Malynes, Gerard (DNB00)
|←Malvoisin, William||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 36
MALYNES, MALINES, or DE MALINES, GERARD (fl. 1586–1641), merchant and economic writer, states that his ' ancestors and parents ' were born in Lancashire (Les Mercatoria, 1622, p. 263). His father, a mint-master (ib. p. 281), probably emigrated about 1552 to Antwerp, where Gerard was born, and returned to England at the time of the restoration of the currency (1561), when Elizabeth obtained the assistance of skilled workmen from Flanders. Gerard was appointed (about 1586) one of the commissioners of trade in the Low Countries 'for settling the value of monies' (Oldys, p. 96), but he was in England in 1587, for in that year he purchased from Sir Francis Drake some of the pearls which Drake brought from Carthagena. Malynes is probably identical with 'Garet de Malines,' who subscribed 200l. to the loan levied by Elizabeth in 1588 on the city of London (J. S. Burn, p. 11). He was frequently consulted on mercantile affairs by the privy council during her reign and that of James I. In 1600 he was appointed one of the commissioners for establishing the true par of exchange, and he gave evidence before the committee of the House of Commons on the Merchants' Assurance Bill (November and December 1601). While the Act for the True Making of Woollen Cloth (4 Jac. I, c. 2) was passing through parliament he prepared for the privy council a report showing the weight, length, and breadth of all kinds of cloth.
During the reign of James I Malynes took part in many schemes for developing the natural resources of the country. Among them was an attempt to work lead mines in Yorkshire and silver mines in Durham in 1606, when at his own charge he brought workmen from Germany. He was joined by Lord Eure and some London merchants, but the undertaking failed, although 'his action was applauded by a great person then in authoritie, and now  deceased, who promised all the favour he could do' (Lex Mercatoria, p. 262). The object of these schemes was probably to make England independent of a foreign supply of the precious metals. Monetary questions were indeed his chief care. He was an assay master of the mint (ib. p. 281). In 1609 he was a commissioner on mint affairs, along with Thomas, lord Knyvet, Sir Richard Martin [q. v.], John Williams, the king's goldsmith, and others. Shortly afterwards he engaged in a scheme for supplying a deficiency in the currency, of coins of small value, by the issue of farthing tokens. Private traders had for some years infringed the royal prerogative by striking farthing tokens in lead. A 'modest proposal,' which seems to have been inspired by Malynes, was put forth in 1612 to remedy this evil. The scheme was adopted, and John, second lord Harington [q. v.], obtained the patent for supplying the new coins (10 April 1613), which he assigned to Malynes and William Cockayne, in accordance with an agreement previously made with the former. Upon the withdrawal of Cockayne, who did not like the terms of the original grant, Malynes was joined by John Couchman. But from the first the contractors were unfortunate. The Duke of Lennox tried to obtain the patent from Lord Harington by offering better terms than Malynes. The new farthings, which were called 'Haringtons,' were unpopular. They were refused in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Flint, and Denbigh; and even in counties where they were accepted the demand for them was so small that in six months the issue was less than 600l. The death of Lord Harington in 1614 gave rise to new difficulties, the patent was infringed, and private traders continued to issue illegal coins. Malynes spared no pains to make the scheme successful, but the loss resulting from its failure fell chiefly upon him. In a petition which he addressed to the king from the Fleet Prison (16 Feb. 1619) he complained that he had been ruined by his employers, who insisted on paying him in his own farthings. But he appears to have surmounted these difficulties. In 1622 he gave evidence on the state of the coinage before the standing commission on trade. Malynes was deeply impressed with the evils which the exactions of usurers inflicted on the poorer classes. 'The consideration hereof,' he writes, 'hath moved my soul with compassion and true commiseration, which implyeth a helping hand. For it is now above twentie years that I have moved continually those that are in authoritie, and others that have beene, to be pleased to take some course to prevent this enormitie' (ib. p. 339). Hopeless of success and 'stricken in years,' he had to content himself with publishing his last project. He proposed the adoption of a system of pawnbroking and a 'Mons Pietatis,' under government control. In this way he hoped to enable poor people to obtain loans at a moderate rate of interest. Malynes lived to a great age, for in 1622 he could appeal to his 'fiftie yeares' observation, knowledge, and experience,' and he addressed a petition to the House of Commons of 1641.
