Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p7

10th January 1757

Agreed that we do establish a mint and coin sicca rupees with the name of the Moghul on one side and the Company on the other, to be of the same weight as Muxadavad rupees and to pass in the town for 2 p cent more

Public Consultataions P/1/29, p43 (also numbered p47),

February 14th

That siccas shall be coined at Allenagar, Calcutta in the same manner as that at Muxadabad, and that if the money struck at Calcutta be of equal weight and fineness with that of Muxadabad, there shall be no demand made for a deduction of batta.

Public Consultations p/1/29, p76 27th April 1757

Perwannah of the Nabob Serajah Dowlah to the Company for erecting a mint in Calcutta

From the date of the first of the moon shaboon [21st April, 1757] the 4 sun siccas are begun to be stamped, and through all the mint houses, the new siccas of the 4 sun are coined. Take care, and erect a mint in Calcutta (called Allenagore) and stamp gold and silver rupees, out of bullion and golf imported by your nation, of the weight of the gold and silver coined at Muxadavad, under the name of Allenagore, Calcutta, shall you coin your money. It shall pass for land revenues etc and nobody will ask, or set, any batta upon them; only to take care not to coin the gold and silver of other nations.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p106-7

28th April 1757

On the 24th we received a letter from W Watts  Esq dated the 18th instant…That he had the day before [17th April] received a perwannah for coining of siccas in Calcutta, but as it only mentions Allenagore he returned it, and hopes to get it altered  -that he is applying for a general perwannah for the currency of our trade in the three provinces…

[28th April] The Select Committee lay before the Board Perwannahs for coining siccas at Calcutta and for their currency thro’ the three provinces, which they have received from Mr Watts

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p167

13th June 1757

The coiners and others for carrying on the mint business being arrived from Muxadavad the Board took into consideration the establishing of that priviledge upon a proper and beneficial foundation, but as it is utterly impossible for them to judge how it ought to be conducted for the advantage of our Honble Masters till the method of coining, assaying etc is ascertained and known, the Board are of opinion that a committee should be appointed to inspect into the fineness of silver proper for siccas, how much a hundred ounces of the different kinds of bullion produce and what the charge of coining will be. This, once known, we can with greater propriety establish the mint under proper regulations.

Agreed the President, Mr Frankland and Mr Boddam be appointed to inspect into the forementioned particulars and report them to the Board as soon as possible

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p199

4th July 1757

The Committee appointed for coining of siccas inform the Board a sum of 4000 R has been coined from new Mexico Dollars and that as soon as they have coined two or three other kinds of bullion they will deliver in the Acc’t

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p230

21st July 1757

They likewise lay before the Board the translate of a sunnud obtained of the Nabob for currency of our business and money

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p9-10.

Translation of a Sunnud under the seal of Jaffer Ally Cawn, 15th July 1757

A Mint is established in Calcutta. Coin siccas and gold mohurs of equal weight and fineness with the siccas and gold mohurs of Muxadabad. They shall pass in the King’s treasury. All that I have wrote above must be done. Do as I have wrote, nor ask a new sunnud every year. The 27th of the moon Showall, and the 4th of the King’s reign; being the 15th of the month of July 1757

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p239

25th July 1757

It being necessary to adjust the batta of siccas in order to pass those we have received from Muxadavad

Agreed the underwritten battas continue till the 1st of Nov next as is hereunder specified

The first sun siccas     at six (6) Arcot rupees p cent

The second ditto         at eight and half (8 1/2) p cent

The third     ditta          at eleven (11) per cent

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p255

4th August 1757

… Enclosed they transmitted to us copy & translate of the Perwannah for the mint and informed us that the opportunity they have had of discoursing with the Nabob, Juggutseat and Doolabram on the subject of the Company’s concerns, enable them to explain many points of which we cannot be so well apprized. It is therefore encumbant upon them to lay the same before us in the clearest manner, that in the perwannah for the mint we shall observe a general permission to coin silver and gold into siccas and gold mohurs, their impression Calcutta, and if their standard and weight be equal to those at Muxadavad, they are to pass current in the three provinces, be received in the King’s treasury and meet no obstruction or difficulty [Acct] Cussore or batta, that they have avoided limiting the coinage to the Company’s own imports of bullion as permission is allowed to recoin old siccas or any specie receiv’d by the Company in payment for their sales etc., and likewise gold and silver imported by the English, but not bullion except maifested by the Company’s ships. That in Surajed Dowlah’s perwannah we were particularly prohibited coining gold and silver for foreigners or subjects of the Moghul, this is not inserted in the present perwannah that our priveledges might not be endangered, but they are to acquaint [you] this restriction is in full force designed so by the Nabob, and assented to on their parts, that shipping from various parts of India frequently import considerable sums in gold and silver appertaining to merchants of Hughley, Muxadavad, Dacca etc, who are properly subjects of the Moghul receiving or purchasing this gold or silver so imported, likewise purchasing or receiving plate or [joys] from the Rajahs, zemindars etc and coining the same in our mint for them ourselves, tho’ not forbid by the perwannah is expressly meant and intended, and every act of this nature on our parts publick or private will be regarded by the Nabob as an infringement and abuse, as by means of this kind we should in time render the mint at Muxadavad entirely useless and oblige the Government to recall their perwannah for Calcutta mint, which was originally designed to benefit the Company and their dependants in their own proper trade and commerce and not deprive the King of his duties and revenues…

In the postscript they request we will send them a few rupees for trial when any of the new stamp are coined.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p259

Perwannah from the Nawab Mir Jafar Ali Khan

To the High and Mighty, the bold and valient Commanders, the greatest of merchants, the English Company in whom may the King’s favour rest forever. A mint has been established at Calcutta; continue coining gold and silver into siccas and mohurs, of the same weight and standard with those of Moorshedabad;the impression to be Calcutta; they shall pass current in the province of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, and be received into the Codganna; there shall be no obstruction or difficulty for Cussore…11th Zeerlaida [Zilkada] 4th of the King’s reign [= 28th July 1757]

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p261

8th August 1757

The Committee appointed for essaying the coinage of the different sortments of bullion lay before the Board 50 rupees coined from Dollar silver agreeable to the Perwannah received from Jaffir Ally Cawn

Ordered them to be transferred to Muxadavad for a trial, and agreed our mint be established on the same footing as that at Madrass

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p330

26th September 1757

The Committee for essaying and reporting the produce of the different species of bullion in our mint lay before the Board the following essays which they have chosen from a medium of different trials viz:

 

Dacca, Patna & Rajimaul Rupees lose 4.4.3 in every 100 sicca weight to make them of the same value weight and standard as Muxadavad siccas

Muxadavad sonnauts fooley lose 1.10.6

Without the fooley                      5.9

New Mexico Dollars produce 89.12 for 100 sicca weight of bullion

Persia rupees produce 96.9.9 for 100 sic wt

 

They further represent that the charge for coining siccas is greater than the charge of coining Arcot and Madrass, the standard being finer, and recommend the expense of coining private silver be settled at 25 per mille, 20 of which being the real charge of coinage and 15 the duty agreeable to the Madrass collection, 5 whereof is to be paid the Company by the Mint Master or undertakers.

The Board approving of the above mentioned establishment

Ordered all private silver pay a duty of 35 per mille for being coined in our mint and

Agreed that Messrs Frankland and Boddam undertake the coining of siccas and mohurs

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p331

26th September 1757

Ordered them likewise to send 3050 Calcutta siccas to Cossimbuzar to be presented the Nabob and others and 5 Calcutta siccas to England

Ordered them likewise to supply the mint with 35000 sunnaut rupees and 805 Persia rupees to be recoined

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p339

3rd  October 1757

Ordered them likewise to supply the mint with 50,000 sunnaut rupees

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p383

24th October 1757

The gold received from the Nabob being reasonably valued and will, it is imagined, turn out to advantage in the mint

Ordered the Committee of Treasury to deliver it out to the Mint Master as they indent for it to be coined into Fooley Mohurs

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/29, p384

24th October 1757

The Committee of works represent to the Board that it will be extremely troublesome and inconvenient to pay the cowleys, labourers and bricklayers, to be employed on the fortifications, in cowries. They recommend therefore that copper , brass or tutenague tickets may be stampt of different values for the payment of those people, which shall be taken back at the value stamp’d on the respective tickets.

Ordered: Mr Frankland to stamp a number of such tickets.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p9-10

Translation of a Sunnud under the seal of Jaffer Ally Cawn, 15th July 1757

… A mint is established in Calcutta, coin siccas and gold mohurs of equal weight and fineness with the siccas and gold mohurs of Muxadavad they shall pass in the King’s treasury…

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p30-77

Treasury accounts for October, November, December 1757

Many entries showing large transactions with the mint

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p266

Mint account for December 1757, Jan & Feb 1758

Dec 220,275; Jan 101,337; Feb 243,890. Submitted by Frankland (Mint Master)

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p205

22nd June 1758

Frankland resigns

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p232

6th July 1758

There being a large quantity of gold mohurs in the treasury which were coined in our mint with the gold received from the Nabob and being informed they bear an [advanced] price at Ballasore

Agreed: one hundered of them be sent to that factory for a tryal

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p245

20th July 1758

Frankland provides mint accounts for April & May and is still described as Mint Master.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/30, p389

At a Committee meeting called to decide what to do about the letter from the Board in London, not clearly dated but about 27th November 1758

We are of opinion that the orders and regulations relative to the mint be carried into execution as they stand in the letter from the 124th to the 128th paragraphs inclusive, without any variation but recommend that the strongest obligation with a penalty annex’d being taken from the contractor that he shall not debase the coin and that he likewise agree to send some of the coinage through the Board monthly to the mint at Muxadavad to be assayed there.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/31, Nothing found (1759)

A few references to mint accounts being refered to the Accounts Committee

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p45. December 1759

Accounts show William Frankland still Mint Master

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p133. March 1760

Accounts show William Frankland paid Rs 84.7.2 for 3 months 5 days

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p149. 14th April 1760

Captain Brohier delivers in a letter to the Board informing us that the coolies & artificers complain they do not get the real value of the copper money they are paid in at the bazar. That as the coin is to pass as [….] annas & pice he requests the Board will order the shroffs & bazar people to receive the copper coin for the value they are paid by the Compnay at the works, that in the exchange workmen may receive 54 [pouns] of cowriesfor 16 copper annas, & the same proportion fro the lesser coins, which he imagines can be no hardship to the shroffs or bazar as they can always return that money to the paymaster for rupees.

Ordered that his letter be entered & that notice be given that thet copper coin will be received back into the treasury without any loss.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p263. 9th June 1760

Notice to be given that after the 23rd inst. Five sun siccas will be rec’d into the Company’s treasury at 13 p cent batta only and that six sun siccas will be struck & pass current from that day

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p541. 29th September 1760

Salary accounts show William Frankland has gone

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p712. 25th November 1760

Agreed that at every fresh issuing of rupees the siccas of the former year be restamped at the charge of 6 p cent for coinage and Company’s duty to the proprietor at whose expense the siccas are to be made to their full weight should they be deficient.

And as we find that notwithstanding our frequent application to the Nabob concerning the want of currency of our rupees in the country from whence many inconveniencies proceed such as their being frequently refused for goods, the risk of carrying them from place to place to be exchanged (by which a boat passing from Malda to Murshudabad with 4000 Calcutta siccas for that purpose was lost in the Great River) & the loss in exchange. Those evils have never been remedy’d, the only means to effect it is to gain the Nabob’s consent to our coining Muxadabad siccas in our mint in the same [way] as Arcot rupees are coined at Madras. Agreed therefore that the President endeavour to prevail on the Nabob to give his consent to our coining Murshudabad siccas in out mint.

And as the want of Arcot rupees in the place has raised their value to 3 p cent above the usual currency & that specie is very useful for many occasions of the Presidency.

Agreed we coin Arcot rupees of equal weight & fineness with those of Fort St George.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p715.

Translation of the Nabob’s Pervannah for a mint in Calcutta

To the Noblest of Merchants, the English Company, be the Royal Favour. In Calcutta a mint is established. You shall coin gold & silver of equal weight and fineness with the Ashrefees & Rupees of Murshidabad in the name of Calcutta. In the subahs of Bengala, Bahar & Orissa, they shall be current & they shall pass in the Royal Treasury. And no person shall demand or insist on a discount upon them.

Dated the 11th of the month [Zeehaad] in the 4th year

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/32, p846. 31st December 1760

The President acquaints the Board he has at last after much solicitation prevailed upon the Nabob to consent to our coining Murshudabad siccas in our mint.

Agreed we now establish the mint on the footing directed by the Honble Company in their commands of 3rd March 1758, that the dollars be valued at the rate mentioned in the letter of 1st April, but as the bullion of this country is of no stated fineness arising from the prodigious variety of coins in the country which are after melted in a heap & offered to be coined, it is impossible to determine on that.

That the mint be put up for contract on the same fooring as that at Madras, that is, the contractor shall bear all the charges of the mint, except the house and repairs for which he shall receive a certain allowance per cent. & whoever offers for the smallest allowance, giving sufficient security, shall have the contract.

The contractor, there being [no] refin’d standard of bullion in this country, shall deliver the exact produce of the gold & silver given in to be coined according to its value by assay, which we shall effect in the best manner we can for the present.

Agreed in the meantime we recommend it to the Company to send us out a capable Assay Master by the first opportunity.

Ordered the Mint Master to prepare stamps for coining the Muxadabad rupees.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p291. 16th March 1761

The Board likewise taking into consideration the subject of the mint

Ordered the secretary to draw out an advertisement setting froth the conditions and according to the regulations contained in the Company’s General Letter dated 3rd March 1758, giving notice that the mint will be put up for contract, which advertisement he is to lay before us next council day.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p465. 22nd June 1761

The Secretary reports to the Board that nobody has hitherto made any application or proposals for the farm of the mint, altho’ it was advertised for the first of May last

The Mint Master lays before the Board an account of the receipts & disbursements of the mint, by which it appears that from the month of January 1760 to the month of April 1761 inclusive, the Company are losers of the sum of Rs 227.6. This arises from the small quantity of silver brought into our mint to be coined and from the continued expense we are obliged to be at for the sake of keeping workmen in the mint, whom if they should be at any time dismissed, it would be very difficult to get again. That no persons therefore offer their proposals for the mint farm, is easily accounted for by this statement before us.

Ordered the account of coinage to be entered after this consultation.

The accounts are shown on page 496

 

Sundry Expenses as per Account Particulars of the Following Months

By Coinage as per Account Particulars of the Following Months

Jan 1760

542

Jan 1760

14.6

 

Feb

584

Feb

14.7.9

 

Mar

891

Mar

588.8.6

 

Apr

1926.8.9

Apr

3880.6.6

 

May

832.11

May

72.15

 

Jun

1200.9.3

Jun

998.9.6

 

Jul

1268..6

Jul

2916.15

 

Aug

1219.10.6

Aug

2114.6.6

 

Sep

1245.10.9

Sep

298.11.6

 

Oct

1254.15.9

Oct

1079.15

 

Nov

1266.7.6

Nov

1920.14

 

Dec

1242.2.9

Dec

278..6

 

Jan 1761

1180.11.9

Jan 1761

126.15.6

 

Feb

1320.4.3

Feb

1561.11

 

Mar

1176.6.9

Mar

230.4.6

 

Apr

1117..9

Apr

33.9

16130.11.9

 

 

By Nairys silver sicca wt 2218. 14 is

1970.2

Total

18328.3.9

Total

18100.13.9

NB extracted from the above Nairys

Lead              Mds 22.19         Value 900

Copper           Mds 2.38           Value 75

Sicca Rupees                                   975

 

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p829. 14th September 1761

The stamps for Arcot rupees having been delivered to the Mint Master he now lays before the Board an account of the produce of 100 Oz of new Mexico dollars & Arcots Viz

…calculation comparing number of Arcot rupees and number of sicca rupees produced and goes on:

so that there is a difference of 1 per cent in favour of siccas

He therefore requests the order of the Board whether to coin the 50,000 sicca wt of short weight Arcots which he has on hand, into Siccas or Arcots

As Arcots will pass current at Dacca, Luckypore and some of the Aurangs equal with the Sicca, there will yet be a gain of 7 per cent by employing the Arcots on all such occasions and it is therefore resolved to pay the military in future in Arcots instead of sonauts, which through the scarcity of the other specie have been used for some years past without any deduction of batta so this will be a further considerable saving.

Ordered therefore that the Mint Master coin all the short wt Arcots with all possible expedition, and that he take all opportunities of purchasing bullion for that purpose

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p854. 21st September 1761

The Mint Master sends in his bill amounting to Rs 15916.1.3 for the purchase of the bullion

Ordered the Committee of Treasury to discharge it.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p928. 28th September 1761

The Mint Master sends in a bill for the purchase of bullion amounting to Sicca Rupees 13013.14

Ordered the same be paid out of the Treasury

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p1065. 5th November 1761

There being several parcels of gold which the proprietors are desirous of coining in the Company’s mint & there being at present no servants in the mint acquainted with the coinage of gold

The President is desired to write to Muxadabad to procure such as may be necessary and the Mint Master is sent for and directed to lay before the Board an estimate of the charges of gold coinage in order that the charges and customs thereupon may be settled in proportion to the silver coinage which has already been done.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/33, p1075. 9th November 1761

The Mint Master delivers in the estimate of coining one hundred gold mohurs valued at fourteen hundred Arcot rupees as follows:

Materials        1.2

Artificers         5.3

                     -----

                     6.3

 

The charges of the coinage appearing to be somewhat less than one half per cent

It is agreed that the coinage be fixed at one half per cent and for duties one half per cent which last half to be divided in the same proportion as that duty on silver, viz two fifths to the Company, two fifths to the Governor and one fifth to the Mint Master.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/34, p23. 21st January 1762

Three sun siccas having been struck at Murshedabad agreeable to the notice before given us by the Nabob as per Consultation December.

Agreed that three sun siccars be issued in out mint and become current the 20th of next month. That advertisement be made thereof, and that two suns will be reduced to thirteen per cent and all others to sonauts.

Agreed that the Committee of Treasury be directed to deliver to the Mint Master all the two sun siccars to be restamped into three suns and that the Mint Master be directed to get as many struck as possible against the 20th February.

Agreed we write to the several subordinates to acquaint them thereof.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/34, p143/220. 1st March 1762

The Mint Master representing there is a vast quantity of money delivered to him from the Treasury to be recoined in order to prevent the loss of batta, which it is not in his power to get done while private merchants send in money daily to be recoined also.

Ordered him to defer coining for the private traders till he has finished the whole of the Company’s money delivered him from the treasury to be recoined.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/34, p152/238. 4th March 1762

The Mint Master sends in the following report of the German Crowns viz

 

Crowns marked KB

100 ounces produces sicca rupees                   235.1.6

Batta at 16 per cent                                         37.9.9

                                                                     272.11.3

Deduct ½ per cent for coinage and duties                      12.4.3               260.7.

 

Crowns with the arms of Hungary

100 Ounces produce sicca rupees                    224.9.6

Batta 16 per cent                                            36.15

                                                                     260.8.6

Deduct for coinage and duties as above             11.11.6             248.13

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/34, p408. 26th April 1762

The mint Master sends in his report of assays on the 6 sun Arcots from Madras compared with the 6 sun Arcots from Calcutta. Mint Master pro tem name looks like Natts

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/34, p422. 10th May 1762

The Mint Master acquainting the Board that the chief part of the Company’s money is now coined

Agreed the mint be opened to the coining of private silver and refining rupees, but that no less than 10,000 rupees be received in at a time to be restruck.

Ordered the Mint Master to purchase whatever bullion he can to be coined into Arcot rupees for the payment of the troops.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/35, p18. 21st December 1762

The Governor having acquainted Mr Amyatt by letter that the Nabob has struck four sun siccas in the mint at Moorshedabad

Agreed that we likewise order siccas of that year to be struck in our mint to be current at 16 per cent batta on the 1st of February next, after which three sun siccas to be received into the Treasury at 13 per cent only & the rupees of all former years to be esteemed as Sonauts.

Ordered that the Secretary to give publick notice accordingly, and that the Committee of Treasury be directed to send to the mint to be re-stamped all the three sun siccas that may remain in the Treasury after the 25th January

Agreed that we write also to the several subordinates acquainting them thereof for their guidance in their business & in the receipts of the revenues.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/35, p123. 20th January 1763

The Board thinking it necessary to take into consideration the subject of re-stamping rupees

Ordered the Secretary do summon the Mint Master to attend the Board next council day for that purpose.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/35, p140. 24th January 1763

The Board now taking into consideration the practice of re-stamping rupees in the Company’s mint, and the many complaints made thro-out the country regarding the Calcutta Siccas, apparently owing to the custom of re-stamping, which as it draws the rupee broader & thinner & leaves the stamp less perfect & distinct, renders it very [easy to] distinguish them from the rupees struck at Moorshedabad, & obstruct their currency – think proper to prevent in future the many bad effects, which arise therefrom, to call upon the Mint Master’s opinion concerning the expense of recoining siccas.

The Mint Master being present at the Board gives it as his opinion that the expense of recoinage will turn out to be about 1Rs 6As per cent

Loss by melting about 16 Annas of which about 4 annas will afterwards be recovered out of the dross –      12

Mint Charges                                                                                                                                      10

It is therefore agreed to abolish the custom of re-stamping & instead thereof to recoin in the mint all rupees of the sicca standard at the rate of 2 ¼ per cent – whereby there accruing a profit of 14 annas

Ordered that eight annas thereof (the same sum that was gained by re-stamping) be paid to the Company – and the remaining six annas to the Mint Master

Ordered further that public notice be given of this alteration and that on account thereof the date for the 4 sun siccas becoming currect is prolonged to the 15th February

Ordered likewise that a copy of this minute be transmitted to the Mint Master for his Government

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/35, p168. 22nd February 1763

Translations of all the various grants from Emperors and Nawabs.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/36, p168. 11th July 1763

Treaty signed by the Old Nawab (Mir Muhammad Jafir Khan) before the British restored him

9thly I will cause the rupees coined in Calcutta to pass in every respect equal to the Siccas of Moorshedabad withour any deduction of batta and whosoever shall demand batta shall be punished.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/36, p372. 14th November 1763

Ordered further that the Secretary do direct Mr Beaumont to lay before the Board a statement of the mint during the time he has had charge, in which he must debit all the charges of coinage & servants and credit the receipts for duty on money coined and the produce of the dross (called here nyara) so as to shew the Company’s net profit or loss arising in that branch.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/36, p387. 21st November 1763

Mr Anselm Beaumont sends in a letter as Mint Master containing an answer to the 35 paragraph of the Company’s General letter regarding the standard of rupees.

Ordered that his letter & the accnt be entered after cons. And that a copy of each of them be transmitted home in the Osterley’s packet for the observations of the Court of Directors.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/36, p389. 21st November 1763

Letter from Anselm Beaumont (Mint Master) to Bengal Council) dated 21st November 1763

According to your orders I herewith deliver in a statement of the mint from the time that office has been under my direction, an account of the mint charges with the duty & custom received on coinage,,likewise an account of what treasure has been coined on account of the Honble Company by which they will see at one view the whole advantages that have accrued them by their mint at Fort William, over and obove the coinage of their treasure for which no charge has been made. In answer to the 35th para of the General Letter I must beg leave to assure you that the mint has ever commanded my strictest attention, but (as the Honble Company have been before advised) for want of proper materials and utensils, assays cannot be made with the greatest accuracy, but the strictest care has been ever had to keep the Calcutta rupee up to the same weight and fineness as what are coined at Moorshedabad and Mongheer.The small deficiency in the weight of the Arcot rupee may have been occasioned by the air affecting the balance at the particular time of weighing those rupees sent home, but cannot be general as from the manner of delivering money from the mint, which is by weighing one hundred rupees at a time in the most exact scales that can be made in this country, If every rupee was deficient ever so small a fraction, it would appear evident and be too considerable not to be complained of. I cannot help observing the great difference of the assay of the rupees sent by the Hawke, as the Calcutta sicca rupees as well as the Calcutta Arcot rupees were coined under my immediate inspection, and the Calcutta sicca rupees were all coined from ingots of silver of one and the same melting, the Calcutta Arcot rupees were likewise coined out of ingots of silver of one and the same melting, of that standard, so that I cannot comprehend how so great a difference can arise as appears by the reports from the Tower.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/36, p389. 21st November 1763

Cash Paid into the Hobble Company’s Treasury

[There are other tables but this seems to show the amount, by value, coined in the Calcutta Mint under Beaumont’s tenure]

 

 

 

 

 

Rs

As

?

 

September 1761

67,840

 

 

 

Oct

26,460

 

 

 

Nov

60,912

 

 

 

Dec

53,521

9

 

 

January 1762

143,173

7

 

 

Feb

133081

11

9

 

Mar

361,780

8

9

 

Apr

594,308

3

 

 

May

89,891

9

 

 

Jun

158,118

8

3

 

Jul

92,826

11

9

 

Aug

66,379

4

6

 

Sep

19,999

9

 

 

Oct

108,703

11

3

 

Nov

69,020

11

 

 

Dec

98,440

 

 

 

January 1763

36,720

 

 

 

Feb

8,424

 

 

 

Mar

131,280

 

 

 

Apr

170,160

 

 

 

May

131,578

2

6

 

Jun

83,075

10

6

 

Jul

17,822

2

9

 

Aug

22,995

5

9

 

Sep

13,218

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,859,730.15.9

 

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, p33. 26th January 1764

The Nabob having advised the Governor that 5 sun siccas have been issued in his mints of Moorshedabad & Patna

Agreed that siccas of that year be also struck in our mint to become current at 16 per cent batta on the 25th of next month after which 4 sun siccas to be received into the Treasury at 13 per cent only & the siccas of all former years to be esteemed as sonnauts

Ordered the Secretary do give publick notice accordingly by a written advertisement & beat of Tom Tom and that he do send direction to the Mint Master for striking the new siccas and recoining all 4 suns which may be sent to him from the Treasury; and to the Committee of Treasury to deliver in to the mint to be recoined all the 4 suns which may remain in the treasury after the 20th of next month.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, p64. 13th February 1764

The surveyor lays before the Board a plan which he has drawn up for an Assay Office by order of the President

Agreed it be carried into execution

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p267. 30th July 1764

The Mint Master reports that it being customary to receive Bombay rupees as bullion, the charge of recoining which is 4 ½ per cent, several merchants, proprietors of these rupees have complained of this as a hardship alleging that the Bombay rupee is equal in fineness to the sicca and that they ought in justice to be recoined on the same terms as sonnauts. That he therefore directed the Assay Master to make an assay of the Bombay rupee that the Board might determine on the merchants complaining & he accordingly now lays before them the Assay Master’s letter & assay, which being ordered they be entered

Agreed the matter do lay for further consideration.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p269. 30th July 1764

Letter from the Assay Master (Alexander Campbell)  to the Mint Master (Samuel Middleton), date 26th July 1764.

Agreeable to your intimation of the order of the Honble Board, I have repeated the trials I had made of the Calcutta sicca & Bombay rupee without finding sufficient reason to alter my sentiments however extraordinary they may appear. Some variation in point of purity I have discovered in different coianges of both but much less in the Bombay than the sicca. The siccas lately coined in our mint are no more than 13dwts 6grs 25os better than English standard, whereas by a report from England in February 1763 the proved 14dwts 6grs 80os better & were then 4grs 20os short of what both siccas and Bombay rupees had formerly been reported from England. The first assays I made were of a Bombay rupee, which the shroff told me had been coined two or three years, & of a sicca lately issued from the mint; & the difference in favour of the Bombay rupee 11grs 75os in the pound weight, which is equal to 3.6.19 per cent. I have since compared Bombay rupees of a later date with siccas of an older coinage & found the difference what you will see reported in the enclosed account of the value of different rupees, scarce any two of which correspond with their proportional purity or keep exactly to any fixed standard. Upon the whole it must be admitted that the Bombay rupee as to purity has always been equal to the sicca & is now of superior fineness. Refining therefore Bombay rupees into siccas has ever been an unnecessary process attended with considerable charges and loss of time & silver & there is still less reason for insisting upon it now than before as then sicca is so much degenerated.

One thing I must beg leave to observe, it is that in respect to the different species & their dates, I am forced to depend entirely on the credit of the mint banian & shroff who can have no view, I apprehend, in deceiving me as they are unacquainted with the reasons for my proceedings, but I must assure you that all the assays I have reported were not only made with the greatest care & attention, but repeated whenever my report differed from the estimation in which the rupee is held & the established batta.

I should have observed that the sicca in some measure compensates the deficiency in fineness by exceeding the Bombay in weight being 1 per cent heavier, a circumstance which might be regarded in the purchase of Bombay rupees as bullion.

The following reports appear in the order in which the assays were made

 

 

Dwt

Grs

Os

Old Bombay Rupee

13

18

 

New Calcutta Sicca

13

6

25

Dacca Rupee

6

6

 

Gold Arcot

3

6

 

Bad Arcot

3

 

 

Patna Rupee

13

22

 

Another Coinage of the same rupee

13

13

44

Lucknow of one sort

3

11

 

Old Muxadabad Sicca

14

16½

 

5 sun ditto

13

1

 

3 sun ditto

13

 

New Bombay Rupees

13

9

25

Old Calcutta Sicca

12

12

 

 

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p378. 22nd October 1764

Mint Master’s report on bullion – crowns assayed and purchases, Duccatoons to be melted etc. The report on the assay is facing p382 (Sam Middleton Mint Master)

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, p390. 30th October 1764

It is further agreed that Mr Marriott on his return shall take upon him the offices of Import Warehousekeeper and Mint Master vacated by Mr Middleton’a appointment to the residency at the Durbar.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, p400. 1st November 1764

The President acquaints the Board that he was some time ago informed by the Nabob a report had been made to him that the rupees coined in our mint had fallen below the standard of those coined at Moorshedabad which, being a matter of the greatest consequence to be enquired into, that he (the President) wrote to Mr Senior who has sent him down 20 rupees of four different meltings from the Moorshedabad mint, which he now lays before the Board, with 20 other rupees taken promiscuously from our mint.

Ordered that the Assay Master do make an assay of the whole in the presence of our Mint Master & the Nawab’s Chuckshy in order to ascertain the justice of this complaint from the Nabob & that the Assay Master do afterwards make his report to us in writing.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p422. 12 th November 1764

The Assay Master’s report shows little difference but the Calcutta Siccas are slightly better

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, p425. 15th November 1764

Mr Leycester applies to be appointed Mint Master in the room of Mr Marriott

The president observes that the mint on its present footing is attended with greater charges & loss to the Merchants than accrue if the Mint Master was versed in the knowledge of refining & mixing, with the other process of coining. It is therefore his opinion that the Assay Master, Mr Campbell should be ordered to take charge of the mint & fix the value of the several sorts of bullion usually brought to Bengal and to propose and lay before the Board regulations for lessening the present loss and charges of the proprietors of bullion, whereupon the Presidency establish such rules as shall seem requisite for the better conducting that office.

Ordered that the Assay Master do accordingly prepare these regulations and lay them before us as soon as possible.

Agreed that Mr Leycester be appointed Mint Master in the mean time

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p442. 19th November 1764

Letter from the Assay Master (Alex Campbell) to Bengal Council, dated 17th November, 1764

Pursuant to your order transmitted me by the secretary I submit to your opinion a plan of regulations for the mint, to receive such alterations and amendments as to the Honble Board shall appear necessary.

1.       That books be kept open in the Assay office at regular stated hours in which shall be entered the receipt, delivery, assay and produce of all moneys sent to the mint, in so easy and distinct a manner that every proprietor of bullion may be satisfied by inspection that he has received the full produce. The utility of this regulation which has hitherto been totally neglected, is evident, as by resting the whole on the Mint Master and rendering him responsible, it not only deprives the minters of every opportunity of committing frauds but likewise gives reputation to the mint by the fairness and equity of the proceeding.

2.       2. That all bullion be of sufficient purity to be coined into siccas or Arcots without the process of refining, be issued within 15 days after the receipt, or to the amount of 22,000 Rs per diem when it shall happen that larger entries are made than can possibly be coined in the time limited. In the neglect of this obviously useful regulation, consists one of the principal defects of our mint, which has brought it into some degree of disrepute & occasioned repeated, fruitless complaints.

3.       3. That whereas in the present imperfect state of our coinage not more than 2000 sicca weight of bullion can be refined in one day, the Mint Master shall, in order to avoid the loss, charge & delay consequent on this tediuos process, undertake to issue siccas or Arcots at the option of the proprietors to the amount of 11000 per diem provided the bullion to be coined into Arcots does not exceed 14 Dwts nor that for siccas 7 Dwts worse than English Standard. This regulation, which will be attended with little difficulty to a person well acquainted with the methods of assaying & mixing metals will save half the time, charges & loss incurred by refining bullion as is now practiced, of much greater purity than is here specified.

4.       That for refining bullion of a lower standard (of which no vary considerable quantity is imported), there shall be erected under the direction of the Mint Master, flues, furnaces, [fests?] & the other necessary apparatus for refining, that this branch of the coinage may be conducted as in Europe whereby a saving of one, two or more per cent agreeable to the purity of the bullion will accrue to the merchant, as is demonstrable from the assay, besides a reduction in the wages paid to servants who will then be unnecessary.

5.       But as some time must be allowed for establishing an undertaking attended with considerable trouble & labour in a country where the process is utterly unknown, the Mint Master shall in the meantime apply the only possible remedy to this capital defect in the present method of refining, by adjusting to the purity of the metal the quantity of lead to be used in [Fluesing?] and directing the due management of the fire, in which [con…?] the great art of assaying and refining. By this single regulation it is evident a saving will ensue to the merchant, when the money refined happens to differ from the required standard; a case that must frequently occur & of which there is now an instance in the mint

6.       That as soon as a competent number of assays can be made, the prices for all bullion usually imported shall be adjusted with the most scrupulous exactness to the mint produce and assay, whereby the merchant may judge at a glance of his eye whether he shall reap more advantage by disposing of his bullion to the mint for ready money or by waiting the time prescribed for coinage.

7.       That previous to adjusting the price of bullion, it will be expedient to fix upon some invariable standard for the sicca by which alone the real value of bullion to the purchaser can be ascertained, the iniquitous practices of shroffs in enhancing the price of silver beyond its intrinsic worth prevented & the frivolous unjust clamours raised by artifice against the quality of the Calcutta rupees effectively silenced.

8.       That the Mint Master shall introduce some improvement in the method praticed of casting bullion into ingots, whereby a considerable loss ensues to the merchant, distinguished among the minters by the name of nearah.

9.       That an immediate reduction take place of the monthly charge incurred by unnecessary servants about the mint, a charge which in the space of three years has increased, if I am not mistaken, from little more than twenty to thirty six thousand rupees per annum & which will continually decrease as the mint approaches perfection.

10.   That all the necessary regulations for the coinage of gold be established with the same degree of accuracy & to the same advantage as silver. A branch of mintage with which we are at present perfectly unacquainted [with] to the great prejudice of merchants who are obliged to dispose of their Chquins & Ducats to considerable disadvantage or run the hazard & expense of sending their gold to be coined at Muxadabad, by which the Company also are deprived of their duties

Such, gentlemen, are the regulations which I beg leave to prepare, to the execution of which I am ready to bind myself by any penalty the Honble Board shall prescribe, should a regard to my own reputation & the publick good be deemed insufficient security. In the meantime I shall take the liberty of observing, without intending any reflection on the gentleman now charged with the office of Mint Master for whom I entertain great respect, that no positive benefit can arise to the Company or the Publick from the appointment of an Assay Master unless either he conducts the whole business of the mint or acts in concert with a Mint Master equally qualified with himself in the several branches of coinage. If his reports be not understood they are useless, if they cannot be followed or observed they are superfluous, & the Company has incurred an unnecessary expense by his appointment & by erecting an assay office while the coinage goes on in the old track in the hands of the natives, Subjected to all those abuses flowing from ignorance, which it was intended he should redress.

These however are points on which it may be unbecoming in me to enlargeas they will undoubtedly be very maturely considered by the Honble Board.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/37, facing p449. 22nd November 1764

The Board having now again read the regulations proposed by Mr Campbell, the Assay Master, for the better conducting the business of the mint entered on last Consultation, are of the opinion that he should be appointed Mint Master and have the whole charge of the process of the coinage with directions to proceed with all possible expedition in establishing the regulations proposed for the benefit of the merchants and so necessary for supporting the credit of the mint. That he be ordered to lat weekly reports of the receipts and issues of the mint before the Board for their inspection & it must be the care of the Boardto send for some of the rupees from the mint frequently to be transmitted to England to be there assayed. They are further of opinion that Mr Campbell in consideration of the additional advantage should be immediatley required to instruct two of the Company’s covenant servants who shall be appointed by the Board in the art of assaying and refining that they may be ready to take charge in case of accidents.

Mr Campbell is accordingly appointed Mint Master.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, p45. 21st January 1765

Long letter from the Mint Master (Campbell) expaining where he has got to with the implementation of his regulations

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, opposite p151 also numbered p298. 22nd April 1765

The sub-treasurer applying for our orders how to dispose of the three caties of gold paid in by Captain Lindsey of the Hibernia Snow for the Opium saved out of the Company’s ketch, Nancy, lost in her way to Fort Marlbro’

Agreed and ordered he do send them to the mint to be coined into gold rupees.

Pridmore p188. 12th July, 1765

I will cause the rupees coined in Calcutta, to pass in every respect equal to the siccas of Moorshedabad, without any deduction of batta; and whoever shall demand batta shall be punished.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, opposite p345 also numbered p687. 9th September 1765

A long letter from the Mint Master about batta and how difficult it would be to deal with

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, p370 also numbered p737. 25th September 1765

The accompanying accounts will explain the advantages to the Company & the publick arising from the late regulations established in the mint for the particulars of which I had the honor to present to the Board in the month of January last.

It is difficult to render descriptions of the several processes used intelligible to persons who are not conversant with the business of coinage. I apprehend therefore the most satisfactory exemplification of the above regulations will be to show that they are profitable. Accordingly I have stated the charges and profits on coinage for this & the preceding year, by comparing which it appears that a clear gain of 461399.11 arises from the mint, besides the duty to the Governor & Mint Master, and the profits are encreased this year to the amount of 18887.3.6

Og this sum the Company gain by duty & the extraordinary produce of their own moneynear 13,000 rupees & the merchants the remainder, being a neat [nett?] gain more than ever produced at any former period.

It further appears from the accompanying accounts that the Company’s own coinage for this year exceeds that of the proceeding by 856,599.13.3 besides near double this summ of encreased coinage for the merchants as is evident from the encreased dutys. Yet are the extraordinary charges for coinage no more than 2053.8.8. Hence it is demonstrable there must have been a great reduction of charges, an article which likewise ought to be brought to the Company’s credit.

All these particulars will be further explained by the assay book, which I now have the honor to lay before you. This diary shows the daily issue and receipt of money , the time it is detained in the mint, the fineness of the metal entered & the neat [nett?] produce delivered. By this measure every proprietor of bullion is enabled to determine whether he has received the full amount either by comparing the produce with the assay, or with the produce of the same money at the mints of Bombay & Madras, which will prove the easiest method unless he is skilled in calculations of this nature.

Permit me, my Lord & gentlemen, to request that the papers which I now lay before the Board, the memorial I delivered in January last, the assay book, & my letter to the Select Committee on the subject of batta now before you, may all be transmitted to England by the Admiral Steevens, where by consulting the Tower office, the Honble Court of Directors may be satisfied of the nature of the improvements I have made,and how far my appointment to the direction of the mint has answered expectation.

I must beg leave to observe further that I begin the accounts from the month of June in order to complete the year, altho’ I was not appointed Mint Master until the month of November. Yet, as Mr Middleton left the whole business to my direction,I claim to myself the merit of all advantages obtained for the Company from the time I first took charge of the Assay Office.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, p427 also numbered p851. 24th October 1765

Resuming now the consideration of the Mint Master’s letter to the Select Committee refered to the Board in Consultation the 25th ultimo

Agreed that the siccas of the present year be struck in our mint & that the President do therefore write to the Nabob to enquire when they will be issued at the city, that they may be circulated here at the same time.

Ordered that the Mint Master be further advised hereof

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, opposite p449 also numbered p895. 4th November 1765

The Mint Master sends in a letter recommending as the currency of Arcot rupees coined here are greatly obstructed on account of their bearing the name & titles of the late King, altho’ it cannot be denied that they are of equal intrinsic value with the Madras Arcots, that we will write to that Presidency for the stamp used in their mint.

He also sends in the statement of the bullion agreed to be purchased at our last meeting.

Ordered the letter & statement to be both entered, and

Agreed we apply in our next letter to the Gentlemen at Fort St George for the required stamp.

Finding that siccas of the present year have been already issued from the Nabob’s mint at the city

Agreed the President do write to His Excellency requesting he will immediately stop the circulation of them  & order them to be issued on the 1st of next month that they may be passed from our mint at the same time, and

Ordered that the secretary do give the necessary & usual notice to the Mint Master, sub treasurer & the inhabitants.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, opposite p461 also numbered p918. 4th November 1765

The letter from Campbell about the Arcot rupees

…it is [a] pity therefore that they should pass at a discount merely on account of the impression [i.e. in the name of the old king].

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/38, opposite p520 also numbered p1037. 9th December 1765

Finding that siccas of the 7th sun of his present Majesty’s reign have been issued from the Nabob’s mint, as well as the 6th suns.

Agreed the same be also struck & circulated from our mint at the same time, & to prevent the inconveniences & difficulties which would arise from falling in the usual manner the siccas of the 6th sun so lately coined to the batta of 13 per cent

Resolved further that those rupees shall pass at 15 per cent till the 1st March and from that time till the 1st June at 14 per cent after which they shall pass current at 13 per cent batta and the rupees of the 5th sun which are now at 13 per cent also then fall to sunnauts at 11 per cent.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/39, 454. 2nd June 1766

Mr Campbell the Assay Master being called before the Board reads the regulations proposed by the Committee for establishing a gold coinage. Whereupon they observe it is proposed that the par of exchange between the new gold mohur and the silver sicca rupee shall 15 to 1, which they think too considerable a profit to the merchants & prorietors for bringing their gold to the mint, and are of opinion that the proportion of 14 to 1 which will yield a premium above the par with silver about 8 per cent, will be a sufficient encouragement to them for that purpose. The Assay Master being thereupon directed to make the said alteration digests the whole into the form of a letter which is oredered to be entered hereafter. The other part of the regulation pointed out by the Committee being entirely approved.

Ordered that the said regulations be communicated to the Resident at the Durbar with directions to put them into execution as soon as possible, and that public notice be also given at this Presidency for that purpose.

But, contrary to the end proposed by this plan for stablishing a gold currency, it should encourage the exportation of silver to the northward. It will be necessary to guard as far as we are able against such a circumstance.

Agreed therefore that it be recommended to the Resident at the Durbar to procure proper orders to the Chokies on the boundaries of these provinces strickly to prohibit all exportation of silver.

Letter from Campbell to Calcutta Council, dated 3rd June 1766

In obedience to your commands, I have now the honor to lay before you the plan adopted by the Select Committee and approved by the Ministers for establishing a gold currency to obviate the scarcity of money which so large an annual exportation of bullion to China must necessarily produce.

The scheme hath already been intimated to the Nonble the Court of Directors, not as an effectual remedy, but a palliative that will obstruct the progress of the evil until a more radical cure be discovered.

To give such encouragement to the importation of foreign gold, and advantages to the natives, who hoard up and secrete this metal, as might induce them to apply their useless treasures to the publick benefit, were the great objects of the Committee.

The difficulty lay in fixing upon such a rate of exchange as should answer the intention of bringing gold to the treasury without reducing silver below that natural value which it bears in most kingdoms in Europe, since this circumstance might be productive of inconvenience at home. Gold being mearly a merchandize in Bengal, and the quantity of it already contained in the country very uncertain, it was thought proper to make the mean rate of exchange in Europe the principle upon which the following regulations for a gold currency are calculated.

1.       That a gold mohur shall be struck bearing the same impression with the present Murshidabad sicca & that this mohur shall also be issued in the subdivisions of halves, quarters and eighths.

2.       That the new coin shall be of the fineness of 20 carots; or it shall contain 1/6th part of an alloy, which reduces it to Rs 16-9-4 per cent below the value of pure gold, to 13-7-7 below the mean fineness of the sicca & Delhi mohurs, & to 8-2-2 1/3 beneath the standard of the present Arcot gold mohur. The reasons for fixing upon this standard are that it is deemed the most convenient for allowing the proposed encouragement to the merchants & prorietors of gold, and likewise for avaoiding the great delay and expense of refining in a country where the process is not understood and the materials for conducting it are obtained with difficulty.

3.       That the gold mohur shall be encreased from 15 anas, the present actual weight of the Arcot, to 16 anas, the better to avoid the inconvenience of fractional numbers in the subdivisional parts, and the exchange.

4.       That the par of exchange between this gold mohur and the silver sicca rupee shall for the present be estimated at the rate of 14 to 1, reckoning upon the intrinsic value of either. Thus a gold mohur weighing 15 anas shall be equivalent to 14 sicca rupees.

You will perceive gentlemen, that a discount of 1 in 15 or 6-10-8 per cent is now made on the exchange proposed by the Committee in order to obviate the very reasonable objections which the Board made to the exhorbitant profits assigned to the merchants & proprietors.

5.       That the silver sicca rupee shall not be less than the standard of 11 Oz 15 Dwt or 13 Dwt better than English standard whence will arise

A profit to the merchant of gold    3 per cent

A batta on the gold mogur           3 per cent

A charge for coinage and duties  2 per cent

                                                8 per cent

which increased value is calculated from the generally received exchange of gold & silver, and not upon the market price of gold, which fluctuates daily.

6.       That all payment whether of a publick or a private nature shall be made at the established batta, and that every attempt to make an artifial batta or exchange shall be rigorously punished.

7.       That a tender of payment either public or private shall in future be equally valid in gold & in silver; and that a refusal of the established gold currency shall incur such punishment as this Board may think proper to inflict.

8.       That publicly notice shall be given to all Zamindars, Collectors of revenue & others, that the collections may be made indiscriminately in gold and silver, the former to be received at the mint & Treasury at the rate proposed in the 2nd article, that is the sicca and delhi mohurs to be recoined with an alloy of 13-7-7 and the Arcot mohur with an alloy of 8-2-2 1/3, which will produce agreeably to the principle of exchange laid down, the advantage proposed in article the fifth.

These gentlemen are the articles proposed by the right Honble the President & the members of the Select Committee, upon which I shall beg your permission to offer the following remarks.

The establishing a gold currency in the country appears to me the only practicable method of abolishing that pernicious system of reducing the batta on sicca rupees annually. There being now a fixed standard of value for silver, that metal must in time necessarily settle at the precise point which determines the proportion it bears to gold.Neither will the scarcity of any species of specie affect the batta, since the gold currency will always afford the means of payment without loss by the exchange. The batta of the mohur being invariable, will soon render that of the the silver invariable also, or else the principle of exchange will be destroyed, and of consequence the profit to the merchant will become precarious. This effect, I think, must necessarily flow from the full establishment of a gold currency, and were there no other advantage attending it than the reducing to a first determinate value the great variety of coin with which the business is distracted in this country, that alone would be well worth the experiment.

It will be absolutely necessary that the utmost care be taken to prevent any debasement of the fixt standard of the gold mohur which is already rated so high in the exchange. I should myself apprehend that a fraud of such dangerous tendency to publick credit should be punished with death; and as the English laws will not authorize so rigorous punishment for adulteration of the current coin of Great Britain, that the laws of the country should take place. Your regulation on this head should be published in the mint at Moorshedabad and as a futher check on the coiners, the Resident might be required occasionally to send down specimens of the money to be assayed in Calcutta.

I should likewise imagine that severe penalties should be annexed to the secreting, defacing, clipping or melting down the new coinage, & that the same together with the punishment to be inflicted on every attempt to vary the batta or obstruct the currency should be promulgated in every district of the Nabob’s dominions.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/39, 589. 28th July 1766

The regulations for establishing a gold currency which were proposed and approved in consultation the 2nd June having been publickly advertised at the Presidency

Ordered that the same do take place at the several subordinates & that they be wrote to accordingly. Also that the advertisement be entered after this consultation.

By Oder of the Prsident & Council, 28th July 1766

Notice is hereby given that in order to obviate the inconvenience arising from the prevailing scarcity of silver the Right Honble the President & Council have come to a resolution to establish a gold currency upon the following plan

That a gold mohur be struck of the fineness of 20 carots and 16 annas in actual weight which shall be received in all payments publick and particular at 14 sicca rupees each.

That for the convenience and dispatch of business this coin shall be issued in the subdivisions of halves, quarters and eighths which are to bear the same proportional value as the mohur.

By this par of exchange between gold and silver there will accrue an advantage of 8 per cent on the actual value of gold and more in proportion of its purity according to the medium of the market price on all mohurs, Chequins, Nadarees, gold ingot [Dush] etc that shall be brought to the treasury, which is intended as an encouragement for the importation of that metal.

In consequence of these measures for establishing a gold currency, the publick revenues and all payments to the Honble Company will be received indicriminatley in gold and silver, and a tender of payment in all money transactions both publick and private shall be equally valid in the new gold mohur as in any species of silver rupees.

It appearing to the Prsident & Council that many advantages will result to merchants and the publick in general from the foregoing plan, it is herebt directed to take place from this day, and the Mint Master and sub-treasurer are accordingly directed to receive all gold offered to coinage or payment after the same hath been assayed and the value settled to the satisfaction of the merchant agreeably to the above regulation.

Notice is herebt given that any person or persons discovered in attempting to make a variation in the exchange between gold and silver or in obstructing the currency of the new coin by refusing to accept it in payment, if natives they will be delivered up to the Government to be punished with the utmost severity, if Europeans they will forfeit the Company’s protection and be sent to England forthwith.

Any person or persons detected clipping melting down the new gold currency or attempting the exportation of silver to the northward will also be subject to the penalties aforesaid.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/41, 46, 1017. 31st December 1767

Letter from Campbell to Calcutta Council

I have the honor to lay before you the assay book and mint accounts for the year 1767. These will clearly explain the amounts and increase of coinage notwithstanding the small quantity of bullion imported, & I hope that they will demonstrate that the business is now reduced to as much order and carried on with as much dispatch as the nature of the climate and the disposition of the people will allow.

I have entirely abolished the old method of refining and remelting and introduced one equally simple but better suited to [th…] of the climate, more calculated to prevent frauds in the workmen & more adapted to the purposes of varying expedition in business.

In the coinage of gold I have been less successful nor can any material alteration be made without effecting […] change & refining as they do in Europe by means of spirit of [nitrate?] or antimony which in my opinion will not answer upon the amount of the expense of sending out materials and the danger which will atend the process amonst an ignorant careless sort of people. It was for this reason the Board thought proper to fix the new gold mohurs at so low a standard as might in general avoid the necessity of refining.

Having accomplished all that was proposed when I took charge & deposited with Mr Bentley the fullest instructions upon every difficulty that may occur, I am to request your permission to resign the assay office to that gentleman […] in the space of three years during which he acted as my assistant he has acquired so perfect a knowledge of the business as will enable him to conduct it to your satisfaction.

The mint being entirely cleared and all payments made and accounts brought up to this day, I must also request your leave to resign the employment of Mint Master & the favor of your directions to whom I shall deliver over the charge of the office.

I have already acquainted the Honble President and the members of the Select Committee with the necessity I am under on account of my health & the circumstances of my affairs of proceding this season to Europe. May I be permitted to solicit your orders to Capt Perry for securing on board the Europa myself & family & effects…

Agreed that he be permitted to resign his employments of Mint & Assay Masters & that Mr Alexander be appointed to take charge of the former & Mr Charles Bentley the latter.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/41, 839. 22nd October 1767

The 62nd paragraph of the Honble Company’s General letter dated the 21st November is now read as follows

Mr Campbell’s remarks on the inconveniences which would arise on the fixing the sicca on a permanent footing do not carry any other conviction than that of a temporary inconvenience from the distress it would bring on the shroffs and others who live by the exchange on siccas. We are not convinced it would occasion more frauds in debasing or false coining of rupees & we therefore recommend it to you to take the subject once more under your consideration.

Mr Campbell’s letter on which the Court of Directors make the above remarks is now read as entered in the consultations the 9th September 1765

The Board observe hereon that the fluctuations of the batta on sicca rupees has more than once been the subject of their most serious consideration and every member seems to be equally convinced of the universal benefit that would arise from its being rendered of a permanent value and that their debates on this point have always rested in the proposition of the manner how to carry such a scheme into execution. Further that the great scarcity of silver which at present prevails throughout the provinces is one among the weighty reasons against attempting anything of the kind at this time; but as their utmost wishes are that one day or other it may be effected.

The Board recommends to the President to collect the sentiments of the ministers on this subject as well as to gain every other information he can, that they may be as satisfactory as possible in their answer to the Honble the Court of Directors.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 18th January 1768, facing page 26

Agreed that Mr James Irvin and Mr John Haliburton be appointed assistants under the Assay Master in order to be instructed and learn the business of the assaying and that Mr Bentley be desired to instruct them as expeditiously as possible.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 4th April 1768, p148

The Nabob having informed the  Governor that sicca rupees of the ninth year of his present Majesty Shaw Allum have been struck in the mint at Moorshedabad

Agreed that they be struck in our mint & pass current at 16 per cent batta on the first of May next and that after that time siccas of the eight sun be received into the treasury at 13 per cent only & the rupees of all former years estimated as sonnauts and

Ordered that the Secretary do issue publick notice of the same

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 18th May 1768, Oposite page 198 (also numbered p110)

The Mint Master (James Alexander) lays before us the following letter

The many complaints that are made me by the shroffs from my employment as Mint Master, of people forcing on them in a violent manner gold mohurs and demanding for each 14 sicca rupees, the general distress of the inhabitants for want of a sufficiency of silver currency to procure the common necessaries as well as to carry on their commerce, and the dread of this evil still increasing, occasions my troubling you with this address and not doubting if possible but you will fall on some mode of restifying the same.

The gold mohurs notwithstanding the positive order of the Government that it should produce 14 sicca rupees now sells publickly in the bazar for 13 rupees 12 annas. When I demand of the shroffs the reason of their disobedience in refusing them at the fixed rate they declare it is entirely out of their power from the high price of silver but that they are ready to pay into the Treasury any quantity of gold for silver & that they will afterwards deliver it out at the same exchange they receive it. What they alledge appears to me so very reasonable that I do not see how they can with propriety be forced to exchange silver at a stated rate unless they are supplied with that article in such a manner as will answer the purpose.

I have counciled the principle inhabitants to know if they could point out any method that would render the currency of gold more general. They assure me they know of none and recommend stopping future coinage but that in case the Government are still resolved on its continuance they would then advise the mohur being made of the same fineness as formerly. At present being 1/6th of an alloy all ranks of people consider an idea from the gold mohurs not being quite pure that it is deficient in its intrinsic value and will exchange at any rate rather than hoard them up with a view to carrying tham off in times of danger for which purpose alone they were formerly coined.Whereas when they are pure gold they will be more induced to receive them through the kindom of Bengal in order to conceal them or to manufacture into jewels from a certainty of their being always of such a value.

I am of opinion that fresh orders to the gentlemen who have the collection of the revenues to receive them with the same readiness as silver might assist much their currency.

At present they pass nowhere out of the town of Calcutta unless at a very great discount.

The Board having taken into very mature consideration the subject of the Mint Master’s letter and being fully sensible with him of the necessity of remedying this evil that is to be apprehended will still increase are of the opinion that the first step to be taken to stop its progress is to prevent any more gold mohurs of the new currency being coined.

Agreed and resolved therefore that no more of the mohurs be coined in our mint & that the Mint Master be acquainted with this resolution & at the same time desired to inform us as soon as possible what quantity have been coined in the mint since the currency first took place.

Agreed also that this resolution be communicated to the Resident at the Durbar and Chief of Patna & the same questions issued to them as has been given to the Mint Master here.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 13th June 1768, p226

Letter from the Resident at the Durbar (ie Murshidabad)

…and that he has also informed the ministers with our desire that no more gold mohurs should be coined at the city. That since the commencement of the currency there has been about 70,000 coined

Agreed that we write to Mr Sykes to send us down an account of the exact quantity of mohurs that has been coined at the city.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 27th June 1768, p234

Durbar Letter

…acquainting us in answer to our letter of the 13th he has made enquiry what quantity of new gold mohurs has been coined in the mint at Moorshedabad and is informed by the Tanksall Droga that the whole amount is seventy thousand enclosing a register of dusticks drawn out from the time we desired

As the account of the number of mohurs that have been coined at Moorshedabad is not so forcibly ascertained as we desired

Agreed that we write to the Resident at the Durbar to desire he will send in an account specifying the number and the different times at which they were coined as also what half and quarter mohurs have been coined and that the whole may appear more clear & satisfactory that he will furnish us with a translated copy of the Tanksall Drogah’s monthly accounts since the currency took place.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 27th June 1768, opposire p236 (also numbered p186)

Received a letter from the Chief of Patna dated the 15th inst.acknowledging the receipt of ours of the 18th ult. & transmitting us an account of all the gold mohurs of the new coinage currency which have been coined in that mint since their first establishment acquainting us also that the coinage of those mohurs has been stopped from the 4th of November 1766 & shall remain so until further orders from [us?]

