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wild thyme grows. An unsuspected hole in
the ground is made the treasury of superfluous
specie; the father dare not give the
son the due to the secret hiding-place, for
fear the son should anticipate, his heritage by
an unfilial employment of his dagger or his
pistol. And so the hoard remains safe till
prudent papa, accepting an invitation to a
throat-cutting party, starts on some pleasant
shooting excursion, from which he never
comes back; and his capital, thus invested in
land, is lost to his heirs, and what is worse,
to Africa. It is not, therefore, to be wondered
at that loud complaints are made in
Algiers, and even in France, of the scarcity of
small change. In the interior of Algiers, things
are in such a state, that before buying anything
which cannot be returned to the owner
such as a dinner, or refreshmentsprudent
people, who do not wish to get into debt
without knowing it, take care to inquire
beforehand whether the vendor can give
them change. Amongst the natives especially,
to get change for a five-franc piece is a difficult
effort of diplomacy. A traveller who wanted
to buy some medals from the Kabyles of
Taourga, and who had no small change, lost
half a day in parleying with all the capitalists
of the population before he could succeed in
exchanging a miserable five-franc piece for
five tweuty-sous pieces; and he only managed
it by giving a tip of a couple of francs to the
person who assisted him in this difficult
monetary transaction. It seems that, for
some time past, no small silver has been sent
over from France; so that no metallic currency
has arrived to replace that which the
Jews melt in the Tribes for the fabrication of
their liberally-alloyed jewelry, not to mention
that which goes to the mint at Tunis,
and that which the natives bury in the
earth. Wholesale dealings are hampered;
retail traders are like men dancing in
fetters. The difficulty exists. How to get
rid of it?

It is suggested by some that the best means
would be to coin pieces having a nominal
value considerably above their actual value;
something, for instance, analogous to the
money called obsidional, such as has been
used during sieges. The difference being fixed
by a regular tariff and known to all, everybody
would be aware what he was about
when taking it. It would be a currency in
which confidence could be placed, although
the material guarantee would only exist for
a portion of the value. It would thus take
rank between the bank-note, which offers the
zero of material guarantee, and ordinary coin
which presents the guarantee in its full integrity.
The new French sous and d├ęcimes,
whose intrinsic is inferior to their nominal
value, are the precedent which it is proposed
to follow. Money of this kind would have
the inappreciable advantage of remaining
in circulation; for the Jews would not
be so strongly tempted to convert it into
jewelry, and the Tunisian speculators would
no longer find their interest in importing
it. Indigenous millionnaires (of sous)
would no more bury this kind of coin than
they would inter bank-notes, and trade
would have always wherewithal to go on
with. Such is the solution advocated by the

In eighteen hundred and thirty-two, a
merchant of Oran, in order to remedy a like
public penury, issued little cards signed with
his name, to serve instead of copper coin.
Before eighteen hundred and thirty, the
tascaras (permits of export), little notes of
three or four lines which were sealed by the
Bey, circulated, and were received in the
town and its environs for sums which often
mounted so high as four, five, and even ten
thousand francs. The present absence of
change occasions an uneasiness which urgently
requires a prompt remedy; and this necessity
suggested to an Algiers banker the idea of
issuing bons, or notes payable on demand
for ten, five-and-twenty, and fifty centimes
and also for one franc or a hundred centimes.
The judicial authorities were of opinion that
the issue was an infringement of the law of
stamp duties; it is clear, however, that if
private individuals are prevented from interfering
at similar crises, it is the duty of the
government to apply a remedy to the evil

La Colonisation (African Journal), argues
that the circulation of postage-stamps, which
is capable of being vulgarised and generalised
for all sorts of persons and all kinds of
exchanges, is preferable in every respect to
card-paper tokens put forth by individuals.
The small change called for is already in
existence, and is serviceable the instant we
decide to employ it. The figurines (a very
good word, which deserves to be imported)
destined to the prepayment of letters are
obvious and natural small coin. The
government has only to declare them coin
of the realm, to make everybody have
recourse to them, to render possible the
many transactions in which small sums
are obliged to enter, and to make it, in
short, an easy matter to give change to a

It is objected, in the first place, that these
little square bits of paper are inconvenient to
carry, and are liable to be lost; but all
such matters are comparative. Figurines are
twenty times more convenient than either
two-sous pieces or pence, even for people
unprovided with porte-monnaies. With your
pockets filled with several francs'-worth of
sous, it is not so very easy to run, or jump,
or to make a forced march under a broiling
African August sun. Some years since, the
cook on board an English steamer had made
considerable savings little by little. Many
mickles make a muckle. He got it by pence,
and in pence it remained hung up in a dark
nook in a canvas bag. One voyage, in going

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