"penny" pre-1831 for 'U.S. cent'?

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Tue Feb 15 23:47:41 UTC 2005

My philatelic background says the "penny post" was a strictly English term.
As the resident numismatist on the board(but by no means the scholar when it
comes to numismatic terms), I"ll search my library.

Sam Clements
----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: "penny" pre-1831 for 'U.S. cent'?

>         I took a look at the older Westlaw cases.  There are frequent uses
of English and American money in the same discussions.  I don't have any
doubt that George's 1807, 1821, and 1818 citations refer (literally or
rhetorically) to the English penny.  The 1828 citation might be to the
American cent - we need to know whether the cost of the post was one cent or
one English penny, or if there was some other reason why it was called the
penny post.
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of George Thompson
> Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 3:24 PM
> Subject: Re: "penny" pre-1831 for 'U.S. cent'?
> The following refers to a hypothetical or rhetorical coin, but still:
> Hickory sold this morning for Five Dollars, and Oak for Four and a Half
> a load, about one third higher than at any time during the past severe
> winter months. . . . we have witnessed a shameful monopoly in this
> article, carried on by certain persons: An odious proceeding that
> causes extensive distress among the poor of our city by wringing from
> them their last penny for the purchase of a single stick.  New-York
> Evening Post, April 4, 1807, p. 2, col. 5
> Also:
> "My name is De Grass Griffin -- I am ten years old --  my father is a
> boatman in Killingsworth, Connecticut  --  my mother left there for
> Philadelphia last summer -- she parted from my father -- he don't take
> care of me.  [He went to Philadelphia looking for his mother.]  When I
> got there I found that she was dead -- I remained there, going about
> town for about a week -- I then started to come back.  A gentleman in
> Philadelphia gave me a twenty cent piece and eleven-penny bit, and a
> five-penny bit --  I have the twenty cent piece yet.  I got into this
> town yesterday morning -- had nothing to eat yesterday till in the
> evening, when I got some clams at a little stand near the river.  I
> calculate to start for home this morning, and to get a stage driver to
> give me a ride."  Commercial Advertiser, January 18, 1821, p. 2, col. 1.
> This is from the story told to an NYC magistrate by a wandering boy.
> The great difficulty he meets with, is in procuring persons to come
> forward as witnesses, although scores of poor people could testify to
> the facts, if it were not for the reluctance they feel at the supposed
> disgrace they should incur by being pointed at as common informers.
> But let those greater offenders, who hire the petty rogues by giving
> them ten percent of the profit to procure these insurances during the
> day, and late at night make over the book to them, let these be watched
> and severely punished.  I am informed that at some of the insurance
> offices even a penny premium is taken from the lowest of their
> customers.  New-York Evening Post, February 16, 1818, p. 2, col. ?
> This refers to the practice of "policy" gambling.  There were various
> legal lotteries at the time, all requiring a fairly costly bet.  The
> numbers brokers (in modern terms) sold supposed insurance policies
> against the possibility of a certain number being drawn.
> The letter was delivered to Mr. Hopson by the penny post, yesterday.
> New=York Enquirer, June 4, 1828, p. 2, col. 1
> These are the only occurences of "penny" in my notes, mostly from NYC
> newspapers, through 1830.  1500+ pages.
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list