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same down; so at this they will have no cause to complain.”
Answ. A very good argument ! the clippers have robbed the public of a good part of their money (which men will, some time or other, find in the payments they receive) and it is desired the mint may have a liberty to be beforehand with those to whom debts are owing. They are told, they will have no reason to complain
of it who suffer this loss, because it is not so great as the other. The damage is already done to the public, by clipping. Where at last it will light, I cannot tell. But men who receive clipped money, not being forced to melt it down, do not yet receive any loss by it. When clipped money will no longer change for weighty, then those who have clipped money in their hands will find the loss of it.
Rem. “ It will make the customs better paid, because there will be more money.”
Answ. That there will be more money in tale, it is possible: that there will be more money in weight and worth, the author ought to show. And then, whatever bécomes of the customs, (which I do not hear are unpaid now) the king will lose in the excise above thirty thousand pounds per annum. For in all taxes where so many pounds, shillings, or pence are determined by the law to be paid, there the king will lose five per cent. . The author here, as in other places, gives a good reason for it: for, “ his majesty being to pay away this money by tale, as he receives it, it will be to him no loss at all.”
As if my receiving my rents in full tale, but in money of undervalue five per cent. were not so much loss to me, because I was to pay it away again by tale. Try it at 50 per cent.; the odds only is, that one being greater than the other, would make more noise. But the author's great refuge in this is, that it will not be perceived.
Rem. “ If all foreign commodities were to be purchased with this new species of money sent out; we agree, that with 1001. of it, there could not be so much silver, or other commodities bought, as with 100l. in crown-pieces as now coined, because they
would be heavier; and all coin, in any kingdom but where it is coined, only goes by weight; and for the same weight of silver, the same every where still will be bought; and so there will, with the same quantity of goods. And if those goods should cost five per cent. more here in England than heretofore, and yield but the same money (we mean by the ounce abroad) the same money, brought home and coined, will yield the importer five per cent. more at the mint than it heretofore could do, and so no damage to the trader at all.”
Answ. Here truth forces from the author a confession of two things, which demonstrate the vanity and uselessness of the project. 1. That, upon this change of your coin, foreign goods will be raised. Your own goods will cost five per cent. more. So that goods of all kinds being thereupon raised; wherein consists the raising of your
money, when an ounce of standard silver, however minced, stamped, or deyominated, will buy no more commodities than it did before? This confession also shows the falsehood of that dangerous supposition, that money,“ in the kingdom where it is coined, goes not by weight,” i.e. is not valued by its weight.
Rem. “ It is true, the owners of silver will find a good market for it, and no others will be damaged ; but, on the contrary, the making plenty of money will be an advantage to all.”.
Answ. I grant it true, that if your money were really raised five per cent. the owners of silver would get so much by it, by bringing it to the mint to be coined. But since, as is confessed, commodities will (upon this raising your money) be raised to five per cent., this alteration will be an advantage to nobody, but the officers of the mint, and hoarders of money.
Rem. “ When standard silver was last raised at the mint, (which it was from 55. to 5s. and 2d. the ounce, in the 43d of Eliz.) and, for above forty years after, silver uncoined was not worth above 4s. 10d. the ounce, which occasioned much coining; and of money none in those days was exported : whereas silver now is worth but the very same 5s. 2d. the ounce still at the mint, and is worth 58. 4d. elsewhere. So that if this bill now with the lords does not happen to pass, there can never any silver be ever any more coined at the mint; and all the milled money will, in a very little time more, be destroyed.”
Answ. The reason of so much money coined in queen Elizabeth's time, and afterwards, was not the lessening of your crown-pieces from 480 to 462 grains, and so proportionably all the rest of your money (which is that the author calls raising standard silver from 5s. to 5s. 2d. the ounce) but from the over-balance of
your trade, bringing them in plenty of bullion, and keeping it here.
How standard silver (for if the author speaks of other silver, it is a fallacy) should be worth its own weight in standard silver at the mint, (i. e. 5s. 2d. the ounce) and be worth more than its own weight in standard silver, (i. e. 58. 4d. the ounce) in Lombard-street, is a paradox that nobody, I think, will be able to comprehend, till it be better explained. It is time to give off coining, if the value of standard silver be lessened by it; as really it is, if an ounce of coined standard silver will not exchange for an ounce of uncoined standard silver, unless you add 15 or 16 grains overplus to it: which is what the author would have taken upon his word, when he says, “Silver is worth five shillings fourpence elsewhere."
Five shillings fourpence of money coined at the mint, the author must allow to be at least 495 grains. An ounce is but 480 grains. How then an ounce of uncoined standard silver can be worth five shillings fourpence, (i.e. how 480 grains of uncoined standard silver can be worth 495 grains of the same standard silver, coined into money) is unintelligible; unless the coinage of our mint lessens the value of standard silver.
SIR, “ Coin and interest are two things of so great moment to the public,and of so great concernment in trade, that they ought very accurately to be examined into, and very nicely weighed, upon any proposal of altera
tion to be made in them. I pretend not to have treated of them here as they deserve. That must be the work of an abler hand; I have said something on these subjects, because you required it. And, I hope, the readiness of my obedience will excuse to you the faults I have committed, and assure you that
« Your most humble servant,
“ JOHN LOCKE.”
ON A PRINTED PAPER, ENTITLED,
For encouraging the coining Silver Money in England,
and after for keeping it here.
The author says, “ Silver yielding the proposed 2d. or 3d. more by the ounce, than it will do by being coined into money, there will be none coined into money; and matter of fact shows there is none.”
It would be hard to know what he means, when he says, “ silver yields 2d. or 3d. more by the ounce, than it will do by being coined into money:" but that he tells us in plain words at the bottom of the leaf, “ that an ounce of silver uncoined is of 2d. more value than after it is coined it will be;" which, I take the liberty to say, is so far from being true, that I affirm it is impossible to be so. For which I shall only give this short reason, viz. because the stamp neither does nor can take away any of the intrinsic value of the silver; and therefore an ounce of coined standard silver must necessarily be of equal value to an ounce of uncoined standard silver. For example, suppose a goldsmith has a round plate of standard silver, just of the shape, size, and weight of a coined crown-piece, which, for brevity's sake, we will suppose to be an ounce; this ounce of standard silver is certainly of equal value to any other ounce of unwrought standard silver in his shop; away he goes with his round piece of silver to the Tower, and has there the stamp set upon it; when he brings this numerical piece back again to his shop coined, can any one imagine that it is now 2d. less worth than it was when he carried it out smooth, a quarter of an hour before; or, that it is not still of equal value to any