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Resolution by the Continental Congress concerning the payment of state requisitions
United States. Continental Congress
September 18, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 742-743

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

By the United States in Congress, Assembled,
September 18th, 1786.

The Committee, consisting of Mr. Pinkney, Mr. St. Clair & Mr. Harrison, to whom was referred a letter of the 12th from the Board of Treasury, together with a letter from the Commissioner of the Loan Office in the State of Rhode Island, and an Act of the Legislature of that State reported:

“That it appears from these communications the Legislature of the State of Rhode Island, by an Act passed in their last Session, have made the Paper Currency of that State receivable on all arrears of Taxes due the United States; that as this Explanation of the Law of the State, relative to the late requisitions of Congress, entirely defeats the Intentions of those Acts, the Commissioners of the Loan Office has Suspended the issue of Indents in that State, on the Requisition of the 27th of September, 1785, until he should receive the directions of the Board of Treasury on that Subject. The Board further remark, that the Legislature of the State of New Jersey have also made their paper Currency receivable on the arrears of Taxes due on the Requisition of the 27th & 28th April, 1784. On this Statement the Committee Observe, that as the Requisitions of Congress are calculated for the purpose of requiring from the States a sufficient Sum for the payment of the Interest due on the Foreign and Domestic debt, and the maintenance of the Civil Department, no deviation can be admitted from the mode of payment therein Established, without exposing the funds of the United States to great loss and inconvenience, particularly as the discharge of the Interest due on the Foreign Debt, and the Maintenance of the Civil Government, must altogether depend upon the payments that are made into the Federal Treasury in Specie; that to admit the receipt of bills of Credit issued under the authority of an individual State, in discharge of their Specie proportion of a requisition, would defeat its object, as the said bills do not circulate out of the limits of the State in which they are emitted, and because the paper medium of any State, however well founded, cannot either in the Extensiveness

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of its Circulation or in the Cause of its exchange, be equally Valuable with Gold or Silver, that if the Bills of Credit of the States of Rhode Island and New Jersey were to be received from those States in discharge of Federal Taxes, upon the principles of equal justice bills emitted by any other State must be received from them also in payment of their proportions, and thereby instead of the requisitions yielding a sum in Actual Money nothing but paper would be brought into the Federal Treasury, which would be wholly inapplicable to the payment of any part of the Interest or principal of the Foreign Debt, or the Maintenance of Government of the United States. That as the Consequences of the precedents which have been Established by the States above mentioned are dangerous to the Interest of the Union, the Committee conceive it Necessary for Congress to express their sense upon the Subject.”


Resolved, That as the annual requisitions of the United States in Congress Assembled were made by them in Virtue of the powers of the Confederation, and for the Necessary purposes of Government, the Same are Obligatory on the States, as such, and ought to be discharged by them in the Manner by the said Requisitions directed, and in no other.

Resolved, That as the payment of the Interest and such parts of the principal of the foreign debt of the United States, as are included in any of the requisitions of Congress, and the Maintenance of the Federal Government cannot be provided for but by payments in Specie into the Federal Treasury of the Sum respectively required of the States therein, no payments, either in bills of Credit, or in any other mode than those pointed out by the said requisitions, can or ought to be admitted in discharge of the same.

Ordered that the Board of Treasury transmit a Copy of the above Resolutions to each State and issue Instructions to the respective Loan Offices conformable thereto.