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sixth year of Queen Anne, an Act was passed by the Imperial Parliament, declaring the value at which foreign coins should pass in the colonies. This enactment was based upon careful assays, and fixed the value of the Spanish coins as follows:Seville pieces of eight "old plate," . 4s. 6d. Stg. Mexico Pillar
· 4s. 6d. 4s. 634 d. " 4s. 5d. It was also enacted that in future the dollar should not be accounted for in any of the colonies above the rate of 6s. currency. This statute was utterly disregarded in America, and like most other Imperial Statutes, became a dead letter. Some attempt was made in New York by the governor to enforce it, but the proclamation was withdrawn, because, as the governor alleged in excuse, “it was injurious to the trade of "New York to cry down the value of the "dollar while the neighbouring colony of "Massachusetts treated the Statute with contempt." The letters of the New York officials of those days are very plaintive concerning the misdeeds of the Boston people, who seems always to have done as they liked, and to have paid no more attention to an Imperial statute which might not meet their approval, than to a Papal bull. This statute had, however, the effect of placing an authoritative value in sterling money on the coin most in use in America.
The value of the Spanish dollar was based not only upon its weight and fineness, but, of course, upon a comparison with the weight and fineness of the British silver coins then in use. The standard remained unchanged for silver in England from the time of Queen Elizabeth to the year 1816. One pound of silver of the fineness of 11 oz. 2 dwt. was coined during all that period into £3 25. od. stg. There were therefore 5,328 grains of pure silver in 62s. stg., and the dollar contained 385 grains pure. The proportionate value of the dollar is then easily seen to have been 4s. 5 precisely, and as, at that time, the
standard value of silver was in reality less than its commercial value, 4s. 6d. was fixed upon by the Statute. This was practically underrating the dollar, and as fast as they arrived in England they were sold as specie and exported.
It thus happened that the par of 4s. 6d. stg. to the dollar became a fixed standard, to which all American values could be referred. And such it has continued during 164 years down to the present day, for this is PAR, or $4.44 to the sterling. It is sometimes called old par-it is the par with which all our books of exchange tables commence-the par upon which all our calculations are based, from Montreal to New Orleans. The present legal par in Canada is a 94% premium on that par. The Spanish dollar has changed, the British silver coins have changed, and the currencies of America have fluctuated, but the par of 1707 remains yet as the one fixed point in this sea of confusion.
We come now to revolutionary times. The extraordinary expedients of the Revolu tionary Congress are among the best known incidents of history. The war was fought on the American side with paper money up to the time when the French expedition under Rochambeau landed, and brought the specie which was as necessary to success as bayonets. It would be tedious to narrate the steps by which the Continental money depreciated to 1000 to 1-until it finally disappeared. The leading spirits of the Revolution saw the necessity of laying a direct war tax, but they could not obtain the consent of Congress. "Do you think," said a member of Congress (quoted by Greene; Historical Studies) “that I will consent to tax my constituents, when we can send to the printers and get as much money as we want?" The farmer who refused to take this money for his produce was treated as a traitor, and had his property taken from him for his disloyalty, but no enactments could keep it from depreciating. Meantime
the presses of the different States teemed with issues of their own during the war, and up to the period of the full consolidation of the Union in 1790. Their paper added to the volume of the currency and to the utter confusion of values.
Immediately after peace was declared the efforts of all thinking men were turned towards consolidating the Union, and for several years the proposed Constitution was discussed in every town and hamlet. But even then the lurking attachment to paper money was evident. Some of the States were unwilling to resign the right of issue, and it was not until 1790 that Rhode Island joined the Union, and its citizens finally relinquished their cherished habit of paying their debts in paper. The State Governments were forbidden by the new Constitution to make anything but gold and silver a legal tender, or to issue Bills of Credit. Inconvertible paper money from that period disappeared in America, until the Federal Government, exercising a power not apparent in the Constitution, repeated, in our own times, the experiment with happier results.
