Introduction by W. A Shaw, 1896link








To the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain.
1711-2, March 3.
According to your Lordship's Order, signified to me by Mr. Secretary Harley, in his Letter of February 26th last, I have considered the Letter of his Grace the Duke of Ormond, Her Majesty's LieutenantGeneral and General Governor of Ireland, sent to your Lordship, together with the Representation sent to his Grace from the Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council of that Kingdom, mentioning a late Proclamation for making current in that Kingdom some Pieces of Foreign Gold and proposing to make current there, by further Proclamation, several other Pieces of Foreign Gold therein named, to prevent the Counterfeiting thereof: and as to the Value of the Pieces, I humblv represent, that the Spanish Pistoles, one with another, as they are brought hither by the Merchant, weigh 103 Grains each at a Medium, and are in Fineness half a Grain worse than Standard, and after the Rate that a Guinea is valued in England at 1 l. 1s. 6d. are here worth 17s. 1d. and in Ireland, where the Silver Money is raised a Penny in the Shilling, if the Gold be raised in the same Proportion, become worth 18s. 6d. And in Proportion the Quadruple Pistole weighs 412 Grains, the Double Pistole 206 Grains, and the Quarter Pistole 25¾ Grains: But in the Representation the Quadruple Pistoles are said to weigh 408 Grains, the Double Pistole 204 Grains, and the Quarter Pistoles 25 and an half Grains, whence I gather, that in the former Proclamation the weight of the Pistole was but 102 Grains, which is a Grain lighter than the just Weight, this Grain, as I conceive, being abated to give a legal Currency to such lighter Pieces as want not above a Grain of their just Weight; and upon this Consideration the Quadruple, Double, and Quarter Pistoles may be put in Weight and Value as is expressed in the Representation; and so may the Double and Quarter Luidores, they being of the same weight, Fineness and Value with the Double and Quarter Pistoles.

The Moydores of Portugal, one with another, as they are brought hither by the Merchant, weigh 165¾ Grains at a Medium, and a Quarter of a Grain better than Standard, and in England are worth 27s. 8d. Half-penny, and being raised a Penny in the Shilling, become worth 30s. in Ireland: In the Representation their Weight is put 168 Grains, which is certainly too much; and thence it comes to pass, that they are therein valued at 1 l. 10s. 6d. which is 6d. too much. 1 have examined the Weight of 30 Parcels of Moydores, containing a Thousand Moydores in each Parcel, and thereby found, that the Moydore, at a Medium, weighs only 165¾ Grains; if in Favour of the lighter Pieces the Fraction be abated, their Weight and Value, in a new Proclamation, may be put as follows. The Portugal Piece of Gold, called a Moydore, and weighing 165 Grains, to pass at 1 l. 10s. the Half Moydore weighing 82 Grains and an half, at 15s. and the Quarter Moydore, weighing 41 Grains and a Quarter, at 7s. 6d.

Gold is over-valued in England in Proportion to Silver, by at least 9d. or 10d. in a Guinea, and this Excess of Value tends to increase the Gold Coins, and diminish the Silver Coins of this Kingdom; and the same will happen in Ireland by the like overvaluing of Gold in that Kingdom. But it's convenient that the Coins should bear the same Proportion to one another in both Kingdoms, to prevent all fradulent Practices in those that Trade between them, and that the Proportion be as certained by Proclamation.

All which is most humbly submitted to your Lord ship's great wisdom.


MINT OFFICE, 3rd March, 1711-12.




Right Honourable the Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain.
In obedience to Your Lordship's Order of Reference signified to me by Mr. Taylor in his Letter of June 16 inst. I have perused the Representation from the Lords of the Privy Council of Ireland, touching a late Order of Council here for giving Currency in that Kingdom by Proclamation to some Foreign Coins, which were omitted in a former Proclamation, a printed Copy of which they have sent, desiring a Clause to be added to the said Order, for making such Allowance for light Pieces as was made in the said Proclamation; and that the Order may comprehend also the foreign Coins mentioned in that Proclamation, because the Original thereof under the Great Seal was destroyed by the late Fire that happened there at the Council Chamber, so that the Clark of the Council cannot now certify that the printed Copy agrees with the Original verbatim as the late Act of Parliament requires for the Conviction of Counterfeitors of those Coins. And upon comparing the said Representation with the said late Order of Council and printed Proclamation, I humbly represent, that the Weight of the single Pistole and Luidore, being in the said Proclamation put 4 Penny-weight 8 Grains; the Weight of the Double Pistole and Double Luidore ought in Proportion to be put in a new Proclamation 8 Penny-weight 16 Grains, and that of the Quadruple Pistole, or Double Doubloon, 17 Penny-weight 8 Grains. And that the Moydore of Portugal (which as the Merchants bring them hither a little worn, weigh one with another 6 Penny-weight 21¾ Grains, and before wearing may be a Quarter of a Grain heavier or above) may be put in weight 6 Penny-weight 22 Grains in the same Proclamation, and valued at 30s. For in Ireland, where an English Shilling passes for 13d. the Moydore of this Weight is worth 29s. 11½d. reckoning Gold 22 Carats fine at 4 l. per Ounce, as is usually done, and 30s. is a Medium, and the nearest round Number. And a Grain being allowed for Wearing, this Piece will be current till it weighs but 6 Penny-weight 21 Grains, as was stated in the late Order of Council, and after that it will be still current by abating 2d. per Grain in its Value for what it wants of the Weight of 6 Penny-weight 22 Grains. For the latter Part of the printed Proclamation, concerning the Allowance for light Pieces, and concerning the Scales and Weights for weighing them, I am humbly of Opinion, should be continued in the next Proclamation.

I humbly beg leave to represent further to your Lordship, that the Weights and Values of the Silver Coins in the printed Proclamation would answer better to one another, and to the Coins themselves, if 2d. were taken from the Value of the Crusado of Portugal, and 18 or 20 Grains added to the Weight of the Dollars, for the Crusado is reckoned in Portugal to be the 10th part of the Moydore in Value, and the Moydore is worth 30s. in Ireland as above, and yet the Crusado is valued in the Proclamation at 3s. 2d. Its Weight before Wearing is 11 Penny-weight 4 Grains, and a Crusado of this Weight is worth but 3s.

Rix-dollars, Cross-dollars, and other Dollars, are in the Proclamation put of the same Weight and Value of the Pieces of Eight and Lewises, and ought to be 18 or 20 Grains heavier to be of the same Value. Rix-dollars are of several sorts, and before wearing weighed about 18 Penny-weight and 6, 8, or 10 Grains, and Cross-Dollars 18 Penny-weight 1 Grain. That they may be worth 4s. 9d. which is the Value in the Proclamation, they should weigh at least 17 Penny-weight 18 Grains.

I am humbly of Opinion therefore, that the Gold Coins should be of the Weight and Fineness expressed in the Paper hereunto annexed [wanting], and the Silver ones, as in the printed Proclamation, unless for the Reasons above mentioned, it should be thought fit to take 2d. from the Value of the Crusadoes, and add 18 Grains to the Weight of the Dollars.

All which is humbly submitted to your Lordship's
great wisdom.


MINT OFFICE, 23 June 1712.



Treasury Papers,vol. clii. No. 44/ 44a/ 44b.

Html-edition after William A. Shaw's edition in: William A. Shaw, Select Tracts and Documents Illustrative of English Monetary History 1626-1730 (London: Wilsons & Milne, 1896) [reprint: (New York: Augustus Kelley Publishers, 1967)], p.160-163 — webdesign: Olaf Simons, Sep. 2004.