To the Rt Honble Sidney Lord Godolphin Ld High Treasurer of England.

May it please yor Lordp

According to yor Lordps direction we have examined the values of several forreign coyns & endeavoured to inform or selves of the values of Gold in proportion to silver in several nations & considered the ways of preserving the coyn. And by the Accompts we have met with, Gold is higher in England then in France by about 9d or 10d in the Guinea, then in Holland by 11d or 12 pence in the Guinea, then in Germany & Italy by 12d in the Guinea or above. In Spain & Portugal Gold is higher then in England by about 11d in the Guinea. For the great quantity of silver coming from the West-Indies has brought down the price of silver in all Europe in proportion to Gold & principally in Spain where the Bullion first arrives. The low price mends the market and thereby carries silver from Spain into all Europe & from all Europe to the East Indies & China, the Merchant bidding more for it then it goes for among the natives. In Spain the Merchants advance about six ꝑ cent or above for silver: At which rate a Guinea is worth about 21s. 338d & sometimes less. In England they advance 3d or 4d ꝑ ounce, and at the rate of 3d ꝑ ounce advance a Guinea is worth but 20s. 616d.

Gold is therefore at too high a rate in England by about 10d or 12d in the Guinea. And this tending to the decrease of the silver coyn we humbly conceive that one way of preserving this coyn is to lower the price of Gold suppose by taking 6d, 9d or 12d from the {illeg}|pr|i{illeg}|c|e of the Guinea so as that Gold may be of the same value in England as in the neighbouring parts of Europe. France has set us an example for in the last war when the Lewidor was raised there to 14 livres the Ecu was raised only to 72 sols but it is now raised to 76 sols tho the Lewid'or be raised only to 14 livres as before. So that Gold in respect of silver is lower in France now then in the last war in the proportion of 76 to 72 that is by above 1312d in the Guinea.

The liberty of melting forreign monies into ingots in private shops & houses for exportation gives opportunity of melting down the money of Englan{d} for the same purpose. For restraining of wch a law might be usefull against exporting any Ingots of silver melted down in England except in a publick Office to be appointed or erected for that purpose.

The law by barring the exportation of forreign silver after it is coyned prevents the coynage thereof because the Merchant cannot afterwards export it, & tends to discourage the importation of silver into England because the Merchant can make no use of it whilst it stays here in the form of Bullion. The bringing of silver to the market of England & the turning it into money should rather be encouraged as the <328v> proper means of encreasing the coyn, silver being more apt to stay with us in the useful form of money then in the useless form of Bullion. If the merchant might export what he coyns, some part of what he coyns would be apt to be laid out here. And this liberty may be allowed him after some such manner as is described in the scheme hereunto annexed.

The licensing the exportation of {b}|B|ullion whilst the exportation of the money is prohibited makes silver worth more uncoyned then coyned & thereby not only stops the coynage but causes the melting down of the money in private for exportation. For remedying this mischief it \may be perhaps/ better on the contrary to prohibit the exex {sic}portation of Bullion & license that of money, & whenever the money is in danger to licence the exportation of so much money only as shall from time to time be coyned out of forreign Bullion.

The safety & encrease of the coyn depends principally on the ballance of trade. If the ballance of trade be against us the money will be melted down & exported to pay debts abroad & carry on trade in spight of laws to the contrary, & if the ballance of trade be for us such laws are needless & even hurtfull to trade. If trade can be so ordered that no branch of it be detrimental to the nation the money will be safe. For wch end luxury in forreign commodities should be checkt & the exportation of our own commodities encouraged. If a law were made & well executed against trading with more gold & silver by any Merchant or company of Merchants then in certain proportions to the value of the good exported, such an Addition to the Act of Navigation might put Merchants upon searching out sufficient ways of vending our commodities abroad & as we humbly conceive, be more effectual for preserving the coyn then the absolute prohibition of the exportation thereof.

As for the alteration of the standard we are humbly of opinion that if the value of the several species to be hereafter coyned be diminished without changing the denomination, it will occasion the melting down & recoyning the species already coyned for the profit that may be made thereby. And if the value be encreased the Merchants & people will value their goods by the old money already coyned in wch they are to be paid, & the new money of greater value (if any shall be coyned) will be pickt out for exportation & the Importer who coyns it will lose the overvalue to the discouragement of the coynage, & in payments made by tale to forreigners the nation will also lose {t}he overvalue.


But if it be proposed to retain the value of the several species or quantity of fine silver therein & only to alter the allay, we are humbly of opinion, that if small money which by continal {sic} |use| wear|es| \away fast &/ is apt to be lost, were coyned of coarse allay as is done in several countries abroad, provided it were well coyned to prevent counterfeiting, such money would weare longer & be less apt to be lost then the small money now in use. By small money we understand Groats, Three pences, Two pences & pence, unless the penny by reason of its smallness should be made of copper.

All wch is most humbly submitted to yor Lordps great


I Stanley

Isc{sic}. Newton

In Ellis

Mint Office
7 {Apr}|Iul|. 1702


Report of the Officers of the Mint about the preservation of the Coyne.

© 2024 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

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC