Proposals concerning the English coinage

Scope and Content

Manuscript volume containing transcripts of various proposals concerning the reformation of the coinage, 1695-1696, made in response to a request by the Exchequer for views on ideas discussed in A report...for the amendment of the silver coins (1695) by William Lowndes, Permanent Secretary of the Treasury. Comprising papers on the coinage by Sir Christopher Wren, Dr John Locke, Gilbert Heathcote, Alderman [Francis] Gardner, [Rev] Samuel Pratt [Dean of Rochester], [William] Corbet, Sir John Houblon, Dr John Wallis, Dr Isaac Newton, and William James, with further treatises entitled 'A merchant's demonstration superior to imagination, that the raising of bullion cannot be anyways injurious but highly advantageous to these three kingdoms above all others', and 'Some considerations offered to the House of Commons in relation to mending the coyne'. A note written in 1963 by E S de Beer regarding several of the items described above is inserted into the manuscript.

Administrative / Biographical History

After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, control of the major aspects of English coinage passed from the Crown to Parliament. Charles Montagu, Chancellor of the Exchequer, solicited advice from a selection of eminent persons on solutions to the poor state of the silver coinage, 1695-1696.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Part of the Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature, initially collected by Herbert Somerton Foxwell and presented by the Goldsmith's Company to the University of London in 1903.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Small manuscript quarto. Bound in morocco.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Smith as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

The Bodleian Library, Oxford University, holds drafts of the proposals written by John Locke (Ref: MS Locke b3, ff 55-61, 66-69, and 70-74).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

The manuscript proposals were originally bound together with printed material on the same subject which may now be found in the Goldsmiths' Library (see GL 3119, 3302, 3101, 3116, 3088, 5485). This manuscript contains the bookplate of Stanley Alchorne, and was probably bought in 1813 to form part of the library of George Chalmers which was sold in 1842. It was was bought by Herbert Somerton Foxwell at the Crossley sale, Sotheby's, in 1884.

Related Material

This manuscript was originally bound together with several works from the Goldsmith's Library (GL 3119, 3302, 3101, 3116, 3088, 5485). Other University of London manuscripts relating to the Royal Mint and coinage include MSS 14, 21, 51, 72, 100, 102, 108, 151, 152 and 499.


The proposals written by Wren, Locke and Newton have been published in Ming-hsn Li The great recoinage of 1696-1699 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1963). Locke's two proposals form the basis of his work Further considerations concerning raising the value of money (A. and J. Churchill: London, 1695). This manuscript was used in the writing of The Mint (Cambridge University Press, 1953) by Sir John Craig.

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