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know, or inquire, or care, who are your friends, or who are your enemies.

About four years ago a little book was written, to advise all people to wear the manufactures of this our own dear country. It had no other design, said nothing against the king or parliament, or any person whatsoever; yet the poor printer was prosecuted two years with the utmost violence, and even some weavers themselves (for whose sake it was written), being upon the JURY, found him guilty. This would be enough to discourage any man from endeavouring to do you good, when you will either neglect him or fly in his face for his pains, and when he must expect only danger to himself, and to be fined and imprisoned, perhaps to his rain.

However, I cannot but warn you once more of the manifest destruction before your eyes, if you do not behave yourselves as you ought.

I will therefore first tell you the plain story of the fact; and then I will lay before you how you ought to act, in common prudence, according to the laws of your country.

The fact is this: It having been many years since COPPER HALFPENCE OR FARTHINGS were last coined in this kingdom, they have been for some time very scarce, and many counterfeits passed about under the name of raps: several applications were made to England that we might have liberty to coin new ones, as in former times we did; but they did not succeed. At last, one Mr. Wood, a mean ordinary man, a hardware-dealer, procured a patent under his majesty's broad seal to coin 108,000l. in copper for this kingdom; which patent, however, did not oblige any one here to take them, unless they pleased. Now you must know that the halfpence and farthings in England pass for very little more than they are worth; and if you should beat them to pieces, and sell them to the brazier, you would not lose much above a penny in a shilling. But Mr. Wood made his halfpence of such base metal, and so much smaller than the English ones, that the brazier would hardly give you above a penny of good money for a shilling of his; so that this sum of 108,000l. in good gold and silver, must be given for trash that will not be worth eight or nine thousand pounds real value. But this is not the worst; for Mr. Wood, when he pleases, may by stealth send over another 108,0007., and buy all our goods for eleven parts in twelve under the value. For example, if a hatter sells a dozen of hats for 5s. a-piece, which amounts to 31. and receives the payment in Wood's coin, he really receives only the value of 58. Perhaps you will wonder how such an ordinary fellow as this Mr. Wood could have so much interest as to get his majesty's broad seal for so great a sum of bad money to be sent to this poor country; and that all the nobility and gentry here could not obtain the same favour, and let us make our own halfpence as we used to do. Now I will make that matter very plain: we are at a great distance from the king's court, and have nobody there to solicit for us, although a great number of lords and 'squires, whose estates are here, and are our countrymen, spend all their lives and fortunes there; but this same Mr. Wood was able to attend constantly for his own interest; he is an Englishman, and had great friends; and, it seems, knew very well where to give money to those that would speak to others, that could speak to the king and would tell a fair story. And his majesty, and perhaps the great lord or lords who advise him, might think it was for our country's good; and so, as the lawyers express it, "the king was deceived in his grant," which often happens in all reigns. And I am sure if his majesty knew that such a patent, if it should take effect according to the desire of Mr. Wood, would utterly

ruin this kingdom, which has given such great proofs of its loyalty, he would immediately recall it, and perhaps show his displeasure to somebody or other; but a word to the wise is enough. Most of you must have heard with what anger our honourable house of commons received an account of this Wood's patent." There were several fine speeches made upon it, and plain proofs that it was all a wicked cheat from the bottom to the top; and several smart votes were printed, which that same Wood had the assurance to answer likewise in print; and in so confident a way, as if he were a better man than our whole parliament put together.

This Wood, as soon as his patent was passed, or soon after, sends over a great many barrels of those halfpence to Cork and other sea-port towns; and to get them off, offered a hundred pounds in his coin for seventy or eighty in silver; but the collectors of the king's customs very honestly refused to take them, and so did almost everybody else. And since the parliament has condemned them, and desired the king that they might be stopped, all the kingdom do abominate them.

But Wood is still working underhand to force his halfpence upon us; and if he can, by the help of his friends in England, prevail so far as to get an order that the commissioners and collectors of the king's money shall receive them, and that the army is to be paid with them, then he thinks his work shall be done. And this is the difficulty you will be under in such a case; for the common soldier, when he goes to the market or alehouse, will offer this money; and if it be refused, perhaps he will swagger and hector, and threaten to beat the butcher or alewife, or take the goods by force, and throw them the bad halfpence. In this and the like cases, the shopkeeper or victualler, or any other tradesman, has no more to do than to demand ten times the price of his goods, if it is to be paid in Wood's money; for example, 20d. of that money for a quart of ale, and so in all things else, and not part with his goods till he gets the money.

