CHAPTER VIII.

THE INFLATION UNDER SHIRLEY.

William Shirley, who was appointed to succeed Belcher in the administration of the affairs of the province, assumed office on the 17th of August, 1741. He was a native of England and a member of the English bar. He was ambitious and his impatience at the probable tedium of his professional advancement at home, combined with his hopes of political preferment in the province, caused him to emigrate to Massachusetts. Cultivated, tactful and adroit, he made the best of the advantages which his education and his opportunities offered and during the ten years which he was in the colony prior to his appointment as governor, he conquered for himself a position of prominence in affairs. Whether his acquaintance with the subtleties of special pleading was of much worth to him in practice before a bench whose numbers were recruited from the community at large without regard to their knowledge of law, may perhaps be doubted, but it is reasonably certain that he had built up a good business in the province, and with its growth had gained considerable reputation.

The perplexities of the situation to which he succeeded were inherent and chronic. There was absolutely no solution which suggested itself to the problem of where should the province turn for a circulating medium when the outstanding currency should be called in. The period was close at hand when by the terms of the royal instructions(1) this vexed question must be answered, and the only visible medium for the trade of the province would then be the bills of public credit which could be issued for annual expenses, the maximum amount of which to be in circulation at any one time after the outstanding bills should be retired, was to be 30,000. If the spirit of the law passed in January, 173839 restraining the circulation of bills of the neighboring governments should be adhered. to, no reliance could be placed upon those bills for a future currency. Of gold and silver, there was, according to a writer who visited New England about that time,(2) "a great deal" in the hands of the merchants, but, he adds, "they use it only as merchandise and buy and sell it only by weight, to send to England in return for goods."

There was no reason to hope for relief through the use of notes of individuals, or of private banks. Special legislation had been carried through parliament to prevent the land and silver banks from carrying out their projects and knowledge in the province of this action on the part of parliament, cut off the possibility of new enterprises of this sort. It is true that .as yet the leaders of the land and silver schemes had not signified their willingness to accept the situation, but the day of grace, beyond which the extreme penalties of the act of parliament could not be restrained, was close at hand. One of Shirley's first efforts was to secure a peaceful compliance with the law. It is quite probable that in this respect he accomplished through his personal exertions what would have been impossible for Belcher. He was soon able to report that the directors of the land bank had "agreed to put an entire end to their scheme." As the silver bank had been organized solely as a check upon the land bank and as there was no disposition on the part of its managers to have any collision with the government, the submission of the directors of the land bank practically removed both of these schemes from further consideration as contributors to the inflated currency.

Two forms of public bills were then in circulation. Market values were measured in the currency which had been in use since 1702, known at that time as old tenor. In adopting the new tenor, Belcher had been prompted solely by the desire to get a greater purchasing value for the number of pounds named in the supply bill then under consideration. At no time during his administration was any effort made to bring all the currency upon the basis of the new tenor bills. Indeed many of the acts authorizing the emission of bills of the new form, also provided for the re-issue of old tenor bills. The first issue of the new bills was in February, 173637. It was provided that the tax to be levied for the purpose of calling them in should be laid in terms of the bills themselves, but could be paid in other designated ways, among which was, in bills of the old tenor in the proportion of three for one. No thought was then given to the question whether the two distinct forms of public bills, having the same denominations, but receivable by the government at different values would be treated in trade with the same discrimination as those imposed upon receivers of government dues. In July, 20,000 new tenor were emitted and in the act authorizing this issue an attempt was made to provide a remedy for this omission in the law. It was enacted that all public and private debts which could be paid and discharged in and by province bills of the old tenor, might and should be discharged by the province bills of the new tenor in proportion as one for three.(3) This provision did not in any way interfere with the operations of the "Act for the relief of and to prevent the oppression of debtors,"(4) which was still in force, under the provisions of which any debtor who should tender satisfaction and payment of his debt in good and lawful bills of credit of this province was exempted from liability to his person or estate under execution. The natural effect of this was that old tenor bills remained practically a legal tender for an ordinary debt. To secure payment of any debt in new tenor currency, there must, therefore, have been a special contract.

