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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0188-0002
4. Since 1686 Spain had possessed two money systems. The first, the more valuable of the two and referred to here as “forte,” was the moneda de plata antigua, which was the money used to settle accounts. The second was the moneda devellon, which was used for everyday commercial transactions. In this passage Lagoanere is referring to both types of money in terms of their different values and is, for the most part, careful to distinguish between them. The relation between a doblon and a peso was one doblon to four pesos, but, according to Lagoanere, three pesos fortes equaled one doblon de vellon. Approximately the same difference in value can be seen later in the letter when Lagoanere gives the total of the disbursements made by him on behalf of JA and his party. There he refers to 60,000 reals de vellon equaling 3,000 pesos fortes. The relation between the peso and the real was 1:32; thus, had the transaction been conducted wholly in moneda de plata antigua, the amounts would have been 3,000 pesos fortes or 96,000 reals fortes (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 98–100).