For, suppose you go to an alehouse with that base money, and the landlord gives you a quart for four of those halfpence, what must the victualler do? his brewer will not be paid in that coin; or, if the brewer should be such a fool, the farmers will not take it from them for their bere,b because they are bound by their leases to pay their rent in good and lawful money of England; which this is not, nor of Ireland neither;

a" Inflamed by national zeal, the two houses passed addresses to the crown, accusing the patentee of fraud and deceit, asserting that the terms of the patent were infringed, both in the quantity and quality of the coin; that the circulation of the halfpence would be highly prejudicial to the revenue, destructive of the commerce, and of most dangerous consequence to the rights and properties of the subjects. The commons, with an absurdity and effrontery hardly credible, declared that, even had the terms of the patent been complied with, the nation would have suffered a loss at least of 150 per cent! and indeed the whole clamour rested on partial or ignorant representations. It was not at that time expected, or dwelt on as a matter of speculative propriety, that the weight of the copper coin should be adequate to its circulating value; and the assertion that Wood had carried on notorious frauds and deceits in the coinage, as advanced by Swift, and that the intrinsic was not equal to oneeighth of the nominal value, was proved to be false, by an assay made at the Miut, under sir Isaac Newton and his two associates, men of no less honour than capacity, the result of which was, that in weight, goodness, and fineness, it rather exceeded than fell short of the conditions of the patent. But the clamour. however unjust, was raised and became general; and it was a necessary act of prudence not to increase the ferment by forcing upon a nation what was considered as unjust and fraudulent. Lord Carteret, who succeeded the duke of Grafton in the office of lord-lieutenant, failed no less than his predecessor in all his endeavours to obtain the introduction of the copper money. The patent was surrendered, and tranquillity restored. Wood, as an indemnification for the loss he had sustained, received pensions to the amount of 3000l. a-year, for eight years."-COXE. A sort of barley in Ireland.

and the 'squire, their landlord, will never be so bewitched to take such trash for his land; so that it must certainly stop somewhere or other; and wherever it stops, it is the same thing, and we are all undone.

The common weight of these halfpence is between four and five to an ounce-suppose five; then 3s. 4d. will weigh a pound, and consequently 20s. will weigh six pounds butter weight. Now there are many hundred farmers who pay 2007. a-year rent; therefore, when one of these farmers comes with his half-year's rent, which is 1004, it will be at least 600 pounds weight, which is three horses' load.

If a 'squire has a mind to come to town to buy clothes, and wine, and spices, for himself and family, or perhaps to pass the winter here, he must bring with him five or six horses well laden with sacks, as the farmers bring their corn; and when his lady comes in her coach to our shops, it must be followed by a car loaded with Mr. Wood's money. And I hope we shall have the grace to take it for no more than it is worth.

They say 'squire Conolly [the speaker] has 16,000/. a-year; now, if he sends for his rent to town, as it is likely he does, he must have 250 horses to bring up his half-year's rent, and two or three great cellars in his house for stowage. But what the bankers will do I cannot tell; for I am assured that some great bankers keep by them 40,000. in ready cash, to answer all payments; which sum, in Mr. Wood's money, would require 1200 horses to carry it.

For my own part, I am already resolved what to do: I have a pretty good shop of Irish stuffs and silks; and instead of taking Mr. Wood's bad copper, I intend to truck with my neighbours the butchers and bakers and brewers, and the rest, goods for goods; and the little gold and silver I have I will keep by me, like my heart's blood, till better times, or until I am just ready to starve; and then I will buy Mr. Wood's money, as my father did the brass money in King James's time, who could buy 101. of it with a guinea; and I hope to get as much for a pistole, and so purchase bread from those who will be such fools as to sell it me.

These halfpence, if they once pass, will soon be counterfeited, because it may be cheaply done, the stuff is so base. The Dutch likewise will probably do the same thing, and send them over to us to pay for our goods; and Mr. Wood will never be at rest, but coin on so that in some years we shall have at least five times 108,000/. of this lumber. Now the current money of this kingdom is not reckoned to be above 400,0007. in all; and while there is a silver sixpence left, these blood-suckers will never be quiet.

