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ways affords a considerable inducement to the at which time a writ was directed to the sheriff issuer of counterfeits and the clipper of coin. of Devonshire, in which it was stated that the The first of these disadvantages is perhaps the king had been given to understand that there greatest, as before its mighty influence the great- were within his county aurifodina et cuprifodiest part both of our gold and silver coinage is næ, that is, mines containing gold together with regularly swept away. It results, however, from copper, and he was commanded not to permit the intrinsic and inherent value of the materials any one to occupy the same until the king should in question ; and as it has been truly observed, have provided that which the law required to be
can only be palliated but not absolutely re done.' His successor Edward I., we are told, moved.'
received great help towards the maintenance of There is only one instance in history of a na- his wars, and other charges, from the silver mines tion endeavouring to meet this disadvantage of which, in his days, were found in Devonshire. the intrinsic value of a coinage by rendering it in the accounts of William de Wymondham, useless for other purposes; that is, the well warden of the mint, it appears that, between the known Spartan one, in which Lycurgus ordered 12th of August and the 31st of October, in the the iron coins to be quenched in vinegar. But twenty-second year of his reign, there was tried this was a failure: it utterly precluded in their and fined out, at Martinstowe in that county, by case intercourse with the neighbouring states; times, so much of fine silver as amounted to and the Spartans had no other medium of ex 370 lbs. weight. In the next year £521 10s. change. This by no means demonstrates, how- were fined at the same place, and brought to ever, the fallacy of the principle on which that London. great lawgiver acted; especially with relation to In the year 1296, 337 mipers were brought internal commerce.
hither from the Wapentake of the Peak in DerOur article Coins will be found to contain am- byshire, who fined and cast into wedges, in the ple tables of all the existing gold and silver course of that year, £704 3s. 1d. From Sepmoney of the commercial world, together with tember 30th to November 6th in the same year rules for standarding gold and silver. It is ad- there were received into the mint, from the mitted throughout the scientific world that we king's mines, £709 108. 4}d.—Mint Accounts in have carried the art of coinage to its highest per- the Exchequer. In the next year 348 miners fection in this country. The crowns and half- were brought from the same place, and to them crowns of the Protectorate, for instance, will were added twenty-five from Wales, besides advantageously sustain
comparison with any ex others of the county of Devon and other places. isting French coins. This has especially beon William de Aulton, clerk, keeper of the king's the case since the year 1815, and under the new mines in Devonshire and Cornwall, was acconstitution of the Mint. This we have also ex- comptant of the issues and profits of the king's hibited in the article of that name: we therefore mines there from March 4th 1298 to April 18th propose in this paper to advert briefly to the 1299, and yielded up his account both of silver supply of bullion io that important establish- and lead; which seems distinctly to prove that ment, and to give as detailed an account of the the silver was the produce of lead mines rich in machinery and methods of the coinage as our that metal. limits will admit.
In the early part of this reign, according Sect I.—HISTORICAL View of the SUPPLY afforded silver were supposed to be sufficiently
to Mr. Ruding, the mines in Ireland which of BULLION TO THE MINT.