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 18th July 1768, opposire p254 (also numbered p221)

Letter from the Durbar

…and informing us that our orders for sending down an account of the number of gold mohurs coined at Moorshedabad shall be complied with as soon as the Tankshal Droga’s accounts can be translated.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 28thth July 1768, opposire p270 (also numbered p259)

Received a letter from the Resident at the Durbar dated the 20th July transmitting us conformably to our directions a particular account of the number of gold mohurs coined in the mint at Moorshedabad which amount to 78,785

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 1st September 1768, opposire p373 (also numbered p448 and 716)

President’s (Verelst) minute on the subject of the gold currency

The many and great inconveniences resulting from the establishment of our gold currency have for some time been the objects of my most serious consideration; and I flatter myself that the measures already adopted by the Board, of stopping farther coinage, receiving part of the revenues in that specie, and occasionally remitting it to Madras, would have removed or at least mitigated the most material causes of complaint. I now however perceive that instead of a diminution of the old evil, new ones are daily presenting themselves; and that our public credit and the funds for our investments begin to be sensibly affected.It now therefore becomes essentially necessary that the Board should take the matter under their most attentive deliberation; and as I must request the several members opinions concerning the most effectual remedy for so alarming a circumstance, I will embrace this opportunity of laying my own sentiments before them. The principle advantages originally proposed by the institution of a gold currency were 1st to curb the impositions of the shroffs in their arbitrary rise and fall of batta by establishing a coin which should bear everywhere a fixed value. 2nd to encourage the import of gold by putting a current value upon it considerablt above its real one and 3rd to prevent the exportation of it, from the certain loss of that established advance. How little the first of these purposes has been answered will appear from a reference to the state of the batta in the bazar for some months past. Instead of a fluctuation as formerly of one, two or three per cent the silver rupee has risen from 8 to 42 per cent above par; and by that means the power of the shroffs [yra?] to impose, has been encreased in an equal proportion. The consequence of this both to trade and revenues is obvious; the first becomes loaded with a discount at a medium of 10 per cent, as no thing but silver was received in payment here; and in the second case the [renter] was glad to avail himself of the advantage by exchanging the silver rupees he collected for mohurs in the bazar, and deriving to himself thereby a gain of 10 per cent on the amount of his payments. Much of the silver therefore which would otherwise have come into the Treasury was diverted into the hands of the shroffs, who either secreted it to keep up the batta, or sold it at an extravagent premium to those whom necessity obliged to make remittances through the Dutch and French [Cashl], because they could not obtain bills on their own Company, and because those nations positively refused to receive any other species but silver.

The Treasury it is true issued the mohurs in their disbursements at the established rate, but how much to our dishonor must clearly appear from the above mentioned rate of batta as every servant of the Company in Calcutta, both European and Native, received their pay in a specie which they could not apply to their ordinary expenses without losing one tenth of the whole. Fortunately the evil had not proceeded so far at the time of our last years advances; but should it continue I cannot see how we shall find silver to send to the Aurungs for the next, except we subject the Company’s trade to the same tax as that of individuals has been, by exchanging the mohurs at the current batta of the bazar.

The second and third ends indeed have been accomplished; but instead of advantage, have been productive of the most essential detriment. It is a certain proposition that the particular encrease of any species of coin will either sink its own value, or, what is in fact the same, raise that of the other currentcoins, which may be in a smaller proporation. If this surplus cannot be exported without loss, the evil becomes more difficult of cure, and of the higher value the species of coin is, the more severely it will be felt. If we apply this to ourselves,it will clearly evince that the encoragement to import, and the losses fixed on the exportation of gold have been so far from benefiting us that they have been of very [general] disservice and only loaded us with the superfluity of a coin the least calculated for trade or general circulation.

Thus situated, a speedy remedy becomes absolutely necessary, but this remedy must be attended with loss and the only question is whether that loss might fall on the Company or the community. The general practice of other governments in similar cases does not I believe afford a precedent for the latter measure but whenever necessity or policy has occasioned any coin to be debased, and from considerations equally important the former standard reestablished, the deficiency always fell on the state and not on the people.

In the present situation of affairs and this favourable season of the year, when the revenues are bringing in large sums of silver, I will venture to recommend the following measures; I would propose that public notice be given that we are ready for a limited time, to receive into the Treasury all mohurs struck with our marks at the rate of 14 siccas, their face value, and give interest notes for them at 8 per cent payable in twelve months; and that as many new mohurs of the Delhy standard and weight be issued as may be deemed necessary for the currency of the business.

This plan will be attended with many capital advantages and I cannot see one objection of weight to it. 1st the temptation of the receipt of mohurs at their established batta, and the apprehension of an immediate reduction of 10 per cent on that currency, together with the usual public rate of interest of 8 per cent for the year, will induce many to throw large sums into our treasury, which at this juncture, may be advantageously employed on the Compnay’s accounts; 2nd the loss to the Company will be small, as the surplus of the mohurs received and reissued can be sent to Madras for their necessary supplies, and a smaller discount than rupees, and the whole balance itself is by no means considerable as will appear by the annexed statement; and lastly it may probably induce many to vest considerable sums in this fund in preference to remitting them to Europe through the channel of foreign nations upon the present disadvantageous terms.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/43, 1st September 1768, p375 (also numbered p453)

Total of Gold mohurs coined in the following mints

In Calcutta                                                      177871

Patna                                                             15974

Moorshedabad                                                70000

Total                                                              263145

Sent to Madras by different conveyances           134417

Balance                                                          128728

 

The Board agreed with the President’s proposal stating that they would like to have done it before but for the lack of silver. Also they now had the endorsement of the Court of Directors. The records go on:

Agreed and resolved to abolish this establishment of the gold currency and annul the orders of the Select Committee regarding it, and for the space of 15 days ensuing from the publication of this resolution to receive into the Treasury all gold mohurs of the late currency at the full rate of fourteen sicca rupees, their original fixed value, and for every amount of the same above the sum in and value of one thousand rupees to issue interest notes payable in or within the space of twelve months which said notes are to bear an interest of 8 per cent per annum from their respective dates, and that no gold mohurs so received are to be again issued out of the Treasury…

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 20 March 1769

Firstly there is a petition from the Armenian merchants settled in Calcutta complaining of the lack of coin and its effect on business.

There then follows a long discussion agreeing with this and a determination to correct it by issuing a new gold coinage this time composed of single, half, quarter, eighth & sixteenth mohurs, but of a higher intrinsic value

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 26 April 1769, No. 51, 84. p286

Received a letter from the Governor & Mr Becher dated the 20th April 69 enclosing a letter from the Governor to the Nabob recommending to his consideration the proposed plan of a gold coinage for the relief of the distress occasioned to publick & private business from the want of specie in the country, & the Nabob’s answer to it and informing us that this plan has met with the general approbation of those whose experience & understanding in this branch is well known. That as soon as the new mohurs are struck they will send us specimens of each size in order that the exact proportion of weight and fineness may be ascertained, & in the meantime publick notice will be issued by the Government to foreign nations & throughout the provinces of the establishment of the new currency, and as the distress of individulas almost approached to general bankrupcy & the publick revenue would in all probability have soon felt the effects of a growing eveil they are in a particular mannerflattered by the general voice & sentiment in favour of the measures to be taken for its relief.

Agreed that we acknowledge receipt of their letter & inform these gentlemen that we feel very particular satisfaction at the general approbation expressed of the intended new coinageso necessary to restore a currency to trade & relieve the country from those evils which  naturally proceed from a want of specie, that we request they will promote the coinage & help the circulation of the new mohurs by all the means in their poweras the distresses occasioned by the want of it increase daily, & desire they will send us stamps of the several new coins as soon as possible as we wait for them to serve as models for our new coinage in Calcutta.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 8th May, 1769. p317

Read, the following letter from the Mint Master (Charles Floyer)

Having received from the Governor samples of a new gold mohur and its divided parts which the country government deems most likely to effect the salutary effects proposed by this Board in the estaqblishment of a new gold currency, I have now the honor to lay them before you together with a letter from the Assay Master on the subject for your determination.

The Assay Master’s letter begins:

In consequence of your directions I have assayed the gold mohurs & their divided parts which have been lately coined in the mint at Moorshedabad…

Read also the following extract of a letter from the Resident at the Durbar, to the Select Committee dated the 5th May 1769

Some mohurs of the new gold coinage were received yesterday in part of the [poonkah Kists] & the ministers will immediately issue strict orders for receiving in all the districts gold when offered in payment of the revenues and I hope the currency will be established without difficulty.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 15 May, 1769. No. 95. p326

Received a letter from the Governor & Mr Becher dated the 11th May from Bauleah acknowledging the receipt of our letter of the 26th ultimo assuring us that every means in their power shall be exerted to encourage & support the currency of the gold coinage.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 30 May, 1769. No. 72, 106, 107. p359ff

Received, a letter from the Governor & Mr Becher dated the 22nd May advising us of the receipt of our letter of the 8th instant & that in consequence thereof they had procured an assay from the mint at Moorshedbad of the new mohurs from which it appears that in 100 mohurs there are 97 mohurs of pure gold & 14-12-2 & by this there is a difference between the assay made at Moorshedabad & the one taken by our Assay Master.They therefore recommend that a further trial may be made upon the samplessent by Mr Verelst to the Mint Master.

That they with pleasure observe that the new mohurs issued at the city have met with a free and ready circulation, & they hope the same success from our coinage in Calcutta.

Received a letter from the chief at Patna dated 21st May acquainting us that particular directions have been received from the Nabob by Rajah [Shitabroy] for establishing a gold coinage at Patna & as it is mentioned among the regulations that a person should be stationed on the part of the Company to prevent any frauds in the coinage he requests our orders concerning it.

More details of the assays then follow with the Calcutta Assay Master repeating his figures and questioning those of Murshidabad. The big question is, which is right? Because they both want to use the same standard.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 17th June, 1769. No. 100,117. p388ff

More discussion of the assays at the two mints of Calcutta and Murshidabad, and they finally agree that the gold standard of Mohurs of Muhammad Shah are what they will go for.

The Board being fully satisfied as well from the recommendation of the ministers, as from the report now laid before them by the Assay Master, that the standard of Mahomed Shaw approaches the nearest to the proportional value between gold and silver,

Do agree and resolve that the resolutions of the 20th March shall immediately take place, and the subordinates be advised thereof, the chiefs directed to appoint some person on the part of the Company to superintend the business of the mint and see that the regulations be properly attended to. And that the secretary issue publick advertisements of this our resolution for the information of the inhabitants of the town.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 27th June. 1769. P443

Letter from the Mint Master (Charles Floyer) to Calcutta Council, dated 26th June 1769

I have the honor to acquaint you that in conformity of your orders of […] the new ten sun sicca rupees were struck in the Calcutta mint on the 1st instant.

On reference to the mint books I observed an annual charge of [Enum] or gratuity given to the servants employed in the mint upon the coinage of a new sicca. This has been a prevailing custom since the establishment of this mint, and of late years the sums paid on this account have amounted to eight and nine hundred rupees. As the Honble Company’s disbursements in that department last year exceeded their receipts above ten thousand rupees, and as I do not see a probability of any advantage accruing to them for the present year, I decreased the gratuity in the late coinage to seventy five rupees, which sum as I understand it to be the established custom in all the mints of Bengal, I caused to be distributed among those servants who had heretoforebeen thought entitled to it, not chusing without your orders, totally to abolish a custom, which in times of the mints prosperity was, I conclude, deemed a necessary indulgence to the several artists employed therein.

Having accidentally met with a few new Moorshedabad sicca rupees stamp’d differently from those which have been usually issued from that & the Calcutta mints, I beg leave to lay them before you. On my first discovering the difference, I could not but suspect they were of base metal, and accordingly desired the Assay Master to prove the quality of them, but he has reported them to be of equal purity with the established sicca. However, I apprehend some inconveniences may arise if sicca rupees are permitted to be issued from the same mint with different stamps.

Agreed that we write to the Resident at the Durbar and acquaint him that our Mint Master has laid before us three new siccas rupees of the Moorshedabad coinage, stamped differently from those which have been usually issued from the Moorshedabad and Calcutta mints; which we send to him and request he will enquire of the ministers whether such rupees have been issued from the mint & the city & inform him we should be glad to be acquainted with the reason of this difference in the stamp.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 3rd July, 1769. No. 137. p453

Letter from the Resident at the Durbar stating that the ministers assured him they would do everything in their power to ensure that the gold coinage was a success. Also that not many gold coins had been struck but those that had had been well received.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 18 July, 1769. No. 129. p494

Received, two letters from the Durbar dated the 4th & 13th of July the former acknowledging receipt of our letter of the 27th ultimo & informing us that in consequence of our orders he has enquired of the Nabob the cause of the difference in the stamp upon the new Moorshedabad sicca rupees and likewise sent the three we enclosed him, for his inspection. That he encloses to us an extract from the Nabob’s answer, and three new Moorshedabad siccas, that they may be compared with those we sent him which he now returns, as neither the ministers nor himself are able to discover any differences between the two..

Agreed that we acknowledge the receipt of these letters and acquaint Mr Becher that the sicca rupee hath heretofore had the figure of a sun upon the stamp & those we sent him in our letter of the 27th ultimo had that of a crescent or half moon, from which it is evident that there is a difference in the stamps. And as we apprehend from the circumstance some alteration may have been made, we could wish to have been informed of it as it is necessary the stamps of all the mints ahouls correspond and therefore whenever any alterations are to be made in the impressions at the city, we desire to be informed of it, that the same may take place in our mint, but we should be glad that for the future one fixed stamp might be observed & no innovations made, as we are apprehensive it will only create confusion of the shroffs might make some advantage of it by raising a […] the batta

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 1 August, 1769. No. 158. p506

Letter from the Resident at the Durbar saying that the Nawab agrees not to make further changes without letting them know.

Ordered that the Mint Master give the mark of a crescent instead of the current one of the sun, upon the new sicca rupees.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/44, 26 October, 1769. No. 187. p467

Letter from the Durbar (Mr Becher)

…and that it appears to him as the siccas of Moorshedabad, Patna & Dacca are of the same fineness and weight that if they were coined with the same marks in such a manner that it might not be known which mint they came from, that this would promote circulation, be a relief to the trade, and prevent the shroffs taking those unfair advantages they now do from the knowledge of the particular mint the species are coined at. That he communicated his sentiments upon the matter to the ministers who entirely concur in opinion with him.

Agreed that we acknowledge the receipt of these letters and acquaint Mr Becher that his proposal for fixing the same marks upon all siccas coined in the mints of Moorshedabad, Dacca & Patna meet with our entire approbation and that we wish to see it adopted as soon as possible not only for the reasons he has given but because it may prove an introductory step to the scheme of abolishing all distinction of batta. That there is some danger the credit of our mint may suffer from this community of marks, unless very particular care be taken that the fineness and weight of those rupees coined in other mints strictly correspond with those coined in our own.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/46, 9th January 1770. p38

That we have appointed Mr James Irwin to the Durbar – to superintend the mint

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/46, 11 January 1770. p47 also numbered p88

Agreed that we answer the 18th & 19th paragraphs [of the letter from Court] relative to the gold coinage in the following manner in our next address to the Court of Directors. That the gold coinage which we had before advised them was established in order to alleviate the general distress of the merchants arising from the great scarcity of silver specie that then prevailed, hath in some degree answered this desirable end. And the so the coinage has from its purity been universally esteemed & received with general satisfaction. That we deem it most expedient to refer the making any alteration in the present establishment until the arrival of their sentiments in answer to what we have already wrote upon this subject.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/46, 13th March 1770. p228 also numbered 311

Letter from the Durbar to Calcutta

…The second dated the 5th March acknowledging ours of the 26th ulto and promising obedience thereto. The orders of the Directors for having a fixed rupee have engaged his attention and he has conferred with Mahomed Reza Cawn on the subject, whose opinion is that the proposed regulation of having siccas coined in the mints of Moorshedabad, Calcutta, Patna and Dacca of the same fineness and mark should take place when the 11 sun siccas are issued which is fixed by the ministers of the 5th May next. Strict orders will be sent to the Patna and Dacca mints and a few of the Moorshedabad rupees some of which he now forwards to us will be sent there with the implements for stamping them. He apprehends we shall issue orders for having the rupees stamped in the Calcutta mint in future of the same standard and mark as those of the other mints. The ministers have strictly injoined the superintendants of the Ptna and Dacca mints to be careful that no deviation or adulterationis admitted and he promises to pay great attention to this object at the City with the assistance of Mr Irwin. He hopes this measure will have the way for a fixed rupee which would be very beneficial for the trade of these provinces. He is opinion together with Mahomed Reza Cawn that siccas of the 11 sun should be issued and that the change from a fluctuating to a fixed rupee should be gradual, and they think that in future rupees may ever continue to be issued of the 11 sun which will [by] degree effect the desired reformation without making any bustle amongst the shroffs or giving them an opportunity of controverting these measures. An objection however to the continuation of the 11 suns appears, which is that stamping on the rupees the year of the King’s reign is one of the marks of Empire, which by this method will be abolished. And he leaves to our decision whether this shall prevent a measure so beneficial to the Country and our employers. The mint being very distant from his house and requiring Mr Irwin’s constant attendance he begs permission to procure an habitation for him amounting to about 3500 Rupees and he wishes we would fix Mr Irwin’s allowance.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/46, 20th March 1770. Facing p245

The letter from the Resident at the Durbar of the 5th instant on the subject of the coinage being now taken into consideration.

The Board is of opinion that the following regulations are the most likely to produce the desired alteration.

That the siccas rupee ought to be the fixed standard coin and that the rate of batta between that and the current rupee should be fixed at 16 per cent.

That the rupees coined in the mints of Calcutta, Muxadavad, Patna & Dacca should have no particular mark to distinguish the coinage of one mint from that of another.

That the coinage at all the mints should be of the same weight and fineness.

That the value of rupees of every other denomination should be determined by the difference of purity between them and the standard sicca rupees.

But as this is to be considered only as the ground work of the plan

Agreed that we deisre the Resident at the Durbar to furnish us with a table of the different sorts of rupees in use in the provinces, particularizing their weight and fineness; and likewise musters of each that we may be enabled to determinethe relative intrinsic batta between them and the sicca.

And also to inform us of the average batta each sort generally passes at in the different provinces

Also agreed that we send him a copy of the above regulations desiring him to consult the ministers and communicate to us any new lights which may occur to him or them tending towards the making of the plan more perfect

And in the meantime to defer issuing the publication for the new year’s siccas.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/46, 12th April 1770. Facing p300

Received a letter from the Resident at the Durbar, dated the 9th instant, acknowledging ours of the 20th ult and acquainting us that the Nabob Mahomed Reza Cawn agrees with him that the point wanted to be effected is the preventing of the shroffs taking batta on rupees only because they happen to be coined a year or two sooner or at some particular mint, which they think can be done no other way then by a fixed standard rupee coined exactly the same in the four mints and to pass whilst it retains its original value at the same rate whether it is one or ten years old. That as to the species of rupees which are not the coin of the country it does not appear to them possible to settle a fixed batta upon them in the provinces, but they should be considered as merchandize. He encloses a table of the different sorts of rupees in use in the provinces with musters of each. He has countermanded the order for issuing the 11 sun siccas till our further directions which he begs may be soon, he being strongly of opinion that having the rupees coined in the four mints exactly the same is very essential towards the desired purpose and may promote but cannot prejudice any plan we may adopt for fixing a standard rupee.  If this is directly executed we shall have a twelve months to observe its effect and to form proper resolutions. The only inconvenience he can forsee will be the difficulty of tracing frauds in the coinage, though this may be greatly prevented by proper caution. If this plan takes place he supposes we will have the rupees in all the four mints struck with the same marks as those he sent musters of…

Ordered that the inclosures be entered after the proceedings

The Board having attentively considered the subject of the Durbar letter, agree to the following regulations regarding the coinage.

That 11 sun siccas shall be issued the first day of May. That all rupees coined in the mints of Patna, Muxadavad and Dacca shall be exactly the same in fineness, weight, mark and stamp.

That the siccas of last year shall continue to bear the same value and shall be received accordingly in payment of the revenue.

That old siccas of the same weight and fineness with the Moorshedabad sicca shall pass and be received as new siccas and in case of deficiency in weight of any old siccas of the present standard a proportionable deduction of its value shall be made.

Agreed that we send a copy of them to the Resident at the Durbar acquainting him of our desire of having them put into execution as soon as possible and requesting that for this purpose he will communicate them to the ministers for their approbation & desire tham to lose no time in circulating them throughout the provinces and as it is essentially necessary to the success of all regulations that the strictest obedience should be paid by them, he is desired to recommend to the ministers their taking the most effectual means in their power to have these issued in the most public manner and observed with the most scrupulous attention.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/47, 8th May 1770. p6

Letter from the Resident at the Durbar (Murshidabad) dated 1st May 1770

He informs us that he communicated to the ministers our intention of having all sicca rupees old as well as new pass at the same rate and be received on account of the revenues in all parts while they retain their weight and are not adulterated. He sends us Mahomed Reza Cawns opinions on this subject by which we may perceive that the minister thinks the present is not a proper time for making so great an alteration and that it will be attended with great difficulty whenever it is undertaken. He owns himself to be of the same opinion for the shroffs being the only natives possessed of great wealth (which renders them formidable) every art will be used and every endeavour exerted to frustrate aour plan. The revenues will be paid in the oldest rupees and when we issue them again, many objections will be raised. The military will complain; merchants will demand higher prices for their goods. All the old rupees will find their way to our treasury and we shall be obliged to coin them at the Company’s expense & loss. He begs leave to offer as his opinion that whenever this scheme is attempted it should be introduced gradually and imperceptibly, to which purpose he recurs to his former opinion, that for the present year it would be sufficient to coin the same rupees in the four mints & let them be circulated till the time of coining the 12 sun siccas when the 11 sun succas should continue to be coined & should never be altered in future.By these means the old rupees would by degrees be all brought in and received without loss to Government & the shroffs could not greatly impede the general circulation. But should we conserve of opinion that all sicca rupees should pass at the same batta and that the Company should bear any loss from the revenues being paid in old rupees, he hopes we will consider the increasing miserable state of the country and the apprehension of a total failure of the august crop of rice, which would make the revenues of the next year fall very short. He thinks we should not reckon on receiving more then 130 lacks of rupees. He leaves to our judgement whether in such an unfavourable season the risk of a further reduction would be eligible.

He requests our speedy orders on the subject and has stopped issuing the 11 sun siccas till he receives our directions. The Dutch & many private merchants wait for the order to send their monay to the mint. He is assured by the people of the Muxadabad mint that they have assayed their new rupee with the Calcutta siccas & find the latter inferior. He supposes we mean that the 11 sun siccas are everywhere to be coined exactly the same as those sent to Calcutta, in which case there needs no delay in issuing them, as rupees were sent to Dacca & Patna at the same time they were to Calcutta.

 

Agreed we answer him as follows. That in Mahomed Reza Cawn’s objections to our regulations for the coinage we think he has produced no argument of weight against them nor is he explicit in pointing out the evils he apprehends. But, tho’ we adhere to our former opinion that our plan will be of general benefit to the country, and think the scheme very practicable, yet some considerations induce us to decline putting it into execution at this juncture. That we expect a measure so essentially prejudicial to the interests of the shroffs will be warmly opposed by them & they will strenuously endeavour to frustrate it. But this ought not to deter us from adopting it, for a vigorous exertion of Government will baffle all their attempts, and a certainty of this creates our present objection to the immediate execution of this measure. The wealth of the shrofs is an object particularly to be considered in the present argument. The interest of [the] country is certainly promoted by monied men, and in the present situation of this country they should by every encouragement be ordered to reside in it. Now it is possible that the shroffs might on this measure’s taking place withdraw into those countries where they can make more advantage of their wealth, which would add greatly to our present distress and though this is not a certain consequence, we think it should not be hazarded at this very critical period. We threfore have agreed to postpone our former intentions.

 

The Mint Master begs leave to lay before the Board two reports from the Assay Master, whereby it appears that the Calcutta sicca proves heavier than the Muxadabad and that they are both equally fine.

 

Ordered that the reports be entered after the consultations

 

Agreed that we enclose copies of them to the Resident for his more particular information and remark to him that some mistake must have been made in the assays at Moorsheabad, and inform him we mean the 11 sun siccas should be coined in all the mints exactly the same as those he sent.

 

p10 has the letter form the Nawab, which says more or less the same as above

 

p11 has a list of assays of all the circulating rupees

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/47, 22 May 1770, p19

Letter from the Resident at the Durbar dated 15th May

Informing us of his having communicated to the ministers our final resolutions respecting the coinage. In consequence whereof they have sent orders to the several mints to issue the 11 sun siccas on the 27 instant.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/48, 14 January 1771. p149 & 153 also numbered 75 & 77

Mr Herbert Harris appointed Mint Master from the last day of February

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 23 May 1771. p97 also numbered 49

Letter from Murshidabad (Messrs Barwell & Graham) to Calcutta dated 16th May 1771

We have received information from the Naib Duan that the siccas of the 12th sun were agreeably to custom struck in September last and the Nuzzers usual on the occasion presented to his Majesty Shah Allum and the Honble the President of Fort William and that the period at which they are generally circulated is now passing away.

We have now the honour to transmit you the die for the Calcutta mint together with 5 rupees as a sample of the coinage and are to request your orders for immediatley issuing the 12th sun sicca as a longer delay will impede the currency of business and as a quantity of bullion in the hands of the Dutch company is by them kept back until they can coin it into the sicca of this year.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 23 May 1771. p99 also numbered 50

Resolved that we send to Moorshedabad extracts of our correspondence with the Resident, now read at the Board, relative to the coinage, and as it appears to be a favourable period for carrying our plan into execution

Agreed that we do require their opinion, at the same time acquainting them we are determined no 12 sun siccas shall be issued in the meantime…

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 23 May 1771. p101 also numbered 51

Letter to Murshidabad from Calcutta dated 23rd May 1771

The establishing of a fixed standard rupee throughout the provinces has long employed our attention & we had a design of carrying it into execution last year but the calamitous situation of the country induced us to postpone our intention. As we judge the present to be a favourable opportunity for executing this plan, we desire that you will without delay send us your’s & the Naib Duan’s opinion on it that we may see if it is necessary that we should alter or correct our plan. To assist your judgement we shall by tomorrow’s post forward to you copies of the correspondence that passed between the late Resident Mr Becher and this Board on the subject.

In the meanwhile we have resolved that no 12 sun siccas shall be issued particularly as the Naib Duan concurred in opinion on this subject last year, and we see no reason why he should change it now. Those that have been struck can only be a few that to keep up the customary ceremony were sent as a nuzzer to the King, otherwise the Naib Duan must have acted contrary to his own opinion and what he knows to be our intention.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 10 June 1771. p141 also numbered 71

Letter from Murshidabad (Alexander, Barwell & Graham) to Calcutta dated 30th May 1771

We have been favoured with your commands under date the 23rd instant.

On the subject of the coinage of the new siccas we shall have the honour to address you when we have been furnished with the Naib Duan’s sentiments.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 5 July 1771. p198

Read a letter from Murshidabad.

The subject of the coinage being so very important and the members of the Board at present so few, and as Mr Aldersey will be soon able to attend and Mr Middleton is expected in a few days

Agreed we refer the consideration of it to a further Board.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 6 August 1771. p298

Letter from Murshidabad (Barwell & Graham) to Calcutta dated 24th June 1771

On the 30th Ultimo we had the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your commands under the date the 23rd of that month to which we come now more particularly to reply.

It was not our intention neither that of the Naib Duan to have issued the siccas of the 12th sun without your orders and approbation. The application we made to you with that view was grounded in your letter of the 8th May 1770 to the late Resident in which for the consideration therein mentioned you determined to postpone your intentions on the subject of fixing a standard rupee throughout the provinces. These considerations appearing still to operate in full force, we concluded had induced you to decline reviving this subject and we therefore applied for your authority to issue the new siccas as a matter of annual form. The same idea seems to have impressed the Naib Duan (copy of whose representation we now enclose you) as likewise the late Resident who we do suppose must have conceived it your intention that the new siccas would at the usual time become current when he authorized the striking the customary number for the Nuzzers to be sent to the Court & to the Prsidency.

Having now called for our opinion on the object of your present deliberations, we must beg leave to confess we think it a subject of so much intricacy and so very liable to be influenced by temporary circumstances and considerations that time and experience can prove how far the regulation proposed may be of real utiliy to the country and benefit to the Government.

The late Resident in his address of the 1st May offered to you many arguments on this measure which appear to have merited your consideration. We must beg leave again to recur to what he then set forth with respect to the calamitous state of the country in so far that tho’ the calamity itself has passed over yet has not the country recovered from its effects which are still felt in a greater or lesser degree throughout the provinces, and therefore in regard to the period for adopting this regulation the present seems to be as improper as the last year.

In addition to this argument permit us to observe that unless the regulation can be enforced in the adjacent kin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              gdoms where the same species of coin is current, the end you propose by it will, we apprehend, be rendered inefficacious. Custom and the influence of the shroffs have established an arbtrary value on the jeloos or new sicca rupee, the profit accruing thereby is the principal inducement to the merchant to coin his bullion and bring it into circulation, and if he cannot obtain the same profit by coining it in our mints as he can by those of Benares, Allahabad etc, it naturally follows that he will carry his bullion there to be coined and these provinces will be drained of their specie, and it likewise follows that if this observation is given to the business of the shroffs and money dealers they will withdraw themselves from their present places of residence to follow their professions in those countries where they shall meet with encouragement. If the arbitrary value hitherto affixed to the sicca rupee is now abolished the merchant will not be able to afford any duty on coinage. Of course, instead of the revenue which has hitherto arisen from the mint, the government the Government will become chargeable with a certain expense annually upon recoinage. These sentiments we offer with all diffidence as it is a subject in itself so very nice and may in its consequences prove so important, every effort of ours shall be exerted to carry into execution and render efficacious whatever resolution you mat think proper to adopt.