When once the kingdom is reduced to such a condition, I will tell you what must be the end: the gentlemen of estates will all turn off their tenants for want of payments, because, as I told you before, the tenants are obliged by their leases to pay sterling, which is lawful current money of England; then they will turn their own farmers, as too many of them do already, run all into sheep where they can, keeping only such other cattle as are necessary; then they will be their own merchants, and send their wool, and butter, and hides, and linen, beyond sea, for ready money, and wine, and spices, and silks. They will keep only a few miserable cottagers: the farmers must rob, or beg, or leave their country; the shopkeepers in this and every other town must break and starve; for it is the landed man that maintains the merchant, and shopkeeper, and handicraftsman.

But when the 'squire turns farmer and merchant himself, all the good money he gets from abroad he will hoard up to send for England, and keep some poor tailor or weaver, and the like, in his own house, who will be glad to get bread at any rate.

I should never have done if I were to tell you

all

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the miseries that we shall undergo if we be so foolish and wicked as to take this cursed coin. It would be very hard if all Ireland should be put into one scale, and this sorry fellow Wood into the other; that Mr. Wood should weigh down this whole kingdom, by which England gets above a million of good money every year clear into their pockets: and that is more than the English do by all the world besides.

But your great comfort is, that as his majesty's patent does not oblige you to take this money, so the laws have not given the crown a power of forcing the subject to take what money the king pleases; for then, by the same reason, we might be bound to take pebblestones, or cockle-shells, or stamped leather, for current coin, if ever we should happen to live under an ill prince; who might likewise, by the same power, make a guinea pass for ten pounds, a shilling for twenty shillings, and so on; by which he would, in a short time, get all the silver and gold of the kingdom into his own hands, and leave us nothing but brass or leather, or what he pleased. Neither is anything reckoned more cruel and oppressive in the French government than their common practice of calling in all their money, after they have sunk it very low, and then coining it anew at a much higher value; which, however, is not the thousandth part so wicked as this abominable project of Mr. Wood. For the French give their subjects silver for silver, and gold for gold; but this fellow will not so much as give us good brass or copper for our gold and silver, nor even a twelfth part of their worth.

Having said thus much, I will now go on to tell you the judgment of some great lawyers in this matter, whom I fee'd on purpose for your sakes, and got their opinions under their hands, that I might be sure I went upon good grounds.

A famous law-book, called "The Mirror of Justice." discoursing of the charters (or laws) ordained by our ancient kings, declares the law to be as follows: "It was ordained that no king of this realm should change or impair the money, or make any other money than of gold or silver, without the assent of all the counties ;" that is, as my lord Coke says, without the assent of parliament.

This book is very ancient, and of great authority for the time in which it was written, and with that character is often quoted by that great lawyer my lord Coke. By the law of England, the several metals are divided into lawful or true metal, and unlawful or false metal; the former comprehends silver and gold, the latter all baser metals. That the former is only to pass in payments appears by an act of parliament made the 20th year of Edward I., called the statute concerning the passing of pence; which I give you here as I got it translated into English; for some of our laws at that time were, as I am told, written in Latin: "Whoever, in buying or selling, presumes to refuse a halfpenny or farthing of lawful money, bearing the stamp which it ought to have, let him be seized on as a contemner of the king's majesty, and cast into prison."

By this statute, no person is to be reckoned a contemner of the king's majesty, and for that crime to be committed to prison, but he who refuses to accept the king's coin made of lawful metal; by which, as I observed before, silver and gold only are intended.

That this is the true construction of the act appears not only from the plain meaning of the words, but from my lord Coke's observation upon it. "By this act," says he," it appears that no subject can be forced to take, in buying, or selling, or other payment, any money made but of lawful metal; that is of silver or gold.'

The law of England gives the king all mines of

gold and silver, but not the mines of other metals; the reason of which prerogative or power, as it is given by my lord Coke, is, because money can be made of gold and silver, but not of other metals.

Pursuant to this opinion, halfpence and farthings were anciently made of silver, which is evident from the act of parliament of Henry IV., ch. 4, whereby it is enacted as follows: "Item, for the great scarcity that is at present within the realm of England of halfpence and farthings of silver, it is ordained and established that the third part of all the money of silver plate which shall be brought to the bullion shall be made into halfpence and farthings." This shows that by the words " halfpence and farthings of lawful money," in that statute concerning the passing of pence, is meant a small coin in halfpence and farthings of silver.

