Catalogue description THE EXCHANGE.

This record is held by Lambeth Palace Library

Details of

Proclamation by the Queen.


"Upon the late alteration of the standard of our moneys in this realm,--whereunto we were led as well by examples of our progenitors, who had ever made a difference between the moneys of this realm and our realm of England, as also by a necessary providence of keeping the sterling moneys both from the hands of our rebels here, and also from transportation into foreign countries, which chiefly by the said rebels and their fautors was done,--we did erect an Exchange for the use of all sorts of our subjects and others using intercourse between these two realms, for converting of moneys of the new standard of this realm into English moneys in England, and of English moneys into moneys of this realm, reciprocally; hoping that the honest and upright carriage of merchants in an equal exercise of traffic between the two realms would have caused in the said Exchange an indifferent and mutual commodity, both to the merchant for his trade and to us in our payments; and both their and our intentions have concurred in preserving the sterling moneys from the rebels, and from transportation into foreign countries.


"But in this little time of experience which we have made thereof, being not yet two years past, we have found our expectation greatly deceived, and the scope given in the first institution of the Exchange exceedingly abused by the sleights and cunnings of merchants; which, though we did immediately upon the beginning of the Exchange discover to be breeding, yet did we not think that the same would ever have grown to such an height as since we have perceived. Wherefore we did by some restrictions and limitations seek to contain those frauds within reasonable bounds. But it falleth out that the remedies proposed have been so far from easing the grief .. as that some merchant who hath brought commodity into this kingdom out of our realm of England hath not been content to sell the same for reasonable gain, but, having raised his price of the same commodity to so much in the new moneys as do in their true value in silver almost countervail the sterling he paid for it there,--viz., that which cost him 10s. sterling to 30s. sterling, and after that rate that which cost him 100l. to 300l.,--he hath returned to our Exchange the same 300l., which, being answered him there in sterling, yieldeth him profit of three for one at least; which is so great a gain as no adventure of any merchants into the furthermost parts of traffic doth yield, and to us such a burthen, as if the same should be permitted were nothing else in effect but to make our Exchequer a mart for the cunning of merchants to work upon. Besides, many of them have, of purpose to make profit by the said Exchange, bought up old bills of debts from divers persons, to whom payment hath upon just consideration been deferred, and compounding for the same for small sums of money of the new standard, returned the whole upon us by exchange, whereby they have made an exceeding profit, contrary to the true meaning of our proclamation, intended for the use and benefit of such as used an honest and direct course of merchandise.


"By which fraud there is ever a great quantity of moneys of the new standard returned upon us for sterling moneys in this realm; but neither is there any proportionable quantity of sterling moneys brought in here into the Exchange, nor delivered into the banks to be converted into new moneys here, and consequently there doth grow upon us an intolerable burden in continual payments of sterling moneys; and yet the two mischiefs which were the chief cause of alteration of the standard not remedied, that is, the preserving of the sterling moneys from the rebels, and from transportation into foreign countries. For little of it being brought in by the merchants of this country, and the same being not current to be used here amongst our good subjects, we find it is partly transported and partly falleth into the hands of the rebels, wherewith they have been the better enabled to continue in their wicked courses.


"Wherefore, for redress of so great abuses daily practised by merchants, we do hereby publish that our meaning is that from the day of the publishing hereof the places of exchanging of moneys shall be only at Dublin for this our realm of Ireland, and at London for our realm of England, for all such as use the trade of merchandise. But for all others that are in our pay, and having wages of us, as being of our army or otherwise, there shall be a bank maintained at Cork, as heretofore it was, to receive their bills; but the bills received there shall be payable only at London. And for the use of passengers and soldiers departing out of this our realm into England, there shall be likewise Exchanges at Bristol and Chester, so as no such soldier or passenger do bring thither any bill containing above the sum of four pounds. But for merchants there shall not be at the said places of Chester and Bristol any payment of bills returned, but only at our city of London, in such manner as is hereafter expressed.


