Certainly the shop was important to Hull but it was only one of many ventures in which he was associated. Indeed, all the mint entries would fill only one opening, the equivalent of two pages, in the surviving pages of this ledger! Because of his diverse activities, Hull found it useful to record some shop related expenses in other accounts.
On the credit side of this account we discover Winchester and Muerson sometimes paid their debt with deliveries of coal and in one case with 14 bushels of malt, at other times they paid in cash. As mentioned earlier, the coal was delivered for use at Hull's shop. Hull did not mention this delivery or payment in the shop account, rather it was simpler for him to keep track of the Winchester and Muerson payments in a separate personal account with these two men.
Thus, payments for coal, which we would expect to be on debit side of the shop account, if one were intent of determining the profitability of the enterprise, are not even recorded in the shop account! Just as the expense of coal was not added to the shop account we have seen an instance where Hull neglected to add some shop income to the shop account. In Hull's account with Mr. William Brimson we saw that on May 27, Brimson incurred a debit to the shop 10s6d for the mending of a pot and three spoons.
This charge was only listed in Hull's personal account with Brimson, it was not mentioned in the account of the shop. In the shop account Hull appears to have been most meticulous in listing jewelry and bullion deposited in the shop and verifying the annual payment to the Commonwealth. Apparently, Brimson's pot and spoons were not deposited in the shop; probably the items were mended while the custom waited. If that was the case then there would be no debit to be added into the shop account, rather when the mending was completed the repaired items would be returned to Brimson and Brimson would then owe a debit to Hull.
In these circumstances the debit would be included in the Brimson account, not the shop account, and would be cancelled when Brimson paid the charges, which would be indicated by adding the payment to the credit side of the Brimson account. In fact this is what happened. Interestingly, in his shop account Hull sometimes included his mint fees as income while at other times he did not reveal his fees.
In balancing the shop account Hull made sure there was enough income to pay expenses. If income was more than expenses Hull would take some of the income off the books and only carry over the amount required to balance the account. Thus the ledger was used to record and verify when debits were incurred by the shop or when payments were made to the shop but it did not carry a record of profits paid out to Hull or Sanderson. In addition to verifying when outstanding debits had been paid, Hull used the ledger to verify that all specie left on deposit had been returned to the consignors and that the annual payment to Massachusetts Bay had been made.
However, it is clear the shop account did not include a detailed listing of all the expenses or income related to the business. The personal ledger of John Hull is a folio size volume. Any title page and preliminary material along with the first 11 leaves of the text are missing, the upper right corner is missing from folios so the folio numbers are lost but the following folios, , have their original numbering in the hand of John Hull. Folio verso ends abruptly in the middle of some accounts, showing the manuscript originally contained additional folios. Note on the transcription - The original text is presented in columns without headings.
I have presented the transcription as an HTML table composed of cells so this web presentation of the text will align in columns that are similar in appearance to the original. The shading was added to make it easier to isolate an individual entry. The title and the text in the two lighter colors are found in the original; the headings in darker shading, namely the top line with the designations: Year, Date, Text, Pounds, Shillings and Pence, are not found in the manuscript but have been added to make the chart easier to understand.
In the discussion below, debit and credit transactions for a specific entry are treated as a unit. A transcription of the entry is given in quotation marks, followed by an explanation or commentary. Each distinct entry is divided by a line of short dashes. These are the titles of the two sides of the account. Clearly, Hull considered the coining operation to be part of his goldsmith business and listed items relating to both enterprises under his shop account.
On the verso Hull used the title of "Account of the shop as debtor. The text portion of the ledger contains numerous notes on inventory and other items related to the shop, while the sums added in the far right represented debts to be paid from the shop income. On the recto side of the account, for which the partial Latin title may be parahprased as "On the other hand, the shop as creditor," Hull listed payments made to the shop. The text portion included numerous notes explaining the outcome of comments made on the other side of the account.
For example, on the debit side Hull included the date on which an item was deposited in the shop, while on the credit side he noted when the item had been returned to the owner. In the far right column Hull listed sums paid into the shop but he did not list all income. Ideally Hull wanted the debit column on the verso and the credit column on the recto to balance.
The credit column was not meant to show the shop's entire income, as not all the income was included in the far column. Rather this column was to show that the payments from the debit column had been paid out of the shop account. A zero balance between the verso with the debts of the shop and the recto with the shop income demonstrated all bills had been paid and all items left on deposit had been returned.