This is further manifest from the statute of the 9th Edward III., ch. 3, which enacts "that no sterling halfpenny or farthing be molten for to make vessels, or any other thing, by the goldsmiths or others, upon forfeiture of the money so molten" (or melted).

By another act in this king's reign, black money was not to be current in England. And by an act in the 11th year of his reign, ch. 5, galley halfpence were not to pass. What kind of coin these were I do not know, but I presume they were made of base metal. And these acts were no new laws, but further declarations of the old laws relative to the coin.

Thus the law stands in relation to coin. Nor is there any example to the contrary, except one in Davis's Reports, who tells us that in the time of Tyrone's rebellion, queen Elizabeth ordered money of mixed metal to be coined in the Tower of London, and sent over hither for the payment of the army, obliging all people to receive it; and commanding that all silver money should be taken only as bullion;" that is, for as much as it weighed. Davis tells us several particulars in this matter, too long here to trouble you with, and "that the privy-council of this kingdom obliged a merchant in England to receive this mixed money for goods transmitted hither."

But this proceeding is rejected by all the best lawyers, as contrary to law, the privy-council here having no such legal power. And besides, it is to be considered that the queen was then under great difficulties by a rebellion in this kingdom, assisted from Spain; and whatever is done in great exigencies and dangerous times should never be an example to proceed by in seasons of peace and quietness.

I will now, my dear friends, to save you the trouble, set before you, in short, what the law obliges you to do, and what it does not oblige you to.

1st. You are obliged to take all money in payments which is coined by the king, and is of the English standard or weight, provided it be of gold or silver.

2dly. You are not obliged to take any money which is not of gold or silver; not only the halfpence or farthings of England, but of any other country. And it is merely for convenience or ease that you are content to take them; because the custom of coining silver halfpence and farthings has long been left off, I suppose on account of their being subject to be lost.

3dly. Much less are you obliged to take those vile halfpence of the same Wood, by which you must lose almost eleven pence in every shilling.

Therefore, my friends, stand to it one and all; refuse this filthy trash. It is no treason to rebel against Mr. Wood. His majesty, in his patent, obliges nobody to take these halfpence: our gracious prince has no such ill advisers about him; or, if he had, yet you see the laws have not left it in the king's power to force us to take any coin but what is lawful, of right standard gold and silver. Therefore you have nothing to fear.

And let me in the next place apply myself particularly to you who are the poorer sort of tradesmen. Perhaps you may think you will not be so great losers as the rich if these halfpence should pass; because you seldom see any silver, and your customers come to your shops or stalls with nothing but brass, which you likewise find hard to be got. But you may take my word, whenever this money gains footing among you you will be utterly undone. If you carry these halfpence to a shop for tobacco or brandy, or any other thing that you want, the shopkeeper will advance his goods accordingly, or else he must break, and leave the key under the door. "Do you think I will sell you a yard of ten-penny stuff for twenty of Mr. Wood's halfpence? no, not under 200 at least; neither will I be at the trouble of counting, but weigh them in a lump." I will tell you one thing further, that if Mr. Wood's project should take, it would ruin even our beggars; for when I give a beggar a halfpenny, it will quench his thirst, or go a good way to fill his belly; but the twelfth part of a halfpenny will do him no more service than if I should give him three pins out of my sleeve.

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In short, these halfpence are like the "accursed thing, which," as the Scripture tells us, the children of Israel were forbidden to touch." They will run about like the plague, and destroy every one who lays his hand upon them. I have heard scholars talk of a man who told the king that he had invented a way to torment people, by putting them into a bull of brass with fire under it; but the prince put the projector first into his brazen bull, to make the experiThis very much resembles the project of Mr. Wood; and the like of this may possibly be Mr. Wood's fate; that the brass he contrived to torment this kingdom with may prove his own torment and his destruction at last.

ment.

N.B. The author of this paper is informed, by persons who have made it their business to be exact in their observations on the true value of these halfpence, that any person may expect to get a quart of twopenny ale for thirty-six of them.

I desire that all families may keep this paper carefully by them, to refresh their memories whenever they shall have further notice of Mr. Wood's halfpence, or any other the like imposture.

LETTER THE SECOND.

