This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text.
Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book
(without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.
1887 Excerpt: ...led to enlarge upon--the fact that the conchs were
used mainly for the white currency--because the popular idea has
been that all the shell-money was made from the valves of the
Quahang. This last-mentioned bivalve is one of the commonest
mollusks on the shore of Eastern America, south of Cape Cod. It is
a thick, somewhat globose shell, whith buries itself in the sand
under pretty deep salt water. The Indians gathered it alive, by
wading and feeling with their toes, or by diving, and ate the
animal with great gusto; it remains, indeed, an article of
extensive sale in all our present markets under the name of round
clam, hard clam, or quahang, the scientific term being Venus
mercenaria. Toward the anterior end of the otherwise white interior
of each of the valves of this mollusk's shell, is a deep purple or
brownish-black scar, indicating the point of muscular attachment,
which fishermen call the " eye." This dark spot was broken out of
the shell by the Indians and formed the material of their more
valuable coins. In descriptions of it, we meet with a new list of
terms and additional confusion. It was worth, on the average, twice
as much as the white variety; and the latter was frequently dyed to
counterfeit it. Moreover, Laskiel is authority for the statement,
that the natives of the New Jersey coast " used to make their
strings of wampum chiefly of small pieces of wood of equal size,
stained either black or white. These were held far inferior to
shell-beads of either colour." I know of no other example of this
species of counterfeiting or substitution. In New England, Roger
Williams describes this, superior money as follows: "The second is
black, inclining to blue, which is made of the shell of a fish
which some English call Hens, ...
|Country of origin:
||246 x 189 x 13mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
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