Chapter 5Of the raising of the price of Money both of Silver and Gold It is to be understood that there are three ways of raising the price of Moneys either Gold or Silver: The first is without alteration of the Species of the Money, by encreasing the value of it, by giving more parts to it than originally it had, as by ordaining an Angel or a Soveraign to be valued at eleven shillings, which was coined for ten, or a shilling to be valued at fourteen pence. The second way is by diminishing the matter, but leaving the same name and value to the Money which it had before, as if Shillings or Angels, or Soveraigns were coined by the same name and value as before, but were diminished so many grains in weight: or, if new names were given to them and the same value retained, but the weight diminished; for in this case, there being really less Gold and Silver in weight in the piece than there was before and the value remaining the same, the Silver and Gold which remains hath a higher price set upon it. The third is when the value remaining the same of the species of Money, and the weight of the same, the fineness is abased by putting more Allay into it, for then there is really less Gold and Silver in fineness. There are two causes of the raising of Money: the first and most antient cause of raising Money, was a gain which the state made of it in their Necessities, which hath not often been practised in this Kingdom. But the second and most frequent cause hath been, an Art which States have used to rob one another of their Money, by setting on higher prices upon it; so that some States being induced, by an unjust device, to draw to themselves the Money of their Neighbours, and others by a necessity to keep their own. All these parts of the world, for some few hundred of years, have done nothing but vye one upon another who shall raise their Money highest, which hath brought great Confusion in all States; and doth threaten much greater, if it be not prevented. But first to shew the Antiquity of the practice of raising of Monies we will begin with the Romans. The As, which was originally coyned of a pound weight, was, during the first Punick War for help of publick necessities, brought to 2 ounces, and all the lesser parts of the As, as ounces and others, were abated in proportion. During the Dictatorship of Fabius Maximus the As was brought to one ounce weight, and yet reduced again by Papirius to half an ounce. The Denarii of Silver were at first current for ten As, and the Sestertii, which were quarters of the Denarii, for two and a half as. But when the weight of the as was diminished to one ounce the denarius was made worth sixteen as, and the sestertius worth four as. They did likewise make sundry abasements (by means) of the Allay, whereof that of Livius Drusus was excessive, mixing an 8th part of Copper. And hereby the confusions grew so great, that Tullie in a passage of his Offices saith, Jactobatur enim Temporibus illis Nummus, sic ut nemo posset scire quid haberet (in pecunia); where upon Marius Gratidianus, who being Triumvir monetae cudendae, brought in an exact Ordinance for the regulating of this Money, had Statues erected to him by the people. The first gold pieces were coined of 40 pieces in the pound, and in the time of Justinian, the same pieces, called Solidi aurei were 72 in the pound. After the great inundations of the Barbarous people into the Roman Empire, the Confusions in this subject of Money grew incredible. Charles the Great, in whose time the Monarchy of the Francks grew to the Height, made a new Reglement of Moneys, which is the same that continues to this day in France, and is the same which we do now practice in England, for the division of Moneys, though for the Values of them the difference is grown exceeding great: For he renewed again the Account by Livres or Pounds, and divided the Pounds into twenty Solidi, which in France they call Sols, and we Shillings; the solidus again into 12 Denarii, which in France they call Deniers, and we pence. But the values are grown so different as every of our Shillings, our Pounds, our Pence are valued at ten of theirs: and yet in intrinsical value are more. Many do hold that by the Institution of Charles the Great, twenty Sols contained in them a Pound of silver. but it is authentically to be proved, both by unquestionable Records, and by Pieces themselves, of which I have some extant, that many hundred of years after, in the time of St. Lewis, who was contemporary with our Henry the Third, that the Sols then contained in intrinsical value near six Sols of this present King, so much hath the Money since that time been raised in price, and abased in substance, which is the same. In the Reign of Philip the Second, in the year 1181, the French Mark of fine Gold, which makes almost 8 ounces of our Pound, was valued in the Moneys then at 44 livres, and the Mark of the King's Silver was valued at 2 livres, 13 sols, and 4 deniers. And by the Edict of this present King, in the year 1614, the Mark of the same Gold was valued at 278 Livres, 6 Sols, 6 Deniers. And the Mark of the same silver was valued at 20 livres, 5 Sols; so that in this time, the Gold hath been raised to six times, and almost the third part of the price which then it did bear; and the Silver hath been raised much above seven times the value which then it did bear. I will not trouble the Reader to set down by what degrees this Price has grown to so great an height which have been very various, the Price having been sometimes excessively raised and sometimes sudainly reduced back again by the French Kings, and most commonly to make a Levy of Monies upon the People, which hath bred infinite Confusions, and sometimes Rebellions in that Kingdom. But I will now come to the Kingdom of England, where the raising of the Price hath been with a more constant hand, and, almost alwayes, out