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In the Merchants' Magazine (Vol. XV., No. 1,) for June, 1846, we published a complete list of the laws of the United States, passed since the establishment of the federal government, regulating the value of foreign coins, and also an act passed at the last session of Congress, establishing the value of certain foreign coins and moneys of account, &c. The inquiry is frequently made, as to what descriptions of money are a legal tender in the United States, which few are able to answer with precision. An intelligent correspondent of the Evening Journal has just completed the soinewhat laborious and perplexing task of examining the acts referred to above, for the purpose of ascertaining with certainty the existing state of the law on the subject, and gives the following as the result of his examination, which we believe may be relied upon as correct.
The following foreign gold coins are now a legal tender within the United States by weight, at the following rates:
1. The gold coins of Great Britain, of not less than nine hundred and fifteen and a half thousandths in fineness, at ninety-four cents and six-tenths of a cent per pennyweight.
2. The gold coins of France, of not less than eight hundred and ninety-nine thousandths in fineness, at ninety.two cents and nine-tenths of a cent per pennyweight.
3. The gold coins of Portugal and Brazil, of not less than twenty-two carats fine, at the rate of ninety-four cents and eight-tenths of a cent per pennyweight.
4. The gold coins of Spain, Mexico, and Colombia, the fineness of twenty carats and three grains and seven-sixteenths of a grain, at the rate of eighty-nine cents and ninesixteenths of a cent per pennyweight
The following foreign silver coins are now a legal tender within the United States by tale, at the following rates:
1. Spanish milled dollars, and the parts thereof, at the rate of one hundred cents for each dollar, the actual weight whereof shall not be less than seventeen pennyweights and seventeen grains, and in proportion for the parts thereof.
2. Spanish pillar dollars, and the dollars of Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, of not less than eight hundred and ninety-seven thousandths in fineness, and Mur hundred and fifteen grains in weight, at one hundred cents each.
3. Dollars of Chili and Central America, of not less weight than four hundred and fifteen grains each, and those re-stamped in Brazil of the like weight, of no less fineness than ten ounces fifteen pennyweights of fine silver in the Troy pound of twelve ounces of standard silver.
4. The five-franc pieces of France, of not less fineness than ten ounces Troy weight of standard silver, and weighing no less than three hundred and eighty-four grains each, at the rate of ninety-three cents each.
The Secretary of the Treasury is required by law to cause assays to be had at the mint, at least once in every year, of all the gold coins and of the silver coins, except Spanish and milled dollars, and to report the result to Congress.
Cents are not, and never have been, a legal tender except by implication, and for the sums under the lowest denomination of silver coin.
PUBLIC DEBT OF OHIO.
The Hon. Benjamin S. Cowen, in a table compiled by him and recently published, presents the State debt, year by year, as follows:1836.. $5,500,000
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE OF ENGLAND. Before the close of the last session of the British Parliament, an important return was presented to the members, from which we extract the following account of the public in. come and expenditure of the United Kingdom, in the years ending 5th of January, 1843, 1844, 1845. As this return is only to the 5th of January, 1845, as above stated, it does not include the results of the tariff alterations. The national income, as appears by this return, has been gradually increasing, year after year, while the expenditure has remained nearly stationary. Thus the results may be briefly given :Years.
£51,120,040 £55,195,159 1844.
56,935,022 55,501,740 1845.
58,590,217 55,103,647 Thus it appears,
that in the year ending January 5th, 1843, there was £4,075,119 ex. cess of income over expenditure in 1844 and 1845-nearly one million and a half in the sormer, and three millions and a half in the latter year.
The sources whence the immense revenue of England is derived are various. Taking the general heads for last year, (1844–5,) we find them to be as follows:Customs and Excise........
7,327,803 Assessed and Land Taxes.
4,429,870 Property and Income Tax
5,329,601 Post Office.....
1,705,068 Crown Lands..
441,583 Other Ordinary Revenues.
394,598 Money from China........
£58,590,217 On the other hand, the expenditure runs into a great variety of channels. For the year ending 5th of January, 1845, the mere cost of collecting the customs and revenue was £1,406,586; and with the Preventive Service charges, amounted to £1,967,584. The collection of Stamps, Assessed Taxes, &c., was £2,860,536. Here, then, the mere expense of collecting the revenue amounts to nearly five millions sterling, or about one. twelfth. This is an enormous per centage, and exemplifies the truth of the ancient adage-"The king's cheese is lost in the parings."
