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payment of all public dues.” The act of March 17, 1862, chapte• 45, further provided, that in addition to being receivable in payment of duties on imports, they should be receivable, and should be lawful money and a legal tender, in like manner and for the same purposes and to the same extent, as the notes authorized by the act of February 25, 1862. Sixty millions of dollars of these notes were issued, but none have been reissued since December 31, 1862; and all that are received into the Treasury are canceled and destroyed. Less than a hundred thousand dollars remain outstanding, and these, or all that are in existence, will soon be redeemed.

They were dated August 10, 1861, were made payable on demand by the Assistant Treasurer at New York, and were stamped on the face with the words, "ACT OF JULY 17th, 1861,” and “RECEIVABLE IN PAYMENT OF ALL PUBLIC DUES. These are the notes referred to in the law establishing the sinking fund, act of February 25, 1862, chapter 33, section 5, as receivable in payment of duties on imports, and are the only notes issued during the Rebellion, or since its close, payable on demand and receivable for duties. They are treated as gold notes, and are redeemed in coin whenever presented for payment, .

Description of notes.

Payable on de. mand in gold.



Origin of frac The suspension of specie payments by the banks in Detional currency. cember, 1861, was followed by the withdrawal of specie,

gold, silver, and even copper coinage, from circulation, and the difficulties of making payments of small sums became so great, that the people were driven to the necessity of using postage stamps, revenue stamps, and the checks and memoranda of individuals and corporations, issued for that purpose, as a circulating medium for small change.

In order to afford relief to the public from this great inconvenience, Congress passed the following acts, which are still in force, and under which the fractional currency is now issued :

Acts of authoriza. tion.

ACT OF JULY 17, 1862, CHAPTER 196.



Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, First act. directed to furnish to the Assistant Treasurers, and such designated depositaries of the United States as may be by him

selected, in such sums as he may deem expedient, the postage and other stamps of the United States, to be exchanged by them, on application, for United States notes; and from and after the 1st day of August next such stamps shall be receivable in payment of all dues to the United States less than five dollars, and shall be received in exchange for United States notes when presented to any Assistant Treasurer or any designated depositary selected as aforesaid in sums not less than five dollars.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted,

That from and after the first day of August, eighteen Penalty for circuhundred and sixty-two, no private corporation, banking lating, &c., other association, firm, or individual shall make, issue, circulate,

rency. or pay any note, check, memorandum, token, or other obligation, for a less sum than one dollar, intended to circulate as money or to be received or used in lieu of lawful money of the United States; and every person so offending shall, on conviction thereof in any district or circuit court of the United States, be punished by fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both, at the option of the court.

Approved July 17, 1862.

fractional cur

ACT OF MARCH 3, 1863, CHAPTER 73. SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That in lieu of postage Second act. and revenue stamps for fractional currency, and of fractional notes, commonly called postage currency, issued or to be issued, the Secretary of the Treasury may issue fractional notes of like amounts, in such form as he may deem expedient, and may provide for the engraving, preparation, and issue thereof in the Treasury Department building. And all such notes issued shall be exchangeable by the Assistant Treasurers and designated depositaries for United States notes, in sums not less than three dollars, and shall be receivable for postage and revenue stamps, and also in payment of any dues to the United States less than five dollars, except duties on imports, and shall be redeemed on presentation at the Treasury of the United States in such sums

Third act.

and under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury Limited to fifty shall prescribe: Provided, That the whole amount of fracmillions dollars. tional currency issued, including postage and revenue stamps issued as currency, shall not exceed fifty millions of dollars.

ACT OF JUNE 30, 1864, CHAPTER 172. Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury may issue notes of the fractions of a dollar as now used for currency, in such form, with such inscriptions, and with such safeguards against counterfeiting, as he may judge best, and provide for the engraving and preparation, and for the issue of the same, as well as of all other notes and bonds and other obligations, and shall make such regulations for the redemption of said fractional notes and other notes when mutilated or defaced, and for the receipt of said fractional notes in payment of debts to the United States, except for customs, in such sums, not over five dollars, as may appear to him expedient; and it is hereby declared that all laws and parts of laws applicable to the fractional notes engraved and issued as herein authorized apply equally and with like force to all the fractional notes here

tofore authorized, whether known as postage currency or Whole amount otherwise, and to postage stamps issued as currency; but

the whole amount of all descriptions of notes or stamps less fifty millions of

than one dollar issued as currency shall not exceed fifty millions of dollars.

not to exceed


Postage currency.

