is of the English standard or weight, provided it be of gold or silver.

2dly. You are not obliged to take any money which is not of gold or silver; not only the half pence or farthings of England, but of any other country. And it is merely for convenience or ease that you are content to take them; because the custom of coining silver half pence and farthings has long been left off, I suppose on account of their being subject to be lost.

3dly. Much less are you obliged to take those vile half pence of the same Wood, by which you must lose almost eleven


in every shilling

Therefore, my friends, stand to it one and all; refuse this filthy trash. It is no treason to rebel against Mr. Wood. His majesty, in his patent, obliges nobody to take these half pence: our gracious prince has no such ill advisers about him: or, if he had, yet you see the laws have not left it in the king's power to force us to take any coin but what is lawful, of right standard gold and silver. Therefore you have nothing to fear.

And let me in the next place apply myself particularly to you who are the poorer sort of tradesmen. Perhaps you may think you will not be so great losers as the rich if these half pence should pass; because you seldom see any silver, and your customers come to your shops or stalls with nothing hut brass,



likewise find hard to be got. But you may take my word, whenever this money gains footing among you, you will be utterly undone. If you carry these halfpence to a shop for tobacco or brandy, or any other thing that you want, the shopkeeper will advance his goods accordingly, or else he must break, and leave the key under the door. “Do you think I will sell you a yard of ten-penny stuff for twenty of Mr. Wood's half pence? no, not under 200 at least; neither will I be at the trouble of counting, but weigh them in a lump." I will tell you one thing further, that if Mr. Wood's project should take, it would ruin even our beggars; for when I give a beggar a halfpenny, it will quench his thirst, or go a good way to fill his belly; but the twelfth part of a half penny will do him no more service than if I should give him three pins out of

my sleeve.

In short, these half pence are like the “accursed thing, which,” as the Scripture tells us, “the children of Israel were forbidden to touch.” They will run about like the plague, and destroy every one who lays his hand upon them. I have heard scholars talk of a man who told the king that he had invented a way to torment people, by putting them into a bull of brass with fire under it; but the prince put the projector first into his brazen bull, to make the experiment. This

very much resembles the project of Mr. Wood; and the like of this may possibly be Mr. Wood's fate; that the brass he contrived to torment this kingdom with may prove his own torment and his destruction at last.

N.B. The author of this paper is informed, by persons who have made it their business to be exact in their observations on the true value of these half pence, that any person may expect to get a quart of two-penny ale for thirty-six of them.

I desire that all families may keep this paper carefully by them, to refresh their memories whenever they shall have further notice of Mr. Wood's half pence, or any other the like imposture.

A Modest Proposal

« VorigeDoorgaan »