Coins and Banknotes of Vietnam and French Indochina


There arc two kinds of magazines for coins belonging to the Government: one the regular Treasury, and the other where superabundant coins arc kept.

In the Treasury is received the produce of the taxes, which are collected by the Huong-than, or chief of each Municipality, assisted by two elders called Quan-vien. When the taxes are all paid, the amount is taken to the provincial Treasury, and there the coins and ingots of silver are tested by the chief of the guild of goldsmiths, who answers by all he is worth for the accuracy of his judgment. In the case of zinc coins, as it is quite impossible to be deceived in the material, it is only necessary to arrange them in parcels consisting of strings of 604 cash.

Each provincial Treasury is under the charge of a minor official culled Chu-thu-thuong-vieu, or " Superintendent of the Magazine'', assisted by one Doi, or Captain of the military guard, who also controls the receipts and expenditure of the coins.

The Treasurer sends each month his balance to the Minister of Finances, and his accounts are also examined at stated times by Inspectors sent from the court of Hue.

Robberies from these magazines are by the Annamese Code subject to the following scale of punishments:

For the theft of1 tael80 Blows.
do.2.5 taels90 do.
do.5 "100 do.
do.7.5 "60 do. and 1 year in irons
do.10 "70 do. and 1.5 years do.
do.12 "80 do. and 2 do.
do.15 "90 do. and 2.5 do.
do.17.5 "100 do. and 3 do.
For the theft of20 taels100 Blows and banishment to 2000 le.
do.25 "100 do. and banishment to 2500 le.
do.30 "100 do. and banishment to 3000 le.
do.40 "Decapitation.

The above scale is applicable to robberies committed by any of the employees of the Magazine. For common thefts the penalty is not so severe, as only a robbery of 80 taels or more is punished with death by strangulation.

There are also storehouses where small coins are kept when there is a great abundance in the market. Such storehouses also exist in China, and have been of great utility in times of public calamities. In the Annamese Annals mention is frequently made of the opening of such storehouses, either for assistance to the poor, or for rewards to the people. The first notice of such an occurrence dates as far back as the year 1026, when the King 太宗 THAI-TONG of the 李 LY Dynasty, on coming to the throne, ordered a distribution amongst the people of the coins in those magazines. In the fourth moon of the year 1074, in consequence of a great drought which destroyed the crops, the granaries, as well as these storehouses were opened for the succor of the needy.

Other distributions were made at later periods, one being recorded in the 6th moon of the year 1448, when there was a great famine in the provinces of Tuyen-quang, Qui-hoa, Giao-hung and Da-giang. The last of those donations was made by King 嘉隆 GIA-LONG, in 1801, after the pacification of the country, when he had destroyed the 西山 Tay-son rebels. On that occasion he remitted to the people one year's taxes, distributing to his troops one thousand taels of gold, ten thousand taels of silver, and thirty thousand strings of cash. To the auxiliary army of Cambodia he also gave thirty taels of gold, three hundred of silver, and three thousand strings.

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