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represent the infant Christ or the Virgin Mary. But whence the name of Poplady? Can it be a corruption of Pope Lady-the female Pope- alluding to the fabulous tale of Pope Joan, recorded by Platina in his His tory of Sovereign Pontiffs?

If you, Sir, or any of your Correspondents can throw any light on this curious, though ridiculous custom, it will oblige,


S. P.

Jan. 1.

At the commencement of the present reign, in the year 1760, the gold coins were known to be considerably diminished by filing, &c. No steps, however, were taken to prevent the practice until the year 1774 †, when a general recoinage of gold was determined upon, and the practice of weighing gold coins (a practice borrowed from the wisdom of the Chinese) was established by statute, which condescended to borrow so much from that people, but was at the same time

WHILST other modern improve- aware that it would not become the

ments in Art Science stand recorded in the Reports of the respective Societies whose peculiar objects they are, the improvements made during the present reign in the art of Coinage are suffered to pass by unregarded; possibly because they are too artless for the Society of Arts, too little scientific for the Royal Society, and too little like profitable trading concerns to attract the notice of the Board of Trade.

To extend the knowledge of them, permit me the use of a few of your columns to be occupied with a chronological account, extracted from the only work which has hitherto condescended to notice them at large*. Nothing of importance was done until the year 1769, when the Act to continue duties for the encouragement of the Coinage of money was made perpetual.

As the expediency of originally passing this Act was, in the minds of those who considered the subject, extremely problematical, making it perpetual, and thereby satisfying all doubts upon the subject, must be allowed to be an improvement, from which might be augured the rapid progress which the coins afterwards made towards perfection.

wealth of such a nation as ours, to imitate their economy in not coining the more precious metals.

Tables of the weights at which the gold coined at different periods was to be current, were published by authority, to the great convenience of the filers and sweaters, who were taught by them how far they could legally go. This was undoubtedly an imitation of the Parliamentary wisdom in the reign of King William III. when a proper time was graciously allowed to the clippers of the silver coin, in which they could exercise their talents with full effect, and safety.

In the year 1783 the counterfeit copper money was complained of as a great grievance by the inhabitants of Westminster, This very naturally produced a statute to forbid the counterfeiting of the current coin of Ireland, to the great relief of London and Westminster §.

In 1787, the want of silver money occasioned an effort to supply it, which by great exertion was carried on to the amount of about 80,000/. It was undoubtedly judicious not to extend it beyond that sum, as the great recoinage in King William's reign, which was conducted upon the

"Annals of the Coinage of Great Britain, by the Rev. Rogers Ruding."-The late Lord Liverpool, in a Letter to the King, speaks in high terms of some of them, that is, of the recoinage of gold, and the plan of weighing it in common traffick. The more modern improvements be unfortunately did not live to see. Judging, however, from what he actually did approve, there can be but little doubt that these would likewise have been honoured by his support.

This delay was doubtless intended to furnish Government with a stronger case than it would have had in 1760, from the progress, which the clippers, &c. might make in the deterioration of the coins.

See the Statute 7 & 8 William III. Chap. 1.

Upon mature deliberation, a coinage of copper was determined upon, and issued in July 1797; the impatience of the people, who are not accustomed to deliberate, but to act from their immediate imaginary feelings, having in 1784 commenced a coinage of private tokens.



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same principles, had almost totally disappeared, aud therefore it was not prudent to risk much with a possibility of the same effect being produced.

dwelling-houses, which bound the street, erected on the spot where Mr. Johnson was born. Each of the almshouses has a room on the groundfloor, and a chamber over it: the rooms are neat and convenient; and the windows glazed with beautiful stained glass. To each inhabitant is, given a printed copy of the Rules and Orders *. N. R. S.

In 1797 the mint being found unequal to the conduct of a copper coinage of large extent, Mr. Boulton, of Birmingham was authorized to coin for Government. By this plan the fortune of an ingenious man was made, and the moniers were allowed from their labours of stamping the head of his present Majesty upon the neck of the King it of Spain, in order to give his dollars

currency here.

It was afterwards found to be ex

pedient to put the dollars also into Mr. Boulton's Mint, in order to efface entirely the Spanish impression, and

to convert them into Bank Tokens *.

In the following year the subisting Committee of the Council for coins was dissolved, and a new Committee was appointed, whose first determination went to sanction the, currency of Mr. Boulton's heavy cop. per coinage with the lighter Tower half-pennies. About twenty years afterwards they changed their opinion, and all the Tower halfpennies were called in for the purpose of recoinage. (To be continued.)


Jan. 1.

IN vol. LXIII. p. 1046, you have

Establishment in the Borough of Leicester, by the late John Johnson, esq. and named by him the Consanguinitarium. And in vol. LXXXIV. p. 296, the Institution is farther noticed, in an account of the death of its philanthropic Founder.

I request you to insert a View of this comfortable place of refuge; which is a handsome stone-building, consisting of five houses, in Southgate-street, near the Water-house pump. (See Plate II.) It is partly screened in the view by four neat

* These Tokens were declared by Dr. Darwin to be inimitable, from the superiority of their workmanship, and the power of the coining machine; and I do believe, that, by the help of a statute to protect them, and of steel gauges to detect the counterfeits, they have not been imitated to any very large amount.

GENT. MAG. January, 1820.


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called, not unaptly, its Livery: HE Coinage of a Nation may be wears the badge of office, and from its splendour or meanness, may be judged the wealth or property of servant of the whole community to State Collectively, it is the which it belongs, but individually, each piece of coin is the servant of the possessor. Every body has its services, from the prince to the beg gar; and as every one employs it, so every one, according to the use he may be supposed to make of it, ought to contribute towards its formation.

As it sustains a most important public function, so it ought, in all nafions, to have a salary assigned to it.

When nations are once possessed of a material that all men covet, it soon becomes obvious, that a convenient form is required for its circulation, and coins called money have been invented for that purpose. The prerogative of coining money, and fixing its denomination, is properly vested in the monarch or ruling power, and the denomination being once fixed, ought, on no pretence whatever, to be changed, because it would violate all contracts; all the transactions of fair dealing between man and man being founded on the invariability of national currency. Yet there have been princes, who, mistaking price for value, have sometimes altered the one in hopes to obtain the other; but Providence has placed this beyond the power of man. A King may, by his prerogative, raise the denomination of a piece of coin, but that cannot in the least increase its value, if its weight continues the same.

These are printed in Nichols's History of Leicestershire, vol. I. p. 528. A com

A commercial people having no mines of their own, and not having by conquest exacted bullion from other nations, can obtain it only by having had something to sell, or having performed some service; hence it is, that the coin of such a nation, is exclusively the property of the people, except only such part of it as the executive Government may periodically require for the exigencies of the State, which again reverts to the people in ceaseless rotation. The coin that each man honestly possessés, be it little or much, is decidedly and distinctly his own; he has given value for it; and he will not part with it but on the same terms. Into such a nation coins must have crept by slow degrees, and being once formed and designated by the ruling power, it becomes the duty of the executive, to preserve them as near as possible in the same state as at their first is sue, which can be effected only by that prerogative, which first established their quality and weight, forbidding their circulation after they have become deficient; which determination of the ruling power involves a question of great magnitude."Who is to sustain the loss of exchange from old and light, to new and heavy?" The answer of State policy must be, that it should fall upon the individual in whose hands it happened to be found. This, at first sight, will appear not consistent with strict justice, and it can be defended only by the nature of the case; the deficiency when it does happen must fall some where, and how can it possibly be fixed under easier circumstances than amongst the many who will then have to share it ? It is a servant who has become disabled, and his cure will cost but little; whereas if the light coins were suffered to continue in circulation, it would encourage further depreciation, and at last, if called in for recoinage, it must be at an expence to be borne by the nation collectively, and thus occasion a careless observ. ance of deficiencies; but if the charge falls individually, every individual will endeavour to guard against it, and thus become conservator of the coinage. Under such circumstances it will always be maintained in elegant purity; the executive power

will be relieved from the necessity of raising supplies for any deficiency in the old coins; and the nation relieved from what is of far greater consequence, the inconvenience that unavoidably must attend a sudden withdrawing and re-issuing a nation's currency. Where there is a settled salary raised for a constant coining, there will always be a supply for that which is continually withdrawing, neither loss nor gain being suffered on either side, nor any charge whatever made at the time of coining.

The practice of some nations is, to impose a seignorage to defray the expense of coining; but this certainly is both impolitic and unjust;-inpolitic because it tends to prevent coining at home, and holds out encouragement to foreigners to imitate it abroad; and unjust, because it throws the charge upon him who brings his bullion to be coined, and thereby performs a public service, and who uses each piece but once: for the moment it escapes from his hands, it enters into the service of the public, every one using it according to his dealings. When its career is stopped, it can be no great hardship to throw the loss upon the possessor, whose traffic will enable him to sustain it; but it would be the very height of injustice to throw upon him, at the same time, any loss that might be occasioned by a previous seignorage.

Thus the creation of coins (if I may so express myself) would become the charge of the whole nation: the renovation of them would be sustained by its commerce.

Where coinage is so established, it can scarcely ever happen, that a solvent debtor should not be able to find sufficient full weight coins, to satisfy the demands of his creditor; but if at any time it should so happen, it seems a principle of justice that he ought to have the power of doing it by a full weight of bullion. So on the other hand, it seems equally consistent with justice, that at any time when coins have become diminished below the standard of their currency, the creditor should be left to his choice to refuse the coin and demand the weight in bullion.

There are but three metals which the world has agreed to receive as universal

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