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millions, no deviation has been de crease the beauty and accuracy of tected in the standard, and not above the money, and effect a recoinage four grains in the weight. The ad- with at least tenfold dispatch. mirable experiments of Messrs. Ca When the coinage is placed on a vendish and Hatchett proved that proper footing, such measures will the nature of the alloy at present in be necessary as shall prevent the use was, if not the best, at least very practices of clippers, and other unnearly so. The British silver now in fair dealers in the precious metals. circulation cannot exceed four mil. The low profits on which these perlions in nominal value, and is pro- sons will trade is shown by sir Isaac bably much less. The deficiency Newton, in his report of 1717. It of these coins in weight is very appears that the louis-d'or was considerable. In 1798, it amounted brought into general circulation in to 3 1-5 per cent in crowns, 9 1-11 king William's reign, from being in half-crowns, 24 1-2 in shillings, rated at 54d. above its real value, and 38 1-4 in sixpences; in 1787, it compared with British coins; and was smaller, and has therefore, in that a similar profit of 5d. on the all probability, increased since 1798. moidore inundated the west of EngYet so great is the demand for these land with those pieces. The louiscoins, that a premium is sometimes d'ors were utterly banished from cir. given for them above their nominal culation, by being decried to three value. What compensation should farthings below their real value, and be made to the holders of the clip- the moidores by being brought to one ped silver, on a recoinage, cannot penny below that value. be stated, but in general a small re Where men will trade on such lief would be sufficient. Any large slender gains, it is scarcely possible compensation, such as was made in to prevent their tampering with the king William's time, would not only coin. The only remedy consists in cost a great sum to the public, but some regulations for constantly be a powerful encouragement to weighing the currency given in paycoiners of base metal, and clippers ments. At an early period, when of the lawful coin.
the pounds by weight and by tale The amount of copper coins in coincided, a method of this sort was circulation may be from half a mil. adopted for keeping the money enlion to 550,000 nominal value; and tire. The compensatio ad pensum the counterfeits amount to a much was only a practice of receiving greater sum : so great is the defi. specie by weight, when the currency ciency of that coin for the purposes had become debased ; and the comof the retail trade !
pensatio ad scalam was a certain Before a recoinage can be had, general allowance made without some alterations must be made in weighing, in consideration of the the mint. The standard requires damage sustained by the currency, no improvement, and the alloy is calculated on an average. Aftersufficient. The machinery, howe-' wards, laws were made for prevent. ver is very faulty. While the great- ing the circulation of money that est progress has been making in had sutiered more than a certain di. every mechanical contrivance used minution by wear, and for enforcing by private persons, and especially the weighing of coins received in in stamping and coining, the ma- payment. This was generally dechinery of the mint alone moves on nominated reasonable wear, and left in the old and clumsy fashion, and to be determined by the magistrate fulfils the common fate of public mac of the district. But, in 1776, a more nufactories, of remaining stationary definite rule was fixed by proclamain the midst of universal improve- tion, declaring that the guinea should
Boulton's admirable ma not pass, if it weighed less than 5 chinery, which foreign states have gr. 8 dwt. ; the half-guinea, 2 gr. been eager to adopt, would both in- 16 dwt.; and so of the other coins
in proportion. This regulation has is so much higher than its mint certainly not been duly enforced at price, the bank cannot afford to purthe great public offices where specie chase that metal for coinage ; and if is received and paid out in the great. it could, whatever was coined would est quantities, and its good tendency be melted again ; so that, till this has, therefore, been defeated. But evil is remedied, the bank cannot Jord Liverpool thinks it the only safely resume its cash payments. unexceptionable remedy for the evil, And lord Liverpool confirms his unby affording a constant check to the favourable view of country banks, arts of those who tamper with the and the excess of the present paper specie of the country, and by causing currency, by a sketch of the history a gradual renewal of the coins as of paper credit, in the whole of they are worn in circulation. He which he can find nothing at all reconceives, too, that an allowance, sembling it, not even in the late his. like the ancient compensatio, might tory of France ; for there the gobe made for coins much worn; two- vernment, or the great corporate pence might be deducted for every bodies of the state, and not private grain which the gold coin wanted, individuals, issued the new paper and so in proportion for silver, a money. He thinks that the legislaminimum being fixed, below which ture should interfere, and that the neither should be current at all. reform of the coinage can never be This mode would remove the neces- completely effected till some check sity of too frequent a recoinage, and is given to the traffic of the country prevent the extreme degradation banks. of specie.
