COTTON, Robert.

A Speech made by Sir Robert Cotton,

Kt and Baront, before the Lords of his Majesty's most honorable Privy-Council, at the council-table: being thither called to deliver his opinion touching the alteration of coin. Sept. 2. Annoque Regni Regis Caroli II.

London: printed for Tho. Horne, 1690 Stock Code: 135183

Opposing the debasement of the coinage

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First separate edition under Robert Cotton's name; one of two issues distinguished by a variant imprint. ESTC notes that these variant issues are potentially different editions, but they have not been compared - the other variant is known in only two copies, this variant in eight copies. The speech, given by Cotton on 2 September 1626, emerged from a debate before Charles I's Privy Council regarding the potential debasement of the coinage. Cotton opposed the scheme, in a learned speech which charts the history of the English coinage, and draws on Cotton's own antiquarianism. The attribution to Cotton has previously been in doubt - McCulloch writes that "This speech was originally printed in 1641 (4to.) as the speech of Sir Thomas Rowe at the Council-table in July 1640, with respect to brass money; but there is not a sentence in the speech that has any reference to any such subject, the whole relating to a project for enfeebling the standard of the coin. It was again printed in 1651, with some additions, as the speech of Sir Robert Cotton at the Council-table, the 2nd of September, 1626: and as it is known that a project for reducing the standard was then entertained, it seems most probable that Sir Robert Cotton was its real author. But, to whichever of these learned persons the honour may belong of making this speech, it is not too much to say that the injustice and impolicy of debasing the standard have never been more successfully demonstrated" (McCulloch, The Literature of Political Economy, p. 155 - McCulloch is writing about the speech as printed in the 1679 edition of Cotton's posthumous works, and his reference to the 1651 edition is also as part of a posthumous edition of Cotton; this is the first separate printing). However more recently the speech has been attributed to Cotton without question, and the Rowe attribution (which was continued by Nalson in his Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State) is now seen as a false attribution.

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Small quarto (202 x 156 mm). Disbound pamphlet.


Minor paper fault to bottom corner of title page, very light soiling to initial and final leaf, p. 8 soiled. A very good copy.


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