, in the first ensuing chapter; and it is but fair and Edition: current; Page: [438] equitable, that those who will not or cannot think for themselves, should pay a due regard to such venerable and great authorities.

Before I conclude, I ought in justice to acquaint the reader, that this tract was not undertaken from any apprehension, that our government now hath or is likely to have any design of altering our standard; it is rather with a view to the quiet of those in power from the importunities of wrong-headed politicians, as well as to the safety of the whole from the intrigues of wily projectors.

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  • CHAP. I.
    • A Summary account of all the alterations that have been made in our standard of money, from the Norman conquest to the present time; with the opinions of some very eminent men, touching any alteration in the standard of money ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... page 13 to 20
    • Extracts from Martin Folkes, Esq., his Table of English silver coins, on the debasing of the money in Edward VI. his time: Also extracts from two sermons preached before the King, by the truly excellent prelate bishop Latimer, on the same subject ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 14 to 18
    • Observations on what was done by Q. Mary and Q. Elizabeth in relation to the standard ... ... ... ... ... ... 18
    • Reference to an excellent speech relative to this subject, made at the council table in July 1640, by Sir Thomas Rowe, kt., (Sir Robert Cotton) . . . . . . . . . . 19
    • The several ways by which the standard of money might be debased ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 20 to 22
  • CHAP. II.
    • THE established standard of money, should not be violated or altered, under any pretence whatsoever ... ... ... ... 22
    • Standard of all sorts of measure, necessary ... 22 to 24
    • Established standards should be inviolably kept, and more especially that of money ... ... ... ... ... 24 to 25
    • Observations on our laws relating to the standard of money 25 to 27Edition: current; Page: [440]
    • The effects of debasing the standard of money, more particularly explained; and who they are that would be the principal sufferers by such a scheme ... ... ... ... ... 27 to 34
    • Trade requires, and in effect will have, an indelible standard of money ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 27 to 29
    • Debasing the standard of money—
    • Would prove very injurious to the government 29 to 31
    • Would invalidate all preceding contracts; and yet by its affecting credit, might prove injurious to debtors, and all in distressed circumstances ... ... ... ... ... 31 to 32
    • Would be mostly injurious to those who live on their own established properties ... ... ... ... ... ... 32
    • Would be productive of many evils that could not be remedied even by a contrary law ... ... ... ... 33
    • Would occasion culling, and transporting of the old coins at an undervalue ... ... ... ... ... ... 33
    • Causes of debasing the standard of money, enquired into; and who, most probably, were the promoters of that pernicious scheme ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 34 to 36
    • The various pretences for debasing the standard of money, stated ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 36 to 38
    • Why coin and bullion of the same metal and fineness, are not always of the same value, or will not exchange in equal quantities one for the other ... ... ... ... ... 38
    • Bullion can never be lower, but may be frequently higher, than mint-price ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 39 to 41
    • The not rating gold and silver coins in a due proportion to each other, as they are at a medium in the neighbouring countries, will keep that metal which is lowest rated from coming into the mint... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 41 to 44
    • Difference between money and mere bullion, farther illustrated ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 44 to 45
    • The various pretences for debasing the standard of money, are all answered under the several heads following.
    • Coinages should in no wise be forced ... ... ... ... 46
    • Purchasing bullion at an advanced rate for coining, a weak and insignificant measure ... ... ... ... ... 46 to 48
    • Curtailing the standard, will not lengthen out the coin; but, on the contrary, will occasion a greater scarcity in common currency ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48 to 49
    • Debasing the standard would not prevent coins from being melted, or exported ... ... ... ... ... ... 49 to 50Edition: current; Page: [441]
    • Foreign states debasing their coins, not a reason for the debasing of ours ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 50 to 52
    • The lightness of our coins not a reason for altering the standard ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 52 to 53
    • The effects of diminishing coins by law, and what they suffer in private hands, very different. Currency by tale, regards chiefly the standard ... ... ... ... ... ... 53 to 55
    • Any infringement of the standard of money, however small, would be proportionably injurious ... ... ... ... 55
    • All the species of coins made of the same metal, should be rated in a just proportion to each other ... ... ... 55 to 57
    • Silver only, and not Gold, is the standard of our money; and not the less so, because gold coins have a fixed rate by law ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 57 to 60
    • Gold being made a standard by merchants, doth not make gold to be the national standard ... ... ... ... ... 61 to 64
    • Lowering the price of gold would be of no loss to the nation; and the lowering it directly, by lessening its rate, would be of less loss to individuals than if the same was done indirectly, by debasing the silver or standard of money ... 64 to 67
    • The nation being in debt to foreigners, is not a reason for altering the standard ... ... ... ... ... ... 68 to 70
    • Former transactions have no relation to the present value of money ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 70 to 73
    • Of debasing or raising the nominal values of coins in general ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73 to 74
    • An extract out of a late book concerning the amazing effects of debasing the coins in France ... ... ... ... 74 to 76
    • Answered ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 77 to 78
    • The several species of coins made of the same metal, should be all of the same fineness ... ... ... ... ... 78 to 79
    • Reference to Mr. Rice Vaughan concerning base coins 79
    • Postscript, of standard measures ... ... ... 80 to the end.
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CHAPTER I.: A summary account of all the alterations that have been made in our standard of money, from the Norman conquest to the present time, with the opinions of some very eminent men upon those kinds of measures.