As March was the first month of the new year, October was the eighth month, hence the abbreviation 8 br see image of the document is transcribed as October, so the silver was brought to the shop on October 18, The two entries under this date state English plate was regulated at sterling fineness and thus Hull did not always feel the need to state that plate was of sterling fineness. The two quantities came to a total of On the credit side we see this consignment was completed on November Generally Hull calculated the quantity of silver coinage due to the customer based on the quantity of silver deposited at the mint.
The return to the customer was 74d per troy ounce of sterling until June of when it was raised to 75d. However, in this entry Hull calculated the yield using the full authorized rate of 80d 6s8d per ounce. In no other case in the surviving records was this full rate used. This indicates Hull was producing the silver for himself or for the shop.
Daniel was the son of Edmund Quincy, who was the brother of Hull's wife. It is quite likely Daniel, who later became a goldsmith, apprenticed with Hull [for further details see the entry under November in the chronology]. In this example the wastage allowance at 1d per ounce is 44s for ounces, so the 7s does not reflect the wastage allowance. Further, a half ounce of sterling equals 3s1d 37d at the full 80d per ounce rate so the 7s cannot reflect a mistake of subtracting rather than adding a half ounce to the total.
Exactly what the 7s deduction represents is unclear. In Hull's fee had been approved at 5d per ounce with an additional 1d for wastage. Based on the legislated rate of 80d in coinage per troy ounce of sterling, once Hull's fees had been subtracted the customer would receive 74d 6s2d in Massachusetts coinage per ounce of sterling deposited with the mint.
However, the amount of coinage Hull retained as his fee depended on the actual face value of the coins minted, this, in turn, varied based on the average weight of the coins produced and the actual amount of silver lost as waste. These figures are unknown for this production run. However, in later entries Hull did include the total number of coins minted from specified amounts of sterling. Based on these later examples we know Hull averaged Trusedall also, Trusdall and several other variants is Richard Truesdall, one of the earlier settlers of Boston.
Here a file does not refer to a paper file but rather to a small abrasive metal tool used to smooth wood or metal. According to the Essex County probate records the inventory of the possessions of Richard Mercer of Haverhill from April 14, listed a file at a value of 6d and the inventory of the possessions of Daniel Knight of Lynn from November 26, listed "4 old files, 18d" Essex County Probate Records, vol. These contemporary estimates price a used file in the range of 6d, down to 4.
Hull stated that he had acquired 12 papers of files. In this context "papers" refers to sheets of paper used as wrapping for small parcels see the Oxford English Dictionary, volume P, page under paper, definition 6b. Possibly a paper or parcel of files contained a dozen files, that would give a total of files for a per unit cost of We do not know the size of the files, but assuming the size was similar to the examples in the Essex probate records, a price of In an undated entry on the credit side of the account, that was obviously added sometime before the next entry, which dated to February 6, , Hull recorded the payment for the files.
He stated that he thought the bill had been paid using money. Occasionally in his ledger some payments were made using barter, beaver skins or other money substitutes. The files had been acquired from Hull's cousin Daniel Allin of London. The date for this entry is January 2, The British did not begin the new year until March 25th, so January and February were considered to be the final two months of the previous year. Thus, on January 2, a consignment of Hull stated this was "to plate and mony" which apparently meant part of the consignment went to coinage and part was used to make some household items such as bowls, dishes, cups or utensils.
Studies on John Hull, the Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage
The consignment was ready for delivery on February 6, Hull did not calculate any return to the customer nor did he mention the quantity of coinage produced. As Hull usually kept close track of the customer's return it is quite likely this coinage was for Hull, thus he kept the entire yield. If the entire sum had been minted, the total yield at Danforth is probably John Danforth. Hull included an account for John and Mary Danforth in his ledger in on folios verso - recto.
On June 29, a shipment of In the credit column Hull stated the coins were ready for pick up on August 23, However, Hull did not calculate the return to the customer nor did he mention the quantity of coinage produced. As Hull usually kept close track of the customer's return it is quite likely this coinage was for Hull thus he kept the entire yield.
On August 25, a shipment of ounces of sterling was deposited at the mint house to be coined. The consignment was ready to be picked up on October 25th. Based on a total yield of The only date given was the month of September. This is one of the few entries lacking a specific day in the date area. Most likely this entry refers to as it follows an entry dated August The next entry is from December 17, Often Hull did not include the word "be," in this case the text means - to be sent to the country.
