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concerned, precisely the same thing as avoiding York by going to Edinburgh and stopping at York on the way.

We now come to the exaggeration of the importance of the farthing, at the expense of the shilling and pound. We have two evils to choose between, either of which will be compensated at last by an immense balance of advantage: but this consideration does not affect our comparison. A prudent man does not buy even a large diamond for a shilling, if he can get it for a penny. The farthing system adds 4 per cent. both to the shilling and the pound: the pound system deducts 4 per cent. from the farthing. Since the rate of alteration is nearly the same in both, any argument which turns on the smallness of the change in the pound and shilling, is met by the smallness of the change made in the farthing.

The pound is to the rich, and the shilling to the poor, the coin in which affairs of weight are transacted, the coin of all dealings on which thought is expended and conduct depends, the coin of their hopes and anxieties, the coin in which this year is compared with last year. The wages of the week, the income of the year, are told in shillings and pounds. The farthing and penny are only the purchasers of to-day's supply: goods bought in copper undergo changes of price from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour, almost always from shop to shop, of more than 4 per cent. Those who are used to rapid fluctuations of price, are used to fluctuations of coin, so far as calculation is concerned. Show any reason for altering even the shilling, to say nothing of the pound, and it can instantly be shown that there is better reason for throwing the change upon the farthing, and leaving the shilling unaltered. Nineteen out of twenty see this at once: it has been recognized by every public assembly which has discussed the question. The best thing that could happen would be some association in favour of the farthing or penny, of sufficient weight and notoriety to create an impression that possibly it might succeed. Let the general community once fairly realise the notion that the shilling and the pound are in danger, and we shall have a rising in their favour which will settle the question. At present, there is no combined attack upon the pound system : the scattered and divided opposition which it has met with, is just enough to terrify a prime minister, and no more.

The fourth point, the question of stamps, tolls, &c., is one which is insisted upon rather to frighten the Government than the people. If the postage stamp and receipt stamp be raised to five new farthings or mils, the revenue will gain half-amillion, and no one will object: the war may demand an augmentation independently of the coinage. Tolls, as has been

shown, can easily be adjusted by allowing an additional mil for a term of years. There is no need to do more than refer to the evidence given on these points before the Committee of the House. All the objections of this kind are but make-weights. Never a session passes without adjustments of far more difficulty being made, without agitation or subsequent complaint. The penny, or tenpenny scheme, is one of so peculiar a character, that there is little use in arguing it in connexion with that of the farthing. If its advocates proposed to start from the penny, and to have coins of 10d. and 100d. on the one side, and ofd. on the other, their system would be intelligible. The proposer of this system, we believe, adheres to the coin of 100d., which is too large for silver, and too small for gold. If, indeed, all other points presented advantage, the country might perhaps afford the wear and tear of a coin less than the half-sovereign for its principal gold coin. But we need hardly say, that all the difficulties which we have pointed out in the farthing system, would, in almost if not quite as great a degree, attach to the tenpenny system. But others (as the writer in the city article of the Times, and a writer in the Spectator, who has much more power of explaining himself) tell us that every existing coin is to remain; that, calculating in tenpences, we are to pay in shillings and pounds. That is, they repudiate decimal coinage, and propose a decimal system of accounts; which amounts to nothing more than a permission to those who like to turn sums into pence, and use the number of pence in reckoning. Their only direct action upon the coinage would be to divide the penny into ten parts, thus introducing a coin of a degree of smallness which the whole community has deliberately rejected when it was offered; for the Government never could introduce half-farthings.

We are informed, that in all probability, people in general would prefer pounds and shillings for daily payments. No doubt they would: but would they learn to calculate in pence, tenpences, &c., when they must reduce the result to pounds and shillings, in order to know what to pay? This could be done already, if it were convenient, without asking Parliament to interfere. What is to hinder any one from keeping his books in pence, calling tenpence a franc, one hundred pence a Victoria, &c., if he pleases? And bankers, who use no farthings, could at once have a system of this kind for their books. They would probably answer, that the trouble of reducing into pence, and back again, would overbalance any advantage which would accrue from the strictly decimal character of the summations. When this tenpenny scheme of accounts without coinage comes fairly before the commission, in juxtaposition with either that

of the pound or that of the farthing, it will soon be disposed of. No such absurdity raised its head before the Committee of the Commons.

There is one argument in favour of the tenpenny unit, which may excite a smile. Its promoters have found out that it takes a smaller number of fractional places to go down to a farthing, than are required when the pound is a unit. They say the pound system requires three places of fractions, the tenpenny system only two. Let the pound system be read with the florin as a unit, and then the pound system requires only two places. These arithmeticians do not remember that in a decimal system the very homogeneity of the scale enables any one, either in expression or in calculation, to treat which place he pleases as the unit.

The Decimal Association, answering Mr. Lowe, states as follows:

It is one of the advantages of a decimal system, arising from its perfect uniformity of mode of transition, that all classes of the community may choose their units. At present it would be absurd to allow a man to sue his debt in farthings. But if a decimal system were established, no matter what, any one might choose his unit out of the system. Thus, in ours, a creditor might, without inconvenience, bring into the County Court for 2638 mils, a debtor who wishes to shirk payment of 263 cts. 8 m., by an attorney who is sternly indignant at the wickedness of cheating a fellowcreature out of 26 f. 3 cts. 8m., before a judge who would calmly award payment of £2 6 fl. 3 cts. 8 m. and costs, and might be reported as having awarded £2 6 fl. 38 m. by one newspaper, 26 fl. 38 m. by another, and £2 638 m. by a third.

