in the West Indies
, dried cod;
and, among the Indians, wampum
In this last article, and in peltry, our ancestors traded much with the aboriginal inhabitants.
Wampum was a belt formed of shells, black
“The white,” says Roger Williams
, “were made of the stock, or stem, of the periwinkle, when all the shell is broken off; and, of this sort, six of their small beads, which they make with holes to string their bracelets, are current with the English
for a penny.
The second is black, inclining to blue, which is made of the shell of a fish, which some English call hens-poquahock; and, of this sort, three make an English penny.
One fathom of this, their stringed money, is worth five shillings.”
To show how this shell-currency of the natives was prepared for ready exchange, we quote the law of Oct. 18, 1648:--
It is ordered, for trial till the next court, that all passable or payable peage henceforth shall be entire, without breaches, both the white and black, without deforming spots, suitably strung in eight known parcels,--one penny, threepence, twelvepence, five shillings, in white; twopence, sixpence, two shillings and sixpence, and ten shillings, in black.
paid its share towards the support of Rev. Messrs. Patricke
; and, Sept. 7, 1630, “it is ordered that Mr. Patricke
and Mr. Underhill
shall have allowed them, for half a year's provision, two hogsheads of meal, four bushels of malt, ten pounds of powder, and lead to make shot; also house-room provided for them, and fifteen pounds twelve shillings in money to make other provision from the time they begin to keep house.”
These records show how the Pilgrims managed their currency:--
“Sir Richard Saltonstall is fined four bushels of malt, for his absence from court.”
“Mr. Robert Saltonstall is fined five shillings, for presenting his petition on so small and bad a piece of paper.”
“Chickataubott is fined a skin of a beaver, for shooting a swine of Sir Richard Saltonstall.”
Silver was exceedingly scarce at the time Medford
was settled; hence the necessity of adopting some other standards of value.
All accounts were kept in the pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings of the mother country.
For more than