Three things in connection with the currency, which were of especial importance, confronted Shirley when he assumed office: I. There was uncollected of the taxes laid for the redemption of the bills an amount which he sets at 322,407;(5) 2. There were outstanding bills for the calling in of which no taxes had been laid amounting to 105,525; 3. The "act for the relief of, and to prevent the oppression of debtors," would by its terms expire October 31, 1741. He distinctly charges the first delinquency upon his predecessors and especially mentions Belcher. "They neglected," he says, "to cause the treasurer to issue out executions, according to the law of the province, against the constables or other collectors of the taxes in the several towns, to compel `em to bring the taxes inwhich sort of postponing has been practised ever since the first emission of bills after the new charter in 1702, insomuch that a very great arrear of bills, outstanding for want of having executions issued out to bring `em in, has been successively handed down from one governor to another, to the time of my entering upon the government." This neglect he immediately took steps to remedy.

With the large amount of taxes outstanding for which the officers in whose hands they had been placed had made no returns, and with no provision made for calling in so many of the bills in circulation, the province was clearly in no situation to profit by the qualified permission given in the royal instructions to issue 30,000 for annual expenses. Nevertheless the assembly proceded to mature a bill for furnishing the government with funds in the usual manner, namely, by a new emission. Inasmuch as this act did not meet with Shirley's approval it would not be entitled to notice in this connection, were it not for the fact that an attempt was made therein to introduce an entirely new form of currency. It was proposed to issue a bill which should be equal to sterling money.(6) This is apparently the only instance in which any effort was made to get rid of the New England currency. Five shillings and two pence in the new bills were to be equal to an ounce of silver. The bills were to be drawn in during the years 1744, 45, 46, through taxes payable in public bills, in silver or gold or in commodities. Should any of the bills remain outstanding after the last of these taxes were paid they were to be redeemed in commodities. In this last provision we can perhaps trace the influence of the land bank. The bill was passed October 7th, and met with Shirley's disapproval on the 14th, not, however, on the ground that it transgressed the royal instructions, but because of various objections that he had to certain features of the bill.(7)

After the rejection of this bill the assembly passed another supply bill in which they provided for the emission of 30,000 and this met with Shirley's approval.(8) In this act a provision was incorporated for calling in the outstanding 105,525 through taxes to be laid in 1742-43. The exigencies of the situation were such, that notwithstanding Shirley's failure to observe the royal instructions as to the time when these bills should be called in, the Privy Council gave a reluctant consent to the bill.(9) Simultaneously with the passage of the supply bill, Shirley secured the passage of an act which was described in its title as "an act to ascertain the value of money; and of the bills of public credit of this province granted this year for the supply of the treasury; and for securing the credit of said bills."(10) The discussion of this bill and an analysis of its effects will take place at a later period. For the present it is enough to refer for descriptive purposes to the title of the bill and to the following extract from a report made by Shirley to the Board of Trade, December 23, 1743: "I prevailed upon the assembly," he said, "to pass an act for securing to creditors the full value of their outstanding debts for the future, by making an allowance for the depreciation of the bills between the time of contracting the debt and the time of payment."(11)

These two laws were in the opinion of Shirley, "of more service to the country than all the acts of assembly that had been made since the first emission of bills in the province." On the day of their enactment, January 15, 1741-42, he delivered a speech to the assembly in which he announced with an air of great satisfaction that his Majesty had been graciously pleased in the royal instructions for the conduct of the government to omit that portion whereby Governor Belcher had been restrained from giving assent to any act authorizing the emission of public bills of credit, without inserting a suspending clause to prevent its taking effect until his Majesty's pleasure concerning it should be known.(12) Successful in securing the legislation which he desired in the province, and in obtaining from the crown a modification of the royal instructions, he felt for a time that his star was in the ascendant.

By the first of the acts of which Shirley had spoken with such complacency, thirty thousand pounds in bills of a new form were ordered to be emitted.(13)

Bills of this form were thenceforth called new tenor, while those of the form adopted in 1737 were generally known thereafter as middle tenor bills but were sometimes spoken of as first new tenor bills.(14) To understand clearly the change in the form of the bill of public credit, it is necessary to recall the fact that under the act of 1737, while the declared value of the bills was the same as that which was set forth in those of the new form, their acceptance was compulsory only in certain payments to the treasurer, among which duties of impost, of tunnage and shipping, and income of the light house were not included. Bills of time new form, were, however, to be accepted in all payments and in the treasury. The act for the relief of debtors had by this time expired. The new bills had, therefore, a complete legal tender function.