During this period individuals typically referred to the colony as their country. Hull explained the reason for this pay was listed in the previous ledger, called ledger B on folio the surviving ledger is ledger C. At first glance it seems the payment represented Hull's annual payment to the Commonwealth as it would be due in October. Additionally, no annual payment is recorded under any other year in the ledger from The date could be December 12th or 17th, I have considered the second numeral a 2 as it has a small stroke to the right at the bottom of the number, similar to a 2 whereas Hull's 7 ends with a straight downward stroke.
On December 12, a shipment of On the credit side an undated annotation was added following the entry for December 31, , signifying the consignment was completed. At a total return of In this entry the date is added following the entry. Generally when writing dates numerically Hull gave the day followed by the month.
Using this convention the date would be February 1st. The year is , written in old style dating as , as the new year did not begin until March 25th the previous year was used in dates between January 1 and March The entry simply records the deposit of the rings into the silversmith shop on February 1, , there is no mention of valuation or explanation why the rings were deposited. In a later entry, on folio verso, Hull mentioned the rings were still in the shop in early On May 8, a total of In Britain and the American colonies Spanish American eight reales were regularly assumed to be of sterling fineness, thus Hull's reference to sterling dollars refers to eight reales coins.
This is the last ledger entry before the June agreement increasing the customer's return from 74d to 75d per ounce of sterling silver. In this entry the rate of return was not mentioned, nor was any payment specified in the credit column. As there are no annotations relating to a customer's return it is possible this consignment was produced for Hull. At the rate of On June 17, a quantity of eight reales weighing troy ounces was brought to the mint to be coined and was ready to be picked up on July 8th. This is first example in the ledger using the reduced mint fees established in the third contract renewal of June 3, which increased the customer yield to 75d 6s3d per ounce.
Estimating a total yield of I am not sure if "small" wire referred to several short lengths of wire or thin wire with a smaller than normal diameter. Iron pots were used in melting silver, see below part three, section four for some information on melting sterling at the mint. On the credit side of the account Hull stated payment was made six days later, on July 23, This is the final entry in the first section of the shop account, specifying that On the credit side of the account we see the consignment was ready for pick up on July 12, Hull did not include any calculations with this entry, which leads me to suspect the consignment was for Hull.
Obviously for personal consignments there was no need for Hull to calculate the customer's return and subtract it from the remaining mint fee. Using a production average of Hull continued the shop account on folios verso through recto. This is the first entry under , but it was not assigned to a month or day. Clearly, the agreement to purchase the quicksilver was later than March 12th, which was the date of the previous entry, and must be before April 4th, which was the date associated with the payment.
The text simply stated Hull purchased 21 pounds of quicksilver at 5s per pound. Most likely this entry relates to the quicksilver. Thus, it appears this entry is not the actual payment for the quicksilver, but rather, is money Hull added to the shop account, possibly from his own pocket, in order to pay for the quicksilver.
The actual payment for the quicksilver is not recorded. If the payment had been recorded, following Hull's usual practices, it would have been listed with phrasing such as - by money received out of the shop for 21 pounds of quicksilver. Quicksilver is another name for mercury, which was commonly extracted from cinnabar. Since the middle ages mercury has been used in the extraction of silver. A solution of mercury will attract any particles of silver that come into contact with it, forming a silver-mercury amalgam.
The amalgam is then heated, vaporizing the mercury and leaving only the silver. Quicksilver is also quite useful in cleaning tools and surfaces used in silversmithing as one is able to retrieve any remaining particles of silver. Following the quicksilver entry, which was completed by April 4, , there were two entries for the annual payments due to Massachusetts Bay on June 3, and June 3, As the entry that follows these two payments was dated April , we may assume the two payments were recorded sometime between April 4th and April 27th in The agreement simply stated "the sajd minters are to pay in to the Treasurer of the Country, in mony, twenty pounds per Anno during abouesajd terme" Crosby, p.
The "above said term" mentioned in the document was "this Seven yeare next to Come. It does not appear to be a fee paid for use of the shop or mint building. The five quantities of sterling were added together and the two quantities of Spanish plate were combined. The Spanish plate was valued at 6s per ounce, which is 3d less than the value of sterling silver thus, in this case, Spanish plate does not refer to eight reales coins as the coins were regularly considered to be of sterling fineness.
by Louis Jordan
I suspect Spanish plate referred to silver objects of a Spanish or Spanish American origin that were brought into the mint to be melted down. I do not know if these several shipments represented the holdings of a single customer or if they came from various sources, the brief time lapse between shipments appears to suggest a single source. Hull calculated the customer's return based on the terms in his seven year contract with the Commonwealth signed on June 3, , whereby the customer received 75d 6s3d in coins per ounce of sterling deposited at the mint.
