Continental Bills

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Fac-simile of the Continental Bills. The paper on which these bills were printed was quite thick, and the enemy called it “the pasteboard money of the rebels.” The vignettes were generally, both in device and motto, significant. The one most prominent in the engraving represents a beaver in the slow but sure process of cutting down a tree with its teeth. The motto, “Preseverando- by Preseverance,” said to the colonists, “Persist, and you will be successful.” I will notice a few other devices and mottoes of bills which I have seen. A globe, with the motto, in Latin, “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice.” A candlestick with thirteen branches and burners, denoting the number of states; motto, “One fire, and to the same purpose.” A thorn-bush with a hand grasping it; motto, “Sustain or abstain.” A circular chain bearing on each link the name of a state, an emblem of union; motto, “We are one.”


Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851)I:317


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