Any debt of four shillings contracted prior to the passage of this act, specialties and express contracts in writing excepted, could be discharged by one shilling of the bills then emitted. The taxes to be laid for the purpose of calling in the bills were to be distributed over several years in the future, and notwithstanding Shirley's expressed aversion to the use of commodities for this purpose, it was enacted, that the inhabitants of the province could have the liberty to pay the sums to be assessed for this purpose in certain of the produce and manufactures of the province at prices to be fixed in a specified way, they to run the risk and pay the charges of transportation to the treasury.

The new bills of credit or coined silver at 6s. 8d. per ounce, or coined gold proportionately, could also be used to meet these taxes, but in this connection old tenor bills are not mentioned. This is, perhaps, to be accounted for by the fact already alluded to, that in this act provision was made for the levying of taxes equal in amount to the bills of that form, which were then outstanding without previous legislation looking towards their retirement.

One other feature in this act deserves especial mention. An attempt was made to provide against the wilful negligence of future assemblies, by directing the treasurer to issue his warrants requiring the assessments to be made at the times provided by the act for the retirement of the bills. This form was followed in subsequent acts of emission.

Notwithstanding the fact that the expressed values of the bills of the middle tenor and of those of the new form were the same in silver, 6s. 8d. in each being equal to an ounce of silver, they were rated at different values in old tenor bills in the acts under which they were emitted. The former were by the terms of these acts receivable for government dues at the rate of one to three of old tenor, while the latter were to be accepted in the proportion of one to four. That is to say, they were pronounced to be of equal value when measured in a medium of trade which had no circulation in the province, but when their value was estimated in the prevailing currency of the province the one was only worth three fourths of the other. This discrimination on the part of the government gave an effective value to the new bills thirty-three per cent. above the middle tenor bills. One pound in bills of the last issue was practically equal to one pound, six shillings and eight pence of the other. The incongruity of the situation seems to have caused some perplexity, to relieve which a resolution or order was passed by the assembly, April 16, 1742, instructing government officers to receive the bills on the above basis.(15) While the legal tender quality of the new bill doubtless added something to its value still, if any reliance was to be placed upon the promises of the province, the middle tenor bill ought to have been the more valuable of the two. In every act authorizing the emission of these bills a provision was inserted to the effect that at any time after December 31, 1742, any person who should have any of them in his possession might bring them to the treasurer and receive in exchange for every six shillings and eight pence in bills one ounce of silver. The province therefore, was pledged to redeem these bills in silver within less than nine months from the date of this resolve. Nor could the assembly plead ignorance or forgetfulness on this point, for Shirley had called their attention to the fact in a message delivered on the 15th of January, 1741-42, only three months before the passage of the order.(16) Rhode Island bills, he said, emitted in 1740 and redeemable only at a distant period in the future passed current at the rate of one for four of old tenor, while the new tenor bill (he thus denominated the bill that just after that date became known as the middle tenor bill) was received only on the basis of one to three. The new tenor bill was redeemable in silver, he said, in less than one year and making due allowance for the future period of its redemption it was worth then at least 6s. 5d. in silver. If the distant period of time fixed for the retirement of the Rhode Island bill were taken into consideration its value then according to the custom of merchants in estimating such things was not more than 3s. 5d. Yet the Rhode Island bills circulated, he said, at the rate of 25 per cent. more than the new tenor bill.(17) Shirley's calculations were based upon the theory that the promises to redeem on the part of the governments meant something. The action of the assembly in April would seem to indicate that so far as the province of the Massachusetts Bay was concerned they did not agree with him. 46,000 in these bills had been printed. They had been issued and re-issued and many of them were still outstanding. Though some mistake made in the treasury there was some difficulty in identifying the specific bills entitled to redemption after December 31, but it was, nevertheless, clear that unless something should be done by the assembly, the province was in imminent peril of being obliged to discredit its own obligations. Notwithstanding this fact, no effort was made to get these bills out of the way, but on the contrary, their discredit was maintained by the government and no effort was put forth to prevent it until December 23, 1742.(18) On that date the council sent a message to the house, calling attention to the situation. They said, "it appears to this board that there is as yet no sufficient provision made for the treasurer's paying off the said new tenor bills which are outstanding, and may be in the hands of private persons, who will have a just and legal right to demand of the treasurer silver or gold for said bills." They thought it would "reflect much upon the justice of this government, if any demands of this nature should be made on the treasurer when he is not furnished to answer them." They, therefore, earnestly recommended the House to make a speedy and effectual provision for sinking and paying off the said bills. The house on the next day passed an order that bills of the first new tenor(19) otherwise called middle tenor should be received on an equality with bills of the last emission, but this did not satisfy the council and they non-concurred in the order. On the 24th of December, an order passed both houses authorizing the treasurer to exchange the bills at par.(20) On the passage of this last resolution Shirley sent a message to the house in which he said, "I am glad to have the opportunity of giving my consent to your late vote for setting the bills called first new tenor bills, at par with the bills of the late emission in the receipt of the province treasury."(21)

