Québec (Province). Legislature.

Sessional papers online

. (page 4 of 25)
Online LibraryQuébec (Province). LegislatureSessional papers → online text (page 4 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

coins of the same denomination ; whilst by Mr. Dorien
they were described, in his pamphlet, intituled Thoughts
on a new Coinage of Silver j as still more impaired in
value ; for he represents the shillings in circulation to
be worth only eightpence hali^nny, and the sixpences
to be reduced to the value of twopence halfpenny.

** We know, also, from the witnesses examined by the
Irish Exchange Committee in 1804, that at that time
twenty-one shillings of the best silver circulating in Ire-
land was not in value equal to more than nine shillings
of the standard coin of these realms.

^* To issue silver coin from the mint in this state of
our silver currency, and under the circumstance of the
relative value which our bank notes bear to silver bul-
lion, could, therefore, only put the public to great

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


1810. expenBe, without affording any remedy for the evils that
will necessarily result from the deficiency of small money,
which the annihilation of local tokens must occasion.
Because, unless the nature of mankind should be so far
changed as to produce a universal negligence of their
own interest, all the coin issued would be withdrawn
from circulation the moment it appeared.

" Neither can the issuing of paper, commonly called
silver notes, be regarded as a possible means, under the
law as it now stands, of supplying the place of tokens ;
for the issuing of paper, promising to pay any sum in
value below twenty shillings, is provided against by the
48th of the King, cap. 88, under very high penalties.

"There appears, therefore, to be no mode, in the
present state of our circulation, of protecting the public
from the effects of the want of that species of currency
used in small payments which the prohibition of local
tokens must produce ; for neither the Bank of England,
nor that of Ireland, have been able to supply a suffi-
ciency of tokens to answer the necessary demands of the
country ; and those in circulation are issued at a rate
that they must be immediately committed to the melting
pot by a trifling fall in the value of paper, or, as it
would be described by many, by a further small rise in
the value of silver.

" In this state of things it cannot have escaped your
observation, who have practically considered the subject,
that the abolition of the local tokens, which have been
generally issued of a value greater in proportion to their
denomination than that of our coin in circulation, must
operate as a direct encouragement to those numerous
coiners of false money, who, notwithstanding the prohi-
bitions of the 15th and l6th of the King, have long

Digitized by VjOOQIC


carried on a criminal but a highly profitable trade }* 1810.
whilst it must produce a degree of pressure upon the
retail trader, and of hardship upon the poorer classes of
the community, perfectly unparalleled.

<< It is a conviction of the great inconvenience and
injury which the nation at large must sustain, should
this measure be carried into execution in the month of
March next, and a strong impression of the impossibility
of conducting the business of the country without local
tokens, until the Legislature has effected a g&aeml
reformation in the state of our currency, that has induced
me to draw up the queries I now submit to you, in hopes
that, by the general information which the answers will
furnish, I may be enabled to make such a case as will
prove to Parliament the necessity of interfering, to
prevent the formidable evil with which the public is
threatened : and, I have only to add, that, after receiving
this explanation of my motives, I trust that you can
have no difiiculty in communicating what appears to be
so necessary for the success of the cause.

** I have the honour to be,
" Your most obedient humble servant.

* ^ See the statement of the extent to which this traffic has been
cmrried by Mr. Colquhoun, in his Treatise on the Police of the

Digitized by VjOOQIC


1810. *" auEEiEa

'^ 1. What is the denominatioD of the tokens you
have issued ?

'' S. What is the average weight of each species ?

** 8. By how many dwts. in every twelve ounces is
the metal of which they are composed inferior to stan-
dard silver ?

" 4. What is the average intrinsic value of each
species ?

" 5. Are there any local tokens circulated in your
immediate vicinity, hesides those you have issued, and
hy whom ?

** 6. What do you compute to he the total value of
the local tokens circulating within the district in which
you reside?

" 7. What proportion do the local tokens hear to the
half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences, that are in circu-
lation near you ?

" 8. What do you conceive to he the average intrinsic
value of these half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences ?

" 9. Are there many tokens of the Bank of England
circulated in your vicinity ?

" 10. Has it heen common to refuse change for a
hank note, unless a large proportion of copper is taken ?

" 11. Have you known a premium given to get silver
for a twenty shillings hank note ?

" 12. Has there heen any attempt to issue paper
notes or tickets under the value of twelve shillings ?

