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BOOK THE SECOND.
OF OFFENCES PRINCIPALLY AFFECTING THE
TIIE PUBLIC RIGHTS.
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
OF COUNTERFEITING OR IMPAIRING COIN-OF IMPORTING INTO
THE KINGDOM COUNTERFEIT OR LIGHT MONEY-AND OF EX-
Of Counterfeiting Coin. The Legislature has made several provisions against the counterfeiting of the following descriptions of coin, namely:-1. The king's money, properly so called.-II. Foreign gold, silver, or copper coin.-And, Ill. The copper money of this realm.
I. The first of these, the king's money, is protected by enact- of counterments, which place the offence of counterfeiting it in the highest feiting the class of crimes, upon the ground that the royal majesty of the king's money. crown is affected by such offence in a great prerogative of government; the coining and legitimation of money, and the giving it its current value, being the unquestionable prerogatives of the crown. (a) The statute 25 Edw. 3. st. 5. c. 2. declares it to be high treason“ if a man counterfeit the king's money.” And, as there are no accessories in treason, it follows that all who, by furnishing the necessary tools, or by any other means, aid or assist in the coining, are guilty of the offence as much as he whose hand is employed. (b)
It appears that the coin or money of this kingdom consists pro- What is the perly of gold or silver only, with a certain alloy, constituting what king's money. is called sterling, coined and issued by the king's authority; and that the statute of Edward the Third, in mentioning “the king's money” generally, refers to such money; which is supposed also to be referred to by any other statute naming “money” generally.(c) The weight, alloy, impression, and denomination, of money made
(a) i Hale 188. East. P. C. 148.
(c) 1 East. P. C.) 47. And see i Hale, chap. 17, 18, 19, and 20.
in this kingdom are generally settled by indenture between the king and the master of the mint: but the statute, 56 Geo. 3. c. 68. provided, with respect to the new silver coinage, that the bul. lion shall be coined into silver coins of a standard and fineness of eleven ounces two pennyweights of fine silver, and eighteen pennyweights of alloy in the pound troy, and in weight after the rate of sixty-six shillings to every pound troy, whether the same be coined in crowns, half-crowns, shillings, or sixpences, or pieces of a lower denomination. A proclamation has in some cases been made as a more solemn manner of giving the coin currency : but the proclamation in general cases is certainly not necessary, and in prosecutions for coining need not be proved.(c) And it is not necessary in such prosecutions to produce the indentures; though it may be of use in case of any new coin with a new impression, not yet familiar to the people, to produce either the indentures, or one of the officers of the mint cognizant of the fact, or the stamps used, or the like evidence. But in general, whether the coin, upon a question of counterfeiting or impairing it, be the king's money or not, is a mere question of fact which may be found upon evidence of common usage or notoriety. (d) It should be observed, that any coin, once legally made and issued by the king's anthority, continues to be the current coin of the kingdom until recalled, notwithstanding any change in the authority by which it was constituted. (e)
Some verbal difference is observable in the wording of several of the statutes on the subject of the coin since the Revolution. The statute 8 and 9 W.3. c. 26. speaks of the gold and silver coin " of this kingdom,” or “current within this kingdom.” The statute 15 Geo. 2. c. 28. in one part expresses by name “guineas and half-guineas,” and “shillings and sixpences," and is consequently confined to those identical coins. In another part it speaks of counterfeit money generally. The statute 11 Geo. 3, c. 40. as to the copper coin, and the statute 37 Geo. 3. c. 126. s. 2. as to gold and silver coin, describe each as the coin of “this realm,” following the words of the more ancient statutes. No stress can be laid upon such verbal differences between statutes passed in pari materiá: the construction which the reason of the thing points out must be such as the words are capable of receiving
without violence to their proper or accepted legal signification. (f) Marking the Besides the counterfeiting of the king's money within the staedges of coin. tute 25 Edw. 3. st. 5. c. 2. which has been already mentioned, the
(c) 1 East. P. C. 149, where see some cases in which proclamation by the writ of proclamation under the great seal, or a remembrance thereof, is considered to be necessary to prove a coin current; and it is also stated, that by the act of the 37th Geo. 3. c. 126. s. i. relative to a copper coinage, the king's proclamation is made necessary; and seems, therefore, to be required in proof of any iudictmcnt upon that statute.
(d) i East. P. c. 149. But in the
case of old coin which has gradually fallen into disuse, though still the legal coin of the king, there can be no general notoriety of the fact.
(e) i East. P. C. 148. where it is said also, that this recal may be by proclamation; and long disuse may, it is conceived, be evidence of it. It has also been effected by act of Parliament, as by 9 W.3. c. 2. and 6 Geo. 2. c. 26.
(f) I East, P. C. 157.
