are by no means the only high prices which 
seem to have been occasioned by the civil 
The second event was the bounty upon the 
exportation of corn, granted in 1688. The 
bounty, it has been thought by many people
by encouraging tillage, may, in a long course 
of years, have occasioned a greater abundance
and, consequently, a greater cheapness of corn 
in the home market, than what would otherwise 
have taken place there. How far the 
bounty could produce this effect at any time 
I shall examine hereafter: I shall only observe 
at present, that between 1688 and 1700, 
it had not time to produce any such effect
During this short period, its only effect must 
have been, by encouraging the exportation of 
the surplus produce of every year, and thereby 
hindering the abundance of one year from 
compensating the scarcity of another, to raise 
the price in the home market. The scarcity 
which prevailed in England, from 1693 to 
1699, both inclusive, though no doubt principally 
owing to the badness of the seasons, and, 
therefore, extending through a considerable 
part of Europe, must have been somewhat enhanced 
by the bounty. In 1699, accordingly, 
the further exportation of corn was prohibited 
for nine months
There was a third event which occurred 
in the course of the same period, and which, 
though it could not occasion any scarcity of 
corn, nor, perhaps, any augmentation in the 
real quantity of silver which was usually paid 
for it, must necessarily have occasioned some 
augmentation in the nominal sum. This event 
was the great debasement of the silver coin
by clipping and wearing. This evil had begun 
in the reign of Charles II. and had gone on 
continually increasing till 1695; at which 
time, as we may learn from Mr Lowndes, the 
current silver coin was, at an average, near 
five-and-twenty per cent. below its standard 
value. But the nominal sum which constitutes 
the market price of every commodity is 
necessarily regulated, not so much by the 
quantity of silver, which, according to the 
standard, ought to be contained in it, as by 
that which, it is found by experience, actually 
is contained in it. This nominal sum, therefore, 
is necessarily higher when the coin is 
much debased by clipping and wearing, than 
when near to its standard value. 
In the course of the present century, the 
silver coin has not at any time been more below 
its standard weight than it is at present
But though very much defaced, its value has 
been kept up by that of the gold coin, for 
which it is exchanged. For though, before 
the late recoinage, the gold coin was a good 
deal defaced too, it was less so than the silver
In 1695, on the contrary, the value of the silver 
coin was not kept up by the gold coin; a 
guinea then commonly exchanging for thirty 
shillings of the worn and clipt silver. Before 
the late recoinage of the gold, the price of silver 
bullion was seldom higher than five shillings 
and sevenpence an ounce, which is but 
fivepence above the mint price. But in 1695, 
the common price of silver bullion was six shillings 
and fivepence an ounce,[17] which is fifteen 
pence above the mint price. Even before the 
late recoinage of the gold, therefore, the coin
gold and silver together, when compared with 
silver bullion, was not supposed to be more 
than eight per cent below its standard value. 
In 1695, on the contrary, it had been supposed 
to be near five-and-twenty per cent. below that 
value. But in the beginning of the present 
century, that is, immediately after the great 
recoinage in King William's time, the greater 
part of the current silver coin must have been 
still nearer to its standard weight than it is at 
present. In the course of the present century
too, there has been no great public calamity
such as a civil war, which could rather discourage, 
or interrupt the interior commerce 
of the country. And though the bounty which 
has taken place through the greater part of 
this century, must always raise the price of 
corn somewhat higher than it otherwise would 
be in the actual state of tillage; yet, as in the 
course of this century, the bounty has had full 
time to produce all the good effects commonly 
imputed to it to encourage tillage, and thereby 
to increase the quantity of corn in the home 
market, it may, open the principles of a system 
which I shall explain and examine hereafter, 
be supposed to have done something to 
lower the price of that commodity the one 
way, as well as to raise it the other. It is by 
many people supposed to have done more. In 
the sixty-four years of the present century
accordingly, the average price of the quarter 
of nine bushels of the best wheat, at Windsor 
market, appears, by the accounts of Eton college, 
to have been L.2 : 0 : 610⁄32, which is 
about ten shillings and sixpence, or more than 
five-and-twenty per cent. cheaper than it had 
been during the sixty-four last years of the 
last century; and about nine shillings and 
sixpence cheaper than is had been during the 
sixteen years preceding 1636, when the discovery 
of the abundant mines of America may 
be supposed to have produced its full effect
and about one shilling cheaper than it had 
been in the twenty-six years preceding 1620, 
before that discovery can well be supposed to 
have produced its full effect. According to 
this account, the average price of middle wheat
during these sixty-four first years of the present 
century, comes out to have been about 
thirty-two shillings the quarter of eight bushels
The value of silver, therefore, seems to have 
risen somewhat in proportion to that of corn 
during the course of the present century, and 
it had probably begun to do so even some 
time before the end of the last.