Letter from the Naib Duan to Murshidabad (no date)

The gentemen of Council write that on the subject of circulating the siccas of the 11th sun and prohibiting the coinage of the 12th, they perceive a difference in the opinion expressed by me last year and the present. Let the gentlemen of the Council consider this matter with attention. It is impossible that there can be any difference in my sentiments. Last year my meaning was that with regard to establishing a perpetual circulation of the 11 sun sicca which the gentlemen proposed, they were the rulers of the country and it might be done, but whether this regulation would tend to the welfare of the country and benefit of the Government or not could only be ascertained after a course of time. This was my answer last year, and the gentlemen paying regard to Mr Becher’s representation in consideration of the distress in which the country was then involved relinquished their intention. From that time I had not again the least information that this subject would afterwards be revived. For this reason therefore I informed the gentlemen of the Council here that the season was come for circulating the 12 sun siccas and asked their orders whether they should be circulated.

Let the gentlemen of the Council from this determine what difference there is in my opinion, and now that the Board have again wrote on the subject of establishing the siccas of the 11 sun, this is again my answer: that if such is the gentlemen’s pleasure, I shall adopt this regulation of the 11 sun and use every means that depends upon me for inforcing & perfecting it, but after the remarks made by me last year, I can only add that whether from this regulation good or evil will result, a further length of time can alone determine. Whatever is the final resolution of the Board it is requisite that they give their orders speedily, because in the manner that business remains at present in suspense, it certainly occasions detriment both to the Government of the country – first because the business of the mint being suspended, the Government duties are not received – and secondly because the merchants are thereby induced to export bullion out of the country – besidesw it is necessary if they establish the 11 sun siccas for ever, that they give intelligence thereof to his Majesty, because every year new siccas are struck and issued. If now the new siccas be struck a new nuzzer be sent to the presence and they afterwards not be circulated it will be an impropriety towards the King and a slight to the throne. As for the rest whatever orders they may give me shall be carried into execution.

Board’s discussion

In order to lead us to a determination on a matter of so much importance, it was thought necessary to recur to the several proceedings before had on this subject as well as the orders received from the Honble Court of directors relative thereto in their several letters.

The Board having maturely weighed and considered the orders of the Honble Court and all the arguments that have occurred on this occasion are fully satisfied as to the utility of having a standard coin, to prevent the evident inconveniences arising from the fall of batta on the siccas of the two proceeding years, one to the denomination of old siccas and the other to sonnauts, upon the annual coinage of the new sicca rupee. The question turns only on the practicability of enforcing such an expedient. The fatal effect of the famine last year made that an improper season to attempt the introduction of a change in a system of such a nature so long and universally established, and although experience only can prove how far the good consequences to be hoped for and expected from it will be verified, yet as the country is now relieved from that unhappy calamity, the Board are of opinion that no further time should be lost in their endeavours to introduce so salutary a measure.

It appears to the Board that as the sicca rupee is the established standard coin of the country, the values of the others will always be determined by it, and consequently by depriving this standard of its annual fluctuation the most essential part of the plan will be carried into execution.

In prosecuting this scheme the Board are sensible of the impractibility of raising those sicca which have already become sonauts to their original value, and almost equally so of recalling them into the treasury for recoinage, as an attempt towards it would raise their batta beyond the real value and the purchase of them at the arbitrary prices fixed by the owners would be attended with too considerable an expense. The Board therefore can only revert back as far as the 11 suns, or the siccas of the year 1770, which are yet siccas, no 12 sun siccas having been yet coined, and issue orders that altho’ 12 sun siccas are to be coined, yet the 11 suns must still circulate at the batta of 16 per cent, not only during the present year but for all future ones, altho’ the regular succession of years will continue to be merked on the rupees annually to be coined in our mints. By this method the number of sonaut rupees will gradually diminish by the yearly recoinage of a part of them inti siccas without the heretofore annual increase by the siccas becoming sonaut. It is therefore natural to conclude they will in a short course of years be entirely recoined, and such siccas as thro’ circulation for a length of time may become greatly deficient in weight will of course have so much deduted in payments and receipts on that account.

As the annual marking the King’s reign on the rupee will be attended with no inconveniences, and as an ensign of royalty will be preserved, the abolishing of which must undoubtedly give umbrage to the King, the Board think it most prudent and adviseable to adopt the measure.

For the above mentioned reasons it is therefore agreed and resolved

That 12 sun siccas shall be coined in the several mints in the same manner as the 11 suns were last year, and that the annual coinage of siccas shall hereafter continue to be marked as usual with the current year of the King’s reign.

That the 11 suns shall not fall in their value, but shall pass on the same footing as siccas of the present and every future year throughout the provinces, and that whenever siccas of any future year shall be issued, they shall not reduce the siccas of the former years as far back as the 11 suns, to the state of sonauts, but they shall be considered and pass in payment at the same value as the siccas of the current year.

That the 10 sun siccas shall be considered and shall pass as a sonaut rupee, and that all other species of rupees shall pass and be received as heretofore.

Agreed also that the above resolutions be transmitted to the Moorshedabad and Patna Revenue Councils in the following letter for their guidance.

The above is then repeated with an instruction to pass the oreders to the Nizamut at Patna and Dacca.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 26 August 1771. p369 also numbered 189

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 20th August 1771

Your orders respecting the coinage have been communicated to his Excellency the Naib Duan, and our utmost endeavours will be exerted to enforce the regulations you have been pleased to lay down

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 26 August 1771. p370

Agreed the following publication be made throughout the town of Calcutta

This is to give notice to all merchants and others residing under the Honble Company’s protection at this settlement that they have ordered sicca rupees of the twelfth year of his present Majesty Shah Allum’s reign to be struck in the Honble Compnay’s mint and to pass current at 16 per cent batta on the 12th day of September next ensuing. And they likewise give public notice that this coinage of the twelve sun siccas shall not cause the 11 sun siccas to fall in their value, but that they (the 11 sun sicca) shall pass the same footing as they have heretofore done, that is to say at the batta of 16 per cent. And whenever new siccas of any future year shall be issued, the siccas of the former years as far back as the 11 suns shall not fall in their value or be reduced to the state of sonauts but they shall be considered and pass in payments at the same value as the siccas of the current year. The ten sun siccas are from the 12th day of September next to be considered to pass as sonaut rupees. And all other sorts of rupees are to pass and be received as heretofore.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 26 August 1771. p381 also numbered 195

The Export Warehouse Keeper lays before the Committee a list of sums required for the supply of the investment providing at the several Aurangs amounting to Current rupees four lacks…

Arcots

Hurriaul

50,000

Buddaul

25,000

Siccas

Keerpoy

50,000

Hurripaul

40,000

10 sun siccas

Santipore

30,000

Burron

20,000

Sonauts

Sonamookey

50,000

Siccas

Gollagore

65,000

Chandernagore

30,000

Cullorah

15,000

Barnagore

10,000

Culcutta

15,000

 

 

4,00,000

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 16 September 1771. p443 also numbered 226

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 7th September 1771

By the new regulations which you have been pleased to establish, sonaut rupees, we apprehend, will no longer be procurable for the payment of the brigades stationed in this province, we at present issue ¾ sonauts & ¼ siccas and the siccas are valued at 15 per cent better than current, agreeably to a regulation established during Lord Clive’s administration but of late their value in the bazaar has only been from 2 to 3 per cent better than sonauts, and the Moorshedabad siccas have been one per cent worse then the Patna siccas, notwithstanding we have done all in our power to make them pass at an equal rate, and in other parts of the province the difference is still greater.

The troops in consequence have not failed to express some discontent at being paid even a ¼ in siccas and of course they will be much more dissatisfied now that siccas must be paid them in a much larger proportion.

We beg leave to enclose for your observation a copy of a correspondence which we had on the subject with Colonel Grant and we request to be favoured with your commands on what terms the troops should be paid in future.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 16 September 1771. p443 also numbered 226

Letter from Calcutta to Patna dated 16th September 1771

We have received your letters of the 6th & 7th instant and are greatly concerned at the inconveniences which lieutenant Col Grant represents to be experienced by the troops at Monghyr on account of the Muxadavad siccas advanced to them in part of their monthly pay.

Tho’ our resolution is fixed for carrying into execution the new regulations concerning the coinageand we expect every endeavour on your part to enforce them within your department, we shall consider at the same time on some measures to prevent the army being sufferers, and in the meantime we desire that you will issue as many sonauts as you possibly can.

It appears suprizing to us that the troops at Monghyr or indeed that anyone should be able to distinguish the Patna siccas from those of Muxadavad after our positive orders have been issued that all siccas coined at the different mints of Muxadavad, Patna Calcutta and Dacca should be of the same fineness and stamp and that they should have no distinguishing mark whatever. We desire that you will make an enquiry into this matter and inform us of the result.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 16 September 1771. p446

Letter from Calcutta to Brigadier General Sir Robert Barker dated 16th September 1771

Letter explaining the problems with paying the troops and for advice on how to solve them

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 16 September 1771. p459 also numbered 234

Letters to and from Col Grant about the payment of troops at Monghyr

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 18 October 1771. p547 also numbered 278

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 8th October 1771

We have been favoured with your letter of 16th September and shall pay strict obedience to your commands.

We are informed that in the mint at Moorshedabad the rupees are stamped immediately upon cooling, whereas here they are rubbed over with lime juice or some other acid and put a second time in the fire, before they are stamp’t and that this makes a difference in the colour. If you approve it, we might cause the same mode to be observed here as we are told is done at the city, but we believe in spite of every precaution which can be taken, the shroffs will still continue to distinguish the coinage of the different mints. We beg leave to enclose for your observation four Moorshedabad and four Patna eleven sun siccas, in the colour of which it is true that a difference is perceptible

Ordered that the rupees be sent to the Mint Master with the directions to assay them and report the results to the Board.

Agreed the following directions be sent in reply

We have received your letter of the 8th instant, enclosing musters of siccas from the Muxadabad and Patna mints in which a difference of colour is very perceptible, and to put a stop to a distinction which tends to the obstruction of our design of having nothing in the appearance of the rupees coined in the several mints by which they could be distinguished from each other, we desire that particular care may be taken in future that the same method of coining may be used at the Patna mint as in that of Moorshedabad.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 29 October 1771. p607 also numbered 308

Letter from Herbert Harris (Calcutta Mint Master) to Government dated 23rd October 1771

I have now the honor to lay before you the reports of the four Moorshedabad and the four Patna siccas directed to be assayed in your orders to me of the 14th October

Report of four Moorshedabad siccas assayed at Calcutta the 23rd October 1771

Weight 1 oz. 9 dwt. 22 ½ grs.

Average Wt 7 dwt. 11 5/8 grs.

 

Assay            2 rupees better  12 ½ dwts

                     1 ditto               12 ¼ dwts

                     1 ditto               12 ¾ dwts

Average better 12 ½ Dwts. Then English standard, should weigh 7 dwts 11 2/3 grs, is therefore 1/8gr less than weight, and should be 13 dwts better than English standard, therefore is ½ dwt worse then should be; the deficiency in weight and fineness is equivalent to 4 annas, 5 pice per cent.

 

Report of four Patna siccas assayed at Calcutta the 23rd October 1771

Weight 1 oz 9 dwts. 22 2/3 grs.

Average weight 7 dwts. 11 2/3 grs.

 

Assay            2 rupees better 13 dwts

                     2 ditto               13 ¼ dwts

 

Average better 13 1/16 dwts better then English standard is therefore 1/16 of a pennyweight better than the sicca standard, equal to five pice and one quarter of a pie per cent.

 

Agreed copies of them be sent to the Councils of Revenue at Moorshedabad & Patna  with the following letters

We herewith send you the reports of the Mint Master’s assay of 4 Patna and 4 Moorshedabad sicca rupees which were sent down to us from Patna.

By these reports you will perceive that the Moorshedabad sicca is deficient both in weight and fineness and on the contrary that the Patna sicca is of the exact weight, but of a fineness rather above the standard.

As such a deviation from the standard and consequently such a difference in the rupees coined at the two mints must obstruct most essentially the success of our plan, and will be productive of many inconveniences besides reflecting on the credit of Government, we must particularly desire that you will investigate the causes of it and be careful that the siccas be in future kept up to the standard to their weight and fineness, and we desire that you will be regular in sending us monthly a rupee taken indiscriminately out of those in the mint that the same may be assayed and reported to us.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 2 December 1771. p664

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 11 November 1771

They had received the letter about their rupees not being up to standard and would reply when they had got to the bottom of the matter.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 2 December 1771. p666

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 25 November 1771

On receipt of your commands of the 29th ultimo we ordered an immediate and strict investigation into the causes of the defects alledged to exist in the Moorshedabad coinage . Reports have in consequence this day been laid before us by the Naib Duan and the assistant superintending the mint. From these (of which we transmit copies for your further information) it would appear that such allegations are without just ground and that the Moorshedabad rupee of the 12th sun is in fact both in weight and fineness rahter superior to sicca standard. We shall be particularly careful in giving injunctions for their being at all times kept up to the standard in both respects and we shall regularly trnasmit you a rupee every month taken indiscriminately from those in our mint to be assayed and reported at the Presidency. A rupee is now forwarded to you for this purpose.

Ordered copy of the report of assay be sent to the Mint Master with the rupee for assaying and that he be directed to make his report to this Board.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/49, 24 December 1771. p853

Assay of the Murshidabad rupee shows that it is slightly better than sicca standard.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/51, 26 February 1772. p402, the assay is on p424

Letter to Patna from Calcutta dated 26th February 1772

We enclose for your information the copy of a report delivered to us by the Mint Master, whereby it appears that the Patna sicca sent down in your letter of the […] proves to be ½ a pennyweight worse than sicca standard.

We desire that you will issue strict orders for keeping up the coin to the standard and purity, and inform the persons employed in the mint that a repitition of this fault will meet our warm resentments

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/51, 31 March 1772. p543 also numbered 274

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 20th March 1772

We enclose you a letter from our assistant superintending the mint and beg to submit to your consideration the proposal which is therein made of decreasing the mint duty with a view of enhancing the currency of the coin in the country. We own we think this subjects merits your attemtion from the coinage having so considerably dwindled & we are of opinion that it may with less [..ruple] be adopted as the coiner is liable to all the mint charges over and obove the Government’s duties, which we believe not to be the case in the Calcutta mint. We also enclose you two rupees taken proniscuously from those coined in our mint during the course of last month.

Calcutta Council

Resolved the Mint Master be called upon for an account of the duties and charges paid to the mint by persons coining bullion there, as also an account of the real charges and expenses incurred by the coinage of bullion.

Letter from Mr Irwin, Superintendant of the mint at Murshidabad to Murshidabad Council, dated 20th March 1772 (on p597 also numered 301)

I think it incumbent on me to endeavour to assign to you the reasons of the great decrease which will appear in the duties of the mint this year, and why they have fallen so far short of the estimation put on them at the last Pooneah. When the settlement for the year was on foot, I mentioned to some of the gentlemen of your Board, that the mint was much overrated, and it was never to be expected that the collections in that department would again amount to above one third of either of the two preceeding years as the reasons for the great increase in those times would, it was hoped, never occur again, namely the distresses of the people of all stations in the very severe famine, which induced them to dispose of all their plate and ornaments. This is the only kind of bullion that comes to this mint (excepting what is brought by the Dutch Company) and before the two preceeding years just mentioned seldom exceed one lack of sicca weight, but was generally far short of that. The duties of 2½ per cent (exclusive of the charges on the silver brought by the Dutch) composed the principal, indeed nearly all that was collected. They have this year very little exceeded the half of their former coinage, and these are the reasons why this year’s duties will not amount to what it did three years ago.

The immense duty exacted on all other silver is an obstacle and a great discouragement to its being brought into the mint, and as the secret means of increasing the currency of the country (and I take it the chief end of a mint is for that purpose) is by encouraging the coinage, I would recommend a remission of one half from the present duty in order to induce the shroffs to collect and send in all the bullion they can. The Government at present drw 5 per cent on it clear of the charges of coinage. If it should be reduced to 2½ per cent I am pretty certain a greater coinage would ensue, and tho’ no immediate profit to Government by an increase of duties, yet great advantages would arise to the country from the increase of the currency.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/1/51, 31 March 1772. p549 also numbered 277

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 5th March 1772

Enclosed we transmit you a rupee from our mint according to your orders.

P552. Ordered the rupees be sent to the Mint Master

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/1, 18 May 1772. p271

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 7th May 1772

We have not sent you a muster of rupees as the expense of coining being more than the differences of batta between siccas and sonauts the mint is in consequence shut. In our address of the 7th of September  we represented the difficulty we apprehended we should meet with in procuring sonaut rupees for the payment of the brigades stationed in this province, & the inconvenience of paying them in siccas on account of the discontent arising from the loss of batta and requested to be favoured with your commands on what terms the troops should be paid in future. We now find it difficult to procure a sufficiency of sonauts & the batta is still lower than ever being as follows

Patna 12 sun siccas                1..14 per cent better than sonauts

Patna 11 sun siccas                1..4 ditto

Moorshedabad 12 sun siccas   1..12 ditto

Moorshedabad 11 sun siccas   1..10 ditto

This is the present difference in our bazaars though they are all received into and paid from our treasury on equal terms. Were only siccas received into our treasury & the payments to the army made entirely in that specie at such a rate as you might think proper to fix, so that the currency of sonauts might be entirely abolished, the above mentioned inconvenience would be entirely removed. We must beg leave to observe that the Company suffer a considerable loss by the lowness of the batta about 20,00,000 rupees of our revenue are paid in siccas and these used to produce about 20,60,000 sonauts whereas they now only produce 20,30,000.

Resolved that the troops in future be paid in sicca rupees & ordered that a new account be drawn out of the pay and batta of the troops in sicca rupees instead of sonaut estimating the sonaut rupee at 11 per cent better than current and the sicca at sixteen,

General Barker’s letter on this subject dated the 19th November 1771 which lay for consideration is now entered as follows

I have perused your favour of the 16th September respecting the new regulations for establishing a fixed currency throughout the provinces, and the abolition of the custom of the fall in the value of the sicca rupees of the preceding year. I conceive that if these regulations & the currency of the new siccas are well established in the revenues, & supported with rigour by the Councils of that department, there can be no hesitation in the exchange in the military bazaars, & consequently no loss to the soldier, for by the information I have obtained, the cause of the complaints of the losses on the exchange of the sicca rupee, arises from their not passing curent at the same batta in the provinces as they are issued by the paymaster, the shopkeepers cannot pass them in the country but at a considerable discount, & consequently refuse to receive them but at the same value. If the new siccas are made to pass current in the provinces for the value they are received at, they will of course pass so in the military bazaars. I presume it will be necessary to abolish the currency of the sonaut rupee, otherwise individuals will judge of the value of the sicca by a comparison with the sonaut, & the sonaut must rise nearly equal to the sicca as they grow scarce, the intrinsick value being the same. There appears to be one effectual way of accomplishing this, which is by receiving in the revenues those rupees for something less than their currency.

As at present a general order exists that the troops are to be paid in sonaut rupees, it will be necessary that another order be issued by the Honble President & Council, for paying the army in siccas only, with such a batta that there may be no increase or decrease of the soldiers pay, according to their present allowance. The commanding officer of the brigades will then regulate the currency in their bazaars & the soldier will exchange his rupee for the same he receives it.

I must further beg leave to observe that it will depend entirely on the Councils of Revenues & supervisors of districts to enforce these regulations, for it is of no signification what specie the army is paid in provided the troops can exchange their money for the value they receive it, the usual allowance to the shroffs excepted.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/3, 26 April 1773. p367 also numbered 243

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 7th September 1772

We have been favoured with your letter of 21st August and herewith transmit for your observation the [Arzees] of Neem Chund, Assay Master of the gold coin in the Patna mint, and Juggernaut who had charge of the mint last year, containing an account of the debasement of the gold coin. We enclose you the two halves of the Moorshedbad gold mohur mentioned by them, and also an 11 sun Moorshedabad, and 12 sun Patna gold mohur now brought from our [bazar].

There are then some assay figures

We cannot learn that any English orders were ever received here relative to the standard you had fixed in Calcutta, and you will observe by the above accounts that the finest mohurs which have been coined here were considerably deficient in purity. The latter debasement appears to have arisen from a close adherence to the standard of Moorshedabad agreeably to the orders which have been transmitted to Raja [Shitabroy]. We have now ordered that no mohurs shall be coined here in future.

There are then some assays of rupees

We take the liberty of submitting this account of our silver coin to your observation that you may favour us with proper directions for amending it in case it should in any respect deviate from your regulations.

Arzee of Juganaut, Daroga of the mint

Near the end of the year 1178 the middle of 1171 the [behoparies] brought gold to the mint to be coined into mohurs. Radakissen Nundy Naib to Durgachurn Meeter who then had charge of it, sent to the bazar for a Moorshedabad mohur and desired me to take it to the Maharajah together with the gold and obtain his order for coining (I took Nim Chund, the Assay Master, with me to the Maharajah) and showed it to him. The Assay Master informed him that this Moorshedabad mohur was less pure than the old Patna ones. The Maharajah ordered they should be made according to the muster of Moorshedabad, and that I should cut it and deposit one half under my seal and give the other half to the Assay Master and that the mohurs should be made of that standard. Accordingly I cut it and deposited one half with the above Radakissen [Lundy?] from whom it was afterwards transferred to [KeraChund] who succeeded in the charge of the mint. The other half is in the hands of the Assay Master.

Arzee of Neem Chund, the Assay Master

At the desire of Durgachurn Meeter I went with Jagarnaut, Daroga of the mint, to Maharajah Sitabroy and showed him a Moorshedabad mohur. I informed him it was not a good one. He replied, if not, it is not your fault. The Patna mohurs must be made agreeably to the Moorshedabad standard. The mohur was cut and I have got one half of it. The other was left with the Darogah and is now in possession of Kerachund.

Calcutta Council

The coinage of gold mohurs being discontinued at Patna, it is needless to give any further orders on that subject

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/3, 3 May 1773. p378

Letter from Patna to Calcutta dated 19th April 1773

Enclosed is a sicca rupee taken indiscriminatley from among those coined in our mint this month

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 23 August 1773. p200

Assay Master ordered to assay gold coins of the 11 & 12 sun taken from circulation.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 2 September 1773. p219

Assay Master (Samuel Gouchet) asks for coins to be supplied from the Treasury. Treasury ordered to provide them. Murshidabad and Patna reminded to send samples of their coins for assay

Home & Miscellaneous Consutations. IOR H/357, No 10, p435

Board of Inspection dated 16th September 1773

Instructs the Mint Master (Charles Lloyd) to reduce the mint establishment from 1st October

Assay Master

250

Banian & Attendants

150

1 Mohurcund or stamp cutter

85

1 ditto

40

1 ditto

40

1 Turajoocuss or person for ascertaining the standard weight of rupees

100

1 ditto

20

1 Purkea or shroff

10

1 Goozashgeer or melter

60

1 Chochneyker or native assayer

20

1 Mushlader or preparer of the composition for refining

5

1 Panacus or Gold Refiner

25

2 Seckchees. Persons who fix the die

45

4 Goneahs. Hammermen or persons who strike the die

36.8

2 Loadahs or silver refiners

40

10 Duraps or persons who prepare the gold and silver into the proper form and weight for coining

402.8

Chandepit or beater

7

5 Nearahs or persons who wash and sift the dross

23

2 coolies

7

3 Lohars or smiths for making and repairing the mint utensils

20

Jemadar, Peons & Durwan

29

 

 

 

1415

 

 

Batta @ 16 %

226.6.6

 

 

 

1641.6.6

 

 

Charity, Bulvam, Byrobe & Ramchurn, pensioners from the first establishment of the mint

6.15.6

 

 

 

1648.6

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 27 September 1773. p315 also numbered 159

22nd September 1773 Assay of Gold Mohurs

Calcutta RY 10 & 11. Murshidabad RY 10, 11, 12. Patna RY 10, 11, 12.

No RY 12 for Calcutta and nothing for Dacca

Also some rupees assayed.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 4 October 1773. p335 also numbered 169

Assays of a half mohur & a sicca rupee from Murshidabad. And a sicca rupee from Patna

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 15 November 1773. p611 also numbered 307

Gold and silver coins minted in October sent from Murshidabad for assay

p617 also numbered 310. Assay Masters report on two half gold mohurs and two rupees from Murshidabad.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 22 November 1773. p636

From Patna dated 21st October 1773

Account of Gold mohurs coined in the Patna mint from the 1st of the 10th sun to the end of the 12th sun

In the 10th sun             18,149-13

In the 11th sun             4,817

In the 12th sun             2,048

Total                          25,014-13

NB There were several smaller coins struck & these are included in the above amount

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/4, 22 November 1773. p658

Assay of gold and silver coins of Murshidabad. Again, half mohurs.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/5, 10 January 1774. p115

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta

In pursuance of your orders contained in your letter of 22nd November, I have the pleasure to enclose you an account of the number of gold mohurs which were coined in the Moorshedabad mint of the 10th 11th & 12th suns

10th sun          73,928-6-13-3

11th sun          60,311-6-9-1

12th sun struck to the end of Ranzaun of the present 15 sun of Shah Allum on 15 December 1773

                     37,647-1-12-3

Total              171,886-14-15-3

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/5, 17 February 1774. P387

With respect to coining the Company’s money into siccas or Arcots, I apprehend it is not entirely a matter of choice. We have but one refiner in the mint who cannot refine above seven hundred per diem and therefore there cannot of that silver be coined more than twenty one thousand in a month. Whereas we can coin you twenty five thousand Arcot rupees a day, there being no occasion for any process of refining. I imagine it will only be necessary to acquaint the Governor of this circumstance to determine him in giving his orders relative to it.

There then follows an assay report of various types of rupees. And then:

Resolved that the first sorts mentioned in the above report be immediately restamped into the Arcot specie and that the other be left in their present state till further orders and in the meantime that the sub-treasurer be called upon for an account of the number of each kind.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/5, 4 April 1774. p671

Letter from Patna dated 14th March 1774

We have also directed copper tickets to be struck for the use of the post office and I shall afford every assistance in our power to its regular establishment in the district under our charge.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/5, 4 April 1774. p672

Letter from Murshidabad dated 1st April 1774

Enclosed I have the honor to transmit you two sicca rupees and one gold mohur taken promiscuously from amongst those now coining in the mint of Moorshedabad.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/5, 11 April 1774. p708

Assay of gold half mohur reported

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 30 May 1774. p14

Report on the assays of old and new Benares rupees. Also request to know how many [Viziery?] remain to be coined

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 20 June 1774. p151

Charles Lloyd (mint Master) reports that there are 504,697 Viziery rupees to be coined. The Assay Master (Samuel Touchet) then goes on:

I have been honored with your commands of the 30th ultimo directing me to lay before you an account of the number of standard sicca rupees which may be produced from 504,697 Viziry rupees now in the treasury, as well as an estimate of the expenses that will attend the operation of refining and recoining them into siccas. But as this estimate can only be formed from experiments upon the different sorts of Viziry rupees I request you will be pleased to order 10,000 of such species to be issued from the treasury in order that from a proper tryal I may be able to furnish you with the amount and estimate required.

There having been no other rupees but those of the Arcot species coined in the mint here since the last alteration in the Sonne of the sicca in the year 1771, has rendered the silver refiners of little use and there has been therefore only one head man and his mate kept for this business, who cannot refine more than from 1000 to 2000 sicca weight of viziry silver per day, which would render the refining of 500,000 an almost endless task. I will therefore request that you will be pleased to order the superintendent of the mint at Moorshedabad to supply us with as many silver refiners as he can procure as I am informed we can only be supplied from thence.

I would also beg leave to recommend to your consideration the propriety of putting a new sonne to the new coined siccas, it being now the 15 sonne and only 12 sonne siccas have yet been struck, as also the necessity of recalling the 11 sonnes which from their long circulation have lost considerably of their value and are also much defaced.

Ordered that 10,000 of each sort of the Viziry rupees now in the treasury be sent to the mint to be refined and restruck into standard sicca rupees and that they be stamped with the 15th sun of the King’s reign

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 8 August 1774. p328

Letter to Murshidabad.

Mr Edward Fenwick having resigned the office of Mint Master at Moorshedabad we have thought proper to appoint Mr Christopher Keating who has directions to proceed to take charge of it accordingly.

Before Mr Fenwick there appears to have been a Mr Irwin (see bottom of page 328)

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 22 August 1774. p357

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 20th August 1774

As I observe you have been pleased to appoint Mr Keating to the office of Mint Master at the City under my control as Resident at the Durbar, I beg leave to observe that I am somewhat at a loss to know how far my authority is to extend and shall be glad to have the nature of this appointment defined, both for the satisfaction of the Mint Master and myself.

