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Glossary: Eighteenth-Century Economy

Archived —Collected, catalogued, and stored in a place where public records or historical documents are preserved.

Credit —Money, goods, or services provided with the expectation of future payment.

Crop Note —In the eighteenth century, a tobacco note was issued for a full hogshead of tobacco. It indicated the planter's mark and the gross, tare, and net weights. All these marks were also branded on the hogshead.

Currency —Any medium of exchange that all parties involved agree is equitable.

Debt —An entry in an account book showing the amount of money owed by a person; a sum of money deducted from an account.

Dollar —A large, silver coin worth eight Spanish reales. See also Pieces of Eight.

Goods —Tangible products, merchandise, or wares.

Ledger —A book containing customer account information, with one full page per customer. A customer's purchases (debits) were recorded on the left side of the page; payments (credits) on the right.

Market —Any situation or location in which buyers and sellers interact and make exchanges; a time and place specified by a town for the sale of goods, mostly foodstuffs.

Merchant —The operator of a retail business; also, a buyer and seller of commodities for profit.

Newmarket —A name for a fashionable men's overcoat.

Pieces of Eight —A Spanish colonial silver coin worth eight reales. See also Dollar.

Primary Source —An artifact or written material, such as a letter, journal, personal document, official document, or newspaper from a particular time period that can be used to learn more about that time period.

Pounds, Shillings, and Pence —Units of British currency. One pound = 20 shillings; one shilling = 12 pence.

Ready Money —Money on hand or quickly available, especially money actually paid at the time of a transaction; cash.

Receipts —Written documents proving people have received money or goods.

Secondary Source —A work, such as a history book or magazine article, that was written many years after the events it describes and analyzes or interprets primary sources.

Services —Intangible product; the work performed by one person for another.

Short Credit —Credit extended for a short period of time.

Tobacco —A plant native to the New World that is cultivated for its leaves that are prepared for use in smoking or as snuff.

Tobacco Hogshead —In the eighteenth century, a large barrel, approximately forty-eight inches long and thirty inches in diameter at the head, designed for the shipment of tobacco. One hogshead contained 900 to 1,000 pounds of tobacco.

Tobacco Note —In the eighteenth century, a receipt issued to a planter after his tobacco passed inspection.

Trade —An exchange of goods or services.

Virginia Currency —Coins and treasury notes used in colonial Virginia; also, the value of the money as it circulated in Virginia.