Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

3

hospital, for thirty thousand dollars of the old emissions, twenty thousand dollars of which to be delivered to Nathan Brownson, deputy purveyor, to be applied to the use of the hospitals established for the southern army and the remaining ten thousand to be applied by the purveyor towards the paying persons necessarily employed in the general hospital northward of Virginia, for which sum of thirty thousand dollars the purveyor to be accountable. "

A report of the Board of Treasury was read; Whereupon,

Ordered, That on the application of Mr. [Thomas] Burke, one of the delegates for the State of North Carolina, a warrant issue on Thomas Smith, commissioner of the continental loan office for the State of Pensylvania, in his favour for thirty thousand dollars old emissions, for which the said State is to be accountable.?

A letter, of this day, from the Board of War, was read:

Ordered, That it be referred to a committee of three, to confer with the Board of War:

The members, Mr. (John) Mathews, Mr. (John) Sullivan, Mr. (James] Madison.

Ordered, That Mr. [Thomas] Burke and Mr. [Samuel] Adams have leave of absence.

A motion was made by Mr. [Oliver] Wolcott, seconded by Mr. [Theodorick] Bland; and

Whereas Congress by their act of the 189 of March 1780 Recommended to the several States to collect by taxes or otherwise the Bills of public credit which had previously been emitted by the United States, that they might be cancelled and destroyed by the month of April 1781.

And whereas the events of the war have rendered it impossible for some of the States to comply with the aforesaid requisition. In consequence of which and the natural effect which unfavorable events have upon public credit in the places where they happen, the said Bills in

This report, in the writing of Abraham Clark, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 22, folio 37.

This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 136, V, folio 225. 8 This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 148, I, folio 361.

2

those States have greatly depreciated, which has occasioned their being brought into other States where this depreciation causes less effect, which circumstances together with the vast quantities of local currency which some of the States have emitted for their own use, and the want of an adequate taxation, added to the unavoidable causes mentioned in the said act of the 18! of March have so operated as to reduce every public measure to the greatest distress, embarrassment and dishonor. And not only so but the sacred principles of commutative justice are scandalously and with impunity violated by the vicious and profligate part of the community. Public virtue and industry are under heavy discouragement and the means necessary for the public safety are not provided for.

The Congress of the United States in Congress assembled being deeply impressed with the consideration of these public distresses, and being desirous to remove as far as it shall be in their power thə pernicious causes operating to produce a fluctuation in the value of the public currency which while it shall continue will be pot only attended with a greater expence and disadvantage to thee States than to raise the sums by taxation sufficient to support the public expenditure. But will continue that derangement of our public finances which mark our present distresses. Congress being also impressed that the means necessary for the support of the war ought to be immediately provided for, have therefore thought fit to come to the following resolutions as being both just and necessary:

Resolved, That the several States who have not already collected the Bills of Public credit emitted by the United States previous to their act of March 1780, accelerate the collection thereof as fast as possible by taxes, loans or by exchanging the same for the new Bills ordered to be emitted by Congress by their act of the said 18 of March according to the Rate of Exchange in specie, which has or shall be fixed by the respective States. And that none of the said Bills emitted previous to the said 18 of March shall be current or redeemable after the

next except that the possessors of such Bills shall be in the power of the Enemy or shall not be within the United States one month before the said day of

next or shall belong to one of the United States as shall be so far in the power of the Enemy that the Legislature or Executive power of the State shall be prevented thereby from exercising their respective authorities. In which cases and upon reasonable proof thereof being made to the Executive of any State who shall not have collected to be destroyed the Quota of Bills assigned to such State

day of

shall have an order from the Executive thereof upon their State Treasurer to exchange the same according to the rate ascertained by such State.

And whereas notwithstanding the provisions made for cancelling said old Bills of public credit, a considerable quantity of them will be unprovided for, owing as before mentioned to the events of the

war.

Resolved, therefore, That Congress will make proper provision that the possessors of the said old Bills to the amount of what shall be assigned as the Quota of such States as shall be so far in the power of the Enemy as to prevent their compliance with the foregoing Resolution shall be entitled to and have the same equity done to such possessors as shall be agreeable to the foregoing Resolution.

And whereas it is indispensably necessary for the support of public credit that whatever can affect the same shall be under the direction of one superintending power who shall be able to control and restrain whatever may be injurious thereto. And in this view and to strengthen and confirm the union of these States Congress recommended to the several States that they did not on any pretence issue Bills of public credit for their own particular use otherwise than according to the recommendations of Congress.

Resolved, therefore, That unless the particular States shall discontinue to emit bills of public credit except by a recommendation of the United States in Congress assembled, and shall not as soon as possible cancel the Bills of public credit which they have otherwise emitted, The Representatives of these States will not consider themselves as responsible for that Injustice, Distress and Disorder, which must be the certain consequence of a practice of this nature.?