Malynes was one of the first English writers in whose works we find that conception of natural law the application of which by later economists led to the rapid growth of economic science. He doubtless borrowed it from Roman law, in which he appears to have been well read. But in his numerous works all other subjects are subordinate to the principles of foreign exchange, of which he was the chief exponent. Malynes recognised that certain elements, such as time, distance, and the state of credit, entered into the determination of the value of bills of exchange, but he overlooked the most important, namely, the mutual indebtedness of the trading countries. The condition of trade and the method of settling international transactions at that time also gave an appearance of truth to his contention that 'exchange dominates commodities.' In his view the cambists and goldsmiths, who succeeded to the functions of the king's exchanger and his subordinates, defrauded the revenue and amassed wealth at the expense of the king. Throughout his life he maintained the 'predominance of exchange,' exposed the 'tricks of the exchangers,' and urged that exchanges should be settled on the principle of 'par pro pan, value for value.' Naturally, therefore, he sought to revive the staple system, and appealed to the government to put down the exchangers. He also severely criticised the views of Jean Bodin. The appointment in 1622 of the standing commission on trade gave rise to numerous pamphlets dealing with the subjects of inquiry. When, among other writers, Edward Misselden [q. v.] discussed the causes of the supposed decay of trade, Malynes at once attacked his views, on the ground that he had omitted 'to handle the predominant part of the trade, namely, the mystery of exchange,' which 'over-ruled the price of moneys and commodities.' Misselden easily enough refuted his arguments, which, he said, were 'as threadbare as his coat;' but Malynes was not to be daunted, and he renewed the attack. Although his theory of exchange was demolished, his works are full of valuable information on commercial subjects, and are indispensable to the economic historian. He published : 1. 'A Treatise of the Canker of England's Commonwealth. Divided into three parts,' &c., London, 1601, 8vo. 2. 'St. George for England, allegorically described,' London, 1601, 8vo. 3. 'England's View in the Unmasking of two Paradoxes [by De Malestroict] ; with a Replication unto the Answer of Maister J. Bodine,' London, 1603, 12mo. 4. 'The Maintenance of Free Trade, according to the three essentiall parts of Traffique . . . or, an Answer to a Treatise of Free Trade [by Edward Misselden] . . . lately published,' &c., London, 1622, 8vo. 5. ' Consuetudo vel Lex Mercatoria, or the Ancient Law Merchant. Divided into three parts ; according to the essentiall parts of Trafficke,'&c., London, 1622, fol. A second edition of this work appeared in 1629. It was republished with Richard Dafforne's 'Merchants Mirrour,' 1636, and in 1686 with Marius's 'Collection of Sea Laws : Advice concerning Bills,' with J. Collins's ' Introduction to Merchants Accounts,' and other books. Malynes's 'Philosophy' ('Lex Mercatoria,' pt. ii. cap. i.) was reprinted in 'A Figure of the True and Spiritual Tabernacle,' London, 1655; and 'his advice concerning bee-keeping' (ib. pp. 231 sqq.) in Samuel Hartlib's 'Reformed Commonwealth of Bees,' London, 1655, 4to. 6. ' The Center of the Circle of Commerce, or the Ballance of Trade, lately published by E[dward] M[isselden],' London, 1623, 4to.
[Foreigners Resident in England, 1618-1688 (Camd. Soc.), p. 71; J. S. Burn's Foreign Protestant Eefugees, London, 1846, p. 11; William Oldys's British Librarian, 1737, pp. 96,97 ; Ruding's Annals of the Coinage, 3rd ed. i. 365-370; Snelling's View of the Copper Coin and Coinage of England, 1763, pp. 5-11 ; Brydges's Censura Literaria, 2nd ed. v. 151 ; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 148, 6th ser. v. 437 ; Archæologia, xxix. 277, 297; State Papers, Dom. Jac. I, lxix. 7, xc. 158, cv. 113, Car. I. cccclxxxiii. Ill; Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. p. 166, 7th Rep. p. 1886, 8th Rep. i. 435. Numerous biographical details will be found throughout Malynes's works. His views were noticed or criticised in the following seventeenth-century pamphlets, in addition to those of Edward Misselden: Lewis Roberts's Merchants Mappe of Commerce, &c., London, 1638, p. 47; Thomas Mun's England's Treasure by Foreign Trade, London, 1664, pp. 126 sqq.; Simon Clement's Discourse of the Greneral Notions of Money, Trade, and Exchanges, &c., London, 1695, p. 17; W. Lowndes's Further Essay for the Amendment of the Gold and Silver Coins, London, 1695. For the controversy between Malynes and Misselden vide John Smith's Memoirs of Wool, 2nd ed. 1757, i. 104-18; Anderson's Deduction of the Origin of Commerce, ed. 1801, ii. 117,203, 259, 270, 297 ; McCulloch's Literature of Political Economy, 1845, p. 129; Travers Twiss's View of the Progress of Political Economy, 1847, p. 35; Richard Jones's Lectures on Political Economy, 1859, pp. 323, 324 ; Heyking's Geschichte der Handelsbilanztheorie, 1880, pp. 60-4 ; Schanz's Englische Handelspolitik, 1881, i. 334 sqq.; Cunningham's Growth of English Industry and Commerce, 1885, pp. 279, 309 sqq. ; Stephen Bauer's art. 'Balance of Trade' (Dict. Pol. Econ. pt.i. 1891); Hewins's English Trade and Finance in the 17th Century, 1892, pp.xxsqq., 9, 10, 12.]