used sometimes to rise so high as nine per 
cent. agio, and sometimes to sink so low as 
par, according as opposite interests happened 
to influence the market
The bank of Amsterdam professes to lend 
out no part of what is deposited with it, but, 
for every guilder for which it gives credit in 
its books, to keep in its repositories the value 
of a guilder either in money or bullion. That 
it keeps in its repositories all the money or 
bullion for which there are receipts in force
for which it is at all times liable to be called 
upon, and which in reality is continually going 
from it, and returning to it again, cannot 
well be doubted. But whether it does so likewise 
with regard to that part of its capital for 
which the receipts are long ago expired, for 
which, in ordinary and quiet times, it cannot 
be called upon, and which, in reality, is very 
likely to remain with it for ever, or as long as 
the states of the United Provinces subsist
may perhaps appear more uncertain. At Amsterdam
however, no point of faith is better 
established than that, for every guilder circulated 
as bank money, there is a correspondent 
guilder in gold or silver to be found in the 
treasures of the bank. The city is guarantee 
that it should be so. The bank is under the 
direction of the four reigning burgomasters
who are changed every year. Each new set 
of burgomasters visits the treasure, compares 
it with the books, receives it upon oath, and 
delivers it over, with the same awful solemnity
to the set which succeeds; and in that sober 
and religious country, oaths are not yet disregarded
A rotation of this kind seems alone 
a sufficient security against any practices which 
cannot be avowed. Amidst all the revolutions 
which faction has ever occasioned in the government 
of Amsterdam, the prevailing party 
has at no time accused their predecessors of 
infidelity in the administration of the bank
No accusation could have affected more deeply 
the reputation and fortune of the disgraced 
party; and if such an accusation could have 
been supported, we may be assured that it 
would have been brought. In 1672, when 
the French king was at Utrecht, the bank of 
Amsterdam paid so readily, as left no doubt 
of the fidelity with which it had observed its 
engagements. Some of the pieces which were 
then brought from its repositories, appeared 
to have been scorched with the fire which happened 
in the town-house soon after the bank 
was established. Those pieces, therefore, must 
have lain there from that time
What may be the amount of the treasure in 
the bank, is a question which has long employed 
the speculations of the curious. Nothing 
but conjecture can be offered concerning 
it. It is generally reckoned, that there are 
about 2000 people who keep accounts with 
the bank; and allowing them to have, one 
with another, the value of L.1500 sterling lying 
upon their respective accounts (a very 
large allowance), the whole quantity of bank 
money, and consequently of treasure in the 
bank, will amount to about L.3,000,000 sterling
or, at eleven guilders the pound sterling
33,000,000 of guilders; a great sum, and sufficient 
to carry on a very extensive circulation
but vastly below the extravagant ideas 
which some people have formed of this treasure
The city of Amsterdam derives a considerable 
revenue from the bank. Besides what 
may be called the warehouse rent above mentioned, 
each person, upon first opening an account 
with the bank, pays a fee of ten guilders
and for every new account, three guilders 
three stivers; for every transfer, two stivers
and if the transfer is for less than 300 guilders, 
six stivers, in order to discourage the multiplicity 
of small transactions. The person 
who neglects to balance his account twice in 
the year, forfeits twenty-five guilders. The 
person who orders a transfer for more than is 
upon his account, is obliged to pay three per 
cent. for the sum overdrawn, and his order is 
set aside into the bargain. The bank is supposed
too, to make a considerable profit by the 
sale of the foreign coin or bullion which sometimes 
falls to it by the expiring of receipts
and which is always kept till it can be sold 
with advantage. It makes a profit, likewise
by selling bank money at five per cent. agio
and buying it in at four. These different emoluments 
amount to a good deal more than 
what is necessary for paying the salaries of 
officers, and defraying the expense of management. 
What is paid for the keeping of 
bullion upon receipts, is alone supposed to 
amount to a neat annual revenue of between 
150,000 and 200,000 guilders. Public utility, 
however, and not revenue, was the original 
object of this institution. Its object was 
to relieve the merchants from the inconvenience 
of a disadvantageous exchange. The 
revenue which has arisen from it was unforeseen
and may be considered as accidental. 
But it is now time to return from this long 
digression, into which I have been insensibly 
led, in endeavouring to explain the reasons 
why the exchange between the countries which 
pay in what is called bank money, and those 
which pay in common currency, should generally 
appear to be in favour of the former, and 
against the latter. The former pay in a species 
of money, of which the intrinsic value is 
always the same, and exactly agreeable to the 
standard of their respective mints; the latter 
is a species of money, of which the intrinsic 
value is continually varying, and is almost 
always more or less below that standard