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ceed but ten weeks successively, you will, by new-year's day next, have every half-crown raised to a crown, to the loss of one-half of people's debts and rents, and the king's revenue, besides the confusion of all your affairs : and, if you please to go on in this beneficial way of raising your money, you may, by the same art, bring a penny-weight of silver to be a crown.
Silver, i. e. the quantity of pure silver, separable from the alloy, makes the real value of money. If it does not, coin copper with the same stamp and denomination, and see whether it will be of the same value. I suspect your stamp will make it of no more worth than the copper money of Ireland is, which is its weight in copper, and no more. That money lost so much to Ireland as it passed for above the rate of copper. But yet I think nobody suffered so much by it as he by whose authority it was made current.
If silver give the value, you will say, what need is there then of the charge of coinage ? May not men exchange silver by weight for other things; make their bargains and keep their accounts in silver by weight? This might be done, but it has these inconveniencies:
1. The weighing of silver to every one we had occasion to pay it to would be very troublesome, for every one most carry about scales in his pocket.
2. Scales would not do the business ; for, in the next place, every one cannot distinguish between fine and mixed silver: so that though he received the full weight, he was not sure he received the full weight of silver, since there might be a mixture of some of the baser metals, which he was not able to discern. Those who have had the care and government of politic societies introduced coinage, as a remedy to those two inconveniencies. The stamp was a warranty of the public, that, under such a denomination, they should receive a piece of such a weight, and such a fineness ; that is, they should receive so much silver. And this is the reason why the counterfeiting the stamp is made the highest crime, and has the weight of treason laid upon it: because the stamp is the public voucher of the in
trinsic value. The royal authority gives the stamp, the law allows and confirms the denomination, and both together give, as it were, the public faith, as a security, that sums of money contracted for under such denominations shall be of such a value, that is, shall have in them so much silver; for it is silver, and not names, that pays debts, and purchases commodities. If therefore I have contracted for twenty crowns, and the law then has required that each of those crowns should have an ounce of silver; it is certain my bargain is not made good; I am defrauded (and whether the public faith be not broken with me, I leave to be considered) if, paying me twenty crowns, the law allots them to be such as have but nineteen-twentieths of the silver they ought to have, and really had in them, when I made my contract.
2. It diminishes all the king's revenue five per cent. For though the same number of pounds, shillings, and pence are paid into the exchequer as were wont, yet these names being given to coin that have each of them one-twentieth less of silver in them; and that being not a secret concealed from strangers, no more than from his own subjects; they will sell the king no more pitch, tar, or hemp, for 20 shillings, after the raising your money, than they would before for 19: or, to speak in the ordinary phrase, they will raise their commodities five per cent. as you have raised your money five per cent. And it is well if they stop there. For usually in such change, an outcry being made of you, lessening your coin, those, who have to deal with your taking the advantage, of the alarm, to secure themselves from any loss by your new trick, raise their price even beyond the par of your lessening your coin. Tal
I hear of two inconveniencies complained of, which it is proposed by this project to remedy.
