Letter: Grateful to Europe

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Speaking to the CBI conference (report, 3 November) Michael Portillo suggests that the creation of a single currency is "a leap of faith ... has never been done before and therefore ... has never succeeded".

If he checks the US Mint website he will find that they got there first: "A committee of seven was appointed by the Continental Congress on April 19, 1776, to examine and ascertain the value of the gold and silver coins then current in the colonies. ... Included in the [committee's] report are references to such denominations as English and French guineas, Johannes and half Johannes, Spanish and French pistole, doubloons, English and French crowns, English shillings, and the then popular Spanish milled dollars, all of which served as a medium of exchange in the colonies.... The dollar was established as the ideal money unit of the United States of America by the Continental Congress, on July 6, 1785."

As Mr Portillo probably imagines, the dollar was a great failure and the US remained a backward, isolated country some way off the coast of Europe.