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The State of the Mint

The Mint as appears by the Charter thereof, is a Corporation consisting of the Warden, the Workers, the Moneyers & the other Ministers. The Warden is stiled Keeper of the Exchanges, that is of the Mint with their revenues & of the Gold & Silver brought thither to be exchanged by coynage. {he} is also by his Office a Magistrate & the only Magistrate set over the Mints to do Iustice amongst the members thereof in all things except in causes of Freehold & causes relating to the Crown. The Workers (one of which is Master of the rest) are they who melt refine allay & run the standarded gold & silver into Ingots to be coyned. The Moneyers are they who flat out & coyn those Ingots into moneys. The other Ministers are the Controller, Assaymaster, Surveyor of the Meltings, Clerk of the Irons, Weigher & Teller, Auditor, Engraver, Porter: whereof the Controller, Assaymaster & Surveyor are, in behalf of the King & his people, a Cheque upon the Master & Worker in his Accounts, Assays, & Meltings. These other Ministers are standing Officers with constant salaries but the workers & Moneyers are no standing Officers nor have salaries but are allowed after a certain rate in the pound weight for all the moneys they make, excepting that the Master & Worker (that is he who is one of the Workers & the Master of the rest) did in the reign of King Charles the 2d become a standing Officer with a salary of 500 per annum which is greater then the Wardens salary, & soon after was appointed by Act of Parliament to receive the Coynage Duty, the distribution of which has brought the Mint into his power. For the Seigniorage or Revenue of the Mint was till then received of the King by the Warden. Also the last winter the Master & Worker was empowered by a clause in another Act of Parliament to incorporate new Moneyers into the Mint without the Wardens consent & soon after formed a Project of erecting Mints in the Country without any Warden at all, & lately has rejected the Wardens judicial power by endeavouring to have differences referred to the Warden & himself. The Moneyers have also shook off the Wardens authority over them by feigning themselves a Corporation, & the Controller (who is the first of the other Ministers) by getting the Office of Master & Worker into his hands (tho an Office inconsistent with his own) hath equalled himself with the Master & Warden & this equality they have ratified by a new Law (no where written but in the Moneyers Charter) that all Orders made by the Master & Controller are binding even to the Warden himself. And thus the Wardens Authority which was designed to keep the thre{e} sorts of Ministers in their Duty to the King & his people, being baffled & re <9r> jected & thereby the Government of the Mint being in a manner dissolved those Ministers act as they please for turning the Mint to their several advantages. Nor do I see any remedy more proper & easy then by restoring the ancient constitution.

© 2017 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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