TO MR. HARDING, THE PRINTER,

On occasion of a paragraph in his Newspaper of Aug. 1, 1724. relating to Mr. Wood's Halfpence.

August 4, 1724. IN your Newsletter of the 1st instant there is a paragraph, dated from London, July 25, relating to Wood's halfpence; whereby it is plain, what I foretold in my letter to the shopkeepers, &c., that this vile fellow would never be at rest; and that the danger of our ruin approaches nearer; and therefore the kingdom requires new and fresh warning. However, I take this paragraph to be, in a great measure, an imposition upon the public; at least I hope so, because I am informed that Wood is generally his own newswriter. I cannot but observe from that paragraph that this public enemy of ours, not satisfied to ruin us with his trash, takes every occasion to treat this kingdom with the utmost contempt. He represents several of our merchants and traders, upon examination before a committee of council, agreeing that there was the utmost necessity of copper money here before his patent; so that several gentlemen have been forced to tally with their workmen, and give them bits of cards sealed and subscribed with their names. What then? If a physician prescribe to a patient a dram of physic,

shall a rascal apothecary cram him with a pound, and mix it up with poison? And is not a landlord's hand and seal to his own labourers a better security for 5s. or 10s. than Wood's brass, ten times below the real value, can be to the kingdom for 108,000%.?

But who are these merchants and traders of Ireland that made this report of the utmost necessity we are under for copper money? They are only a few betrayers of their country, confederates with Wood, from whom they are to purchase a great quantity of his coin, perhaps at half the price that we are to take it, and vend it among us to the ruin of the public, and their own private advantages. Are not these excellent witnesses, upon whose integrity the fate of the kingdom must depend, evidences in their own cause, and sharers in this work of iniquity?

If we could have deserved the liberty of coining for ourselves as we formerly did,-and why we have it not is everybody's wonder as well as mine,-ten thousand pounds might have been coined here in Dublin of only one-fifth below the intrinsic value, and this sum, with the stock of halfpence we then had, would have been sufficient. But Wood, by his emissaries,-enemies to God and this kingdom,-has taken care to buy up as many of our old halfpence as he could, and from thence the present want of change arises; to remove which by Mr. Wood's remedy would be to cure a scratch on the finger by cutting off the arm. But, supposing there were not one farthing of change in the whole nation, I will maintain that 25,000l. would be a sum fully sufficient to answer all our occasions. I am no inconsiderable shopkeeper in this town. I have discoursed with several of my own and other trades, with many gentlemen both of city and country, and also with great numbers of farmers, cottagers, and labourers, who all agree that 2s. in change for every family would be more than necessary in all dealings. Now, by the largest computation (even before that grievous discouragement of agriculture which has so much lessened our numbers), the souls in this kingdom are computed to be one million and a half; which, allowing six to a family, makes 250,000 families, and, consequently, 2s. to each family will amount only to 25,000l.; whereas this honest, liberal hardwareman, Wood, would impose upon us above four times that sum.

Your paragraph relates further, that sir Isaac Newton reported an assay taken at the Tower of Wood's metal, by which it appears that Wood had in all respects performed his contract. His contract!-With whom? Was it with the parliament or people of Ireland? are not they to be the purchasers? But they detest, abhor, and reject it, as corrupt, fraudulent, mingled with dirt and trash. Upon which he grows angry, goes to law, and will impose his goods upon us by force.

to sell his house, and therefore carried a piece of brick in his pocket, which he showed as a pattern to encourage purchasers; and this is directly the case in point with Mr. Wood's assay.

But your Newsletter says that an assay was made of the coin. How impudent and insupportable is this! Wood takes care to coin a dozen or two halfpence of good metal, sends them to the Tower, and they are approved; and these must answer all that he has already coined or shall coin for the future. It is true, indeed, that a gentleman often sends to my shop for a pattern of stuff; I cut it fairly off, and, if he likes it, he comes, or sends, and compares the pattern with the whole piece, and probably we come to a bargain. But if I were to buy a hundred sheep, and the grazier should bring me one single wether, fat and well fleeced, by way of pattern, and expect the same price round for the whole hundred, without suffering me to see them before he was paid, or giving me good security to restore my money for those that were lean, or shorn, or scabby, I would be none of his customer. I have heard of a man who had a mind

The next part of the paragraph contains Mr. Wood's voluntary proposals for preventing any further objections or apprehensions.

