Page images
PDF
EPUB

more but this, viz. That each piece, and consequently our whole stock of money, should be measured and denominated by a penny, one-fifth less than the standard.

Where there is not coined silver, in proportion to the value of the commodities that daily change owners in trade, there is a necessity of trust or bartering, i. e. changing commodities for commodities, without the intervention of money. For example: let us suppose in Bermudas but an hundred pounds in ready money, but that there is every day there a transferring of commodities from one owner to another, to the value of double as much. When the money is all got into hands, that have already bought all that they have need of, for that day, whoever has need of any thing else that day, must either go on tick, or barter for it, i. e. give the commodities he can best spare for the commodities he wants, v. g. sugar for bread, &c. Now it is evident here, that changing the denomination of the coin they already have in Bermudas, or coining it over again under new denominations, will not contribute in the least towards the removing this necessity of trust, or bartering. For the whole silver they have in coin being but four hundred ounces; and the exchange of the commodities made in a distance of time, wherein this money is paid not above once, being to the value of eight hundred ounces of silver; it is plain, that one half of the commodities, that shift hands, must of necessity be taken upon credit, or exchanged by barter ; those who want them having no money to pay for them. Nor can any alteration of the coin, or denomination of these four hundred ounces of silver, help this; because the value of the silver, in respect of other commodities, will not thereby be at all increased; and the commodities changed, being (as in the case) double in value to the four hundred ounces of coined silver to be laid out in them, nothing can supply this want but a double quantity, i.e. eight hundred ounces of coined silver ; how denominated, it matters not so there be a fit proportion of small pieces to supply small payments.

Suppose the commodities passing every day in England, in markets and fairs, between strangers, or such

as trust not one another, were to the value of a million of ounces of silver; and there was but half a million of ounces of coined silver in the hands of those who wanted those commodities; it is demonstration they must truck for them, or go without them. If then the coined silver of England be not sufficient to answer the value of commodities moving in trade amongst us, credit, or barter, must do it. Where the credit and money fail, barter alone must do it: which being introduced by the want of a greater plenty of coined silver, nothing but a greater plenty of coined silver can remove it. The increase of denomination does, or can do nothing in the case; for it is silver by its quantity, and not denomination, that is the price of things, and measure of commerce; and it is the weight of silver in it, and not the name of the piece, that men estimate commodities by, and exchange them for.

If this be not so, when the necessity of our affairs abroad, or ill husbandry at home, has carried away half our treasure, and a moiety of our money is gone out of England; it is but to issue a proclamation, that a penny shall go for two-pence, six-pence for a shilling, half a crown for a crown, &c. and immediately, without any more ado, we are as rich as before. And when half the remainder is gone, it is but doing the same thing again, and raising the denomination anew, and we are where we were, and so on : where, by supposing the denomination raised 1%, every man will be as rich with an ounce of silver in his purse, as he was before, when he bad sixteen ounces there; and in as great plenty of money, able to carry on his trade, without bartering ; his silver, by this short way of raising, being changed into the value of gold: for when silver will buy sixteen times as much wine, oil, and bread, &c. to-day, as it would yesterday, (all other things remaining the same, but the denomination) it hath the real worth of gold.

This, I guess, every body sees cannot be so. And yet this must be so, if it be true that raising the denomination one-fifth can supply the want, or one jot raise the value of silver in respect of other commodities, i.e. make a less quantity of it to-day buy a greater quantity

in

of corn, oil, and cloth, and all other commodities, than it would yesterday, and thereby remove the necessity of bartering. For, if raising the denomination can thus raise the value of coin, in exchange for other commodities, one-fifth, by the same reason it can raise it twofifths, and afterwards three-fifths, and again, if need be, four-fifths, and as much farther as you please. So that, by this admirable contrivance of raising our coin, we shall be as rich, and as well able to support the charge of the government, and carry on our trade without bartering, or any other inconvenience, for want of money, with sixty thousand ounces of coined silver in England, as if we had six, or sixty millions. If this be not so, I desire any one to show me, why the same way of raising the denomination, which can raise the value of money, respect of other commodities, one-fifth, cannot, when you please, raise it to another fifth, and so on? I beg to be told where it must stop, and why at such a degree, without being able to go

farther. It must be taken notice of, that the raising I speak of here, is the raising of the value of our coin in respect of other commodities (as I call it all along) in contradistinction to raising the denomination. The confounding of these in discourses concerning money, is one great cause, I suspect, that this matter is so little understood, and so often talked of with so little information of the hearers.