In this case a total of This figure was included on the debit side of the ledger as the amount owned by the shop to the customer. Unfortunately Hull did not include an entry on the credit side of the ledger so we do not know when the coins were ready for delivery. Further, unlike later entries, Hull did not include the total number of coins produced, he only listed what was owed to the customer. Hull retained the remaining coinage as his fee, but he did not reveal his fee.
Based on later examples we know Hull averaged As to the Spanish plate, Hull offered the customer a return of 6s per troy ounce. This is 3d less than the return for sterling, reflecting the lower fineness of the Spanish silver. As Hull only listed the number of ounces of Spanish plate, we do not have the exact number of ounces of sterling.
However assuming Hull offered an equivalent value for the Spanish plate, we would expect that each troy ounce was deficient from the sterling standard by 3d or, as 1d equalled 6 grains in Massachusetts sterling coins a troy ounce of the Spanish plate would be 18 grains below sterling, so that a troy ounce of the Spanish plate would equal grains of sterling. This would make the Spanish plate equivalent to On July 13, Hull received a shipment of troy ounces of sterling to be turned into coinage. This is the final entry in the ledger where Hull calculated the customer's return based on the terms in his seven year contract with the Commonwealth signed on June 3, , whereby the customer received 75d 6s3d in coins per ounce of sterling deposited at the mint.
Based on an average return of Hull added an undated single entry on the credit side of his ledger for a series of shipments of silver that had been sent to the mint between May 3 and August 29, to be turned into Massachusetts coins. The date of the delivery of the coins is not specified but it was probably before December 4th, which is the date of the entry below it. These shipments were produced under a different fee schedule from the July 13, shipment and therefore the July 13th shipment is listed separately, even though that shipment was received during the inclusive dates of this shipment.
In this entry we see the first instance in which Hull took a smaller mint fee than he was due under his contract with Massachusetts Bay. Hull was allowed a mint fee of 4d per ounce plus a wastage allowance of 1d per ounce. Formerly, Hull retained any extra coins that were produced from a consignment above the authorized 80d per troy ounce so that if Hull made the coins slightly underweight he would retain any extra coins produced.
By this agreement Hull's fee was directly based on the quantity of coins produced for the customer, thus any silver not wasted or any overages in production went to the customer. Of course Hull would obtain a higher fee if more coins were produced, but by this agreement the customer made out significantly better than previously. Using Hull's average yield per ounce of sterling of On December 4, Hull borrowed 24 oz.
Hull made a note of this loan on the credit side of the shop account, showing he owed the shop a credit to that amount. About eight and a half months later, on August 24, , Hull recorded that he replaced the sterling. This note was added to the verso or debit side, as were all deposits brought to the shop, this deposit was to cancel his loan listed on the credit side of the account. This undated payment was recorded directly below an entry dated August 24, and is followed by an entry of November 20, Thus, this payment probably was made sometime between August 24th and November 20th, Rings were commonly made for distribution to family members and dignitaries attending the funeral of a community leader.
In his diary Judge Samuel Sewall mentioned he owned a cup full of funeral rings. On November 20, a customer deposited These two deposits of sterling were divided into four installments and turned into coins. A final installment of The turn around time was quite fast on this consignment, the majority of the coins were produced within one month from the date on which the silver was deposited in the shop.
Hull listed the full quantity of coinage produced so we can calculate the yield per ounce of sterling. The final installment of Combining the four shipments together, Based on the full allowance as stipulated in the agreement Hull was allowed a mint fee of 4d per ounce plus a wastage allowance of 1d per ounce. On the credit side of the account Hull added the income from the two mint fees and the price of the rings he made for Mr.
On February 24, a customer brought in troy ounces of Spanish sterling, this was probably Spanish American cob coinage which was considered to be equal to sterling. In a little over two weeks the Spanish silver had been transformed into Massachusetts Bay coinage which was delivered on March 12th. Hull continued to work at the 12d per 20s rate which was a smaller mint fee than he was due under his contract with Massachusetts Bay.
However, on folio recto Hull did not forward the funds. This entry on folio verso, the debit side of the account, stated that four rings brought into the shop on February 1, were still on deposit in April of This deposit had been previously recorded in the ledger on folio 26 verso.