rich to merit the attention of government. The Strabo and Tacitus enumerate gold and silver king, therefore, in a writ directed to Robert de as among the products of this island; and some Offerd, justiciary of Ireland, and the bishop of writers have conjectured that Roman mints were Waterford, his treasurer there, stated that he worked here with the supplies they afforded. was certainly informed that mines of silver were This seems to be, however, altogether doubtful. found in that country, of which considerable Silver is found only impregnating our lead ores; profit might be made, and commanded those but the working of mines of either metal has persons to cause such mines to be opened and been long unknown to our history: the com- worked, in any way that to their judgment should mon law may very harmlessly, therefore, give seem expedient. The mint, however, did not all mines of these metals, as we believe it does, depend solely upon these mines for a supply of to the king. But so late as 1 Wil. & Mary some metal. From an account of the same William disputes it appears arose which rendered a de- de Wymoudham, it appears that foreign bullion claratory statute on this subject necessary. It was purchased to a considerable amount. was at this period therefore enacted that no mines During the reign of Edward II. silver was still of base metal should be considered as royal, brought to the mint from the royal mines, and notwithstanding gold or silver might be ex that which was purchased was distinguished by tracted from them in any quantities; but that the names of argentum cismarinum, transmarithe king, or persons claiming royal mines under num, and billon. These terms continued to be his authority, should have the ore (other than tin used in the reign of Edward III., after which we ore in the counties of Devon or Cornwall), paying do not meet with them. In his twelfth year he for the same a price stated in the latter of those granted, and in his fifteenth year confirmed, by acts.— Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. I. p. 294. statute, free liberty to all persons to dig within
The earliest instance which Mr. Ruding finds their own soil for mines of gold and silver, and of the claim to a mine royal being enforced for hid treasure, under the inspection of clerk's occurs in the forty-seventh year of Henry III., to be appointed for that purpose, on condition
that all the silver so found should be carried to to make the king rich by his art, in consequence the mint to be coined there, at their cost, and of that monarch's promise to enter into a war that one-third of the money so struck should re- against the Turks; of his refusal to work any main to the king, and two-thirds to the owner longer, when he found that Edward would not of the soil : and that all the gold should be keep that promise ; and of his being clapt up in brought to the exchequer, at their expense, one the tower in consequence. The gold, he says, moiety thereof to be retained for the king's use, is affirmed (by an unwritten verity) to have been and the other moiety to be retained to the said made by Raymond Lully, in the Tower of Lonowner of the soil. But if they should neglect to don; and, besides the tradition, the inscription dig for the said mines, &c., then the king and is some proof; for, upon the reverse is a cross his heirs to have power to do it, without hin- fleury, with Lioneux, inscribed, Jesus autem drance from any one.
transiens per medium eorum ibat;' that is as In the eighteenth year of Edward III. is found Jesus passed invisible, and in most secret manthe first entry of gold, brought into the mint for ner, by the midst of the Pharisees, so that gold the purposes of coinage, which remains upon was made by invisible and secret art amidst the record.' It consisted either of foreign coins, or ignoraut.' of bullion purchased for the mint, or sent hither • That Edward was, in some degree, a believer by merchants to be coined; but the author of in the powers of alchymy, and therefore not imthe annals of the coinage has not met with any probably the dupe of Lully, will, I think, appear instance where that metal is entered as the pro- from the following record. The Patent Roll of duce of the royal mines.
his third year states, that the king had been given In the reign of James I. Sir Hugh Middleton to understand that John le Rous and Master discovered those lead mines of Cardiganshire, William de Dalby could make silver by art of from which silver has ever since been extracted alkemony; that they had heretofore made it, with some success.
and still did make it; and that by such making It was discovered at an early period that works of that metal they could greatly profit the realm : ing mines on the king's account was unprofita- he therefore commanded Thomas Cary to find ble; such as were claimed were therefore, so far them out, and to bring them before the king, back as the fourteenth century, leased out to with all the instruments, &c., belonging to the different persons, reserving certain portions of said art. If they would come willingly, they the produce for the purposes of the mint; some were to be brought safely and honorably; but, times they were obliged to bring the whole thi- if not, they were to be seized, and brought bether. Mr. Ruding gives a table too long to fore the king wherever he might be. All sheriffs, extract of these curious transactions.
&c., were commanded to assist the said Thomas • In order to facilitate the working of these Carey. This belief in the creation, or, at least, mines the lessees were sometimes authorised to transmutation of metals, was in the reign of take a certain number of workmen, wheresoever Henry IV. so firmly established, that we find in they should find them, within the county wherein his fifth year a statute which solemnly ordained the mines were situated. They had power also and established that none from henceforth shall over their laborers, &c., to exercise justice in all use to multiply gold or silver, nor use the craft pleas, except those of land, life, or limb; and if of multiplication; and if any the same do, that any offended so that they ought to be impri- he incur the pain of felony in this case. soned, then the patentees or lessees were author In consequence of the restraint which this ised to arrest and lodge them in the next jail, statute imposed upon the operations of alchymy, there to be detained until they should be released John Cobbe, in the twenty-second year of Henry by them. As the claim of the crown respecting VI. presented a petition io the king, in which he mines royal was but ill defined, an attempt was stated, that he was desirous of operating upon made in the fifteenth year of Charles II. to pass certain materials, by art philosophical, viz. to a statute for the purpose of ascertaining it more transubstantiate the inferior metals, by the said clearly; but after the bill was read a second art, into perfect gold and silver, so as to endure time, and the amendments of the committee to every trial; but that certain persons had suswhich it was referred were reported, it seems to pected this to be done by art unlawful, and have been dropped, as no farther proceedings therefore had power to hinder and disturb him are to be found; and the claim remained in its in giving proof of it. His majesty, having conunsettled state, until it was finally determined by sidered the premises, and being willing to see the the 1st and 5th of William and Mary, which conclusion of the said operation, granted, of his have been already recited.
special grace, license to the said John to prac• But the supply of the mint,' adds this writer, tise the said art in future, without molestation with bullion was in early times considered to from any of his officers; provided always that it be a circumstance of too much importance to be was not contrary to law. "Soon after this, howtrusted to natural means alone; and the aid of ever, his majesty's curiosity became too impatient alchymy was therefore resorted to for that pur- to endure the restraint of statutes, and he granted pose. Thus the gold, of which the nobles of licenses of the same kind to various persons to Edward III. were formed, is said to have been carry on their operations, notwithstanding any produced by Raymond Lully. Ashmole, in his statute, act, ordinance, or provision to the conNotes upon Norton's Ordinall, and Hermes trary. Bird, has given a very circumstantial account In his thirty-fifth year he appointed, by letters of the bringing of Lully into England by patent, commissioners to enquire into the truth Cremer, abbot of Westminster; of his agreeing of this art, by the professors of which he had
been promised wealth sufficient to pay all his abstracting a portion from the whole surface by debts in gold and silver, to the great advantage an acid, which left few or no traces of its operaof the kingdom. The commissioners were not tion. The coins were also clipped and filed as selected with any particular attention to their before and a new milling impressed upon it, qualifications for such a scrutiny; for they con- notwithstanding every effort of the mint to keep sisted of Augustine and preaching friars, of the the process of milling a secret. We believe the queen's physician, the master of St. Laurence officers concerned in this process are still sworn Pontigny college, an alderman of London, a not to disclose it. fishmonger, two grocers, and two mercers. Their The fly coining-press, or mill, is an invention report does not appear; but, without doubt, it generally ascribed to Antonie Brucher, the was favorable to the art, as another license to French king's engraver in 1553. After about practise it is found in his thirty-ninth year. This thirty years use of it, in the royal mint of Paris, differs from those formerly granted, in being for it was abandoned for the same alleged reason of the term of two years only, whilst the others expense that queen Elizabeth resigned it for; were unlimited. Notwithstanding the disap- and remained in disuse until early in the followpointments which must have been perpetually ing century, when Briot, a French engraver, inexperienced from the professions of those alchy- duced the English government again to hare remists, it is certain that a reliance on the powers course to this machine, and was made, in 1623, of their art continued as late as the seventeenth engraver to the tower mint. It seems to have year of Edward IV.
been used with the hammer, and at intervals Notwithstanding the importance of the subject only, until the year 1662, when Charles II. inthe mint accounts seem to have been strangely troduced the last important regulations of the neglected, even in comparatively modern times. mint, prior to its late new constitution. At the Our annalists could only find data in the exche- same period he took upon the government the quer extending from the reign of Henry III. to whole expense of the coinage of money. the eleventh of Henry VIII. respecting the supply An extensive silver coinage in king William of bullion. Latterly one great and growing corpo- IIId's reign was executed at several country mints, ration, the bank of England, has become the besides the mint at the Tower. The principle of sole customer of the mint: in return. for the this coinage was a subject of great controversy benefit derived from its charter that establish- between the celebrated Mr. Locke, Mr. Lowndes, ment is charged with the duty of providing, and others. The latter proposed to regulate thé except during the suspension of payments in coinage by the existing market price of silver ; cash, all the gold and silver used in the coinage although that price (exceeding its mint price) of money.'
arose from the deficiency in the weight of those
coins by which silver and all other commodities Sect. II.--Of The METHODS AND MACHINERY
were bought and sold. Mr. Locke perceived OF THE Mint COINAGE.
this, and contended that if the coinage were exThe bullion brought into the mint has for a ecuted at a higher rate than the standard of the long period been regularly assayed, and reduced 46th of Elizabeth, or 5s. 2d. per ounce, it would to standard an account of which is given (see be done at the expense of justice and integrity our article Mint), to the parties bringing it in; between the government and the people, and and then formed into money.
this noble argument prevailed. The first, and long-continued, mode of coin In September 1711 Sir Isaac Newton delivered age was by the hammer; the blank piece of me- in a report to the lords of the treasury, giving tal peing placed by hand between two dies, or it as his opinion that gold was considerably oversteel punches, containing the design of the coin, rated in the mint with respect to silver: in conand the upper one being struck with a hammer. sequence of this the guinea was, by proclamation This operation was always imperfect, from the dated the 22d of December, 1717, declared curuncertainty of placing the dies exactly over each rent at 21s., which has ever since been its standother; and also from the difficulty of striking a ard value. The price of gold now became fixed blow with such force as to make all parts of the at £3. 17s. 101d. per ounce at the mint. impression equal. Hammer money, however, con In 1774, and subsequent years, there was a tinued to be current until the reign of William general recoinage of the gold currency; the obIII., when it was found in a most wretched con- ject of which was stated to be a reformation of dition from clipping and other mutilations, al- the light and defective coins then in circulation; though the plan of coining, by the screw or £4 in fact of the gold coin then abroad would press, had been introduced from France as early not weigh more than an ounce; and this, accordas 1562. But the press did not continue in use ing to the bank accounts, was the market price. more than ten years, as being considered too ex- The holders of bank notes demanding new and pensive: there was a prejudice also against it as heavy coins for them, required the bank to have a foreign invention. In 1662 the use of the a large coinage of gold to supply this demand. hammer was, however, finally relinquished : the The coins were therefore melted, and sold in the milling upon the edges of coins was introduced state of bullion to the bank for £4 per ounce; about this period, and great confidence was to remedy which the recoinage was completed. placed in this new device, as being supposed to It had the effect desired, Mr. Mushet tells us ; secure the coin both from clipping and wearing. for the price of gold, for upwards of twenty But it was quickly discovered that the new years, never exceeded, but was rather under, its money, both of gold and silver, could be dete- mint price ri vrated by a process termed sweating, or by A committee of the privy council ordered to
take into consideration the state of the coins in them into a proper size. 3. The milling ma1798, being desirous to ascertain whether that chine: and, 4. The coining press, properly so loss was occasioned by any defect, either in the called. quality of standard gold, or in the figure or Mr. Boulton first became connected with the impression of the coins, requested Mr. Henry mint in consequence of his undertaking an exCavendish and Mr. Hatchett to examine, by such tensive copper coinage for government in the experiments as should be deemed requisite, whe- year 1799. This he executed at his own works ther any of those defects really existed.
at Soho, near Birmingham: he was afterwards The two following questions were principally employed to re-stamp, without melting, a large recommended to their consideration :
quantity of Spanish dollars; and after the go* 1st. Whether very'soft and ductile gold, or vernments of France, Russia, and Denmark, as gold made as hard as is compatible with the well as the East India Company, had availed process of coining, suffers the most by wear, themselves of his scientific apparatus, he was under the various circumstances of friction to called upon to furnish the principal machines which coin is subjected in the course of circula- of the new mint, established on Tower Hill, in tion ?