His first proposal is, "That whereas he has already coined 17,000l. and has copper prepared to make it up 40,0007., he will be content to coin no more, unless the EXIGENCIES OF TRADE REQUIRE IT, although his patent empowers him to coin a far greater quantity."

To which if I were to answer, it should be thus:"Let Mr. Wood, and his crew of founders and tinkers, coin on, till there is not an old kettle left in the kingdom, let them coin old leather, tobacco pipe clay, or the dirt in the street, and call their trumpery by what name they please, from a guinea to a farthing,-we are not under any concern to know how he and his tribe of accomplices think fit to employ themselves. But I hope and trust that we are all to a man fully determined to have nothing to do with him or his ware."

The king has given him a patent to coin halfpence, but has not obliged us to take them; and I have already shown, in my Letter to the Shopkeepers, &c., that the law has not left it in the power of the prerogative to compel the subject to take any money besides gold and silver of the right sterling and standard.

Wood further purposes (if I understand him right, for his expressions are dubious) that he will not coin above 40,000l. unless the exigencies of trade require it.

First, I observe that this sum of 40,000l., is almost double to what I proved to be sufficient for the whole kingdom, although we had not one of our old halfpence left. Again, I ask, who is to be judge when the exigencies of trade require it? Without doubt he means himself; for as to us of this poor kingdom, who must be utterly ruined if this project should succeed, we were never once consulted till the matter was over, and he will judge of our exigencies by his own. Neither will these be ever at an end till he and his accomplices shall think they have enough; and it now appears that he will not be content with all our gold and silver, but intends to buy up our goods and manufactures with the same coin.

I shall not enter into examination of the prices for which he now proposes to sell his halfpence, or what he calls his copper, by the pound; I have said enough of it in my former letter, and it has likewise been considered by others. It is certain that, by his own first computation, we were to pay 3s. for what was intrinsically worth but one, although it had been of the true weight and standard for which he pretended to have contracted; but there is so great a difference, both in weight and badness, in several of his coins, that some of them have been nine in ten below the intrinsic value, and most of them six or seven.

His last proposal, being of a peculiar strain and nature, deserves to be very particularly considered, both on account of the matter and the style. It is as follows: "Lastly, in consideration of the direful apprehensions which prevail in Ireland, that Mr. Wood will, by such coinage, drain them of their gold and silver, he proposes to take their manufactures in exchange, and that no person be obliged to receive more than 5d. at one payment."

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First, observe this little impudent hardwareman turning into ridicule the direful apprehensions of a whole kingdom, priding himself as the cause of them, and daring to prescribe (what no king of England ever attempted) how far a whole nation shall be obliged to take his brass coin. And he has reason to insult; for sure there was never an example in history of a great kingdom kept in awe for above a year, in daily dread,

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gold and silver, but not the mines of other metals; the reason of which prerogative or power, as it is given by my lord Coke, is, because money can be made of gold and silver, but not of other metals.

Pursuant to this opinion, halfpence and farthings were anciently made of silver, which is evident from the act of parliament of Henry IV., ch. 4, whereby it is enacted as follows: "Item, for the great scarcity that is at present within the realm of England of halfpence and farthings of silver, it is ordained and established that the third part of all the money of silver plate which shall be brought to the bullion shall be made into halfpence and farthings." This shows that by the words halfpence and farthings of lawful money," in that statute concerning the passing of pence, is meant a small coin in halfpence and farthings of silver.

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And let me in the next place apply myself particularly to you who are the poorer sort of tradesmen. Perhaps you may think you will not be so great losers as the rich if these halfpence should pass; because you seldom see any silver, and your customers come to your shops or stalls with nothing but brass, which you likewise find hard to be got. But you may take If you carry these my word, whenever this money gains footing among you you will be utterly undone. halfpence to a shop for tobacco or brandy, or any other thing that you want, the shopkeeper will advance his goods accordingly, or else he must break, "Do you think and leave the key under the door. I will sell you a yard of ten-penny stuff for twenty of Mr. Wood's halfpence? no, not under 200 at least; neither will I be at the trouble of counting, but weigh them in a lump." I will tell you one thing further, that if Mr. Wood's project should take, it would ruin even our beggars; for when I give a beggar a halfpenny, it will quench his thirst, or go a good way to fill his belly; but the twelfth part of a halfpenny will do him no more service than if I should give him three pins out of my sleeve.