THAT the reader may comprehend at one view, the several alterations that have been made in our money standard, ever since the Norman conquest; I have inserted the following table, computed to my hand by the late learned Martin Folkes, Esq.; and printed in his curious Table of English silver coins, &c. p. 142; to which I have added the proportion which, in our coins, fine gold bore to fine silver, at the respective times therein specified, fine silver being reckoned unity or 1.

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1. A Table shewing at one view, the several alterations that have been made in the standard and weight of our silver money, from the Norman conquest to this time (1758).

Years of the kings reign, and ad Fineness of the silver Weight of 20 sh. in tale. Troy wt. Value in present money. Proportion. Fine gold to fine silver.
oz. dwts. oz. dwts. gr. £ s. d.
*N. B. The Saxon or Tower pound, which was then the common weight, and continued to be the money weight till the 18th year of Henry VIII. was but 11 oz. 5 dwt. troy, so that 20 shillings in tale was then exactly a pound in weight.
Conquest 1066 11 2 11* 5 2 18 2.906 } No gold.
28 Edw. I. 1300 11 2 5 2 17 5 2.871
18 Edw. III. 1344 10 3 0 2 12 2.622 12.583
20 Edw. III. 1346 10 2 11 8 2.583 11.571
27 Edw. III. 1353 9 2 6 6 2.325 11.158
13 Hen. IV. 1412 7 10 1 18 9 1.937
4 Edw. IV. 1464 6 1 11 1. 55 10.331
18 Hen. VIII. 1527 5 6 16 1 7 1.378 11.267
34 Hen. VIII. 1543 10 5 1 3 1.163 10.435
36 Hen. VIII. 1545 6 5 13 11½ 0.698 6.818
37 Hen. VIII. 1546 4 5 9 0.466 5.
3 Edw. VI. 1549 6 3 6 16 9 0.466 5.151
5 Edw. VI. 1551 3 3 6 16 4 0.232 2.011
6 Edw. VI. 1552 11 1 4 1 0 1.028 11. 05
1 Mary 1553 11 4 1 0 1.024 11. 05
2 Eliz. 1560 11 2 4 1 0 8 1.033 11. 1
43 Eliz. 1601 11 2 3 17 10 1 1. 10.005

Observations on the foregoing Table.

2. From the above table, it appears that the standard of money remained unaltered here, for the space of 234 years after the conquest; during which period, a pound in money was also a pound in weight. After the old standard had been once broke upon, it was again and again curtailed; however, they observed some measure, and the old standard of fineness was preserved, till the 34 Hen. VIII. This king afterwards reduced the standard to less Edition: current; Page: [445] than one third of what it had been for 63 years, before he began to tamper with it; and in the fifth year of the reign of his son young king Edward, the money standard was reduced to less than one fourth of what it is at present; and they were so extravagant as to raise up silver at the mint to about half the value of gold. What were the immediate effects of those wild measures, historians have not been particular in informing us; but they must needs have been calamitous in a thousand respects: That the evils were very grievous, may be conjectured from the bold step taken the very next year, of increasing at once the standard betwixt four and five times: A measure so extraordinary, that it must have been attended with infinite disorders, if the people in their dealings, during that short dark period of debasing the money, had not endeavoured to have kept to the standard, as it was in the preceding times. Besides the unavoidable evil of hoarding, or transporting of the old coins at under rates, and more especially the gold ones, to the very great loss of the nation; it appears by the following proclamation, that the people either refused to bring their goods to market, or not to sell them but at very high rates.

