A LETTER TO A Member of Parliament, From his Friend At OXFORD, Concerning the Settling Gold and Silver: OFFERING Some Reasons for the Advancing of SILVER at this Present Season; And SETTLING GUINEA'S.


ACCORDING to your desire I have sent you my Thoughts about the Settling Gold and Silver Money; and though I am unable to Di­rect you whose Wisdom and Prudence, hath given you a Character equal to most, yet at your Command, I have sent you my Opinion

I will Premise Three Things,

  • First, That there is a Necessity at this time, of Settling Guinea's, not only that they shall not exceed such a Rate; but also, that they shall be Current at a certain Rate, else they will be as dead Cash in the Kingdom, and the Trade dead too; and at this time when Silver is so scarce, What will Circulate Trade, and be the Medium of Commerce?
  • Second, That 'tis Necessary there be a Parity between Gold and Silver, either the Guinea's Reduced to Silver, or Silver Advanced to Gold.
  • Thirdly, That way of Setling them that hath the fewest and least Inconveniencies attending it, and that may hereafter be remedied: is Preferrable to that which hath the greatest and most Evils attending, and which will be out of our power to Remedy; which way soever it be done, some Inconveniencies must and will Arise. — These being granted me, which I conceive you will readily do; Then Sir, my Humble Thoughts with Submission to Yours, is this, That at this present Time, and during the War, 'tis best to Advance Silver to the Guinea's about 25 or 26 Shillings, and not [Page 2]to Reduce them to 21 s. or 21 s. — 6 d. the near parity with the present value [...] And to strengthen this Opinion, I shall Offer a few Considerations.

First, The Reducing of Guinea's to 21 s. or 21 s. — 6 d. at this present season, when Taxes are High, Money Scarce, and Trading Dull, will be so great a loss to all Trad­ers in City and Country, as cannot be born without a Recompence, or half their Ruin: I doubt not but many who Trade for Hundreds, nay Thousands a Ye [...] [...]ho upon the Ballance of Debtor and Creditor, are not worth what they shall Lose, having great Numbers by them.— How this will digest I cannot tell, I wish there be no such Complaint as the Children of Israel made to Moses, that they had as good have been Slaves in Egypt, as to be brought out to Starve in the Wilderness: Some regard at this time of Charge, Trouble, &c. ought to be had to the Peoples Satisfaction; 'tis a great loss to some, to have them fall from 30 s to 26 s, and to others, if not to many, the same Persons, from 26 s to 21 s. or 21 s — 6 d. if so Low Reduced.

The common saying against this, is, That People got by them when they rose, and now they must be contented with their fall. I Answer, This would hold if it were the same individual Persons; but some few sharp Men who did the first, had the same cunning to avoid the other; 'tis the Common Traders, who got but little by the Rise, will lose most by the Fall.

Second, On the other hand, if they be not Reduced, but Settled about 25 or 26, most will be Easie, and not Grumble at the former Loss of Four Shillings each, because Trade will be Brisk, and People know what to do, what to take for Goods, and what will go again without Loss, to buy more, the want of which now puts a stop to all Trade, and will do so, if left to uncertainties, for one will take them at one Price, and another at another, &c.

Now I come to consider Silver, and shall say a few things upon it, and that is,

First, If it be Coyned at this Weight and Price as Ordered, and not the Denomina­tion Advanced, it will be certainly carryed out of the Land, and this (if it be so) is that Inconveniency hinted at under the 3d thing Premised, that cannot be Remedied hereafter: I know what I here say of Mill'd Money, so soon as it comes out it will be carryed away, is a Common Notion, and meets with Common Answers; I will therefore en­deavour to Answer those Answers, or Common Objections.

Object. 1 Object. 1. Pray, How can that be? No more will go out for all that; what we owe Abroad we must Pay; and 'tis not because you call a Crown Piece 6 s. or 6 s. —3 d, that they will take it so, for no more than the real Intrinsick Value will they accept it; 'tis all one if you send a Crown Piece and call it 6 s or 5 s, for the real Value only will it pass, and you must send so many the more.

Answ. 1 Answ. 1. This is True, But no more shall they have so, but what we really owe; I hope 'tis not our all.

Answ. 2 Answ. 2. It is by Judicious Men believed that before, since, and about the time the Coynage Act Passed that 4 or 500000 Guinea's in Specie and Gold Coyned, was sent over to us from beyond Sea, these Sold at 29 s. 6 d. 29 s. 28 s. 6 d. &c. as the Market would take off, and for Bank Bills Goldsmith Bills, &c: the Possessors of which, Wait like the Serpent in the Wilderness to devour the Child, so soon as it should be Born, and no sooner comes the Money out, but they exercise their Fingers in telling of it, and send it away to the Persons who sent the Guinea's, the Bargain is a good Bargain, to sell a Guinea at almost six Crown Pieces, whereas those Gentlemen, would be much Baulk'd, if a Crown Piece were 6 s. or 6 s 3 d. then it would not be worth their While to send them away, but rather to Improve it, by puting it into the Land Bank; as Many did in the Million Adventure, or buy our Manufactures with it: Some of these Guinea's sent over, was, I confess, Laid out in Goods. But most of them thus Sold, and if they can't get Silver enough, they may take their own Guinea's again at 21 s 6 d which they sold at the prizes aforesaid; if but so, 'tis pretty good profit, not much under 30 l per Cent.