So soon as the new Constitution began to work, it was, of course, necessary to provide a revenue, and to fix values. The first Congress in 1789 passed an Act imposing Customs duties. By this Act the pound sterling was valued at $4.44, or 4s. 6d. stg. to the dollar. Thus the old par of Queen Anne was restored, and the rate was called Federal currency, to distinguish it from the various State currencies. Still, there was no Federal coinage, and coins from all parts of the world were taken at the Custom Houses at a statutory value. In 1792 Congress organized the United States mint, permitting the circulation of the foreign coins for three vears longer, until the new national coinage should be ready, and establishing the national standards-the Eagle to be counted at $10, and to contain 270 grains of gold of
the fineness of 22 carats, and the dollar to contain 416 grains of silver 892 4 thousandths fine.
Changes in the currencies of Spain, of England, and of America now concurred to disturb the par of $4.44. In 1772 the fineness of the Spanish dollar had fallen from 11-12ths to 1034-12ths. In 1774 silver had ceased to be a legal tender in England (in sums over £25) excepting at the rate of 5s. 2d. an ounce. The exchange between America and England was thenceforward regulated by the intrinsic value of their gold coins alone, a change which became more apparent in 1816, when England adopted the gold standard exclusively, and made her silver coins tokens only by coining the same weight of silver into 66s., which had previously (since the year 1666) been coined into 62s. The average value of the dollar of Spanish and American coinage in 1795, 1798 and 1803 was 4s. 4d. stg., calculated at the Mint rate of 5s. 2d. sterling per ounce. In other words the par of exchange on the basis of the dollar was 37% premium on old par. The Federal dollar remained unchanged until 1837, when it was reduced. weight was made 412 nessths; since that time the dollar has not been altered. In 1853 the half dollars and smaller coins were still further reduced, but without affecting the exchanges, for, as before stated, all estimations of exchange after 1793 should be made on gold and not on silver standard.
grains, and the fine
In order then to ascertain the various changes of new par since the revolution, the gold currency of England must be considered. This had been fixed by advice of Sir Isaac Newton in 1717, and has ever since remained unchanged. One pound of gold, of 22 parts pure to 2 alloy was, and is yet, coined into £46 14s. 6d. ; but the Eagle, the standard American gold coin, has undergone three changes as follows :—
It therefore clearly appears how the present par of exchange became fixed at so large a premium upon the old par of Queen Anne.
natural effect of driving all the British coins out of circulation, and in 1825 an Imperial Order in Council was issued, fixing the value of the dollar at 4s. 4d. stg. in British silver coin, and making provision for the introduction into the colonies of British silver in large quantites, by means of the Commissariat, and ordering that such coin should pass at its nominal value as in England. These regulations do not appear to have had much effect, for in that same year the value of the shilling was raised in Upper Canada to is. 2d. currency. In 1836 the same Province again raised the value of the shilling stg. to Is. 3d. currency, and also fixed the value of the pound sterling at 24s. 4d., assimilating the legal par to the change of 1834 in the United States par, but overvaluing the sterling shilling.
These changes in the value of the United States coinage affected in course of time the legal par of the loyal colonies. The cur rency of Canada was for a long period in great confusion, for having no Colonial coinage, the coins of all nations passed at values fixed by Statute with little apparent relation to intrinsic value. The first Statute is that of 1777. In 1795 the Customs Act declares that £5,000 stg. is equivalent to £5,555 IIS. Id. currency. The old par of 1707 was evidently then the legal par. In 1808 a Currency Act was passed enumerating the most common coins-these were French coins, remaining from the period of French rule, Spanish and Portugese coins, British An effort was made in 1839 by both Procoins, and United States coins. The guinea vinces to remedy this anomaly, but the bills (21s. stg.) was valued at 23s. 4d. currency, passed failed to receive the Royal assent, the is. stg. at Is. Id., the Eagle at 50s, and and it became one of the first duties of the the Spanish and American dollar at 5s. Parliament of United Canada in 1841 to Thus the attempt was made to keep the cur- remedy the confusion. The par of 24s. 4d. rency at old par when reckoned in English to the stg. was retained, but the silver coins, and at 2% prem. (or American par) was reduced to its proper proportionate when reckoned in United States coins. For value, and could only be used as a legal if the guinea (21s.) was worth only 23s. 4d. tender to the amount of 50s. currency. The currency, the eagle, which at that time was convenience of easy reckoning and the comof intrinsic value for 43s. 9d. stg., could be petition of traders still kept up the current worth only 48s. 7d. currency, instead of 50s. value of the British shilling to Is. 3d. in as enacted. The shilling sterling was under- spite of the Act, and the currency gradually valued as regards the dollar in the same became overloaded with British silver. ratio. This seems to have had the very
The subsequent changes in our currency
are too recent to require much notice. The The Confederation of the British North dollar which in 1841 had been raised to 5s. American colonies and the consequent exId. was reduced in 1850 to 5s. And in tension of the Canadian par has left but two 1851 the decimal system displaced the intri- anomalous currencies among the Englishcate and cumbrous denominations of pounds, speaking people of this continent. In Newshillings and pence. Every reader will re-foundland the par of 4.80 to the £, or 8% call the circumstances which led to the pour- premium prevails, and the little Island of ing of all the United States silver coinage Prince Edward still rejoices in the enormous into our already overloaded silver currency, premium of 35% %, or 30s. to the stg. and the various expedients vainly resorted to We may surely hope that the time will shortfor relief until the effectual remedy of the ly arrive when, not only these anomalies will present finance minister was applied. The disappear, but when the mother country will Act of 1854 fixed our currency on its pre-adopt a decimal system which will facilitate sent basis, confirming the par of 1841 of computation, and thus increase trade with $4.86, or 24s. 4d. currency to the £stg. all her children throughout the world. or 9% premium on the par of Queen Anne.