" 13. Have you not known master manufacturers pay
their workmen's wages with paper tickets, under the cir-
cumstance of a shop being established in the neighbour-
bourhood, where the workmen were furnished with goods
in exchange for those tickets ?

Digitized by VjOOQIC


** 14. Where this has occurred, has it not been cus- 1810.
ternary for the retail trader to settle his accounts monthly
or quarterly with the manufacturer by whom the tickets
were issued ?

'* 15. Is there a disposition to petition the two Houses
of Parliament, at their next meeting, for the repeal of
the Act, which has recently passed, prohibiting the cir-
circulation of local tokens ?"

In 1811, I manufactured above two millions of copper 1811
tokens for Samuel Fereday, Esq., the then greatest iron
master in the world. He stated, upon examination
before the House of Commons, that he had nearly
5,000 persons in his employ ; and he mentioned to me
that he had, during any quarter of bad trade, so
alarmed the Prime Minister, by informing him that if
he could not find employment for his workpeople, he
could not answer for the consequence should they be dis-
charged, that these statements frequently produced him
East India demands and Goyemment demands for iron.
The tokens which I manufactured for him to a very large
amount were all of copper, the obyerse with the eleya-
tion of his different iron furnaces; and he had used to
s^[id a carriage to my establishment eyery other Friday,
during the continuance of the pressing of these, to enable
him to satisfy his numerous workpeople.

I remember presenting to many gentlemen, who were
then become collectors of tokens, one of each of those
which I executed as they came out ; among the rest to
my esteemed friend. Dr. John Johnstone, M.D., and
receiyed fr*om him the following note : —

Digitized by VjOOQIC



^^^^i^^^^i^^^^!^^^ begs that Mr.

Thomason will accept his thanks for the obliging and
handsome present of a set of tokens, which he values
highly as a specimen of the ingenuity of one of his towns-
men, and the more as containing a very good likeness, on
one of the tokens, of Mr. Thomason himself.
Temple Row, Dec 4, 1811.

1812. "May 2, 1812.


"I have to acknowledge the receipt of the
packet which you have so obligingly sent me, and to re-
turn you many thanks for your kindness.

" You will see that we have succeeded in getting a
committee appointed to enquire into the effects of the
Orders in Council and licence trade.

" The House of Commons are busy with the enquiry,
and we think of making out a very strong case.

"The Lords will begin the enquiry on Thursday
next I suppose you know the state in which the East
India business now stands. Mr. Percival conveyed
yesterday a massage to the Court of Directors, telling
them his determination to insist upon a perfect freedom
of trade to every part of the possessions of the Company,
and of the King's Government, with the exception of
China, and to allow the out-ports to benefit by that
intercourse as well as the port of London. To this the
Company is not prepared to agree, and the manufac-
turers of this country cannot agree to it, if they under-
stand their own interests, as China is likely to afford
them a more immediate demand for their manufactures
than the continent of India.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


" My brother, who was long Governor of Ceylon, and 1812
who knows that country, and who knows all the East as
well as anybody, tells me he thinks there will be a good
market for all coarse steel works, in the shape of scissors,
knives, implements of husbandry, &c., &c., at our new
acquisition in the islands of the Eastern Archipelago.

"Yours, &c.,
"(Signed) J. Maitland,"

In 181S, the English army, then in Spain, were dis-
tressed for the want of small change. I was applied to,
through Mr. J. K. Picard, of the great lead works, at
Hull, who, I understood, was appointed the agent, to
obtain a peculiar coinage to pass in Spain for the value
of one penny English ; and which coinage was not to
interfere with the coinage of the English Government,
or with that of the Spanish Government It was
resolved, then, to have on the obverse the head of
Lord Wellington, and on the reverse the following
victories : — ^Battle of Vimiera, Passage of the Douro,
Battle of Talavera, Lines of Torres Vedras, Battle of
Albuera, Capture of Badajos, Battle of Salamanca.

To make a good likeness of Lord Wellirgton for this
coin, Mrs. Wellesley Pole sent me a wax profile.


informs Mr. Thomason that she believes she shall be
able, in a few days, to send him a wax profile of Lord
Wellington, which is very like, and which she begs to
have carefully returned to her when done with.
Saville Row, Jan., 181^.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


1612. I made upwards of two millions of these pieces in
copper, which passed quite current with the army.

In this year an English guinea was worth twenty-seven
shillings, according to the Mint price of gold ; and so
scarce was the coin, and the panic so great, that every
maiden lady hoarded up all the gold she received.
The Master of the Mint, at this period (the Honourahle
Mr. Wellesley Pole), could not ohtain permission from
the Government to proceed with a new gold and silver
coinage; the country could not afford the loss which
naturally attends the calling in and the re-issuing of a
new coinage of gold and silver. Berkley Monk, Esq.,
M.P. for Reading, in Berkshire, the principal hanker
at that place, determined upon issuing hoth gold and
silver tokens ; and desired that I would proceed with
manufacturing as soon as the dies could he completed
conformable to his drawings. For the obverse he
adopted the likeness of Alfred the Great, with the fol-
lowing motto on the legend : — " pignora certa petis
DO PIONORA CERTA, 1812.'* And on the reverse : — " 40
shillings. Berks Token. Standard gold, 6 dwts. 18
grains. Reading." On the legend: — "Payable in
bank notes, at 6s. the dwt, by I. B. Monk, Esq."
The weight being struck upon the gold pieces fully
proved the Mint price of gold at this period.

The Hon. Mr. Percival, the Prime Minister, requested
that I would suspend proceeding with the gold tokens
until he should see Mr. Monk. No more were manu-
factured, and only £1,600 were struck, which were
eagerly bought up at as much as the sum of £5, to be
retained as a memento of the only gold token ever struck,
and to confirm the price of gold at this eventful period
in this country.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by


Digitized by VjOOQIC


The silver tokens were crowns, half-crowns, and 1812.

After the glorious hattle of Salamanca, 22d July,
1812, I finished a large and fine medal of Lord Wel-
lington, of two inches and a half in diameter. My
engraver had heen working at the die of the likeness
of the Duke from the wax profile lent me hy Mrs.
Wellesley Pole, and I applied it to this victory. The
first medal from these dies was struck on the morning of
the 5th of Sept, and knowing that the Prince Regent was
upon a visit at the Marquis of Hertford's, Ragley Park,
I dispatched my servant on horsehack with all speed to
request the Marquis would deliver into the hands of
his Royal Highness the case and medal, praying that
his Royal Highness would condescend to accept it, and
it arrived at the moment that dispatches announced to
his Royal Highness the entrance of Lord Wellington
and the British army into Madrid.

See the Marquis's letter, brought back hy my
servant : —

" Ragley, 5th Sept, 1812.

** I had the honor of receiving your letter, as
also the medal of Lord Wellington, which you have
destined to the Prince Regent It arrived at a most
auspicious moment — whilst we were rejoicing over the
victory obtained by the British army in Madrid, and I
am authorized to say, that he accepts it with satisfaction.
Allow me to add from myself, that I see with real pleasure
the progress which the arts have made in this county,
and that I am very sensible of the compliment which

Digitized by VjOOQIC


1812. you have paid me by sendiDg one of your very beautiful
medals for my own use.

** I remain very truly, Sir,

" Your most obedi^it.

Jis^^ M^jf2f(n<€i

On the same evening, I sent one of each as a present
to the Honourable Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley Pole, and I
received their letter, much eulogising the medals.

"Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley Pole's compliments to Mr.
Thomason, and they are extremely obliged to him for his
attention in sending them the medals of Lord Wellington,
which they received last night Those in bronze are
beautifully executed, and are good likenesses. The only
improvement that could be made in them would be to
have the date of the period at which they were cast put
on one side. Mrs. W. Pole begs Mr. Thomason wiU
inform her, where in London the medals (both large
and small) can be purchased.

"Tunbridge Wells, September 7th, \%Vir

On the 15th of September, Captdn Boyle, of the
Transport Office, wrote for some of these medals, and
says he gave one to Lady Momington.

"Transport Office, 24th Sept., 1842.

A ^^sf^^T^*-*^^^"^- y^^^^^^lg/^i^-^ has received

the two medals of Lord Wellington, sent to him by Mr.
Thomason, and requests to know to whom, in London^
payment for the same may be made.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


" Captam Boyle gave one of the medals to Lady Mor- 1812.
nington, who, in her note acknowledging the receipt of
the same^ says — * I think the medal the most delightful
thing I ever saw^ and it is an exceeding good likeness/ ^'

On the ISthy some of these medab were struck, and
having occasion to write to Lord Lyttelton, at Hagley
Parky I enclosed one in the parcel, requesting his Lord-
ship's acceptance of it. The following is his answer : —

" Hagley Hall, Sept 15th, 1812.