Considering the mere terms of Lord Liverpool condemns the pre. modern contracts, it appears that sent extent of paper currency, silver is the universal money or me. which has almost banished the pre- dium of exchange, and is taken as cious metals from all retail trade. the common standard in all estiHe particularly condemns the cur- mates of comparative value. He rency of the country banks. The who promises to pay so many former interfere most with the coins pounds, or livres, promises a cerof the realm ; and as the latter only tain quantity of precious metal, in pass within particular districts, a the words which once signified that person cannot travel through dif- precise weight of silver, when no ferent parts of the kingdom without other precious metals were in use, changing his money several times but custom or law has since caused over. Nor has the market price of it to mean, indiscriminately, a much bullion fallen in consequence of the smaller weight of silver, or a certain coin being thrown out of circulation; weight of gold. Thus, too, a Roit has, on the contrary, risen consi- man would promise to pay so many derably above the mint price ; and pounds of copper, the only commothus all influx of bullion into the dity that originally he could ex. mint has necessarily been stopped. change, when, in fact, he meant to Now the bank of England is the promise those substitutes which the great repository of unemployed cash, increased wealth and varying insti. and must always be called upon for tutions of the state had provided for supplies when the failures of private it. The words used to denote pebankers, or other causes, contract cuniary value are retained from the the circulation. It is thereby re- commodity of which money was first sponsible not only for the value of its made. What new meanings time own notes, but, in a certain degree, gives them depends altogether on for such as may be issued by every the change of circumstances. These private banker in the kingdom, let must determine as well the quality the substance, credit, or discretion as the quantity of the commodity of such a banker be what it may. really expressed by the antiquated But when the market price of gold terms. Since Mr. Locke wrote,
certain events have almost banished alone attended to in all contracts. silver from the circulation of Bri. If both continue in circulation, they tain, and substituted gold in its are both measures and standards. place. But, though people still con- Each may be compared with all tract to pay pounds sterling, they other commodities, and both may be merely bind themselves to pay op- compared together. The value of tionally either so much silver, or its either may thus be measured by the value in gold, at a rate fixed and other; and the value of ordinary known at the time of making the property may be measured in either, bargain. The proportion between or in terms applicable to both. A the supply of and demand for gold, guinea is equal in value to twentytoo, will regulate the price of that one shillings; and a certain quantity article, and fix the real value of the of wheat is equal in value to twenty money mentioned in the contract, shillings, or to 20-21 of a guinea, or more or less exclusively as it may to a pound, which, though it signihappen more or less completely to fied only so much silver, now signiusurp the place of silver in the cur- fies indifferently twenty shillings, or rency; and thus, in bargaining no 20-21 of a guinea, or, finally, a piece minally for silver, the seller will of paper equivalent to either. have the real value of gold only, or When the comparative value of even of bank paper, in his eye, the precious metals is constantly vaknowing that his price will be paid rying, the government will in vain in that form.
attempt to regulate their relative There are, however, some occa- prices by any mint arrangements, sions on which the new names are or public laws. Admitting, what used in contracting or in keeping the whole history of the coinage accounts. All gambling transactions proves to be impracticable, that, at are stated in guineas, and so are the moment of coining, we should many contracts of insurance; nay, be able accurately to adjust those in some parts of the country, parti- prices according to the market cularly in Scotland, where bank rates, in a short time these will paper has long formed the bulk of vary; one of the metals will be the currency, the lower people are overvalued, and the coins of the accustomed to reckon in notes, mean- other will of course be driven out of ing pounds. In these cases, the mo- circulation. Experience proves the ney of account coincides with the folly of attempting to follow the medium actually circulating. Yet changes of the bullion market, and still he who promised to pay twenty how much better it would be to save guineas may perform his contract at once the double expence of coinby giving twenty-one pounds in sil- ing in two metals, than to coin in ver; and he who promises twenty- such a manner as must ensure the one notes finds his creditor very speedly banishment of one of them. ready to accept twenty guineas. It By fixing the relative mint prices is, therefore, indifferent in what lan- of the precious metals, and fixing guage bargains are made and ac them wrong, which is almost the counts kept, provided the terms same thing, we have lost the bene. used are always defined. While fits of a double circulation, and acthere is a double circulation in a quired our present silver currency. country, when we talk of one metal, While this practice continues, we we in truth mean either of the two can no more expect to see silver at a known relative valuation fixed carried to the mint, or retained in by law, or settled in the market; circulation after government has and when we call one of them the coined it, than we could hope for a measure of property, we only mean, supply of foreign wheat, were we on that the other having nearly disap- the same principle to fix its price peared from the circulation, the real below the level of the home market. price of the one which remains is It is unnecessary to fix the rela
tive prices of gold and silver, under number of shillings in a guinea must pretence that the lower orders, and afterwards be regulated by the especially those residing in distant market. It might be an additional parts of the country, cannot possibly convenience, if the relative prices know the variations of the bullion of the metals were from time to market; for the bullion market ex- time investigated, as matter of fact, ists every where, and all men are for the ascertainment of contracts traders in it. The lower orders made indefinitely, and for the geneare left exposed to the same igno- ral publication of such information. rance in buying their bread and selling their labour, both of which are exchanged for silver.
