# DECIMAL ACCOUNTS, COINAGE, AND WEIGHTS.

As differences continue to exist regarding the basis which should be fixed on in the formation of a decimal system of accounts and currency, and as the disadvantages attending the penny as the integer are very great, and there are many reasons why the pound should be the adopted basis, I will proceed at once to show what I deem a very simple arrangement, by which all difficulties might be removed and anomalies reconciled. Without further preamble, therefore, I would suggest that accounts should be kept in Pounds, _Florins, and Cents, viz.

100 cents = 1 florin ; 10 florins = 1/.

The new copper coinage to consist of the cent, 1 cent, 2 cents, 4 cents, and 10 cents, of the respective weights of 35, 70, 140, 280, and 700 grains ; so that 100 cents, or 1 florin's worth, should weigh 1 pound avoirdupois.

The cent would be exactly 6-25ths of the present penny in weight and value, or 1-25th part less than the present farthing ; a difference' taken by itself almost inappreciable, though actually amounting to 4 per cent. It has been advocated that there ought to be a five-mil piece, (which would, according to my division of the florin, be represented by five cents,) because it is considered to be more in unison with the decimal system : but why should that preponderate over other advantages ? If in the United States of America they have a three-cent piece, which forms no part of the decimal division of the 100 cents or dollar, without remainder, should we be pre- cluded from having the four-cent piece, which has so much to recommend it, really quotes the hundred, and would to all intents and purposes be the sub- stitute of the present penny ? The proposed five-mil piece, being the first large piece of copper-money, would practically prove a manifest as well as manifold injury to the poor in purchasing ; because, whatever we may bring forward theoretically in its favour, the advantages of having a four-cent piece and one-cent piece to re- present its equivalent, if necessary, are apparent ; but if there was only the five-mil piece, the probability is that the poor would have to pay twenty per cent higher for what they now buy with their penny, and which they would in all likelihood procure with the four-cent piece without apparent dimi- nution in the article bought. Great stress has been laid on the difficulties of converting the pence into the decimal division of the coinage : but it should be borne in mind that it will not be a matter of constant occurrence, but chiefly in the transition state of the one to the other. The most ignorant of the community know that four farthings make a penny, and in my proposed now coinage four cents will be 1-24th less. To convert pence to cents, we have merely to multiply by 4 and add 1-24th part.

Thus, for example, turn nine pence into cents- 9 multiplied by 4 = 36 cents. Add 1-24th pail = 1.5 „ 37.5 „ or 371 cents. Objections have also been started with reference to the levying of rata, taxes, duties, stamps, &c. : but they are not insuperable. With regard to the postage-rate, the four-cent piece can be readily made available as the substitute ; but instead of the double postage weight being 4371 grains, or 1 ounce, as at present, the new double postage would require to be in proportion 420 grains, or exactly the weight of six cents of the new copper coinage. By this arrangement, the Post-office would charge the same pro rata as now, and the public would be placed in exactly the same po- sition. It is probable, moreover, that the revenue would not suffer by the -change, for if it lost in one way it might gain in another ; and if it were in- creased the burden would fall so light on the public as not to be felt as a grievance. It would be extremely desirable, in levying any rates, that the adjustment of the penny to the new coinage should be as exact as possible, until the latter should become the current coin of the realm ; and therefore, in oases where a penny rate is fixed, the equivalent in the proposed new currency would be 4 1-6th cents, which would remove all difficulty and objections on that score in finding the correspondent amount.

With respect to tolls, at the single penny rate, there would be no convenient way of making single payments except by the four-cent piece, or its equiva- lent, as it would not be desirable to have a current coin of a lower denomina- tion than a half-cent piece, and the lessee would therefore be entitled to a bonus of four per cent on his rental or stipulated payment. Regarding the levying of duties where the rate is governed by the penny, the equivalent will be represented by, as just stated, 41-6th cents, so long as it may be desirable to continue that particulars tale with reference to existing weights ; but in levying any duty per cwt. hitherto, no just regard has been paid to the relative advance per lb. ; whereas, if any article is to be taxed, it should be in proportion, if practicable, to the lowest value of the circulating coin, so that the duty might fall equally on the consumers; instead of which, many rates are laid on without reference to the lb., and in this way the difference goes into the pockets of the wholesale or retail dealers, who are com- pelled to raise their prices, pro tante, per cent, but are debarred in reality from charging their customers the corresponding difference in the retail price, and are thus obliged to make a disproportionate advance, which goes into their pockets as additional profit.

Perhaps objections might be made to the iune and coinage of so low a value as a half-cent piece. A copper coin of almost identical value exists in India, called the pie, weighing 331 grains ; and though the expense of coin- ing small pieces is relatively greater than coining large, yet the profit may be supposed to do more than cover the cost. Taking the present value of copper at 1261. per ton of 2240 pounds, and that quantity coined into cents, we have 224,000 cents Against the cost of 1261., or 126,000 ..

Leaving a profit of 981., or 98,000 equal to 77 7-9ths per cent.

Silver Coinage.

In regulating the silver coinage, it has been proposed to withdraw the crown and half-crown pieces from circulation, and also the fourpenny piece. There will therefore remain, the threepenny, sixpenny, shilling, and florin pieces, to represent respectively 12f, 25, 50, and 100 cents ; and as long as the present fourpenny piece shall circulate, its separate value might be fixed at 16f cents, only if desirable as a matter of convenience, in the same way as the three-cent piece circulates in America.

Weights.

There is another advantage also which the proposed arrangement possesses, that, in forming a system of decimal weights there will be a unity of agree- ment with the copper coinage.

Thus, if we start above single grains, with the first atom of weight at one- tenth of a cent, we have

7 grains = 1 atom. 10 atoms = 1 cent 70 grains.

100 cents = 1 lb. avoirdupois = 7000 grains. There would be no difficulty in originating a new grain weight equivalent to 7-10the of a troy grain, so as to make 10 new grains equal to 1 atom, and preserve the decimalization down to the lowest point: but there would be graveobjeetiona to the introduction of such a new grain weight. The lowest avoirdupois weight in use is the dram ; which would be represented by

4 atoms, though about of a grain in excess, but nevertheless sufficiently near for any practical purpose of comparison.

The new hundredweight would of course be 100 pounds instead of 112 pounds, and the ton of 20 hundredweights would be 2000 pounds instead of 2240 pounds as at present. As 10 pounds avoirdupois are equal to 1 imperial gallon, the same pro- portion is continued without alteration with reference to liquid measures ; but as to superficial and dry measures, there would be considerable difficulty in making alterations so as to decimalize them, and at once accommodate the changes to practical use in real life. There can be no necessity, more- over, to abandon duodecimals, or any other division, if the advantages be on' their side.

The decimal division of the pound weight has a great advantage over the present system, for if we desired to express a foreign weight, as the kilo- gramme, we have it at once 2201 cents, instead of in lb. ox. drams, and grains.

Gold and Silver.

It is perhaps out of place, if not premature, to allude to any alteration in the standard of these two metals; but if 900 fine, or one-tenth alloy, be eventually adopted, and the proportion of gold to silver fixed at 1 to 14, (in- stead of 14.2878,) the new sovereign would be required to weigh 125 grains, of which 112/ grains would be pure gold and 12/ grains alloy; and the new florin would be 175 grains, of which 154 grains pure silver and 171 grains alloy. In other words, out of 1 pound avoirdupois of standard gold and silver, 900 fine, would be coined 56 sovereigns and 40 florins respectively ; and the Mint prices of that purity would be 31. 811.40 cents for gold, and 21 74 2-7th

Sysorsis.

Accounts.

£. Fl. Cents.

Coinage. Copper.

f Cent = 35 Grains. 4 Cents = 280 Grains.

700 „

2 ,, = 140 „ 100 ,, 1 Florin.

Silver.

3 Penny-piece = 121 Cents. I Shilling 60 Cents. 6 • „ = 25 „ Florin = 100 „ Gold.

Ralf-sovereign = 5 Florins or 600 Cents.

Sovereign • = 10 Florins or 1000 Cents.

1 Grain Weights.

= 1 Atom

70 ,, = 10 „ = 1 Cent 7000 „ = 1000 „ = 100 „ = 1 lb. avoirdupois. Single letter postage = 3 Cents or 210 Grains per Four-cent piece.

Comparative Value of Pence and Cents.

1 Penny = 4 1.6th Cents. I 4 Pence = 16 2-3de Cents.

2 Pence = 8 1-3d „ 5 „ = 20 5-6ths „

3 „ = 12i 6 „ = 25 If