« PreviousContinue »
130 Considerations of the lowering of Interest, &c. trade, or other foreign expenses, we contract debts beyond sea, which require the remitting of greater sums thither, than are imported in bullion. “ If for above forty years after silver was raised, in the forty-third year
of queen Elizabeth, from 5s. to 5s. 2d. the ounce, uncoined silver was not worth above 4s. 10d. per ounce;"—the cause was not that raising of silver in the mint, but an over-balance of trade, which bringing in an increase of silver yearly, for which men having no occasion abroad, brought it to the mint to be coined, rather than let it lie dead by them in bullion : and whenever that is the case again in England, it will occasion coining again, and not till then. “No money was in those days exported,” says he; no, nor bullion neither, say I; why should, or how could it, when our exported merchandize paid for all the commodities we brought home, with an overplus of silver and gold, which, staying here, set the mint on work. But the passing this bill will not hinder the exportation of one ounce either of bullion or money, which must go, if you contract debts beyond sea; and how its having been once melted in England, which is another thing proposed in this bill, shall hinder its exportation, is hard to conceive, when even coining has not been able to do it, as is demonstrable, if it be examined what vast'sums of milled money have been coined in the two last reigns, and how little of it is now left. Besides, if the exportation of bullion should be brought under any greater difficulty than of any other commodity, it is to be considered whether the management of that trade, which is in skilful hands, will not thereupon be so ordered, as to divert it from coming to England for the future, and cause it to be sent from Spain directly to those places where they know English debts will make it turn to best account, to answer bills of exchange sent thither.
RAISING THE VALUE
MR. LOWNDES'S ARGUMENTS FOR IT, IN HIS LATE REPORT CON
TAINING AN ESSAY FOR THE AMENDMENT OF THE SILVER COINS," ARE PARTICULARLY EXAMINED.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
SIR JOHN SOMMERS, KNT.
LORD KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL OF ENGLAND, AND ONE OF HIS
MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY-COUNCIL.
MY LORD, THE
papers I here present your lordship are in substance the same with one which I delivered to you in obedience to the commands I received, by your lordship, from their excellencies the lords justices; and with another, which I writ in answer to some questions your lordship was pleased to propose to me, concerning our coin. The approbation your lordship was pleased to give them then has been an encouragement to me to revise them now, and put them in an order fitter to comply with their desires, who will needs have me print something at this time on this subject: and could any thing of this nature be received with indifferency in this age, the allowance they have had from your lordship, whose great and clear judgment is, with general consent and applause, acknowledged to be the just measure of right and wrong amongst us, might make me hope that they might pass in the world without any great dislike.
However, since your lordship thought they might be of use to clear some difficulties, and rectify some wrong notions, that are taken up about money, I have ventured them into the world, desiring no mercy to any erroneous positions, or wrong reasonings, which shall be found in them. I shall never knowingly be of any but truth's and my country's side; the former I shall always gladly embrace and own, whoever shows it me: and in these papers, I am sure, I have no other aim but to do what little I can for the service of my country. Your lordship’s so evidently preferring that to all other considerations, does, in the eyes of all men, sit so well upon you, that my ambition will not be blamed, if I in this propose to myself so great an example, and in my little sphere am moved by the same principle.
I have a long time foreseen the mischief and ruin coming upon us by clipped money, if it were not timely stopped: and had concern enough for the public, to make me print some thoughts touching our coin, some years since. The principles I there went on I see no reason to alter: they have, if I mistake not, their foundation in nature, and will stand; they have their foundation in nature, and are clear; and will be so, in all the train of their consequences, throughout this whole (as it is thought) mysterious business of money, to all those, who will but be at the easy trouble of stripping this subject of hard, obscure, and doubtful words, wherewith men are often misled, and mislead others, And now the disorder is come to extremity, and can no longer be played with, I wish it may find a sudden and effectual cure, not a remedy in sound and appearance, which may flatter us on to ruin, in a continuation of a growing mischief, that calls for present help.
I wish too that the remedy may be as easy as possible; and that the cure of this evil be not ordered so, as to lay a great part of the burden unequally on those who have had no particular hand in it. Westminsterhall is so great a witness of your lordship's unbiassed justice, and steady care to preserve to every one their right, that the world will not wonder you should not be for such a lessening our coin, as will, without any reason, deprive great numbers of blameless men of a fifth part of their estates, beyond the relief of Chancery. I hope this age will escape so great a blemish. I doubt not but there are many, who, for the service of their country, and for the support of the government, would gladly part with, not only one-fifth, but a much larger portion of their estates. "But when it shall be taken from them, only to be bestowed on men, in their and the common opinion, no better deserving of their country than themselves, unless growing exceedingly rich