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clipped is current, yet to this we may add, that gold imported at an over-value, will sweep it away as fast as it is coined, whilst clipped money keeps up the rate of guineas above their former value. This will be the circulation of our money, whilst clipped is permitted any way to be current; and if store enough of clipped money at home, or from abroad, can be but provided (as it is more than probable it may, now the trade is so universal, and has been so long practised with great advantage, and no great danger, as appears by the few have suffered, in regard to the great numbers it is evident are engaged in the trade, and the vent of it here in England is so known and sure) I do not see how in a little while we shall have any money or goods at all left
England, if clipping be not immediately stopped ; and how clipping can be stopped but by an immediate positive prohibition, whereby all clipped money shall be forbid to pass in any payment whatsoever, or to pass for more than its weight, I would be glad to learn. Clipping is the great leak which for some time past has contributed more to sink us than all the forces of our enemies could do. It is like a breach in the sea-bank, which widens every moment till it be stopped; and my timorous temper must be pardoned, if I am frighted with the thoughts of clipped money being current one moment longer at any other value but of warranted standard bullion; and therefore there can be nothing more true and reasonable, nor that deserves better to be considered, than what Mr. Lowndes says in his corollary, p. 90.
Whoever desires to know the different ways of coining money by the hammer and by the mill, may inform himself in the exact account Mr. Lowndes has given of both under his second general head; where he may also see the probablest guess that has been made of the quantity of our clipped money, and the silver deficient in it; and an account of what silver money was coined in the reigns of queen Elizabeth, king James I. and Charles I. more exact than it is to be had any where else. There is only one thing which I shall mention, since Mr. Lowndes does it here again under this head, p. 100, and that is melting down our coin; concerning whichI shall venture humbly to propose these following questions :
1. Whether bullion be any thing but silver, whose workmanship has no value ?
2. Whether that workmanship, which can be had for nothing, has, or can have any value ?
3. Whether, whilst the money in our mint is coined for the owners, without any cost to them, our coin can ever have any value above any standard bullion ?
4. Whether, whilst our coin is not of value above standard bullion, goldsmiths and others, who have need of standard silver, will not rather take what is by the free labour of the mint already assayed and adjusted to their use, and melt that down, than be at the trouble of melting, mixing, and assaying of silver for the uses they have ?
5. Whether the only cure for this wanton, though criminal melting down our coin, be not, that the owners should pay one moiety of the sixteen-pence halfpenny which is paid per pound troy for coinage of silver, which the king now pays all ?
6. Whether by this means standard silver in coin will not be more worth than standard silver in bullion, and so be preserved from this wanton melting down, as soon as an over-balance of our trade shall bring us silver to stay here? for till then, it is in vain to think of
preserving our coin from melting down, and therefore to no purpose till then to change that law.
7. Whether any laws, or any penalties, can keep our coin from being carried out, when debts contracted beyond seas call for it?
8. Whether it be any odds to England, whether it be carried out, melted down into bullion, or in specie ?
9. Whether, whilst the exigencies of our occasions and trade call for it abroad, it will not always be melted down for the conveniency of exportation, so long as the law prohibits its exportation in specie ?
10. Whether standard silver in coin and in bullion will not immediately be of the same value, as soon as the prohibition of carrying out money in specie is taken off?
11. Whether an ounce of silver the more would be carried out in a year, if that prohibition were taken off?
12. Whether silver in our coin will not always, during the prohibition of its exportation, be a little less worth than silver in bullion, whilst the consumption of foreign commodities beyond what ours pay for, makes the exportation of silver necessary? And so, during such a state, raise your money as much, and as you will, “ silver in the coin will never fetch as much as the silver in bullion," as Mr. Lowndes expresses it, p. 110.
