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Above all things good policy is to be used, that the treasures and monies in a state be not gathered into few hands; for otherwise a state may have a good stock, and yet starve.-Bacon.

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The money or coin of a State or Kingdom is the standard measure of the value of all things subject to valuation, and it is at the same time the equivalent in which all contracts are made payable. Money is therefore both a measure and an equivalent, and these two qualities can never be brought perfectly to agree. Money as a measure differs from all others; for if made of a material of small value, it would not answer the

purpose of an equivalent. And if it be made, in order to answer the purpose of an equivalent, of a material of value subject to frequent variations, according to the price at which such material is sold in the market, it fails, on that account, in the quality of a standard or measure, and will not continue to be perfectly uniform and at all times the same. In civilized countries money has generally been made of gold, silver, and copper, but sometimes of other metals or of mixed metals. Certain portions of these metals, called coins, with an impression struck upon them by the order of the Sovereign power, as a guarantee of their purity and weight, serve as money. Coins made of gold or silver, or of any other metal, whether considered as a measure, or as an equivalent, are however subject to some imperfections.

A failure or increase in the supply of one of the precious metals will tend to augment or diminish the value of the other. The supplies of gold, of late years, have been more largely augmented by the discovery of the gold fields in California and Australia, than at any previous period of the world's history, and gold has in consequence declined in value as compared with silver. It is evident, therefore, that coins made of gold and silver may vary in value with respect to each other at the same period in different countries, or in successive periods in the same country. As in England in the 43rd year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the relative value of fine gold and silver at the mint in that year was rated at less than 11 to 1; but in 1663 the rate had increased to above 14 to l; and in 1805, it was rated at about 15 to 1. In the mints of foreign countries, the value of gold as compared with that of silver was estimated at a still higher rate.

As each of these metals may vary in its value with respect to the other, so each may vary in its value even with respect to itself; and this variation will be caused by the greater or less quantity that may happen to be in the market or in circulation. And further, if the supreme government of any country fix the rate or value at which coins made of different metals shall pass into currency, the relative value of the metals in the market may be found to differ from the value fixed in the coins: and if these coins of different metals are equally a legal tender, there will be two or more measures of property differing from each other. Besides the fluctuations in


the relative value of gold and silver arising from demand and supply in commerce, there is another cause which has in past times very materially affected their relative values in this country.

Gold is said to be lowered in respect of silver, when a pound weight of the former is declared by law to be exchangeable for a less quantity of the latter than formerly; ard to be raised when the contrary takes place. And silver is said to be lowered or raised when the pound weight of silver is exchanged for a greater or less weight of gold than before. There is another relation to be noted, when gold and silver remain in the same proportion to each other, but the value of both is altered with respect to some other commodities. This alteration may be effected, either by coining the pound weight of standard gold and silver into a greater number of pieces of the same assigned value, as before, or by causing the current coins to pass for more than their previous values. In either case, the value of both the gold and silver is enhanced, and one may be enhanced more than the other, when each is made the subject of comparison with other commodities. The coin which is to be the principal measure of property, ought to be made of one metal only according to Mr. Locke, who considers this money the measure of commerce and contracts; and observes, that “two metals such as gold and silver cannot be the measure of commerce both together in any country.” The truth of this principle results from the nature and uses of money. But coins of one kind of metal do not conveniently answer all the purposes of money. Coins of gold are well adapted for large payments, but not for retail traffic; and coins of silver and copper would be too bulky for large payments, and therefore incon. venient. It is therefore necessary, that in commercial countries coins should be made of different metals. If gold in ingots or coins be taken as the standard or principal measure of property, silver and copper coins may be used as a legal tender only in a limited degree, so far only as they are authorized by the State. The coins of every State are the measure of property within that State according to the nominal value declared and authorized by the supreme power. If gold be the legal tender without limitation, the silver and copper moneys must be made subordinate and auxiliary, as supplying coins of small value into which gold cannot be divided without the inconvenience which arises from the smallness of the pieces.

The variations in the relative values of gold and silver are also affected by other considerations and causes which must ever have an influence on society and nations. A dread of public insecurity and political convulsions in a nation, will have a tendency to raise the value of the precious metals. War will tend to raise the value of silver more than the value of gold. A turn of commerce unfavourable to a country will also affect the relative values of gold and silver, and will tend to raise the price of that metal which is preferred by those nations with which the inhabitants have commercial dealings. And in large commercial concerns, gold will be preferred, as by means of it extensive exchanges can be carried on with the greatest facility. If the coinage in circulation in any country be defective in purity or weight of metal, all payments from that country in its exchanges with other countries, will be augmented in proportion to the defect of the coins from their real value. Hence, it follows, that the exchange is always against a country which has a faulty or

defective coinage, and in favour of those countries whose coinage is abundant, pure, and in full weight.

Mr. Greaves more than two centuries ago, wrote the following judicious remark on that subject : “If those advantages which one country may make upon another in the mystery of exchanges and valuation of coins be not thoroughly discovered and prevented by such as sit at the helm of the State, it may fare with them after much commerce as with some bodies after much food, that instead of growing full and fat, they may pine away, and fall into irrecoverable consumption."

In the early ages of the world, the exchange of one commodity for another is generally admitted to have been the primitive mode of traffic. In the course of time when such exchanges became inconvenient, necessity, the mother of invention, devised the use of money as a common measure of all commodities. Among the oldest records contained in the Book of Genesis no intimations are found of the use of money before the deluge. When, and by whom, the use of money was invented as a medium of exchange is unknown. There could be no want of it until mankind had multiplied and formed themselves into communities. Silver at a very early period of the world's history became a general representative of value, and was employed as a medium of traffic in the transactions recorded.

The first mention of money, a thousand pieces of silver, occurs in the twentieth chapter of Genesis. The second, in the twenty-third chapter where Abraham is stated to have weighed four hundred shekels of silver, "current money with the merchant,” which he paid to Ephron for a place of burial. A third mention is that in the thirtyseventh chapter, where Joseph is sold into slavery for twenty pieces of silver by his brothers to some merchants who were trading with Egypt. And that money was measured by weight is again noticed in the forty-third chapter, when Jacob's sons carried money into Egypt to buy corn. All these instances sufficiently shew that the use of money existed at that early period of the world's history in Egypt and in the country which was afterwards called Palestine. And it is to be noted that though this money was sometimes called "pieces of silver," Abraham paid his four-hundred shekels by weight. The word shekel itself, from the Hebrew word to weigh,' implies as much; for money at the first seems to have been a merchandize exchanged for other commodities.

There are no traces of the existence of coined money to be found in any ancient Hebrew records. Their current money was generally in silver, and its relative value to gold is unknown in the early periods of their history. And it is now almost universally agreed that they had not any coined money before the time of the Maccabees.

i The little work entitled “Easy Lessons on Money Matters for the use of Young People," written by the late Archbishop Whately, is worthy of the attention of older people, as it contains excellent suggestions on some of the perplexing problems of the present time for adjusting equitably the claims of capital and labour.

2 Morell, one of the best judges of ancient coins, allowed that all the Jewish shekels he had seen were coined after the time of the Maccabees. The Jews had no coined money till the reign of Antiochus Sidetes. Before that time, their money consisted of small laminæ or plates of silver, called (Gen. xlii., 27-35, Prov. vii., 20), deojol and ěvde ouou á pyupiou "bundles of money, such as might be tied together. Hence the opaxuri or half shekel was called beka, signifying

B 2

The standards of the Hebrew weights were preserved in their Sanctuary or Temple, a practice common in other nations. Hence by “the shekel of the Sanctuary” nothing more is meant than a just and exact weight (Exod. xxx. 13—15). It is evident that the first capitation tax for the service of the Tabernacle was half a shekel, and the shekel was a quarter of an ounce. But after the time of the Maccabees a new shekel of half an ounce was introduced, and still named the shekel of the Sanctuary. Whatever this was owing to, whether policy or necessity, it enabled the Jews to embellish and adorn their temple by doubling its revenues.

Herodotus (1. 94) expressly asserts that the Lydians were the earliest people who coined money of gold and silver, and employed it in traffic. In the neighbourhood of Sardis, the capital of Lydia, have been found both gold and silver coins, oblong or circular, but rude in character and device, indicating an early state of the art of coining, and possibly older than any known specimens of the coins of Greece. Herodotus had travelled in search of knowledge in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Phoenicia, but he makes no mention of their coinage, and as yet no coins of these countries have been found as old as those of Lydia and of Greece.

The Parian Chronicle, however, assigns an earlier date to the origin of coined money, and gives the honour, not to the Lydians, but to the people of Ægina. This is reasserted by Ælian. Phidon, king of Argos is reported to have struck silver drachmæ in Agina, 740, B.C. (Leake, Num. Hellen.). The gold Darics of Darius and succeeding kings of Persia are not improbably the next in point of antiquity to the coinage of the Lydians.

About 880 B.C. when Lycurgus reformed the Constitution of Sparta, the iron money adopted by that State was useless in any traffic with their neighbours, and from its nature could not have lasted long. In about half a century after, a dispute arose conce

acerning money, and was the cause of the first Messenian War. It could scarcely have been the iron money of the Spartans that was in question.

Herodotus (111. 95) in reference to the revenues of Darius Hystaspes, states that gold was reckoned at that time to be thirteen times the value of silver. Herodotus read his History at Athens, B.C. 445. About 50 years after Herodotus, Plato in his Hipparchus asserts that the value of gold was twelve times that of silver.

Thebes was probably the only city in Greece which coined gold before Philip II, king of Macedon, who began his reign B.C. 358, and drew more than 1000 talents of gold from the mines near Mount Pangæus. With this gold he had a coin struck called a Philippus. (Diod. Sic. II., p. 88). About the same time the Phænicians plundered the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and carried off gold to the amount of more than 10,000 talents. These circumstances rendered gold so plentiful, that, according to Menander, who was the plate, or shekel divided into two parts, as by its form might easily be done : and Festus has observed that the Roman didrachm was called sicilicus (siclus) for the same reason, quod semiunciam secet. (Hussey, Essay on Ancient Weights, p. 196).

The shekel of the Hebrews, the oikilos of the Greeks, and the Sicilicus or siclus of the Romans were synonymous terms, and mean the same thing, a quarter of an ounce, differing very little in weight; the name and estimate of both coming most probably from the same original.

born B.C. 341, its value was estimated to be to that of silver as not more than ten to one.

The coins of the cities of Greece' and their colonies exhibit the finest specimens of the art of coining in earlier times. The coing of Syracuse reached the highest degree of perfection, and the remains of these are marvels of art. The Roman coinage was inferior to that of the Greeks, but from the age of Augustus to Hadrian, the Roman coins maintained a high degree of excellence in their execution.

The earliest coinage of the Romans was of copper in the time of Servius Tullius, and they are supposed to have borrowed the art from the Etruscans. The silver coinage of the denarius was not introduced before the year 266 B.C., and was so named as having the value of ten asses.

The gold coinage according to Pliny (Hist. Nat. XXXIII. 13) was introduced 62 years after the introduction of the silver coinage. The largest gold coin was the aureus. Aurei and Semiaurei were the only coins in gold for nearly 300 years. Until the time of Sulla the aureus continued at 30 silver denarii, but in the reign of Claudius it was reduced to 25.'

The coins of Rome during the Emperors form a most interesting series. The copper coins are of historical importance. The largest was the Sestercius, and from the age of Augustus was called nummus or sereus, of the value about twopence English. From the time of Augustus to Gallienus, the silver denarius contained 16 assaria.

The coins extant of people and nations preserve and indicate some of the authentic facts of history, and are of service in determining with accuracy the order of events, and the succession of kings and rulers. A few brief notices of the history and use of coined money in our own country from early times, may appear to be a subject neither devoid of interest nor unworthy of the attention of the student.

When Julius Cæsar first landed in Britain, about 55 B.C., he states in his Commentaries on the Gallic war, that the ancient Britons “use brass as gold money, or iron rings adjusted to a certain weight, instead of money," without further explanation.

Of the coins of the early British kings before the invasion of Julius Cæsar, very little is known. There is one described by Mr. Evans (Ancient British Coins), having on its reverse the letters

1 The valuable collection of Greek coins made by Colonel Leake was purchased for the University of Cambridge; and a catalogue of a selection of them, exhibited in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has been published by Churchill Babington, B.D., F.L.S , &c., Disney Professor of Archæology, pp. 51, 4to., 1867.

? It appears from the account of Pliny, that the value of gold to silver in the time of the republic was about 14} to one; but this relative value did not long continue at Rome. Her armies had become victorious in every quarter of the world, and her conquests were rapid and extensive. She quickly became ac. quainted with the wealth of other nations and adopted such a policy as suited her own views of acquisition. About 189 B.C., the relative value of gold to silver was estimated at 10 to 1 (Liv. xxxviii., 11). At a later period, conquest and plunder appear to have been the objects of Cæsar's expeditions in Gaul. When he returned to Rome with the plunder he had seized in Gaul; the gold amassed, according to Suetonius (Jul. Cæs. c.lix), was so immense that a pound was sold for 750 denarii throughout Italy. If the pound weight be meant, the value of gold to silver was then as 9 is to 1 nearly, there being 84 denarii in the pound weight. If the pound tale be meant, in which 100 denarii were reckoned to the pound, the relative value would have been as 7 to 1.

3 Utuntur tamen ære ut nummo aureo, aut annulis ferreis ad certum pondus examinatis, pro nummis.-Cæsar, De Bell. Gall. V. fol. Rom. 1496, Ed. Princeps.

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