Merrily, merrily over the sea,
Came he, my true love, a-courting to me;
Came with the throstle to pipe on the lea,
Wearily, wearily pace I the shore;
Wearily hear I the cruel sea roar ;
Wearily seek for him; vainly implore ;
Weary this heart beats, so tender, so sore;
MARGUERITE KNELLER, ARTIST AND WOMAN.
BY LOUISA MURRAY.
66 LOVE THE GIFT IS LOVE THE DEBT."
Day after day the spell grew stronger, but he struggled hard, if not to subdue his feelings, at least to conceal them, and for some time he succeeded. Marguerite was too her faith in Maurice
HE next day, when Maurice awoke steadfast herself, and
into which was strong, to let slightest doubt en
had fallen, after a night's restless agitation, he was at first tempted to believe that all the strange, contradictory, intense emotionsthe exquisite delight, the sharp pain he had felt a few hours before, had all been suffered in a dream. But there rose up before him, distinct as reality, that fair vision in the garden, that bright enchanting face, with its sunny tresses, its soft smiling eyes, its ineffable harmony of loveliness, which had penetrated his heart with such subtle and instantaneous power. And then, passing from the sunshine into the shadow, growing dimmer and dimmer every instant, he seemed to be. hold the dark pale face of Marguerite filled with a deep sadness he had never till now seen it wear.
66 It is madness!" he exclaimed. "I will not believe that I can be so weak and wicked. I will go to Marguerite, and this nightmare will vanish before the glance of her true eyes, the touch of her faithful hand.”
But even as he walked through the streets that shape of beauty which had taken such complete possession of him seemed to glide before him, drawing him towards her with her haunting eyes, and when he entered the house and stood again beside her, he knew, as he had known the night before, that he loved her with a wild resistless passion, such as he had read of in story and song, and had sometimes dreamed of, too, but which he had long since told himself he was never destined to feel.
ter her mind, nor could she have believed, if an angel had spoken it, that her young sister, whom she loved so well, whom she had nursed in sickness and watched over in health, and cherished with a mother's fondness, was thus fated to destroy her happiness. But this state of things could not long continue. As time passed, and Maurice's passion grew stronger, his power to hide it grew less. True love has ever the power of divination, and gradually Marguerite felt that Maurice was changed. His words, his manner, were as kind as ever, but there was a subtle, indefinable difference. It was as if the perfume had left the flower, or the essence in which lay the elixir had escaped from the crucible, leaving only dull matter behind. The word, the act, were there, but the soul which once inspired them, the love which gave them life, were fled forever, and only the worthless form remained.
At first Marguerite shrank from her fears as those to whom life is sweet would shrink from the doom of death. Passionately she strove to repel the conviction which every day grew stronger, that Maurice no longer loved her, and when some half-spoken word, some furtive glance, would force upon her the truth which Maurice desperately sought to hide, she hated herself for the doubts which she could not resist, and accused herself of the meanest and most contemptible jealousy. In this struggle of feeling her face grew darker and paler than ever, her eyes