1811. 2d. Whether coin with a flat, smooth, and We may first describe the new rolling press, broad surface, wears less than coin which has erected, we believe, by J. Rennie, esq. This certain protuberant parts raised above the ground machine is for the purpose of laminating or rollor general level of the pieces ?
ing the bars of metal, whether of gold or silver, From a set of well contrived experiments, into a proper thickness for the cutting-out mill. which were extended to a considerable length, Those of gold are rolled cold, and can be reit appeared that gold of moderate ductility is duced from an inch thick to the thinness of half best calculated for coin, and that the quality of a sovereign, without being annealed. The silver the present standard gold is well adapted to re- bars are rolled when heated to redness, in a resist abrasion, especially in the case of the fric- verberatory furnace. tion of coin against coin; and that the wear is Figs. 1 and 2, plate I., MONETARY Art, are greater upon raised or embossed surfaces than the rollers exhibited in a sectional view, and in upon those wnich are flat and plain. The wear a perspective view of one roller. U and L are of standard silver appeared to be nearly equal the upper and lower rollers; SS the standards of to that of fine gold ; but more than that of gold a cast-iron frame in which they are fixed, by made standard by silver or by copper.
bearing brasses, regulated by the screws QQ. In the course of this year the officers of the Each of these screws has a cog-wheel fixed on mint repeated the experiments which they had the upper end of it, turned by worms, fixed on a made in the year 1787, respecting the actual common axis, by the handle shown in front. wear of the silver coins, from which it appeared This handle raises or lets fall the upper roller, that a considerable loss had been occasioned by but always in a parallel direction to the lower the wear of eleven years only; for it was found one. The standards being bolted down to the that
cast-iron sills, 00, the latter are embedded in 1233 Crowns,
the masonry beneath. 273 Half crowns,
The moving power of this machine is steam, 82% Shillings,
and is received by the large wheel W, which 2002 Sixpences,
moves the long shaft FF, connected by cogs were requisite to make up a pound troy, in- with the smaller wheels L and K, which turn the stead of
upper roller. R, R, are sockets by which the 1219 Crowns,
shafts are joined, and which admit a little yield2433 Half crowns,
ing when the roller is moved upwards. The 62 Shillings,
wheels I, J, also fixed on the shaft N, turn the 124 Sixpences,
lower roller, being connected by an intermediate as issued from the mint.
wheel applied on one side, and which operates This deficiency amounted in the
so that the two rollers U and L, are turned in opCrowns to 33f} per cent.
posite directions. Half crowns 999431 per cent.
Fig. 2 needs little description; but it more Shillings 249: per cent.
fully exhibits the chief parts of each roller: the
metal is introduced on the table T. Fig. 3 is a Sixpences 383734 per cent. and the increased deficiency in the course of ing the exact thickness to which the metal is re
steel gauge, or pair of rulers, used for ascertain
duced by the operation of rolling, and which is In the Crowns to 3 per cent.
marked by the degree to which it will allow them In the Half crowns to 13 per cent.
to open upon it. In the Shillings to 5,3ko per cent.
The planchet, or cutting-out mill, i.e. that In the Sixpences to 34654 per cent.
which cuts the metal to its right width after it Details of the more modern coinage do not comes from the rolling mill, is exhibited in plate properly belong to this paper: we proceed to II., fig. 1. A A is the frame work of the maobserve that the old machinery in use at the chine, attached to a strong sill, and connected by mint, prior to the great alterations introduced a wheel, W, with the shaft F of the rolling mill. by Mr. Boulton, were, 1. The rolling mill, for C and D are two cog wheels moving the circular reducing the plates of metal to a proper thick- shears S,S, between which is conducted the ness. 2. The cutting machine, for punching rolled plate of metal at E; and G is the guide of