Another, on the same subject, was made by Mr. [Meriwether] Smith, seconded by Mr. [William] Sharpe:

SCHEME OF FINANCE.

1o. Let Congress now assume to itself the powers of the Confederation and make that act in all cases the rule of its conduct.

2o. Let Congress avail itself of the necessity which induced it to emit Bills of Credit prior to the ratification of that act, when it had not the power of making taxes productive for the support of the

1 This motion, in the writing of Oliver Wolcott, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 36, 1, folio 147.

credit of the Bills, or for the redemption of them; and also of the uncertainty of the time of redemption; as a reason for extending the time of final redemption to suit the conveniency or ability of the United States.

3o. Let Congress apportion the sum of those Emissions among the States according to their respective Quotas and ordain that there shall be paid annually in specie or those identical Bills (dollar for dollar) by each State a portion of the respective quotas until the final redemption, which portion of the Bills when received shall be destroyed by burning them; leaving it optional in the respective States at the same time, to procure and pay into the Treasury of the United States their full Quotas of such Bills, at such time and in such manner as they may think best, within the time of final redemption, providing also that Congress will pay specie for the outstanding Bills when demanded after the expiration of the time of redemption and charge the same to the delinquent State or States.

4o. Let Congress, in order to comply with the present demands for money issue 4/10!!! of the Bills provided by the Resolutions of the 18 of March 1780, upon the funds established by each State, making the same a general currency by the powers of the Confederation pledging the United States as a counter security for punctual redemption. If any of the said Bills have been issued by the States, over and above the 4/10th let it be considered as a State Emission and redeemed accordingly. Let every thing contained in the said Resolutions except what relates to the 4/10!! be repealed. Let the 4/10th. issue with a reduction of interest according to the time of issuing compared with the date of the Bills; and let the respective States be called upon to pay into the Continental Treasury their respective quotas of the 4/10!! either in specie or the identical Bills (dollar for dollar) within the space of one year from the time of issuing to save the payment of interest by destroying them; by this means the funds created by the acts of the respective Legislatures may be abolished, and the States thereby enabled to create new funds for the redemption of other money to be emitted by Congress.

5o. Let Congress upon further emergencies, emit Bills of Credit redeemable at the end of 4 or 6 years. Let each State be called upon to pay a portion of its quota of such Bills either in specie or the identical Bills, (dollar for dollar) annually in order to redeem them.

6o. Let Congress pursue this last principle in subsequent emissions, extending the time of final redemption according to the ability of the States to pay additional annual Taxes, having regard also to any depreciation which may arise from the superabundance of the circulating medium; which excess may always be restrained by the application of Taxes, payable in specie or the identical Bills, dollar for dollar.

7o. Let each State pass acts establishing a fund for the payment of their Quotas aforesaid pointing out the manner in which it will be productive annually; let these be transmitted to Congress and deposited in the Treasury office of the United States for the satisfaction of the public.

8o. In order to establish one general currency and to prevent the loss of credit which may fall upon the Emissions of Congress, by the deficiency of any State arising from the appropriation of its funds to the redemption of State Emissions, let a memorial be sent to the respective States representing the bad tendency of their emissions, and proposing at the same time to lend to their respective exigencies Bills emitted by Congress in lieu thereof.

9o. Let the respective States be called upon to pay punctually their respective Quotas according to the ordinances of Congress fixing the annual payments, and in case of any deficiency, without sufficient reason assigned and approved; let Congress remonstrate to the State deficient, against its conduct and demand full payment of arrears at a day certain; and if this shall not be productive of the money, let a prohibition issue against the commerce of such delinquent State until full payment be made.

10°. Let Congress call on the States for a revenue by duties &c on trade, payable in specie only to be deposited in the Treasury, and there to remain unappropriated (except for peculiar exigencies of the States) until the final redemption of the Bills emitted. Let a Receiver General be appointed in each State, to collect and pay these duties into the Treasury of the United States annually.

11°. Let a day certain be assigned for the settlement of public accounts annually, let the persons concerned settle with the Auditor General and pay their balances if any into the Treasury; let the Auditors certify to the Treasurer the delinquencies; let the Treasurer order prosecutions by an advocate in the respective States. Let judgments issue against delinquents upon motion, on ten days' notice.

Finally, Let Congress adopt and pursue this plan and be great and happy.

M. SMITH. Note, with respect to old Emissions, Congress may allow 20 years or more for the redemption of it. The faith of the United States pledged by Congress upon issuing those Bills will not be

« ForrigeFortsett »