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cause this way the deficiency of the silver clipped away will certainly be defrayed or borne one way or other.”
And thus I have gone over all Mr. Lowndes's reasons for raising our coin; wherein, though I seem to differ from him, yet I flatter myself it is not altogether so much as at first sight may appear; since by what I find in another part of his book, I have reason to judge he is a great deal of my mind; for he has five very good arguments for continuing the present standard of fineness, each of which is as strong for continuing also the present standard of weight, i.e. continuing a penny of the same weight of standard silver which at present it has. He that has a mind to be satisfied of this, may read Mr. Lowndes's first five reasons for continuing the present standard of fineness, which he will find in his 29, 30, 31, 32 pages of his report; and when Mr. Lowndes himself has again considered what there is of weight in them, and how far it reaches, he will at least .not think it strange if they appear to me and others good arguments against putting less silver into our coin of the same denomination, let that diminution be made what way it will.
What Mr. Lowndes says about gold coins, p. 88, &c. appears to me highly rational, and I perfectly agree with him; excepting only that I do not think gold is in regard of silver risen one-third in England, which I think may be thus made out: A guinea weighing five penny-weights and nine grains, or one hundred and twenty-nine grains; and a pound sterling weighing one thousand eight hundred and sixty grains ; a guinea at twenty shillings, is as one hundred and twenty-nine to one thousand eight hundred and sixty; that is, as one to fourteen and an half.
A guinea at two and twenty shillings, is as one hundred and twenty-nine to two thousand forty-two, i. e. as one to sixteen.
A guinea at thirty shillings, is as one hundred twentynine to two thousand seven hundred eighty-four, i. e. as one to twenty-one and an half, near..
He therefore that receives twenty shillings milled money for a guinea, receives one thousand eight hun
a dred and sixty grains standard silver for one hundred and twenty-nine grains of standard gold, i. e. fourteen and an half for one.
He who receives two and twenty shillings milled money for a guinea, has two thousand forty-two grains standard silver for one hundred and twenty-nine grains standard gold, i. e. sixteen for one.
He who receives thirty shillings milled money for a guinea, has two thousand seven hundred eighty-four grains standard silver for one hundred twenty-nine grains of gold, i. e. twenty-one and an half for one.
But the current cash being (upon trials made about Midsummer last) computed by Mr. Lowndes, p. 108, to want half its standard weight, and not being mended since, it is evident, he who receives thirty shillings of our present clipped money for a guinea, has but one thousand three hundred ninety-two grains of standard silver for one hundred twenty-nine grains of gold, i. e. has but ten and three quarters of silver for one of gold.
I have left out the utmost precisions of fractions in these computations, as not necessary in the present case, these whole numbers showing well enough the difference of the value of guineas at those several rates.
If it be true what I here assert, viz. that he who receives thirty shillings in our current clipped money for a guinea, receives not eleven grains of silver for one of gold; whereas the value of gold to silver in all our neighbouring countries is about fifteen to one, which is about a third part more; it will probably be demanded how it comes to pass that foreigners, or others, import gold, when they do not receive as much silver for it here as they may have in all other countries? The reason whereof is visibly this, that they exchange it not here for silver, but for our commodities : and our bargains for commodities, as well as all other contracts, being made in pounds, shillings, and pence, our clipped money retains amongst the people (who know not
how to count but by current money) a part of its legal value, whilst it passes for the satisfaction of legal contracts, as if it were lawful money. As long as the king receives it for his taxes, and the landlord for his rent, it is no wonder the farmer and tenant should receive it for his commodities. And this, perhaps, would do well enough, if our money and trade were to circulate only amongst ourselves, and we had no commerce with the rest of the world, and needed it not. But here lies the loss, when foreigners shall bring over gold hither, and with that pay for our commodities at the rate of thirty shillings the guinea, when the same quantity of gold that is in a guinea is not, beyond sea, worth more silver than is in twenty, or one and twenty and sixpence of our milled and lawful money; by which way of paying for our commodities, England loses near one-third of the value of all the commodities it thus sells; and it is all one as if foreigners paid for them in money coined and clipped beyond sea, wherein was one-third less silver than there ought to be; and thus we lose near onethird in all our exportation, whilst foreign gold imported is received in payment for thirty shillings a guinea. To make this appear, we need but trace this way of commerce a little, and there can be no doubt of the loss we suffer by it.
