Page images
PDF
EPUB

reason whereof is plain, viz. Because the mint, giving weighty money for bullion, can give so much and no more for silver than it is coined at, which is 5s. 2d. the ounce, the public paying all the odds, that is between coined and uncoined silver, which is the manufacture of coinage: but the banker, or returner of money, having use for silver beyond sea, where he can make his profit of it by answering bills of exchange, which he sells dear, must either send our money in specie, or melt down our coin to transport, or else with it buy bullion.

The sending our money in specie, or melting it down, has some hazard, and therefore, if he could have bullion for 5s. 2d. per ounce, or a little dearer, it is like he would always rather choose to exchange corn for bullion, with some little loss, rather than run the risque of melting it down for exportation.

But this would scarce make him pay 2d. in the crown, which is almost three and an half per cent. if there were not something more in it, than barely the risque of melting, or exportation; and that is the lightness of the greatest part of our current coin.

For example, N. has given bills for thirty thousand pounds sterling in Flanders, and so has need of ten thousand weight of silver to be transported thither; he has thirty thousand pounds sterling by him in ready money, whereof five thousand pounds is weighty milled money; what shall hinder him then from throwing that into his meltingpot, and so reducing it to bullion, to be transported ? But what shall he do for the other twenty-five thousand pounds, which, though he has by him, is yet clipped and light money, that is at least twenty per cent. lighter than the standard ? If he transports or melts down this, there is so much clear loss to him; it is therefore more advantage for him to buy bullion at 5s. 4d. the ounce with that light money, than to transport, or melt it down; wherein, though the seller of the bullion has less weight in silver than he parts with, yet he finds his account, as much as if he received it in weighty coin, whilst a clipped crown-piece, or shilling, passes as well in payment for any commodity here in Eng, . land as a milled one. Thus our mint is kept from coining

land

But this paper, For encouraging the coining, &c. would fain have the inill at work, though there be no grist to be had, unless you grind over again what is ground already, and pay toll for it a second time: a proposition fit only for the miller himself to make; for the meanest housewife in the country would laugh at it, as soon as proposed. However, the author pleases himself, and thinks he has a good argument to make it pass, viz. because the toll to be paid for it will not amount to three hundred and thirty thousand pounds, as is said in a late treatise about raising the value of money, p. 170. for, he says that writer is mistaken, in saying that “ 3s. and 6d. is allowed at the mint for the

coinage of every pound troy,” whereas there is but sixteen-pence halfpenny there allowed for the same; which sixteen-pence halfpenny being above one-third of 3s. 6d. it follows by his own computation, that the new coining our money will cost the nation above one hundred and ten thousand pounds; a small sum in this our pan ŷ of riches, to be laid out for the purchasing these following inconveniencies, without any the least advantage.

1. A loss to the king of one thirtieth (if you coin your money 2d. per crown, one twentieth, if you coin your money 3d. per crown lighter) of all his standing revenue.

2. A like loss of one twentieth, or one thirtieth, in all rents that are settled; for these have, during the term, the nature of rent-sec: but five per cent. loss in a man's income he thinks so little, it will not be per

ceived.

3. Trouble to merchants in their trade. These inconveniencies he is forced to allow. He might have said disorder to all people in their trade, though he says it will be but a little trouble to merchants, and without any real damage to trade. The author would have done well to have made out this, and a great many other assertions in that paper; but saying is much easier, if that may pass for proof .

Indeed

[ocr errors]

Indeed he has, by a short way, answered the book above-mentioned, in the conclusion of his paper, in these words: “ And he that so grossly mistakes in so material points of what he would assert

, it is plain is "! not free from mistakes.” It does not appear that he, who published that book, ever thought himself free from mistakes; but he, that mistakes in two material points, may be in the right in two others, and those will still need an answer. But one of these material points will, I think, by what is already said, appear not to be a mistake; and for any thing the author of the paper hath said, or can say, it will always be true, that an ounce of silver coined, or not coined, is, and eternally will be, of equal value to any other ounce of silver. As to any other mistake, concerning the rate of coinage, it is like he had his information from some disinterested person, whom he thought worthy of credit. And whether it be 3s. 6d. as he was told, or only sixteen-pence halfpenny per pound troy, as the paper says, whether the reader will believe the one or the other, or think it worth his more exact inquiry, this is certain, the kingdom ought not to be at that, or any other charge, where there is no advantage, as there will be none in this proposed coinage, but quite the contrary.