Shirley's interest in this matter was very great and at a later date in a report to the Board of Trade he said, "had I not watched to perfect the vote of the assembly passed for that purpose by instantly giving my assent to it, the assembly would have reconsidered and retracted it in less than twenty-four hours afterward."(22) The remedy was not perfect, but it was better than nothing. It was the only instance in which any allowance of the kind was made to holders of public bills.

The work of repairing the fortifications and generally preparing for defence from invasion in which the province had now for some time been engaged, involved the expenditure of considerable sums of money. It was absolutely impossible to carry out this work if the restraint imposed upon the province by the royal instruction as to the emission of currency, was to be maintained in its integrity. Shirley made representations to the Board of Trade on this point which resulted in a temporary removal of the restraining clause, or rather an expansion of the limit. On the 9th of September he announced this fact to the assembly, saying that seven or eight thousand pounds additional could be emitted for finishing the works and fortifications.(23)

In the spring of 1744, war broke out between France and England. Formal declaration of war was made from the balcony of the state house in Boston on the 2nd of June.(24) Three weeks before this event hostilities had been inaugurated on this continent by the French at Canso. The existing Spanish war had been warning enough of impending danger to cause Shirley to make the efforts already put forth to place the province in a better posture for defence. However burdensome and dangerous to the welfare of the province were the emissions of currency which had been made for this purpose, the results caused by them were insignificant when compared with the effect of the flood of bills now about to be put forth for the equipment and support of the province troops in the contest in which they were about to engage with the French in Cape Breton and Canada. Up to this time, the restraint of the 30,000 limit imposed by the royal instructions had not been modified, with the exception of the permission for 8,000 additional, announced by Shirley in September. It was evident, however, that if the province was to be expected to wage war upon this continent in behalf of England, extraordinary expenditures must necessarily be made. Under the pressure of these circumstances the restrictions upon the issue of the currency were withdrawn and Shirley was allowed in cases of emergency to give his consent to such acts as might be necessary for the supply of the treasury with bills of credit during the continuance of the present war.(25)

In June, 1744, an act was passed in furtherance of the policy already inaugurated for supplying the treasury with funds for putting the province in a better posture of defence.(26) In this act a new form of bill was adopted which was familiarly known thereafter as the last tenor bill.(27)

The last previous form of bill had been declared to be equal to silver of sterling alloy, at 6s. 8d per ounce, Troy weight, so that a twenty shilling bill was to pass at the same rate as three ounces of silver. The bills of the present form were to be equal to silver at 7s. 6d. per ounce, so that the equivalent weight of silver for a twenty shilling bill was two ounces, thirteen pennyweight and eight grains. The function of the new bills was limited to payments in the treasury.

It was provided that the payments could be made for the taxes which were to be laid for calling in these bills either in bills of credit of the form and tenor by this act emitted, or in bills of the last emission, or in bills of the middle tenor according to their several denominations, or in silver or gold. Old tenor bills were to be received on the basis of four to one of either of the above forms. Commodities were to be received for the same purpose at prices to be fixed by the assembly, the risk and charge of transportation to be borne by the taxpayer.