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Hull referred to the folio as folio 27, meaning the opening covering 26 verso through 27 recto. On April 11, a customer deposited On the credit side of his ledger John Hull added the two consignments together as a single job totaling The first and smallest installment was undated but presumably occurred between the date of the previous entry, which was July 16, and the date of the second installment, which was dated July 30th.
These two installments equalled the It seems about the time the April 11 deposit was ready to be picked up the customer deposited another almost equal shipment of sterling to be coined. Because Hull included the full quantity of coins produced, the yield per ounce of sterling can be determined.
For the entire consignment of three installments Hull averaged In this entry we also see Hull took a smaller mint fee than he was due under his contract with Massachusetts Bay. Hull was allowed a mint fee of 4d per ounce plus a wastage allowance of 1d per ounce which, for this consignment of Formerly Hull retained any extra coins that were produced from a consignment above the authorized 80d per troy ounce, so that if Hull made the coins slightly underweight he would retain any extra coins produced.
Of course Hull would obtain a higher fee if more coins were produced but by this agreement the customer made out significantly better than previously.
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On May 6, Hull purchased It is not stated if the plate was used for coinage or for silversmithing but it may have been used for coinage as Hull specified he was reimbursed from the mint. However, Hull sometimes used the term shop when referring to the mint and he may have used the word mint when referring to the shop. Hull had an active account with Dummer, the Dummer account is on folios 44 verso through 45 recto and lists several deals between the two men. A few entries mention payments in "Ryales" and "Pillar Pieces" which of course, refer to Spanish American cob coinage.
The May purchase of plate is not mentioned in Hull's account with Dummer, it is only in the shop account. There is no mention of the fineness of the plate, however, if it was sterling this was a good deal for Hull. The purchase price equalled 72d per troy ounce, which was below the 80d market value of sterling minted into Massachusetts coinage.
It does not appear to be a rental fee paid for use of the shop or mint building. This undated entry was added sometime between the previous entry of October 18, and the following entry of November 21st. Hull simply stated he was bringing the balance forward from the previous space allocated to the shop account. The amount is found on folio verso. This equalled the credits found on folio verso. On November 8, a customer deposited 58 ounces of plate which Hull determined to be below sterling fineness.
Hull made an allowance of 2 troy ounces to bring the plate up to the fineness of sterling. We know from an English statute passed on March 6, during the great recoinage that, "Any wrought Plate of any sort or kind whatsoever" could be brought to the mint. As Hull used the wording "allowed 2 ounces" rather than a statement such as "determined 2 ounces needed" or "by assay 2 ounces needed" it is possible Hull followed a similar procedure as was later used at the London mint and simply made an offer to accept the plate as equal to 56 troy ounces of sterling or he may have performed an assay and simply used the word "allowed" rather loosely.
The plate was deposited on November 8, and was delivered about two weeks later on November 21st. Hull continued to work at the 12d per 20s rate, which was a smaller mint fee than he was due under his contract with Massachusetts Bay.
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However, Hull agreed to a fee of 12d per 20s. The plate was deposited on November 21, and was delivered in two installments, the first installment of ounces was ready in about two and a half weeks on December 9th while the second installment of Hull lists the full quantity of coinage made so we again can calculate the yeild of coinage per troy ounce of sterling.
The second installment of Combining the two shipments together For the second installment of The August entry on folio verso is not dated to a specific year. From the credit side of the account on folio recto we discover this entry is dated This is one of the few instances where Hull neglected to include the change of the year in his entry. On August 3, a customer deposited On August 4th two additional quantities of silver were deposited, one shipment was Hull then added the total amount of fine silver deposited at the mint in this consignment as 1, On the credit side of his ledger we find the quantity of Massachusetts silver made from each of the three shipments and learn when the coins were ready for delivery.
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The first installment was the coinage made from The second installment, from the The date of the final installment of To make up for obscuring the date he added "Sept. Thus, it seems the third installment was delivered in two parts, or was ready on one day but not picked up until later. In any event is seems the entire consignment was completed and delivered by the end of September. Here Hull gave the weight of each installment, he then stated "at 6. Unlike the previous entries Hull did not calculate his mint fee from this yield, nor did he state "in money made" or some other phrase that would suggest the amount represented the entire yield.