of a kind of Necessity to follow the raising of other States; yet, from time to time we shall not finde the Rates of the raising much to differ from those of France. But I cannot begin from so antient (a date) as in France; The first Record that I can find for this purpose being in the eighteenth year of Edward the Third, which was in the year of Grace about 1344. And then a pound of Gold of sterling Standard, which is 23 carrats, 3 grains, and one half fine, was valued at 13 pound 4s 8d. and a pound of Silver of sterling Standard, at 22s. 2d. The 20th of Edward the Third, the pound of Gold of the same Standard was raised to 14 pound, and the pound of Silver to 22s 6d. In the 27th of Edward the Third, the same gold was raised to 15 pound, and the same Silver to 25s the pound; the rest of the reign of Edward the Third, and during all the Reign of Richard the Second, and until the Thirteenth of Henry the Fourth, the same prices remained. And then by the Advice of the Parliament, to prevent Transportation, the same Gold was raised to 16 pound, 15s and the same Silver to 30s the pound; and this price remained all the rest of the reign of Henry the Fourth, and during all the Reign of Henry the Fifth, and until the 49th of Henry the Sixth; and then the same Gold was raised to 22 l. 10s. and the same Silver to 37s. 6d. But in the fourth of Edward the Fourth, the price of the same Gold was brought back to 20 pound 16s. 8d. the Silver remaining as before. And in the eighth of Edward the Fourth, the Gold was again raised to the former price of 22 l. 10s. the Silver still remaining at 37s. 6d. And this price remained all the rest of the Reign of Edward the Fourth, all the Reign of Richard the Third, all the Reign of Henry the Seventh, and all the beginning of Henry the Eight: But in 18th of Henry the Eight, a Commission issued forth for the Alteration of the Standard, and of the Prices of Moneys, according to the Direction to be given by the Cardinal of York, and such other of the King's Council as he should call unto him: form whence issued so great a Confusion, both in the prices and Standard of the Moneys, as would prove very difficult to trace out, and tedious to read, as well for the Obscurity as for the great Variations, which succeeded: And therefore I pass over all the rest of his Reign, as also those of King Edward and Queen Mary, and until the fourteenth of Queen Elizabeth, when was again coined Gold and Silver of the antient sterling Standard, the Gold at 36 l. the pound, and the Silver of the old Standard at 3 l. the pound: and although there were at the same time and after much crown Gold coined, yet the intrinsical value of it was governed by (the weight and fineness of) the Angel of Gold: In the 25th and 26th of the Queen, she abased the standard of the Gold one quarter of a grain, and the standard of the Silver one penny weight, whereby the price of Gold was raised one shilling 10 pence in the pound, and the price of Silver 3d. in the pound. but in the second year of King James, the price of the Soveraign, in gold which is but 22 carats fine, was raised to 27 pound, 4 shill. being almost one eleventh part more; and by the Proclamation, by which every 20 shilling piece was made current for 22 shillings, the said Gold was yet raised another tenth part; so that the increase of the price of Gold has been such by the Degrees before specified, that every pound sterling, by reckoning of Gold coin, and every part of a pound, as Marks, and Shillings, etc. in coin of Gold, did in the eighteenth of Edward the Third contain in intrinsical value (id est) in pure Gold, thrice as much and above a third part more than the same pound sterling in reckoning of Gold-coin, marks, shillings, etc. does at this day contain. And every pound sterling in reckoning of Silver-coin, and every part of a pound, as marks, shillings, etc. in Silver coins did in the 18th year of Edward the third, contain in intrinsical value, (id est) in pure Silver, thrice as much, wanting about 1/6th part as the same pound sterling, in reckoning of Silver coins, marks, shillings, etc. does at this day contain. There is yet another Proportion of Gold and Silver to be inquired into as necessary to be known; and peradventure more necessary than either of these: And that is to enquire what Proportion our Gold and Silver holds in Value, being in Bullion, as it is presented to the Mint by the Merchant, in Comparison of the near adjoyning Countries: For by this Proportion we shall discover the Reason why the Merchant Brings Gold into England rather than Silver, and Silver into Holland rather than Gold, or, why he carries both, or either of them, into one Country rather than into another. And for that purpose, I will first begin with England, and then compare it with some of the nearest neighbouring Countreys. In England, where the Merchant for so much Gold fine of 24 carats, as makes a pound, Tower weight, doth receive 43 l. 7s. 1d. according to the rate of the Mint, which is 41 l. 5s. for a pound weight of sterling gold. In France, according to the Edict of this King, Anno 1614, which is yet in force, the Merchant receiveth at this Mint for so much Gold of 24 Carats, as makes a pound of Tower weight, but 426 livres, and about 7 sols and one half French more at the Mint in England for the same quantity of Gold, than the Merchant doth receive at the Mint in France. Of Silver, the Merchant, at the Mint in England receives for so much fine Silver as makes a pound, Tower weight, 3 l. 4s. 6d. the Merchant receives at the Mint in France, for the same quantity of Silver, 2 livres, and 2 sols French, or 4s. and almost 2d. half penny more than the Merchant receives at the Mint of England. This Account I do make reckoning the 12 ounces, Tower weight to make, as by tryal it has been proved, 12 ounces and 6 deniers, Paris weight. As for the United Provinces, etc.