In short, these halfpence are like the "accursed thing, which," as the Scripture tells us, "the children of Israel were forbidden to touch." They will run about like the plague, and destroy every one who lays his hand upon them. I have heard scholars talk of a man who told the king that he had invented a way to torment people, by putting them into a bull of brass with fire under it; but the prince put the projector first into his brazen bull, to make the experiThis very much resembles the project of Mr. Wood; and the like of this may possibly be Mr. Wood's fate; that the brass he contrived to torment this kingdom with may prove his own torment and

ment.

his destruction at last.

This is further manifest from the statute of the 9th Edward III., ch. 3, which enacts "that no sterling halfpenny or farthing be molten for to make vessels, or any other thing, by the goldsmiths or others, upon forfeiture of the money so molten" (or melted).

By another act in this king's reign, black money was not to be current in England. And by an act in the 11th year of his reign, ch. 5, galley halfpence were not to pass. What kind of coin these were I do not know, but I presume they were made of base metal. And these acts were no new laws, but further declarations of the old laws relative to the coin.

Nor is Thus the law stands in relation to coin. there any example to the contrary, except one in "that in the time of Davis's Reports, who tells us Tyrone's rebellion, queen Elizabeth ordered money of mixed metal to be coined in the Tower of London, and sent over hither for the payment of the army, obliging all people to receive it; and commanding that all silver money should be taken only as bullion;' that is, for as much as it weighed. Davis tells us several particulars in this matter, too long here to trouble you with, and " that the privy-council of this kingdom obliged a merchant in England to receive this mixed money for goods transmitted hither."

But this proceeding is rejected by all the best lawyers, as contrary to law, the privy-council here having no such legal power. And besides, it is to be considered that the queen was then under great difficulties by a rebellion in this kingdom, assisted from Spain; and whatever is done in great exigencies and dangerous times should never be an example to proceed by in seasons of peace and quietness.

I will now, my dear friends, to save you the trouble, set before you, in short, what the law obliges you to do, and what it does not oblige you to.

1st. You are obliged to take all money in payments which is coined by the king, and is of the English standard or weight, provided it be of gold or silver.

2dly. You are not obliged to take any money which is not of gold or silver; not only the halfpence or farthings of England, but of any other country. And it is merely for convenience or ease that you are content to take them; because the custom of coining silver halfpence and farthings has long been left off, I suppose on account of their being subject to be lost.

3dly. Much less are you obliged to take those vile halfpence of the same Wood, by which you must lose almost eleven pence in every shilling.

Therefore, my friends, stand to it one and all; refuse this filthy trash. It is no treason to rebel against Mr. Wood. His majesty, in his patent, obliges nobody to take these halfpence: our gracious prince has no such ill advisers about him; or, if he had, yet you see the laws have not left it in the king's power to force us to take any coin but what is lawful, of right standard gold and silver. Therefore you have nothing to fear.

N.B. The author of this paper is informed, by persons who have made it their business to be exact in their observations on the true value of these halfpence, that any person may expect to get a quart of twopenny ale for thirty-six of them.

I desire that all families may keep this paper carefully by them, to refresh their memories whenever they shall have further notice of Mr. Wood's halfpence, or any other the like imposture.

LETTER THE SECOND.

TO MR. HARDING, THE PRINTER, On occasion of a paragraph in his Newspaper of Aug. 1, 1724. relating to Mr. Wood's Halfpence.

August 4, 1724. IN your Newsletter of the 1st instant there is a paragraph, dated from London, July 25, relating to Wood's halfpence; whereby it is plain, what I foretold in my letter to the shopkeepers, &c., that this vile fellow would never be at rest; and that the danger of our ruin approaches nearer; and therefore the kingdom requires new and fresh warning. However, I take this paragraph to be, in a great measure, an imposition upon the public; at least I hope so, because I am informed that Wood is generally his own newsI cannot but observe from that paragraph writer. that this public enemy of ours, not satisfied to ruin us with his trash, takes every occasion to treat this kingdom with the utmost contempt. He represents several of our merchants and traders, upon examination before a committee of council, agreeing that there was the utmost necessity of copper money here before his patent; so that several gentlemen have been forced to What then? tally with their workmen, and give them bits of cards sealed and subscribed with their names. If a physician prescribe to a patient a dram of physic,

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