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Chapter 9

Of the Prohibition of Forrein Moneys, especially Spanish It is the Opinion of wise men and intelligent in this Subject of Money, that the Prohibition of forrein Moneys especially Spanish is a great hindrance to the coming in of Gold and Silver: and they do ground themselves upon two Arguments: -- The first, in reason, that Spain being the Cistern and Receptacle of almost all the gold and silver, which is thence dispersed into the rest of Europe, to forbid Spanish Money to be current, is, in effect, to forbid the coming in of Gold and Silver, and that rather we ought to draw it in by setting an high price upon it. The other Argument is out of the Example of other Nations, which do abound with Moneys, where Spanish Money is not only current, but it is current at higher rates then their own Money, value for value, who have therefore more Spanish Money to be made current. But before it be fit to resolve of that, it should be first maturely considered, What reasons did induce the Prohibition of all Forrein Coins, and how they may be satisfied, least in seeking to salve one mischief we do introduce a greater, and do fall into the complaints of those Countries, which do crie out against the Inconveniences which they do feel by forrein Moneys, and know not how to remedie themselves. If you make forrein Moneys current but just at the rate of the intrinsical value you gain nothing, for they will as well be now brought in for Bullion as then for Money; only this disadvantage you shall have, that whereas that which is now brought in for Bullion, is good and weighty, you shall instead thereof have the same quantity brought in for Money abased and light; which was one of the many reasons why it was made not current. If you make forrein Money current above the intrinsical value, allowing them an over-rate for charge of coyning and tribute to the Prince that coined them; Observe then the inconveniences which follow upon it; First, The dishonour, in that you do communicate a principal point of Soveraignty unto a Stranger, and you do pay a Tribute to a forrein Prince out of your own Country, and you shall never have any material Coin to be coined in your own Mint. Secondly, You shall fill the Country with light Money of Silver, which is hardly ever weighed, and with counterfeit and base Money of Gold; the punishment whereof lieth not in your hands, the act being done in forrein parts and is so much clear loss to the Country. Thirdly, You shall give the people occasion to raise it to a higher rate than the publick Ordinance, which is an effect that follows forrein Moneys in all those Countries where it is permitted; or if the people do not raise, yet strangers will raise it higher, and then it will go out faster than it came in, and you have gained this Inconvenience, to have it higher rais'd: the mischief whereof I shall have more occasion to declare hereafter. But if forrein Money shall come to be current at an over-rate, to the intrinsical value, greater than your own, value for value, as Spanish Money is both in France and in the Low Countries, and as English was in both, till it was discried and value only as Bullion; but daily varies the value in those parts, then shall you give occasion to have the weightiest of your Money culled out and transported into forrein parts to be coined for Advantage, to be brought back in forrein coin: but above all, your materials in bullion of silver and Gold will be transported to that purpose, and the Common-wealth shall cheerly loose so much in substance of Gold and Silver, as the Transporter doth get; as for Example, In the years 1607 and 1608, our Jacobus pieces were ordinarily current in Paris after the rate of 22s. when as three French Crowns, were current but after the rate of 21s sterling: The Jacobus weighs 7 deniers and 20 grains, and is 22 carrats fine. The French Crown sol, is 23 carrats fine bating the Remedy, and weighs by the ordinance 2 deniers, 15 grains, so as three French Crowns full weight, weigh one grain more than a Jacobus, and are worth one 24th part more in fineness, and yet were current in France for 12d less than a Jacobus. The Jacobus was worth in Holland after the rate of 15s sterling, in the years 1621, and 1622; then was the Ryder there current, but after the rate of 22s sterling or little more, and yet the Ryder in intrinsical value is not two pence worse than the Jacobus. In the year 1622, at the Mart at Francfort n Autumn, English shillings were current at a higher rate, fineness for fineness, and weight for weight, than their own Dollars coyned in that Town, so as in these times there were great profit by transporting Dollars out of Francfort, Ryders out of Holland, and French Crowns out of France, and carrying them back again coined in English Coins; and there is no doubt to be made, but that great Numbers were accordingly transported, the subtilty of the Bancquers not omitting any opportunity to make their Advantage of the popular Errors, which daily do exceed in this Subject of Money. But if the Permission may be so qualified as the Usefullness may be retained, and yet the Dangers may be avoided therein. Now that the Dangers may be avoided therein. Now that the Dangers are exposed, I do exhort all the furtherers of the Common good to exercise their Invention, as in all other Inconveniences propounded in this Subject. The most probable Proposition that I can find, is that Spanish Money should be made current, but not that any Realls of Silver or Pistolets of Gold should be current at any rate according to the price. But that the Spanish Money of Gold and Silver should be made current according to a certain Rate by the Ounce, which rate should be so proportioned, as that the Spanish Money should have allowed unto it at one value, as great as may answer the charge of coinage, without allowing any thing for the King's Tribute, to draw it the easiest into the Kingdom. By this means the Dishonour would be avoided for, although it would be frequently current amongst Merchants, and in all great payments, yet in Fairs and Markets and the Commerce within the Kingdom, it would have no place being not current by the piece. And this defect of the Currencie of the pieces would make a great part of them piece by piece drop into his Majesties Mint. Especially if the Officers of the Mint use their endeavour to buy them for the use of the Mint: than it would necessarily keep out all light Money, or if any were brought in, it would be without disadvantage to us. For, First, Upon our occasion of raising it, strangers could not raise it higher; both because it would be most concealed from them, and they should not be able to proportion their raising to ours, except they should take the same course, which is almost impossible for them to do, who have Spanish Money in so great abundance already current by the piece. And lastly, not allowing to it a greater over-value than to your own Money, it will be impossible to transports your own Money for profit to bring it back coyned in Spanish Money. Others have propounded that the Spanish Money both of Gold and Silver should be made current by the piece, allowing an over-value unto it both for the Coinage and the King's Tribute equal unto our own, but that being of a weight allowable, it should receive the addition of a new stamp at the King's Mint, for which the King should receive upon the pound, so much as his own clear Profit amounts unto upon his own coin; and the Merchants in the currency of the pieces should have allowance of so much as the charge of the Coinage amounts unto. But this inconvenience would probably happen in this Proposition, that if the pieces that should have the Addition of the stamp unto them, were made current at a price, the people would likewise receive those that had not the said Addition at the same price.
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