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accept, in legal payments, any money whatsoever that is already clipped, or may hereafter be clipped, or diminished; and that no person shall tender or receive any such money in payment, under some small penalty to be made easily recoverable," &c.
As if any man now were obliged to receive clipped money in legal payments, and there were not already a law, with severe penalties, against those who tendered clipped money in payment.
It is a doubt to me, whether the warden, masterworker, &c. of the mint at the Tower, could find fit and skilful persons enough to set nine other mints at work, in other parts of England, in a quarter of a year, as Mr. Lowndes proposes, p. 127. Besides, Mr. Lowndes tells us, p. 96, that the engines, which "put the letters upon the edges of the larger silver pieces, and mark the edges of the rest with a graining, are wrought secretly." And, indeed, this is so great a guard against counterfeiting, as well as clipping our money, that it deserves well to be kept a secret, as it has been hitherto. But how that can be, if money be to be coined in nine other mints, set up in several parts, is hard to conceive; and lastly, perhaps, some may apprehend it may be of ill consequence to have so many men instructed and employed in the art of coining only for a short job, and then turned loose again to shift for themselves by their own skill and industry, as they can.
The provision made in his fourth rule, p. 136, to prevent the gain of "subtle dealers by culling out the heaviest of the clipped pieces," though it be the product of great sagacity and foresight, exactly calculated, and as well contrived, as in that case it can be; yet I fear is too subtle for the apprehension and practice of countrymen, who many of them, with their little quickness in such matters, have also but small sums of money by them, and so neither having arithmetic, nor choice of clipped money, to adjust it to the weight there required, will be hardly made to understand it. But I think the clippers have, or will take care that there shall not be any great need of it.
To conclude; I confess myself not to see the least reason why our present milled money should be at all altered in fineness, weight, or value. I look upon it to be the best and safest from counterfeiting, adulterating, or any ways being fraudulently diminished, of any that ever was coined. It is adjusted to our legal payments, reckonings, and accounts, to which our money must be reduced the raising its denomination will neither add to its worth, nor make the stock we have more proportionate to our occasions, nor bring one grain of silver the more into England, nor one farthing advantage to the public: it will only serve to defraud the king, and a great number of his subjects, and perplex all; and put the kingdom to a needless charge of recoining all, both milled as well as clipped money.
If I might take upon me to offer any thing new, I would humbly propose, that since market and retail trade requires less divisions than six-pences, a sufficient quantity of four-penny, four-penny-halfpenny, and fivepenny pieces should be coined. These in change will answer all the fractions between six-pence and a farthing, and thereby supply the want of small monies, whereof I believe nobody ever saw enough common to answer the necessity of small payments; whether, either because there was never a sufficient quantity of such pieces coined, or whether because of their smallness they are apter to be lost out of any hands, or because they oftener falling into children's hands, they lose them, or lay them up; so it is, there is always a visible want of them; to supply which, without the inconveniencies attending very small coin, the proposed pieces, I humbly conceive, will serve.
If it be thought fit for this end to have four-pence, four-pence half-penny, and five-penny pieces coined, it will, I suppose, be convenient, that they should be distinguished from sixpences, and from one another, by a deep and very large plain difference in the stamp on both sides, to prevent mistakes and loss of time in telling of money. The four-pence-halfpenny has already the harp for a known distinction, which may be fit to be continued; the five-pence may have the feathers, and the
four-pence this mark IV. of four on the reverse; and on the other side they may each have the king's head with a crown on it, to show on that side too that the piece so coined is one of those under a six-pence; and with that they may each, on that side also, have some marks of distinction one from another, as the five-pence this mark of V. the four-pence-halfpenny a little harp, and the ence nothing.
These or any other better distinctions which his majesty shall order, will in tale readily discover them, if by chance any of them fall into larger. payments, for which they are not designed.
And thus I have, with as much brevity and clearness as I could, complied with hat Mr. Lowndes professes to be the end of printing his report in these words, viz. "That any persons, who have co..sidered an affair of this nature, may (if they please) communicate their thoughts for rendering the design here aimed at more perfect, or more agreeable to the public service." It must be confessed, that my considerations have led me to thoughts, in some parts of this affair, quite opposite to Mr. Lowndes's: but how far this has been from any desire to oppose him, or to have a dispute with a man no otherwise known to me but by his civilities, and whom I have a very great esteem for, will appear by what I printed about raising the value of money about three years since. All that I have said here, in answer to him, being nothing but the applying the principles I then went on, particularly now, to Mr. Lowndes's arguments, as they came in my way, that so thereby others may judge what will, or will not, be the consequences of such a change of our coin as he proposes; the only way, I think, of rendering his design more agreeable to the public service.
A pound weight of troy standard gold is cut into guineas 44, one
guinea weighs gr. 129, i. e. five pwt. nine gr..