| American History Stories, Volume I|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of early exploration and founding of American colonies, conflicts over religion, and troubles with the Indians, culminating in the French and Indian War. Ages 8-12 |
 There is one very pretty story told of these early days of
the Massachusetts colony. The only money in use among the
people was the gold and silver coins which were made in
England and Spain. These coins were very scarce, so that
the people had to trade in goods when they wished to make
a purchase, instead of being able to pay in money as we do
That is, if in those days you had wanted to buy a yard of
ribbon, or a top, or a ball, you would very likely have
paid for it with butter or eggs—anything that you
happened to own that the storekeeper was willing to take.
But as the people were growing more and
 more in number, and trade increased, this kind of bartering
grew very troublesome. The people needed some sort of
money; and so a law was passed, a kind of coin was decided
upon, and Captain John Hull was made mint-master. The
largest of these coins had stamped upon them a picture of
a pine tree. This is why they were called "Pine-Tree"
As payment for his work, it was decided that the mint-master
should have one out of every twenty coins he made.
Captain John Hull was an honest man; and although he put
aside for himself only one in every twenty coins, his
strong boxes got to be very, very heavy.
Captain Hull had a daughter; a fine, plump, hearty girl,
with whom young Samuel Sewell fell in love. As Samuel was a
young man of
 good character, industrious and honest, Captain Hull
readily gave his consent to their marriage. "Yes, you may
take her," he said in his rough way, "and you'll find her
a heavy burden enough."
In due time the wedding day arrived. There were John Hull,
dressed in a plum-colored coat, with bright silver buttons
made of the Pine-Tree shillings; the bridegroom, dressed in
a fine purple coat and gold lace waistcoat, big silver
buckles on his shoes; and last, but by no means least, the
fair bride herself, looking as plump and smiling and rosy as
a big red apple.
After the marriage ceremony was over, Captain Hull whispered
to his men servants, who at once left the room, to return
soon with a great pair of scales. Everybody wondered what
could be going to happen.
 "Daughter," said the mint-master, "get into
one side of these scales." Then turning to his
servants, and pointing to a big, iron-bound box,
he added, "Bring hither the chest."
The servants tugged and pulled at it, but it
was all they could do to get it across the floor. Then
Captain Hull unlocked it and threw open the cover.
The guests stood breathless, for behold! the
chest was full of bright, shining Pine-Tree shillings.
"Put them into the other side of the scales,
lively now," said the mint-master, laughing, as he saw
the look of amazement on the faces of the people.
Jingle, jingle, went the shillings, as handful
after handful were thrown in, till, big and plump as she
was, the fair young bride was lifted from the floor.
 "There, son Sewell," said the honest mint-master, "take
these shillings for my daughter's portion. Use her kindly,
and thank God for her. It isn't every wife that's worth her
weight in silver."
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