“Kinney) , or Love autheployed'in enacts,
any of me or if anyrk on the edgeasurer of Ends Commission mints,
"megsor othbling the.ed.coin" whatsoeany thengland Poissioners to
** attaining shainaking, also to provide or ful sil" false shy partilling of
offence of high treason may also be committed by marking on the
Making shillings or sixpences to resemble guineas or half- Making shilguineas, and making halfpence or farthings to resemble shillings na
lings or six
pences to reor si.rpences, amount also to the crime of high treason. The sta- semble guitute 15 Geo. 2. c. 28. s. 1. provides, “that if any person shall neas or half “wash, gild, or colour any of the lawful silver coin called a shiling
making half“ling or a sixpence, or any counterfeit or false shilling or six- pence or far"pence, or add to or alter the impression, or any part of the things resem
ble shillings “impression, of either side of such lawful or counterfeit shilling or bre
or sixpences. “sixpence, with intent to make such shilling resemble, or look “ like, or pass for a piece of lawful gold coin called a guinea, or “with intent to make such sixpence resemble, or look like, or pass "for a piece of lawful gold coin called a half-guinea ; or shall file “ or anywise alter, wash, or colour, any of the brass monies called “halfpennies or farthings, or add to or alter the impression, or " any part of the impression, of either side of a halfpenny or “ farthing, with intent to make an halfpenny resemble, or look “like, or pass for a lawful shilling, or with intent to make a farthing “resemble, or look like, or pass for a lawful sixpence; such “offenders, their counsellors, aiders, abettors, and procurers, shall "be guilty of high treason.” (k) (8) Made perpetual by 7 Ann. c. York, upon an indictment which had
not such an averment; and for this (h) This exception seems unneces reasou it was holden bad, and that the sary, and would have been implied by prisoner ought to be tried again, which law on behalf of persons so employed was done at the Lent Assizes, 1702, by his Majesty's authority. But yet before Powis, J. when the prisoner was it was holden about Hill T. 13 W. 3. attainted and executed. i East. P. C. by all the Judges, that in an indict. 166, 167. ment on that act, it ought to be aver (i) By 7 Ann. c. 25. s. 2. the prosered, that the party was not employed cution is to be commenced in six in the Mint, or authorised by the trea- months after the offence. surer, &c.; because the exception of (k) But the fourth section provides, such persons is within the enacting that the blood shall not be corrupted. clanse ; and the want of such an au. By the fifth section, offenders are to thority is part of the description of be indicted, arraigned, tried, and conthe offence itself. This question was victed, by such like evidence, and in moved by Mr. Justice Turton, who such inanner, as were then used and had convicted one upon this statute at allowed against any offenders for
There are other acts which are only preparatory to and in the silvering coin or blanks, or
progress of actually counterfeiting the coin which are made high gilding silver treason by the fourth section of the statute 8 and 9 W. 3. c. 26,
which provides that “if any person shall colour, gild, or case over “ with gold or silver or with any wash or materials producing the “colour of gold or silver, any coin resembling any of the current “ coin of this kingdom, or any round blanks of base metal, or of “ coarse gold or coarse silver, of a fit size and figure to be coined “ into counterfeit milled money resembling any the gold or silver « coin of this kingdom, or if any person shall gild over any silver “ blanks of a fit size and figure to be coined into pieces resembling “ the current gold coin of this kingdom ;” all such offenders, their counsellors, procurers, aiders, and abettors, shall be guilty of high treason. (1)
The statute 56 Geo. 3. c. 68. s. 17, relating to the new silver coinage, enacts that all and every act and acts in force immediately before the passing of that act respecting the coin of this realm, or the clipping, diminishing, or counterfeiting of the same, or respecting any other matters relating thereto, and all provisions, proceedings, penalties, forfeitures, and punishments therein contained or directed, not expressly repealed by that act, and not repugnant or contradictory to the enactments and provisions of that act, shall be and continue in full force and effect; and shall be applied and put in execution with respect, to the silver coin to be coined in pursuance of the directions of that act as fully and effectually to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as if the same were repeated and re-enacted in that act.
These statutes of 25 Edw. 3. 8 and 9 W. 3. 15 Geo. 2. and 56 Geo. 3. c. 68, relate only to the coin of the realm usually called, in the sense which has been before given, the king's money. We
come now to the counterfeiting of foreign coin. Of counter
II. The counterfeiting of foreign coin either of gold, silver, or feiting foreign copper, is made highly penal by several statutes. Counterfeiting gold, silver, or
f, of such gold or silver foreign coin as is current here was made treacopper coin.
son for the first time by the statute 4 Hen. 7. c. 18. That statute was repealed by 1 Mar. c. 1.: but its provisions were revived by 1 Mar. st. 2. c. 6. which enacts that “if any person or persons “ falsely forge or counterfeit any such kind of coin of gold or silver, “as is not the proper coin of this realm, and is or shall be current “ within this realın by the consent of the crown, they and their “ counsellors, procurers, aiders, and abettors, shall on conviction “ be adjudged guilty of high treason.” (m) The statute 14 Eliz.
counterfeiting the lawful coin ; provided that there shall be no prosecuition for any of the offences made trea. son or felony by this act, unless such prosecution be coinmenced within six inonths next after the offence committed. The eighth section provides, that the offender shall be pardoned in case (being out of prison) he discovers two or more offenders of the same kind mentioned in the act, so as thcy shall be thereof convicted.
O No corruption of blood. Prosecutions are to be commenced within three months after the offence conimitted, s, 9. But in Willace's case, | East P. C. c. 4. s' 31. p. 186, it was held that the information and procceding before a magistrate were the commencement of the prosecution, and not the preferring the indictment.
(m) The consent of the crown must be notified under the great seal by proclamation, and a writ annexed
enacts that e gola por permanente de misering and he ha
CHAP. I. 5 1.] Of Counterfeiling Foreign Coin.
The statute 37 Geo. 3. c. 126., recites the great increase of the
" part thereof coin, or any ot the silver coinss as such foreiken to be
thereto; the statute 17 Rich. 2. c. 1. having provided that foreign coin shall not run in payment in England.
(x) By "aiders" is meant such as aid in the fact, and not aiders of the offender after the fact. I Hale 376.
(0) I Hale 210, 311, 328.
(q) i East. P.C. c. 4, s. 10. p. 161. and c. 10. s. 3, & 6. The 6th sect.
of the 37 Geo. 3. c. 126. makes per, sons having in their custody more than five pieces of such counterfeit foreign coin liable to a penalty not exceeding 51. nor less than 40s. upon conviction before a justice of peace, for every such piece of coin. And the proceedings before the justice are not to be quashed for want of form, or removed by cerliorari.