Let us suppose, for example, a bale of Holland linen worth there one hundred and eighty ounces of our standard silver; and a bale of serge here worth also the same weight of one hundred and eighty ounces of the same standard silver; it is evident these two bales are exactly of the same value. Mr. Lowndes tells us, p. 88, “ That at this time the gold that is in a guinea (if it were carried to Spain, Italy, Barbary, and some other places) would not purchase so much silver there, as is equal to the standard of twenty of our shillings.” i. e. would be in value there to silver scarce as one to fourteen and an half: and I think I may say that gold
I in Holland is, or lately was, as one to fifteen, or not much above. Taking then standard gold in Holland to be in proportion to standard silver, as one to about fifteen, or a little more; twelve ounces of our standard
gold, or as much gold as is in forty-four guineas and an half, must be given for that bale of Holland linen, if any one will pay for it there in gold : but if he buys that bale of serge here for one hundred and eighty ounces of silver, which is forty-eight pounds sterling, if he pays for it in gold at thirty shillings the guinea, two and thirty guineas will pay for it; so that in all the goods that we sell beyond sea for gold imported, and coined into guineas, unless the owners raise them onethird above what they would sell them for in milled money, we lose twelve in forty-four and an half, which is very near one-third.
This loss is wholly owing to the permitting clipped money in payment; and this loss we must unavoidably suffer, whilst clipped money is current amongst us; and this robbing of England of near one-third of the value of the commodities we send out will continue, whilst people had rather receive guineas at thirty shillings than silver coin (no other being to be had) that is not worth half what they take it for; and yet this clipped money, as bad as it is, and however unwilling people are to be charged with it, will always have credit enough to pass, whilst the goldsmiths and bankers receive it; and they will always receive it, whilst they can pass
it over again to the king with advantage, and can have hopes to prevail, that at last when it can be borne no longer, but must be called in, no part of the loss of light money, which shall be found in their hands, shall fall upon them, though they have for many years dealt in it, and by reason of its being clipped, have had all the running cash of the kingdom in their hands, and made profit of it. I say, clipped money, however bad it be, will always pass whilst the king's receivers, the bankers of any kind, and at last the exchequer, take it; for who will not receive clipped money, rather than have none for his necessary occasions, whilst he sees the great receipt of the exchequer admits it, and the bank and goldsmiths will take it of him, and give him credit for it, so that he needs keep no more of it by him than he pleases ? In this state, while the exchequer receives clipped money, I do not see how it can be stopped from passing. A clipped half-crown, that goes at the exchequer, will not be refused by any one who has hopes by his own or others' hands to convey it thither, and who, unless he take it, cannot trade, or shall not be paid; whilst therefore the exchequer is open to clipped money, it will pass, and whilst clipped money passes, clippers will certainly be at work; and what a gap this leaves to foreigners, if they will make use of it to pour in clipped money upon us (as its neighbours' did into Portugal) as long as we have either goods or weighty money left to be carried away at fifty per cent., or greater profit, it is easy to see.
I will suppose the king receives clipped money in the exchequer, and at half or three quarters loss coins it into milled money. For if he receives all, how much soever clipped, I suppose the clippers' shears are not so squeamish as not to pare away above half. It will be a wonderful conscientiousness in them, nowhere that I know to be paralleled, if they will content themselves with less profit than they can make, and will leave seven pennyworth of silver in an half-crown, if six pennyworth and the stamp be enough to make it pass for half a crown. When his majesty hath coined this into milled money of standard weight, and paid it out again to the bankers, goldsmiths, or others, what shall then become of it? Either they will lay it up to get rid of their clipped money, for nobody will part with heavy money whilst he has any light; nor will any heavy money come abroad whilst there is light left; for whoever has clipped money by him, will sell good bargains, or borrow at any rate of those who are willing to part with any weighty, to keep that by him rather than the clipped money he has in his hands; so that, as far as this reaches, no milled
money, how much soever be coined, will appear abroad; or if it does, will it long escape the coiners and clippers' hands, who will be at work presently upon it, to furnish the exchequer with more clipped money at fifty, sixty, seventy, or I know not what advantage ? Though this be enough to cut off the hopes of milled money appearing in payments, whilst any