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lighter, is also one-fifth worse; when he must pay twenty per cent. more for all the commodities he buys, with the money of the new foot, than if he bought it with the present coin.
This Mr. Lowndes himself will not deny, when he calls to mind what he himself, speaking of the inconveniencies we suffer by our clipped money, says, p. 115. “ Persons, before they conclude in any bargains, are necessitated first to settle the price or value of the very money they are to receive for their goods; and if it be in clipped or bad money, they set the price of their goods accordingly; which I think has been one great cause of raising the price, not only of merchandize, but even of edibles, and other necessaries for the sustenance of the common people, to their great grievance.” That every one who receives money, after the raising our money, on contracts made before the change, must lose twenty per cent. in all he shall buy, is demonstration, by Mr. Lowndes's own scheme. Mr. Lowndes proposes that there should be shillings coined upon the new foot, one-fifth lighter than our present shillings, which should go for twelvepence a-piece; and that the unclipped shillings of the present coin should go for fifteen-pence a-piece; and the crown for seventy-five pence. A man, who has a debt of a hundred pounds owing him, upon bond, or lease, receives it in these new shillings, instead of lawful money of the present standard; he goes to market with twenty shillings in one pocket of this new money, which are valued at 240 pence; and in the other pocket with four milled crown-pieces, (or twenty milled shillings of the present coin) which are valued at three hundred pence, which is one-fifth more: it is demonstration then, that he loses one-fifth, or twenty per cent. in all that he buys, by the receipt of this new money, for the present coin, which was his due; unless those he deals with will take four for five pence, or four shillings for five shillings. He buys, for example, a quart of oil for fifteen-pence: if he pay for it with the old money in one pocket, one shilling will do it: if with
the new money in the other, he must add three-pence to it, or a quarter of another shilling; and so of all the rest that he pays for, with either the old money, which he should have received his debts in, or with the new, which he was forced to receive for it. Thus far, it is demonstration, he loses twenty per cent. by receiving his debt in a new money thus raised, when he uses it to buy any thing. But to make him amends, Mr. Lowndes tells him, silver is now dearer, and all things consequently will be bought cheaper twenty per cent. And yet at the same time he tells him, in the passage
above cited, out of page 115, that all other things are grown dearer. I am sure there is no demonstration, that they will be sold twenty per cent. cheaper. And, if I may credit housekeepers and substantial tradesmen, all sorts of provisions and commodities are lately risen excessively; and, notwithstanding the scarcity of silver, begin to come up to the true value of our clipped money, everyone selling their commodities so as to make themselves amends, in the number of light pieces for what they want in weight. A creditor ought to think the new light money equivalent to the present heavier, because it will buy as much commodities. But what if it should fail, as it is ten to one but it will, what security has he for it? He is told so, and he must be satisfied. That salt, wine, oil, silk, naval stores, and all foreign commodities, will none of them be sold us by foreigners for a less quantity of silver than before, because we have given the name of more pence to it, is, I think, demonstration. All our names, (if they are any more to us) are to them but bare sounds; and our coin, as theirs to us, but mere bullion, valued only by its weight; and a Swede will no more sell you his hemp and pitch, or a Spaniard his oil, for less silver, because you tell him silver is scarcer now in England, and therefore risen in value one-fifth than a tradesman of London will sell his commodity cheaper to the Isle of Man, because they are grown poorer, and money is scarce there.
All foreign commodities must be shut out of the number of those that will fall, to comply with our raising our money. Corn also, it is evident, does not rise or fall, by the differences of more, or less plenty of money, but by the plenty and scarcity that God gives; for our money, in appearance, remaining the same, the price of corn is double one year to what it was the precedent; and therefore we must certainly make account, that, since the money is one-fifth lighter, it will buy one-fifth less corn communibus annis; and this being the great expense of the poor, that takes up almost all their earnings, if corn be, communibus annis, sold for onefifth more money in tale, than before the change of our money, they too must have one-fifth more in tale, of the new money, for their wages than they have now; and the day-labourer must have, not only twelve, but fifteen-pence of the new money a-day, which is the present shilling that he has now, or else he cannot live ; so that all foreign commodities, with corn and labour, keeping up their value to the quantity of silver they sell for now, and not complying, in the fall of their real price, with the nominal raising of our money, there is not much left, wherein landlords and creditors are to expect the recompense of twenty per cent. abatement of price in commodities, to make up their loss in the lightness of our money they are paid their rents and debts in. It would be easy to show the same thing, concerning our other native commodities, and make it clear that we have no reason to expect they should abate of their present price, any more than corn and labour: but this is enough, and any one who has a mind to it, may trace the rest at his leisure.
