Tower of LONDON. The Mint. 103

Tower of LONDON. The Mint.

" Seal, to be engraven by the King's Graver of the Mint within the Tower of London. And the same Seal, with a fair Pattern thereof, together with the same Writ, to return at a Day certain." And then these Seals so made and returned were by the Lord Treasurer and Barons delivered unto such Officers as should use the same. And the Purpose of having the Pattern, was for Judgment, if any Counterfeit Seals should be used.

When certain Customers and Alnagers in Queen Elizabeth's Reign, and many other Officers used her Seal in their several Offices, and caused the same to be made at their Pleasures; the Warden of the Mint complained of them to the Lord Treasurer Burghleigh; shewing the aforesaid ancient Custom, and the Usefulness of it; and how this making of Seals at the Officers Pleasures tended to the deceiving and defrauding of the Queen and her People. And he required, that some special Commandment or Commission should be given out for defacing of all such Seals as were counterfeit. And that the ancient Records might be searched for the Penalties due to such Counterfeitures. And that it had been heretofore accustomed for the Warden, or Graver, by his Appointment, to make Search for such counterfeit Seals; and he made Presentment thereof before the Lord Treasurer and Barons: And they, viz. the Mint Master and Graver, prayed his Lordship's Order in the Premisses to be had.

The Warden complained of some that used the Queen's Seal for their Offices.

One Thing more which I shall mention in relation to the Mint, is concerning a Question started in Queen Elizabeth's Reign about the coining of Farthings, Whether to make them of Silver, or Silver debased, or Copper. If they should be made of the Standard of the other Money, the Piece would be only two Grains, of that Smallness as neither to be conveniently coined nor handled for Payment. If a base Standard be appointed therefore to increase the Weight, that every Farthing might weigh six Grains (which is the smallest that conveniently can be) then there would be eighty in every Ounce, and in every Pound Weight 960, and would be current for 20s. The Workmanship thereof, considering the Number of Pieces, the Difficulty of melting, and manner of Commixture, would cost 2s. 6d. the Pound Weight; and for her Majesty's Revenue, at least 6d. So the Value in Silver cannot exceed 17s. that is 3 Ounces 3 Penny Weight of fine Silver, and 8 Ounces 17 Penny Weight of Allay. This small Quantity of Silver will make no shew, and be but clearly lost, and be as easy to counterfeit as if they were only Copper.


If they be only of Copper, the same might be faithfully made of One Penny Weight the Piece; and so in a Pound Weight there would be 240. and be current for 5s. and with a reasonable Revenue thereof to her Majesty, as of the other Monies; and Charges of Copper, Tools, and Workmanship will be worth their Value. They will be apt for Use, and of infinite Continuance: And in them there is no Precedent of embasing. This was offered by Mr. Martin the Warden, and one Mr. Palmer, an Officer (as it seems) in the Mint.

The Queen once farmed out the Mint to some private Subject, who seems to have been the before mentioned Martin, the Mint- Master. The Inconvenience and Danger whereof to her self and the Nation, some Person unknown shewed in this deliberate Paper to the Lord Treasurer, following.

The Mint farmed out by the Queen.

THE MINT of this our Realm, with the Gain belonging to the same, is not a Thing fit to be converted to the Use of every private Subject in such sort as of late Time hath been, and as it doth yet continue; by reason of the Estate of the outward Doings of the whole Realm; as Things sold and bought whatsoever, as well Foreign Commodities as our own, and our Traffick abroad, with the ordinary Means to maintain the Treasure in competent Estate, and to defend the same from extraordinary Decay. All which Things depend upon those Doings which of right ought to be put in Practice in the Mint. And these Things are of so much the more Importance, by reason they are daily and continually in Use, from Time to Time. And therefore as they are certainly or uncertainly dealt in, so will the Price of the said Commodities, and the Quantity of the Treasure follow accordingly, by some near Proportion to the more Profit or Prejudice of the Queen's Majesty, and the whole Realm.

And although we have a Mint, yet we have no Mines; and therefore the Treasure of this our Realm is rather to be maintained by Art than by Nature. And there is some Difference between other Countries and us in the Government of the Treasure. And this Thing is to be observed, that the Occasions of Loss or Gain do continually fall out from time to time, and will so do so long as we have Traffick with other Countries; and many times in such sort, as a private Subject is neither able to prevent the Loss, nor to procure the Gain. As of late Time there hath been Experience of both. And by the Ignorance of these Things, the Inconveniences and Losses which have happen'd to the Queen's Majesty and the whole Realm, with the Gain which in the mean time hath been neglected, are not to be countervailed with the Sum of Ten hundred thousand Pounds in one respect and other. And if every thing be duly considered, it will appear, that those Doings which of Right ought to be put in Practice in the Mint, are Things of greater Charge than any private Subject is able to discharge. And if the Mint shall long continue in the Hands of a private Subject in such sort as of late Time it hath done, in short Time it will neither be profitable to Prince nor Subject, without some general Loss otherwise, as well to the Queen's Majesty, as unto the whole Realm. And therefore of Necessity the Mint ought to be in the Queen's Majesty's own Hands, whether the Gain be more or less: If not for Gain, yet to avoid the Danger of Loss otherwise, if the like Occasions should hereafter happen, which heretofore have happened.

And this is most certain, that there is not any private Subject living, that will seek to have the Mint, but rather in respect of his own private Gain, than for her Majesty's most Profit, and the Commodity of the whole Realm. And if a Mint-Master can make the Mint gainful unto himself, his Coin being restrained within the Limits of certain ordinary Allowances, then much more may the Queen's Majesty make the same profitable; considering that her Majesty may urge the ordinary Allowances further than is convenient for any Mint-Master to do; and also may increase some extraordinary Causes of Gain, far otherwise than any private Subject is able to do. And for my own Part, I am certainly persuaded, that there is not any private Subject living, which knoweth what of right belongeth to the Mint, that with a safe Conscience can either seek to have the Mint himself, or would be willing that any other should have the same in use, but only the Queen's Majesty, if by any convenient Means it lie in him to prevent the contray.

And although it may be thought, that such certain and apparent Gain, as the Queen's Majesty hath had by the letting out of the Mint to a private Subject, hath been much more profitable, than otherwise it would have been, if the same had remained in her Majesty's own Hands; which