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Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/95

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“to coin money and regulate the value thereof;” and it will be remarked that it is exercised in regard to the copper coins no less than the gold and silver ones. In a later section (Sect. 16) the gold and silver coins, and these only, are made “a lawful tender in all payments whatsoever.” But can there be any doubt that the two copper coins were regarded as “money”? If so, the doubt will vanish on looking at the Act of May 8, 1792, to “provide for a copper coinage,”[1] which, in furtherance of the previous Act, provided, among other things, that the cents and half-cents were to be paid into the treasury, “thence to issue into circulation,” and that after a fixed time “no copper coins or pieces whatsoever, except the said cents and half-cents, shall pass current as money,” and also enacted forfeiture and a penalty for paying or offering any other copper coins but these; but it said nothing of their being a tender. It was, I believe, more then seventy years before copper coin had the quality of legal tender.[2] As regards our later legislation, in the Revised Statutes of the United States (Sect. 3513), the trade dollar is classed among “the silver coins of the United States”; and in Sec. 3586 it is, with the rest, made a legal tender for amounts not over five dollars. By a statute of 1876,[3] the quality of legal tender is taken away from this “silver coin of the United States.” Does it thereby cease to be money? The case of the trade dollar is peculiar. But imagine the government to coin some very large gold piece for supposed reasons of convenience in trade, without making it a legal tender; this, as I am told, was formerly done in Germany; is such a coin, therefore, not money? Suppose the government, for like reasons, to manufacture coins, of exactly the same size and value as those of England, or Russia, or Holland, not a legal tender, but supposed to be serviceable in foreign trade, would they not be money? Suppose such coins to be made for use in China as being readily taken there, would the case be essentially different? And, finally, suppose that Congress, instead of repealing that part only of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes which related to the trade dollar had repealed all of it; it is the seven sections of this title, under the separate heading of


  1. 1 U.S. St. at Large, 283.
  2. Upton’s Money in Politics, 259. Can there (to adopt the suggestion of a learned friend) be any doubt, if a State should issue a copper coinage like this, that the proceedings would be unconstitutional, as coining money?
  3. 1 Suppl. R. S. U.S. 254.