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Indeed, when your debts beyond sea, to answer the over-balance of foreign importations, call for your money, it is certain the heavy money, which has the full standard weight, will be melted down and carried away; because foreigners value not your stamp or denomination, but your silver.
He would do well to tell us what he means by "the great value of silver in this part of the world." For he speaks of it as a cause that draws away our money more now than formerly, or else it might as well have been omitted as mentioned in this place: and if he mean, by this part of the world, England; it is scarce sense to say, that the great value of silver in England should draw silver out of England. If he means the neighbouring countries to England, he should have said it, and not doubtfully this part of the world. But let him, by this part of the world, mean what he will, I dare say every one will agree, that silver is not more valued in this than any other part of the world, nor in this age more than in our grandfathers' days.
I am sorry, if it be true, what he tells us, That "more money is to be got by exportation of silver than by any other thing that can be sent." This is an evidence that "we bring home more goods than we export." For till that happens, and has brought us in debt beyond sea, silver will not be exported; but the overplus of people's gain being generally laid up in silver, it will be brought home in silver; and so our people will value it as much as any other, in this part of the world.
The truth of the case in short is this. Whenever we, by a losing trade, contract debts with our neighbours, they will put a great value on our silver, and "more money will be got by transporting silver than any thing can be sent:" which comes about thus: Suppose that by an over-balance of their trade (whether by a sale of pepper, spices, and other East India commodities, it matters not) we have received great quantities of goods, within these two or three months from Holland, and sent but little thither; so that the accounts balanced between the inhabitants of England and the
United Provinces, we of England were a million in their debt: what would follow from hence? This; That these Dutch creditors, desiring to have what is due to them, give orders to their factors and correspondents here, to return it to them. For inquiring as we do, what are the effects of an over-balance of trade, we must not suppose they invest their debts in commodities, and return their effects that way. A million then being to be returned from England to Holland in money, every one seeks bills of exchange; but Englishmen not having debts in Holland to answer this million, or any the least part of it, bills are not to be got. This presently makes the exchange very high: upon which the bankers, &c. who have the command of great quantities of money and bullion, send that away to Holland in specie, and so take money here to pay it again there, upon their bills, at such a rate of exchange as gives them five, ten, fifteen, &c. per cent. profit: and thus sometimes a 5s. piece of our milled money may truly be said to be worth 5s. 3d. 4d. 6d. 9d. in Holland. And if this be "the great value of silver in this part of the world," I easily grant it him. But this great value is to be remedied, not by the alteration of our mint, but by the regulation and balance of our trade. For be your coin what it will, our neighbours, if they over-balance ùs in trade, will not only have a great value for our silver, but get it too; and there will be "more to be got by exporting silver to them than by any other thing can be sent."
Rem. "The alterations of the coins in Spain and Portugal are no way at all like this. For there they altered in denomination near half, to deceive those they paid, with paying those, to whom they owed one ounce of silver, but half an ounce for it. But in the alteration here designed, to whoever an ounce of silver was owing, an ounce will be paid in this money; it being here only designed, that an ounce of money should equal an ounce of silver in value, at home as well as abroad, which now it does not."
Answ. In this paragraph the author confesses the alteration of the coin in Spain and Portugal was a cheat;
but the "alteration here designed, he says, is not:" but the reason he gives for it is admirable: viz. "Because they there altered in denomination near half," and here denomination is altered but five per cent. for so in truth it is, whatever be designed. As if fifty per cent. were a cheat, but five per cent. were not; because perhaps less perceivable. For the two things, that are pretended to be done here by this new coinage, I fear will both fail, viz. 1. That "to whomsoever an ounce of silver is owing, an ounce of silver shall be paid in this money." For when an ounce of silver is coined, as is proposed, into 5s. 5d. (which is to make our money five per cent. lighter than it is now) I that am to receive 100l. per ann. fee-farm rent; shall I in this new money receive 1057. or barely 1007.? The first I think will not be said. For if by law you have made it 100%., it is certain the tenant will pay me no more. If you do not mean that 400 crowns, or 2000 shillings of your new coin shall be 100%., but there must be five per cent. in tale added to every 100, you are at the charge of new coinage to no other purpose but to breed confusion. If I must receive 1007. by tale of this new money for my fee-farm rent, it is demonstration that I lose five ounces per cent. of the silver that was due to me. This a little lower he confesses in these words, "That where a man has a rent-sEC, that can never be more, this may somewhat affect it, but so very little, that it will scarce ever at all be perceived." This very little is five per cent.; and if a man be cheated of that, so he perceives it not, it goes for nothing. But this loss will not affect only such rents as can never be more, but all payments whatsoever, that are contracted for before this alteration of our money.