Rather it seems to me that Hull treated this entry somewhat differently from the previously entries. Like the entries from earlier years it seems Hull did not record the total yield from the silver, rather he simply recorded that a specific number of ounces at an agreed mint fee of 6. I suspect this was not the total yield but rather was the quantity of money that was to be given to the customer.
If we interpret these quantities as the total yield, then it seems the individual coins were significantly overweight. Hull was authorized to produce 80d in coinage from each troy ounce but if we take the figures Hull gives for this total consignment, namely Assuming the entire consignment was in shillings s the average weight per shilling would be Clearly, this would not be profitable and it does not correspond with the weights that can be calculated from Hull's other entries. It would indeed be uncharacteristic of Hull to be compromising his already reduced profits by producing overweight coins.
Alternatively, if we treat these amounts as the sums allotted to the customer, the average weight of the coins seems more reasonable in relation to Hull's other entries. However, before attempting to estimate the total yield and average weight of the coins from this consignment we need to address the mint fee. In this entry we see Hull took an even smaller mint fee than in his previous agreements. Under his contract with Massachusetts Bay Hull was allowed a mint fee of 4d per ounce plus a wastage allowance of 1d per ounce which, for this consignment of However, Hull stated he had agreed to a reduced fee, this time it was not the fee he used in of "12d per pound" of money struck, but only slightly more than half of that fee, namely 6.
Hull did not calculate his fee in this entry, he simply stated the fee rate. We must extrapolate the fee by calculating 6. Assuming this was the total mintage from the This is in line with Hull's other consignments, thus in my estimation, adding the mint fee to the quantities given by Hull in this ledger entry produces a more reasonable interpretation of the information. Of course, it is possible Hull produced even more coins, possible as much as The above said term mention in the document was "this Seven yeare next to Come.
I believe he is referring to an annual rent or payment for the right to hold the exclusive coining agreement with the Commonwealth which is the subject of the agreement of June 3, This is the final entry on the shop income side of the account. The bottom corner of the page is missing so the final two dots representing the pence in the total are missing and have been added in brackets. There were at least two, or possibly three, individuals in Massachusetts Bay during the first half of the Seventeenth century with the name of John Hull.
The first settler with the name John Hull came to Massachusetts in , becoming a freeman on August 7, He settled in Dorchester, where he was granted a sixteen acre lot on January 16, The last known reference to this individual was from March 9, Thereafter he was no longer mentioned, suggesting he either died, moved or returned to England. Another Hull from Dorchester, possibly a relative, by the name of George Hull, moved from Dorchester to Windsor, Connecticut sometime after May of but before May of Anderson, vol.
The possibility exists that John Hull also moved from Dorchester. He may or may not be the same John Hull who settled in Newberry. Regardless of the disposition of the first John Hull, what is especially important to remember when searching primary sources is that in the 's and 's there were two individuals residing in Massachusetts Bay with the name John Hull.
In addition to the Boston mintmaster another John Hull, listed as living in Newbury, is mentioned in three General Court documents. He is first mentioned in the General Court records of May 18, in a description of the road from Rowley to Newbury, which was described as going over John Hull's bridge then through the edge of his "plaine" and on to Mr.
Woodman's bridge near the mill at Newbury Shurtleff, vol. Then on May 14, a petition was forwarded to the House of Magistrates by this John Hull and his wife Margaret, concerning some land they had sold to a John White. The documentation concerning the sale of the land had been destroyed in a fire and therefore the petition requested the oral recollections of the participants be recorded Shurtleff, vol.
In the court held at Ipswich on March 29, it was stated that this John Hull had died intestate and that the administration of his estate was being granted to his widow, Margaret Hull Dow, Records, vol. It is unknown if the John White who acquired the land in Watertown was the same John White who was listed as an inhabitant of Kittery, Maine in a document from a local court session convened in Kittery at the house of William Everett between 8: This document and related reports were forwarded to the General Court and recorded in the session of May 18, Shurtleff, vol.
Also, a John White is listed in a document of July 5, as an inhabitant of Wells, Maine, as recorded in the General Court session of September 7, Shurtleff, vol. For several centuries coin weight had been expressed in royal decrees in terms that were based on practical considerations of economics and the limitations of available technology. In terms of economics the definition of coin weight had to address the value of the metal used, be it gold, silver or copper, while in terms of technology the definition had to be within parameters that could be reasonably and efficiently followed by workmen using available machinery.
