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OP tHE NEWPORT ATHEMJM & MECHAMCS'INSHTUTE. The Institute was Established in 1841, for the diffusion of Useful Knowledge amongst its Members ; ittid was admitted into union with the Society of Arts, 18th of August, 1852. Vol. 1—No. 7. JULY, 1864. Gratis to Members. NEWPORT, JULY 1, 1864 The subject of Decimal Coinage is one which we introduce with a two-fold object; to invite discussion, and at the same time to convey some instruction to our junior friends and readers. This system of coinage being already in ex¬ istence in France and the United States, and moreover having been specially recommended for adoption in this country by a committee of the House of Commons, cannot fail to command our consideration and respect. It may be well at the outset to call attention to the difference between the Roman and the Arabian systems of Notation. It is evident that for the purposes of Arithmetic, we require the power of designating all possible numbers: it is equally plain that we cannot give a different name or character to each. We must therefore by some system or other make a limited number of words and signs suffice to express an unlimited amount of numerical quantities. Two modes of attaining this object present themselves; the one, that of combining words or characters already in use ; the other that of representing a variety of dif¬ ferent quantities by a single word or character. The Romans used the principle of combination in their system of notation, but there is much greater perfection in the Arabic which we use, for by it we can express many numbers by the same character. The Roman method of using letters is very simple, but cumbrous and incon¬ venient, while the Arabic is much more simple and effective, because it contains the principle of position which was unknown to the Romans. This prinoiple is at the root of our system of Notation; we determine the value of a figure from the place in which it stands, and thus we have Unite, Tens, Hundreds, Thousands, &c. The system of counting by tens probably derived its origin from the natural practice of counting on the fingers, and hence we derive the term digit from the Latin digitus a finger. By the use of ten figures we are thus enabled in a quick and expeditious manner to express any number as great as can be imagined. "When we speak of a Decimal Coinage, we propose that this admirable system of Notation should be extended to the coin of the realm. We know by painful experience how laborious the task is of committing to memory, farthings, pence, and shillings tables; and moreover, when we have a number representing, for example, pence, or farthings, we cannot tell its value -in pounds without a process called " Reduction;" whereas, by the Decimal system, any number of one denomination could be changed to another at a glance, and its value determined with infal¬ lible certainty; thus rendering the study of Arithmetic not only easier but more pleasing. It is evident however that the change could not be effected without some difficulty and incon¬ venience. This difficulty we do not wish to ignore, and hope in another paper to dwell more fully upon it; nevertheless upon the whole we foresee very great advantages likely to result from the change. Two systems have been proposed, and each has met with sup¬ porters—the one based upon the pound sterling or sovereign, as the unit of reference, the other upon the farthing. Each system has its own peculiar advantages and disadvantages, but the advantages of the former appear upon the whole greater than the latter. We will only on this occasion consider briefly the former system. In this only two new coins would be required: the pound would stand exactly as at present; the florin now in use is a decimal ooin, and would also continue of the same value as at present; the half-sovereign would still represent its own value as five florins. The new coins required might be as follows :—The cent or the hundredth part of a pound, and the mil or the thousandth part of a pound. It might be con¬ venient to have a cowi representing a double mi?,