Browse texts by category: Economic Theory and Legislation

1.

Holograph copy of accounts submitted by the Navy for 1664-6.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/3/460-63, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00252

2.

'A Scheame of the Trade as it as at p[re]sent carried on': clerical copy of 1674 table of import-export trade with France since 1668.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/3/455, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00253

3.

Holograph copy of the report of the Committee on the Treaty of Commerce with France, dated 28 November 1674 (mainly consisting of a list of imports and exports and their value).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/3/465, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00254

4.

'An Account of all ye Gold & Silver coyned in his Maties Mint wthin ye Tower of London from ye first of October 1599 [...] to this present November 1675'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/271-2, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00255

5.

Further holograph copy of MINT00255 (Mint 19/2/271-2).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/261, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00256

6.

Shorter version of MINT00255 (Mint 19/2/271-2).

Author: Unknown

Source: MINT 19/2/293, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00257

7.

Accounts of public income and expenditure for 1687.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/3/464, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00258

8.

Memorandum. 'Proposals touching the Amendment of the English Coins'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/605-6, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00259

9.

'The late Laws about ye Coinage'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/502-3, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00260

10.

Untitled holograph draft memorandum on John Pollexfen's A Discourse of Trade, Coyn and Paper Credit [1697, reprinted 1700].

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/608-11, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00261

11.

Holograph drafts, at various stages of development, of MINT00261 (Mint 19/2/608-11).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/624-30, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00262

12.

'On the argument against Paper Credit taken from the course of the Coynage'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/612-13, 614-15, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00263

13.

Further draft of MINT00263 (Mint 19/2/612-13, 614-15).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/616-17, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00264

14.

'On the Quantity of Coyn in the Nation'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/618-20, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00265

15.

Further draft of MINT00265 (Mint 19/2/618-20).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/621-2, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00266

16.

Holograph notes for MINT00265 (Mint 19/2/618-20).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/623, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00267

17.

'Of Credit good & bad, and of the usefulness of the former' (changed from 'Of Credit good & counterfeit, & of the usefulness of the first & danger of the last').

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/631-2, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00268

18.

Partial holograph drafts of all three parts of the 'Observations', in no particular order.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/633-41, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00269

19.

Recommendations regarding currency control.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/139, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00270

20.

Drafts of MINT00270 (Mint 19/2/139).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/81, 143, 145, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00271

21.

Discussion of standards by which to gauge the value of gold coin (specifically pistoles).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/142, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00272

22.

Holograph draft of MINT00272 (Mint 19/2/142).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/148, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00273

23.

Notes on the value of French pistoles.

Author: Unknown

Source: MINT 19/2/137, 152, 153, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00274

24.

'An Abstract of the king of France's Edict of Sept. 17 1701', fixing French coinage values and gold-silver ratio.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MINT 19/2/150, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00275

25.

Copy (in French) of a French edict of 19 September 1701 on demonetisation.

Author: Unknown

Source: MINT 19/2/140, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: MINT00276

[1]

Followed by 'Observations upon ye above stated accompt' (Mint 19/3/460-62), criticising many of the expenses cited as inflated or unnecessary, and by a table (Mint 19/3/462-3) 'copied out of Mr Pepys his papers' of the crew and equipment required on each ship in the Navy under various conditions ('In war at home', 'In war abroad' and 'In time of peace').

[2]

Table of total and yearly average coinage for the periods 1599-1619, 1619-1638, 1638-57 and 1657-1675, showing a steady increase to 1657, the year of the founding of the new East India Company, and a sharp decline thereafter. The Company's excessive export of gold and silver is blamed for inflating the price of bullion to the detriment of the coinage and of trade in land, lead, tin, wool '& other manufactures'.

[3]

Legislation is needed to fix the value of bullion relative to coin and ensure coin is not worth less than bullion (which leads to its being melted down or exported). The crown piece should be on a par with an ounce of bullion, and their common value reduced by annual increments until it reaches 5s. Hammered half-crowns should be reminted with milled edges and a new stamp to distinguish them from originally milled half-crowns, and have a separate value set on them. Lists various practical issues to be considered before implementing these proposals.

[4]

Summary of laws on coinage duty and window tax.

[5]

[Accounts and analyses of this and the following entries (to MINT00269) in Westfall, 618-19, and Craig, NATM, 40-43. Probably written in response to the re-issue of Pollexfen's Discourse: see Westfall, 618, esp. n. 210. See also H1201 for Newton's copy of a related work by Pollexfen.]

[6]

Though agreeing with Pollexfen that excessive reliance on paper credit, especially for luxury goods, is bad for the economy, Newton maintains that judicious and well-regulated use of credit maintains the money supply, keeps down interest rates and promotes prosperity. Disputes the coinage figures cited by Pollexfen as evidence that the introduction of paper money has undermined the coinage, and produces his own detailed account of coinage history since 1640, blaming reductions on changes in international relations, especially war. The principal development has been the increase of gold in proportion to silver in the coinage. This has nothing to do with paper money, but is due to the fact that in Japan and China silver is valued twice as highly relative to gold as in Europe, resulting in a steady export of silver to them and import of gold from them. The benefits of this trade outweigh the disadvantage of diminishing silver reserves so long as they are not too seriously depleted. Advises against amalgamating the two East India Companies to prevent rivalry, as this would create too powerful a body: instead they should be allocated distinct areas of operation.

[7]

Mint 19/2/628r printed in NC, 4: 319-20.

[8]

Also on Mint 19/2/627: holograph draft of MINT00534 (Mint 19/1/79). On Mint 19/2/628: convoluted queries relating to payment of the Church, Poor and Highway Rates and Constable's Levies in Twyford [a Lincolnshire village where Newton owned property].

[9]

[The paper by Pollexfen to which this responds does not seem to have survived.]

[10]

Memorandum constituting part 1 of Newton's 'Observations on Mr P[ollexfen]'s Reply' [to MINT00261 (Mint 19/2/608-11)]. Restates his view that credit, like wine, is a good thing in moderation and should not be totally dismissed simply because it is possible to commit excesses with it.

[11]

Memorandum constituting part 2 of Newton's 'Observations on Mr P's Reply'. Further detail in support of Newton's analysis of changes in the circulation, with calculations of the amount of counterfeit coin withdrawn during the great recoinage.

[12]

Complete copy of the 'Observations' in Pierpont Morgan Library, Acc. No. MA317(7).

[13]

Memorandum constituting part 3 of Newton's 'Observations on Mr P's Reply'. Rejects Pollexfen's comparison of paper money to counterfeit coin. Credit backed by good security, such as bills of exchange, bank bills, Exchequer bills, malt tickets, Million Lottery tickets, annuity tickets, etc., can be treated exactly like coin. It is the perceived value that matters.

Followed by a collection of preparatory notes for this and the foregoing parts of the 'Observations'.

[14]

Kemp's letter printed in NC, 4: 353-4. 'Tabernacle Accompts' printed in NC, 4: 377-80.

[15]

Partly written on the reverse of or blank spaces in:

(a) (Mint 19/2/640r) Thomas Kemp [moneyer] to Newton. 15 February 1700 [= 1701]. Original letter. Another hand [Kemp's?]. On arrangements for the trial of John Crossly [presumably a counterfeiter].

(b) (Mint 19/2/640v-642r) 'The Tabernacle Accompts': holograph accounts for the quarter to Christmas 1700 of the Tabernacle [a chapel of ease of which Newton was one of the trustees 1700-22].

[16] Treasury

[17]

Draft of PRO, Mint 1/8, p. 25 (dated 20 January 1700/1 and printed in Horton, Silver Pound, 261-2). This version printed in NC, 4: 352-3.

[18]

Recommend devaluation of the English pistole to discourage the import of French ones, citing the devaluation of Scottish coinage four years previously as a precedent. Warn that silver coin is of less intrinsic value than silver bullion, a situation which should be reversed.

[19]

Mint 19/2/81 is in a clerical hand, heavily emended and expanded by Newton; the others are holograph.

[20] Treasury

[21]

Printed in NC, 7: 416-17; copy in PRO, Mint 1/7, p. 28.

[22]

Further reduction of the estimate of the true value of the pistole given in MINT00270 (Mint 19/2/139).

[23]

Mint 19/2/153 is in another hand, the others are holograph. Mint 19/2/152 is dated 31 January 1700/1.

[24]

in English

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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