Object. 2 Object. 2. Suppose those Persons, do get so much of Our Mill'd Money into Their hands, upon Their Bills for Guinea's Sold; Pray how will they send it away? I doubt not, but the Parliament have already or will make a Severe Law to pre­vent it.

Answer. I Answer. They may do so, and yet it will not Deter Men from it, for Interest will find out ways of doing of it; Witness the King of Spains Prohibition and Penalty on them that do so, and yet what Quantities are Continually sent out: Wool a Bulky Commodity yet I suppose some gets over to France from us, and sends Brandy and Claret in its Room to us. And Silver lying in so little Compass, may be Melted into Pigs, and put into Pipes and Hogs-heads of Suger, Wine, Oyl, and Forty things more that it would be endless to search into.—I Suppose, but will not Assert, it may be [Page 3]Melted with Lead and afterwards easily seperated. I will not say that Goldsmiths will Melt any of the Fine, Heavy Mill'd Money down, and send it a way, I hope Better things of them, but if I Mistake not, some was Seised a Marching out very Lately: So much with Respect to Silver being Carryed away.

The Second Thing I Assert, is, That what Remains, will assuredly be Hoarded: I confess that is the way to secure some; but then the end of Money, which is to Circulate Trade, is Lost; when all People are so fond of it, and resolve it shall be the last they will part with: whereas if the Guineas be Settled as before mentioned, and the Crown Pieces at 6 s, or 6 s 3 d, and made to pass in all Payments Current, and worded in the Act, that it shall be during the War only; leaving People room to believe, that one time or other they shall both be Reduced to their Intrinsick Value, (and they may be so when the War is over, and the ballance of Trade is on our side) this would make both Circulate and Trade wonderfully Quick: None will Hoard up any, for fear of losing by it hereafter; and so all the Money in the Kingdom, even from the Misers, will be brought out into Trade, the Bank, Loans, &c.

Object. 3 Object. 3. If Silver be Advanced, the Exchange will be so Altered that the Mer­chants must Pay Ten or Twelve per Cent. more for Goods they have from Abroad.

Answ. Answ. Suppose 'tis so for the present, this is an Inconveniency that may hereafter be Remedied, as is hereafter shewed: The Merchant paying Ten or Twelve per Cent. for Goods, he Sells them to the Wholesale-man, and gets a Profit, the Wholesale-man to the Retailer for a Profit, and he to the Spender; all get something, and the Spender he pays all; But what is it? Suppose Sugar (to instance in one) 10 l. per Cent. is 2 s. per Pound and 1 d in 10 d. so he that pays for a pound of Sugar 4 d. ½ d. must now Money to buy it with. Besides the Spender of this Sugar has some Commodity to Sell sure, and then he gets the same by them that spend his. The same thing holds in most other things.

Object. 4 Object, 4. I Grant this will not be much Felt Personally, because you will get by one another. But this is a Cheat upon your selves; for what you Get or Loose one with another is nothing, but 'tis what you Get or Loose, with Respect to your Trade Abroad, that is to be Regarded: The Trade of a Nation, is like the Trade of one Man; and if you Buy Dear and Sell Cheap, you must be a sufferer.

Answer, I Answer, We shall suffer something so long as the Ballance of Trade is one the other side, and must do so, do what you will, Order the Money as you please, they will Rule the Market. But still 'tis a less Inconveniency then Loosing all our Mo­ney, and the case may be altered if due Care be taken of our Shipping, to bring Goods Home from distant Foraign places, such as our Neighbours want, and if we can send more to them, then we have from them, this Mischief will be soon Lessened, and not till then, take what Method you will, with the Silver or Gold either.

Object. 5 Object, 5. If Silver be Advanced, all Commodities will be Dear, and tho you Mer­chants and Traders, says the Landlords and Country Gentlemen, get by one another, yet what shall we do, that have only an Estate to live on, we buy all of you at a dear rate, and have nothing to Sell you; So you get by us, and we cannot get by you, the thing lies hard upon us, we have Let our Lands upon Lease, and shall loose a 5th. part of the real Yearly vallue, and a 100 l.per An. will buy no more Provision, &c. then 80 l. per An.