In leaving the direct advocacy of the system of the pound and mil, we remark that we believe our unbiased readers will clearly see the distinction between the easy rule by which the uneducated man may pay and receive, the easy calculation, if it deserve such a name, by which the ordinary book-keeper may render old money into new, and the by no means difficult process by which the higher order of accountants may carry this conversion to any extent. But it would no way surprise us if opponents were to be found who should, even after this warning, represent us as intending the whole of our rule of conversion for applewomen, bakers' boys, costermongers, &c. Against these we can only contend, by taking the precaution of the Irishman's postscript:-"P.S. If you do not receive this, let me know." We desire the readers of such opponents, if they have not seen our article, to be sure to refer to it.

We have now, for several generations, had a very simple coinage, consisting of few pieces. We are apt to imagine that

the world at large would be unable to contend with the difficulties of a very complicated and varied system. We shall, therefore, proceed to show what kind of money our ancestors possessed. And we do this, not merely because it is of consequence to point out how much more can be endured than it is proposed we should endure, in the way of meeting changes, but also because the information we shall give is not to be obtained from any of the works in which it would naturally be looked for. Histories of the coinage* are not written by men who know how to consult old books on arithmetic and those who go to old books on arithmetic are seldom interested in numismatics.

From very old time our reckoning has been in pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings; but this does not mean that these coins of account have always existed as coins of exchange. The common law implicitly supposes that people must have had a complicated variety of pieces of money from all time: before Edward III. all the coinage was small silver. By the old law, the tenant was bound to tender his rent at such time before sunset as would leave the landlord time to count it by daylight. What may this mean? Twenty marks would seldom have been paid at once for house-rent. In our day, any sunset which is preceded by daylight, or by anything better than London fog, would leave light enough for any one who can count to verify the rent of any three houses, paid in any collection of coins which is legal tender. We shall read the riddle as soon as we come to examine the state of the coinage.

Passing over the time of small silver, our first opportunity is afforded by the book of arithmetic of old Robert Recorde, the "Grounde of Artes," published in 1540. In this book, accounts are kept, as usual, in pounds, shillings, and pence; but the description given of the coinage, in modern spelling, is as follows:

Gold coins: Sovereign, £1 2s. 6d.; half-do., 11s. 3d.; royal, 11s. 3d.; half-royal, 5s. 7d.; quarter-royal, 2s. 93d; old noble, 10s.; half-do., 5s.; angel, 7s. 6d.; half-do., 3s. 9d.; George noble, 6s. 8d.; half-do., 3s. 4d.; quarter-do., 1s. 8d.; crown, 5s.; half-do., 2s. 6d.; another crown, best known by the rose having no crown over it, but four fleurs-de-lys round it, 4s. 6d.

Silver coins: Groat, 4d.; harp-groat, 3d.; penny of 2 pence, 2d.; dandiprat, 14d.; penny; halfpenny; farthing, to be distin

For example, Camden, Clarencieux King at Arms, states that Henry VII. stamped a small coin called a dandiprat, but he did not know its value. Leake, another Clarencieux, a good antiquary, follows Camden in his history of the coinage; and can get no further. We shall presently see this coin of 11d. in its proper place in the arithmetician's list.

+ Groat and great are the same words: it means the largest silver coin.

guished from the smaller halfpence only by a cross and a port


Here is a sufficient account of the want of daylight for counting money, which must have required either the chequerboard, or pen and paper to write down and then add up. Twenty marks paid in gold, with mixture of half and quarter royals and the two kinds of crowns, would astonish a banker's clerk of our time, who feels it a grievance to have to find out the difference between our threepenny and fourpenny pieces.

This state of things, bad as it was, grew gradually worse. The editor of the edition of 1573 says that the coins were very different from what they were in 1540; meaning, we believe, that there were more of them. He promised a table at the end of the book, and forgot his promise. It may be suspected that the increase of trade, the Spanish marriage, &c., caused an influx of foreign coins; and it is known that the variety of English coins was rapidly increasing. Similar omissions occur in the remaining arithmetical books of the century.

The principal "valuers" of money were the pound, the mark (13s. 4d.), and the shilling; not one of which was a coin in 1540 for though Henry VII. did coin a few shillings, or groats of 12 pence, and thereby converted the shilling from a weight into a coin, yet this was merely as a specimen, and the coins were not put into circulation. The complication of actual coins increased, until, at the restoration of the monarchy, it had arrived at a fearful pitch. A multitude of gold pieces were in circulation, at odd pence per piece when of standard weight, and subject to reduction for loss of weight. At the Restoration, the value of every piece was augmented by proclamation, and this by other odd pence; so that, immediately after the Restoration, there were three things to consider, on each of 56 gold coins; the old value, the augmentation, and the loss due to the wear of the particular piece in question. And we do not hear of any very strong complaint, or even dissatisfaction.

William Jeake collected the following list of coins in 1674, and inserted it in his “Λογιστικηλογία, or Arithmetick Surveighed and Reviewed," which was not published till 1696, in folio. The values are given before and after the proclamation: the initial letters are those of the sovereigns who issued them.

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