To the Honourable, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses,
in PARLIAMENT Assembled.
PROPOSALS Humbly offered, for Passing an Act to prevent Clipping and
Counterfeiting of Mony.

WHEREAS [1]Mony is the Principal Supporter, both in times of Peace and War and the only Riches, on which depends all Commerce and Trade. It hath therefore been the care of all Countries to keep their Coyn as free from defects as possible. Now England hath been more grieved with Clip'd and Counterfeit Mony than any other Country, for want of proper Laws to prevent the same, and by the abuse of the Minters of our Mony, who have made the Coyn with so little Art and Ingenuity, that any may Clip or Counterfeit Mony without much difficulty.

[2]That it may be presumed, the old Mony in this Kingdom is now worth two thirds of the Intrinsick value; taking the large and small together. But if there be not a stop put to Clipping of Mony, it will in a few Years be so Diminished and Counterfeited, that it will not be worth half the value it was Coyn'd for.

Therefore, to prevent Clipping and false Coyning for the future,

It is Humbly Proposed,

[3]That since it may be presumed, the old Mony is worth two thirds of the Intrinsick, it should be all called in, and Melted down, and new Coyn'd into Mill'd Mony of the same value it is now of, one with another, viz. Every piece so to be new Coyn'd, to be only two thirds of the Intrinsick worth.

If it be Objected, That to call in the Money and new Coyn it, will be so great a trouble and charge to the King and Subjects, that it must not be done at this time.

It is Humbly Answered.

[4]That there shall be a moveable Mint that shall be placed in the middle of a County, &c. and shall give notice to all the Parishes in the said County, to bring their Mony by such a day, to be changed for new Coyn'd Mony; so having done in that County, the Mint shall move into the middle of the next, to change and Coyn their Mony as aforesaid, and so through the Kingdom, until all the old Mony shall be Coyn'd into Mill'd Mony.

[5]That the Mint shall first go into Cornwall, Devonshire, &c. or where the largest Mony is to be found, by which means the Mint will have a Stock to change the Mony as fast as it is brought to them.

[6]That by this Method, the Poor and Rich may change their Mony with very little trouble or charge, or fear of being Robb'd, for it may be presumed that many will go together to the Mint, and will take the Poor's Mony with them. And further, That many will make it their Imployment to fetch Mony from the Mint, and carry it to the adjacent Towns to change their Mony, and will do it for small profit; so that the Mony in the Country will be changed with very little trouble and charge, and in London with much less, for all the old Mony may be thus Recoyned for 10000l. Extraordinary Charge to the Mint, which is no great Expence in regard it will remove the greatest Grievances this Kingdom is afflicted with.

If it be further Objected, That to Coyn our Mony less than the Intrinsick value will be a great Abuse to the Subject and a Dishonour to the Kingdom.

It is Humbly Answered.

[7]That it shall not be any abuse to the Subject, for as soon as the Mony is Recoyned, by which it will be known how much the Mony wants of the Intrinsick (and Silver Cheap, which now is very dear) the Mony shall be called in and Coyned up to the Intrinsick: This Recoyning being done, only at present to stop the Currant of Clipping and false Coyning, which is now so much Practised, that it is probable they Clip and Coyn 500000l. per ann. [8]So that if an Act should be made to call in the Mony, and Coyn it up to the Intrinsick worth, it would be so long about, that the Kingdom would lose at least two Million of Mony by Clipping and false Coyning of mony before it could be done; Whereas, what is here Proposed, may be done in one Year, and then there <2> may be a small Tax afterwards[9] laid for calling the Mony in, to Coyn it up to the Intrinsick, which may be done by degrees; so that it will be no trouble to the Subject at all, after this first calling in of the Mony.

[10]That it cannot be any Dishonour to the Kingdom, to Coyn our Money less then the Intrinsick, since we do not do it for profit, but to prevent a Treasonable Practice crept in amongst us.

If it be yet Objected, That to Coyn our Mony less then the Intrinsick worth, will be a hindrance to Trade{,} for that all Merchants are obliged to pay the Intrinsick worth for their Goods they Buy beyond Sea, and so they will want Intrinsick Mony for that use.