And thus I fear the hopes of cheaper pennyworths, which might beguile some men into a belief that landlords and creditors would receive no less by the proposed new money, is quite vanished. But if the promise of better pennyworths, and a fall of all commodities twenty per cent. should hold true, this would not at all relieve creditors and landlords, and set them upon equal terms with their neighbours: because the cheap pennyworths will not be for them alone, but every body else, as well as they, will share in that advantage; so that their silver being diminished one-fifth in their
rents and debts, which are paid them, they would still be twenty per cent. greater losers than their unhoarding neighbours, and forty per cent. greater losers than the hoarders of money; who will certainly get twenty per cent. in the money, whatever happens in the price of things; and twenty per cent. more in the cheapness of commodities, if that promised recompense be made good to creditors and landlords; for the hoarders of money (if the price of things falls) will buy as cheap as they; so that whatever is said of the cheapness of commodities, it is demonstration, (whether that proves true or no) that creditors and landlords, and all those who are to receive money upon bargains made before the proposed change of our coin, will unavoidably lose twenty per cent.
One thing Mr. Lowndes says in this paragraph is very remarkable, which I think decides the question. His words, p. 78, are these : “ That if the value of the silver in the coins (by an extrinsic denomination) be raised above the value, or market-price, of the same silver reduced to bullion, the subjects would be proportionably injured or defrauded, as they were formerly in the case of base monies, coined by public authority.” It remains therefore only to show, that the market-price of standard bullion is not one-fifth above our coin that is to be raised, and then we have Mr. Lowndes of our side too against its raising. I think it is abundantly proved already, that standard bullion neither is, nor can be, worth one-fifth more than our lawful weighty money: and if it be not, by Mr. Lowndes's confession, there is no need of raising our present legal milled money to that degree; and it is only our clipped money that wants amendment: and when that is recoined and reduced all to milled and lawful money, that then too will have no need of raising. This I shall now prove out of Mr. Lowndes's own words here.
Mr. Lowndes, in the forecited words, compares the value of silver, in our coin, to the value of the same silver reduced to bullion, which he supposing to be as four to five, makes that the measure of the raising our money. If this be the difference of value between silver in bullion and silver in coin; and if it be true that four ounces of standard bullion be worth five ounces of the same silver coined; or, which is the same thing, that bullion will sell by the ounce for six shillings and five-pence unclipped money; I will take the boldness to advise his majesty to buy, or to borrow any where so much bullion, or, rather than be without it, melt down so much plate, as is equal in weight to twelve hundred pounds sterling of our present milled money. This let him sell for milled money; and, according to our author's rule, it will yield fifteen hundred pounds. Let that fifteen hundred pounds be reduced into bullion, and sold again, and it will produce eighteen hundred and sixty pounds; which eighteen hundred and sixty pounds of weighty money being reduced into bullion will still produce one-fifth more in weight of silver, being sold for weighty money; and thus his majesty may get at least three hundred and twenty thousand pounds by selling of bullion for weighty money, and melting that down into bullion, as fast as he receives it; till he has brought into his hands the million and six hundred thousand pounds, which Mr. Lowndes computes there is of weighty money left in England.
I doubt not but every one who reads it will think this a very ridiculous proposition. But he must think it ridiculous for no other reason, but because he sees it is impossible that bullion should sell for one-fifth above its weight of the same silver coined; that is, that an ounce of standard silver should sell for six shillings and fivepence of our present weighty money; for if it will, it is no ridiculous thing that the king should melt down and make that profit of his money.
If our author's rule (p. 78, where he says, “ That the only just and reasonable foot, upon which the coins should be current, is the very price of the silver thereof, in case it be molten in the same place where coins are made current") be to be observed; our money is to be raised but an halfpenny, or at most a