England's treasure by forraign trade/Chapter 9

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Chap. IX

A Toleration for Forraign Coins to pass current here at higher rates then their value with our Standard, will not encrease our Treasure.


The discreet Merchant for the better directing of his trade and his exchanges by bills to and from the several places of the world where he is acustomed to deal, doth carefully learn the Parity or equal value of the monies according to their weight and fineness compared with our Standard,Merchants do or ought to know the weight and fineness of forraign Coins. whereby he is able to know perfectly the just profit or loss of his affairs. And I make no doubt but that we trade to divers places where we vent off our native commodities yearly, to a great value, and yet find few or no wares there fitting our use, whereby we are enforced to make our returns in ready mony, which by us is either carried into some of the Countries to be converted into wares which we want, or else it is brought into the Realm in Specie; which being tolerated to pass current here in payment at higher rates then they are worth to be Coined into sterling mony; that seemeth very probable that the greater quantity will be brought in: but when all the circumstances are duly considered, this course likewise will be found as weak as the rest to encrease our Treasure.

First, the toleration it self doth break the laws of entercourse, and would soon move other Princes to perform the same acts or worse against us, and so frustrate our hopes.

Secondly, if mony be the true measure of all our other means, and forraign Coins tollerated to pass current amongst us, at higher rates than they are worth (being compared our Standard) it followeth that the common wealth shall not be justly distributed, when it passeth by a false measure.

Thirdly, if the advantage between ours and forraign Coins be but small, it will bring in little or no Treasure, because the Merchant will rather bring in wares upon which there is usually a competent gaine. And on the other side if we permit a great advantage to the forraign Coins, then that gain will carry away all our starling mony, and so I leave this business in a Dilemma, and fruitless, as all other course will ever prove which seek for the gain or loss of our treasure out of the ballance of our general forraign trade, as I will endeavour yet further to demonstrate.