On the 21st of August, 1862, the Treasury Department began to issue the first notes of denominations less than $1, under the act of July 17 of that year. They bore upon the face thereof the words “POSTAGE CURRENCY,” and “Receivable for postage stamps at any post office,” with fac similes of the designs of postage stamps. The 5-cent note had the print of a five-cent postage stamp, and the 10-cent note a ten-cent postage stamp. The 25-cent note had five fivecent postage stamps, and the 50-cent note five ten-cent postage stamps. This currency was used during the most excited and disturbed times of the Rebellion, and much of it was undoubtedly destroyed in the hands of holders, and will never come in for redemption. None of it has been reissued for many years, and the Department has made great efforts to withdraw it from circulation; but there are more than four millions of dollars still outstanding a much larger amount than of either of the next two issues.

Since the passage of the acts of March 3, 1863, and June Fractional cnr30, 1864, several other issues or series have been made rency. and designated “FRACTIONAL CURRENCY,” the notes differing from those of all former issues in color, design, and paper.

The denominations which have been issued are 3 cents, Denominations. 5 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. The "postage currency” had no 3-cent note, that denomination being first introduced under the act of 1863. The act of March 3, 1865, chapter 100, section 3, prohibited the issue of fractional notes of a less denomination than five cents, and required those outstanding to be redeemed and canceled. The act of May 6, 1866, chapter 81, section 3, pro- Printed on dis

tinctive paper. hibited the issue of fractional notes of a less denomination than ten cents, and required those outstanding to be retained when paid into the Treasury and canceled. The 3-cent and 5-cent notes have ceased to be printed, and those paid in have not been reissued since the passage of those acts. The 15-cent note was introduced in 1869, and belongs to the now latest series. The new fractional currency now issued is printed on the distinctive paper made expressly for the Department, and differs also from all former issues in the size, color, style, and details of the engraving.

“The notes for parts of a dollar were never declared to Nota legal tenbe lawful money or a legal tender.” Lane County v. Oregon, changeable for (7 Wallace, 75.) But they are “exchangeable for United notes, and receiv

able for public States notes in sums not less than three dollars, and eceiv

dues, able in payment of all dues to the United States less than five dollars, except customs,” by the terms of the laws and the language of the notes.

Within the fifty millions of dollars limited by each of the Amount kept in acts of 1863 and 1864, the amount kept in circulation is determined wholly by the wants and demands of the public, who, it appears, require fractional currency in the proportion of about one dollar to each inhabitant of the country, The amount in circulation rarely goes above that proportion, making proper allowance for lost and destroyed notes, and when it falls much below, a scarcity is sensibly felt throughout the country




Penal offense to have in one's possession, &c., the distinctive paper used for printing notes.

Notice of lho

The act of June 30, 1864, chapter 172, section 11, makes it a penal offense for any person to “have or retain in his custody or possession, after a distinctive paper shall have been adopted by the Secretary of the Treasury for obligations and other securities of the United States, any similar paper adapted to the making of any such obligation or other security,” without authority.

All United States notes, fractional currency, and bonds of the funded loan and other obligations are now printed on distinctive paper, manufactured under the inspection of officers of the Treasury Department, at a mill exclusively employed for that purpose. Upon adopting this paper the Secretary of the Treasury published the following circular notico:

WASHINGTON, D. C., July 21, 1869. Notice is hereby given that the Secretary of the Treasury, adoption of a dis. by authority of law, has adopted a distinctive paper, which tinctive paper.

will be hereafter used, until otherwise ordered, for all obligations and other securities of the United States.

One of its peculiarities is the introduction of colored silk, cotton, or other fibrous material into the body of the paper while in the process of manufacture,

By the laws of the United States it is made a felony for any person to have or retain in his custody or possession any paper adapted to the making of any such obligations or securities, and similar to that designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, except under authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, or some other proper officer of the United States; and any person offending against the statute will, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment and confinement at hard labor not exceeding fifteen years, or both, in the discretion of the court.

GEO. S. BOUTWELL, Secretary of the Treasury.

Another peculiarity.

Another peculiarity, and perhaps the most important and distinctive one, is the localizing of blue fibres in the body of the paper, or the introduction of blue fibres in parallel lines of about two inches in width and about three and a

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