Invention of Bank-Notes.
According to the “Nineteenth Century,” not only did the Chinese possess coins at a very early 7 period, but they were also the inventors of bank-notes. Some writers regard bank-notes to have originated about 119 b.c. , in the reign of Ou-ti. At this time the Court was in want of money, and to raise it Klaproth tells us that the Prime Minister hit upon the following device. When any 7 princes or courtiers entored the imperial presence, it was customary to cover the face with a piece of skin. It was first decreed then, that for this purpose the skin of a certain white deer kept in one of the roy 7 al parks should alone be permitted, and then these pieces of skin were sold for a high price. But, although they appear to have passed from one noble to another, they do not seem ever to have entered into general circulation. It was therefore very different from The Russian skin money. In this case the notes were “ used instead of the skins from which they were cut, the skins themselves being too bulky and heavy to be constantly carried backward and forward. Only a small piece was cut off to figure as a token of possession of the whole skin. The ownership was proved when the piece fitted into the hole.” True bank-notes are said to have been invented about 800 A.D., in the reign of Hian-tsoung, of the dyniasty of Thang, and were called “ feytsien,” or flying money. It is curious, however, though not surprisng, to find that the temptation to over-issue led to the same result in China as in the West. The value of notes fell, until it took 11,000 min, or £3,000, to buy a cake, of rice, and the use of notes appears to have been abandoned. Subsequently this issue w 7 as revived, and Te-hang-yang (960-990 A.n.,) seems to have been the first private person who issued notes. Somewhat later, under the Emperor Tching tsong (997-1022), this invention was largely extended. Sixteen of the richest firms united to form a bank of issue, which emitted paper money in series, some payable every three y 7 ears.
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