The annual cost of the civil government of England may be stated at £1,618,265, and may be enumerated as follows: The Queen's Establishment......
£371,800 Allowance to the Royal Family.
277,000 Irish Vice-royalty........
26,440 Houses of Parliament.
100,646 Civil Departments..
538,593 For Annuities, &c.....
277,501 For Pensions.....
6,285 Under the expenses for “ Justice," we find— £559,782 for Courts of Justice ; £594,312 for Police and Criminal Prosecutions; and £703,111 for “Correction."
The diplomatic expenses are £380,609 for the year; namely, £181,186 for foreign ministers, salaries, and pensions; £120,303 for consuls' salaries and superannuation al. lowances; and £70,120 for disbursements and outfit.
The annual expense of the British Army and Navy amounts to about £13,961,245, which comprises :Expense of the Army ...
MERCANTILE TRANSACTIONS IN SCOTLAND. It is not as in England, where, when an article is offered for sale, it is immediately purchased, or at once rejected as being too dear, but here there is a long haggling and cheapening of every article successively offered. The relation of my transactions with a man will serve to show the general mode of doing business. He bids me call again, which I do several times without doing anything. He wishes to be the last I do with, but all cannot be last, and all have wished to be so. After a few days I get him to proceed to business; he objects to the price of the article I offer-he will not buy-I try to induce him, but do not offer to make any reduction. Says he, “ You are over dear, Sir; I can buy the same gudes 10 per cent lower: if ye like to tak aff 10 per cent, I'll tak some of these.”
I tell him that a reduction in price is quite out of the question, and put my sample of the article aside; but the Scotchman wants it—“Weel, Sir, it's a terrible price, but as I am out o' it at present, I'll just tak a little till I can be supplied cheaper, but ye maun tak aff 5 per cent."
“ But, Sir," says I, “would you not think me an unconscionable knave, to ask 10 or even 5 per cent more than I intended to take ?"
He laughs at me—“ Hoot, hoot, man, do ye expect to get what ye ask? Gude Lord ! an was I able to get half what I ask, I would soon be rich. Come, come, I'll gie ye within twa an a half of your ain price, and gude faith, man, ye'll be well paid."
I tell him that I never make any reduction from the price I first demand, and that an adherence to the rule saves much trouble to both parties.
“Weel, weel," says he, “ since ye maun hae it a' your ain way, I maun e'en tak the article ; but really I think ye are over keen."
So much for buying and selling: then comes the settlement. “ Hoo muckle discount do ye tak aff, Sir?”
“ Discount ! you cannot expect it; the account has been standing a twelve-month."
“ Indeed, but I do expect discount-pay siller without discount! na, na, Sir, that's not the way here; ye maun deduct 5 per cent.
I tell him that I make no discount at all: “ Weel, Sir, I'll gie ye nae money at a'.”
Rather than go without a settlement, I at last agree to take 24 per cent from the amount, which is accordingly deducted.
“I hae ten shillings doon against ye for short measure, and fifteen shillings for damages."
“ Indeed, these are heavy deductions; but if you say that you shall lose to that amount, I suppose that I must allow it."
“Oh, aye, it's a' right; then, Sir, eight shillings and fourpence for pack sheet, and thirteen shillings for carriage and postage."
These last items astonish me. " What, Sir," says I, " are we to pay all the charges in your business?” But if I do not allow these to be taken off, he will not pay his account ; so I acquiesce, resolving within myself that, since these unfair deductions are made at settlement, it would be quite fair to charge an additional price to cover the extortion. I now congratulate myself on having concluded my business with the man, but am disappointed.
“ Hae ye a stawmpe ?" asks he.
“ A bill, my good sir! Í took off 2) per cent on the faith of being paid in cash.” But
Oh, ye may tak it to Sir William's, and he'll discount it for you, on paying him three months' interest."
“And what can I do with his notes ?"
“So, sir, after allowing you twelve months' credit, and 2 per cent discount, and exorbitant charges which you have no claim on us to pay, I must be content with a bill which we are not to cash for four months and a half.”'
