The money power: background and origin
In the year 1598, the Irish rose in one of their chronic rebellions against the British crown and provoked a reaction that brought not only military repression but economic warfare as well. In order to stretch the royal budget for the Irish war, Queen Elizabeth struck a special coinage which contained less silver and more alloy than that prescribed in the standard English sterling. Use of this "mixed" money was sternly forbidden in England. In Ireland, however, it was proclaimed lawful money and ordered to be "used, accepted, and reputed" as such. In short, it was an occupation currency.
Sometime before this proclamation, an Irish merchant had bought some goods for which he specifically promised to pay one hundred pounds in English sterling. He appeared in Dublin on the day fixed for payment and tendered one hundred pounds--in occupation coinage--in settlement of the debt. The creditor refused to take the debased money and sued for payment in sterling. However, in 1604 the court held for the debtor, and announced as the rule of its decision in the landmark Case of the Mixed Moneys: