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Ordinance by the Continental Congress concerning the establishment of a board for settling public accounts
United States. Continental Congress
October 13, 1786
Volume 18, Pages 783-785

AN ORDINANCE FOR ESTABLISHING A BOARD FOR SETTLING PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

16th November, 1786.

An Ordinance for Establishing a Board to Liquidate and settle all Accounts between the United States and Individual States.

It is hereby Ordained by the United States in Congress Assembled,

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that the Authority of the Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the Resolution of Congress of the 20th February, 1782, shall from and after the first day of April next, terminate and cease, except the Commissioners for the States of North Carolina and Georgia, who shall continue in Office for the purpose of Settling the Claims of Individuals for such longer Time not exceeding six months as the Board of Treasury shall direct; Provided always, That the Board of Treasury may sooner dismiss any of the said Commissioners. That a Board to consist of Three Members, any two of whom shall be a quorum, be appointed, who shall be and hereby are invested with all the powers and Authorities of the aforesaid Commissioners so far as they relate to the Settlement of the Accounts between the United States and Individual States and shall sit where Congress may from time to time direct.

That in cases where no written Vouchers can be produced for Claims founded upon existing Resolutions of Congress, and the said Board shall receive satisfactory evidence that such Vouchers have been destroyed or unavoidably lost, or that from the circumstances of the case they have never been obtained, the said Board may receive such other Evidence as shall be satisfactory to them, provided the same be the best that the nature and circumstances of the case will admit of; and at their discretion may examine on Oath, any person or persons they may think fit respecting the Claims exhibited, whether accompanied with written Vouchers or not.

That in cases where the Testimony of a witness not residing within twenty miles of the place where the said Board shall sit shall appear to be essential, the said Board are hereby authorized to issue a Commission to some proper person or persons, to take the Deposition in writing, with the interrogatives and answers, in presence of the Agent or Agents of the party Claimant, his or their Attorney, and the person appointed by the said Board, Agent on the part of the United States. And the said Board are hereby Authorised to appoint some suitable person to be present as Agent of the United States at the taking of such Deposition, to interrogate the Witness, and observe that his Evidence contain the whole truth, and nothing else. And the said Board shall in each Commission notify to the Person or Persons to whom the said Commission may be issued, the name and place of residence of such Agent and the said person or persons shall give due Notice in writing to the party

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Claimants, and to the said Agents to be present at taking such Deposition, allowing at the Rate of one day for every ten Miles the most remote of them shall be from the place where the Deposition is to be taken.

That it be, and it is hereby recommended to the Legislatures of the several States, to pass laws to enable the said Board and the person, or persons so Commissioned by them, to call before them respectively Witnesses, and examine them on Oath or Affirmation in all matters touching the Claims exhibited to the said Board.

That where any State has Claims against the United States not Authorized or Sanctioned by existing Resolutions of Congress, and the same shall be laid before the said Board within one year after the Organization thereof the Board shall examine the same, and Report the State of such Claims with their opinion thereon to Congress.

That the Commissions of the Board shall continue in force for three years unless sooner Revoked by Congress.

Done by the United States in Congress Assembled, this 13th day of October in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, and of our Sovereignty and Independence the Eleventh.

CHAS. THOMSON.


Additional Notes for Electronic Version: According to the Journals of the Continental Congress, this ordinance passed on October 13, 1786.