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LOWERING OF INTEREST,
RAISING THE VALUE
SIR, These notions concerning coinage having, for the main, as you know, been put into writing above twelve months since; as those other, concerning interest, a great deal above so many years : I put them now again into your hands, with a liberty (since you will have it so) to communicate them farther, as you please. If, upon a review, you continue your favourable opinion of them, and nothing less than publishing will satisfy you, I must desire you to remember, that you must be answerable to the world for the style, which is such as a man writes carelessly to his friend, when he seeks truth, not ornament; and studies only to be in the right, and to be understood. I have, since you saw them last year, met with some new objections in print, which I have endeavoured to remove; and particularly I have taken into consideration a printed sheet, entitled, “ Remarks upon a Paper given in to the Lords, &c.” Because one may naturally suppose, that he, that was so much a patron of that cause, would omit nothing that could be said in favour of it. To this I must here add, that I am just now told from Holland, “ That the States, finding themselves abused, by coining a vast quantity of their base (schillings] money, made of their own ducatoons, and other finer silver, melted down, have put a stop to the minting of any but fine silver coin, till they should settle a mint upon a new foot.”
I know the sincere love and concern you have for your country puts you constantly upon casting about, on all hands, for any means to serve it; and will not suffer you to overlook any thing you conceive may be of any the least use, though offered you from the meanest capacities : you could not else have put me upon looking out my old papers, concerning the reducing of interest to 4 per cent. which have so long lain by forgotten. Upon this new survey of them, I find not my thoughts now to differ from those I had near twenty years since: they have to me still the
appearance of truth; nor should I otherwise venture them so much as to your sight. If my notions are wrong, my intention I am sure is right; and whatever I have failed in, I shall at least let you see with what obedience I am,
Your most humble servant.
Nov. 7, 1691.
SIR, I have so little concern in paying or receiving of “ interest,” that were I in no more danger to be misled by inability and ignorance, than I am to be biassed by interest and inclination, I might hope to give you a very perfect and clear account of the consequences of a law to reduce interest to 4 per cent. But, since you are pleased to ask my opinion, I shall endeavour fairly to state this matter of use, with the best of my skill.
The first thing to be considered is, “ Whether the price of the hire of money can be regulated by law ?”