It is Humbly Answered,

[11]That it doth not appear in Holland, France, Portugal, &c. That their Mony, altho' it be less then the Intrinsick, is any hindrance to Trade, nor hath there been any such Effect here in England, since our Mony hath been reduced so invaluable by Clipping, and it is directly against the Law to Transport our Mony; besides it is the constitution of the Laws of England that all Debts shall be paid in Currant and Lawful Mony of England, and any Mony is Lawful that the King and Parliament please to make so.

If it be Objected, That the Masters of the Mint will Coyn Bullion into this Mony, and so abuse the Kingdom.

It is Humbly Answered,

[12]That it may be made High-Treason to Coyn any Bullion, but such only as is old Mony melted down, and the Office may be so Ordered, that it shall be impossible for the Minters to act the same Cheat.

If it be Objected, That if Mony be Coyned less then the Intrinsick worth, they will Coyn Mony beyond Sea and send it here.

It is Humbly Answered,

[13]That no Foreign State or Government will allow of Counterfeiting our Mony, and if it be Coyned as shall hereafter be Proposed, it will be impossible for any private Person to do it, without being discovered; Besides, it is High-Treason to bring any Counterfeit Mony into England, and we have not observed any have done it lately, altho' there would be great profit in it.

If it be Objected, That if Mony be Coyned less then the Intrinsick worth, it will be much Counterfeited, for that they may make it of good Silver, and get great profit thereby.

It is Humbly Answered,

That all Coyning is done by Casting or Stamping.

To prevent Conterfeiting of Mony by Casting it. The Mony should be thicker and narrower than now it is made, and it should be Mill'd with a Hollow or Grove, and then it would be impossible to Counterfeit it by Casting.

To prevent Counterfeiting of Mony by Stamping it. The Heads, Letters, and Arms, should not be Grav'd, but cut upon Counter-Punches, and so Curiously done, that there should be but few in the Kingdom could do it so well, and rise up so high, that the Mony could not be Stamped, but with an Engine, and other Tools that must weigh near a Tun weight, and then it would be impossible for any private Person to Counterfeit Mony without being discovered[14]; but now the Mony, being such bad Workmanship, every Smith, Clock-maker, Brasier, Goldsmith, &c. can Grave Stamps, and the Work being so flat and irregular, they can Stamp Mony with a Hammer of three pound weight, which is a great grievance to the Kingdom, to have our Mony Coyned so disingeniously, that it may be Counterfeited with so much ease and privacy.

That if this Honourable House will be pleased to Order the Proposer hereof to attend your Honours, he will bring some Exemplary Pieces, by which he presumes he can Demonstrate[15] that Mony may be Coyn'd so, that it shall be impossible for any private Person to Counterfeit it; and will Humbly inform your Honours more at large of the defects of the late Mony, and how in the Coyning of it anew, it may be prevented.

REASONS Humbly offered, to prove that Coyning our Mony the Intrinsick worth, is a great charge to the King, a grievance to the Subject, and an impoverishment to the Nation.

1. THE [16]Standard of our Coyn is 11 ounces 2 penny weight fine Silver or Gold, and 18 penny weight of Allay.

2. [17]That the Minters have agreed, that Silver of the said Standard shall be accounted worth 5s. 3d. per ounce, and that the Mony shall be Coyned of such a weight, that at the said 5s. 3d. per ounce, every piece shall be the Intrinsick worth it is Coyn'd for.


3. [18]That Silver of the said Standard is sometimes worth 5s. 1d. and at other times 5s. 6d. per ounce.

4. [19]That when the Silver is 5s. 1d. per ounce, the Merchant Coyns his Silver and gains above 3l. per cent. by it, but when Bullion is 5s. 6d. per ounce either here or abroad, they melt down the Coyn, and gain above 4l. per cent. by it; And so the King is at a great charge in Coyning Mony, which proves no advantage to the publick, but for the Interest of some private Persons, and likewise encourages Transporting our mony.

5. [20]That there is yet a further Gain the Merchants have by Coyning Mony, viz. when the Gold or Silver is Coyned, to weigh all the mony, and that which is over weight to melt down and send it to be Coyned again, and that which is to light, to let it pass for currant mony, and thus a Person having 2000l. in Silver and Gold, may get near 500l. per ann. by Coyning mony and more, when in favour with the Minters, so that they may not be severe with the Labourers of the Mint in Sizeing the mony.

