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relative value; and to make such an augmentation would be to abandon the advantage of preserving the identity of the dollar, or to speak more accurately, of having the proposed one received and considered as a mere substitute for the present.
The end may, however, be obtained, without either of these inconveniences, by increasing the proportion of alloy in the silver coins. But this would destroy the uniformity, in that respect, between the gold and silver coins. It remains, therefore, to elect which of the two systematic ideas shall be pursued or relinquished; and it may be remarked, that it will be more easy to convert the present silver coins into the proposed ones, if these last have the same, or nearly the same proportion of alloy, than if they have less.
The organization of the Mint, yet remains to be considered.
This relates to the persons to be employed, and to the services which they are respectively to perform. It is conceived that there ought to be
A Director of the Mint; to have the general superintendence of the busi
An Assay Master, or Assayer; to receive the metals brought to the Mint, ascertain their fineness, and deliver them to be coined.
A Master Coiner; to conduct the making of the coins.
A Cashier; to receive and pay them out.
An Auditor; to keep and adjust the accounts of the Mint.
Clerks; as many as the Directors of the Mint shall deem necessary, to assist the different officers.
Workmen; as many as may be found requisite.
In several of the European Mints, there are various other officers, but the foregoing are those only who appear to be indispensable. Persons in the capacity of clerks, will suffice instead of the others, with the advantage of greater economy.
The number of workmen is left indefinite, because, at certain times, it is requisite to have more than at others. They will, however, never be numerous. The expense of the establishment, in an ordinary year, will probably be from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars.
The remedy for errors in the weight and alloy of the coins, must necessarily form a part, in the system of a Mint; and the manner of applying it will require to be regulated. The following account is given of the practice in England, in this particular:
A certain number of pieces are taken promiscuously out of every fifteen pounds of gold, coined at the Mint, which are deposited, for safe keeping, in a strong box, called the pix. This box, from time to time, is opened in the presence of the Lord Chancellor, the officers of the Treasury, and others, and portions are selected from the pieces of each coinage, which are melted together, and the mass assayed by a jury of the Company of Goldsmiths. If the imperfection and deficiency, both in fineness and weight, fall short of a sixth of a carat, or 40 grains of pure gold, upon a pound of standard, the master of the Mint is held excusable; because, it is supposed, that no workman can reasonably be answerable for greater exactness. The expediency of some similar regulation seems to be manifest.
All which is humbly submitted.
PUBLIC CREDIT, No. 2.
[Communicated to the Senate, 21st January, 1795.]
The Secretary of the Treasury respectfully makes the following report to the Senate:
The President of the United States, with that provident concern for the "public welfare which characterizes all his conduct, was pleased, in his speech to the two Houses of Congress at the opening of the present session, to invite their attention to the adoption of a definitive plan for the redemption of the public debt, and to the consummation of whatsoever may remain unfinished of our system of public credit, in order to place that credit, as far as may be practicable, on grounds which cannot be disturbed, and to prevent that progressive accumulation of debt, which must ultimately endanger all government.
It was, at the same time, very justly intimated, that the period which has elapsed since the commencement of our fiscal measures, (now more than four years,) has so far developed our resources as to open the way to the imAnd it is matter of solid consolation, that the result, preportant work. senting a state of our finances prosperous beyond expectation, solicits the public councils to enter with zeal and decision upon measures commensurate with the greatness of the interests to be promoted.
Under the influence of this conviction, in conformity with the suggestions of the President, and pursuant to the duty which the constitution of the department, as by law established, enjoins upon the Secretary of the Treasury, he has employed himself in digesting and preparing the materials of a plan for the attainment of the invaluable ends which are recommended. And he now respectfully submits them to the consideration of Congress.
Towards a clear and distinct conception of the means necessary to the accomplishment of those ends, it will be useful, in the first place, to review what has been heretofore done. This will be presented under three heads. 1st. The revenues which have been established.
2dly. The provisions for funding the debt, and for the payment of interest upon it.
3dly. The provisions for reimbursing and extinguishing the debt. The revenues which have been established appear in the following acts: 1st. "An act for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandises, imported into the United States," passed June the 1st, 1789. This act, as its title imports, lays various specific and ad valorem rates on all articles (with exception of a few useful to agriculture and manufactures,) imported from The lowest ad valorem rate is five per cent., with a disforeign countries. The duration assigned count of 10 per cent. in favor of our own bottoms. these duties was the end of the session of Congress next succeeding the first day of June, 1796.