“Weel, weel and now, Sir," says he,“ if you are going to your inn, I'll gang wi' ye, and tak a glaiss o' wine."
COMPARATIVE VIEW OF THE COMMERCE OF EUROPE. The Austrian Lloyd's, in an article founded upon official documents, gives the follow. ing summary of the foreign commerce of Europe. The European mercantile marine, without including the coasting trade, comprehends 260,000 vessels, measuring in all 33,493,000 tons. The total value of the merchandise they carry is estimated at 11,935,765,000 francs. The proportions per cent which each of the different states of Europe bears in this total value are as follows:- England 51 13-16, France 13 3-5, Holland 5 7-9, Hamburgh 4 4-5, Russia 3 8-9, Sardinia 31-6, Belgium 2 1-9, Prussia 2 1-9, Austria 1 4-5, the Two Sicilies 1), Sweden and Norway 1 1-5, Tuscany 1 1-9, Denmark 1 1-45, Bremen 1, Portugal 8-9, Spain 14-15, and all the other states 6 per cent. The result is, that the trade of France and Belgium, taken altogether, is equal in value to that of Germany and Holland united-that is to say, that each represents 15 4-5 of the total. The four taken together represent about 3-5 of the trade of England.
PEPPER TRADE OF PADANG. An interesting work has recently been published in London, entitled “Trade and Travel in the East.” The author, Mr. George Davidson, a shrewd Scotchman, resided twenty-one years in Java, Singapore, Australia, and China. In speaking of Sumatra and the pepper trade of Padang, we find the following observations :
“ The pepper trade of the ports to the northward of Padang has ceased to be a profit. able one, and is now neglected. European shipmasters used to complain bitterly of the roguery practised upon them by the native dealers; but who taught the native his roguish tricks? Who introduced false weights ? Who brought to the coast 561b. weights with a screw in the bottom, which opened for the insertion of from ten to fifteen pounds of lead, after their correctness had been tried by the natire in comparison with his own weights ? Who made it a regular rule in their transactions with the native dealer, to get 130 catties of pepper to the pecul, thus cheating him of 30 per cent of liis property ? I challenge contradiction, when I assert that English and American shipmasters have, for thirty years, been addicted to all these dishonest practices. The cunning and deceit of the native traders at the pepper ports of Sumatra, have been taught them by their Christian visiters, and forced upon them in self-defence."
BALTIMORE MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION. At an election held by the members of the Mercantile Library Association, at their rooms in North Charles street, Baltimore, on Saturday, the 14th November, 1846, the following gentlemen were elected:--Charles Bradenbaugh, President; J. C. Coale, VicePresident; J. T. England, Corresponding Secretary ; George Cliffe, Recording Secre. tary; George W. Grafslin, Treasurer ; Edward M. Needles, Benjamin Childs, Pleasant Stabler, A. S. Taylor, George B. Coale, and H. M. Warfield, Directors.
BRITISH CONSULAR SERVICE. It appears from a British parliamentary document on the consular system of the United Kingdom, that there are 215 consular officers, who, with two exceptions, are paid by the British government, and two others paid by the East India Company. There are also 130 British vice-consuls, who receive no salary from Her Majesty's government, and who are appointed by the superintending consuls. Various salaries are paid to consuls
, from £25 to £1,800 a year. There are 14 consular officers in France; the highest salary in France is £650, and the lowest £50. There are 15 in Spain, and 9 in Portugal, and no fewer than 22 in Turkey, and 10 in the United States of America. There are 9 in China. The consul at Canton (Francis C. Macgregor, Esq.,) has a salary of £1,800; three others have £500 each, one £1,200, three £750, and another £506. In Egypt there are five paid consular officers. The consul-general at Egypt (the Hon. C. A. Murray,) has a salary of £1,800. The smallest salary (£25,) is paid to the vice-consul of Otranto, in the two Sicilies.
THE BOOK TRAI) E.
1.—Etchings of a Whaling Cruise, with Notes of a Sojourn on the Island of Zanzibar. To which is appended, a Brief History of the Whale Fishery : its Past and Present Condition. By J. Ross Browne. Illustrated by numerous engravings, on steel and wood. New York: Harper & Brothers.