As to the inconveniencies and damages we sustain by clipped money passing by tale as if it were lawful, nothing can be more true, more judicious, nor more weighty, than what Mr. Lowndes says, under his third general head; wherein I perfectly agree with him, excepting only where he builds any thing upon the proposed raising our coin one-fifth. And to what he says, p. 114, concerning our being “ deprived of the use of our heavy money, by men's hoarding it, in prospect that the silver, contained in those weighty pieces, will turn more to their profit than lending it at interest, purchasing, or trading therewith ;" I crave leave to add, that those hoarders of money, a great many
of them, drive no less, but rather a greater trade, by hoarding the weighty money, than if they let it go abroad; for by that means all the current cash being light, clipped, and hazardous money, it is all tumbled into their hands, which gives credit to their bills, and furnishes them to trade for as much as they please, whilst every body else scarce trades at all, (but just as necessity forces) and is ready to stand still.
Where he says, p. 114,“ It is not likely the weighty monies will soon appear abroad, without raising their value, and recoining the clipped monies :" I should agree with him if it ran thus : without recoining the
clipped, and in the mean time making it go for its weight; for that will, I humbly conceive, bring out the heavy money, without raising its value, as effectually and sooner; for it will do it immediately: his will take up some time; and I fear, if clipped money be not stopped all at once, and presently, from passing any way in tale, the damage it will bring will be irreparable.
“ Mr. Lowndes's fourth general head is to propose the means that must be observed, and the proper methods to be used in and for the re-establishment of the silver coins."
The first is, “ That the work should be finished in as little time as may be; not only to obviate a farther damage by clipping in the interim, but also that the needful advantages of the new money may be sooner obtained for the service of the nation.”
These, I agree with him, are very good and necessary ends; but they are both to be attained, I conceive, much sooner by making clipped money go for its weight, than by the method Mr. Lowndes proposes; for this immediately puts an end to clipping, and obviates all farther damage thereby. Next, it immediately brings out all the hoarded weighty money, and so that advantage will be sooner obtained for the service of the nation, than it can any other way besides. Next, it preserves the use of clipped money for the service of the nation, in the interim, till it can be recoined all at the Tower.
His second proposition is, “ That the loss, or the greatest part of it, ought to be borne by the public, and not by particulars, who, being very numerous, will be prejudiced against a reformation for the public benefit, if it be to be effected at the cost of particular
A tax given to make good the defect of silver in clipped money, will be paid by particulars; and so the loss will be borne by particular men: and whether these particulars be not more numerous, or at least a great number of innocent men of them more sensibly burdened
than if it takes its chance in the hands of those men who have profited by the having it in their hand, will be worth considering. And I wish it here well weighed, which of the two ways the greater number of men would be most dangerously prejudiced against this reformation. But as Mr. Lowndes orders the matter, every body will, I fear, be prejudiced against this reformation, when (as he divides it, p. 133, 134) the owners will bear near one-half of the loss, in the price of his clipped money, and every body else his part of the remainder, in a tax levied on them for it. I wish a remedy could be found without any body's loss. Most of those ways I have heard proposed, to make reparation to every particular man for the clipped money shall be found in his hands, do so delay the remedy, if not entail clipping upon us, that I fear such a care of particulars endangers the whole ; and if that suffer, it will go but ill with particulars. I am not for hindering those who have clipped money from any recompense which can be provided and made them. The question here is not whether the honest countryman shall bear the loss of his clipped money, without any more ado, or pay a tax to recompense himself? That which, I humbly conceive, the nation is most concerned in, is that clipping should be finally stopped, and that the money which remains should go according to its true value, for the carrying on of commerce, and the present supply of people's exigencies, till that part of it, which is defaced, can by the mint be brought to its legal and due form; and therefore I think it will be the rational desire of all particulars, that the shortest and surest way, not interfering with law or equity, should be taken to put an effectual end to an evil, which every moment it continues works powerfully towards a general ruin.
His fourth proposition, “ That no room must be left for jealousy,” I acknowledge to be a good one, if there can be a way found to obtain it.
I cannot but wonder to find the words, p. 124, “ That no person whatsoever shall hereafter be obliged to