In his answer to

Object. 1. He says from Edw. III. “Silver has from “ time to time (as it grew in esteem) been by degrees “ raised in all mints.” If an ounce of silver now not exchanging, or paying for what one-tenth of an ounce would have purchased in Edw. IIId's time, and so being ten times less worth now, than it was then, be growing in esteem, this author is in the right; else silver has not, since Edw. IIId's reign, from time to time grown in esteem. Be that as it will, he assigns a wrong cause of raising of silver, as he calls it, in our mint. For if growing thus in request, i. e. by lessening its value, had been the reason of altering our money, this change of coin, or raising the denomination of silver in ours, and other mints, ought to have been greater by much, since Heury VII's time, than it was between that and Edward's IIld's; because the great change of the value

of

of silver has been made, by the plenty of it poured into this part of the world from the West-Indies, not discovered till Henry VII's reign. So that I think I may say, that the value of silver from Edward III. to Henry VÌI. changed not one-tenth, but from Henry VII. till now it changed above seven tenths; and yet, money having been raised in our mint two thirds since Edward IIld's time, the far greater part of the raising of it, was before Henry VII's time, and a very small part of it sincet

; so that the cause, insinuated by our author, it is evident, was not the cause of lessening our coin so often, whatever it was: and it is possible there wanted not men of projects in those days, who for private ends, by wrong suggestions, and false reasonings, covered with mysterious terms, led those into inistakes, who had not the time and will nicely to examine; though a crown-piece three times as big as one of ours now, might, for its size alone, deserve to be reformed.

To Object. 2. he says, “ The raising the denomination “ of money in Spain and Portugal, was making it go for

more when coined, than its true value.”

This, I say, is impossible, and desire the author ta prove it. It did in Spain and Portugal, just what it will do here and every-where; it made not the silver coined go for more than its value, in all things to be bought, but just so much as the denomination was raised, just so much the less of commodity had the buyer in exchange for it: as it would be here, if you should coin six-pences into shillings; if any one went to market with this new money, he would find that, whereas he had a bushel of wheat last week for eight shillings of the former coin, he would have now but half a bushel for eight of the new shillings, when the same denomination had but half the quantity of silver. Indeed those, who were to receive money upon former contracts, would be defrauded of half their due, receiving, in their full tale of any denomination contracted for, but half the silver they should have; the cheat whereof they would find, when they went to market with their new money. For this I have above proved, that oue ounce of silver is, and eternally will be, equal in value to another ounce

of

of silver; and all that can possibly put a difference between them, is only the different value of the workmanship, bestowed on one more than another, which in coinage our author tells in this paper is but sixteen-pence halfpenny per pound troy. I demand therefore, of our author, to show that any sort of coinage, or, as he calls it, raising of money, can raise the value of coined silver, or make it go for more than uncoined, bating the charge of coinage; unless it be to those who, being to receive money upon former contracts, will, by receiving the tale agreed for, receive less than they should of silver, and so be defrauded of what they really contracted for.

What effect such a raising of their money had in one particular, I will tell our author. In Portugal they count their money by reys, a very small, or rather imaginary coin, just as if we here should count all our sums by farthings. It pleased the government, possibly being told that it would raise the value of their money, to raise in denomination the several species, and make them for a greater (let us suppose double the) number of

reys

than formerly. What was the consequence? It not only confounded the property of the subject, and disturbed affairs to no purpose; but treaties of commerce having settled the rates of the customs at so many reys on the several commodities, the king immediately lost in the value half his customs. The same that in proportion will happen in the settled revenue of the crown here, upon the proposed change.

For though our author in these words, “ whereas all “ now desired by this act is to keep silver, when coined, “ of the same value it was before,” would insinuate, that this raising the denomination, or lessening our coin, as is proposed, will do no such thing; yet it is demonstration, that when our coin is lessened 3d. in 5s. the king will receive five per cent. less in value in his customs, excise, and all his settled revenue, and so proportionably, as the quantity of silver, in every species of our coin, shall be made less than now it is coined in those of the same denomination.

But,

go

« PreviousContinue »