Catalogue Entry: MINT00842

An account of the vicissitudes of pursuing coinage offenders.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/1/438-9, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


Refers to the provisions for coinage offenders' estates to fall to the Mint warden or his deputies, and complains that they are counter-productive. Such forfeitures compromise Newton's perceived impartiality in prosecuting, though in fact they rarely cover the cost of collecting them. Clipping has ceased [thanks to the recoinage], and counterfeiters have for the most part been driven out of London, but only so as to become more numerous elsewhere. The reward of £40 recently offered to successful informers [by an act of 3 May 1695] has only served to make their testimony suspect. 'I do not find that the prosecuting of Coyners was imposed upon any of my Predecessors [as warden] (tho some of them have done it).' Newton receives neither reward nor competent assistance for work 'so vexatious & dangerous', and which exposes him 'to the calumnies of as many Coyners & Newgate Sollicitors as I examin or admit to talk with me'. Such prosecutions should be made the province of the King's attorney and the solicitor general.


[NC places the document in the summer of 1696, immediately after the cessation of clipping (hammered coin ceased to be legal tender in May), but there seems no very strong ground for this. The document does, however, clearly date from Newton's time as warden (1696-9), and probably from the earlier part of it.]

Printed in NC, 4: 209-10.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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