“3.* In 1550, Sept. 22. A proclamation was set forth, by which it was commanded, 1. That no kind of victual, no wax, tallow, candles, nor no such thing should be carried over, except to Calais, putting in sureties to go thither. 2. That no man should buy or sell the self-same things again, except broakers, who should not have more than ten quarters of grain at once. 3. That all parties should divide themselves into hundreds, rapes, and wapentakes, to look in their quarters what superfluous corn were in every barn, and appoint Edition: current; Page: [446] it to be sold at a reasonable price. Also that one of them must be in every market to see the corn brought. Furthermore, whoever shipped over any thing aforesaid, to the parts beyond sea, or Scotland, after eight days following the publication of the proclamation, should forfeit his ship, and the ware therein, half to the lord of the franchize, and half to the finder thereof; whoso bought to sell again after the day aforesaid, should forfeit all his goods, farms, and leases, to the use, one half of the finder, the other of the king; who so brought not in corn to market as he was appointed, should forfeit 10l. except the purveyors took it up, or it were sold to his neighbours.” King’s Journal.

“It further appears also, by the king’s journal,* that on the 19th of October, 1550, prices had been set of all kind of grains, butter, cheese, and poultry ware, by a proclamation;” and that, on the 20th of the following November, “there had been letters sent down to the gentlemen of every shire, for the observation of the last proclamation concerning corn, because there came none to the markets, commanding them to punish the offenders:” But that upon letters written back by the same, “the second proclamation had been abolished, on the 29th of the same month.”

To these authorities collected by this learned gentleman, I beg leave to add some of his sentiments upon this subject, in his own words.

“4. All ways had before this been tried, and all means had been found ineffectual, for the keeping up the value, and supporting the currency of the base money:—” “It was now found by experience that gold and silver had, by the common consent of all people throughout Edition: current; Page: [447] the civilized parts of the world, acquired certain real and proper values: and that in such a nation as this, not destitute even then of all commerce with strangers, it was impossible that the arbitrary value set upon pieces of base metal could, for any considerable time, supply the want of the silver that used to be contained in the pieces of the same denominations. Whatever names were given to those pieces of base metal, or by whatever authority their imaginary value was supported; the people would either not bring their provisions at all to the markets, to exchange them for such money, or would there sell them at much higher rates than before: as the nominal sums they received for their goods, would not now purchase the same conveniencies elsewhere, as the same nominal sums of better money had formerly done. It was therefore judged absolutely necessary to reform and to amend the coin; the affair was very seriously considered, and the work was undertaken and carried on, with so much diligence and vigour, that within a few months a reformation of the money was brought about, truly memorable, and no less remarkable than the former abuses of it had been: for the new pieces that were coined before the end of this year 1551, were of more than four times the value of those of the same denominations, that had been coined in the former months of the same.*

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5. The mischiefs occasioned by these base coins could not be fully subdued till queen Elizabeth’s time; and the conquering of that monster, as she called it, was deemed by that illustrious queen, as one of the most glorious acts of her reign. Queen Mary settled the standard at 11 oz. fine, and 60 shillings were cut out of the pound troy. Queen Elizabeth, in her second year brought the standard into its antient fineness of 11 oz. 2 dwts. and cut as before, just 60 shillings out of the pound troy. But in the 43rd year of her reign, the standard was debased once more, by cutting the said pound into 62 shillings.

6. The above last alteration remains yet to be regretted, as now none of our coins are aliquot or even parts of our Edition: current; Page: [449] weights. For about 50 years before, whilst the pound weight troy of silver, was cut into 60 shillings; the money pound being exactly 4 ounces, the crown-piece was one ounce, the shilling 4 dwts. and the penny 8 grains. Had this standard been continued, every one would have readily known, how much silver each piece of money ought to contain; and would naturally have led people to compare coins