6. [21]That our mony being the full value, and of the same Standard Silver Plate is made of, our Coyn is melted down and made into Plate.

Therefore, that the King may not be at unnecessary charge in Coyning mony, and to prevent our mony from being melted down, Transported, &c.

It is Humbly Proposed,

[22]That whereas our mony is now Coyned the Intrinsick value, when Silver is at 5s. 3d. per ounce, but Silver being sometimes at 5s. 1d. and other times at 5s. 6d. per ounce, the said different prices makes our mony sometimes under, and at other times above the Intrinsick worth it is Coyned for; the effect of which is the cause of the grievances aforesaid: Therefore, the mony should be Coyned the intrinsick worth of Silver, at 5s. 6d. per ounce, and of Gold 4l. 2s per ounce.

[23]That when Silver is cheaper then 5s. 6d. per ounce and the Gold under 4l. 2s. per ounce the King shall have the profit that arises by Coyning of it.

That the King shall allow for Silver or Gold what Interest shall be thought fit according to the price thereof, to Encourage the Merchant to bring Bullion to be Coyned.

That to prevent the Goldsmiths melting down the Coyn to make Plate of it.

It is Humbly Proposed,

[24]That the mony should have 3 penny weight of Allay more in the Pound then the Standard of Silver Plate hath in it, which would effectually prevent the said Practice, for when any Silver Plate is offered to be Mark'd, being not of the aforesaid Standard, it is broke in pieces, and to make the mony the same Standard, by adding fine Silver to it, would be so much trouble and charge, that it will neither be practicable nor profitable to melt down the Coyn to make Plate of it.

PROPOSALS Further Humbly offered, for Passing an Act to prevent Counterfeiting of Mony, and for the better discovering Offenders therein.

WHereas Counterfeiting of mony is very much Practised, to the great abuse of His Majesty and Subjects, for want of a method to prevent and discover the Persons offending therein.

And whereas the Coyners do Principally make use of Sheers, Flatting Mills, and Flasts, without which Tools, it would be impossible for them to Counterfeit the said Coyn, for all Coyning is done, either by Casting or Stamping it, Casting is done by the use of Flasts, and Stamping mony i{s} Principally done by the use of Flatting Mills and sSheers, viz.

[25]By the use of Flasts they Coyn mony by casting it in Sand, some is made of good Silver and is very currant, And by the littleness of it, they get 40l. per cent. and in a Daies time one Man can make 100l. And it being lawful for them to keep such Tooles, in the Night, and other convenient times, they Coyn and afterwards break the Moulds; and the mony being good Silver, it is difficult to discover them.

By the use of the Flatting Mills, the Coyners of mony do Flat Silver, which they afterwards Stamp, and with the Sheers cut it into mony.

Therefore to prevent their having such Tooles to Coyn withal;

It is Humbly Proposed,

There should be a peculiar Seal or Mark put upon all such Tooles,

[26]That no Person shall keep, sell, or dispose of any Sheers, Flatting-Mills or Flasts, but to such only as have a Certificate from the Keeper of the said Seal, to certifie that they are Goldsmiths, Tin-men, Brasiers, &c. that do use such Tools in their honest and lawfull Employments.

That they shall not obtain this Certificate, unless they bring from under the Hands of two of the Masters of the Parish they then live in, or such like Testimony, that they are of such Trades as do necessarily use such Tools in their lawful Employments.


But if it be Objected, That this method will be a Restraint to Trade, or a trouble and charge to the Honest subjects;

It is Humbly Answered,

[27]That no one Goldsmith, Tin-man, Brasier, &c. does use above one or two pair of Sheers, &c. in seven Years, and Two Pence for Setting each Seal, and Six-pence for each Certificate, will defray the charges the Keeper of the Seal will be at, which is but a small trouble and charge, when a Man first Sets up his Trade, or being once or twice in seven Years; But the Coyners use great quantities of these Sheers, Flasts, &c.

If it be yet Objected, That then the Coyners will Employ Goldsmiths, Tin-men, Brasiers, &c. to procure Sheers, Flasts, &c. for them.

It is Humbly Answered.

[28]To prevent that, there must be kept Books of Record, of those that have bought Sheers, Flasts, &c. and if they offer to Buy more than two or three pair in seven Years, they shall be questioned, and suspected to be Coyners.

If it be further Objected, That they will get private Smiths to make Sheers, Flatting-Mills, &c. or procure them out of the Country:

It is Humbly Answered.

[29]These Sheers, Flatting-Mills, &c. are a curious piece of Work: so none but those, whose Trade chiefly it is, can make them{,} and there are not above Eight or Ten that make them in London, and but Three or Four in Sheffeild and Burmingham: All which easily may be observed by the Keeper and his Deputies all over England, whether they make any for the Use of Coyners or not.

[30]That to detect Thieves, as well as prevent Clippers and Coyners, buying or selling melted Silver, no Person shall buy, sell, or receive any melted Silver, but such only as have a Certificate from the Keeper of the said Seal, and to be obtained as aforesaid, to certifie they are Goldsmiths, Refiners, &c. and do use melted Silver in their lawful Employments.

[31]That by this method, no Person can deal or Trade in melted Silver, but such only as use Silver in their lawful Employments, which will in a great measure prevent Transporting of Bullion

That there are several Precedents by Act of Parliament, for this way of Sealing or Marking, which proves very effectual in preventing Cheats in Plate, Leather, Cloth, &c. For were it not for the Seal put upon Silver Plate, called, the Hall Mark, there would be as much false Silver as there is false mony, for if any false Plate be brought to be Marked, it is immediately broke in pieces, and if any ill Tann'd Leather is offered to be Sealed, or good Leather sold[32] unmarked, it is all Forfeited, &c. In which, Sealing, and Marking, they find no great trouble, although it is used in their whole Trade: This being but upon three peculiar Tools, and but a few of them used in seven Years time; so that it will be but little trouble to the Subject.

[33]That March the 5th. 1692. the Masters of the Mint, ordered the Proposer hereof to draw up a method that would prevent Clipping and Counterfeiting of mony: He therefore drew up these Proposals, and sent them to the Warden of the Mint, who laid them before the Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesties Treasury, and their Lordships were pleased to Refer the same to the Attorney General, now Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England. And that all the Persons aforesaid, with most of the Company of Goldsmiths and Ironmongers have highly approved hereof, Concluding these to be the most effectual means to suppress all Offences of this Nature, and prevent such abuses for the future.

From Eagle-street in Red-Lyon-
Fields, Feb. 11th.


[1] The Minters have been a great cause of Clipping and false Coyning.

[2] The Value of the old Mony

[3] What value the Mony should be when Recoyn'd.

[4] How the Mony shall be called in.

[5] How the Mint stall have a stock.

[6] The mony Recoyned with very little trouble or charge.

[7] When the mony shall be Coyned the Intrinsick worth.

[8] The Kingdom will lose greatly by any other method but this.

[9] The Mony may be called in afterwards with little trouble.

[10] This method no dishonour to England.

[11] Mony so Coyn'd will be no hindrance to Trade

[12] The Minters cannot Coyn more then allowed by Law.

[13] They cannot Counterfeit our Mony beyond Sea.

[14] Impossible for a private Person to Counterfeit Mony.

[15] Examples to prove that mony cannot be Counterfeited.

[16] The standard of our mony.

[17] The Price of Bullion.

[18] Silver sometimes dear.

[19] Merchants get great profit by Coyning.

[20] The Kingdom much abused by Coyning.

[21] Our Coyn is melted down to make Plate of.

[22] The different prices of Bullion is grievous.

[23] The King should have the profit of Coyning.

[24] The Coyn should be of a new standard.

[25] How Coyning is done.

[26] None shall keep Tools that are used in Coyning.

[27] Very little trouble or charge to the subject.

[28] To prevent Goldsmiths. &c.

[29] To prevent smiths.

[30] To prevent Thieves. Clippers and Coyners selling melted Silver.

[31] To prevent Transporting of Bullion.

[32] Precedents for this method.

[33] Orders of the Masters of the Mint.

© 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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