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).

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

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