This is a good book of its kind. Written, in some respects, under circumstances similar to Mr. R. H. Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast,” it is not a whit behind it, either in value or interest; although, from the elegant and somewhat expensive style in which it has been got up, its circulation will not be so large. Both were educated young men, and both went to sea in the capacity of common sailors; with this difference, that Dana undertook the voyage for the recovery of impaired health, and Browne, to gratify a romantic spirit of adventure. Both were without means, and consequently pursued a course that was calculated to open to them scenes, and impart to them an experience, which they would have been deprived of in the ordinary routine of gentlemen travellers. They were, however, gentlemen, without the surrounding circumstances, that would have given quite a different tone to their narratives. The volume of Mr. Browne, occupying more than five hundred pages, embodies a great variety of incident, anecdote, and not a little information concerning the whale fishery, and the places visited in the course of the enterprise. The writer is no stickler for the system of flogging, as practised on board men-of-war, merchantmen, and whalemen. He justly considers it degrading, and void of any reformatory influence; and neither is it calculated to secure a beneficial subordination. How long will it take to discover that men are to be governed by the exercise of justice, humanity, and moral, rather than physical force : We hope to find time, in a future number, to notice this very attractive volume more in detail, and enrich our pages with such portions of it as may seem best suited to the character and design of a commercial Magazine. In the meantime, we cheerfully recommend the work to our readers.
2.-Phrenology, or the Doctrine of the Mental Phenomena. By J. G. SPURzheim. Two vols. in one. After Gall, the author of this volume stands at the head of the advocates and expounders of the science of Phrenology. A doctrine or a science taught by a man of Spurzheim's cast of mind and character must ever command respect, if it does not obtain the entire credence of that portion of the public who investigate systems and theories. This is the fifth American edition, from the third London, and was greatly improved by the author previous to his death, which took place in Boston on the 10th of November, 1832. The first volume, illustrated with numerous plates, is devoted to the physiological, and the second to the philosophical part of phrenology. There have been many books written on the subject since Spurzheim, and perhaps new discoveries made; but all who would study the science thoroughly, will find it as important to resort to his works, as the theologian does to the Holy Bible. It is published in Harper & Brothers’ best style. 3-A History of the American Revolution. First published in London, under the superintendence of
the Society for the Diffusion of o Knowledge. Improved with a map and other illustrations. Also revised and enlarged. By Rev. J. L. Blake, D. D. New York: Harper & Brothers.
We have in this volume probably the most comprehensive, concise, and distinct narrative of the principal events of the American revolution in the language. 4.—Classical Antiquities, or a Compendium of Roman and Grecian Antiquities, with a Sketch of Ancient
..Mythology. By Joseph SALKeld. New York: Harper & Brothers.
This comprehensive manual of Classical Antiquities is divided into two parts—the first containing an account of the political institutions, religion, military and naval affairs, arts and sciences, manners, customs, etc., pertaining to the Romans; and the second those relating to the Grecians. It is admirably adapted to the wants of the classical pupil as a common text-book.
5.—Pictorial History of England. New York: Harper & Brothers. Twelve parts of this splendid work have already appeared. The American reprint is equal to the
English. Aside from its pictorial illustrations, which are numerous and striking, in many respects it
is the best history of England that has yet been published.
6.—Myrtes, with other Etchings and Sketches. By Mrs. L. H. Sigourney. New York: Harpers. This very pretty volume contains thirteen tales or sketches, some of which have appeared in other forms, while others are now for the first time introduced to the reader. To passionate or high-wrought fiction, Mrs. Sigourney makes no pretensions. The elements of her tales are truthful; and, without any very original or progressive views of life, manners or morals, their tendency is salutary. On the whole, they are calculated to deepen those sympathies that swell the great tide of human happiness. 7.—A Scriptural Defence of the Doctrine of the Trinity; or, A Check to Modern Arianism, as taught
by Campbellites, Hicksites, New Lights, Universalists, and Mormons ; and especially by a Sect calling themselves “Christians.” By Rev. H. Mattison. New York: Lewis Colby.
The design and character of this little volume of one hundred and sixty-two pages, are sufficiently explained in the title-page, which we have quoted in full.