2d. "An act imposing duties on tonnage," passed July 20, 1789.
This act lays various rates of duty on the tonnage of ships and vessels entered in the United States from foreign countries, and, in certain cases, in one part of the United States from another.
Its duration was indefinite, no limit having been assigned.
3d. "An act imposing duties on the tonnage of ships and vessels," passed July 20, 1790.
This act is a substitute for the one last mentioned, preserving the same rates of duty, but applying them, in some instances, differently. It is, like the former, of indefinite duration.
4th. "An act making further provision for the payment of the debts of the United States," passed August 10, 1790.
This act repeals, after the last of December, 1790, the duties on imported articles, laid by the act above cited, and substitutes new and generally increased rates, specific and ad valorem.
The lowest ad valorem rate in this, as in the former act, is five per cent.; but the number of articles to which it applies is much narrowed, and instead of a discount in favor of our own bottoms, an addition of ten per cent. is made to the disadvantage of foreign bottoms.
The number of free articles is somewhat extended, in further encouragement of agriculture and manufactures.
It is declared, that the duties laid by this act shall continue till the debts and purposes for which they are appropriated shall be satisfied; reserving, however, a right to Congress to substitute other duties or taxes of equal value.
An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States," passed the 25th of February, 1791.
The second section of this act authorizes the President to cause a subscription to be made to the stock of the bank, on account of the United States, to the amount of $2,000,000; and with a view to the accomplishment of that object, to borrow of the bank $2,000,000, to be reimbursed in ten equal yearly instalments.
The difference between the interest payable on the loan, and the dividends on the stock, constitutes an item of annual income to the United States. It is unappropriated.
6th. "An act repealing, after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon distilled spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead; and, also, upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same," passed the 3d of March, 1791.
This act, in conformity with its title, repeals, after June, 1791, the duties on imported spirits, laid by the act of the 10th of August, 1790, and establishes, in lieu of them, higher rates, namely, from 20 to 40 cents per gallon, according to proof. It also lays duties, to commence at the same time, upon spirits distilled within the United States, namely, on those from foreign materials, from 11 to 30 cents, according to proof; on those from domestic materials, if distilled in cities, towns, or villages, from 9 to 25 cents per gallon, according to proof; if distilled in other places, it imposes a yearly rate of 60 cents per gallon of the capacity of each still, with an option to the distiller to keep and render an account of the produce of his still, and to pay nine cents per gallon of the quantity of spirits distilled therein.
These duties are appropriated, primarily, in the same manner, and to the same purposes, as those laid on imported articles by the act of the 10th of August, 1790, and are to continue for the same time, with the like reservation of a right to substitute other duties or taxes of equal value. There is a further appropriation, which will be noticed hereafter.
7th. "An act for raising a further sum of money for the protection of the frontiers, and for other purposes therein mentioned," passed May 2, 1792. This act repeals, after June, 1792, the former duties on a number of imported articles, and establishes higher duties in their stead.
It extends, among other things, the duties on foreign distilled spirits, laying on those made from grain 28 to 50 cents per gallon; on others, 25 to 46 cents per gallon. The appropriation and duration of these new duties are conformable and co-extensive with those repealed. There is, likewise, an addition of 24 per cent. to that class of duties ad valorem, which, before, was rated at 5 per cent.; but this additional duty is limited to the term of two years.
Out of the surplus of these duties, after satisfying the permanent appropriations, certain gross sums are appropriated for the service of the War Department.
8th. "An act concerning the duties on spirits distilled within the United States," passed May 8, 1792.
This act repeals, after the last day of June, 1792, the former duties on spirits distilled within the United States, and on stills, and, instead of them, establishes lower duties, namely, on those made of foreign materials, from 10 to 25 cents per gallon, according to proof; on those made of domestic materials, if in cities, towns, or villages, or at distilleries where the stills, singly or together, are of the capacity of 400 gallons, or upwards, from 7 to 18 cents per gallon, of the spirits distilled, according to proof; if made in other places, or at distilleries where the stills are of inferior capacity, the yearly rate of 54 cents per gallon, of the capacity of each still. A new option is given to the distiller, which is, instead of paying the yearly rate, to take out licenses for the monthly employment of his stills, paying, each time, 10 cents per gallon of the capacity of each still.
