HC Deb 16 August 1853 vol 129 cc1758-60

said, he wished to put a question to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury upon a subject of considerable public importance. Uni- versal complaints were at present made in the metropolis and throughout the country of a scarcity of silver coin. He wished to know whether any measures hed recently been taken at the Mint to remove that great inconvenience? Complaints were made, too, of the scarcity of copper coin; and he begged to ask his hon. Friend whether the authorities at the Mint were taking any steps to remedy that inconvenience also?


said, he was glad to have that opportunity of explaining what was the position of the Mint with regard to the coinage of this country, which had recently been the subject of so much complaint. With regard to the copper coin, the House would recollect that he had stated some time ago that a contract had been entered into with a house in Binning ham for a supply of 500 tons of that coin. The delivery of that supply had been commenced on last Saturday. The first portion of it was required for the Ionian Islands, Ceylon, and other Colonies. He believed that the remaining portion of the supply would be speedily delivered, and that all the parts of the Empire would soon be provided with a sufficient amount of copper coin. With regard to the silver coin, he had to state, that in the eight weeks terminating on last Saturday, 244,800l. of that coin—a quantity perfectly unparalleled in the annals of this country—had been manufactured at the Mint, and that silver coinage would be immediately succeeded by the manufacture of 1,000,000 of half-sovereigns, to assist the silver coinage in the way of change. As complaints had been directed against the Mint upon that subject, he hoped he should be allowed to state what the Mint had done during the period which had intervened between the 1st of January in the present year and Saturday last, as compared with the corresponding period of preceding years. He found from a return which he had received from the Master of the Mint, that the quantity of gold coined in that period had been as follows:—In 1850, 66,000l.; in 1851, 4,195,000l.; in 1852, 4,453,000l.; and in the present year, 9,099,000l.—or more than double the quantity in the two preceding years. He found that the quantity of silver coined in the same period had been as follows:—In 1850, 129,000l.; in 1851, 19,000l.; in 1852, 32,000l.; and in the present year, 416,000l. He hoped that statement would show that, if any in convenience had been felt from the deft ciency of coin, that inconvenience had not arisen from any fault on the part of the of authorities at the Mint.