2. If it be true, what he affirms, "That an ounce of money doth equal an ounce of silver in value abroad, but not at home;" then this part of the undertaking will also fail. For I deny that the stamp on our money does any more debase it here at home than abroad, or make the silver in our money not equal in value to the same weight of silver every where. The author would have done well to have made it out, and not
left so great a paradox only to the credit of a single
Rem. "And for what is said in this bill to prevent exportation, relates only to the keeping in our coin and bullion, and leaves all foreign to be exported still."
Answ. What the author means by our own and foreign bullion, will need some explication.
Rem. "There is now no such thing as payments in weighty and milled money."
Answ. I believe there are very few in town, who do not very often receive a milled crown for 5s. and a milled half-crown for 2s. 6d. But he means, I suppose, in great and entire sums of milled money. But I ask, if all the clipped money were called in, whether then all the payments would not be in weighty money; and that not being called in, whether if it be lighter than your new milled money, the new milled money will not be melted down as much as the old? Which I think the author there confesses, or else I understand him not.
Rem." Nor will this any way interrupt trade; for trade will find its own course; the denomination of money in any country no way concerning that."
Answ. The denomination to a certain weight of money, in all countries, concerns trade; and the alteration of that necessarily brings disturbance to it.
Rem. "For if so be it occasions the coining more money.-"
Answ. He talks as if it would be "the occasion of coining more money." Out of what? Out of money already coined, or out of bullion? For I would be glad to know where it is.
Rem. "It may be some gain to those that will venture to melt down the coin, but very small loss (if any) to those which shall be paid in the new: it is not to be denied, but that where any man has a rent-SEC, that can never be more, this may somewhat affect it; but so very little, it will scarce ever at all be perceived."
Answ. As much as it will be gain to melt down their coin, so much loss will it be to those who are paid in
new, viz. five per cent., which, I suppose, is more than the author would be willing to lose, unless he get by it another way.
Rem." And if the alteration designed should have the effect of making our native commodities any ways dearer-"
Answ. Here our author confesses, that proportionably as your money is raised, the price of other things will be raised too But to make amends, he says,
Rem." It does at the same time make the land which produces them of more than so much more in value." Answ. This "more than so much more in value," is more than our author, or any body else for him, will ever be able to make out.
The price of things will always be estimated by the quantity of silver given in exchange for them. And if you make your money less in weight, it must be made up in tale. This is all this great mystery of raising money, and raising land. For example: the manor of Blackacre would yesterday have yielded one hundred thousand crowns, which crown-pieces, let us suppose numero rotundo to weigh each of them an ounce of standard silver. To-day your new coin comes in play, which is five per cent. lighter. There is your money raised: the land now at sale yields one hundred and five thousand crowns, which is just the same one hundred thousand ounces of standard silver. There is the land raised. And is not this an admirable invention, for which the public ought to be at above one hundred thousand pounds charge for new coinage, and all your commerce put in disorder? And then to recommend this invention, you are told, as a great secret, That, "had not money, from time to time, been raised in its denomination, lands had not so risen too:" which is to say, Had not your money been made lighter, fewer pieces of it would have bought as much land as a greater number does now.
Rem. "The loss of payments, there spoken of, will, in no sort, be so great, as if the parties, to whom these debts are owing, were now bound to receive them in the money that now passes, and then to melt the