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on a hundred thousand pieces of money, like our shillings or halfpence, which were issued out of the mint, and became current. This method published every noble action to advantage, and, in a short space of time, spread through the whole Roman empire. The Romans were so careful to preserve the memory of great events upon their coins, that when any particular piece of money grew very scarce, it was often re-coined by a succeeding emperor, many years after the death of the emperor to whose honour it was first struck.
A friend of mine drew up a project of this kind during the late ministry, which would then have been put in execution, had it not been too busy a time for thoughts of that nature. As this project has been very much talked of by the gentleman abovementioned to men of the greatest genius as well as quality, I am informed there is now a design on foot for executing the proposal which was then made, and that we shall have several farthings and halfpence charged on the reverse with many of the glorious particulars of her Majesty's reign. This is one of those arts of peace which may very well deserve to be cultivated, and which may be of great use to posterity,
As I have in my possession the copy of the paper abovementioned, which was delivered to the late Lord Treasurer, * I shall here give the public a sight of it; for I do not question but that the curious part of my readers will be very well pleased to see so much matter, and so many useful hints upon this subject, laid together in so clear and concise a manner.
“ The English have not been so careful as other polite nations to preserve the memory of their great actions
and events on medals. Their subjects are few, their mottoes and devices mean, and the coins themselves not numerous enough to spread among the people, or descend to posterity.
“ The French have outdone us in these particulars, and, by the establishment of a society for the invention of proper inscriptions and designs, have the whole history of their present King in a regular series of medals.
They have failed, as well as the English, in coining so small a number of each kind, and those of such costly metals, that each species may be lost in a few ages, and is at present nowhere to be met with but in the cabinets of the curious.
“ The ancient Romans took the only effectual method to disperse and preserve their medals, by making them their current money.
Everything glorious or useful, as well in peace as war, gave occasion to a different coin. Not only an expedition, victory, or triumph, but the exercise of a solemn devotion, the remission of a duty or tax, a new temple, sea-port, or highway, were transmitted to posterity after this manner.
“ The greatest variety of devices are on their copper money, which have most of the designs that are to be met with on the gold and silver, and several peculiar to that metal only. By this means they were dispersed into the remotest corners of the empire, came into the possession of the poor as well as the rich, and were in no danger of perishing in the bands of those that might have melted down coins of a more valuable metal.
“ Add to all this, that the designs were invented by men of genius, and executed by a decree of the senate.
“ It is therefore proposed :
“ 1. That the English farthings and halfpence be recoined upon the Union of the two nations.
“ 2. That they bear devices and inscriptions alluding to all the most remarkable parts of her Majesty's reign.
“ 3. That there be a society established, for the finding out of proper subjects, inscriptions, and devices.
" That no subject, inscription, or device, be stamped without the approbation of this society ; nor, if it be thought proper, without the authority of the Privycouncil.
By this means, medals, that are at present only a dead treasure, or mere curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and at the same time perpetuate the glories of her Majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the people a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation, not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place ; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, or any other monuments of illustrious actions.”
THE INTELLIGENCER, No. I.*
be said, without offence to other cities of much greater consequence to the world, that our town of Dublin does not want its due proportion of folly and vice, both native and imported ; and as to those imported, we have the advantage to receive them last, and consequently, after our happy manner, to improve and refine upon them.
But because there are many effects of folly and vice among us, whereof some are general, others confined to smaller numbers, and others again perhaps to a few individuals, there is a society lately established, who, at great expense, have erected an office of intelligence, from which they are to receive weekly information of all important events and singularities which this famous metropolis can furnish. Strict injunctions are given to have the truest information ; in order to which, certain qualified persons are employed to attend upon duty in their several posts; some at the play-house, others in churches; some at balls, assemblies, coffeehouses, and meetings for quadrille; some at the several courts of justice, both spiritual and temporal ; some at the college, some upon my lord mayor and aldermen in their public affairs ; lastly, some to converse with favourite chambermaids, and to frequent those alehouses and brandyshops where the footmen of great families meet in a morning; only the barracks and parliament-house are excepted; because we have yet found no enfans perdus bold enough to venture their persons at either. Out of these and some other storehouses, we hope to gather materials enough to inform, or divert, or correct, or vex the town.
* These Numbers are extracted from a periodical paper, published at Dublin, by Sheridan, with the occasional assistance of his illustrious friend.
But as facts, passages, and adventures of all kinds, are likely to have the greatest share in our paper, whereof we cannot always answer for the truth ; due care shall be taken to have them applied to feigned names, whereby all just offence will be removed ; for if none be guilty, none will have cause to blush or be angry; if otherwise, then the guilty person is safe for the future upon his present amendment, and safe for the present from all but his own conscience.
There is another resolution taken among us, which I fear will give a greater and more general discontent, and is of so singular a nature that I have hardly confidence enough to mention it, although it be absolutely necessary by way of apology for so bold and unpopular an attempt. But so it is, that we have taken a desperate counsel, to produce into the world every distinguished action either of justice, prudence, generosity, charity, friendship, or public spirit, which comes well attested to
And although we shall neither here be so daring as to assign names, yet we shall hardly forbear to give some hints, that perhaps, to the great displeasure of such deserving persons, may endanger a discovery. For