" Your very great and polite attention to me, in
your present of the medal of Lord Wellington, has
equally excited my honourable pride and gratification,
in your considering that I am worthy of a testimony
emanating from a distinction stupendously exalted !

" A permanent memorial of our hero must be ines-

" With my request to you to accept of my best thanks
for your flattering regard of me,

" I am. Sir,
" Your obliged humble servant.

On the 12th, also, understanding that Louis XVIIIth
was at the Marquis of Stafford's, Grantham, I sent over
the bronze medal of the Duke, in a splendid case,
requesting that the Marquis would do me the favour to
present it, in my name, to Louis XVIIIth.
B 2

Digitized by VjOOQIC


^^.^^ requests Mr.

Thomason to accept of his thanks for the yery fine
specimen of art he has done him the honour of sending
to him, in the medal of Lord Wellington, which does
great credit to this country.

"Louis XVIIIth has not been at Grantham (his
brother was lately there, which probably occasioned the
mistake in the newspapers), but Lord Stafford will take
care that the medal shall be carefully conveyed to him
from Mr. Thomason.

" Grantham, Nov. 25th, 1812.**

In the year 1812, Mr. Thomas Attwood was unani-
mously elected the High Bailiff of Birmingham ; when
his master mind clearly conceived the fairness of having
the East India trade thrown open, it being the period
that the East India Company sought for a renewal of
their commercial monopoly charter. He presided at a
full meeting of most of the respectable merchants and
manufacturers, convened by circular for that purpose,
and in his address he astonished the meeting by the
knowledge he possessed of the great advantages which
the East India Company had reaped for such a length
of years, and many of which advantages would neces-
sarily follow in favour of the manufacturers and others
of the town of Birmingham, could this monopoly be suc-
cessfully opposed in the British House of Parliament.
The resolutions of this meeting were communicated to
Liverpool, and all the large commercial towns ; when
each, in common with that of Birmingham, agreed to
send up a deputation, and form a general daily meeting

Digitized by VjOOQIC






Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by



in London, that the mterests of each town might he dis- 1812.
cus8ed. The following is a copy of the printed card
of the deputies from Birmingham :—

Mr. Thomas Attwood, High Bailiffs
Mr. Joseph Shore, Chairman of the

Chamber of Commerce,
Mr. Richard Spooner,
Mr. Edward Thomason,
Mr. John Towers Lawrence,
Deputies Jrom the Town o/'Birminoham,
To oppose the renewal of llie East India
Commercial Monopoly.
Bedford Coffee House,

Covent Garden.

Mr« Thomas Attwood and Mr. Richard Spooner
were the leaders of the speeches relative to the Bir-
mingham deputation ; and Mr. Gladstone, for the
deputation from Liverpool ; and they were uniformly
selected hy the Committee to wait upon the Minister,
which proved successful in making the first great inroad
upon that great and impolitic monopoly.

Mr. Attwood, a few months afterwards, was the prin-
cipal in a deputation to the Minister, to hreak down the
then ruinous Orders in Council, which the deputation
accomplished ; and it was clearly proved, that if his mea-
sures had heen acted upon but one month earlier, it
would certainly have prevented the late American war,
and all the direful and disgraceful circumstances attend-
ing it ; for the declaration of war from America, grounded
on those Orders in Council, literally crossed the repeal
of those Orders on the ocean.

Digitized by



1813, In 1813, I inyented a convenient mode to weigh
fraiiks which lay in the small compass at one end of a
usual-size silver pencil-case, which was marked with half-
ounce, ounce, ounce and a half, and two ounces ; a pair
of salver-form tweezers were attached in the slide to a
fine barrel-spring ; by bringing out the points of the
tweezers the letter was immediately held, and, holding
the pencil-case vertically, the weight of the letter forced
down the spring to the degree of weight marked on the
outside. I did not obtain a patent for this, and not
many hundreds were called for.

