[illustration: Massachussetts Bay Searchers]

Hard currency, especially Massachusetts's own silver coinage, was highly valued in the colony. Although John Hull's mint was in operation, quantities of silver still left the colony. So, in 1654, Massachusetts Bay passed a law against taking more than 20 Massachusetts Bay shillings out of the colony. The court appointed nine searchers (border guards): 2 for Boston, 1 for Charlestown, 1 at the Isles of Shoals, 1 for Sudbury and 4 in the north. The "searchers" could examine travelers, their trunks, chests, boxes, and personal belongings. If they discovered coinage in excess of 20 shillings, they could seize it. By 1669, the number of searchers had been raised to ten.