25th Congress,
3d Session.
[Senate.]
[98]

UNITED STATES MINT.


MESSAGE
from
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,

Communicating
A report from the director of the mint, showing the operations of that institution during the year 1838.


January 18, 1839.

Read, and ordered to be printed.


To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the director of the mint, exhibiting the operations of that institution during the year 1838.

M. VAN BUREN.

Washington, January 18, 1839.


Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, January 15, 1839.

Sir: In compliance with the law, I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the operations of the mint and its branches for the past year.

The coinage at this mint, in 1838, has amounted to $3,979,217, comprising $1,622,515 in gold, $2,293,000 in silver, and $63,702 in copper, and composed of 15,336,518 pieces of coin. (Statement A.)

The deposites of gold within the year amounted to $1,624,500, of which $171,700 was derived from the mines of the United States. (Statements B and C.)

The deposites of silver amounted to $2,301,200, and were derived principally from Mexico and South America. (Statement D.)

The great demand for small coins, mentioned in my last report, having continued, the coinage of this kind has exceeded even that of 1837, the number of pieces of less value than the half dollar, including cents, struck at this mint during the past year, being 11,449,700.

The coinage of eagles, which had been intermitted since the year 1804, has been lately resumed, so that all of the varieties of coin authorized by law are now executed at the mint.

At the close of the year, the public funds in our vaults, under the laws authorizing deposites with the mint, “for the purchase of bullion for coinage,” and “for enabling the mint to make the returns to depositors with as little delay as possible,” amounted to $1,132,427 62 in gold and silver; the amount withdrawn during the year on Treasury drafts, being $523,511 47, and the amount added, $608,318 46.

The possession of this public fund has enabled us to pay in coins for all bullion brought to the mint, without further delay than is necessary to ascertain its value, except in a few instances where small silver coins were required; while the increased efficiency of the mint, in consequence of the introduction of steam coinage and other improvements, has put it in our power promptly to replace, by the coins made from such bullion, those that had been withdrawn for its purchase.

The branch mint at New Orleans received its first deposites of bullion on the 8th of March, and commenced operations immediately afterwards. The demand for silver change led the officers to confine the coinage to dimes, of which 367,434 were struck before the end of July, when the work was interrupted. Two of the officers, and nearly all the workmen of this mint were from the north, and it was deemed unsafe for them to remain in New Orleans during the first sickly season. Accordingly, leave af absence was gratnted to them on the first of August, the workmen being put on half-pay. In November, the operations were resumed, but much could not be accomplished before the close of the year. The value of the bullion received at this mint was $40,600 in gold, and $237,000 in silver. The coinage amounted to $40,243, all in dimes. (Statements E and F.)

The branch mint at Charlotte commenced its operations in December, 1837, and has received deposites of gold to the value of $130,600. The amount of coinage has been $84,165, composed of 12,886 half-eagles, and 7,894 quarter eagles. (Statements E and F.)

The branch mint at Dahlonega commenced its operations in February, and has received deposites of gold to the value of $141,800. The amount of its coinage has been $102,915, composed of 20,583 half-eagles. (Statements E and F.)

The difficulties naturally incident to any new undertaking have been fully presented at the branch mints, and it would, therefore, not be just to form conclusions as to their importance and efficiency from the operations of the past year. They are now, however, in good condition, and the officers and men have acquired the necessary experience. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the labors at the branch mints during the present year, will be such as to satisfy the expectations which led to their establishment.

Before concluding this report, I feel it my duty to point out some errors in the act of June 28, 1834, which, in my judgement, require the prompt attention of Congress. In this act, it is declared that the gold coins of Great Britain, Portugal, and Brazil, not less than 22 carats (corresponding to 9162/3 thousandths) fine, shall be receivable in all payments, by weight, at the rate of ninety-four cents and eight-tenths of a cent per pennyweight. Now our assays show that the actual fineness of the British gold coins does not exceed 915½ thousandths, and that the value at the mint is but 94.62 cents per pennyweight. The gold coins of Portugal and Brazil vary from 913½ to 914½ thousandths in fineness; and their mint value, therefore, is still less. The gold coins of France, Spain, Mexico, and Columbia, are also overvalued, partly because they are somewhat inferior to the supposed fineness, and partly because our own standard has been raised since the passage of the act. This act, therefore, must serve to lead the community into error as to the value of foreign gold, and to prevent, in a great measure, its recoinage; and, as the capacity of the mint and its branches is now abundantly sufficient for all the gold coinage necessary for the metallic circulation of the United States, I would respectfully suggest the propriety of repealing the act entirely. The act of the same date, making Spanish-American dollars a legal tender of payment at 100 cents and French five-franc-pieces at ninety-three cents each, though probably unnecessary, does not lead to any injustice or inconvenience that I am aware of.

I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your faithful servant,

R.M. PATTERSON,
Director of the Mint.

To the President of the United States.


A.

Statement of the coinage at the Mint of the United States, Philadelphia, in the year 1838.

Denominations. Pieces. Pieces. Value. Whole value.





Gold.
Eagles 7,200 $72,000
Half eagles 286,588 $1,432,940
Quarter eagles 47,030 117,575
Quarter dollars  
340,818
$1,622,515
Silver.
Half dollars 3,546,000 1,773,000
Quarter dollars 832,000 208,000
Dimes 1,992,500 199,250
Half dimes 2,255,000 112,750

8,625,500
2,293,000
Copper.
Cents 6,370,200 63,702


15,336,518 3,979,217


B.

Statement of deposites of gold, for coinage, at the Mint of the United States, Philadelphia, 1838.

The deposites of gold for coinage amount to $1,624,500
Coins and bullion from Mexico and South America    
Of which was received from the United States, viz:
    Virginia $55,000
North Carolina 66,000
South Carolina 13,000
Georgia 36,000
Alabama 200
Tennesse 1,500

171,700
Coins of the United States of old standard 5,000
Coins and bullion from Europe 1,075,000
Coins and bullion from Mexico and South America 366,000
Bullion from Africa 6,000
Jewelry 800

1,624,500


C.

Statement of the annual amounts of deposites of gold, for coinage, at the Mint of the United States, Philadelphia, from the mines of the United States.

Year. Virginia. North
Carolina.
South
Carolina.
Georgia. Tennessee. Various
sources.
Total.
1824 $5,000 $5,000
1825 17,000 17,000
1826 20,000 20,000
1827 21,000 21,000
1828 46,000 46,000
1829 $2,500 134,000 $3,500 140,000
1830 24,000 204,000 26,000 $212,000 466,000
1831 26,000 294,000 22,000 176,000 $1,000 $1,000 520,000
1832 34,000 458,000 45,000 140,000 1,000 678,000
1833 104,000 475,000 66,000 216,000 7,000 868,000
1834 62,000 380,000 38,000 415,000 3,000 898,000
1835 60,400 263,500 42,400 319,900 100 12,200 698,500
1836 62,000 148,100 55,200 201,400 300 467,000
1837 52,100 116,900 29,400 83,600 282,000
1838 55,000 66,000 13,000 36,000 1,500 200 171,700







482,000 2,648,500 340,500 1,799,900 13,900 13,400 5,298,200


D.

Statement of deposites of silver, for coinage, at the Mint of the United States, Philadelphia, 1838.

The deposites of gold for coinage amount to $2,301,200
Of which there was in Mexican dollars $1,820,400
Dollars of South America 15,200
Five franc pieces of France 155,300
Other coins 60,400
Bullion in bars, plate, amalgam, &c 249,900
The deposites of gold for coinage amount to   
2,301,200


E.

Statement of deposites, for coinage, at the branch mints, to the 31st December, 1838.

United States bullion. Foreign. Total.
Gold.
Charlotte branch, North Carolina $127,000 $3,600 $130,600
Dahlonega branch, Georgia 135,700 6,100 141,800
New Orleans branch, Louisiana 700 39,900 40,600
Charlotte branch, North Carolina   


263,400 49,600 313,000


Silver.
New Orleans branch, Louisiana 237,000

Whole amount deposited at the branches 550,000

Recapitulation.
Deposited at the Charlotte branch 130,600
Deposited at the Dahlonega branch 141,800
Deposited at the New Orleans branch 277,600

550,000


F.

Amount of coinage at the branch mints within the year 1838.

Mints. Gold. Silver. Total.
Half eagles. Quarter eagles. Whole No. of pieces. Value. Dimes. Value. Pieces. Value.
Charlotte 12,886 7,894 20,780 $84,165 20,780 $84,165
Dahlonega 20,583 20,583 102,915 20,583 102,915
New Orleans 402,430 $40,243 402,430 40,243
New Orleans  







Total 33,469 7,894 41,363 187,080 420,430 40,243 443,793 227,323


G.

Recapitulation of deposites and coinage, at the Mint and its branches, for the year 1838.

Mints. Deposites. Coinage.
Gold. Silver. Total. Gold. Silver. Copper. Total.
U.S. gold. Foreign gold. Total gold. Pieces. Value. Pieces. Value. Pieces. Value. Pieces. Value.
Philadelphia $171,700 $1,452,800 $1,624,500 $2,301,200 $3,925,700 340,818 $1,622,515 8,625,500 $2,293,000 6,370,200 $63,702 15,336,518 $3,979,217
Charlotte 127,000 3,600 130,600 130,600 20,780 84,165 20,780 84,165
Dahlonega 135,700 6,100 141,800 141,800 20,583 102,915 20,583 102,915
New Orleans 700 39,900 40,600 237,000 277,600 402,430 40,243 402,430 40,243
New Orleans   












435,100 1,502,400 1,937,500 2,538,200 4,475,700 382,181 1,809,595 9,027,930 2,333,243 6,370,200 63,702 15,780,311 4,206,540