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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Report by Charles Thomson concerning public finance, including circular letter from Charles Thomson to the state governors
Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824
January 04, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 496-502

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HON. CHAS THOMSON TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]


Office of Secretary of Congress, Jan. 12th, 1786.

Sir:

I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency herewith enclosed a copy of a Report which I made to Congress in Obedience to their order of the 2d of this month.

With great respect I have the Honor to be,
Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servt.,
CHAS. THOMSON.

HON. CHAS. THOMSON'S REPORT TO CONGRESS.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

By the United States in Congress Assembled,
January 2d, 1786.

Ordered, That the Secretary of Congress report the Number of States which have complied in whole or in part with the Revenue System of April 18, 1783; the recommendation of Congress of the same date, for an alteration of the 8th of the Articles of Confederation; and the Act of the 30th of April, 1784, recommending the vesting of certain Commercial powers in Congress.


Office of Secretary of Congress, Jan. 4, 1786.

In Obedience to the Orders of Congress, the Secretary of Congress reports:

That the revenue System of the 18th April, 1783, consists of two parts.

First, a recommendation to the States to invest the United States in Congress Assembled with a power to levy for the use of the United States certain duties upon goods imported into the said States from any Foreign Port, Island or plantation, to be applied to the discharge of the Interest and principal of the debts contracted on the faith of the United States agreeably to the resolution of the 16th

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December 1782, and not to be continued for a longer term than twenty-five years. The Collectors of the duties to be appointed by the States respectively, but when appointed to be amenable to and removable by the United States in Congress Assembled alone, and in case any State shall not make such appointment within one month after notice given for that purpose, the appointment may be made by the United States in Congress Assembled.

With this part of the Act the following States have complied:

New Hampshire, by Act 1st & 2d of January, 1784.

Massachusetts, by do. 30th October, 1783.

Connecticut, by do. May, 1784.

New Jersey, by do. 11th June, 1783.

Pennsylvania, by do. 23d September, 1783.

Virginia, by do. October, 1783, ch. 31.

North Carolina, by do. June, 1784.

South Carolina, by do. 21st March, 1784.

Rhode Island, in the Session of their Legislature in the Spring of 1785, passed an Act for levying the duties pointed out by Congress, but have therein enacted, that the Collector shall be appointed by and amenable to their General Assembly, and that of the money arising from the duties, a certain sum, viz.: 8,000 dollars shall be appropriated in their Treasury, for the payment of the Interest of that State's proportion of the foreign debt of the United States, and paid to the order of Congress, and that the surplus of the duties and the amount of other taxes ordered by the said Act, shall be appropriated to the payment of the Interest of the Internal debt of the United States due within that State. This Act to take effect when the other States in the union agree to the said impost to the acceptation of Congress, and have provided other adequate funds for compleating their quota of 1,500,000 dollars, according to the requisition of Congress of the 10th of April, 1783, but with this proviso, and upon this express condition, “that no duties shall be collected upon Articles imported into any State, upon which the said duties have been paid by any other State, and that no duty shall be imposed by any one State upon the Citizens of another State, either upon imported Articles having paid the duties as

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aforesaid, or upon any Articles, of the growth produce or manufacture of the United States.”

The State of Maryland, in June, 1782, pursuant to Acts of Congress of the 3d and 7th of February, 1781, passed “an Act to authorize the United States in Congress Assembled to impose and levy a duty of five per Cent on imported foreign goods, and on all prizes and prize goods, for the payment of the debts contracted by Congress during the War,” and in November Session 1784, their Legislature passed a supplement to the afore mentioned Act, whereby it should take effect as soon as twelve States, including that State, vested Congress with similar powers, but it does not appear that they have passed any Act pursuant to the recommendation of Congress of the 18th April, 1783.

Delaware, it is said, has passed an Act conformable to the recommendation above mentioned, but no official information thereof has yet been transmitted to this office or to the Board of Treasury.

The second part of the revenue System of the 18th of April 1783, consists of a recommendation to the several States to establish for a term limited to twenty-five years, and to appropriate to the discharge of the Interest and principal contracted on the faith of the United States for supporting the War, substantial and effectual revenues of such nature as they may judge most convenient, for supplying their respective proportions of 1,500,000 dollars annually, exclusive of the afore mentioned duties. With this part of the Act the following States have complied:

New Jersey, by their Act of 20th December, 1783.

Pennsylvania, do. Sept. 1783.

North Carolina, do. June 9th, 1784.

Rhode Island in the Act above mentioned has enacted, that a Tax of one Spanish silver milled dollar upon every hundred Acres of Land within that State, upon every male poll in the State of twenty-one years of age, and upon every Horse or mare of two years old and upwards shall be annually laid, levied and collected, and that the account thereof shall be appropriated to the payment of the Interest of the internal debt of the United States, due within that State, with the proviso and on the express Condition above set forth.

The Act of the 18th of April, 1783, also recommends to the States an alteration in the 8th of the articles of Confederation and Perpetual

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Union, for ascertaining with more Convenience and Certainty the proportions to be supplied by the States, which are advised to authorize their respective Delegates to subscribe and ratify the same as part of the said Instrument of union, in the words therein mentioned.

With this part of the Act, the following States have complied:

Massachusetts, by their Act 2d July, 1785.

Connecticut, by do. May, 1783.

New York, by do. April, 1783.

New Jersey, by do. June, 1783.

Pennsylvania, by do. August, 1783.

Maryland, by do. November, 1784.

Virginia, by do. May, 1784.

North Carolina, by do. June, 1784.

By the Act of the 30th of April, 1784, it is recommended to the Legislatures of the several States to vest the United States in Congress Assembled for the term of fifteen years with the power,

1. To prohibit any goods, wares or merchandise from being imported into or exported from any of the States, in Vessels belonging to or navigated by the subjects of any power with whom these States shall not have formed Treaties of Commerce.

2. To prohibit the subjects of any Foreign State, Kingdom or Empire, unless authorized by treaty, from importing into the United States any goods, wares or merchandises which are not the produce or manufacture of the dominions of the Sovereign whose subjects they are.

In pursuance of this Act, New Hampshire has invested Congress for fifteen years, with full power to regulate the trade of the United States as they may judge best calculated to promote the Weal and prosperity thereof, the fees, profits and emoluments arising from their regulations, to be appropriated to the sole use of discharging public debts. See Act 22d June, 1785.

Massachusetts has passed a Law in the terms of recommendation 4th July, 1784.

Rhode Island has impowered their Delegates to agree and ratify any article empowering the United States in Congress Assembled to regulate, restrain and prohibit the importation of all foreign goods in any but American Vessels. See Act passed Oct. 1785. The Delegates are empowered to agree to any Article by which the United

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States in Congress Assembled shall be solely impowered to regulate the Trade and Commerce of the respective States and Citizens thereof with each other, and to regulate, restrain, or prohibit the importation of all foreign Goods in American Vessels for Twentyfive years.

Connecticut has passed an Act in the Terms of the recommendation, May 1785.

New York the same, 4th April, 1785.

Pennsylvania the same, 15th December, 1784.

Maryland the same, November, 1784.

Virginia the same, May, 1784.

North Carolina the same, June, 1784.