To shew, at this period, the estimation in which my
establishment was held, even by my competitors, Messrs.
Rundell and Bridges, see their letter to me, dated

** Ludgate Hill, 6th April, 1812.

" Our friend, Mr. Meyer, jun., of St. Peters-
burgh, having requested of us an introduction to some
of the manufactories of Birmingham, we take the liberty
of giving him a letter to you, and we are assured he will
be much obliged by your permission to inspect your

" We remain, Sir,

" With great respect,
" Your very obedient servants,
" Rundell, Bridges, & Rundell.
" E. Thomason, Esq., Birmingham.*'

I had, this year, rendered some service to the Royal
Mint, by explaining to them my mode of hardening
steel dies ; and a letter from one of the officers of the
Mint exhibits their appreciation of my endeavours to
serve them.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


V Dear Sir, 1818.

** I own my neglect in not having so<mer
sent you some specimens of our coins, &c I have, how-
eyer, selected some, which I shall send you soon, and I
hope to show you one or two rather hotter than our first
" Our new guineas I cannot say much for : such as
they are, I shall send them you with great pleasure.
" With best regard to Mrs. Thomason, I remain,
"Dear Sir,

" Yours truly.

" Royal Mmt, 29th June, 1813.**

As Lord Wellington receiyed from his Sovereign addi-
tional honours, as Baron, Earl, Marquis, so did I bring
out a fine new medal of him at each of these periods,
the legend corresponding on the medal of Marquis. I
presented, as usual, the Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley
Pole with one of the first struck. See the reply, dated
July 21st, 1813:—

" Mr. and Mrs. Wellesley Pole return Mr. Thomason
many thanks for the medals of the Marquis of Wellington,
which were worn last night at the National FSte, and
were much approved."

On the 21st June, 1813, the celebrated battle of Vit-
toria was fought, and gained by the Marquis of Wel-
lington, being the defeat of Joseph Buonaparte in person,
the capture of all the French cannon, ammunition, and
materiely including Marshal Jourdan's baton, which trophy

Digitized by VjOOQIC


1813. was taken by the 87th regiment The news arriving in
England the beginning of July, a grand dinner and fete
was announced to be given in honour of the achievement
at VauxhalL Having ah^eady finished the fine medal
die of the Marquis, I soon made a reverse die to com-
memorate the day ; and as Sir C. W. Flint was the
principal steward of this extraordinary fite, I presented
him with a box of medals, hoping he would give them,
as presents from me, to whom he approved.
See his flattering letter to me after thef^te was over : —

« Irish Oflice, July 22, 1813.

" I trust that the scene of hurry and confusion
in which I have been living for the last few days will
plead my excuse for not having acknowledged the
receipt of your letters of the 15th and l6th inst, and
returned my best thanks for your attention in sending
me a box of medals of Marquis Wellington, and des-
tining one for myself. The likeness is very striking,
and the manner in which the workmanship is executed
is admirable. I have given a set to Mr. Wellesley Pole,
and propose distributing the others among Lord Wel-
lington's family.

"I secured an admission for Mr. Bennett, who, I
hope, profited by it The /^te was most splendid, and
fully answered the expectations of every body, parti-
cularly the dinner part of it

" I beg you will believe me. Sir,

"Your obliged, humble servant,

Digitized by VjOOQIC


**P.S. I shall contrive to get one set presented to 1813.
the Prince Regent, if possible/'

The following letter of J. L. Lloyd, Esq., is an intro-
duction to me, and a flattering one : —

" Dear Sir,

" The bearer is my friend Mr. Thomason, of
Birmingham, with whom, I am certain, you will be very
glad to be acquainted, as a lover and diligent promoter
of general science, and he will be as much gratified in
this opportunity of being made known to you, and of
seeing your son's wonderful model of the Steam Engine,
&c., &c.. Sec.

" Your very sincerely.

" Birmingham, en passant,
" the ISth of Aug., 1813/'

Having delivered several lectures, in common with
other fellows of the Philosophical Institution, in Bir-
mingham, I determined to give one upon the diamond.
During some of my experiments, which I was making
preparatory to the day fixed by the committee. Lord
Damley was at my works, and mentioned to me that
about a week since Messrs. Rundell and Bridges had
shown him a manuscript book upon the diamond. I
informed Messrs. Rundell and Bridges of it, and what
experiments I was, with great labour and expense, then
making to accomplish my views for the exemplification
to be stated in the lecture as to the size of each, and I

Digitized by VjOOQIC


1813. begged the very great fikvour of a sight of the manuscript
book for one day. See their letter in reply, dated

Online LibraryQuébec (Province). LegislatureSessional papers → online text (page 4 of 25)