Lord Liverpool proposes, indeed, For the Literary Magazine. that the guinea should be made the standard ; in other words, that THE REFLECTOR. twenty real guineas should be denominated by authority equal to twenty-one ideal pounds sterling. And, therefore, he concludes, that Concluded from page 383. if the shillings are left to find their relative value to the guinea, much HENCE it follows, if the above more confusion will be introduced reasoning be just, that we dare not among the lower people, than if the break those secret and indefinable shillings were fixed in relation to bonds which unite us to our the pound sterling, and the guinea friends; they are the bonds of left to take its relative value to love, which cannot be destroyed them.
without a shock to nature. We It is manifestly the same thing, dare not deprive ourselves of the whether the shilling is called the objects of our affections for an inte. twentieth part of a pound, and the rested purpose, because we know, guinea left to find its value in terms that no sooner have we committed of the shilling, or whether the gui. the irrevocable deed, but our suffernea is denominated the 21-20 of a ings must commence, aggravated pound, and the shilling left to find too by the reflection that the act can its price in terms of the guinea. So never be recalled, and have been laid long as the real value of the pieces upon us by ourselves as a conseis retained, their proportions to quence of our nourishing inordinate each other, however named, cannot and criminal desires; desires which, affect any person ; and, even sup now they are gratified, fail to proposing a real difference, the labourer duce that satisfaction which they will both demand and receive as seemed to possess while seen by the many good shillings of wages when eye of hope penetrating the shades the price of gold has made the gui- of futurity. nea worth 20 shillings, as he did It is hard to tell whether love or when that metal was a little dearer. grief is the cause which induces us Government should coin both gui- to pay that earnest attention, that neas and shillings of the known fine- incessant care which we are accusness; and, to save trouble, the tomed to bestow on those of our conweight also of the pieces should be nections who are in a state of suffer. retained. A regulation respecting ing. This seems to be a strange wear might probably be added with observation; but, on investigation, advantage ; and it should be under we find it so in a less degree than stood, either that the guinea is we at first imagined. Suppose the 21-20, or that the shilling is 1-20 of reader's parent has arrived at a of a pound sterling, it is absolutely great age, and is afflicted with the indifferent which. Government has various infirmities incident to an then done all it ought to do; and the existence long protracted ; suppose
him suddenly taken ill; with what tion of his wish, now while it may breathless expectation would he not be innocently accomplished. In hasten to endeavour to relieve him! what manner can I better evince he would sit by him day and night, and my affection? If I send for a physileave no means untried to restore cian, his skill may enable him to him to that same infirm and feeble live a short period longer; but state, in which his last illness found will I not be doing wrong to gratify him. This seems to be the effect of my own feeling at the expence of love. Does he love his parent whoen- his? Certainly I shall: and theredeavours toextend the limits of exist- fore it is better every way to suffer ence beyond the period of enjoyment, him to expire. or even satisfaction; when his only Who would not think this reasonportion is pain and infirmity ; whose ing the reasoning of an inhuman sadays of temporal felicity are depart. vage, of a man devoid of feeling, of ed'; who sees no prospect of a hap- a murderer, and a parricide? Most pier fate except in that unknown of my readers would, I think; and land of promise, whose frontier is yet the reasoning is just, when the the grave; and who there wishes to prejudices of habit and the feelings lay down the burthen of life, and of humanity are laid aside. Love is sink to rest ? In what manner is the supposed always to seek the felicity agency of love proved here? Could of the object on which it reposes ; his bitterest foe do more than make yet here its motive is avowedly the him feel as long as possible the pains reverse. Instead of seeking to proof infirm old age ? His prospect be- mote the happiness of the individual, yond the grave is bright beyond all it takes pleasure in prolonging its description, beyond all conception; misery, as the executioner keeps the where the weakness of age will be wretch extended on the wheel, and exchanged for the ever-during vie delays the blow which will regour of eternal youth ;, where its lieve him from sensibility to torture. wrinkles will vanish and be replaced If it is acknowledged that love by the bloom of immortality, and all invariably seeks to promote, and not the ills of life be exchanged for hap- to marr the happiness of its object, piness which will never end, nor then it cannot be love that induces cloy in the enjoyment.
us to prolong, when we can, the exHere the reader would act unrea. istence of an infirm parent who sonably. He loves his parent, he wishes to die. No: it must be somewould say ; yet he is unwilling to thing else ; perhaps self-love. This suffer him to attain the object of his sentiment makes us endeavour to wishes. He loves him, and would promote our own felicity. But how prevent his leaving an unhappy for is the object affected by witnessing a happy world.
the infirmity and extending the exIs it love, then, or the dread of istence of a slowly expiring parent! grief, which would produce so much It is true, self-love would induce us inconsistency? Could not he argue to prefer the protraction of his exthus? My parent is old and mise. istence, if the grief, which might be rable with the infirmities of age; expected to follow his death, was behe is ill, and wishes to die ; he feels lieved to be the most painful emotion. himself no longer of any use to so. But this operates for and not against ciety; he is incapable of enjoyment, the position I have taken ; for, ador even comfort; he has now a mitting the justice of the opinion, prospect of exchanging this for a it would prove the dread of grief better life : but I love him, and am the most powerful emotion. not willing to part with him. But It is, perhaps, in vain to attempt is it the nature of love to gratify it. to trace any action up to the causes self, and not its object ? Certainly which produced it. Some of them may not; he wishes to die; be it mine generally be developed, but not all. to suffer him to attain the comple. There is frequently a set of undefin