QUERY XXI 

                           The weights, measures, and the currency of the hard money? Some details relating to the exchange with Europe? 

        Weights, Measures, Money         Our weights and measures are the same which are fixed by acts of parliament in England. -- How it has happened that in this as well as the other American states the nominal value of coin was made to differ from what it was in the country we had left, and to differ among ourselves too, I am not able to say with certainty.  I find that in 1631 our house of burgesses desired of the privy council in England, a coin debased to twenty-five per cent: that in 1645 they forbid dealing by barter for tobacco, and established the Spanish piece of eight at six shillings, as the standard of their currency: that in 1655 they changed it to five shillings sterling.  In 1680 they sent an address to the king, in consequence of which, by proclamation in 1683, he fixed the value of French crowns, rixdollars and pieces of eight at six shillings, and the coin of New-England at one shilling.  That in 1710, 1714, 1727, and 1762, other regulations were made, which will be better presented to the eye stated in the form of a table as follows:  

 

          The first symptom of the depreciation of our present paper-money, was that of silver dollars selling at six shillings, which had before been worth but five shillings and ninepence.  The assembly thereupon raised them by law to six shillings.  As the dollar is now likely to become the money-unit of America, as it passes at this rate in some of our sister-states, and as it facilitates their computation in pounds and shillings, & e converso, this seems to be more convenient than it's former denomination.  But as this particular coin now stands higher than any other in the proportion of 133 1/3 to 125, or 16 to 15, it will be necessary to raise the others in the same proportion. 
  

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