"And further our pleasure and meaning is, that the said Exchange shall extend only to such as .. are contained in our establishment, to all and every of whom we are pleased to allow the benefit of exchanging moneys of the new standard of this realm into moneys current of England (wanting only 12d. sterling in the pound); viz., yearly to each of them ratably in his degree for so much as he doth save above his expense of that which he doth receive yearly of us, .. and also for such further sum or sums as our Deputy .. and Council here .. or four of them at the least, shall think meet to allow to them or any of them, upon his or their demands; so as the sum or sums to be allowed do not exceed the sum or sums of his or their yearly fees, pay, or entertainment; and the warrant of such our said Deputy, &c. shall be sufficient warrant to the Master of the Exchange and his deputies for to make and give forth bills of exchange. So always that the moneys so to be delivered in exchange be his or their own proper money, and not borrowed, and that there be no fraud used; .. for prevention whereof, the Master of the Exchange .. shall have power and authority, as well by examination of the party or parties upon his and their book oaths, as by all other good means and circumstances, for the better finding out of any abuse...


"And for others using trade of merchandise, although they deserve no favour in regard of the fraud wherewith many of them have abused our gracious meaning .., yet in regard of the poverty of this our realm, whereby we conceive that there wanteth sufficient commodities of the growth or manufacture of this kingdom wherewith to maintain traffic, we are pleased to maintain for their use an Exchange in this manner:--That every such person, not being of those that belong to our establishment, but a merchant, who shall deliver to the Master of the Exchange or his deputies in this realm 100l., whereof 40l. shall be of the standard of sterling, in money or plate of silver or of gold, and 60l. in mixt moneys of the new standard of this realm, shall receive of the said Master of the Exchange or his deputies a bill directed to the Bank of Exchange in England, where the same is payable, whereby he shall receive for each 100l. delivered here in that manner 100l. in moneys current of England, wanting only 12d. in the pound, as heretofore hath been ordained, for each pound of the mixt moneys delivered; and for the sterling no defalcation to be made; and after that rate for more or less in quantity.


"And to the end that the frauds used by some merchants may be the better prevented, and the Master of the Exchange or his deputies understand that he dealeth truly in bringing his moneys to the Exchange, our pleasure is, that every such merchant resorting to the Exchange shall bring a certificate from the officers of our Custom House where his goods were entered, what goods he hath entered there, and at what time, to the end that it may thereby be discerned that he seeketh nothing but the return of his own money, and is not a colourer of other men's; and that it may be lawful to the Master of our Exchange .. to put every such merchant or his factors .. to their corporal oath that such old decried moneys brought by them to pass their new moneys withal came not nor was brought out of England...


"And for that divers noblemen and gentlemen of this realm have cause many times to repair into England either for suits or other necessary causes, and some have children there either at the Universities or at the Inns of Court or Chancery, or in our service at Court, who shall have cause for those purposes to use sterling moneys, and to have the moneys of this realm converted into moneys current of England; we are pleased that all such shall have the benefit of the Exchange in such manner as for those of our army is above limited, for such yearly sums of money as our Deputy .. and Council shall think good to allow to any of them upon their demands...


"And whereas several covetous and contemptuous persons, notwithstanding our several former proclamations heretofore published forbidding the use of all manner moneys other than that of the new standard, .. have in contempt thereof and of our prerogative royal traded with moneys forbidden and decried by the said proclamations; .. we do will and command that no person or persons whatsoever henceforth shall traffic or trade with any of the said decried moneys or bullion, or make or take any payments or wages, fees, stipends, or debts, or shall take or use in bargaining or in any matter of trade, commercing, or dealing betwixt party and party for any matter of agreement, contract, or condition whatsoever, directly or indirectly, any of the said moneys decried by the said former proclamations, or any other money or bullion whatsoever ..; and if any person .. shall offend herein directly or indirectly, that such person shall for his contempt be punished by imprisonment, or by such fine as his contempt shall deserve in the judgment of the said Lord Deputy .. and Council... Provided, nevertheless, that all goldsmiths free of any city or corporate town within this realm may by way of traffic receive or exchange plate for plate, or any other wrought gold or silver, and utter the same for money of this new standard.


