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the Spanish dollar did afterwards between the trading nations of two hemispheres.

It has been remarked as a striking circumstance, that when large quantities of coins have been discovered in one spot, the majority have proved to be coined somewhere in the vicinity; and it has been argued from this, that the different states of antiquity enjoyed very little credit with each other. If the impression on the coin served rather to guarantee the fineness of the metal than the weight of the piece, which was more easily ascertained, a coin was regarded in antiquity only as an ingot of convenient size. It is not improbable that money which passed into any state treasury, was only re-issued under the national stamp. Brass and iron coins, frequently mentioned by ancient writers, being generally struck much above their value, only circulated in the particular states where they were issued. But the use of this small local coin suggested, even at an early period, a number of amusing experiments relative to circulation: thus the city of Clazomena on one occasion bought gold and silver of its own citizens for iron money, in order to defray the charge of some mercenary troops the iron coin circulated at home for its nominal value, thus resembling in some measure the paper-money of modern times; but the old writer adds that, for the purposes of foreign trade, the Clazomenians were obliged to use their remaining gold and silver*.

As the Athenians depended for existence as well as power upon trade, their coinage shows fewer depreciations than that of any other country. The first attempt at a debasement of the silver coin is recorded of Hippias the Pisistratid, and marks the epoch of a state revolution. The renovation of the constitution by Solon seems to have followed upon a crisis in the circulating medium, which was regulated by that legislator. According to Boeckh, the depreciation then amounted to more than one-fourth, 72 drachmæ of the old coinage proving equal to 100 of the new drachmæ. From this time to the conquest of the Macedonians the Athenian coinage does

*This is not the only occasion when the ancients drew the nice distinction between intrinsic value and usefulness as a circulating medium in the precious metals: see Arist. Ethic. cited by Eckhel.

not seem to have been tampered with. Under the successors of Alexander the coinage appears to have fallen into great neglect. Probably the increase in the precious metals did not keep pace with the growing demands of trade and with the increasing rapacity of the sovereigns. When the importance of this element in political history comes to be fairly appreciated, we shall probably see more light thrown upon the state of the East about the time of the Roman conquests than as yet has been.

The denarius*, which in the Roman coinage corresponds with the Greek drachma, was unquestionably not a value taken at hazard by Servius Tullius. Modern authorities differ as to the exact weight of this coin; Boeckh, on the authority of Barthelemy, makes it much lighter than the drachma, while Letronne assumes that its value was very nearly that of the drachma, since eighty-four were coined out of a pound of silver.

However this be, there is no contradicting the fact, that during the flourishing period of the republic the silver coin remained undebased: the defeat of the triumvir Antonius is partly attributable to the discontent occasioned amongst his troops by an issue of debased money. But the annals of the emperors commence with, and are diversified by, changes in the value of the currency. Between the reign of Augustus (whose money, both in weight and in fineness, differed little from that of the republic,) and the accession of Septimius Severus, the weight of the denarius had indeed varied but 3, but the fineness had been reduced from 3 to . The succeeding tumultuary periods show rapid and fraudulent variations in the value of the coinage, until the last silver denarius under Posthumus, which had in weight but 8 of that of Augustus, while the proportion of fine silver contained in it was but. Probus coined the first brass denarius, which

"Quand à l'évaluation des monnaies grecques, ou plutôt des monnaies d'Athènes, les seules à vrai dire dont on se soit occupé, elle reposait à la fois sur des inductions tirées de la livre romaine, et sur la pesée des plus grosses pièces d'argent qui donnent par leur division en 4 parties une monnaie à peu près équivalente au denier de 84 à la livre; et comme tous les auteurs latins s'accordent à assimiler le denier à la drachme, on ne crut pas devoir balancer à prendre pour la drachme la pièce Athénienne qui ne differait pas plus du poids moyens des deniers que la plupart des deniers les mieux conservés ne differaient entre eux."-Letronne.

contained of fine silver *. In the same manner Letronne shows that the gold "aureus" was depreciated by alloy and diminution of weight. The aureus of Julius Cæsar weighed 154 grains, that of Vespasian only 137.4. ·

While we must term the frequent tampering with the coinage by the emperors fraudulent, we do not mean to assert that the depreciation of a metallic currency is not often the result of sad necessity. The supply of the precious metals can scarcely keep pace with the growth of trade: consequently the increased demand for a circulating medium, which must be satisfied, leaves a government no alternative. The history of every country tells the same tale; and although in some, as in Greece and Rome, long periods of time may elapse before the crisis breaks out, yet it must eventually come, sooner or later. It is possible that a government, conscious of the working of the principles of currency, might persuade the people to submit to the loss accruing from a depreciation; but it would require both more knowledge and more skill than are commonly displayed to ensure success to the attempt. Where changes are effected without the urgent pressure of trading necessity, for the benefit of individuals or of a party, the attempt can only be stigmatized as fraudulent and reckless,— as one entailing upon its author the whole responsibility of the misery and bloodshed it may occasion.