The adoption of the new rate for silver does not mean that there had been a change in the market value of the metal. It is obviously a mere recognition of an existing depreciation of the bills of public credit, its purpose being probably to furnish a new starting point from which the courts could measure the same.

Notwithstanding the clause in the bills of this issue to the effect that they were to be accepted in the treasury, their function in this regard was limited in the tax levy of that year to one fifth part of the province tax, liberty being given to each inhabitant of the province to pay his assessment, "one fifth part thereof, and no more, in bills of the last emission." About one fifth of the bills of this issue were to be retired in 1744, the remainder in the years 1745 and 1746. The purpose of the assembly may be assumed to have been to keep the four-fifths out. Whatever the motive which induced the assembly to place this restraint upon collectors of taxes with regard to the bills of this emission, they were soon overcome by the difficulties inherent in the attempt to carry out this limitation, and on the 19th of December, 1744, a resolution was passed authorizing collectors to receive them for taxes in common with other new tenor bills in 1746.(28)

January 9, 1744-45, the treasurer was authorized to issue 10,000 of these bills.(29) The bills were to pass in all public payments equal to other new tenor bills emitted since 1740. They were to be called in by taxes of future dates, and payments of these taxes could be made in bills of credit of the form and tenor by this act emitted, or in other new tenor bills, or in bills of the middle tenor according to their several denominations, or in bills of old tenor, accounting four for one; in silver at 7s., 6d. per ounce; in gold proportionately; or in certain commodities. All subsequent emissions were made in bills of this form and on these terms.

In the tax acts the nominal rate at which silver would be received was maintained at 6s. 8d. until 1747, when the new rate was for the first time incorporated in these acts. This was to be attributed to the fact that by that time the first of the bills issued at that rate were due for retirement.

Acts authorizing emissions of public bills for the purpose of putting the province in a better posture for defence were passed June, 1744, and January, 1744-45. On the 9th of February, 1744-45, came the first of the various issues made to meet the expenses of the Louisburg expedition. From June, 1744, to March, 1746, inclusive, a little over 346,000 of public bills of the last form were issued, or if converted into old tenor, over 1,384,000. Then came the Canada expedition.

The ambition of Shirley had embarked the province upon a military career. Success had crowned an expedition undertaken under circumstances which seemed to preclude the possibility of such a result. Louisburg had fallen, and now the French must be driven off the continent. The mad career of the province in the reckless issues of public bills will be better appreciated if submitted to inspection in tabular form:
Month Year Amount When redeemable References in Prov. laws.
June 23 1744 26,037, 10s. 1744, 45, 46 III, 148
January 9 1744-5 10,000 1745, 46 III, 190
February 9 1744-45 50,000 1747, 48 III, 199
April 6 1745 50,000 1749, 50 III, 204
July 9 1745 70,000 1751, 52 III, 244
August 7 1745 70,000 1753, 54 III, 249
February 3 1745-46 50,000 1755, 56 III, 254
March 11 1745-46 20,000 1755, 56 III, 260
July 1 1746 82,000 1757, 58, 59, 60 III, 292
July 1 1746 25,000 1757, 58, 59, 60 III, 297
August 19 1746 20,000 1749, 50 III, 302
September 13 1746 10,000 1747, 48 III, 310
November 15 1746 20,200 1757, 58, 59, 60 III, 314
March 2 1746-47 8,200 1747 III, 322
April 27 1747 20,000 1747, 48 III, 334
July 2 1747 8,000 1748 III, 357
December 12 1748 34,000 1748 III, 376
March 31 1748 25,000 1748 III, 380
June 27 1748 100,000 1749 III, 408

