Page images
PDF
EPUB

saddle and light carriages. To those, and for these uses, their feetness and beauty will recommend them. Besides these there will be other valuable substitutes when the cultivation of tobacco shall be discontinued, such as cot. ton in the eastern parts of the state, and hemp and fax in the western.

It is not easy to say what are the articles either of necessity, comfort, or luxury, which we cannot raise, and which we therefore shall be under a necessity of importing from abroad, as every thing hardier than the olive, and as hiaroy as the fig, may be raised here in the open airi Sugar, coffee and tea, indeed, are not between these limits; and habit having placed them among the necessaries of life with the wealthy part of our citizens, as long as these habits re. main we must go for them to those countries which are able to furnish them.

QUERY XXI.

[ocr errors]

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

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 coun try we had left, and to differ among ourselves too, I am not able to say with certainty. I find

[ocr errors]

that in -1631 our house of burgesses desired of the privy council in England, à coin debased to twenty five per cents that in 1645 they forbid dealing by barter for tobacco, and estab. lished the Spanish piece of eight at six shil. lings, 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, rix dollars, 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:

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

55. dwt.

413 dwt.

Bsz

Guineas

265, British gold coin not

milled, coined gold
of Spain & France,
chequins, Arabian
gold, moidores of

Portugal
Coincd gold of the

empire
English mjlled Hilver
money, in propor:
tionto the crown, at

5310. Pieces of eight of Mex

ico, Seville & Pillar,

ducatoons of Flan. d derby French cous, S11 or şilver Louis, crusados of Portugal

340. dwt. Beto pieces cross dalai

lars, and old rixplus of the empire

348.dwt.

30 dwt: 1. Do, Old Bris ifte dilyer coin, flits

31d. dwt.

se ), VI bal

s! OD P.) 13.3770

40. dwt.

[ocr errors]

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 nine-pence. The assembly thereupon raised them by law to six shillings. As the dollar is now likely to be. come 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, &c. converso, this seems to be more convenient than its former denomination. But as this particular çoin 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 proportion.

QUERY XXII.

The public income and expences ?

The nominal amount of these varying con. stantly and rapidly, with the constant and rapid depreciation of our paper-money, it becomes impracticable to say what they are. We find ourselves cheated in every essay by the depreciation intervening between the declaration of the tax and its actual receipt. It will therefore be more satisfactory to consider what our in. come may be when we shall find means of col. lecting what our people may spare. I should estimate the whole taxable property of this state at an hundred millions of dollars, or thirty millions of pounds our money. One per cent. on

this, compared with any thing we ever yet paid would be deemed a very heavy tax. Yet I think that those who manage well, and use rea. sonable economy, could pay one and a half per cent. and maintain their houshold comfortably in the mean time, without aliening any part of their principal, and that the people would submit to this willingly for the purpose of support. irig their present contest. We may say then, that we could raise, and ought to raise, from one million to one million and a half of dollars anmially, that is from three hundred to four hun. dred and fifty thousand pounds, Virginia money.

Of our expencés it is equally difficult to give an exact state, and for the same reason. They are mostly stated in paper money, which varying continually, the legislature endeavors at every session, by new corrections, to adapt the nominal sums to the value it is wished they would bear. I will state them therefore in real coin, at the point at which they endeavor to keep them.

Dollars. The annual expences of the general assembly are about

20,000 The governor

3,533 1-3 The council of state

10,666 2-3 Their clerks

1,166 2:3 Eleven judges

11,000 The clerk of the chancery 666 2-3 The attorney general

1,000 Three auditors and a solicitor 5,333 1.3 Their clerks

2,000 The treasurer

2,000 His clerks

2,000 The keeper of the public jail 1,000

Dollars. The public printer

1,666 2.3 Clerks of the inferior courts 43,333 1-3 Public levy : this is chiefly for the

expences of criminal justice 40,000 County levy, for bridges, courthouses, prisons, &c.

40,000 Members of Congress

7,000 Quota of the Federal civil list, sup

posed one sixth of about 78,000
dollars

13,000
Expences of collecting, six per cent.
'on the above

12,310 The clergy receive only voluntary

contributions : suppose them on
an average one-eighth of a dollar

a tythe on 200,000 tythes 25,000 Contingencies to make round

numbers not far from truth 7,523 1-3

250,000 Dollars, or 53,571 guineas. This estimate is exclusive of the military expence. That varies with the force actually employed, and in time of peace will probably be little or nothing. It is exclusive also of the public debts, which are growing while I am writing and cannot there. fore be now fixed. So it is of the maintenance of the poor, which being merely a matter of charity cannot be deemed expended in the administration of government. And if we strike out the 25,000 dollars for the services of the clergy, which neither makes part of that admi.. nistration, more than what is paid to physi. çians, or lawyers, and being voluntary, is either

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »