the metal which was the standard, and that 
which was not the standard, was something 
more than a nominal distinction
In process of time, and as people became 
gradually more familiar with the use of the 
different metals in coin, and consequently better 
acquainted with the proportion between 
their respective values, it has, in most countries, 
I believe, been found convenient to ascertain 
this proportion, and to declare by a 
public law, that a guinea, for example, of such 
a weight and fineness, should exchange for 
one-and-twenty shillings, or be a legal tender 
for a debt of that amount. In this state of 
things, and during the continuance of any one 
regulated proportion of this kind, the distinction 
between the metal, which is the standard
and that which is not the standard, becomes 
little more than a nominal distinction
In consequence of any change, however, in 
this regulated proportion, this distinction becomes, 
or at least seems to become, something 
more than nominal again. If the regulated 
value of a guinea, for example, was either reduced 
to twenty, or raised to two-and-twenty 
shillings, all accounts being kept, and almost 
all obligations for debt being expressed, in 
silver money, the greater part of payments 
could in either case be made with the same 
quantity of silver money as before; but would 
require very different quantities of gold money
a greater in the one case, and a smaller 
in the other. Silver would appear to be more 
invariable in its value than gold. Silver would 
appear to measure the value of gold, and gold 
would not appear to measure the value of silver
The value of gold would seem to depend 
upon the quantity of silver which it 
would exchange for, and the value of silver 
would not seem to depend upon the quantity 
of gold which it would exchange for. This 
difference, however, would be altogether owing 
to the custom of keeping accounts, and of 
expressing the amount of all great and small 
sums rather in silver than in gold money
One of Mr Drummond's notes for five-and-twenty 
or fifty guineas would, after an alteration 
of this kind, be still payable with five-and-twenty 
or fifty guineas, in the same manner 
as before. It would, after such an alteration
be payable with the same quantity of gold 
as before, but with very different quantities of 
silver. In the payment of such a note, gold 
would appear to be more invariable in its value 
than silver. Gold would appear to measure 
the value of silver, and silver would not 
appear to measure the value of gold. If the 
custom of keeping accounts, and of expressing 
promissory-notes and other obligations for money
in this manner should ever become general, 
gold, and not silver, would be considered 
as the metal which was peculiarly the standard 
or measure of value. 
In reality, during the continuance of any 
one regulated proportion between the respective 
values of the different metals in coin, the 
value of the most precious metal regulates the 
value of the whole coin. Twelve copper pence 
contain half a pound avoirdupois of copper
of not the best quality, which, before it is 
coined, is seldom worth sevenpence in silver
But as, by the regulation, twelve such pence 
are ordered to exchange for a shilling, they 
are in the market considered as worth a shilling
and a shilling can at any time be had for 
them. Even before the late reformation of 
the gold coin of Great Britain, the gold, that 
part of it at least which circulated in London 
and its neighbourhood, was in general less degraded 
below its standard weight than the 
greater part of the silver. One-and-twenty 
worn and defaced shillings, however, were 
considered as equivalent to a guinea, which, 
perhaps, indeed, was worn and defaced too, 
but seldom so much so. The late regulations 
have brought the gold coin as near, perhaps, 
to its standard weight as it is possible to bring 
the current coin of any nation; and the order 
to receive no gold at the public offices but by 
weight, is likely to preserve it so, as long as 
that order is enforced. The silver coin still 
continues in the same worn and degraded state 
as before the reformation of the gold coin. In 
the market, however, one-and-twenty shillings 
of this degraded silver coin are still considered 
as worth a guinea of this excellent gold 
The reformation of the gold coin has evidently 
raised the value of the silver coin which 
can be exchanged for it. 
In the English mint, a pound weight of 
gold is coined into forty-four guineas and a 
half, which at one-and-twenty shillings the 
guinea, is equal to forty-six pounds fourteen 
shillings and sixpence. An ounce of such 
gold coin, therefore, is worth L.3 : 17 : 10½ 
in silver. In England, no duty or seignorage 
is paid upon the coinage, and he who carries 
a pound weight or an ounce weight of standard 
gold bullion to the mint, gets back a 
pound weight or an ounce weight of gold in 
coin, without any deduction. Three pounds 
seventeen shillings and tenpence halfpenny an 
ounce, therefore, is said to be the mint price 
of gold in England, or the quantity of gold 
coin which the mint gives in return for standard 
gold bullion
Before the reformation of the gold coin
the price of standard gold bullion in the market 
had, for many years, been upwards of 
L.3 : 18s. sometimes L.3 : 19s. and very frequently 
L.4 an ounce; that sum, it is probable
in the worn and degraded gold coin, seldom 
containing more than an ounce of standard 
gold. Since the reformation of the gold 
coin, the market price of standard gold bullion 
seldom exceeds L.3 : 17 : 7 an ounce. Before 
the reformation of the gold coin, the market 
price was always more or less above the