To the President of the United States.
The Director of the Mint begs leave for the information of Government respectfully to report:
That during the past year there have been issued from the Mint the several species of coin particularly mentioned in the enclosed returns amounting in value to 194,605 dollars in gold coins, 63,15645/100 dollars in silver coins, and 9,99034/100 dollars in copper coins, making up the whole quantity of coin heretofore issued from the Mint to 344,050 dollars in gold 506,18875/100 in silver and 31,68774/100 dollars in cents and half cents.
The Director would observe, that having had no prospect of large deposits of the precious metals during the past year, he had reduced the number of workmen to bear some due proportion to the business doing at the Mint; but that the prospect of a pretty full supply of silver during the current year, since this return of the estimate of expenses to the Treasury, has justified the Director in increasing the force of the Mint, so as to answer the demand expected to be made from the increased amount of deposits of silver bullion, the additional expenses whereof may be fully paid out of arrears of former appropriations.
Some doubts have arisen as to the ability of the Mint to supply the necessities of the Union with respect to a circulating medium in our own coins. This will depend entirely on the legislature. If the director is allowed a sufficient force, and the Mint can be furnished with bullion, it will be in his power to produce one million or ten millions of dollars in coins per annum, in proportion to the aids he shall receive for that purpose.
It is with pleasure that he can assure the President, and it will be easy to demonstrate the fact, that the greater the force used, and the quantity coined, the proportionate expense to the amount of coin will be lessened. The force hitherto made use of has been from four to five horses and on an average fourteen workmen. It is now raised to twenty workmen, and six horses are intended. This last, though an expensive measure, is by no means adequate to our wants. They cannot perform the necessary service longer than two hours at a time, and the business is often impeded by them. Whereas, would it be permitted to erect a steam engine, the use of horses would be superceded and a force equal to double the quantity of work would be obtained, and several of the other machines now worked by manual labour, might be carried on by the same operation.
From an estimate of the expense of such an engine, laid before the director and annexed hereto, with an estimate of the work which might be performed by means of it, he is of opinion that the price of the engine would be saved in two or three years.
Heretofore it would have been a great want of economy to have increased the force of hands and horses in the Mint, and of consequence the public expense, beyond what was necessary for the coinage of the expected bullion, merely on account of showing great expedition in coining small deposits. Whatever has been brought to the mint has been as promptly executed as was compatible with that economy; but whenever the government or citizens shall produce a sufficient supply of the precious metals, it will then be justifiable to increase the expenses of the institution.
The director is pleased to find that, from the experience he has had of the new arrangement, with respect to the coinage of copper, any quantity may now be made that can be disposed of, attended with a considerable advantage to the public.
He begs leave to refer the President to his former reports with regard to the unprotected state of the Mint, as far as relates to the punishment of offenders who may be guilty of the several offences mentioned therein, which yet remains unprovided for.
All which is respectfully submitted:
ELIAS BOUDINOT, Director.
A statement of the denomination and value ofgold coins issued from the mint of the United States from the 29th November, 1796, (the date of the Director’s last report) to the date hereof.
Mint of the United States, Treasurer’s Office, February 5, 1798.
A statement of the denomination and value of silver coins issued from the same dates.
February 5, 1798.
A statement of copper in same dates.
February 5, 1798.
This report was transcribed from a set of photographs, taken by Bob Julian, of some pages in a Correspondence Book in the national archives. [Citation to the book and the facility are needed.] The photographs were posted to the PCGS forum by Bob Julian in January and February of 2015. His later transcription helped identify certain words in the handwritten original. I tried to match the style used on this page to the style used on this website for the reports obtained from American State Papers.