These issues were all of them in bills of the last form. They represented in old tenor 2,793,750, and after allowing for all retirements provided for by law there were outstanding in the spring of 1749, about 2,l00,000 old tenor. Under authority conferred by the act for drawing in the bills of credit, passed in January, 174849, the treasurer of the province issued his warrants, in the summer of that year, to the tax collectors for 75,000 in bills of the last form, or 300,000 old tenor, thus reducing the amount which ought to have been outstanding to about 1,800,000 old tenor. With silver rated by statute at 7s. 6d. an ounce in bills of the last form and old tenor four to one, these being the ratings given in the act of emission passed in 1744, when the last form of bill was for the first time issued, we have the. price of 30s., old tenor, an ounce for silver, acknowledged in 1744. From this point the rate rose rapidly with the repeated issues of public bills until 60s. an ounce was reached. No variation, however, was made in the form of the bill. 7s. 6d. in bills were still said to be equal to one ounce of silver, and four shillings old tenor were still to be received for one shilling of the last form. Practically old tenor currency was the medium through which values were measured during this period. As the discrepancy increased between the rate at which bills of the last form were nominally issued and their actual value in the market, there was no other way to state the value of exchange or silver than in terms of old tenor currency. So violent were the fluctuations of sterling exchange, or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say so eccentric were the various rates of speed at which it rose, that Hutchinson, who states that the lowest point of depreciation reached was eleven for one, adds in the same paragraph, that perhaps "the difference was really twelve to one." The variation of a fraction of one per cent. will to-day determine the direction of the movement of gold across the Atlantic, but whether the limit that exchange then reached was 1200 or 1100 Hutchinson, a careful contemporaneous observer, could not say. In London, exchange was vaguely spoken of at that time as having risen to more than one thousand per cent.(30) It is obvious that under such conditions it was impossible to speak definitely upon this point, and it is difficult to conceive how the market rate could have been ascertained

This condition of affairs had been brought about through the military ambition of Shirley. The emission of a few public bills of credit was as Hutchinson said, "an easy way of paying public charges." This lesson the council of war at Louisbnrg had learned and they proceeded to apply it in providing means of their own devising to meet their emergent expenses.

On the 15th of July, 1745, at a meeting of the council held at the citadel in the city of Louisburg, at which the Honorable William Pepperell, President, and the Honorable Commodore Warren were present, the following vote was passed:

Advized, that notes or bills under the hands and seals of Genl Pepperrell and Comre Warren be made to the value of ten thousand pounds, New England currency of the old tenor, to pay off the workmen employed on the repairs till money can be had here to exchange them.

That said notes or bills be of the denomination of 5/, 10/, 15/, 30/, & 3, two thousand pounds of each, and of follg tenor.
(No.) Louisbourg.

1745

(Denomination.)
The possessor of this bill issued for service done on the repairs and for contingent charges of this garrison is entitled to -blank- New England currency of the old tenor, from us.
SEAL. Name. SEAL. Name.

That all the bills of each denomination be written by the same hand. That Jos. Dwight,

And. Burr, Wm Williams, Ricd Gridley, Jno Storer, Esqrs be a committee to prepare said bills.

That a proclamation be issued, notifying that the possessors of said bills shall have them exchanged at the Treasury here, and prohibiting the altering, counterfeitg, or forging any of them, or passing them knowg them to be altered, counterfeited or forged, on penalty of the person or persons so offending having one of their ears cut off and paying treble damages upon due conviction.(31)

Concerning the emission of these bills we know nothing, except what is contained in the foregoing order. Their influence upon the situation was not felt in the province. The fact that such bills were emitted is a curious commentary on the times, but is otherwise of little consequence.



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Footnotes

1. Shirley's instructions from the Lords Justices, bearing date Sept. 10, 1741, are to be found in the Mass. Arch., vol. 49, nos. 52, et seq.

2. History of New England by Joseph Bennett, Sparks MSS. H. C., quoted by Palfrey, History of New England, vol. 5, p. 44.

3. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 875.

4. Act and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 589.

5. Palfrey's History of New England, vol. 5, p. 105, note.

6. Described in detail in Shirley's speech October 14, 1741. See Mass. Court Rec., vol. 173, pp. 134 et seq.

7. At a later date, January 4, 1743-44, a form, of bill was submitted to the council, in which the promise to pay had been involved. The form was as follows The province of the Massachusetts Bay promise to pay the possessor hereof being an inhabitant of this province

lawful money by the day of Anno Domini 17

Dated 17

Witness, A. B., C. D., E. F., committee for signing the bills. An act for better securing the credit of this province bills. Mass. Arch. vol. 102, nos. 280, 281.

8. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 1077.

9. Palfrey's History of New England, vol. 5, p. 53, note.

10. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 1083.

11. Palfrey's History of New England, vol. 5, pp. 103, 104, note.

12. Mass. Bay House Journal.

13. The form of the twenty shilling bill is given as follows

No. ( ). Twenty Shillings.

This bill of twenty shillings, due to the possessor thereof, from the province of Massachusetts Bay, shall be equal to three ounces of coined silver, Troy weight, of sterling alloy, or gold coin, at the rate of four pounds eighteen shillings per ounce and shall be so accepted in all payments, and in the treasury. Boston, 1741.

By order of the general court or assembly. }Committee.

14. These bills had still another title by which they were sometimes designated, viz.: "Three-fold tenor," based upon their ratio to old tenor. Rev. Nathaniel Appleton's Fast-day Sermon, January, 1747-48. pp. 40-41.

15. Mass. Bay House Journal, April 16, 1742; Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 1104.

16. Mass. Bay House Journal, Jan. 15, 1741-42.

17. "At this time the middle tenor bills which were current, passed at 33 and a 3d per cent, less than the Rhode Island bills of the same tenor and equal denomination with themselves, tho' the middle tenor bills were within eight or nine weeks of the time limited for their redemption, and the Rhode Island bills were not redeemable at all with silver and gold, and the period for drawing them in was at 18 years distance ; so that according to the common rule of discount the Rhode

Island bills were of less value than the middle tenor bills 6o per cent. at least. This is a demonstrative proof of what little expectation the people in general had that the middle tenor bills would be exchanged at the treasury, or rather of the general persuasion that prevailed that the possessors of these bills would have no satisfaction from the government."

An enquiry into the state of the bills of credit of the province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, in a letter from a gentleman in Boston to a merchant in London. Printed in the year 1743.

18. A committee was appointed in June to report some proper method for calling in and changing the outstanding bills for bills of the latest form and tenor, but this committee evidently accomplished nothing. Mass. Arch., vol. 102, no. 242.

19. Mass. Bay House Journal.

20. Mass. Arch., vol. 102, no. 279.

21. Mass. Bay House Journal, Dec. 2328, 1742; Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 2, p. 1104; see also Preamble, Ch. 15, Laws 1742-43, Ibid., vol. 3, p. 33. This action necessarily created a deficiency in the funds for drawing in the bills of public credit. This was provided for by the passage of "an act for apportioning and assessing a tax of eight thousand pounds in bills of the tenor and form last emitted" (Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 3, p. 33), in January, 1742-43, the tax to be levied in 1746.

22. Given in Palfrey's History of New England, vol. 5, p. 107, note.

23. For the royal instructions see Mass. Arch., vol. 102, nos. 302, 303.

24. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 3, p. 216.

25. Royal instructions, August 9, 1744.

26. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 3, p. 148.

27. The form of the twenty shilling bill is given as follows:
No. ( )

Twenty Shillings.

This bill of Twenty Shillings, due to the possessor thereof from the province of the Massachusetts Bay, shall be equal to two ounces thirteen pennyweight and eight grains of coin'd silver troy weight, of sterling alloy, or gold coin at the rate of five pounds ten shillings and three pence per ounce and shall be so accepted in all payments in the treasury, agreeable to act of assembly, . . . 1744

By order of the General Court or Assembly.

} Committee

28. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 3, p. 168. The phrase "bills of the last emission" in the supply bill meant bills of the form first adopted in 1742. As used in the tax act, the same phrase refers to bills of the last form.

29. Acts and Res. Prov. Mass. Bay, vol. 3, p. 190.

30. Letter of Christopher Kirby to the house of representatives, January, 1747-48. Mass. Arch., vol. 20, no. 408. Memorial of merchants and others trading and interested in New England to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, [September 21, 1748.] Mass. Arch., vol. 20, no. 445.

31. The foregoing order is from vol. 10 of the 6th series Coll. Mass.Hist. Soc. devoted to the Pepperell Papers, pp. 37, 38. I am indebted to Mr. Charles C. Smith for his kindness in calling my attention to it.