"And that it shall be lawful for all magistrates and others our chief officers, as mayors, sheriffs, chief officers of corporate towns, and justices of our peace [who] shall be informed of the payment or receipt of any such moneys or bullion decried, to seize upon the same to our use, and shall bring the same into our Exchange within thirty days next after such seizing, upon pain of imprisonment, and such fine to be imposed upon him as shall be thought fit by the Lord Deputy and Council, or by the Council authorized in his absence. And that every person giving information of the payment or receipt of any such moneys decried, or bullion, shall have the one half of so much as shall be seized and adjudged for his pains, or the moiety of such fine or fines as shall be assessed upon the said information when the seizure cannot be made, and to be otherwise recompensed or preferred as shall seem meet...


"And further, our pleasure is, for every 20s. of the old decried sterling money brought, or hereafter to be brought, into our Exchange here .. that there shall be allowed for every 20s. of the said old standard sterling silver money so brought and to be brought in, the sum of 22s. of these new moneys ..; and in like rate for all gold and silver or plate of the fineness of the sterling money decried... From henceforward for all moneys, either foreign or of our own coin, plate, or bullion of gold, being of the fineness of English sterling, .. the Master of our Exchange shall allow upon the worth of every 20s. thereof not only 20s. of the new standard money, but also an overplus of 2s. 6d. for the same in the said new standard... For all such old base money as shall be brought in to our Exchange here, there shall be allowed after the rate of ten upon the hundred, to be paid in the said new moneys.


"And whereas many greedy and covetous persons will adventure and be bold to counterfeit and forge moneys like unto the moneys of this new standard, or shall bring into this realm any such counterfeit moneys .. incroaching upon our prerogative royal, we .. command all mayors, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and all other our officers and loving subjects, to enquire, seek, and find out all manner person or persons offending in manner as is aforesaid, to their uttermost power, and such offender or offenders to arrest and apprehend, and them to commit to the next gaol, there to receive such punishment as by the laws and statutes of this realm are ordained.


"And we do further .. command that all and every passenger or passengers, coming out of our realm of England into this land, do presently repair to the Exchange, and deliver to the officers thereof such sterling money as they brought with them for moneys current within this kingdom; and if it be suspected that any passengers or others do not deal truly in the delivery of any of the said sterling money, that then our officers of the said Exchange, and our officers of our Custom in the said ports, may search such passenger and passengers to see what sterling moneys they have. And also that the Master of the Exchange .. may put all and every such passenger and passengers on their corporal oath to open the truth what moneys of the old decried sterling moneys they have brought with them, directly or indirectly.


"And where it is likely that divers offences will be committed contrary to the effect of this proclamation by persons offending therein within remote places and provinces, which offences and offenders cannot so conveniently be called up hither before our Deputy and Council here, to be inquired of, censured, and punished, as in those remote places, .. we do further publish, command, and authorise hereby that all offences .. within the several provinces of Munster, Connaught, and Ulster shall be .. censured and punished in manner and form following; viz. .. within Munster before and by the Lord President and Council of Munster; .. within Connaught before and by the Chief Commissioner and Council of Connaught; and within the remote parts of Ulster before and by the several governors of Carrickfergus, Loghfoyll, and Balleshenen. ..


"Many ill-minded persons will not stick to slander our doings, as though there were not in us an honorable meaning to perform what here we have proposed. .. We require all magistrates and officers .. to have an ear to all such evil rumours, and to the spreaders of them, and such as they shall find to be authors or instruments of divulging any slanderous speeches touching this matter of the Exchange, to make them an example for other to be admonished by; and to assure all men that this institution of base money in this kingdom hath had his chiefest ground upon hope we had thereby to weaken the rebels of this kingdom, who by the use of sterling money had and have means to provide themselves from foreign parts of all things necessary to maintain their evil courses, and that the same being this way partly, and partly by the power of our army, once suppressed, we shall have just cause to restore the moneys of this realm to such estate as our progenitors have accustomed to use here."


Castle of Dublin, 24 January 1602.


"Printed at Dublin at the Bridge-foot by John Franckton, 1602."


Original impression.

Date: 24 Jan 1603
Held by: Lambeth Palace Library, not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: MS 607, p. 244
Language: English
Unpublished finding aids:

Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, ed. J. S. Brewer & W. Bullen (6 vols., 1867-73), vol. IV, document 375.

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