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Act February 12, 1873.
§ 46. That the gold coins of the United States shall be a One Dollar Piece, which, at the standard weight of twenty-five and eight-tenths (25%) grains, shall be the Unit of Value; a Quarter Eagle, or two and a half dollar piece; a Three Dollar Piece; a Half Eagle, or five dollar piece; an Eagle, or ten dollar piece; and a Double Eagle, or twenty dollar piece. And the standard weight of the Gold Dollar shall be twenty-five and eight-tenths grains; of the Quarter Eagle sixty-four and one-half grains; of the Three Dollar Piece seventy-seven and four-tenths grains; of the Half Eagle one hundred and twenty-nine grains; of the Eagle two hundred and fifty-eight grains; of the Double Eagle five hundred and sixteen grains, which coins shall be a legal tender in all payments at their nominal value when not below the standard weight and limit of tolerance provided in this act, and that when reduced in weight below said standard and tolerance shall be a legal tender in proportion to their actual weight.
Any gold coins of the United States, if reduced by natural abrasion not more than a half of one per cent below the standard weight after twenty years' circulation, and at a ratable proportion for any less period, shall be received at their nominal value at the United States treasury.
§ 47. The silver coins of the United States shall be a Trade Dollar, a Half Dollar, a Quarter Dollar, a Dime. And the weight of the Trade Dollar shall be four hundred and twenty (420) grains troy; the weight of the Half Dollar shall be twelve grams and one half of a gram; the Quarter Dollar and the Dime shall be respectively one half and one fifth the weight of said half dollar; and said coins shall be a legal tender at their nominal value for any amount not exceeding five dollars in one payment.
§ 48. The standard for both gold and silver coins of the United States shall be such that of one thousand parts by weight nine hundred shall be of pure metal and one hundred of alloy. The alloy of the silver coins shall be of copper. The alloy of the gold coins shall be of copper of copper and silver, but the silver shall in no case exceed one tenth of the whole alloy.
§ 49. The minor coins of the United States shall be a Five Cent Piece, a Three Cent Piece and a One Cent Piece. The alloy for the five and three cent pieces shall be of copper and nickel, to be composed of three-fourths copper and one-fourth nickel. The alloy of the one cent piece shall be ninety-five per centum of copper and five
per centum of tin and zinc, in such proportions as shall be determined by the director of the mint. The weight of the five cent piece shall be seventy-seven and sixteen-hundredths grains troy; of the three cent piece thirty grains, and of the one cent piece forty-eight grains.
§ 50. No coins, either of gold, silver or minor coinage, shall hereafter be issued from the mint other than those of the denominations, standards and weights set forth in this title.
§ 51. Silver coins, other than the trade dollars, shall be paid out at the several mints and at the assay office in New York city in exchange for gold coins at par, in sums not less than one hundred dollars.
§ 52. Nothing herein contained shall, however, prevent the payment of silver coins at their nominal value for silver parted from gold, as provided in this title, or for change less than one dollar in settlement of gold deposits.
§ 53. In adjusting the weights of the gold coins the following deviations shall not be exceeded in any single piece: In the double eagle and the eagle, one half of a grain; in the half eagle, the three dollar piece, the quarter eagle and the one dollar piece, one fourth of a grain, and in weighing a number of pieces together, when delivered by the coiner to the superintendent and by the superintendent to the depositor, the deviation from the standard weight shall not exceed one hundredth of an ounce in five thousand dollars in double eagles, eagles, half eagles or quarter eagles, or in one thousand dollars in ree dollar pieces or one dollar pieces.
§ 54. In adjusting the weight of the silver coins the following deviations shall not be exceeded in any single piece: In the dollar, the half dollar, the quarter dollar and in the dime, one and one-half grains, and in weighing a large number of pieces the deviations shall not exceed two hundredths of an ounce in one thousand dollars, half dollars, or quarter dollars, and one hundredth of an ounce in one thousand dimes.
§ 55. In adjusting the weight of the minor coins provided by this title, there shall be no greater deviation allowed than three grains for the five cent piece, and two grains for the three and one cent pieces.
