Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Dollars.

By returns made to the Board of Treasury up to the 16th February, 1781, it appears that from the opening of the loan offices to the first day of March, 1778, there has been bor

An.interest (Specie]". rowed, the sum of

7, 313, 306 bis on stanca. 438, 79817 From last February, 1778, to dates of last

returns, 53,245,138, valued [by the table of depreciation) at-

4, 962, 172

297, 730%,
Amount of bills of exchange drawn on com-

missioners and ministers at the Court of
France, for payment of three years in-
terest

1, 316, 394
Do. drawn on ministers at that and other

courts for supplies, and to answer press-
ing emergencies on account of deficiencies
in the publick treasury

2, 165, 578
Supplies by them purchased and sent over,

for which payment has not been made,
and of which no cxact returns have yet
been obtained, together with expences
of commissioners and ministers abroad,
estimated at.

2, 518, 028 6,000,000

360, 000

18, 275, 478 The words in brackets are in the report but not in the Journal.

Dollars.

883, 914 Int. payable in

An. interest (Specie).

Deduct for depreciation on money bor

rowed from 1st Sept. 1777, to 1st March,

1778------
Principal sum specie.
Due to the army for pay and subsistance,

up to the last of December, 1780, esti-
mated.

. 17, 391, 564 An. Inter- 1,096, 52888

est

1,000,000 18, 391,564

98, 927

Due to the civil officers of government.---
Besides the above, there are large debts

contracted by the quartermaster and
commissary, for part of which they have
settled with the persons who have fur-
nished the supplies, and given them cer-

tificates, bearing interest, viz:
The late quartermaster has returned debts

settled..
Unsettled, (excluding those contracted in

North Carolina, South Carolina and Geor

gia) estimated at.. The present quartermaster has not made

returns; but as it is well known that he

[blocks in formation]

has not been supplied with money, what-
ever exertions have been made or sup-
plies furnished in that department must
have been on credit. It is to be pre-
sumed that the debts by him contracted
up to 1 Jan. 1781, amount in specie to.

500,000
The commissary of purchases has made re-

turns of debts due in his department
amounting to

11, 388, 903
To this is to be added what yet remains of

the old currency unredeemed, suppose--- 160,000,000
To which may be added for navy debts, &c.,

for debts due in the departments of the
Board [of War), of the commissary gen-
eral of military stores and the cloathier
general, estimated at.

10, 702, 377
Total in continental at 75 for 1. 230, 000, 000 is 3,066, 6663
To which adding the new money issued in

lieu of the old which is called in and
destroyed

2,000,000
[Deficiency of civil list debts

8, 927] Total debts in specie

24,057, 1573

The distresses of the army for want of provisions, and their uneasiness and dissatisfaction for want of pay, have been so great and so notorious, and the clamours of public creditors so loud, that it is become necessary to state the measures which Congress have pursued, and the steps they have taken from time to time to support the war, to provide for public exigencies, and to guard against the dangers and embarrassments with which we are now threatened for want of timely supplies of money

It cannot be forgotten that these United States were plunged into a war, and that an army was drawn together before any money was provided, or funds established for defraying the expence thereof. Arms, ammunition and implements of war were all to be procured, as well as provisions, subsistence, and pay for the troops, suddenly called forth to oppose an enemy already in the heart of our country, and in possession of one of our capital towns. In this situation of affairs Congress met in May, 1775. They had no resource from whence to derive present supplies but that of emitting bills of credit, redeemable at a future day. This was an expedient which was well known, and had often been practised to good effect in the several colonies. Accordingly, on the 22 of June, 1775, they agreed to emit bills of credit to the amount of two millions; and on the 25 of July following encreased the sum to three million dollars;-for the redemption of which they pledged the confederated colonies, and directed each colony to provide ways and means to sink its proportion or quota, which was then ascertained, in such manner as would be most effectual and best adapted to the condition, circumstances and equal mode of levying taxes in such colony, in four annual payments; the first to be made on or before the last of November, 1779, before which

time it was hoped the contest might be brought to a conclusion. On the 29 of November following, an estimate having been formed of the public expences already arisen, and which might accrue in the defence of America, to the 10 of June, 1776, Congress resolved to emit a further sum of three millions of dollars, to be redeemed as the former, by four annual payments, the first to be made on or before the last day of November, 1783. It was at the same time resolved, that the proportion or quota of each respective State should be determined according to the number of inhabitants of all ages, including negroes and mulattoes in each colony; and for this purpose it was recommended to the several assemblies, &c. to ascertain by the most impartial means in their power the number of inhabitants in each respective colony, and make returns thereof to Congress as soon as possible.

At this time a hope was still entertained that an accommodation would take place, and that hostilities would soon cease. But having received advices, in the winter following, that Great Britain had contracted for a large body of Hessian and other German mercenaries, which were to be sent over to subdue America, Congress found it necessary to make suitable preparations, which consequently encreased the expence; and therefore, on the 17 of February, they ordered four millions of dollars to be emitted on the same security as the former sums; and on the 9th of May following, emitted five millions more on the like security.

The powerful fleet and army sent against America in the summer of 1776, and the professed design of Great Britain to subdue by force, or to bring the colonies to unconditional submission, obliged Congress to declare Independence, and to call in the aid of militia, and consequently encreased the expence; and therefore, on the 22 July, they emitted five millions more.

« ForrigeFortsett »