Reply

The superintendant of the mint at Moorshedabd in the execution of the business of his office and in rendering his accounts is to act under your orders and control in the same manner as Mr Irwin did under Mr Becher, the former Resident of the Durbar when that appointment originally took place and afterwards under the Chief and Council of Revenue at Moorshedabad.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 5 September 1774. p407

Murshidabad sends a half mohur and two siccas rupees to Calcutta for assay.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 5 September 1774. p417

Letter from the Assay Master

Accompanying I beg leave to lay before you the account of the produce of the Vizry rupees 504,697 in the Company’s treasury, specifying the produce of 100 rupees of each sort refined as well as the amount of the whole calculated at the same rate and an account of how this difference arises showing the loss arising from alloy and that from short weight. There has been refined in all 9000 of the first sort, 2000 of the second and 5000 of the third.

In my former address I represented the almost endless task which it would be to have this money refined to sicca standard there being but one refiner and his mate retained in the Calcutta mint, and therefore pointed out the necessity of ordering as many refiners as could be procured to be sent down from Moorshedabad if the Board determined to have the whole refined. Give me leave now to lay before you an estimate of what the greatest part of the same money would turn out if coined into Arcot rupees which would at once obviate these delays and be a considerable saving to the honble Compnay because the standard of the Arcot rupees being worse by 5 per cent than sicca standard, the Vizry rupees by being mixed with better silver may be brought to the standard of Arcot without refining and so prevent the loss attending that operation…

The Board taking this matter duly into consideration ordered that the whole of the Vizry rupees referred to in the above letter be recoined into Arcot rupees and that the Assay Master be directed accordingly and that he apply to the Board from time to time for such sums in sicca rupees as he may require to standard them with.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 12 September 1774. p437

Letter from the Assay Master dated 9th September 1774

In obedience to your commands of the 5th instant I request an order to the treasury for the payment of the old Vizry rupees 329,697 into the mint and of sicca rupees 329,697 to standard them with, and when these sums have been recoined and repaid into the treasury will make further application for an order for the remainder.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 12 September 1774. p438

The assay of the gold half mohur and the rupees from Murshidabad showed that they were not up to standard. The Resident at Murshidabad was directed to ensure that the superintendent of the mint should pay particular attention to this.

Bengal Public Consutations. IOR P/2/6, 3 October 1774.

Letter from the Resident at Murshidabad (Samuel Middleton) to Calcutta, dated 25th September 1774

He had received the assay report and immediately transmitted it to Mr Irwin, the Mint Master.

Letter from the Mint Master at Murshidabad to the Resident dated 24th September

Basically saying he couldn’t understand how the problem had arisen but would take special care in future.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/, 19 January 1775

Letter from W Keating (Superintendant of the mint at Murshidabad) to Calcutta, dated 25th November 1774

Permit me to lay before you that the business of my office is much impeded on acct the Dutch superintendent and black merchants will not have any more money coined of the twelve sun sicca but want a new coinage of fifteen suns, they having heard that money has been struck of that stamp at the Presidency. I have therefore to request your orders for coining of fifteen suns. I have the honor to enclose a half gold mohur & two sicca rupees struck the last month for your inspection and flatter myself, with care, shall make my office turn out to more advantage to the Honble Company than it has hitherto done.

Agreed that rupees of the 15th sun be struck in the Moorshedabad mint and that the following directions be sent to the Council at Moorshedabad

To Edward Baber President in Council at Murshidabad from Calcutta, dated 19th January 1775

Mr Keating, the superintenant of the mint at Moorshedabad, having addressed a letter to us on the subject of the coinage, we think it necessary that you signify to him that his direct address to us was improper, as his office is immediately depending on you, & that for the future all his communications on the business of his office must be made thro’ the channel of your Board. However, as we deem the proposal he makes for a new coinage fit & expedient, we direct that you authorise him to coin rupees of the 15 sun agreeable to it.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/, 13th April 1775

Letter from Charles Lloyd (Calcutta Mint Master) to Calcutta, dated 12th April 1775

Samples of the Viziery rupees having been assayed it is found thereby that they require 121,000 sicca rupees to standard them to Arcots. I am therefore to request you will grant me an order on the treasury for that sum.

Ordered that an advance of sicca rupees 121,000 be accordingly made to the mint for the purpose above mentioned.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/, 4 May 1775. p53

Extract of a letter from Patna to Calcutta received 4th May 1775

Enclosed we send you a table of the several denominations of rupees in circulation in this province with the batta they now bear in the bazar reckoning the sonat as standard. Tho’ we before recommended to your consideration the relief of the farmers by receiving the different species into the Treasury at a standard batta, we could not be understood to mean all the various coins enumerated in the table, which would occasion endless trouble and confusion in the receipts and disbursments, but only such as are most generally current. These we would confine to three, siccas, sunats & Benares. The farmers instead of the rule which has hitherto prevailed to pay in the specified coin mentioned in the [Cubboolict] to be allowed to discharge their rents in either of the above at the following rates

Siccas

Sonauts 104-8 equal to 100 siccas

Benares 105 equal to 100 sunats

The batta on Benares rupees five years ago was not more than three. It is at present thirteen per cent, so that they are obliged to be sent to Benares to be exchanged. Five per cent we are informed is nearly about what they ought to bear from their quality and weight.

But more effectually to answer the above purpose and to diffuse the benefit more generally through the province, we would recommend the reestablishment of the mint. The good attanding it we imagine would be the establishing of one coin by the bringing in of the many spurious rupees at present in circulation, whereby the inhabitants are subjected to whatever imposition of batta the shroffs choose to fix for their own emoluments, and the encrease of the currency by the coining of silver ornaments. All money melted down for the manufacture of plate etc being at present so much lost to the circulation, the proprietors however desirous of recoining it, not having it in their power from the distance of a mint. We do not perceive any ill consequences necessarily resulting from the coinage. Care should be taken that the standard weight and fineness be observed and that the mint might not be burdensome to Government. The expense should be defrayed by those who send bullion to be coined which the merchant would very readily comply with.

Should you think proper to re-establish the mint here, the view of reducing the several kinds of rupees to one, would be better promoted by excluding the Benares rupee from the Treasury and receiving only siccas and sonauts as before.

 

Table of Rupees

Better than sonnats

Sicca of the 11 & 12 year

6 to 7 per cent

Sunnauts of the 5th Year of Shaw Allum

2 annas per cent

Sunnauts of the 9th Year of Shaw Allum

12 ditto

Sonnats of Muhomed Shaw

 

Sonnauts of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th & 10th Year of Shaw Allum

 

 

Worse than Sonnats

Benares

13 per cent

Allahabad

12

Lucknow

12

Fyzabad

12

Korah

20

Wuzzery

20

Farrukhabad

12

Allawa

20

 

The Board being unwilling to determine too precipitately on a subject of such importance nd extent as the re-establishment of the mints, propose the following questions for their separate considerations

1.       whether it is most expedient to re-establish the mints of Patna and Dacca or to allow only one mint to be established in Calcutta for the coinage of the two provinces.

2.       Whether supposing the acient mints to be re-established all the rupees shall be struck as has hitherto been the practice with the name of Moorshedabd only or the rupees of each mint shall bear the name of the plaqce to which it belongs.

Agreed that these questions be sent in circulation to the different provincial councils

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/10, 15 June 1775. p282

Letter from the Sub-Treasurer

…Very few Moorshedabad siccas are now procurable in the buzar and a heavy premium is demanded on those that are to be purchased. I did not think myself authorized to purchase Moorshedabad siccas at so advanced a rate & thereby subject the Company to the loss which Mr Prinseps alledges he would have sustained by receiving gold instead of silver.

You will please further to inform the Board that the sicca rupees which are seen in the weekly state of the Treasury are Mongheer siccas. I do not distinguish them from other sicca rupees because by an order of the late Board of 27th March 73 all sicca rupees of what denomination soever, are received into and issued from the Treasury on a par one with the other, notwithstanding which the shroffs make a difference between the Mongheer & Moorshedabad siccas, the former selling commonly at a discount and the latter with a premium. This makes it difficult to issue them from the treasury for, although they are received there on a par with the other sicca rupees, those who have demands on the treasury make many objections to take them in payments, representing that they shall be losers by being paid in that specie.

PS I have made all the enquiries I have been able concerning the Moorshedabad siccas in the bazar and from the best intelligence I can get, I find that the shroffs would not be able to furnish above 5000. For the 12 suns they demand a premium of 1 rupee 8 annas per centand for the 11 suns, twelve annas per cent. The reason assigned for the present scarcity is the heavy advances made for cloths by the Company as well as individuals in Moorshedabad siccas to the Aurungs. It is imagined this scarcity will continue till July or August when they will begin to come in again from the country.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/10, 19 June 1775, p303

Letter from the Mint Master, Charles Lloyd, to Calcutta, dated 16th June 1775

Agreeable to your commands of the 15th instant, I must beg leave to inform you that the present establishment of servants in my office, constantly employed without the least degree of interuption, can coin no more than six lacks of rupees per month. To enable them to coin ten lacks of sicca rupees the undermentioned additional number of servants will be required, viz

15 Duraps, or setts of coiners

1 Googasheer, or re-melter

3 goonnooahs or stampers

2 Loahars or smiths

2 coolies

With this additional number of servants, I shall be able to coin ten lacks of sicca rupees per monthfrom bullion or old sicca rupees, but to recoin them from Arcots or Oude rupees or any other coins of an inferior standard there will be a necessity of having 65 Soadars or refiners, which number it is impssible to get either here or at Muxadabad. The most that could be procured at both places would be no more than twenty, which would not be able to refine scarce three lacks per month.

p332

Resolved that the Mint Master be ordered to continue still to recoin them into Arcot rupees and that he be empowered to engage the additional number of servants which he represents in his foregoing letter to be necessary to enable him to coin to the extent of 10 lacks of rupees per mensum

Ordered that the Mint Master be further acquainted that the Board expect him with this assistance to recoin the whole sum remaining for that purpose at the above rate and that when he has accomplished it, he report the same with a state of his office to the Board of Inspection for them to consider on the expediency of keeping up the establishment

The Board now proceeding to take into consideration the subject of coinage in the different mints and the expediency of re-establishing or abolishing those at Patna & Dacca

Read, Mr Francis’s minute on the subject of coinage in consultations 13th March

Read, the following letters of opinions of the provincial councils of Moorshedabad, Patna, Dacca & Burdwan, in reply to the questions proposed to them the 4th ult.

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 11th May 1775

…the mints at Patna, Dacca and Moorshedabad are useful in facilitating the coinage of any sums or bullion that the inhabitants of the respective districts may have to coin, and saves them the risk, expense and delay which would attend sending their bullion or money to Calcutta. Whilst the convenience of coinage was near, it might perhaps induce people to recoin other species of rupees or bullion, which they would not do when the risk and expence were so much increased by the distance of the mint.

Patna is in a manner a distinct province from Bengal, and its peculiar situation makes this reason for establishing the mint there of more force than at the two others, but there is on the other hand a peculiar circumstance attending the mint at Moorshedabad which sums as forcible as this, of which however, you gentlemen are the only judges. We mean the priviledges the Dutch have by their Firmaun of coining money here, which would be abrogated by the abolition of the mint. If the mints are re-established at those places, the shroffs will not fail to levy a batta on the Dacca and Patna mints. This they always did, and what is remarkable, it is hardly possible to elude their knowledge of what mint the coin is stamped at. If the mints are re-established we imagine it would be best to have all the rupees struck with one mark only, to prevent as much as possible this arbitrary charge of batta. The objection to this is that if the coin be debased it would be difficult to detect at what mint it was debased. This again in some measure might be obviated by having one sett of servants under one head person, these servants to be distributed to each mint and this head person to be answerable for all deficiency in weight or fineness of the standard.

The batta on rupees is a tax on the merchants, the farmer & the ryott, which becomes the profit of the shroffs. Any circumstance serves them as a plea for levying it and therefore if the coin could be reduced to that simple mode which would remove every distinction, whether of specie or standard, we think the country in the end would be benefitted. The shroffs will oppose every attempt of the kind, and they are the most moneyed men in the kingdom. Of course, they would for a while have it in their power to affect both the revenue & trade, and if they were to remove out of the kingdom, they would take a great deal of specie with them. How far this is an object to be put in competition with the other we cannot pretend to say

Letter from Patna dated 18th May 1775

…We have already represented to you in our letter dated 27th March the expediency of re-establishing a mint at this place and we apprehend the same reasons will hold good with respect to Dacca. You will therefore permit us to repeat. We are still clearly of opinion that the advantage of the Company, the convenience of the inhabitants and the good of the country in general all combine to render such a measure absolutely necessary. The difficulties the renters labour under in procuring sicca or good sonaut rupees to make their payments in, and the losses and inconveniences that result therefrom, we have before taken notice of, and the impracticability of sending bullion & rupees of a different specie to Calcutta to be re-issued is too obvious to need mentioning. The abolition of the mint has had such an effect on the price of both gold & silver bullion at this place, that it is now 4 or 5 per cent cheaper than before was ever known. The renters are now unable to procure rupees of standard value and must of necessity offer such money as comes to their hands and as it will be impossible to affix any precise batta to the various species of rupees in the currency of the province, continual opportunities will arise to the shroffs for imposing upon us as well as upon the ignorance of the natives, and diffidence and distrust universally take place. If it is alleged that the siccas coined at Calcutta must eventually pass through all the provinces, we will admit the position, but at the same time we must observe that the inhabitants of different districts have an aversion to any coins that do not bear the stamp of their own capital, and this is evinced by the batta which is taken on the rupees of Calcutta and Moorshedabad, tho’ superior to those of Patna in weight & fineness. Besides it is scarce possible to coin the rupees in the different mints so alike as not to be discovered. As you have therefore granted us the liberty of offering our opinions in this measure, we humbly beg leave to recommend the re-establishment of the mints of Patna & Dacca in preference to that of a single one at Calcutta, and that the rupees coined at each place shall be of one value in respect to weight & fineness and bear the name of the place where they are stamped without being liable to any deduction in point of batta in succeeding years, which though it may seem but reasonable when the money shall have been worn down so as to have lost greatly of its original weight, or have suffered by clipping or other arts practiced in this country in the same manner as in Europe may be obviated by its being called in and undergoing a recoinage when the loss attending it will not be considerable & must principally affect the monied men.

Letter from Dacca Council to Calcutta, dated 18th May 1775

In considering the subject of the questions you are pleased to propose to us in your letter of the 4th instant concerning the coinage, we judged it would prove most perspicuous to bring together into one point of view all the arguments which occurred to us, either for or against the re-establishment of a mint in this province. They are principally the result of local information, and we shall be happy if they may be found in any way serviceable to you in the general regulations you propose hereafter to adopt. Our ideas thus arranged, we have the honour to enclose No 1 & 2, accompanied by some accounts of the fluctuations of batta for a period of about 5 years (No 3 & 4) which have been procured from different sources by our chief. We transmit also an extract from out proceedings of this day relating to the same subject.

To your second question, we reply that the rupees coined at Dacca were formerly struck with the name of the place but latterly with that of Moorshedabad. As to the future, in case the mint should be re-established, here it is our opinion that the rupees should all be of the same standard and weight but that they should bear the name of the place where they are coined, that the stamp likewise should be minutely the same except only the name of the place which is now specified in the lowest partition of the side which exhibits the year of the reign. We see no reason for preferring a distinction of the coin of each mint rather than having them all to bear the same name, but that we apprehend the former mode will render it more hazardous to attempt frauds and adulterations at either mint, and if there should be any they will be probably less difficult to trace and investigate.

Extract of the Proceedings of the Dacca Provincial Council of Revenue, May 18th 1775

The Board having minutely examined the effects that would probably result from the establishment of a mint in this province, and the effect which now attend the want of one, hav drawn up their sentiments at large which, together with some accounts of the rise and fall of batta for the last five years, they now record as follows:

Tables of the batta from month to month are to be found starting at p353

Arguments against the re-establishment of a mint at Dacca

If a mint at Dacca should strike none but sicca rupees, it would prove favourable to zemindars etc by preventing an exhorbitant batta from being charged upon their payments in that coin during the two months of heavy collections. Sicca rupees are wanted for no other purpose. Arcot rupees are advanced to the weavers for the investment of this district and that of Luckypore, and to the molunghees for salt. In short this is the chief currency of the provinceexcept in the town of Dacca. The French formerly imported their own Arcot rupees which pass everywhere current, but pricipally about Gualparah, Chilmarry etc, & merchants, when the trade of the district flourishes, send Arcot rupees from the Presidency. The sicca rupees formerly coined here were sent pricipally to Moorshedabad as revenue, and the English provided their investment with Arcot rupees transmitted from Calcutta. Since therefore no sicca rupees can arrive from the mofussil, it would be an injury to have all the Arcot rupees which are brought hither for the publick revenue, recoined into siccas, a species which is not current, & in all probability such a scarcity of Arcot rupees would result from that practice as would proportionally raise their value in exchange as much as the value of siccas is raised now during the heavy collections above that of the species generally current in circulation. In support of this argument we may observe that whilst the mint subsisted here, the sicca rupee frequently fell to only 4 & 5 percent upon Arcot, and in the year 1770 it even fell so low as one percent. Perhaps in a future year if the mint should not be re-established at Dacca, it might prevent siccas from running to an exhorbitant price if the renters were to have permission during the urgent season of payments, to pay half in siccas and half in good Arcots, or some other tempoary regulations of Government might be adopted with good effect.

If the circulating quantity of Arcot rupees should be diminished, without conciliating the minds of the people to the currency of Sa rupees, we conclude that the former, being difficult to procure would bear a high batta. The Company, taking Sa rupees from the revenue treasury must buy up Arcot rupees to advance to the weavers & salt manufacturers to the amount of at least 20 Lacks of rupees, and the loss would fall upon the Company. The loss now arising from a high batta upon sicca rupees at one particular season of the year does not fall upon the Company but upon the zemidars & ryotts.

So far we agree upon a supposition that it is the object of Government to introduce the sicca into general currency and would only allow that species to be coined at Dacca, but such is the infuence of prejudice and custom over the minds of men in general, and particularly with the men of this country and so prevelant has the skill of chicanery of money jobbers hitherto proved for defeating publick regulations in the coinage, that the practicability of such a scheme appears very uncertain upon the subject. It may not be unworthy of remark that the introduction of a higher denomination of money in any other country tends to raise the price of wages and commodities.

As to a mint for the coinage of Arcot rupees, we think there is great room to doubt whether any considerable benefit would result from such an institution, because if the trade of this province is good and prosperous there will be an annual importation of Arcot rupees for the purchase of cloths, beetlenut & grain to the amount of many lacks of rupees and because the distribution of the current species from wear and clipping cannot be considerable as to keep a mint in continual employ.

Moreover it may [be] doubted whether the expense upon [burning] and recoining old silver would not prove greater to the proprietor, than the loss arising from the valuation of the bankers at which it might be passed in circulation providede the trade of money is unrestrained, & individuals are not compelled to submit to the valuation of any single banker. We heartily wish any plan of measures could be formed effectually to destroy the combinations & pernicious arts of these men, which has at all times been a subject of complaint. Hitherto our Government has certainly failed in this important […]. For in a country where there is such a great variety of coins in currency, where particular denominations of money are appropriated to particular articles of merchantdizes, where purity of the standard coin renders it more liable to loss from friction, where there is no check upon clipping, like the milling of the English and many other European coins, and where all the authority of Government has proved insufficient to impose a price upon its coinages beyond the intrinsic value of the metal. The interests of society seem to [be] under the employment of bankers and money changers necessarily, and it appears difficult if not impossible to prevent deceitful and fraudulent practices. The establish of a mint appears indeed the most likely expedient, but the influence of a mint in putting a just valuation upon debased money can hardly extend beyond the town where it is established.

A multiplication of mints increases the hazard of variation from the established standard, and makes it more difficult to trace frauds in the coinage. From some cause or other it has generally happened that rupees coined at different mints, although declared to be of equal standard have been subjected to a batta upon their currency when transported from one place to the other respectively. This we suppose to have arisen in some cases from a real difference in the standard but more frequently from the artifice & collusions of the shroffs.

Arguments for the re-establishment of a mint at Dacca

The re-establishment of a mint at Dacca would produce the good effect that as the revenues are paid by the principal farmers in sicca rupees and no other species, the operation of a mint might prevent the inferior tenents and ryotts from being injured by the chicanery of bankers and those through whose hands the money is conveyed to the publick treasury. This is done every year in the season of heavy collections when the demand for sicca rupees becomes most pressing and there is accumulated in the bank or treasury to the amount of 8 or 1,000,000 sicca rupees. In the last year particularly the batta rose as high as 12½ percent above Arcot rupees or 4½ percent higher than the established Company’s valuation, and if any other single species was to be required for the payment of the revenue, as gold for instance, which is not commonly current, or passes but in small quantities thro’ the province, the like temporary enhancement of its price would necessarily prevail in the markets. Thus an exhorbitant batta may be raised upon the Sa rupee because it is employed in this district no otherwise than as an engine of payment in the publick revenue, and not being the current coin of the district its circulation is almost confined to the town of Dacca, where it is converted into an instrument of advantage amongst those who are enabled to keep up or pay away large sums in a very short space of time. When the periodical payments of the revenue are small, the sicca rupee sinks below the common equation of 8 percent above the Arcot rupee.

It has not happened for several years that any money has been sent out of the province in publick revenue but if after paying the advances of the Dacca & Luckypore investment etc there should ever be a balance of treasury to be remitted to the Presidency in sicca rupees, the scarcity of this species would thereby be annually enhanced, because there is little or no importation of sicca rupees for any article of trade. A mint therefore would be able to supply that diminution.

A small revenue used to be paid by the mint, but this is a trifling object. Besides, supposing the same quantity nearly to be coined at one general mint as at several provincial mints, Government will probably draw a greater benefit from having only one establishment.The difference on either side cannot be considerable.

As little or no money is carried out of the province, a mint might be beneficial for the purpose of renewing the current coin when it bacame much debased by friction & clipping, and the possessors are more liable to be injured by the arts of the bankers in giving an arbitrary value to it from this latter circumstance. There is a considerable tax now raised by them upon od rupees under the title of ramkummah, to the amount of 2 & 3 percent. This we understand to be a charge inclusive of short weight (which is general called kum wozn [wozu]) taken to make good to the purchaser of very old and battered rupees which are frequently mixed with base rupees of copper & toothanague etc. The loss which may be supposed to arise in burning them down for the purposes of the silver smith, and reducing them to the standard of sicca rupees, or in transporting them to Calcutta or Moorshedabad to be recoined.

It appearing doubtful from the above arguments whether the establishment of a mint in this province will be attended with benefits of disadvantages, and messers Pushing and Holland having positively decided in favour of a mint by their former recommendation of it to the Honble President in Council, to avoid an apparent inconsistency they beg leave to remark that they have now considered the subject in an enlarged sense as it may affect the country in general, whereas when they formerly recommended the re-establishment of the mint it was upon the pressing representations of the zamindars & farmers of the inconveniences they experienced from its abolition, and merely as it might be an ease to the people under the immediate care of this Board in the payment of their rents. Mr Shakespear begs leave to refer to a minute recorded by him on 30th March last for his sentiments as to the benefit likely to accrue to this province in particular from the re-establishment of its mint partially considered without any reference to what might be the effects of a general institution of provincial mints throughout the Company’s possessions.

Mr Shakespear’s minute recorded on the proceedings 30th March 1775

I beg leave to call the attention of the Board to the immediate removal of a grievance which bears extremely hard upon the zemindars and requires a speedy remedy. I mean the very extraordinary and exhorbitant batta upon the sicca rupee. In perusing the proceedings of the 29th December last ( at which time I was absent), with pleasure I observe the Board have already considered the subject & recommended to the Honble Governor General & Council the re-establishment of the mint as the most likely measure to reduce the batta. But as we have not been favoured with any reply to that recommendation, I move we immediately address the Honble Board again upon the subject.

From the best intelligence I am able to obtain, the batta is now 12-8 & 13 rupees percent between the Arcot & sicca rupee and added to this is a charge made by the shroffs under the name of kumkumma (or short weight) of 4 or 4-8 rupees percent. This raises the difference between the Arcot and sicca rupee to near 17 percent, when formerly, so late as the beginning of 1774, it was never higher than 7-12, and sometimes so low as 5, and no kumkumma demanded or paid. The only cause I can discover for this extraordinary difference is the abolition of the mint, and the only remedy its re-establishment, as already recommended by the Board.

Arcot rupees being chiefly used in the provision of cloths (the great staple commodity of this district) hardly any other specie is used in payment of the revenue to the farmers. Indeed it is a prevalent custom throughout the district for them to receive no other, and engagement obliges him to pay the Government wholly in sicca rupees. The shroff or banker, well knowing the times of payment and that the farmer must at all events and at any price have sicca rupees, fixes the exchange at his own arbitrary rate, and the farmer without resource is obliged to purchase them on any terms. Formerly this was not the case. All persons who had money sent it to the mint as bullion. It was reissued at little expense and the sicca rupee being so plenty and so easily obtained, the batta fluctuated in a very small degree, nay remained almost fixed. The mint might be established without any expense to Government. Indeed a small revenue might accrue from it, without loss to the farmer as it would arise from the customary and allowed [russoom] upon the coinage, which would somewhat more than [base?] the charges. We are too distant from Calcutta to allow of the money being sent there for recoinage. The risque, the loss of time & interest would more than over-balance the advantage. No siccas are imported. The few which are in the district are constantly bought up and monoploized by the shroffs and reissued at what exchange they please.The mint once opened, I am fully of opinion the sicca rupee would instantly fall to its former value.

There then follows the views of the people at Burdwan – very similar to above.

Next is the consideration of the Board at Dingapore – again very similar arguments.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/10, 29 June 1775, p419

Letter from the Mint Master to Calcutta, dated 27th June 1775

Being in want of three lacks and sixty thousand sicca rupees to standard the like number of old Vizieries into Arcots, I request you will grant me an order on the treasury to be supplied with that sum.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/10, 10 July 1775, p491

Letters from the Mint Master (3rd July) and another from the Assay Master (8th July) discussing the approach to be used for refining the Viziery or Fizabad rupees to Arcot standard.

Ordered that the Mint Master be directed to cause the bullion received from Fyzabad to be refined to the Arcot standard and recoined into Arcot rupees, and that until the arrival of Soudas (Sondas?) from Moorshedabad to employ the man now in his office

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/11, 10 August 1775. p7

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 20th July 1775

In obedience to your commands of the 10th instant we have procured and transmitted to the Mint Master at the Presidency twenty refiners for the ease of the mint. In order to enable them to make some provision for their families at their departure and to pay the expenses of their journey we have advanced each person ten rupees and we have also furnished them with boats to carry them to Calcutta, the hire of which amounts to 34 rupees, and we have advised the Mint Master of the advance that has been made to them

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/11, 14 August 1775. p49

Assay of Patna & Murshidabad siccas

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/11, 14th August 1775 p42

Letter from H. Cottrell (member of the Committee of Revenue) to Government dated 30th May 1775

Queries stated by the Honble the Governor General & Council

1.       Whether it is not expedient to re-establish the mints of Patna and Dacca or to allow only one mint to be established in Calcutta for the coinage of the two provinces.

2.       Whether supposing the Antient (sic) mints to be re-established all the rupees shall be struck as has hitherto been the practice with the name of Moorshedabad only or the rupees of each mint shall bear the name of the place to which it belongs.

 

I should esteem the re-establishment of the mint at Patna expedient for two reasons. As the site of Muxadabad or Calcutta does not appear to be sufficiently centrical to assist the merchants of that soobah in the coinage of bullion or the renewal of monies depreciated by the hand of time or ordanances of Government; and as the capital of the soobah Behar. But these arguments do not weigh for the re-establishment of the mint at Dacca.

Should only one mint be established in Calcutta might not the Company by thus rendering it the mint of the Sircar find it difficult in case the Government should at any time pass into other hands to maintain that right of coining their own money which they have hitherto enjoyed. For these reasons I am induced to think the maintainance of the mints of Muxadabad, Patna and Calcutta to be really expedient, but not of Dacca.

This subject might be considered in an other light. Whether these mints are established by royal firmaunds or what authority. If the former, how far the Company as Dewan have the power of suspending their force, and if they have not that power how far they may by thus exercising the power of the sovereign afford arguments to the prejudice of the dewanny right to such as wish to consider this as a conquered country. But I will wave considering it in this point of view as I am not master of the circumstances on which the argument is to be founded.

With respect to the name to be struck on the coinage provided the rupees of the different mints are received in all the treasuries at the same value, I can see no objection to their bearing the true name where they are struck. The only reason to be given against it is to prevent the fluctuation of batta upon them in the common intercourse among merchants and the inconvenience attending that. But there can never be so much similitude between the coinage of one mint and another but it will be discoverable to the nice eye of a shroff from which adulteration can scarce lie concealed. And the fluctuation of their value will be as effectively prevented by receiving them all at the same rate into the public treasuries or by any means whatsoever

Letter from J Holmes (member of the Committee of Revenue) to Government, dated 30th May 1775

The remote distance of those settlements from the Presidency and each other added to the extent of the country within the provinces would seem to plead for a re-establishment of their mints.

