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PART III.

HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE OF MONEY.

HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE OF MONEY.1

Nicole2 Oresme, the fourteenth century college president and political economist, councillor to Charles V. of France, and Count Bishop of Lisieux, appears to have been the founder of the modern science of money. His Traictie de la premiere Invention des Monnoies was written about 1366.

Nicolas Copernicus, the great astronomer, Canon of Frauenburg, and adviser of Sigismund I. of Poland, wrote Monete3 Cudende3 Ratio in 1526.

These works are in the Astor Library, where I found them uncut. They are not in the Mercantile Library.

M. L. Wolowski, the very able editor and annotator of the edition of these

1 See Preface to Second Edition.

s He signed his name Nicole, not Nicholas.

8 He does not use the diphthong ae in this title.

works published by MM. Guillaumin et Cie., Paris, 1864, says in his Avant-Propos:

"Les vues de Copernic sur la monnoie se rapprochent beaucoup de celles de Nicole Oresme; ce sont les mêmes aperçus, sains et vigoureux c'est la même entente de l'importance attachée à ce que l'instrument des échanges soit maintenu droit de titre et de poids, c'est le même jugement porté sur la nature du pouvoir du prince, en ce qui concerne le règlement de la valeur monétaire. Le rapprochement des indications fournies par ces deux grands esprits donne lieu à une étude aussi féconde qu'attrayante."

Séquin's Histoire des Évèques-Comtes de Lisieux, published in 1832, says of Nicole Oresme, "33e évêque et 19e comte.":

"Ce savant évêque, après avoir fait ses études dans son pays, alla à Paris; il fut grand maître du collège de Navarre; il . . . était le plus habile dans les sciences et les beaux-arts, qui fut dans l'université de Paris."

Dubois, Huet, Mézeray, and others bear similar testimony to the worth of Oresme and Charles V.

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this grand liberal bishop of the fourteenth century, who first translated into French, the Ethics, Politics, and Economics of Aristotle, was commissioned by Charles V. to translate the Bible into French, wrote against the Ultramontanes, was unsuccessfully accused of heresy,1 and proved himself a master of theology, mathematics, and political economy.2

Our people are so inventive, and have such confidence in their intuitive ability to determine any question, that a thorough study of even the bibliology of such a science as that of money is generally not considered necessary for an American lawmaker or economic writer. Even in England, writers on the money question commonly ignore the older continental writers, and continually speak of the law that poorer money will drive out better

'On account of the sermon which he preached before Pope Urbain V. and the College of Cardinals, " Surles dereglements des princes de l'Eglise."

s Many other illustrious churchmen have highly appreciated the moral importance of the currency question. In the XIII Century St. Thomas Aquinas was the foremost writer on Political Economy and Currency.

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