A penny is a denomination no more belonging to eight than to eighty, or to one single grain of silver; and so it is not necessary that there should be sixty such pence, no more nor less, in an ounce of silver, i.e. twelve in a piece called a shilling, and sixty in a piece called a crown; such like divisions, being only extrinsical denominations, are every where perfectly arbitrary. For here in England there might as well have been twelve shillings in a penny, as twelve-pence in a shilling, i. e. the denomination of the less piece might have been a shilling, and of the bigger a penny. Again, the shilling might have been coined ten times as big as the penny, and the crown ten times as big as the shilling; whereby the shilling would have but ten-pence

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

in it, and the crown an hundred. But this, however ordered, alters not one jot the value of the ounce of silver in respect of other things, any more than it does its weight. This raising being but giving of names at pleasure to aliquot parts of any piece, viz. that now the sixtieth part of an ounce of silver shall be called a penny, and to-morrow that the seventy-fifth part of an ounce shall be called a penny, may be done with what increase you please. And thus it may be ordered by a proclamation, that a shilling shall go for twenty-four pence, an half-crown for sixty instead of thirty-pence, and so of the rest. But that an half-crown should be worth, or contain sixty such pence, as the pence were before this change of denomination was made, that no power on earth can do. Nor can any power, but that which can make the plenty or scarcity of commodities, raise the value of our money thus double in respect of other commodities, and make that the same piece, or quantity of silver, under a double denomination, shall purchase double the quantity of pepper, wine, or lead, an instant after such proclamation, to what it would do an instant before. If this could be, we might, as every one sees, raise silver to the value of gold, and make ourselves as rich as we pleased. But it is but going to market with an ounce of silver of one hundred and twenty-pence, to be convinced that it will purchase no more than an ounce of silver of sixty-pence. And the ringing of the piece will as soon purchase more commodities, as its change of denomination, and the multiplied name of pence, when it is called six score instead of sixty.

It is proposed that the twelve-pence should be raised to fifteen-pence, and the crown to seventy-five pence, and so proportionably of the rest : but yet that the pound sterling should not be raised. If there be any advantage in raising, why should not that be raised too? And as the crown-piece is raised from sixty to seventy-five pence, why should not the pound sterling be raised in the same proportion, from two hundred and forty-pence to three hundred-pence ?

then say,

Further, If this raising our coin can so stretch our money, and enlarge our pared remainder of it, as “ to make it more commensurate to the general need thereof, for carrying on the common traffic and commerce of the nation, and to answer occasions requiring a large supply of money," as Mr. Lowndes tells us in his third reason, p. 83, why are we so niggardly to ourselves in this time of occasion, as to stop at one-fifth? Why do we not raise it one full moiety, and thereby double our money? If Mr. Lowndes's rule, p. 78, “ That if the value of the silver in the coin should be raised above the market-price of the same silver, reduced to bullion, the subject would be proportionably injured and defrauded,” must keep us from these advantages, and the public care of justice stop the raising of the money at one-fifth ; because, if our money be raised beyond the market-price of bullion, it will be so much defrauding of the subject : I

it must not be raised one-fifth, nor half onefifth, that is, it must not be raised fifteen-pence in the crown: no, nor five-pence. For I deny that the market-price of standard bullion ever was, or ever can be five shillings seven-pence of lawful weighty money the ounce : so that if our present milled money be raised one-fifth, the subject will, by Mr. Lowndes's rule, be defrauded sixteen per cent., nay, above eighteen per cent. For the market-price of standard bullion being ordinarily under five shillings four-pence the ounce, when sold for weighty money, (which is but one-thirtieth) whatever our present milled money is raised above onethirtieth, it is, by Mr. Lowndes's rule, so much defrauding the subject. For the market-price of any thing, and so of bullion, is to be taken from its ordinary rate all the year round, and not from the extraordinary rise of two or three market-days in a year. And that the market-price of standard silver was not found, nor pretended to be above five shillings and four-pence the ounce, before clipping had left none but light running cash to pay for bullion, or any thing else, is evident from a paper then published, which I took the liberty

« PreviousContinue »