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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
rowed, the sum of....
From last February, 1778, to dates of last
Amount of bills of exchange drawn on com-
Do. drawn on ministers at that and other courts for supplies, and to answer pressing emergencies on account of deficiencies in the publick treasury. Supplies by them purchased and sent over, for which payment has not been made, and of which no exact returns have yet been obtained, together with expences of commissioners and ministers abroad, estimated at.
2, 518, 028
6, 000, 000 18, 275, 478
1 The words in brackets are in the report but not in the Journal.
An. interest [Specie]1.
Int. payable in bills on France.
Deduct for depreciation on money bor-
Principal sum specie__.
Due to the army for pay and subsistance,
Due to the civil officers of government----
The late quartermaster has returned debts
Unsettled, (excluding those contracted in
The present quartermaster has not made returns; but as it is well known that he
883, 914 Int. payable in
An. interest [Specie).
17, 391, 564 An. Inter- 1, 096, 52818
1, 000, 000
18, 391, 564 98,927
has not been supplied with money, what-
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 general of military stores and the cloathier general, estimated at..
Total in continental at 75 for 1_ To which adding the new money issued in lieu of the old which is called in and destroyed
[Deficiency of civil list debts.
Total debts in specie.
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.