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An Historical Account of English Money, 3rd Edition

Stephen Martin Leake, Esq, 1793
James II

Table of Contents

James II. A.D. 1684.

[Note: Original spelling style has not been preserved in this transcription. f is rendered in the modern s, etc. ie, Majefty and Reverfe are presented as Majesty and Reverse resepectively.]

The Money of King James was Guineas, Half Guineas, Forty Shillings, and Five Pound Pieces of gold; and of silver, Crowns, Half Crowns, Shillings, Sixpences and Groats, of the same standard, weight and value, as the mill-money of King Charles the second; viz. the gold of twenty-two carrats fine, and two carrats allay, called Crown Gold the pound Troy being coined into forty-four Pounds ten Shillings by tale; and the silver, of the old standard or sterling, three Pounds two Shillings by tale, as the same has continued ever since. So that the pound of gold, which, in Edward the third's time, was worth thirteen Pounds, fourteen Pounds, or fifteen Pounds in silver, is risen, by degrees, to forty-four Pounds ten Shillings, and the gold not quite so fine neither: but with regard to each other, silver and gold have kept pretty near the same proportion.

The current silver Monies are of the years 1685, 86, 87, and 88, in England; and of 1689, 90, and 91 in Ireland.

The Crowns and Half Crowns have the King's bust laureat, looking to the right, IACOBVS II. DEI. GRATIA. Reverse, the arms of the four kingdoms in separate shields, and the star of the garter in the centre; MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. 1685. Upon the rim, DECVS. ET. TVTAMEN. ANNO. REGNI. PRIMO.

The Shilling and Sixpence has the same stamp with graining upon the rim.

The Groat, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, have the King's head laureat, with the neck bare, like the gold Money, and the titles as the larger pieces. Reverse, under a crown, as many figures, or initial letters of his name, as they contain pence. But these, like King Charles's, have no graining upon the edge, nor have any of these species in the following reigns.

The Guineas, Half Huineas, Forty Shilling, and Five Pound Pieces, have the King's head laureat, the neck bare, and the same titles and reverse as the silver Money, except that the centre is void, and the four sceptres are added in the quarters, having graining upon the rim as the Shilling: but the Five Pound Piece has the inscription like the Crown. Of these some have the elephant with a castle upon his back, under the head, being of the African gold.

His Farthings and Halfpence are of tin, with a bit of copper through the middle, like King Charles's tin Farthings, his bust laureat, IACOBVS. SECVNDVS. Reverse, BRITANNIA. and upon the reverse [edge?], NVMMORVM. FAMVLVS, 1685. There was none of copper in England, or tin in Ireland.

The plantation Halfpenny, with graining upon the rim, has the King's statue on horseback, in a military posture, Caesar-like, IACOBVS. II. D. G. MAG. BRI. FRAN. ET. HIB. REX. Reverse, the four shields in cross, under as many crowns, the upper parts of the shields fastened to each other by a chain, VAL. 24. PART. REAL. HISPAN.

His Forty Shilling Piece of Scotland, has 40. under the bust laureat, turned to the left, IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Reverse, the arms crowned, MAG. BRIT. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. 1687.

The Ten Shilling Piece has 10. under the head, and reverse, St. Andrew's cross, with the thistle, rose, fleur de lis, and harp at the points, and the four shields of the four kingdoms crowned, in the quarters; MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. 1687. being grained upon the edge, which but few Scotch pieces are.

In 1684, King James granted a patent [Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, the 24th of July 1724, in Historical Register, p. 129.] to John Nox, Alderman of Dublin, for the term of twenty-one years, for making Halfpence of copper, and the Money coined by this patent, was declared to be the current Coin of the kingdom of Ireland; and 700 tons of copper was computed to be coined within the twenty-one years, without any complaint. They were of the like standard as those of King Charles the Second, having on one side the King's bust laureat, looking to the right; IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Reverse, the harp crowned, MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. The date on each side the crown, 1686, or 1688. The latter have graining upon the rim.

The 12th of March 1688-9, King James landed at Kinsale, and the 24th entered the city of Dublin. Next morning he called a council, and published five proclamations, one of which was, to raise such Coins as were curent in Ireland. Nevertheless, in three months he was reduced to so great a scarcity of Money, that, to subsist his army, he melted down old brass guns, [Irish Historical Library, p. 171.] and kitchen utensils, which being coined into money, was made current by proclamation, the eighteenth of June, 1689, as Sterling silver, under severe penalties, though the metal was valued at no more than Threepence or a Groat the pound. In June 1689 there was coined Sixpences, in July Shillings; and the twenty-eighth of August the King gave the royal assent to an act for repealing the statute of the sixth of Henry the Fourth, against multiplying of gold and silver. From this time we have his Half Crowns of brass or copper, with milling or graining upon the rim. Upon one side his bust laureat, IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Reverse, MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. 1689, two scepters in saltier [saltire] through the crown, between I. R. Above the crown XXX. for the value, and under it the name of the month when coined, there being of every month following, to April 1690, inclusive. They generally weigh from ten pennyweights eight grains, to eight pennyweights seventeen grains. But after April to October 1690, a lighter sort was coined, of the same stamp, from seven pennyweights seven grains, five pennyweights seven grains. The Shillings and Sixpences, (which bore the same stamp) were reduced in proportion. There were likewise some Shillings of silver that bore the same impression. Of this copper and brass Money, [Thoresby, p. 383] from June 1689, to July 1690, when King James left Ireland, one million, one hundred thousand Pounds, was coined, according to Mr. Story, in his History of the Wars of Ireland; but Bishop King says, only nine hundred and sixty-five thousand three hundred and seventy-five Pounds.

But there being no circulation to bring this Money back into the treasury, they were called in by proclamation, and the largest sort of these Half Crowns were restamped with the figure of the King on horseback, in armour, holding a drawn sword in his hand, IAC. II. DEI. GRA. MAG. BRI. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. Reverse, the four shields of arms, crowned, and a crown in the centre. In the quarters, ANO. DOM. 16-90. Legend, CHRISTO. VICTORE. TRIVMPHO. Upon most of these the double stamp appears, and being thus new stamped, were ordered to pass for Crowns.

There were some few of these stamped in silver, weighing eleven pennyweights fifteen grains, with graining upon the rim.

But before King James left Ireland, even the brass and copper [Thoresby, p. 383.] failed, and pewter dishes were coined into Money, and a proclamation was prepared for the currency of it: but King William passing the Boyne, put a stop to it. A bag of one hundred and fifty Crown Pieces of this metal was found in the treasury of Dublin, of the same fashion, inscription and bigness, as the brass Crowns, but with this legend added on the rim. MELIORIS. TESSERA. FATI. ANNO. REGNI. SEXTO.

The same year there were Pennies coined of pewter, with a bit of brass or copper through the middle, and graining upon the edge, having the King's head laureat, the neck bare, and behind the head the value, 1D. Jacobus II. Dei Gratia. Reverse, Mag. Br. Fr. et. Hib. Rex. 1690. A crowned harp, and the half of it, or Halfpenny, without the value.

After King James left Ireland, there was another sort of Money coined at Limerick, grained upon the edge; which, from the figure of Hibernia upon the reverse, were commonly called Hibernia's; some of brass, and others of copper, something broader than his brass Shillings. They have on one side his bust laureat, IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Reverse, Ireland, represented by a woman sitting, and resting herself upon a harp, holding up a cross in her right hand; HIBERNIE. 1691. Some of these appear plainly to have been the former Shillings restamped.


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