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against this bill, that he confesses, that it will be "a gain to those, who will melt down the milled and heavy money," with so much loss to the public; and not, as he says, " with very small loss to those, that shall be paid in the new," unless he calls five per cent. very small loss; for just so much is it to receive but fifty-seven grains, or ounces of silver, for sixty, which is the proportion in making your crowns 3d. lighter. This is certain, nobody will pay away milled or weighty crowns for debts, or commodities, when it will yield him four or five per cent. more; so that which is now left of weighty money, being scattered up and down the kingdom, into private hands, which cannot tell how to melt it down, will be kept up and lost to our trade. And, as to your clipped and light money, will you make a new act for coinage, without taking any care for that? The making a new standard for your money cannot do less than make all money, which is lighter than that standard, unpassable; and thus the milled and heavy money not coming into payment, and the light and clipped not being lawful money, according to the new standard, there must needs be a sudden stop of trade, and it is to be feared, a general confusion of affairs; though our author says, "it will not any ways interrupt trade."
2. The latter part of the section, about raising the value of land, I take the liberty to say is a mistake; which, though a sufficient reply to an assertion without proof, yet I shall not so far imitate this author as barely to say things and therefore, I shall add this reason for what I say, viz. Because nothing can truly raise the value, i. e. the rent of land, but the increase of your money but because raising the value of land is a phrase, which, by its uncertain sense, may deceive others, we may reckon up these several meanings of it.
1. The value of land is raised, when its intrinsic worth is increased, i. e. when it is fitted to bring forth a greater quantity of any valuable product. And thus the value of land is raised only by good husbandry.
2. The value of land is raised, when, remaining of the same fertility, it comes to yield more rent, and thus
its value is raised only by a greater plenty of money and treasure.
3. Or it may be raised in our author's way, which is, by raising the rent in tale of pieces, but not in the quantity of silver received for it; which, in truth, is no raising it at all, any more than it could be accounted the raising of a man's rent, if he let his land this year for forty sixpences, which last year he let for twenty shillings. Nor would it alter the case, if he should call those forty sixpences forty shillings; for having but half the silver of forty shillings in them, they would be but of half the value, however their denomination were changed.
In his answer to the fifth objection, there is this dangerous insinuation, That coin, in any country where it is coined, goes not by weight, i. e. has its value from the stamp and denomination, and not the quantity of silver in it. Indeed in contracts already made, if your species be by law coined a fifth part lighter, under the same denomination, the creditor must take a hundred such light shillings, or twenty such light crown-pieces for 51. if the law calls them so, but he loses one-fifth, in the intrinsic value of his debt. But, in bargains to be made, and things to be purchased, money has, and will always have, its value from the quantity of silver in it, and not from the stamp and denomination, as has been already proved, and will, some time or other, be evidenced with a witness, in the clipped money. And if it were not so, that the value of money were not according to the quantity of silver in it, i. e. that it goes by weight, I see no reason why clipping should be so severely punished.
As to foreigners, he is forced to confess, that it is all one what our money is, greater or less, who regard only the quantity of silver they sell their goods for; how then can the lessening our money bring more plenty of bullion into England or to the mint?
But he says, "The owners and importers of silver will find a good market at the mint," &c. But always a better in Lombard-street, and not a grain of it will come to the mint, as long as by an under-balance of
trade, or other foreign expenses, we contract debts beyond sea, which require the remitting of greater sums thither, than are imported in bullion. "If for above forty years after silver was raised, in the forty-third year of queen Elizabeth, from 5s. to 5s. 2d. the ounce, uncoined silver was not worth above 4s. 10d. per ounce;"the cause was not that raising of silver in the mint, but an over-balance of trade, which bringing in an increase of silver yearly, for which men having no occasion abroad, brought it to the mint to be coined, rather than let it lie dead by them in bullion: and whenever that is the case again in England, it will occasion coining again, and not till then. "No money was in those days exported," says he; no, nor bullion neither, say I; why should, or how could it, when our exported merchandize paid for all the commodities we brought home, with an overplus of silver and gold, which, staying here, set the mint on work. But the passing this bill will not hinder the exportation of one ounce either of bullion or money, which must go, if you contract debts beyond sea; and how its having been once melted in England, which is another thing proposed in this bill, shall hinder its exportation, is hard to conceive, when even coining has not been able to do it, as is demonstrable, if it be examined what vast sums of milled money have been coined in the two last reigns, and how little of it is now left. Besides, if the exportation of bullion should be brought under any greater difficulty than of any other commodity, it is to be considered whether the management of that trade, which is in skilful hands, will not thereupon be so ordered, as to divert it from coming to England for the future, and cause it to be sent from Spain directly to those places where they know English debts will make it turn to best account, to answer bills of exchange sent thither.
RAISING THE VALUE
MR. LOWNDES'S ARGUMENTS FOR IT, IN HIS LATE REPORT CONTAINING 66 AN ESSAY FOR THE AMENDMENT OF THE SILVER COINS," ARE PARTICULARLY EXAMINED.