Working under the implicit assumption that minters would employ quality control techniques that would produce a product which was as standardized as possible, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain decreed in that 67 reales would be cut from a marco of silver of a specific fineness; similarly, Elizabeth I of England decreed in that 62 shillings would be cut from a troy pound of sterling silver. By wording decrees in this manner the monarchs were actually legislating the value of silver; in the case of Elizabeth, a troy pound of sterling silver was rated at 62 shillings.
In these promulgations there was no specific authorized weight for an individual coin, simply an average weight mathematically calculated from the number of coins authorized to be produced per unit of metal. Generally, any detailed specifications affecting coin weight, such as an allowance for wastage, were not part of the public legal promulgation but were included in a private contractual agreement between the ruler and the minter known as a mint indenture.
In Massachusetts Bay the situation was somewhat different, in that all aspects of the coining agreement were part of the public record and were included in the legislation passed by the General Court. Thus, the minter's fee was not part of a private mint indenture but rather, it was publicly stated in the Massachusetts law that the minter would be allowed to retain a fee of one shilling out of every twenty shillings produced.
Thus, it was quite clear a shilling was authorized at a weight of three pennyweight in the troy scale, which is equivalent to 72 grains. Clearly, the legislators considered definitions based on a shilling would be more meaningful to the public than definitions stated in terms of a troy ounce. The same information on mint fees and coin weight could have been worded so that it stated the minter was allowed a fee of 4d per troy ounce of sterling minted and the coin weight defined by simply stating 80d in coinage was to be cut from a troy ounce of sterling, with no further elaboration.
Neither of these statements were found in the legislation. Nevertheless, although the act specified an exact weight for a shilling, it is clear from Hull's surviving ledger, the application of the statute was based on the requirement of producing a full 80d in Massachusetts coinage from each troy ounce of sterling, rather than focusing on the requirement of producing every shilling at a uniform weight.
It is also clear the legislators understood the concept of production per troy ounce even though they chose to express values in terms of shillings rather than troy ounces. This concept had been used earlier by the General Court when defining the value of sterling for the Massachusetts Bay tax rate, where sterling had been rated at 5s per troy ounce. Additionally, the concept of pricing coins based on the value per ounce of silver was used later by the General Court in legislation of October 12, , when the House of Magistrates issued an explanation of an earlier law of May 24th that had stated the eight reales would be put on par with Massachusetts silver but the May law had not explained if eight reales were to circulate by weight or by tale.
The October clarification stated eight reales would be paid and received at, "Six Shillings and Eight Pence the ounce, troy weight," that is, they were to trade by weight at 80d 6s8d per troy ounce. Further, the concept of the value of coins based on the legislated value of a troy ounce of silver was central to the legislative debate concerning the acceptance of the Proclamation of Although the production rate of Massachusetts silver was not specifically stated in terms of producing 80d in Massachusetts coinage per troy ounce of sterling in the mint legislation, this relationship was clearly understood.
Indeed, it was critical to the solvency of the mint since the rate defined the value of silver when minted into Massachusetts money. As long as Spanish silver cob coinage was rated below 80d per troy ounce it would be profitable to mint Massachusetts coinage. In practice, this meant Hull had to be sure he would always be able to mint the required number of coins from an ounce of sterling.
Immediately following the passage of the May 27th version of the mint act Hull was greatly concerned about his ability to produce 80d in coinage at the authorized weight from an ounce of sterling and remain solvent, as the legislated mint fee had been reduced to 4d per troy ounce. If Hull should miscalculate and produce shillings just one grain overweight that is, 73 instead of 72 grains he would be loosing 6. If the same error was made with threepence coins, the result would be catastrophic resulting in a loss of slightly more than the entire 4d mint fee!
Hull may have also been concerned about fineness, as any silver that happened to be refined even slightly above the sterling standard would also reduce his income. Basically, unlike earlier acts which legislated an average weight but gave minters some tolerance in individual coin weight, the Massachusetts Bay mint act specified a precise weight as well as designating an exact fineness.
A strict reading of the Massachusetts law could be interpreted as quite onerous on the minter, as there was no tolerance for error at any step in the coining process. The minutes of the mint committee from June 20, alluded to Hull's complaints in their answer to him stating, "And that the mint master may not have Just Cawse to Complajne," Crosby, p. Even with this fee increase Hull was concerned about the viability of the enterprise, as Hull knew some silver would be lost in the minting process. This complaint was also addressed in the June 20th mint committee meeting.
