The fineness of gold & silver is generally estimated by the assay & bought & sold by this estimate; & gold which is 24 carats fine & silver which is 12 ounces fine upon the assay, is reputed by Assaymasters Goldsmiths & Merchants fully fine. And indented standard triall pieces are by law to be made of 22 carats of fine gold & two carats of allay, & iof 11 ounces 2dwt of fine silver & 18dwt of allay. And some Refiners have of late found out ways of refining gold & silver to higher degrees of fineness then 24 carats & 12 ounces fine, & may find out ways of making them still finer.

Qu? 1. Whether there should be one common standard degree of fineness of fine gold & one of fine silver in all great Britain for setting a value upon all gold & silver in buying & selling, in coining of money & in making of plate? And what is that standard degree of fineness according to law? Or may it be setled by her Majesty in Council?

Qu? 2. Whether her Majesty may appoint standard trial pieces to be made of such fine gold as proves just 24 carats fine upon the assay & if such fine silver as proves just 12 ounces fine upon the assay notwithstanding that gold & silver may by any new art be refined to an higher degree?

Qu. 3. Whether for keeping constantly to a standard her Majesty may direct that a piece of the fine gold, & a piece of the fine silver of which the next standard trial pieces shall be made be kept in the Exchequer for determining with more exactness the fineness of the fine gold & fine silver of which all triall pieces shall be made for the future?

© 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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