§ 56. That all other acts and parts of acts pertaining to the mints, assay offices and coinage of the United States, inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed: Provided, That this act shall not be construed to affect any act done, right accrued, or penalty incurred under former acts, but every such right is hereby saved,
Act March 3, 1873.
§ 57. The value of the sovereign, or pound sterling, shall be deemed equal to four dollars eighty-six cents and six and one-half mills; and all contracts made after the first day of January, 1874, based on an assumed par of exchange with Great Britain, of fifty-four pence to the dollar, or four dollars forty-four cents and four-ninths cents to the sovereign, or pound sterling, shall be null and void.
Act March 3, 1875.
§ 58. That there shall be from time to time coined at the mints of the United States, conformably in all respects to the coinage act of 1873, a coin of silver of the denomination of twenty cents, and of the weight of five grams. That the twenty cent piece shall be a legal tender at its nominal value for any amount not exceeding five dollars in any one payment. That in adjusting the weight of the twenty cent piece, the deviation from the standard weight shall not exceed one and one-half grains.
Act July 13, 1876.
§ 59. That the trade dollar shall not hereafter be a legal tender. (See Subsidiary Silver Coin Bill, page 201.)
UNITED STATES NOTES AND BONDS.
N the preparation of the following digest of the laws of the United States relating to the issue and redemption of United States notes and bonds, it was not deemed necessary to cite any legislation prior to 1861. The amount of national obligations assumed to be yet "outstanding" that were authorized by acts prior to 1861, is unimportant, and it is moreover believed that a large proportion of such notes and bonds has been destroyed and lost. As far as the public have any real interest in the laws relating to the national debt, it is confined exclusively to the war debt created since 1860 and to the Pacific Railroad debt created since 1862.
None of the laws, except a few of the most important, such as the "Sinking Fund Act," the "Public Credit Act," the "Specie Resumption Act" and a few others, are given in full, as the details of printing, issuing, signing, and a multitude of other minor provisions, are not deemed pertinent to the greater questions of the contract between the government as a borrower and the note and bond holders as creditors, nor to the legal-tender character of notes intended to circulate as money. But the object in this division of the compilation of laws has been to give all the clauses in the acts of Congress which have any important bearing on the character and redemption of the obligations of the United States issued since 1860.
Act June 22, 1860.
[This act authorized the issue of $21,000,000 of 6 per cent bonds to be used in the redemption of outstanding treasury notes.]
Act December 17, 1860.
That the President of the United States be authorized to cause treasury notes to be issued for such sums as the exigencies of the public service may require, but not to exceed at any time the amount of ten millions ($10,000,000). That such notes shall be redeemed after the expiration of one year. They shall bear interest, 6 per cent per annum.
Act February 8, 1861.
That the President of the United States be authorized to borrow, on the credit of the United States, a sum not exceeding twenty-five millions ($25,000,000). That stock shall be issued for the amount so borrowed, bearing interest not exceeding 6 per centum per annum, and to be reimbursed within a period not beyond twenty years and not less than ten years.
Act March 2, 1861.
That the President of the United States be, and hereby is, authorized, at any time within twelve months from the passage of this act, to borrow, on the credit of the United States, a sum not exceeding ten millions of dollars: Provided, That no stipulation or contract shall be made to prevent the United States from reimbursing any sum borrowed under the authority of this act at any time after the expiration of ten years from the 1st day of July next, by the United States giving three months' notice, to be published in some newspaper published at the seat of government, of their readiness to do so; and no contract shall be made to prevent the redemption of the same at any time after the expiration of twenty years from the said 1st day of July next, without notice. That stock shall be issued for the amount so borrowed, bearing interest not exceeding 6 per cent per annum.
Act July 17, 1861.
That the Secretary of the Treasury be authorized to borrow, on the credit of the United States, within twelve months, a sum not exceeding $250,000,000, for which he is authorized to issue coupon bonds or registered bonds or treasury notes in such proportion as he may