It may also be urged that if they are not re-established, the shroffs will have it in their power to impose what batta they please upon old or debased money to the great prejudice of commerce in general, and of the Company’s investment in particular.

Upon these arguments it may be observed in the one case that extent of territory will probably never impede the free circulation of an uniform established currency into all parts of the provinces, and in the other that the Company’s commercial interests and those of the state being now united, all partial distinctions amongst the shroffs are of course abolished since they are no longer practicable. Consequently should a batta be found at any time necessary to bring the depreciated coins upon a par with the new, it would be invariably as the demand and the quantity of specie in circulation. Therefore could not be more a grievance than new money under similar circumstances of an insufficiency for the purposes of trade and ordinary occasions would in like manner be subject to a rateable batta,

When the antient mints of Dacca and Patna were instituted, the maritime and internal commerce of this country flourished in an extraordinary degree and from its natural fertility, possessing almost every necessity and luxury of life, the balance of trade turned invariably in favour of Bengal with whatever nation it dealt.

The immense wealth thus unavoidably entering in the provinces, it became requisite to devise a means at once of facilitating its currency and of freeing the merchants from the risk and expense of transporting it to Muxadabad.

To these reasons may be added the custom which prevailed of a triennial recoinage of the sicca which was the only legal current rupee throughout the provinces. The usage being now abolished, this part of the necessity of those mints ceases, of course, but more especially as the small quantities of bullion now imported are confined chiefly to Calcutta and the foreign settlements.

For these reasons I image a mint at the Presidency would alone answer the purpose of circulating specie throughout the provinces unless it should be thought eligible to continue one at Moorshedabad on account of the Dutch having the privilege of coining in the Government’s mints.

Should more than one mint be established, either the rupees of each ought to bear the name of the place to which it belongs or some distinguishing characteristic in order that impositions may be traced and if a distinction should be deemed necessary it ought to be such a one as may be known by immediate inspection which even the shroffs themselves have difficulty in doing at present

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/11, 17 August 1775. Paying the troops

Letter from Murshidabad to Calcutta dated 24th July 1775

The representation we had the honor to make you in our address of the 20th instant in consequence of the complaints preffered to us by the paymaster of the troops at Burrampore,  the Resident at the Durbar etc, of the difference in the value of the Moorshedabad & Patna siccas hath we flatter ourselves in a great measure anticipated your commands of the 17th instant and left us little to add to this subject. There is no actual batta fixed in the bazar but the shroffs exact a premium from one to one & a half per cent in the receipt in payment of Patna siccas. The only reason they give for this imposition is that the impression is not so fair as that of the other mints. But we apprehend gentlemen that there will not be a reason wanting to them until the penalty of not accepting the rupees of the established mints at an equal value shall be made so severe and be so strickly enforced as to deter them from taking the advantage which monied men of all countries are tempted to do.

Resolved that the following orders be sent to the Council of Moorshedabad…

Having considered your report of the 24th ult. Upon the batta exacted by the shroffs on Patna sicca rupees, we direct that you issue to the paymaster at Burrampore for the pay of the troops there, Moorshedabad sicca or sonaut rupees only, and for this purpose you will reserve in your treasury as many of these kinds of rupees as may be sufficient to answer the monthly demands upon it for that amount. However, if it should not be in your power at any time to procure Moorshedabad rupees & that the troops must therefore necessarily receive Patna siccas, you will issue them at a discount of one per cent.

Home & Miscellaneous. IOL H/357, No 10, p436

Account of Money Coined from December 1774 to November 1775 from Charles Lloyd, Mint Master, 30th November 1775

 

Tulley Sonauts

Short Arcots

Rupees of Oude

Sicca Rupees

Dollars

German Crowns

Ingot Silver

Plate Gold

Deley Gold Mohurs

Total Remitted

Total Arcot Coinage

Total Sicca Coinage

Total Gold Mohurs Coinage

Dec 1774

37032.9.9

2500

 

 

 

240

 

 

 

39772.9.9

42201.5

 

 

Jan

44071.5.9

21867.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

65938.13.9

69089.11.6

 

 

Feb

5753.5.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5753.5.6

6131..6

 

 

Mar

41552.1.6

20800

130970

 

108.2

 

 

 

1439.1.3

193430.3.6

197942.2.6

96.4.3

1306.7.6

Apr

7371.13.9

23441.15

354795.2

121000

 

 

338.10

4.4.3

 

506947.8.9

511726.5.6

 

3.2.4½  

May

149.7

16123.9

500000

 

 

 

 

 

 

516273

525206.14.3

 

 

Jun

 

 

480000

 

 

 

 

 

 

480000

488349.4

 

 

Jul

 

 

980901

 

 

 

 

 

 

980901

1000236.6

 

 

Aug

 

 

739869

 

 

 

 

 

 

739869

725778.4

 

 

Sep

 

 

542130

 

 

 

 

 

 

542130

534937

 

 

Oct

 

 

311727.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

311727.8

302154

 

 

Nov

 

 

313123.10

 

 

 

34862.12

 

 

347986.6

324501.1.6

173.15.3

1309.9.10½

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4,728,253.8.9

270.3.6

1309.9.10½

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/12, 28 December 1775. p311

Ordered that the Secretary do write to the Mint Master to make a report monthly of the amount of specie coined in Calcutta

Home & Miscellaneous Consultations. IOL H/357,No 10, p438ff

Lots of letters about the Mint Master taking half a per cent for himself for re-coining reupees from Firuzabad. Eventually agreed that he shouldn’t but then have to come to an arragement to pay it back.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/15, 12 August 1776. p874

The Board having heard it reported that the Arcot rupees coined in the mint are very various in their intrinsic value & many much debased, think it proper to depute Messrs Hodgson and Baugh immediately to the mint with orders to bring any small parcels from the Arcot rupees lately coined, and which they may find in the mint, that the Board may be satisfied of the degree of truth which there may be in this report and those gentlemen are ordered accordingly to proceed immediately on this duty.

Ordered that the Assay Master be sent for

Mr Paxton, the Assay Master, attends the Board and is questioned whether silver from which the Arcot rupees are struck in the mint is previously assayed and in what manner

Answer: In one of my letters I gave an account of the whole process of coinage which I will now repeat. I shall suppose for instance, which happened lately, that a lack of sicca weight of short Arcot rupees should come from the Kkalsa. On this being received in the mint the bags are opened and two or three thousand taken indiscriminately therefrom. These are mixed well after which two or three pots each of 800 sicca weight are melted and an ingot of each separately assayed, the mean assay of which, if the difference be not great, is taken for the assay of the whole, and the whole lack of rupees is melted accordingly

Agree that it do lie for consideration.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/15, 14 August 1776. p892

The Board take into consideration the last Council on the subject of the Arcot rupees lately coined in the mint of Calcutta

Ordered that the Mint Master be directed immediatley to suspend all coinage in the mint whether gold or silver until further orders. That he do pay into the Treasury all the money which is already coined belonging to the Company and report to the Board the quantity of bullion or rupees which remain uncoined under his charge. That he also report whether he has any and what private bullion in his hands.

Ordered that the sub- treasurer do set apart and reserve whatever sums have been paid into the treasury from the mint and also whatever sums have been received within this last month if they have not been mixed.

Resolved that circular letters be written to the provincial councils directing them to inform the Board generally of the state of the coinage in the districts under their charge.

The following letter is accordingly written

In order to assist us in forming and establishing some general regulations for the coinage of this country, we think it necessary to require your answers to the following questions and to desire that you will at the same time inform us generally of the state of the currency in the districts under your charge

Questions:

1.       what coins pass current in the different parts of your division and the proportionate quantity of each as nearly as you may be able to estimate

2.       The batta paid on each specie of rupees in the Bazars to reduce them to siccas distinguishing the Sudder from the Mofussil batta if there is any such distinction, so that we may ascertain at what discount a farmer must purchase rupees from the shroffs of the particular specie in which he is obliged to pay his rents to Government.

3.       What species are taken in payment of the publick revenue whether from the ryots by the farmers or from the farmers by Government and at what rates of batta

4.       Whether in your opinion it would be more for the advantage of Government and the ease of the people, if sicca rupees [were] universally established as the current coin of the country without any distinction of batta or any discount but for the real loss which they might sustain from wear, clipping or other contingent causes.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/15, 19 August 1776. Many things

Letter from the Mint Master (Charles Lloyd) dated 14th August 1776 p910

In consequence of your orders I have suspended all coinage in the mint ‘till your further pleasure is known, and transmit you enclosed a report of the bullion or uncoined rupees now lying in the mint.

There then follows a list of the uncoined material.

Letter from the Superintendent of the mint at Murshidabad (C. Keating) dated 4th January 1776 p913

In consequence of your letter of the 28th December, I herewith transmit a copy of the established customs and duties as also a copy of the monthly expenses of the mint at Moorshedabad under my charge. I have likewise to inform you that since the abolition of the Dacca and Patna mints, the coinage here of rupees and gold mohurs have been 12 and 15 sun

p918

Ordered that the mint be again opened for the coinage of sicca rupees, and sicca rupees only

p936

Charges General of the Mint at Moorshedabad

 

 

Rupees per month

Superintendants pay and allowance

350

Ditto for Mohrers

100

Derogah Golab Sing

100

[Moorness]

26

[Jaffer Harcanah]

15

[Mohoround]

79.4

[Shaikche Gunwah]

21.6

4 Blacksmiths

14.1

[Ferorh]

3

[Dusterbund]

4

[Lackarah]

1.8

Peran Paswan

4.13

Jaggunaut Parwan

9

[Sheachee]

3

[Ruvannat] Peons 8

13

Bohor Peon 4

12

Jamaul

2

[Hanyman]

1

[Repnanund Bullercharge]

11.4

[Sohanund Mirne]

7.8

[Moharam Munlore]

1

[Burklen Sing]

10

 

 

Total

788.12

 

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/18, 7 April 1777. Many things including abolition of Mursh Mint

Many pages of answers to the questions about the coinage (batta, types of rupee in circulation, types accepted for revenue payment etc) sent out the previous August. Following this the Calcutta Council comes to the following conclusions

P729

Ordered that the Mint Master and Assay Master at Moorshedabad be directed to prepare for the information of the Board a table of the expense incurred upon the coinage of each different species of rupees or of bullion, into the sicca standard, specifying the proportion or amount of each article of expense in separate columns

Read the following letter from the Mint Master, dated 1st April 1777

Having received from the Treasury rupees 1,025,999 of different sorts in order to be recoined into sicca rupees, I must beg leave to acquaint you that for the speedy effecting such coinage it will be necessary for me to be furnished with twenty additional refiners, there being at this time only four refiners employed at the mint, which number can refine no more than 2,000 rupees per diem and as so many refiners cannot possibly be procured at this place, I must request you will transmit orders to the provisional councilof Muxadavad to send them down from thence as soon as possible.

As the refining these rupees will require a supply of 400 mands of lead, I must request you will obtain an order from the Board of Trade for the delivery thereof.

I must likewise request you will acquaint me with what sun of the King’s reign it is your pleasure that these rupees should be stamped.

Agreed that he be allowed twenty refiners from Moorshedabad, that he be directed to inform the Board by what rule the lead is proportioned to the quantity of silver to be refined, as 400 maunds, which he has demanded, appears to be extraordinary, and that he be ordered to stamp such rupees as are to be coined with the present reign of Shah Alam.

There then follows a discussion, during which Mr Francis states that he thinks that the mint at Moorshedabad should be shut up entirely. Hastings goes on:

p733

The Dutch Company has an ancient priveledge of coining a specific annual sum at the mint of Moorshedabad. It is probable they would willingly transfer the exercise of that right from the mint of Moorshedabad to Calcutta. I do not know whether the Nabob has any claim of the like nature. Whatever it be there can be no difficulty in accomodating it with him should it be found necessary to withdraw the mint at Moorshedabad. As to any other inconveniences which may attend the removal, I know of none, and as it seems to be the sense of the Board that the mint of Moorshedabd should be discontinued, I move that it be discontinued.

After some discussion the minutes go on:

p                                                                                                                                                                    735

Agreed that the mint at Moorshedabad be abolished; that the Mint Master be not allowed to coin any more money in it after the end of this month, but that he be directed to bring down the balance uncoined, if any, to Calcutta.

There then follows a letter to the Dutch explaining their proposals, and a further discussion about encouraging individuals to bring bullion to the mint for coining.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 5 May 1777

Letter from the Mint Master (Charles Lloyd) dated 12th April 1777. p273

Agreeably to your orders, I herewith transmit to you a table of the charges incurred upon the coinage of each different species of rupees into the sicca standard.

I likewise transmit you an account of the quantity of silver belonging to private persons coined in the mint within the last six months, with the amount of the duty collected thereon.

The abolition or even diminution of the present duty of 4½ per cent on the coinage, would in my opinion greatly contribute to an increase of private bullion being brought to the mint. As my sentiments, gentlemen, on this head are not grounded on conjecture, but the result of observation, I hope I may be allowed to say that I have not a doubt but that a regulation of this nature cannot fail of being attended with such effects. During the long course of my being in this office, samples of different kinds of foreign coins have at numberless times come to the mint to be assayed, which when done and the report of the produce they would fetch in the mint has been given, nothing more has been heard of them. From whence it is natural to conclude that the proprietors thereof must have found out a more profitable mode of disposing of them, which I believe is generally by selling them to persons who have remittances to make to Europe, who give a greater price for them than they would produce in the mint, [clog’d] with the heavy duty of 4½ percent, but was this duty lowered to 1½ per cent, I doubt not but in such case the scale would preponderate the other side, & sending bullion to the mint would turn out to the proprietors the most advantageous manner of employing it.

With respect to the indent for lead, I beg leave to observe that I could not at the time I had the honor of addressing you last on the subject fix the exact quantity which would be necessary for refining the ten lacks, not can I yet ascertain it, as a very inconsiderable part of these rupees has been arranged in classes according to their respective finenesses. Luchnow siccas of the 18 sun require 70 percent; old vizierys an equal quantity & nine sun vizierys double the quantity of lead. Estimating the whole to take on an average an equal quantity of lead it would require 347 maunds & as there was then in the mint some private bulion and some short Arcots from the Khalsa, both of which required refining, I judged it proper to apply  for such a quantity as might probably serve the whole. But the expense of this article in refining silver is much less than it appears to be, for a great part of what is used in the operation is collected in dross & sold to people whose business it is to reduce it to its metallic state, and the amount of such sales are carried to the Company’s credit under the head of Nearah.

Letter from the Assay Master (Wm Paxton) dated 17th April 1777. p279

In obedience to your orders of the 7th instant, I have the honor to transmit to you a table of the expense attending the coinage of sundry species of rupee, which have come to the mint in the ten laack belonging to the Honble Company, together with such other species as I could procure out of the bazar, when I found the sub-treasurer could furnish me with samples of siccas only.

I have included in the table an expense for assaying, this arises from the necessity of ascertaining the silver to be of standard fineness before it is given to the moneyers to coin, and more especially as it is to be refined from bullion of varying degrees of fineness.This done, should a laminating engine, a coining mill and other mint utensils, be sent out from Europe, the new coin would be beautified, but this is the only advantage it could have over that which may now be struck.

Conceiving it to be my duty, I hope I shall be pardoned if on this subject I take the liberty to observe that the coining the whole of the Company’s ten laacks without any intermission, will probably occasion the exportation of great quantities of private bullion, and at the same time to suggest that it might be prevented by ordering such bullion as should be tendered to the mint to be assayed, and the amount of its produce paid out of the treasury, which would not only prove a great encouragement to individuals, but also secure to the Company the duties which must otherwise be lost.

The Governor General proposes the following regulations

1.       That it be resolved and declared that only one mint shall be allowed for the coinage of money for the use of the three provinces which shall be that of Calcutta.

2.       That only sicca rupees of the present standard be struck in the mint.

3.       That no gold coin shall be coined after the 31st of this month

4.       That all sicca rupees of the future coinage shall pass forever, without any deduction of batta by weight, and not by tale, in all receipts of the revenue, and in all receipts and issues of the Company’s treasury

5.       That orders be sent to the provincial councils and collectors, to transmit to the Presidency all rupees of whatever denomination, which may be now in their treasuries, and from time to time such others as they shall receive, excepting sicca rupees of the 11th sun, and of later dates, and that all such rupees as they arrive at the Presidency be sent to the mint to be recoined.

6.       That for the encouragement of individuals to bring bullion to the mint, the present duty of 4½ percent on coinage be abolished, and in lieu thereof that a duty of […] percent in addition to the real charges be established, and that the Assay Master be directed to form tables of rates specifying the amount of those charges on bullion, or specie of the different degrees of fineness, and of the produce in sicca rupees.

7.       That for the further encouragement of the proprietors of bullion and specie requiring to be recoined, the expedient proposed by the Assay Master in his letter above recorded, be adopted as a fixed and perpetual regulation, that is to say, that all such bullion or specie as shall be tendered to the mint shall after being assayed be received into the mint on the Company’s acocunt, and that produce estimated by the preceeding regulation be immediatley paid to the proprietor from the public treasury on producing the receipt of the Mint Master for the weight of bullion received, and the certificate of the Assay Master of its value in sicca rupees.

Mr Francis

I assent to the foregoing propositions except the second. I think the standard of the sicca rupee, from its extreme fineness, viz 98/100 fine, is liable to many objections. Having stated my opinion at large on this subject on a former occasion, I do not think it necessary to enter further into it at present.

Mr Barwell

Agrees to the regulations proposed

General Clavering

I think the subject of these propositions too important to give a hasty opinion upon them. I desire a copy of them that I may consider them at my leisure.

Agreed that the above propositions do lie for consideration.

 

Table of Number of Coins Minted from Bullion from Private Persons

Month

Number

October 76

45266-12-6

November

2725-9

December

15874-14-6

January 77

21544-1-6

February

11460-15-9

March

22437-12-6

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 12 May 1777.

Letter from Murshidabad p298

Your commands of the 7th of April for abolishing the mint at Moorshedabad have been communicated to Mr C Keating and put into execution, and in conformity thereto, he has drawn out the accounts required, which we have the honor to enclose together with a copy of his letter to us, which accompanied them. At the close of each year we have received from Mr C Keating the accounts of his office, and he hath now completed them to the time of its being abolished, from which it appears that there is a balance of cash amounting to Sicca Rs 9,531-..-10, which he hath paid into our treasury. As we are in want of money, we shall take the liberty of detaining this sum, and bringing it to the credit of the Moorshedabad mint.

We beg to be favoured with your orders relative to the disposal of the records of his office, whether they are to remain with us or to be sent to you, gentlemen.

Ordered that the records of the mint be sent to the Presidency & that the refiners and engravers lately employed in that office be continued in the Company’s service & removed to the Calcutta mint

Letters to Dacca and Patna p307

Having occasion for an additional number of refiners in the mint of Calcutta, we desire that you will engage any persons of this occupation, who may be willing to enter the Company’s service, & send them down to the Presidency to attend the Mint Master on their arrival.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 29 May 1777. p366

General Clavering replies to Hasting’s proposal about the coinage at great length and in much detail. He disagrees with most of it and suggests that it would be better that the coinage should continue in the way it has up until then, than the propositions be implemented. He then goes on to put forwards his own proposal:

1.       That only one of the precious metals shall form a coin and that it be silver

2.       That only one standard of weight and fineness exist & one denomination

3.       That this standard be the standard of England, that the rupee be of the exact value of the present sicca, and that it pass as such

4.       That proportional parts of this one coin & one standard be minted

5.       That the coinage go by tale and not by weight

6.       That it be milled (ie milled edge)

7.       That false coining and mutilation be made capital

8.       That no duty upon coinage be established

9.       That new money be immediately returned for bullion presented

10.   That an edict be published fixing the price and time of recall of the whole of the present current bullion, after which it should no longer be a legal tender

11.   That the new coin be struck at the four old mints of the country, Patna, Dacca, Moorshedbad and Calcutta

12.   That one superintendant be appointed to be responsible for the whole

13.   That previous to entering upon the plan, the charges of the proposed coinage be thoroughly scrutin ized

14.   That a publick register of the receipts & issues be kept to ascertain as near as possiblethe currency of these kingdoms at any one period – to be attested by the Mint Master, Assay Master and sub-treasurer

Hastings then explained that he hoped to get his proposal put in place without unduly alarming the public and he had to take the Board through it article by article. Meanwhile it became apparent that Francis had also created an alternative proposal that he had sent directly to London in 1775.

However, Hastings finally got them to agree to articles 2, 3, 6 & 7. Others to be discussed later.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 16 June 1777.

Letter from Patna dated 26th May 1777. p523

We have been honored with your letter dated the 12th instant directing us to engage any refiners who may be willing to enter into the Company’s service & send them down to the Presidency.

Having agreeably to your directions made an enquiry, we find there are two kinds of refiners, one who work gold, and the other silver. Of the first there are one Chokesey or assayer & ten Gudazgeers or melters, & of the second there are one Sakub Eyar or assayer, three Chasneegurs or refiners and five Gudazgeers or melters who are willing to be entertained on the following terms viz:

Gold   Assayers          100 Rs per month

         Melters each     25 ditto

Silver  Assayer            100 rupees per month or 3 pice per 100 rupees [russoom]

         Refiner              100 ditto or ½ anna ditto

         Melters             125 ditto or 3 pie ditto exclusive of of an abwaul of ½ anna upon every 1800 rupees

The melters object to going unless the assayer accompanies them & all of them expect that if they are entertained upon the russoom they shall have an additional allowance by way of batta for the maintenance of their families whom they leave behind.

We request to know whether you would have the whole of these persons sent down or what numbers and of what denomination, particularizing them by the country names to avoid mistakes.

The Mint and Assay Masters are directed to inform the Board about this matter

Letter from Murshidabad dated 22nd May 1777. p525

We do ourselves the honor to transmit to you agreeably to your commands of the 12th instant the records of the Moorshedabad mint both in Persian and English, as delivered to us by Mr Keating, the late superintendant.

We have now the pleasure to acquaint you gentlemen that ten refiners out of the twelve which is the whole number that was employed in the mint at this place with eighteen assistants have agreed to proceed to Calcutta upon being paid at the rate of thirty rupees per month each for himself and assistants. We have accordingly engaged them and advanced them one months wages amounting to three hundred rupees & thirty four besides for boat hire, and have sent them doown to the Mint Master at the Presidency agreeably to your orders of the 7th April.

The Mint Master is asked to report how these pay rates compare to the present rates at Calcutta.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 19 June 1777

Letter signed by both the Mint and assay Masters dated 17th June 1777. p564

None of the artists specified in the extract of a letter from Patna which you have enclosed us are at present wanted for the service of the mint except the refiners, and as the terms they require are so much superior to the mint establishment, we apprehend if they should be entertained thereupon that it would create discontent & murmuring amongst the present refiners & be rahter detrimental to the interests of the Company.

The ten refiners and their assistants are arrived from Muxadavad & are now employed in the mint. The wage of thirty rupees per month for each refiner and his assistant is conformable to the established rate of this mint.

Letter to Patna

We have received your letter of the 24th May acquainting us with the terms demanded of you by the refiners and other mint officers at Patna for engaging to serve in the mint of Calcutta. We have only occasion for the silver refiners but we cannot agree to allow them more than the established rate of wages which is thirty rupees per month for each refiner and his assistant. If any shall be willing to engage on these terms, exclusive of their way charges, you will agree with them accordingly and send them down to us.

Letter to the Board of Trade

The Mint Master having applied to us for four hundred maunds of lead for the use of his office we request that you will give orders to the proper officer for the delivery of that quantity to him…

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/19, 28 July 1777.

Letter from Patna dated 3rd July 1777. p828

We have been honored with your letter of the 19th June desiring us to send down such silver refiners as may be willing to go upon thirty rupees per month wages and enclosing us regulations lately made in the mint of Calcutta to be published here.

We have in consequence called upon the silver refiners & proposed the above allowance to them, but they do not chuse to go upon any other terms than those mentioned in our former address of 26th May.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/20, 25 August 1777. (about page 10)

Translation of a Letter from the Dutch at Hooghly dated 1st August 1777

We have with mature deliberation considered the contents of the letter which you did us the honor to write us under date the 25th ultimo

However simple your Honor etc have been pleased to make appear your regulations with respect to the mint, we find them in themselves of weight and speculation for us. We do not deem ourselves competent to determine to the matter with you as principals. We only think that we may go so far as namely, first, to make use of the advantage generally permitted to exchange silver for sicca rupees. We shall therefore take the liberty to avail ourselves thereof, and successively offer to your Honor etc the silver which we daily expect in payment of the settled value thereof in currency siccas, and continue the same till we shall be informed from Batavia by the Honble Superior Government in India whether their Honors consent to the proffered transfer of our priveledges of coinage to the mint of Calcutta , in the manner as proposed to us by you, or whether they choose to continue the delivery of silver to you for the value thereof in sicca rupees…

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/22, 8 January 1778. p68

Letter from the Mint Master (Charles Lloyd) dated 17th November 1777

In obedience to your commands under the date the 3rd instant, I beg leave to inform you that on receiving the Oude treasure into the mint in May last it was immediately begun to be recoined, but on the establishment of the late regulations, which took place soon afterwards, considerable quantities of bullion coming into the mint I judged it proper to discontinue in part the coinage of the Oude treasure until such time as the receipts of private bullion should in some measure decrease, and this being now the case I have again begun with the Oude rupees, and which shall be finished as expeditously as possible.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/24, 30 July 1778. p165

Letter from the Mint Master (W Paxton) dated 30th July 1778

Having occasion for a fresh supply of lead for the use of the mint I request you will be pleased to issue the necessary orders for the delivery of four hundred maunds from the import warehouse.

A letter was sent to the Board of trade instructing them to delivery the required lead from the Import Warehousekeeper.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/24, 30 July 1778. p166

Minute of the Governor General (Hastings)

The payment of coolies and the other people employed on the publick works in Cowries subjecting them to imposition and loss they are therefore discouraged from serving, to the great obstruction of the publick works, and as the chief engineer will have immediate occasion to employ upwards of 3000 labourers who will require a fixed medium of payment, I think this is the proper time for making an experiment to obviate these inconveniences.

Cowries being perishable and the importation of them attended with an annual loss, this reason as well as those above mentioned has frequently suggested the necessity of a copper coinage, and the utility of it has been proved to a demonstration by a former expedient of issuing copper tickets which were readily accepted by the coolies and even passed currently in the bazar and as I am informed were seldom returned.

I therefore desire to recommend to the Board that the amount of ten thousand rupees be immediately struck in copper coin, 1000 rupees of which to be sent on trial to each provincial council and the remainder issued for the currency of the Presidency particularly in payment of to the publick coolies.

Should this scheme be found to answer the purposes intended a larger sum may be coined. It cannot occasion a loss.

I beg leave to produce to the Board, a blank copper coin equal in weight to one anna which, valued at the rate of 50 rupees per maund, the present price of copper being 36, will be equal to the sixty fourth part of a rupee or quarter part of an anna, & this may be subdivided if it should be found convenient to issue smaller coin.

This is not an idea of sudden suggestion. I have long considered and weighed all the consequences of a general currency of copper & the samples which I now offer to the Board have been many months in my possession. The sum required for the proposed experiment is trifling. The amount of ten lacks at least will be required for universal circulation, if it takes effect. This will prove a double gain to the Companyin its commercial and political characters.

Ordered that the minute be refered to the Mint Master for his opinion on the best manner of carrying it into execution.

Ordered that the Mint Master be called upon to report to the Board how soon he shall have coined up all the bullion in the mint & treasury.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/24, 17th August 1778. p476

Letter from the Mint Master (W Paxton) dated 11th August 1778

I humbly request you will be pleased to order the delivery of one lack forty thousand (140,000) sicca weight of silver bullion from the treasury, being the balance now remaining of the 640,000 sicca weight deposited there by order of the Honble Board of the 8th June last.

This was agreed.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/31, 26th April 1779. p36

Letter from the Assay Master ( A L Gilbert) dated 22nd April 1779

Having of late observed many gold mohurs in circulation which appeared very deficient in value, I selected promiscuously from a parcel of them which has the same fresh appearance, the seven pieces bearing the stamp of the Moorshedabad mint, which I have the nonor to send herewith in a sealed paper to your Honble Board and I made two assays of the one which is cut, and both these assays turned out only Carats 19..3 grains of pure gold, which is 4 carats and half a grain deficient of the standard they should be, being more than rupees 3 deficient.In consequence of which I think it mt duty to mention the circumstance that your Honble Board being apprized thereof may fall upon means to put a stop to a practice so highly prejucicial to the public.

The low price at which gold has been for some time for want of a public coinage may probably have been a temptation to an illicit one, in some quarter or another. To discover the persons will be difficult, but by permitting the coinage of gold in the mint of Calcutta, a channel will be opened to the shroffs etc of bringing their gold into circulation without having recourse to an illicit coinage, and thus thereby probably prevented.

