§ Mr. Gisborne
said, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could inform him whether any return could be obtained from the Mint as to the number of light sovereigns of each date of coinage which had been returned to that establishment for re-coinage. He also wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether Government could lay any information before the House as to whether the lightness of the gold coinage was occasioned by wear, or by what was termed "sweating;" or some such process, and if so, as to what proportion this had been done?
§ Mr. W Gladstone
replied, that he had made the fullest inquiries in the department with which he was connected, and the result was, that it appeared that there were no means of ascertaining the num- 274 ber of the various dates of the light sovereigns sent in for re-coinage. He understood that sovereigns of almost all the dates of the various coinages had been sent in for that purpose, but the mass was composed of the sovereigns of George III., and the early coinage of George IV. With respect to the question as to how far the lightness of the sovereigns was to be attributed to sweating, and as to how far to wear, the Government had no means of making a definite statement, but as far as the experience and observation of the officers of the Mint went, he was enabled to state, that it was believed that the practice of sweating had riot been applied to any serious extent so as to occasion the lightness of the gold coinage, but that it had arisen from gradual wear, although at the same time sweating might have been practised.