In the contest between the Land Bank and the Silver Bank, the strength of the Provincial Government, so far as it was represented by the Royal Governor and the Council, was constantly exerted in behalf of the Silver Bank. The constituency of the former was to be found in the country towns, while the latter was organized exclusively by the capitalists of Boston. The promoters of both schemes based their claims for popular support upon the impending scarcity of currency which would inevitably intervene if the Royal Instructions restraining future emissions should be carried out. It was evident that the supporters of the Land Bank outnumbered those of the Silver Bank, and the political power secured by the latter through its control of the Governor and Council was offset by the election of an Assembly which was so strongly in the interest of the Land Bank that it was, according to Hutchinson, afterwards spoken of as the Land Bank Assembly.

Under these circumstances it was realized by the opponents of the Land Bank that if they would succeed they must adopt every possible measure to secure the circulation of the bills of the Silver Bank in preference to those of the Land Bank.

Silver was then worth between twenty-eight and twenty-nine shillings an ounce in old tenor. The Land Bank bills were to circulate at six shillings and eight pence for an ounce of silver, that is to say upon a specie basis, but while they were thus nominally placed upon a par with silver, their value as a medium of trade was degraded by their being payable only at twenty years after emission, and then in produce. The bills of the Silver Bank, on the contrary, were emitted at par with the old tenor bills which then constituted the currency of the country. They were to mature in fifteen years and might then be redeemed or paid off in certain articles of produce enumerated in the Scheme, but it was agreed by subscribers to the Scheme, that possessors of the bills might at any time exchange the bills emitted by the Company for common current bills, upon a certain specified rate for the value of silver, for each year of the life of the bill. Beginning with the rate of twenty-eight shillings and four pence for an ounce of silver, as the rate at which the bills were to circulate or be exchanged for the first year, an annual stated reduction brought the rate per ounce of silver at which the bills were to circulate at the date of their maturity to twenty shillings. Had there been any provision for the current redemption of the Land Bank bills they should have been worth four and one quarter times those of equal denominations emitted by the Silver Bank in 1740, and at the end of the fifteen years, after the application of this scale, three times as much, but there was no provision whatever for the redemption of the Land Bank bills prior to maturity—hence capitalists, in addition to the consideration of the inferiority of their financial backing, were compelled to discount their future maturity in estimating their value as a medium of trade.

The provision in the Scheme of the Silver Bank for the exchange by possessors of bills emitted by that Company into common current bills, at any time on presentation, was regarded by Governor Belcher as an important feature in the claims for superiority upon which the bills rested—and in order that this particular claim might be emphasized, he secured the execution of the following document which is generally spoken of as the Amendment to the Nineteenth Article. The original from which the document is copied is in the Massachusetts Archives, CII. 84, 85.



Whereas in the Scheme for the Emission of One hundred & Twenty Thousand Pounds in notes of hand Redeemable with Silver at Twenty Shillings ꝓ oz in Fifteen years, Dated Augt. 1. 1740, The Following words make the Nineteenth Article, vizt:, “We further Agree & promise, That we will receive in Trade and for debts due, (Specialties and Express Contracts in Writing excepted) the Bills Emitted on this Scheme at the Following rates in the Several Terms Periods & hereafter mention’d viz t: For the First year after their Emission, at the rate of Twenty eight Shillings and Four pence for an ounce of Silver. For the Second year after their Emission, at the rate of Twenty Seven Shilling and nine pence, For ye Third year, at the rate of Twenty Seven Shillings and Two pence, For ye Fourth year, at the rate of Twenty Six Shillings and Seven pence, And in ye Fifth year, at the rate of Twenty Six Shillings In the Sixth year at Twenty five Shillings and five pence, In the Seventh year, at Twenty four Shillings & Tenpence, In the Eighth year, at Twenty four Shillings & three pence, In the ninth year, at Twenty three Shillings and Eight pence, In the Tenth year, at Twenty three Shillings & one penny, In the Eleventh year, at Twenty two Shillings & Six pence, In the Twelfth year, at Twenty one Shillings & Eleven pence, In the Thirteenth year at Twenty one Shillings & Four pence. In the Fourteenth year, at Twenty Shillings & Eight pence, And in the Fifteenth year at the rate of Twenty Shillings for an Ounce of Silver; And the Directors shall be and are hereby accordingly Oblig’d to Exchange and Give in the Common Current Bills to every Possessor of the Above notes on demand, so much as will purchase One Ounce of Silver for Twenty eight Shillings & Four pence in these notes for the First year after their Coming out, and so much as will purchase one ounce of Silver, For Twenty Seven Shillings & nine pence in these Bills for ye Second year, and in ye Same manner during the whole Fifteen years abovesaid, according to the Scheme; and the Company shall be & are hereby obliged at all times on the Demand of the sd Directors to Enable them thus to Exchange the Bills, by Supplying them with Bills of the Com̄on Currency sufficient for the same, and shall Execute Instruments accordingly.”

Now Know all Men, by these presents, that We, Edward Hutchinson, Samuel Welles, James Bowdoin, Samuel Sewall, Hugh Hall, Joshua Winslow, Andrew Oliver, Edmund Quincy, Thomas Oxnard, James Boutineau, Directors in said Scheme, for ye more full satisfaction & Assurance of the Possessors of said notes, Covenant, promise & Agree for ourselves and Survivours, that We and they shall & will at all times fully Comply with the said Article & Exchange & Give in Bills of Common Currency to any & all possessors of the said notes on their Demand according to the afore recited Article, and that this Instrument shall lye in the Province Secretary’s Office for the Use & Benefit of the said Possessors. In Witness whereof, We have hereunto set our hands & Seals, this Fifth day of November, 1740, & in this Fourteenth year of His Majestys Reign.

EdwD Hutchinson


Samuel Welles


James Bowdoin


Saml Sewall


H. Hall


Joshua Winslow


Andw Oliver


Edm: Quincy


Thomas Oxnard


Jas Boutineau


Sign’d Seal’d and Delivered in Presence of

W. Browne

John Tyng

Recorded in the Secretary’s Office in Boston in Book of Letters of Attorney &c.

Pa. 251, 252, 253. Novemr 6. 1740.

P J Willard


Suffolk ss Boston Novr 5 1740

Edward Hutchinson Sam Welles James Bowdoin Samuel Sewall Hugh Hall Joshua Winslow & Andrew Oliver Esqrs. Messrs Edmund Quincy Thomas Oxnard & James Boutineau Personally appearing Severally acknowledged the above Instrument to be their Act & Deed. Before me

Danl Henchman

Just Pac