In reply to Hull the committee further granted him an additional 1d per troy ounce allowance for wastage. For each troy ounce of sterling silver grains , Hull was allowed an additional 1d fee for waste. These modifications to the May legislation made during the June 20th mint committee meeting were approved by a vote of the full court during the October session of the General Court and became amendments to the statute. Once the mint went into production several issues surfaced that had not been anticipated in the original legislation. Some issues, such as legends and other designs to deter clipping were legislated in the October session of the General Court, while other issues, such as those related to the order of the steps in production and allowable tolerances, were left to Hull to interpret.
In regard to these concerns Hull seems to have made an effort to follow the minting statute but he appears to have reinterpreted specifics when he felt it to be necessary. Hull had to tackle a significant problem that had not been anticipated in the legislation. In England, there was a wastage fee specifically related to the loss of sterling during the melting process. Even though the London mint employed professional melters who specialized in this process and performed their task in special rooms one room was reserved for gold melts and another for silver melts , it was inevitable that some sterling would be vaporized.
Silver has a very high melting point It must be melted in an enclosed furnace with what Georgius Agricola, in his work on metals called a "fierce fire" and which Lazarus Ercker in his treatise called a "strong heat" Agricola, pp. Naturally, there was no way to precisely regulate the fire to the melting temperature. In fact, until the mid Twentieth century the specific melting point of silver was not known because molten silver adsorbs large quantities of oxygen making it difficult to determine the precise moment of melting Butts, pp.
However it had long been know that when the temperature rose above the melting point, silver began to volatilize, in the form of a pale blue vapor. Although he does not specify the exact quantity of silver being used, Agricola mentioned silver would melt in about an hour Agricola, p. Clearly, vaporization would begin before all the silver in the crucible was melted, further, if the silver needed to be refined to sterling it would remain on the heat longer thus causing additional vaporization.
Volatization of silver was considered the largest unrecoverable loss in the entire minting process. The standard melting allowance at the London mint seems to have been 3d per pound of sterling or one farthing per ounce, that figure was in use in when the pound was the Tower pound and it was also in use in when the pound was the troy pound Craig, pp. As this figure comes from the period when the shilling was 96 grains, the one farthing per ounce allowance was equivalent to a loss of two grains per troy ounce.
It was certainly well understood the melt was a critical operation and would be a potential problem in Massachusetts Bay as there were no professional melters nor any special melting facilities. The original Massachusetts Bay legislation indirectly addressed this concern by stating the actual melting and refining process would take place in the presence of the customer at the time of the deposit and that the customer would be given a receipt for the quantity of refined sterling that resulted from the melt.
In this chain of events the sterling loss from the melt would not be a factor, as it would be an unrecorded loss at the customer's expense before any consignment receipt had been written. However, as we shall see in the production section, Hull found it impossible to follow this procedure.
Basically, we shall see from the ledger records it was uneconomical for Hull to do a melt on request therefore he simply assayed the consignment, gave the customer a receipt and then backlogged the consignment until there was enough silver to perform a more economical large melt. However, since Hull had to change the order of operations from what had been directed in the statute, he had to consider how to recover the costs related to sterling loss during the melting process.
Concurrently, Hull needed to establish some guidelines in relation to acceptable weight variation for minted coins, as it was clear product loss would not allow an average weight of 72 grains per shilling if 80d were to be minted from a troy ounce of sterling. In England there were allowable tolerances in minting specifications issued in the regulations for the trial of the pyx. The pyx, derived from the Greek word pyxis, meaning a container or a vase, refers to a chest in which the mint secured samples of the coins it minted.
The coins were submitted to an independent testing group who verified if they were within allowable parameters for weight and fineness. The official weights from the office of the Exchequer were used to test coin weight and members of the goldsmith guild tested the coins for fineness. From the period of Elizabeth in the tolerance, or as they called it, the remedy, was two pennyweight 24 grains per troy pound 12 ounces of sterling. This equalled a tolerance of two grains per troy ounce of coinage in both fineness and in weight Craig, pp.
Although this was not meant to be a license to reduce the standards by that amount it was sometimes interpreted as such by the minters Challis, Tudor Coinage, pp. In Massachusetts Bay there was no independent testing of the coinage, thus no formal tolerances were set. We've gathered together excerpts from five of our best-selling trading and investing books to help you achieve the success you deserve. Sample Chapter 1, from Trading Secrets: Successful trader Louise Bedford demystifies the world of share trading and helps you get in on the action.
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