It is with the utmost deference that I have presumed to offer an opinion which I should not have done if I had not thought it my duty and what I owe to the public from the office which you have been pleased to put under my direction.

Ordered that public notice be given by advertisement to be circulated by the secretary to all provincial councils and collectors, that it having come to the knowledge of the Governor General and Council that many gold coins have been circulated which are inferior both in weight and fineness to the standard of those coined in the established mint of the country, and bearing their inscription, they do therefore think it proper to give information thereof as a warning to all those to whom such base coins may be tendered in payment, and resolved that a reward of 1000 sicca rupees be offered for the detection of any person who shall be guilty of private coinage, either silver or gold, bearing the current stamp of the provinces, which sum shall be paid to the informer by the Chief and Council of the district in which the fact was committed after conviction of the offender.

Secret Consultations. IOL P/ 17th February 1780

Lett

In

Bengal Revenue Consultations. IOL P/2/37,  20 July 1780, p565

Minute of the GG

The Governor General requests that the Board will permit the sum lately depositied by him in the treasury (vide secret department consultation 26 June) which is in gold to be recoined. This may be done in a very short time as he understands from the Mint Master that the people of the mint are unemployed.

Agreed to and ordered accordingly

Bengal Secret Consultations. IOL P/A/56 , 18th September 1780, p213

Letter from Prinsep to Calcutta Council, dated 1st September 1780

In virtue of your grant of the mines in Monghyer and Rotas for the purpose of supplying these provinces with a copper coinage under the [control] of Government, I have opened three very promising veins of ore under and near the hills of Rotas Gurr, from whence in time I have a fair prospect of supplying a considerable quantity of that metal. But as the process of working it is extremely tedious and the many difficulties I lay under in collecting proper people and materials, will render it impossible to furnish more than two thousand maunds per annum for the four years next to come, a quantity very insufficient even for replacing the currency now circulating in Behar alone, much less for establishing a sufficient and fixed copper coin so greatly wanted throughout your dominions, and as many inconveniences must arise from a scanty or partial circulation without calling in the old pice.

For these reasons I must humbly beg leave to suggest a mode whereby the public convenience seems happily to coincide with the advantage to the Honble Company both in its revenue and commercail departments.

From the best information I have been able to obtain, there cannot be less than from twenty five thousand to thirty five thousand maunds of copper pice now current and which must be replaced, and these whole pice or taccas, double pice.

These therefore when called in demand the same weight of the same sized coin but as it is intended to accommodate the public with half and quarter pices, the amount of the latter which you shall judge necessary must be added. As must also, I imagine, a quantity at least equal to both, which will be most readily accepted by those districts where pice have not been lately used, and by the Metrolis itself.

This view of the object opens so sure and important a source of revenue of Government, and beneficial an increase of the imports from Great Britain, that the interest of any individual, if it did clash can never be suffered to interfere. I hope in the present case, and by the following expedient to avoid any circumstance.

The Company’s imports to Bengal of sheet and Jappan copper which are nearly of equal fineness have been upon an average of four years: 11,106.20 maunds. The estimated produce of the mines in Rotas is 2000 maunds per annum; making together 13,106.20 maunds.

There cannot be a doubt of circulating this quantity in pice for many years to come.

I have made an estimate of the expense and wastage in striking coin of the following sizes and proportions of each agreeable to the instructions given me Viz

Madso Sie      of 20 anas sicca weight 1/16th to the maund

Faloos            of 10 ditto                      12/16th ditto

Neem faloos   of 5 ditto                        2/16th ditto

Paw Faloos    of 2½ ditto                     1/16th

If I receive an equal quantity of the Company’s copper in the four ensuing years, to that of the four last past, at the medium price of the latter deducting the discount, and by melting it down with my own bring the whole to your prescribed standard, I shall be able to furnish it coined within a reasonable time afterwards, at the rate of sixty sicca rupees the maund of 80 sicca weigh to the seer, which if issued to the public at the intended rate brings in a net revenue to Government of sicca rupees ten lack forty eight thousand five hundred and twenty.

If my deductions are drawn from just premises, the Board may safely apply for double this annual quantity of copper, which I shall be able to coin at the same rates, without attanding to the indents of the Commercail Department or lessening their demand. On the contrary the visible call for this metal in coin will naturally raise the price of what can be spared annually for sale, and that delivered me before it is coined as much as for the four years past.

The rising price of the other kinds of copper likewise, which I take to be a natural consequence of this measure, offers an expedient for calling in the old pice at an easy rate to Government, and without any hardship upon the subject, by receiving it in payment of revenues and at such price as shall only subject the Company to the charge of melting it again into its pristine form of battery copper and reselling it upon the spot where delivered in. It seems not at all improbable, that this metal may rise again above the price at which it now passes as money, and then an order prohibiting its continuing lawful tender, except to Government, and that at a few rupees less that the busar rates, would throw it into the tradesmen’s use without any charge at all.

I shall be most happy if these [rights] prove in any respect of use to the publick and am ready with the greatest submission and respect to obey any orders you shall be pleased to give for contributing to that salutary purpose

Bengal Secret Consultations. IOL P/A/56 , 26th October 1780, p624

Letter from Calcutta Council to Prinsep, dated 19th October 1780

The Honble the Governor General and Council having received a letter in which you have addressed under date the 1st ultimo have directed me to inform you in reply to it that agreeing generally to the proposals submitted to them therein, they have desired the Board of Trade to comply with all indents that you may make until the 9th April 1784 for sheet and Japan copper imported here on account of the Company from Europe at the medium price at which the same has been sold at for these four last years deducting the discount.

The quantity of sheet and Japan copper which you so receive is to be mixed and melted down with the quantity procured from the mines granted you in Monghyr and Rotas and the whole brought to the standard prescribed in the Boards orders and resolutions of the 4th of April last. They agree to pay you for the coin so composed at the rate of sixty sicca rupees to the maund of 80 sicca weight to the seer, but in all other instances and respects you are subject to the same conditions as those stipulated in the resolution above quoted.

Bengal Public Consultations. IOL P/2/39 , 30th October 1780, p544

Letter from the Mint Master (William Paxton) to Calcutta dated 30th October (corrected to 13th?) 1780

Although the coinage is considerably increased within these two last months, yet as the charges collected thereon are still insufficient to defray the expense of the mint establishment, I humbly beg leave to suggest by way of remedy the extending to the public the order of the Honble Board of the 20th July last repecting the coinage of the Governor General’s gold bullion, and which would also have the good effect of throwing into immediate circulation a vast quantity of that metal which now lies useless, and of reatoring the due proportion of the metals in payments which the late exportation of gold hath in a great measure destryed.

Agreed that the order passed on the 20th July last for the coinage of gold bullion to the amount of two lacks of rupees ne extended for the reasons urged by the Mint Master and that the coinage of gold bullion be henceforth authorised.

Letter from the Mint Master to Calcutta dated 16th October 1780

I request you will be pleased to issue the necessary orders for the delivery of seventy maunds of lead for the use of the mint.

Ordered that the request made by the Mint Master be complied with and the Board of Trade be desired to give orders for the delivery of 70 maunds of lead for the use of the mint, and that a paragraph be added to this effect to the letter agreed to be written to them and before recoded on this day’s proceedings.

Home & Miscellaneous Consultations. IOL H/62, p293

From Prinsep & Cunningham to Court, after 13th December 1780

In tracing some Bengal made copperas, met with in the common Bazar at Calcutta, to the place where it was made, Mt John Prinsep discovered some viens of copper ore, both at Rotas Gur, not far from Patna, and at Monghyr. Finding that it would not without separation of its parts answer the purpose of Europe copperas, the analysis produced such a proportion of pure copper as induced further trials, & encouraged an application to Government for leave to work these mines, & to manufacture this metal on an extensive scale, but it appearing that in time the copper produced in Bengal might prejudice the exportation of it from Great Britain, and shut out all imports of that metal, the plan of working the mines to their full extent was changed, and knowing it had long been in consideration with the Government of that country to establish a copper coin for a medium between silver rupees & the cumbrous substitute of cowries, Mr Prinsep made proposals to the Governor General & Supreme Council for the coinage of the country copper, mixed with that of Europe, by which means the indents for the latter are doubled and the working of the mines restricted to the quantity of 2000 maunds per annum.

The well judged conditions upon which the mines are now permitted to be worked, as they obviously conduce both to the publick good, to the great convenience of individuals, & to the benefit of the Honble Company, increasing (from the rate at which it is issued) their revenue, ten lacks forty eight thousand five hundred and twenty sicca rupees.It is hoped the Honble Court of Directors will signify their approbation (if it ahll appear to merrit it) of the plan adopted by the Governor General & Supreme Council & by the first conveyance confirm the arrangements already entered into with Mr Prinsep, the nature of which, Mr Cunningham, his partner in business is furnished with, as well as specimens of the coin which had been approved of by the Supreme Council before he came away from Calcutta on the 13th December 1780.

The Publick Proceedings relative to the above are in the ships which left Bengal in December 1780.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/42, 8th February 1781. p590

The following letter from Mr John Prinsep to the secretary having been circulated yesterday and the request therein made agreed to by the members of the Board, the necessary directions were sent to the Custom Master and to the Collector of Government Customs

Letter from J Prinsep dated 7th February 1781

Having received a quantity of copper from the Honble Company’s Import Warehouse Keeper for the Pultah coinage, I find it necessary that publick notice should be given to the Government and Calcutta Custom Master of the nature of my engagement before the metal can be permitted to pass or the money returned hither without being chargeable with duty.

I am therefore to request either one general notice of those officers, or your instructions upon the subject as the boats are now waiting for passport.

 

The secretary having in obedience to the Board’s order applied to the secretary of the revenue department for attested copies of the several resolutions which have passed in that department relative to the grant of the mines of Rotas to Mr Prinsep for the purposes of a copper coinage as well as for the deeds prepared in consequence, he lays the resolutions before the Board that they may have a place on this days proceedings.

 

Extract of the Proceedings of the Honble the Governor General and Council of 28th March 1780

Read the following letter and enclosure from Mr Prinsep

I think it my duty to inform the Honble Board that I have discovered some veins of copper ore the quality of which appears particularly calculated by its fineness and malleability for the purpose of coinage.

I therefore most humbly hope you will be pleased to grant me the exclusive right of working mines in the districts where this ore has been met with on paying the zamindar, or other, a sum equivalent to the rents which the lands now yield to their possessor, and engaging with Government to deliver the whole produce of pure copper in coin at the rate of fifty two siccas rupees the maund of eighty sicca weight, of such dimensions and impression as the Honble Board shall be pleased to direct.

And in case the future produces shall exceed the sum of copper coin judged expedient to be thrown into circulation, the remainder to be subject to a duty of fourteen rupees and an half per maund in piece of quit rent to the Honble Company.

In order to demonstrate the public advantages of this proposal, I beg leave to accompany this letter with the market price of Japan copper at Calcutta for seven years past, and to present samples of the purer metal which I am ready to furnish under this engagement.

There then follows the list of prices for Japanese copper

Extract of the Proceedings of the Honble the Governor General and Council the 4th April 1780

…The Board having fully and maturely considered Mr Prinsep’s proposals are of opinion that, as it opens the prospect of a new and valuable article of commerce and revenue to the Company and further tends greatly to facilitate the introduction and use of a copper coin, which has long been an object of this Board, it merits their encouragement and acceptance. But as it may possibly affect the imports of copper from England, the Board are of opinion that the grant ought to be made with such a reservation of the pleasure of the Court of Directors as may enable them to prevent its becoming hurtful to the Company

On these grounds it is resolved that Mr Prinsep’s offer be accepted, with the following conditions and limitations of it:

1.       That Mr Prinsep shall engage and be bound to satisfy the Zamindar, Talookdar or other proprietor of the districts in which the mines mentioned in his proposal are situated, for his interest or property in the collections upon such lands as shall be necessary for working the mines by annual payments of a full ascertained equivalent for the same, to be adjusted upon the present bundabast by the Collector of the districts and that the Board shall not undertake either for themselves or the East India Company to answer or make good any claim whatever, which the Zamindar, Talookdar or other proprietor of the ground in question may make on Mr Prinsep for the value or property of the same.

2.       That Mr Prinsep shall engage to deliver to the Provincial Chief and Council of Patna for the use of the Honble Company, all the copper worked and produced from the mines, or so much of it as shall be required, refined to the purity of the best Japan copper, and coined into pice or coins of ten annas sicca weight, and in such form and with such impression as the Governor General and Council shall direct, for which he shall be paid in ready money from the treasury there for each delivery at the rate of 52 sicca rupees for each pucca maund or for each maund of eighty sicca weightto the seer in weight or for five thousand one hundred twenty pice in tale.

3.       That Mr Prinsep shall further engage to transport to Patna all the copper manufactured by him exceeding the demand for coinage, and produce the same to the Collector of the Government customs there who shall levy a duty upon it of fourteen sicca rupees for every pucca maund, after which the contractor shall be permitted and be allowed Dustucks or necessary passports for the same.

4.       That Mr Prinsep shall engage on pain of forfeiting the grants, that he will not pass in coinage, nor sell or dispose of in any way, nor suffer to be past in coinage, used or disposed of, any copper of whatever kind, until it shall have been delivered at Patna in one or other of the two modes above prescribed.

5.       That if the coins delivered by Mr Prinsep shall prove on trial to be inferior to the best Japan copper they shall be forfeited to the use of the Company.

6.       And lastly that the grant shall be made for the first term of three years from the first day of Bysaak or ninth of April next, and for the further conditional term of twenty seven years subject to the following exceptions and conditions

That if the Honble Court of Directors or Governor General and Council of the Presidency of Fort William for the time being, shall at any time after the expiration of the term of three years above mentioned, disapprove of the grant, and order the suspension of it, it shall remain suspended during their pleasure. But that in the case of such suspension, the grant shall still remain dormant, and if in future it shall be found expedient to resume a copper coinage, or to allow any copper mines to be worked within the three provinces, such coin shall be taken from Mr Prinsep on the terms prescribed and his mines shall be worked by himself his heirs, executors or assigns on payment of the prescribed duty for the uncoined product for so long and as often as the suspension shall be so withheld until in shall be wholly revoked. The interval or intervals of such suspension to make no part of the thirty years for which his property in the mines shall have been granted.

The Board observe that in fixing the price of the coinage at eighty sicca rupees per maund, they have been guided principally by the opinion given by the Mint Master in his letter to the Board dated 4 August 1778, in the following words:

“I am of opinion that fifty rupees a maund is too low for the nominal value of a copper coin, and altho’ on adverting to the present price of the metal, the rate it stands valued at in the Dawk price (viz 80 rupees) seems to border on the other extreme. Yet I would prefer it, not only to the former but also to every other nominal value whatsoever, for to say nothing of the immediate gain accruing to the Company therefrom, should copper rise to its former price of seventy to seventy-five rupees per maund, it will not then be over-rated, and it will have the further advantage of being no innovation, otherwise than that pice in halves and quarters pass in the bazar as well as at the Post Office and if, contrary to all probability, the price of copper should even fall, the plan might still succeed, by adopting measures to promote the circulation of the coin and to prevent counterfeits.”

It is to be remarked that the coins which were at that time under the consideration of the Board were proposed to be made of the common sheet copper, which is of a much inferior quality to Japan copper, the standard of coinage now intended to take place.

The pice of the weight proposed will be less in bulk than a sicca rupee, which experience has shown is the most portable and best adapted to common use. Its current value will be one quarter of an anna and at the same time exactly equal to one anna of [cowries], estimated at the medium rate of four [couris] for the rupee, so that in each kind of currency it will fall within the familiar habits of every order of the people and its admission into common use be easily and immediately effected without any appearance of innovation.

Ordered that a copy of the forgoing resolutions be transmitted to Mr Prinsep, and that the Secretary do require of him for the information of the Board, the districts in which the mines have been discovered.

Extract of the proceedings of the Honble the Governor General and Council the 14th April 1780

Letter from Mr Prinsep

In reply to your letter of the 4th instant, I am to inform you that the mines in question are situated in the districts of Rotas and Monghyr.

I am likewise to request you will be pleased to acquaint the Honble the Governor General and Council of my entire acquiescence in their pleasure, and readiness to pay the Zamindars or other proprietors of the lands where these mines lay, a full equivalent of their present collections from the day I shall be put into possession.

I shall esteem it a favor your furnishing me immediately with official letters from yourself to the Provincial Collectors as I propose to begin working without loss of time.

Agreed that the following letter be in consequence written to the Provincial Council of Patna and Collector of Boglepoor

Having thought proper to enter into engagements with Mt John Prinsep for working the mines in Sircar Rotas (Monghyr inserted for the Collector of Boglepoor) for a period of thirty years, and to receive from him in coin the copper produce thereof, we direct that you afford Mr Prinsep or his agents every necessary assistanceand protection and that you put him into immediate possession of such spots of lands as he shall claim in virtue of this grantfor working the mines therein described, but no others, subject to the payment of the full present annual collections of the Zamindar.

Views of the Company’s Attorney on the agreement

He draws attention to a number of points but most importantly (for the future) he stated:

…There seems a difference, at least in the mode between the Board’s resolution and the contract. The resolutions separately say that it is to hold for 3 years certain and 27 more years conditionally, whereas the contract blends together all the thirty years subject to suspension only if objected to before the expiration of the first three years, whereas by the Board’s resolutions it would appear that these three years are precisely the only time no objection so to suspend the grant are to be made…

The Board agrees that this should be changed.

A new contract is ordered to be prepared

Letter from Prinsep to Calcutta 2nd February 1781

I have now the satisfaction of presenting you four standard pieces of copper intended for the new coin, all four of equal fineness one of which you will be pleased to retainfor the security of Government and return the other three with such mark of distinction as shall warrant my beginning the coinage at the places you have been pleased to appoint.

Ordered that the four standard pieces of copper intended for the new coin and submitted by Mr Prinsep to the Board for their approval of them, be sent to the Mint Master with orders to him to examine tham, to report if they be all the same fineness and equal in fineness and purity to the best Japan copper and to mark them with a stamp if on examination of them he should find that they are so.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/42, 22nd February 1781

Letter from the Mint Master dated 19th February 1781

In obedience to your orders of the 8th instant I have examined standard pieces of copper intended for Mr Prinsep’s new coinage and find them nearly of the same fineness but inferior in fineness and purity to Japan copper.

I therefore return them without the stamp which otherwise I should have affixed on them.

Ordered that the standard pieces of copper be sent back to Mr Prinsep that other standards may be furnished in lieu of them.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/46, 20th September 1781. p412

Letter from John Prinsep to Calcutta dated 17th September 1781

A small quantity of the new copper money being now ready, I purpose with the Boards permission to make an immediate dispatch of it to the treasury, and therefore am to request the proper orders may be given for its acceptance, and for payment of the amount at the cotract rate with such charges as may be levied at the custom house in consequence of some late regulations in that department to which I can be no way considered as liable, under my engagements with the Honble Company.

Resolved that the sub-treasurer be directed to receive from Mr Prinsep from time to time such new copper coin as may be tendered by him at the treasury paying him for the same at the rate stipulated in Mr Prinsep’s contract with the Honble Company.

Ordered that directions be given to the commissioner of the customs to pass the new copper coin to be sent by Mr Prinsep from Pultah on account of the Company free of all duties.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/46, 24th September 1781. p460

Proclamation

Resolved that the following proclamation be translated into the Persian, Bengal & Armenian languages and made public throughout the provinces.

Advertisement

Fort William, 24th September 1781

The Honble the Governor General and Councilhaving thought proper to establish a copper coinage, and copper coins by their order having been struck of the denomination, value, weight and with the inscriptions described in the annexed table, they hereby authorise them to be circulated throughout the provinces under their Government at the rate of eighty siccas rupees for the maund of eighty sicca weight, at which rate they will be issued from the treasuries and other public offices. And as it is their intention to make the circulation of the copper coin general throughout all the districts, they hereby order and direct all Collectors of the revenues and other persons entrusted with the receipt of public money to receive the same when tendered in the proportion of ten rupees in every thousand to be weighed when paid in sums exceeding half a maund in weight, and to be issued again in like manner and at the above rate in all public payments. And in order to establish it as a necessary division of a sicca rupee, and a convenient medium between silver and cowries in the purchase of the common necessaries of life, the Governor General and Council direct that the coppercoin be received and paid according to the relative value fixed in the annexed table of copper to cowries without any discount or batta whatever, which however is not to influence or affect the bazar price of cowries.

 

Table showing the Denominations, Value, Weight, as also the Inscriptions of the Copper Coin struck by Order of the Honble the Governor General and Council, the Circulation of which they hereby authorise throughout the Provinces under this Government

Denomination

Relative Value to a Sicca Rupee

Relative Value to Cowries

Weight

Madosie

6 Pice sicca each.

2 equal to an anna sicca and 32 to a sicca rupee

Equal to 160 cowries

20 annas sicca weight each or 2560 in the maund of 80 sicca weight

Faloos

3 Pice sicca each.

4 equal to an anna sicca & 64 to a Sa Rupee

Equal to 80 cowries

10 annas sicca weight each or 5120 in the maund of 80 sicca weight

Neem Faloos

1 ½ pice sicca each.

8 equal to an anna sicca & 128 to a sicca rupee

Equal to 40 cowries

5 annas sicca weight or 10,240 in the maund of 80 sicca weight

Pau Faloos

¾ Pice sicca each.

16 equal to an anna sicca and 256 to a sicca Rupee

20 cowries

2 ½ annas sicca weight each or 20,400 in the maund of 80 sicca weight

Bengal Home & Miscellaneous Papers. IOL H/62, p285ff.

Letter from Alexander Cunningham to the Chairman of the EIC, dated 13th September 1781

Encouraged by the polite reception I met with from you when I had the honor of attending you in the India House, and by the assurances of Mr Shakespear of your willingness to attend to any business I might wish to lay before you previous yo my publickly addressing the Honble Court, I flatter myself you will pardon the liberty I take in preparing this to leave at your house in case I should not be so fortunate as to find you at home, and the nature and importance of the concerns of my partners & self are engaged in with the Honble Company will likewise I hope plead my excuse for requesting the favour of an appointment to a conference with you.

Having learnt that the captains this year are allowed to carry out copper to India, and the long detention of the honeward bound ships having prevented you from knowing that mines of that valuable metal are discovered in Bengal, I think it a duty incumbent on me as a partner of Mr Prinsep’s, come home to transact the business of our house with the Honble Court themselves (before the next fleet sails) to acquaint them of this important discovery, as well as with the establishment of a copper coinage thro’ the three provinces. The enclosed paper will give you some insight into the nature of it, and I shall be happy to have the honor of your advice about it as well as to point out to you how far the Company are engaged in it…

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/51, 29th April 1782. After p449

The Assay Master at Madras (James Taylor) sends a long letter explaining that the gold he has is too brittle and that the Mint Master at Calcutta should have done his job properly!

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/53, 29th July 1782. p548

Letter from Mr Becher at Dacca dated 22nd July 1782

In obedience to your commands under date the 14th June, I have obtained from Mr Paxton and by other means every information I could to enable me to form a plan for conducting the office you have been pleased to appoint me to in consequence of your resolution to revive the mint at Dacca. I have inspected the spot and remains of the building where the coinage was formerly carried on. It is so much in ruin that if the business is to be carried on then I am persuaded it will be most for the Company’s interest to erect the necessary buildings entirely new. Should this be your pleasure I will order an estimate of the expence to be prepared, and forward it for your future orders on the subject. Building here is much cheaper than in Calcutta and I apprehend the necessary buildings might be erected and completed for about 4000 sicca rupees. I have enquired whether the ancient spot for coinage is esteemed essential by the natives and am assured it is not, which being the case, and considering that erecting buildings will not only be attended with considerable expence, but occasion delay, and as I find a general wish in the people here that the mint should be immediatley established, permit me to recommend that a house mear the factory may be hired, in which the business can be carried on. Mr Hasleby, my assistant, may reside in the house and I also can give more frequent attendance.Such a house may be rented not exceeding 150 rupees per month and, at a small expence, the lower apartments may be fitted up for the business should it be judged proper hereafter to purchase the house, I doubt not but it may be effected on reasonable terms. On the most mature consideration and after the best information I can procure, I take the liberty to recommend that sicca rupees and gold mohurs be the species allowed to be coined in the mint, of the same standard as is coined in the mint at Calcutta and I am of opinion that they should have no distinguishing mark, that the shroffs may not be able to establish a batta on the rupees being carried out of this province, which they certainly will do if there is any distinguishing mark. I am further advised that smaller coins will prove a convenience to the inhabitants. If you approve it, we may coin halfs, quarters and eighths both in gold and silver. I enclose you, agreeable to your orders, a list of such an establishment as to me appears proper at present for conducting the business of the mint. Should any alteration hereafter become necessary, I shall advise you and wait your orders before any additional servants are admitted or expence incurred, except such workmen as may be necessary on a considerable increase of coinage, and you may depend I will use my best endeavours that the mint at Dacca shall be properly conducted so as to prove of benefit to the inhabitants of this provinceand of advantage to the Honble East India Company. Permit me to request that you will favour me with your directions respecting the mint to be established here, as soon as possible, that the business may be commenced.I apprehend I shall have occasion for some sepoys as a guard, and an advance of some monay. You will favour me in giving such directions as you may judge proper, that these wants may be supplied. If you, Honble Sir and Gentlemen, should approve my proposal for coining the sicca rupees and mohurs, exactly the same as in the Calcutta Mint, I apprehend it will be necessary that I should be furnished by the Mint Master with the dye used in that mint and one or two people well versed in the business to enable us to commence perfectly right. Should you concur in this sentiment I request the favor you will issue the necessary orders, that there may be no delay in the people proceeding here. I take the liberty to enclose you an indent of stationary, which will be wanted, and request that it may be complied with.I am afraid the list of servants I now forward will be found deficient, and that others will be required when the business goed on. If any men are sent from Calcutta their wages must be added. Many others will be employed but I am informed custom has established in the mints of this countrythat they receive their wages from a [resume] paid by the merchants and others who send money to the mint to be coined. Charges of coining, duty to be received by the Company, and commission usually allowed, I presume are to be regulated by which is the practice in the Calcutta mint. If from circumstances any part of the expense can properly be reduced, I shall be attentive to the interests of the Company. Only permit me to observe that in Calcutta the coinage is very extensive. Here it will require time to judge whether the coinage will be considerable or trifling. As far as my interest is concerned in this subject, I refer myself entirely to your determination. I have made every enquiry in my power to enable me to comply with your directions to forward early samples of the different species of rupees which are current in the Dacca division, with reports of their currect batta and intrinsic value relative to siccas. I find there are rupees of many species of which a few are to be met with, but in reality those to be esteemed current are only French and English Arcots, and siccas, the batta continually fluctuating, often varying three or four per cent. As other siccas are wanted to pay the revenue, or Arcots to send to the Aurangs to purchase cloths, I hope the reestablishment of the mint here may in time prevent this great fluctuation and give a general currency to the sicca rupee. If after this representation you still wish to have the samples and information required, your orders shall be punctually obeyed.

 

List of Servants necessary to be kept on the reestablishment of the mint at Dacca

 

Rupees

Mr Samuel Hasleby Assistant

500

Banian and his attendants

120

One Doroga

101

1 Tanhsally a deputy

20

1 Pishear

 

2 Mohurys

 

1 Choesey

 

1 Jemuldar

 

2 Peons

 

2 Bearers

 

1 Tanhsally Pishear

 

32 Shodahs

 

4 Goazahgeers

 

20 Durrups

 

2 Chandipittos

 

2 Tancey

 

1 Sichchees

 

1 Gunnooahs

 

2 Tarrazoobus

 

1 Mohur Cund

 

1 Pushear

 

Those servants to whom no pay is affixed are to receive theirs according to custom from the Rezum only when they are employed

 

Agreed that Mr Becher be desired to hire a house for the purposes mentioned in his letter and that he be informed that the Board approve of his coining sicca rupees and gold mohurs of the same weight and standard as those of Calcutta but do not approve of their being struck with the same dye, as the Board have experienced many ill effects from that cause when the coins which were struck in the mints of Patna, at Dacca and Calcutta were stamped the same with those of Moorshedabad as it would prove an encouragement to [ellieis] coinage and destroy the responsibility which each office holds for its own accounts.

Agreed that Mr Becher be authorized to make such establishments as he may find necessary waving it till the business shall be so far in train as to admit of a fixed establishment and that he be informed that the Board cannot immediatley determine on his allowances as they think it necessary to have some experience of the business of the mint, but that when they are fixed they shall commence from the day of his appointment.

Ordered that Mr Becher’s indent for stationary be complied with

Ordered that the Mint Master be directed to furnish Mr Becher with as many dyes as he may want but with the name of the Dacca mint and to furnish such other assistance as Mr Becher may require. Also a form of the books in his office and all orders respecting the mint or coinage of Calcutta now in force.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/55, 16th September 1782. p13

Letter from Mr Becher (Superintendant of the Mint) at Dacca to Calcutta dated 12th September 1782

I now forward you five gold mohurs and five sicca rupees coined in the mint at Dacca which I hope will meet with your approbation. I am assured they are exactly the same standard with the money coined in your mint at Calcutta. I request you will favour me by acquainting me as soon as you conveniently can if they are found to be so.

