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Colonial Paper Money "Death to Counterfeit": When in a large quantity of counterfeit Virginia currency appeared in circulation, the colonial government replaced treasury notes issued earlier with hastily prepared promissory notes written on pre-printed James River Bank forms.
During the colonial era there was a constant shortage of ready money in Virginia. The amount of British coin and currency circulating in the colony was small compared to the volume of business that had to be transacted.
Large planters in particular shipped their tobacco to British-based trading firms, who by and large paid not in money but in credit. They functioned like currency though, and were used to pay public and private debts.
The use of paper money in Virginia and other colonies created a whole new set of problems however. By the s there were several different colonial paper currencies circulating in North America.
Even though these currencies typically were denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, they were not all equivalent in actual value. Paper notes also were very easy to counterfeit. This is a problem even today, and the U. In the 18th century, governments did not have access to the kinds of special inks, paper and computerized printing techniques that make money difficult to copy.
Anyone with access to a printing press and a variety of typefaces could produce a reasonable facsimile of colonial paper notes. As a result, a great deal of the currency circulating in late 18th-century Virginia was counterfeit. Detecting bad money was made especially difficult by the fact that there were several different issues of money being used in Virginia at the same time.
A Virginia merchant might be offered payment in a mixture of coins and paper money that included silver in the form of Spanish pieces of eight, German thalers and Portuguese cruzados, as well as Virginia paper money of different issue dates and other paper currencies such as Maryland four-dollar bills, North Carolina six-pound notes, and Pennsylvania five-shilling bills of credit.
The merchant was not obliged to accept all of these different non-Virginia currencies, but if he did not, his customers might not be able to pay.
Silver coins could be weighed to determine their approximate value as silver bullion. By the early s there was a growing reluctance to accept even Virginia paper money. In particular, many counterfeits of the treasury note issues of November and July were being passed in the colony.
In earlyVirginia decided to recall immediately the paper money issues of and and replace them with a brand-new issue of paper notes. These new notes really were just promissory notes that the Virginia government pledged to pay off in This currency replacement was done so quickly that there was not time to print completely new notes.
The James River Bank notes had been printed in England as part of a failed attempt to establish a private bank of that name. The Virginia government simply took the bank note forms and filled them in by hand, putting any inappropriate text in parentheses to show that it was not valid.
Each of the bank notes was signed by representatives of the Virginia government as a guarantee that it was genuine. One of the signatories was Peyton Randolph, who a year later would become the first president of the Continental Congress.
Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Senior Curator.Contents. Interesting Facts ; One of the 13 original colonies, Virginia was the first part of the country permanently settled by the English, who established Jamestown on the banks of the James.
The first colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in Many of the people who settled in the New World came to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims, founders of .
The College of William and Mary and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation founded the Institute of Early American History and Culture in and still jointly sponsor its work. be able to analyze multiple resources to explain the contacts between the American Indians and the European settlers in early colonial Virginia during the Age of.
The Exploitative Colony of Virginia I believe that the early settlers of the colony of Virginia made it into an exploitative and ignorant colony, due to the fact that it was set up primarily to make a small number of individuals wealthy while ignoring the rights of its other members.
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