# How much would it cost to bribe a prison warden in New England in the year 1800?

The value of money from one decade to another is a very confusing topic - in my opinion, anyway.

For instance, something called the CPI Inflation Calculator states that \$1 in 1800 was the equivalent of \$19.98 today. Check it out:

https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1800?amount=1

And yet the daily wages of, say, an artisan, was about \$1, according to this:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112104053548;view=1up;seq=181

... which, according to the information on some websites, would have bought him four pounds of coffee or three gallons of whiskey.

According to the TV comedy Honeymooners, a bus driver working in New York made \$40 per week in the 1950's. The Inflation Calculator I mentioned earlier claims that in 1955, \$1 was the equivalent of \$9.39, which would make a New York City bus driver's wages less than \$400 a week before taxes.

Like I said, this is all very confusing.

Now, my question is:

In the year 1800, how much would an affluent lady pay a New England prison warden in order to be allowed to see her lover in private and out of turn?

• I have found calculating relative values of money a waste of time. Money is worth what people think it is worth at any given time and place. Clearly the relative value of coffee and whiskey has changed a lot over time. And, neither the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other New England state has ever published a schedule of recommended bribes. Were it I, a guess of 50 cents to two dollars would work as well for me as anything. Mar 11, 2019 at 18:21
• @J.Taylor: My sentiments exactly, but, but ... I don't know ... For instance: horses were certainly expensive in 1800 in said Commonwealth. How much? ... Mar 11, 2019 at 23:01
• How good are you at trading? Mar 12, 2019 at 1:03
• Seriously, i do not know how many prisons there were in New England in 1800. I think the situation was more likely to involve a jail. Mar 12, 2019 at 1:06
• @J.Taylor: a) not very good, why? b) fine, let it be a jail. What price is a medium-sized horse? Mar 12, 2019 at 1:46