Sent to the Mint Master

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/55, 7th October 1782. p331

The Assay Master reported the assay of the Dacca coins. The mohurs were exactly to standard. The rupees slightly above

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/2/55, 28th October 1782. p535

Letter from Mr Becher (Superintendant of the Mint) at Dacca to Calcutta dated 10th October 1782

On the 13th September I sent five gold Mohurs & five sicca rupees coined in the mint here to be assayed in Calcutta & I wait your reply. The mint was opened here on the 26th August, but to this hour very trifling sums have been sent in to be coined. It has been represented to me that formerly the revenues from Noosenabad, Naginagur and Chittagong were in the different species they are received in those parts sent to Dacca to be coined into siccas or sold, whereas at present they get them exchanged into siccas in other parts of the country & deliver in their revenues. If an order can be issued for these various species to be sent to the mint at Dacca & receive their amount either in siccas here or in bills upon Calcutta, it would be of great assistance to the mint, & it’s further represented to me that if siccas of the 12th sun to the 15th sun inclusive could be reduced to sonaut & only 19th suns to be current, that this measure also would promote the coinage here very much. Arcot rupees are so much the currency in these provinces that they may almost be said to be the only coin known out of the city of Dacca. All the manufactures are purchased with them. There are various Arcot rupees and many very bad sorts. Whether it would be a proper measure to allow Arcot rupees to be coined in the mint here is worthy your consideration. It certainly would bring many to the mint and it’s represented to me it would be of use to the circulation of the country. I beg leave to refer these points to your better judgement & shall punctually obey any orders you may please to send me. As most of the siccas coined in the mint will be conveyed into the other provinces, I apprehend an order of Government is absolutly necessary for their passing equally with the Calcutta coinage, more especially as they bear a particular mark which may give the shroffs a handle to draw an advantage from them. Unless some measures are adopted to induce the different zemindars, farmers & others to bring their various species of inferior rupees to the mint at Dacca I do not see a probability of this mint answering any good purpose to our Honble Employers. I have been obliged to call on Mr Holland for a second 2000 [Sa Rs] to pay the salaries and defray the expenses of the mint.

Letter from Mr Becher (Superintendant of the Mint) at Dacca to Calcutta dated 20th October 1782

I have received your favour of the 7th enclosing a copy of the Mint Master’s report in consequence of an assay made on three gold mohurs and three siccas rupees sent from the mint here. I am glad to find that the gold mohurs are as they should be & the sicca rupees right in weight but finer than the Calcutta siccas. We will endeavour in future to make them exact but I would own that I should be glad of a further explanation on the whole of the report respecting sicca rupees. You will oblige me by requesting of Mr Paxton to send it. I have been long ill & am advised to quit Dacca for a time. I wish to proceed towards the Presidency & probably may visit it. I am therefore to request permission from the Honble Governor General & Council to leave the charge of my office as Mint Master with my assistant Mr Hazelby & in the present state of the business he is very capable of conducting it.

Becher is allowed to come down to the Presidency leaving Hazelby in charge. Other points are referred to the Mint Master.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/2, 23 February 1784

Letter from Mr Becher at Dacca to Calcutta dated 1st November 1782

I now transmit for your information an account of receipts and disbursements of the mint from its commencement to the 31st October

This was referred to the Accountant General

 

Bengal, Home & Miscellaneous. IOL H434, No 3, p57

Letter from Mr Geo Smith dated 27th January 1785

A proposal to reform the currency by calling in all mohurs and sicca rupees and recoining them at lower weight, giving a premium of 6 per cent on all imported bullion and coins, which would have to be minted into the indiginous coinage, etc

 

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/9, 3 January 1785, p60

Letter from Croftes, Alexander & Paxton (arbitrators of Prinseps claims) to Calcutta, dated 31st December 1784

The agreed award is written in detail and goes on 70 p77

p73 has the statement

…and also all other tools and implements belonging to all or any copper mints of the said John Prinsep either at Pultah, Patna or any other place or places whatsoever

p78 shows schedule A which, inter alia, refers to the Patna mint

p79ff shows schedule B which gives details of all the tools in the different rooms of the mint(s):

Sheer Room

5 Gaughes and steel scribers for marking the sheets of copper into slips

4 pairs of extra large sheers with strong wood frames and stands compleat, for cutting the sheet copper into slips

A pait of smaller ditto with wood frame and stand

Mill Room

A large cutting and flat[en]ing machine for cutting the sheet copper into slips and flatting it to its propoer thickness compleat with four extra cutting tools and two extra brass cogwheels for ditto, and screw wrenches

A small flatting mill for flatting the slips to their proper size with screw wrenches, keys etc compleat

Cutting Room

4 boards with 12 steel scribers and 12 rulers for marking the diameters of the pice on the slips of copper as guide to the cutting machine

A single cutting machine for cutting the blank pice compleat with 6 extra dabs and bolsters

A double cutting machine for citting out the blank pice compleat with 12 extra dabs and bolsters, 2 standing trays, 2 troughs to the blank, 2 stools & wrenches etc

A double horizontal machine for cutting the pau faloos pice compleat with 12 extra dabs and bolsters, tray stools etc

An extra strong double cutting machine for cutting the blank madoosie pice compleat with 12 extra cutting arbors and bolsters, trays, stools, wrenches etc

A double cutting machine compleat with 12 extra dabs and bolsters, tray, tools, etc

A Tower Mint cutting press compleat with extra dabs and bolsters

A Tower Mint flatting press for flatting the blank pieces of gold and silver compleat with 3 extra boxes and bolts

A table with seals, weights compleat for weighing out the blanks to the softners to clean them

A pair of small seals for weighing of single pice

A pair of ditto for ditto in seers

A pair of larger with a triangle compleat

4 large wooden trays for carrying pice in

2 extra flywheels and crank handles for the cutting machines

Softners Rooms

2 Furnaces for anealing the pice compleat with the following articles: 2 iron peels, 4 pairs of large tongs, 20 square iron pairs for holding the pice, 2 rakes, 2 pokers

3 troughs for holding the liquid for cleaning the pice with 2 large and 8 small tubs for [putting] the pice in

2 barrels mounted on strong stands with iron [spindell guid geons] and handles compleat with draining tubs

A Pair of scales for weighing back the pice to the stamp room

2 long store chests to keep pice in, with good lock and keys

28 iron moulds for cutting the slips of copper

Stamping Room

19 stamping presses compleat for striking the impression on the money with 2 hammers and 3 pairs of new dyes each, hammer, wrenches and every tool for setting the dyes

A hammer mill for stamping the pice with dyes compleat

A Tower fashioned press with wooden body compleat with dyes for striking pice

Treasure Room

1 store chest with strong lock and key for containing the finished money

3 open store chests

1 pair of scales with triangle compleat with 10 ledden weights w.g 38 [Sr] 15 [cht]

Filing Room

A large turning lathe compleat for turning iron, brass, steel etc

24 steel truning tools with wood handles for iron turning

24 ditto ditto with ditto for brass turning

A strong collar and mandrell laith compleat with 12 steel turning tools for turning iron

12 ditto ditto for turning brass

6 ditto ditto for turning wood

4 brass checks

1 iron ditto

6 wood ditto for ditto

A wheels and frame compleat for turning both laiths

2 small pulleys iron and copper with screws compleat

1 wood ditto with iron screws

6 wood ditto plain

A small grindstone with a wheel draught and table compleat, for grinding the turning [the] tools

A small foot laith for turning wood compleat with 12 turning tools

A Bengally laith for turning wood compleat

A small portable forge compleat with bellows, stake, 2 hammers, 2 pairs of tongs, 1 rake and shovel

9 vices with benches compleat

2 small stakes

A pair of strong iron stocks with 20 pairs of dies and 24 taps, steel with tap wrenches, screw keys compleat

6 large steel boarers for boaring the cutting machine

4 small ditto for making the cutting machine

2 braces for ditto

4 screw plates with taps compleat for cutting small screws2 saws and frames, sawing iron

12 hammers of different sorts

2 hand vices

8 old rubber files

A drill bow breast plate and 12 drills compleat

2 oil stoves [and] wood lamp

100 files of different sorts with wooden handles compleat

200 new files of different sorts

3 pair of compasses and a pair callibies

Smiths Shop

5 forges with anvils, sledge and hand hammers, iron tongs, shovels rakes, chizels, set hammers, punches, coal troughs and water tubs compleat

1 large forge with large bellows, anvil and crane compleat, for forging large iron work.

1 large brick iron and 2 small stakes

1 beam drill with 2 braces

12 steel drills for drilling large holes in iron compleat with a vise and bench

2 strong vises for bending hot iron

1 grindstone and trough compleat

12 files with handles

6 hand chizels and 6 punches

Moulds

Wooden moulds of several machines in the Pultah mint

Wooden [suket] and pigs of [east] iron for the anvils of the stamping presses

A bell and wood stand to let the people go from work

[Callasey chaprass]

Pass ticket brass

Tools used for the Bengally method of Coining

150 hammers for forging the pice

9 pairs of tongs for holding the copper to be cut

500 small chizels for cutting the copper

10 gauges for flatting the blank pieces

25 pairs of tongs for heating the blank pieces in the fire

10 small pinchers for holding blanks to hammer round the edge

4 moulds for cutting pice in

67 pairs of small scales with wooden boxes

1 large box for holding the above tools

Carpenters Tools

A large saw

1 frame ditto

1 dovetail ditto

1 Bengally ditto

1 iron cramp for framing woodwork

4 large augurs

1 adze

1 round A[dze?]

1 Bengally ditto

1 large hatchet

1 small ditto

6 drills and stocks for wood

3 board firmers and 2 large gauges new

4 [Newmort] chizels

4 ditto firmer and 3 small gauges new

3 small firmers new

5 large leather bits

4 smaller ditto

6 new centre bits of sorts

4 large gauges and handles

6 mortice chizels of sorts

3 large ditto

2 large firmers with handles

6 small ditto of sorts

5 rasps of sorts with handles

7 files with handles

4 old plains

2 pairs of compasses

4 wood squares

1 pair of pinchers

3 hammers of sorts

A list of mint tools lost on board the ships Duke of Athol & Kingston and replaced in ship Earl Cornwallis

A cutting press compleat with extra dabs and bolsters

A flatting press compleat with 3 extra boxes and bolts

2 flatting mills compleat with spindells gundgions etc

2 large bodies in cast iron of 2 fly presses unfinished

2 chests of extra files

500 [Wt] of dye steel

 

All this was to be deivered to the Calcutta Mint Master

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/9, 24 January 1785, p516

Letter from the Resident at Murshidabad to Calcutta, dated 25th December 1784

Independent of the solicitations of all the bankers and principal inhabitants of Moorshedabd and its neighbourhood, I think it a duty encumbant on me from the high station in which you have thought fit to place me, to represent to you the great advantages which would accrue, not only to its inhabitants composed of all the first families in Bengal, but to various other parts of the country from the re-establishment of the mint at Moorshedabad.

Whilst it continued there, the bankers flourished, and in consequence in every case of emergency, money to any amount was to be raised there. Since its abolition they are ruined. Even the family of the Seths are scarce able to keep up the appearance of business. The bad effects of this have been too frequently experienced by the Nabob and his family during the time of my residence at his court, where frequent instances have happened in which from the inabilty of Government to pay his stipend regularly, he has been reduced to the utmost distress, and from the ruined stae of the bankers, I have not been able, though backed by all the influence of the Board and his own, to borrow a single rupee for his relief, whereas had the mint continued there, such a scarcity of specie could never have happened.

I flatter myself that your Honble Board, whose wish must ever be to preserve the ease and dignity of the great families of the country and more particularly of that of the Nabob, will give this consideration its full weight.

Multitudes of people would bring their bullion to a mint here, who would not run the risk, or submit to the expense and trouble of transporting it to Calcutta.

The expence of it to the Honble Company cannot be great and the advantages to be derived from it to the country and its revenues would greatly overbalance it. I do not presume to offer this to your consideration merely on my own judgement but on the joint opinions of the best informed men of the city. Not a day passes but I receive applications from various quarters to solicit of your Honble Board, its re-establishment. The fear of being thought to obtrude myself officiously on your notice in a matter which no otherwise concerns me than as a well-wisher to Government has hitherto deterred me from such a step, and I trust that when you consider my motives, you will excuse my having now done it.

There then follows a signed petition from Juggut Seet and another from all the bankers of Murshidabad

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/9, 28 January 1785, p675

William Paxton resigns as Mint Master

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/10, 10 February 1785, p190

Letter from John Prinsep to Calcutta, dated 4th January 1785

I am proposed in compliance with the award given the 31st ultimo to surrender the tools and implements of the Pultah mint and in order to demonstrate that the expense of labor, invention and money laid out upon it has not been uselessly employed, I hope to be excused the liberty of presenting the Honble Board, two complete setts of gold, silver and copper coin of the Bengal standard and impression, but which I hope will appear to have been executed in a manner superior to any money of the Moghul Empire. These proofs have been struck with the tools of the Pultah mint, which wants very little, being complete.

The plea of professional knowledge and experience must ever, I apprehend, continue to introduce men of particular qualifications to seberal departments of this Government, out of the common line of service. It has been hitherto urged with effect in too many instances to need enumerating particular ones.

I wish to be allowed this plea in my present application to your Honble Board, for the temporary succession to your Mint Master when he shall resign. I have already urged it in an address to the Honble Court of Directors, which is now before them for deliberation and [….]rather press the point at this period, because a report prevails of Mr Paxton’s intending shortly to proceed to Europe, your acquiescence would afford me the honor of completing a work which I cannot doubt you will consider of very great importance to your Government, a perfect coinage.

I will not support this application upon the grounds of the very heavy losses I have incurred in the prosecution of two other objects of some importance, the chintz manufactury and the culture of indigo, tho’ the magnitude of the latter and the general benefit to the country which has accrued from both might, I should humbly conceive, entitle their undertaker to a continuance of your favor & patronage. But I hope this last instance of my submitting to surrender the grant of copper mines and coinage in deference to your commands at an indemnity short by two thirds of my real disbursements, entitle me to some consideration especially if I am understood to be applying not for a post of rank or emolument, but for leave to complete what I had undertaken for the publick benefit. I wish to be confined to the mechanic part of the business, to the manufacture of the coin only and if the Honble Board shall be apprehensive of incurring any additional expense, I am ready to give up any claim to salary or emolument until I shall be confirmed from home, or you shall be convinced of the utility of the undertaking and its amply repaying the Company in time what has been expended upon it.

I shall esteem it a favor if you will be pleased to direct a copy of this address a number in your next packet, and a sett of the coins to be dispatched by an early ship to the Honble the Court of Directors.

I ought to observe that besides those accompanying this letter, only four other impressions are take, a sett for each member of Government and one for myself. The dyes are carefully locked up and will be deivered with the implements when required.

The secretary informs the Board that the coins accompanying the above were sent to the Court of Directors by the Berrington

Ordered that Mr Prinsep be informed that the Board cannot confer the appointment upon him which he solicits, consistant with the Company’s orders.

Letter from Prinsep to Calcutta, dated 25th January

On presenting at the treasury your order of yesterday’s date for payment of the indemnity awarded for surrender of the copper mines and coinage grant, I have been informed by MR Croftes, the sub-treasurer, that he cannot either discharge it at present, or engage to pay the money at an early day, in preference to orders of older date without the special warrant of the Board.

I beg leave therefore to request that he may receive instructions (for the more easily liquidating this large sum) to grant interest deposit receipts of the same date to the extent of the order for ten and fifteen thousand rupees each, and be further directed to pay them inturn with other debentures upon the treasury.

The Board do not think it proper to comply with the above request of Mr Prinsep but leave him at liberty to make any reference he chuses to the arbitrators for their explanation and further decisionto form a supplement to their award if he is not satisfied with the order on the treasury which he has received

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/10, 21 February 1785, p442

Minute

Resolved that Mr Herbert Harris be appointed to the office of Mint Master which has been vacated by the resignation of Mr William Paxton

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/12, 20 June 1785, p469

Letter from the Mint Master (Herbert Harris) to Calcutta dated 20th April 1785

In obedience to your commands signified to me by your secretary, I proceeded up to Pultah for the purpose of receiving the copper coinage machines from Mr Princep, but was obliged to postpone taking charge of them until I could return to bring them away, as the locking them up in a confined room might greatly injure the finer parts of them.

I have now the honor to inclose for your inspection a set of silver coins that were struck with these machines, and humbly submit to your consideration the making use of them in the Calcutta mint for the gold and silver coinage. The benefit that will result to the Honble Company, and to merchants and others, I shall in part enummerate.

1st, the advantage of having a beautiful milled coin that cannot be counterfeited by the natives. The present one is so very imperfect that it requires but little art or ingenuity to imitate it, as is heavily experienced from the number of bad rupees in circulation.

2nd, it will effectually prevent the farmers and others employed in the collections from taking a batta on the rupees of different years, which is frequently practiced, and also exactions under pretence of the money being base.

3rd, The great benefit that will accrue to the army, merchants and indeed every native and individual in these provinces from being able to receive and pay their own money without an intermediate agent or shroff.

4th, the expenses of the mint may be reduced to the establishment of 1773, and all the little petty frauds now practiced by the workmen effectually prevented.

To carry this new coinage into execution, nothing more will be necessary than an order of Government for their beinf received at the rate and value of other siccas, and they will be brought so imperceptibly into use that the shroffs, who are the only interested people to promote an opposition, will, I am almost certain, be ready to forward the circulation of them.

As the divisions of the rupee in halves, quarters and two annas pieces, take a considerable time and labour in making, I humbly conceive a difference in the fineness should be made in proportion to the expense of the coinage, and if they were struck rather larger than the samples now delivered, they would be still of greater utility.

Ordered that the Mint Master do cause the Pulta mint, and every material and instrument of coinage at that place, to be removed to the Presidency, and that the committee of revenue be desired to give their opinions on the advantage and use of establishing this coinage in the manner proposed.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/13, 24 August 1785, p143

Letter from the Committee of Revenue (W Cowper, Thos Graham, J Evelyn) to Calcutta, dated 10th March 1785

We have the honor to receive under date the 24th January last a letter from your secretary accompanying copies of a letter and papers received from Sir John D’Oyley, and requesting that we would take the subject thereof into consideration and communicate our opinion upon the utility as well as necessity of re-establishing the mint at Moorshedabad for the information of your Honble Board.

Having carefully perused and examined the several papers and proceedings which have reference to the above question we beg leave to state to you such parts as seem most material for forming a judgement and passing a decision thereon. The object of the Honble the Governor General and Council when the subject of coinage was first taken under consideration, appears from their proceedings of the 14th August 1776 and 7th April 1777 to have been the establishment of one currency throughout the provinces.

For the more speedy accomplishment of this object the then provincial council of revenue at Moorshedabad in a letter from them to the Supreme Council on the proceedings of the 7th April 1777 suppose it may be thought necessary that the mints of Moorshedabad, Patna and Dacca should be continued for a time, but as soon as the purpose should appear to have been attained, there should be one mint only either at Calcutta or Moorshedabad. The statements which the provincial council transmitted at the same time showed that the proportion of siccas to the other species of rupees received into the treasury on account of the revenues of the division under their charge were as 3 to 4, but that the proportion of the wealth of the country in siccas to that of the wealth in other species was infinitely less. For reducing the whole to one currency, which they were clearly of opinion would prove a vast relief to the ryots and people in general, two measures were proposed. That no rupees be coined in Bengal but of one sun and that no commission of [serf?] and dustoor be taken at the mints of coining rupees into siccas, and in order to assist and facilitate the operation of these two measures, it was suggested that Government might direct all species of Bengal rupees to be received into the revenues at the bazar batta under certain regulations, that the disbursements from the treasuries be made only in siccas and that the remaining species be coined into siccas on account of Government. By these means they observe the whole of the coinage of the country would soon be converted into siccas or the rate of batta or exchange become almost equal to the difference only of the intrinsick value.

We are perfectly agreed in opinion as to the efficacy of the measures above proposed for the establishment of one currency throughout the provinces, and sensible of the universal benefit that would accrue to the inhabitants in general and to the cultivators of the land in particular. We cannot help imbracing this opportunity of adding our hope that the subject at large may claim the attention of your Honble Board.

The advantages which appear to us most likely to result from the re-establishment of the mint at Moorshedabad are an immediate remedy to the inconveniences arising from the present scarcity of the sicca rupees at that place; exempting merchants, zemindars and bankers from the risk and loss of time occasioned by sending rupees of other species to Calcutta to be coined; the premium on exchanging rupees in the bazar would thereby be also lowered; the quantity of species in circulation would in general be increased by the coinage of silver utensils and old rupees; and circulation itself become more diffusive and acquire new life.

Two objections occur: the risk of the coinage being debased, which being a matter of general policy does not we conceive come within the scope of our department; and the probability that the shroffs will by some means or other exact a batta upon the rupees of the different mints.

We humbly conceive should the Honble Board resolve upon its establishment that it should as far as possible be made subservient to the purpose of establishing one general currency.

Letter from the Board of Revenue (S. Charters, W. Cowper, C Croftes, J. Evelyn) to Calcutta, dated 21st July 1785

We have been honored with your commands of the 20th ultimo, through your secretary, requiring our opinion on the advantages which may attend the general use of certain coins as recommended by the Mint Master, and of the propriety of any difference of fineness being allowed on the smaller coins.

On a supposition that it is intended to make the new coin equal in fineness and in weight to the sicca rupee already in circulation (which however is not stated in the Mint Master’s description of it) it is no doubt well calculated to prevent some of the prevailing abuses and to correct some of the defects of the present currency. It would equally check the frauds now practiced at the mint and the greater evil to which the existing coinage is open of being easily debased and counterfeited. Neither are we aware , in counterbalance to these advantages of Mr Harris’ plan, of any peculiar objections that might be urged against its adoption. We do not, indeed, understand how the introduction of this new coin will, as is said by the Mint Master, be effectual to prevent the farmers and others employed in the collections, from taking as heretofore a batta on the rupees of different years since the impression which it bears both in respect of the date and otherwise, is we observe, in nothing different from that of the old rupee, and consequently will afford the same plea and opportunity for continuing the exaction of batta. We are equally at a loss to pronounce upon the expediency of diminishing the fineness of the smaller coins, in proportion to the greater difficulty and expense of making them. It is not that the reasoning of Mr Harris may not be solid and conclusive, but we are not enough masters of this intricate and abstruse subject, to speak with any confidence of the effects of this measure. We trust we shall meet the indulgence of the Honble Board in submitting the question to their superior judgement.

Ordered that a copy of this letter and the committee’s letter of 10th March last, be sent to the Mint Master, with a request that he will give a fuller explanation, and particularly that he will report to the Board how the introduction of the new coin will prevent the farmers and others from taking as heretofore, a batta on the rupee of different years, and estimate the expense that would be incurred by the adoption of his plan.

Ordered that he be called upon to explain the cause of the delay in coining the amount of four thousand sicca rupees into small coins of eight, four and two annas value, directions to that effect having been sent to him on 7th March 1785

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/13, 31 August 1785, p552

Letter from Herbert Harris, Mint Master, to Calcutta, dated 31st August 1785

I am to request that you will inform the Honble the Governor General and Council that the reson for the small coin not being struck is having no bullion of the Honble Compnay’s in the mint, and that as yet no orders on the treasury, either in favour of the Postmaster General or Mint Master has been issued for the payment of it.

Agreed that an order on the treasury for sicca rupees 4000 be issued in favour of the Mint Master for the purpose of being prepared into small coins for the use of the Postmaster General.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/13, 15 September 1785,

 

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/14, 3 November 1785, p711

Letter from J Prinsep at Pultah to Calcutta dated October 1785

In reply to your requisition of the 20th ultimo for information by what authority I disbursed the sum of sicca rupees 2587.1.6 to the workmen of the late Pultah mint, I have the honor to inform the Board that this establishment was originally fixed during the working of the copper coinage and is composed of people completely masters of the business.

When the late Mint Master came hither to receive the tolls and implements he found them so numerous and bulky that he had not room for them in the [taraxal]. He therefore proposed bearing them under locks at Pultah till the Board should determine whether or not to adopt this mode of coinage.

I remarked that if left without proper and constant attention to their being kept clean many of the nicer and more expensive tools must be inevitably spoiled in a short time.

And moreover that when they should be worked it would be absolutely necessary the people who had constructed them should be taken into employ as they alone understood the business and could put many of the tools together again after they were dismounted for removal to Fort William. That they were all under covenants to me but if the native workmen were once suffered to disperse or take service in Calcutta that it would be difficult to collect them again even at higher wages.

I proposed therefore to retain them all at the Company’s expense until the issue of your determination and as the Mint Master could not of himself warrant or make the monthly disbursements without an order for so doing, I agreed to pay it myself trusting to his staement of the circumstances at a proper time to the Board for my reimbursement.

The new Mint Master vwas informed of and approved these measures. To him I beg leave to refer the Honble Board and I hope there will appear no improprity in my once again enclosing the bill, which I submit entirely to your pleasure.

 

The Board not having authorized the establishment which Mr Prinsep has kept up, do not think proper to pass this bill.

Ordered therefore that it be returned to him.

Letter from Herbert Harris, Mint Master, to Calcutta, dated 5th October 1785

In answer to your letter of the 20th ultimo acquainting me that the Honble the Governor General and Council desire to be informed whether the Pultah establishment is absolutely necessary for keeping clean and in proper order the machines and implements for coinage, I should say they might be kept clean at a less expense but as I considered the object of keeping this establishment was the having persons who had been used to work with them and who on their removal to Calcutta would be able to put them up again and supply any parts that may have been hurt or damaged on the removal, I made no objection to the establishment when Mr Prinsep informed me of it, and was glad to find I should be able to get the people who had been so long employed and whose knowledge of the business would render easy the introduction of the proposed new coinage.

Ordered that the Mint Master be called upon to report the lowest possible establishment necessary for keeping such parts of the tools and implements for coinage as are wanted clean and in constant repair and that he be informed that the remainder should be sent to the arsenal to be kept clean by the people employed there.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/15, 16 November 1785, p149

Letter from Herbert Harris, Mint Master, to Calcutta, dated 8th November 1785

I have this instant received your letter of the 3rd and beg you will acquaint the Honble the Governor General and Council that the pay of the foreman and his apprentice amounting to sicca rupees 220 per month would be sufficient for keeping the tools and implements for coinage in order, as all the underpeople that are necessary could be supplied from the mint, and I have not the least doubt but that the yearly amount of wages paid to this person, who has been bred up in the Tower, will be saved in the refining business when any quantity of either gold or silver is sent in on the Company’s account.

Agreed that the Mint Master be permitted to retain the foreman and his apprentice for the purpose of keeping the implements of coinage in repair and in good order, but that the expense thereof be confined to 220 rupee per month from the time he received charge of the tools and actually employed those people.

Bengal Consultations. IOL P/3/19, 7th April 1786, p1017

Letter from Herbert Harris, Mint Master, to Calcutta, dated 20th September 1785

I have been honored with your commands under date 24th ultimo. It is with concern that I have not sufficiently expressed my meaning respecting the proposed coin when I assert “it will in future prevent the farmers and others from taking a batta on the rupees of different years and also exactions under pretence of the money being base”.

The meaning I intended to convey respects the proposed coin not the old, for the sample of the sicca I had the honor to lay before you was marked with the English year 1784. The preserving the date in English for each succeeding year would always determine the wear of the specie and by making no alteration in the Bengal year the natives would have no plea to demand a batta.

It is a certain fact that the quantity of sicca rupees in circulation in each district is much greater at this time in proportion to the specie than when an estimate was formed some years since, for the exports have been chiefly gold, but it is impossible that one coin only can be established except by Government, for in those districts where the English and French Arcots are current, the specie when brought down to the Presidency always returns again because the buzar price is considerably more profitable to the merchant than the produce from recoinage, and unless Government do mint these rupees they will ever continue in circulation.

Every principal shroff has a house at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares etc, whose agents are employed purchasing bullion, gold and silver, and the profit taken by them would not be adequate to the expense of establishing a mint at either of those places. To re-establish a mint at Moorshedabad would give an opening to the Dutch to claim their priviledge of coining in that mint as formerly, which used to draw great credit to their factory as large sums were often struck for private merchants in their name.

The Calcutta mint establishment from the year 1780 has been fixed at current rupees 1,905..5 per month and which sum I can reduce to current rupees 1,500 per month if the proposed coin is adopted, but this is not the only saving that will result from it. Its beneficial effects will be felt throughout every part of the country in the revenue as well as in the commercial line. No agent or shroffs will be necessary as is now the case to examine every rupee, but each ryot and weaver will be certain that the money he receives is good, and that when he comes to pay his rent it will be taken without objection, as this coin will have the mark of Government to support it, while the present carries its value from the mark of the shroff whose hands it has passed thro’.