The one is, the melting down of our coin: the other, the carrying away of our bullion. These are both inconveniencies which, I fear, we lie under: but neither of them will be in the least removed, or prevented, by the proposed alteration of our money. rocky ort :
1. It is past doubt that our money is melted down The reason whereof is evidently the cheapness of coinage. For a tax on wine paying the coinage, the particular owners pay nothing for it. So that 100 ounces of silver coined come to the owner at the same rate as 100 ounces of standard silver in bullion. For delivering into the mint his silver in bars, he has the same quantity of silver delivered out to him again in coin, without any charges to him. Whereby, if at any time he has occasion for bullion, it is the same thing to melt down our milled money, as to buy bullion from abroad, or take it in exchange for other commodities. Thus our mint, to the only advantage of our officers, but at the public cost, labours in vain, as will be found. But yet this makes you not have one jot less money in England than you would have otherwise; but only makes you coin that, which otherwise would not have been coined, nor perhaps been brought hither : and, being not brought hither by an over-balance of your exportation, cannot stay when it is here. It is not any sort of coinage does or can keep your money here; that wholly and only depends upon the balance of your trade. And had all the money in king Charles the Second's and king James the Second's time been minted, according to this new proposal, this raised money would have been gone, as well as the other, and the remainder been no more, nor no less than it is now. Though I doubt not but the mint would have coined as much of it as it has of our present milled money. The short is this : an overbalance of trade with Spain brings you in bullion; cheap coinage, when it is here, carries it into the mint, and money is made of it; but, if your exportation will not balance your importation in other parts of your trade, away must your silver go again, whether monied or not monied. For where goods do not, silver must, pay for the commodities you spend. ? That this is so will appear by the books of the mint, where may be seen how much milled money has been coined in the two last reigns. And in a paper I have now in my hands (supposed written by a man not wholly
ignorant in the mint) it is confessed, that whereas onethird of the current payments were some time since of milled money, there is not now one-twentieth. Gone then it is : but let not any one mistake, and think it gone because in our present coinage an ounce wanting about 16 grains is denominated a crown: or that (as is now proposed) an ounce wanting about 40 grains, being coined in one piece, and denominated a crown, would have stopped it, or will (if our money be so altered) for the future fix it here. Coin what quantity of silver you please in one piece, and give it the denomination of a crown; when your money is to go, to pay your foreign debts, (or else it will not go out at all) your heavy money (i. e. that which is weight according to its denomination, by the standard of the mint) will be that which will be melted down, or carried away in coin by the exporter, whether the pieces of each species be by the law bigger or less. For, whilst coinage is wholly paid for by a tax, whatever your size of money be, he that has need of bullion to send beyond sea, or of silver to make plate, need but take milled money and melt it down, and he has it as cheap as if it were in pieces of eight, or other silver coming from abroad; the stamp, which so well secures the weight of the milled money, costing nothing at all.
To this perhaps will be said, That if this be the effect of milled money, that it is so apt to be melted down, it were better to return to the old way of coining by the hammer. To which I answer, by no means. For,
1. Coinage by the hammer less secures you from having a great part of your money melted down. For in that way there being a greater inequality in the weight of the pieces, some being too heavy, and some too light; those, who know how to make their advantage of it, cull out the heavy pieces, melt them down, and make a benefit of the over-weight.
2. Coinage by the hammer exposes you much more to the danger of false coin. Because the tools are easily made and concealed, and the work carried on with fewer hands and less noise than a mill; whereby false coiners are less liable to discovery.
3. The pieces not being so round, even, and fairly stamped, nor marked on the edges, are exposed to clipping, which milled money is not.
Milled money is, therefore, certainly best for the public. But, whatever be the cause of melting down our milled money, I do not see how raising our money as they call it) will at all hinder its being melted down. For if our crown-pieces should be coined onetwentieth lighter, why should that hinder them from being melted down, more than now? The intrinsic value of the silver is not altered, as we have shown already: therefore that temptation to melt them down remains the same as before.
“ But they are lighter by one-twentieth.” That cannot hinder them from being melted down. For half-crowns are lighter by half, and yet that preserves them not.
“ But they are of less weight under the same denomination, and therefore they will not be melted down.” That is true, if any of these present crowns, that are one-twentieth heavier, are current for crowns at the same time. For then they will no more melt down the new light crowns, than they will the old clipped ones, which are no more worth in coin and tale, than in weight and bullion. But it cannot be supposed that men will part with their old and heavier money at the same rate that the lighter new coin goes at, and pay away their old crowns for 5s. in tale, when at the mint they will yield them 5s. 3d. And then if an old milled crown goes for 5s. 3d. and a new milled crown (being so much lighter) goes for a crown, What, I pray, will be the odds of melting down the one or the other ? The one has one-twentieth less silver in it, and goes for onetwentieth less; and so being weight, they are melted down upon equal terms. If it be a convenience to melt one, it will be as much a convenience to melt the other; just as it is the same convenience to melt milled halfcrowns as milled crowns, the one having, with half the quantity of silver, half the value. When the money is all brought to the new rate, i. e. to be one-twentieth lighter, and commodities raised as they will propor