These new duties are appropriated in the same manner, and for the same purposes, and are to continue for the same time, as those for which they are substitutes; and to make good any deficiency which may accrue from lowering the rates, the surplus of the duties imposed by the act of the second of the same month is appropriated.
"An act to promote the progress of useful arts, and to repeal the act heretofore made for that purpose," passed February 21, 1793.
This act ordains certain fees to be paid, by persons to whom patents are granted, for inventions, discoveries, or improvements, and appropriates them to the purpose of defraying Clerk hire in the Department of State. Its duration is indefinite.
9th. "An act to establish the Post Office and Post Roads, within the United States," passed May 8, 1794.
This act establishes, to commence on the first of June following, various rates of postage on letters, and directs, that the Postmaster shall render to the Treasury Department, a quarterly account of Receipts and Expenditures, and shall pay, quarterly, into the Treasury, the balance in his hands.
The duration of this act is, also, indefinite. It contains no appropriation of the sums paid into the Treasury.
10th. "An act laying duties upon carriages for the conveyance of persons," passed June 5, 1794.
This act lays different rates of duty, from ten dollars down to one dollar, upon carriages for the conveyance of persons, kept by or for any person, for his or her own use, or to be let to hire, or for the conveying of passengers; and to guard against misapprehension, declares, that the duties shall
not be construed to extend to any carriage usually and chiefly employed in husbandry, or for the transporting or carrying of goods, wares, merchandise, produce, or commodities.
The duration of the duties is limited to the end of the session of Congress which shall be next after the term of two years from the time of passing the act. It contains no appropriation.
11th. "An act laying duties on licenses for selling wines and foreign distilled spirituous liquors, by retail," passed June 5, 1794.
This act requires, that every retail dealer in wines, shall take out a yearly license, and shall pay for it a duty of five dollars; and that every retail dealer in foreign distilled spirituous liquors, shall also take out a yearly license, and pay for it a duty of five dollars. It defines a retail dealer in wines, to be a person who deals in the selling of wines, to be carried or sent out of the house, building, or place of his or her dwelling, in less quantities at one time than thirty gallons, except in the original cask, case, box, or package, in which it is imported. A retail dealer of spirituous liquors to be a person who shall deal in the selling of foreign distilled spirituous liquors, to be carried or sent out of the house, building, or place of his or her dwelling, in less quantities than twenty gallons, at one time. No difference is made between the dealer in several kinds of wines, or several kinds of foreign distilled liquors, and the dealer in one kind.
The same duration is assigned to this act, as to the one last cited. It is equally without an appropriation.
12th. An act laying certain duties upon snuff, and refined sugar," passed June 5, 1794.
This act lays a duty of 8 cents per pound, on all snuff, which, after the 30th of September, 1794, should be manufactured within the United States, and of 2 cents per pound, on all sugar, which, after that day, should be refined within the United States. The remark made upon the two last recited acts, is applicable to this, as to the duration of the duties, and the appropriation of their proceeds.
13th. "An act laying additional duties on goods, wares, and merchandises, imported into the United States," passed June 7, 1794.
This act lays upon sundry enumerated articles, on their importation from foreign countries, certain specific and ad valorem rates of duty, in addition to those before charged upon them, and adds generally, a duty of two and a half per centum, on all that class of articles which were before chargeable with seven and a half per centum ad valorem. It also prolongs the temporary two and a half per centum, laid by the act of May 2, 1792, till the first of January, 1797, to which period the other duties laid by it are to continue. It contains no appropriation.
14th. "An act laying duties on property sold at auction," passed June 9, 1794.
This act lays a duty on sales at auction, by persons licensed according to the laws of a State, or this act prohibiting others from selling at auction, of per cent. of the purchase money, arising from the sale of any right, interest, or estate, in lands, tenements, or hereditaments, utensils in husbandry, farming stock, or ships and vessels, of per cent. of the purchase money, arising from the sales of any other goods, chattels, rights, or credits.
The term of these duties is limited to the end of the session next after the expiration of two years from the time of passing the act, which also is without an appropriation.