Act regarding a new coin of gold and silver

Our sovereign lord and estates presently convened, considering the great scarcity of money within this country, procured partly by the carrying away in the late years of dearth of great quantities of the same for bringing home of victual and provision, and partly proceeding upon the mean and low price that the same presently gives, thereby sundry taking occasion to transport the same, making their gain thereof; for remedy whereof it is statute and ordained that the whole gold and silver, as well of his majesty's own coinage as foreign, shall be brought in to his highness's mint-house and the same to be struck and imprinted in the specie after-specified and the value and price of the said money to be coined to be at the rate following: that is to say, the gold to be of 22 carat fine, with two grains of remedy of fine, as well above as under, at £36 the ounce, whereof six shall weigh the ounce, and to be set forth at £6 the piece, with two grains of remedy of weight upon each piece, as well heavy as light, with halves at £3 the piece, with a grain of remedy of weight upon each piece, as well heavy as light; the said pieces having on the one side a sceptre and a sword in form of St Andrew's cross, and the crown above them and a thistle in every side, with the year of God beneath, all contained within the inner ring, and with this superscription, 'Salus populi suprema lex', with a little rose at the beginning of the phrase on either side, and on the other side his majesty's arms within a shield and a crown, with this circumscription, 'Jacobus sextus D. G. R. Scotorum'. And also that the whole silver shall be brought in to his majesty's mint-house and be reduced to the particular duty after-specified: that is to say, the silver to be of 11 denier fine, with two grains of remedy of fine, as well above as under, at £3 the ounce, to be set forth in merk pieces, half merk pieces, forty penny pieces and twenty penny pieces, whereof nine of the said half merk pieces shall weigh the ounce, with two grains of remedy of weight upon each piece of the said merk and half pieces, and upon each piece of the said twenty and forty penny pieces a grain of remedy of weight, as well heavy as light, of the which forty penny pieces there shall be coined in each stone weight two pound weight, and of twenty penny pieces a pound weight; each piece of the said silver specie having on the one side a thistle with two leaves and a crown above the head of the thistle, the crown to extend to the utmost ring of the circumscription, which follows, 'Regem Joua protegit', and on the other side his majesty's arms in a shield, crowned, and the crown to be within the outer ring of the circumscription as follows, 'Jacobus sextus D. G. R. Scotorum', and the year of God to be put in the thistle side of the silver. And to the effect that all our sovereign lord's lieges may be the better moved to bring in all the said sorts of coinage, as well foreign as his majesty's own, and that such as have presented money in their hands shall in no way find themselves hurt or prejudiced by this presented act, it is specially appointed that all such as in any way shall bring in any gold or silver to the mint-house shall have in all time coming delivered to them for the same 55 shillings for every ounce of silver of 11 denier fine and £33 for every ounce of gold of 22 carat fine, and proportionally thereto for every sort of money, as well foreign as his majesty's own coinage presently currency, according to the fines thereof and A. B. C. to be made relating thereto. Always it is declared that the whole coinage, as well his majesty's own as foreign, shall in no way pass nor have course amongst the lieges but for the accustomed price which the same presently gives, according to the last acts and proclamations made relating thereto, and that only until 1 January next, between now and the which day it is appointed that the same shall be brought in to the mint-house for the price above-specified to be given for the same by the master of the mint-house and such others as [Alexander Elphinstone, master of Elphinstone], his highness's treasurer, shall appoint for receiving thereof; after the which 1 January next it is expressly inhibited and forbidden that any, either his majesty's own or foreign coinage (except that which receives this new impression), shall in any way have course or be interchanged amongst the lieges, under the pain of escheating and confiscation thereof and the sum of £100 to be uplifted as well off the giver as receiver, and they to be incarcerated and warded until the payment of the said pains; and that it shall be lawful to convene the transgressors of the same either before the session or secret council summarily upon six days' warning and the probation either be oath of party or two reputable witnesses to be sufficient. It is always declared that it shall be permitted after the said day to be brought in for bullion to the mint-house and the price above-specified to be paid thereof. And also our said sovereign lord and estates, upon the consideration of the great hurt that the poor sustain through the lack of low denominations of coin, have ordained and appointed two hundred stone weight of copper to be coined in two penny pieces, whereof nine shall weigh a just ounce, and in the delivery of any sums the receiver shall in no way refuse to accept 12 pennies of the said low denominations of coin in the payment of every 20 shillings of his debt, and the same to have the impression and circumscription that the other two penny pieces had of before. Wherefore his majesty and estates ordain and command the general master coiner, warden, accountant, sinker, assayer and all other officers and workmen of the said mint-house to proceed in working, sinking of the irons, making, forging, printing and outputting of the said new coinage of gold and silver, and also of the copper coinage above-written of the weight above-expressed, for the which this act shall serve and be to them and each one of them a sufficient warrant, promising in the first word to cause the same be ratified and approved by his highness and his three estates in his majesty's next convention and parliament thereafter. And his highness and his said estates have ordained and appointed this presented new coinage, as well of gold and silver as copper, to have only course amongst the lieges, commanding them hereby to give out and receive the same at the prices appointed in the payment of all blocks, debts, wares and merchandise and in no way to refuse the same under whatsoever pretence, colour or excuse under the pain of treason; and have ordained that letters be directed to officers of arms, sheriffs in that part, charging them to pass to the market crosses of the head burghs of this realm and there, by open proclamation, make publication of the premise that none pretend ignorance of the same.

  1. NAS, PC1/18, 665-667