after the 1st of September next, and no longer, the money hereafter appointed and expressed shall be the current money of this Commonwealth, and no other, unless English
(except the receivers consent thereunto).”
Thus 1652 saw our fathers coining money without the consent of the king
, to whom alone belonged the constitutional right of so doing.
The building erected for the mint was sixteen feet square and ten feet high.
Such an edifice surely could not deserve the sneer of that adage, “Twelve pence laid out on the purse, and only six in it.”
One effect of introducing a New-England
coinage was to change the custom of computing in Old-England currency; for, in the London
market, the American
coin sank at a rate of one-quarter below theirs.
The device on the die was as follows: “A double ring on either side, with this inscription, Massachusetts
, and a tree in the centre, on the one side; and New England
, and the year of our Lord
, on the other side.”
This was called the “pine-tree currency;” and it was in use for more than a hundred years. The pine-tree was a favorite emblem with our fathers.
It expressed to them something un-English, and something durable.
When independence was declared, Massachusetts
(April 11, 1776) put it on her State flag, and fought the battle of Bunker Hill
under its ancestral encouragements.
It gave place only to the thirteen stripes.
When Thomas Temple, Esq.
, went to London
, in May, 1662, and was introduced to the king, he presented his majesty with specimens of our coins.
Seeing a tree on one of them, Charles inquired, “What sort of a tree is that?”
immediately replied, “It is the royal oak, which preserved your majesty's life.”
The answer conciliated the unbotanical king, and induced him to grant Mr. Temple
what he asked.
The mint was suppressed by James II.; and thereupon, in 1686, our Massachusetts
patriots began to move in the establishment of a bank; and, on Sept. 18 of that year, President Dudley
and council granted liberty to certain directors “to issue bills, on security of real and personal estate.”
These continued but three years. Dec. 10, 1690, the General Court established a provincial bank, and issued paper-money to the amount of seven thousand pounds, in bills from five shillings to five pounds. This paper-currency continued in use till 1750.
These paper-bills, soon after their