Answer, Answer, This I confess is the Main and only Objection, and I shall consider and An­swer it. 1st. That a Crown piece made Current at 6 s, 3 d. will buy more than that Crown piece at 5 s. the Stamp and Extrinsical Denomination does add an Estimable, tho not a real, Intrinsick Value; we could never buy so many goods for a Guinea at 21 s. 6 d. as when the same went Current at 30, tho not setled, Goods (especially Home commodities) do not rise so much, unless what was demanded by those that sent the Gui­nea's over: What was the reason, that a year ago for 5 silver (tho clipt) Shillings whose Intrinsick value was not above 3 s 6 d, or less, I could buy as much of a Commodity as for a Crown piece, whose Intrinsick Value was near 5 s, but only because it went Cur­rent; the real Value not so much Regarded among Common Traders, as what it will Currantly pass for. So that a Crown piece, when made to go for 6 s or 6 s 3 d by Law will within a little, buy as many Goods as if it was really and Intrinsically Worth it. To instance, take 5 Sixpences that are Current, and not Clipt within the Ring, whose real value is about 20 d or 22 d. and go to Market for Bread, Meat, &c. or other Com­modities, and bargain for Goods, and tender the Money, and then ask what they will abate if you pay them a New Half Crown, whose intrinsick value is about 2 s 4 d. or thereabouts: The Answer will be, Truly very little or nothing abated; for says the person, I shall not melt it; those that do may make a difference, but these will go as [Page 4]current from me, and that is all I care: And the high price too of Goods in general, is not so much owing to our Money, as to the extraordinary demand that there was from Abroad; the reason of the rise that is on Provisions lately, is not so much from the badness of Money, as the uncertainty of it; and when that is removed, they will fall again.

But further, what falls short of it, is the Landlords and Gentlemens Loss, 'tis well, enough with Traders, and with the Tenants in the Country, who sell their Beef, Motton, &c. Corn, Mault, Oats and Hay, &c. Something Dearer; They get, and the Land­lords loose; why since 'tis so, let the Landords be in some Measure easied, and the Tenants who have large Stocks, some of them, (and nothing hath been laid upon them) pay a 4th. ar a 3 d part of the Land Tax; and this for some time, will not be more then the loss by their Guinea's, if Reduced so low; This cannot be done this Session, but it may be next, and if so, or some other way be found out to ease the Landlord, (who is the only Sufferer)' 'Tis my Opinion still that Guinea's be settled at about 26 s. and Silver Ad­vanced for the prsent; Trade will be good, Taxes Chearfully Paid, the people pleased, and United the better, and the Money go further amongst us at home and when the War is over, if there be Occasion, Silver and Guinea's too, may be Lowered so much half yearly, or yearly, a small Fund found out, to make up the loss to the people, or otherwise.— Sir I have given you my thoughts Impartially, and pray you would pass over the Style, the Dress, and the Tautology I have been guilty of; but I had ra­ther speak thrice on the same thing then omit the thing it self: I know what I hear say, will be strenuously argued against, and condemned by those whose Interest it is, it should be otherwise. I desire that the Infinite Wisdom, might Preside in your Councells and Debates to Order all for the Best.

I am Your Humble Servant, S. R.

JUst as this was going to the Press, I heard some talk, that the Parliament would not alter the Silver, but six Guinea's at 21 or 22 s, and so to pass Current and for no more, but the Bank to take them in at 1 s or 2 s higher, to encourage the speedy compleating the Subscriptions, and the King to have the Money the sooner: I answer, This is a kind of Necessitating Persons to come in; our People had rather be drawn than drove: What do they now say? Why the Government has got the Silver, and now they are going to get all the Gold too, by tying us to lose so much by our Guinea's, or we must bring them in: My Humble Thoughts, with submission to Yours, still is, That if Gold and Silver be Settled as aforesaid, and to pass Current to King and People, it will so bring all out, that the Bank will be sooner full, especially if a good discount for prompt Payment be Allowed; which in my opinion is the better way, then such a method about the Guinea's.

And another thing I have just met with is, That the Parliament having Settled Silver, to do and undo a thing the same Session, would argue weakness, and be som­thing Dishonourable: I Answer, Parliaments have made Acts one Session, and have seen reason in a little time to alter them; and why may it not be so the same Session, in a thing of such an Abstruse and Difficult matter as this? Immutability is a proper­ty of the Divine Nature only, and incommunicable too, who by one intuitive act of his Understanding foresees all things with their Consequences and Events, and there­fore cannot see a reason afterwards Change, But with Men it is not so. Who ga­ther their Knovvledge by experience and comparing things; hence the Proverb Huma­num est Errare: A thing of this great Importance is to be thought on over and over again, and not to be omitted (if it may be Altered for the better) Because 'tis once done, vvhich vvhither it may or no? I leave to your Consideration, and to the rest of our most Worthy Senators to Determine: And Pray God direct You.


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