* Assay of Denarii made from existing Coins in England.

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We may trace through the whole of modern history two characteristic features of a metallic currency which are noted in antiquity. The endeavour on the part of many nations to assimilate their coins, for the purpose of facilitating trade, has had as large but as unsuspected a share in conferring political supremacy in modern as in ancient times. The insufficiency of the supply of the precious metals to meet the growing demands of trade has in most countries subjected the coinage to rapid and repeated depreciations, which invariably mark epochs of internal discontent, in the countries suffering from their operation. The inconvenience arising from the hoarding of large quantities of bullion has been less felt, although to a certain extent it may still be traced by its political effects in some countries.

The gold sol of the early French coinage was unquestionably an imitation of the "solidus," into which Constantine had modified the aureus, and which exchanged for thirty reduced denarii. The fact that the sol d'or was made to exchange for twenty-four deniers, makes it probable that the high standard of coin was preserved in the provinces that paid the imperial tribute, after it had been departed from in the capital. Whatever was the reason for preserving the analogy, the old French denier, to which the modern franc has succeeded, is the legitimate representative of the Roman denarius, and consequently of the Greek drachma. The coins that have had the greatest circulation in modern times have all been multiples of the unity thus obtained, and remarkable indeed is the tenacity with which the trading world has adhered to this quantity, so often lost amidst the confusion of the multifarious coins of Europe.

The slow growth of trade in the early part of the middle ages may be as much accounted for by the unproductive soil of a great portion of Europe, when compared with Asia, as by the habits of war and the chace which the teutonic lords of the soil affected. A marked distinction, however, was preserved between the northern and southern parts of our quarter of the globe, by the difference in the money standards adopted in the two. In France we have seen that the coinage was framed upon the Roman precedent. The fact that the Anglo-Saxon immigrants brought an independent standard

with them into England, differing from that of the Romans, might lead us to infer that commercial transactions demanding the mediation of money were early known to the nations on the Baltic. The pound of those times, which was afterwards called Tower weight, has been found to agree with the weight of Cologne, whose "mark" is the standard for all countries lying to the eastward of the Rhine. The Tower or mark weight was abolished by the Plantagenets, and the Troy standard substituted. The ounce of Troy weight is in proportion to that of Cologne as 32 to 34, while the Troy grain is to the old Roman grain as 480 to 434. England thus belonged to the northern division in the geography of modern coinage. When the Italians, about the fourteenth century, circumnavigated the Iberian peninsula, and commenced a direct trade with Lisbon, England and Flanders, they found the systems of accounts so complicated as to afford a good field for the exercise of their ingenuity. Florentines became treasurers and masters of the mint for several northern powers, and an assimilation of the coins used in foreign trade soon followed, which must occasionally have afforded great relief to the merchant. But the coinage destined to circulate within the kingdom was exposed to depreciation, which caused many serious political disturbances.

Thus the coinage in 1353, the 27th of Edward III., reduced the gold noble (called the "rose noble," from the rose which formed the shield on the reverse) from 138 to 120 grains in weight. The distress and dissatisfaction amongst the commons which followed, were evinced in the insurrections that broke out at the commencement of the reign of Richard II. in London and elsewhere. Yet the new standard was maintained unaltered, until the wars of the fifth and sixth Henries reduced the crown treasury so much that the noble was issued throughout both reigns at the weight of 108 grains. Edward IV. restored the former size of the noble, but raised its current value from 6s. 8d. to 8s. 4d., which was a still greater reduction than the former. On Henry's restoration the unpopular noble was abandoned, and the gold angel, weighing but 80 grains troy, and passing for 6s. 8d., was substituted. It is remarkable that the coinage of 18th Henry VIII. in 1527 reduced the angel to 73.6 grains, and throughout the whole of that monarch's reign the coin was

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