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Letter from Francis Child to Samuel Johnston
Child, Francis, d. 1792
December 1788
Volume 21, Pages 512-514

[From Executive Letter Book.]


Since I had the honor of addressing the General Assembly, the Commissioner from Congress has been employed in examining the accounts & vouchers as I have listed them, agreeable to the several reports of the sundry Boards of Auditors, and others who have passed the Accounts and issued Certificates for the Amount. On this examination he starts sundry exceptions and difficulties before he thinks himself at liberty to sign such an asknowledgment as I laid before your Excellency and Council at the Convention held in July last at this place, which form of acknowledgment the Council then approved of. You will perceive Sir, that the Commissioner has found “that there is great variety and dissimilitude both in the tenor of the “vouchers and the objects of expence, that the Sums paid by the “State were in many Instances not ascertainable from the accounts “and vouchers and in others only after a tedious computation, and the “result not unfrequently disagreeing with the sums therein stated.” I would wish to remark to your Excellency that it is not to be wondered at, that there was so great a variety of dissimilitude both in the Tenor of the vouchers & objects of the Expence, when it is recollected that there was no particular form for officers to give receipts for what they received (or if there was it is much to be lamented that very few knew it) and as to the objects of Expence they certainly did accrue from the necessity of some of the several Departments for which the Articles were received and expended.

“That the Sums paid by the State were in many instances not

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“ascertainable from the accounts and vouchers, and in others only “after a tedious computation and the result not unfrequently dis“agreeing with the sums stated.” As the Auditors (especially one of the Boards of Salisbury District) received numbers of claims without any particular List of what they amounted to, and frequently for a Claim gave Certificates in Specie & Currency in part for one & the same, ’twas impossible for me to make a distinction, to know what they allowed for one part of the Claim particularly in Specie or Currency; but as we could not make a Calculation so as to know the real amount we have left it blank, for the Commissioners of Boards of three, with the Agent from the State to fill up on equitable principles as near as may be for what sum they may think equal to the voucher for delivery. I presume that this cannot be of much consequence as the cases are not so very many.

Inclosed you will be pleased to receive the exceptions before mentioned with a Copy of the acknowledgment (which I laid before the Governor & Council and they approved of and which the Commissioner is willing to give) and as the exceptions I presume are not of very great consequence I shall be glad to have the direction of your Excellency, whether I shall take the acknowledgments with the Commissioners exceptions or not.

I also enclose your Excellency a Copy of a Letter received from the Treasurer of Continental Loans in this State together with a Copy of a receipt he sent me for the Continental Dollars lodged by me with him. This I have sent in order that you may give such directions thereon as you may think proper.

I am likewise to acquaint your Excellency that the Commissioner finds that it will not be in his power to add up the whole amount of the several accounts he himself has registered whilst he stays in this State, of course, he cannot give me a receipt or acknowledgment, specifying the sum they amount to, therefore he proposes that all the Accounts and Vouchers be put in Chest with two locks to cach Chest the keys of which are to be kept, one in the possession of himself, and the other in the possession of the Agent, till such time as they arrive at New York, but this I dont take the liberty of agreeing to till I have you Excellency’s Orders for so doing, tho’ I think there is no other or better way, for if, Mr. Winder does not take them with him Congress may determine and say they were not Exhibited

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in the time limited. On this subject I most earnestly request to have your particular direction.

As there are a considerable number of accounts that Mr. Winder has not acted on, and which he is to pass, finally, and as he cannot compleat them here, he proposes taking them to Virginia and finishing that part of the Business at Richmond, in this case if it should meet with the approbation of your Excellency I think it would be best for Col. Thomas the Agent to go on with him and then the Papers may all go together.

I am, &c., &c.,