State of North Carolina
In Council July 20th. 1791.
A Proposition of His Excellency the Governor. Having received information that the States of New York4 and South Carolina5 have funded their Public securities by Subscribing them on Loan to the United States, pursuant to an Act of Congress passed in their second Session intituled an Act “for making provision for the debt of the United States,” I consider it the duty of the Executive as the General Assembly will not meet till after the time limited by said Act for taking in Subscriptions to said Loan6 to lay this important subject before you on so urgent an occasion. I submit to your deliberations and advice the propriety of Subscribing at this time all the State Certificates and Public Securities thereof fundable by said Act now in the possession of the Treasurer7 Comptroller8 or other Public Officers of the State as a Loan in the Office of the Commissioner of Loans of the United States for this State. Please to signify your advice accordingly and should the measure meet your approbation the manner and by whom the same is to be effected. As these Certificates are of a negoceable nature and the property of the State acquired by taxation and purchace it appears that she has a right to dispose of them as she pleases. Should the public accounts be never settled as is suggested by some9 a saving of the interest will be made to the State by subscribing these Certificates as aforesaid. Should a Settlement take place which is ardently wished for this State it is presumed will be a large Creditor State. She will have it in her power to deduct from the ballance due her the sum subscribed or so much thereof as will be an equivalent to said Ballance and the residue if any will be on Loan to the United States. Should the State contrary to all expectations be a debtor,10 she will still have it in her power to transfer the Subscription by her made in payment of part or in full of the Ballance that may be due the United States.
The Council taking the proposition of his Excellency the Governor under consideration conceive it a subject of great magnitude in which the State is much interested having maturely considered the fourth Section of the Act of Congress for making provision for the debt of the United States11 are of opinion that the words “Body Politic” mentioned therein give this State, being the first Political corporate Body by which we are governed in a State capacity a right to Subscribe to the United States a Loan of its Public Securities equal to a person or persons therein mentioned. And as the reasons set forth in the Governor’s pro[po]sition together with the emergency of the occasion seem to call for the immediate interposition of the Executive Resolved they do recommend and advise that His Excellency the Governor authorize and empower Francis Child Esquire Comptroller of the public accounts of this State to subscribe or cause to be Subscribed on or before the last day of September next for and in behalf of this State in the Office of the Commissioner of Loans of the United States for this State all Certificates and other Public Securities the property of this State fundable by said Act now in his possession or that may come into his possession before that time: And that the said Comptrollor obtain a Certificate or Certificates or a receipt or receipts for the same from the said Commissioner of Loans and make return thereof to the Governor by him to be laid before the next General Assembly12 that the State be enabled to derive from the said Loan the advantages mentioned in said act.
Extract from the Journals of the Council of State.
Test. Tho. Rogers C C.
3. Copy, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Raleigh. This document was enclosed in H’s “Report to the Governor of North Carolina,” July 31, 1794.
5. On February 19, 1791, the South Carolina legislature passed “An Act for loaning to the United States, a Sum of the Indents of this State under certain Limitations therein mentioned.” The act provided in part as follows:
“That the commissioners of the treasury, or any of them, be authorized, required and directed to subscribe in behalf of this state, on loan to the United States, on the last day of September next, so many of the fundable indents of this state as may then be in their possession, which, when added to the amount of private subscriptions, will make in the whole four millions of dollars, or as near thereto as may be, but in no case to exceed that sum, and to receive in lieu thereof, in behalf of the state, from the commissioner of loans, the funded certificates of the United States, in such sums as they may deem most convenient.…
“That the commissioners of the treasury take forthwith an account of all indents in their possession, distinguishing those which are fundable from those which are not, and those which are cancelled from those which are not, and report the same to the legislature when sitting, or in their recess, to his excellency the governor; and the commissioners of the treasury, and all other officers of the state, who have received, or who may receive fundable indents on behalf of the state, are hereby required to forbear from cancelling the same till the last day of September next, any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.” (State of South-Carolina. At a General Assembly, begun and holden at Columbia, on Monday the third day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, and from thence continued by divers adjournments, to the fourteenth day of February, in the same year, and in the fifteenth year of the Independence of the United States of America [n.p., n.d], 72–74.)
6. “An Act making provision for the (payment of the) Debt of the United States” had provided that subscriptions to the new Federal loan could be received until October 1, 1791 (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 138–44 [August 4, 1790]).
7. John Haywood.
8. Francis Child.
9. This is a reference to the widespread belief in the southern states that the final settlement of the accounts between the states and the Federal Government, from which the southern states expected to obtain substantial benefits, would in fact never be completed.
10. In actuality, North Carolina turned out to be a debtor rather than a creditor. In the final settlement of accounts that appears in the report of the commissioners of accounts for June 29, 1793, North Carolina is listed as one of the debtor states (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Miscellaneous, I, 69).
12. In a speech on December 7, 1791, the governor laid the journal of the council of state before the North Carolina legislature. On December 12, 1791, Francis Child, the comptroller, notified the legislature that he had “funded as a loan to the United States” the certificates in his possession and noted that Skinner’s receipt would be produced on request (Journal of the House of Commons. North-Carolina. At a General Assembly begun and held in the town of Newbern, on the fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, and of the independence of the United States of America the sixteenth: Being the first session of this Assembly [Edenton: Printed by Hodge & Wills, Printers to the State, n. d.], 4, 9). A more complete report of a committee of finance appears in the Journal of the Senate for December 22, 1791. The report reads in part as follows: “the … certificates … [in the North Carolina treasury] were delivered to the Comptroller unpunched, in consequence of its having been in contemplation to fund them; they have therefore called on the Comptroller, and find that he, pursuant to instructions from the Governor and Council, hath placed in the office of the Commissioner of Loans for the United States in North-Carolina,… to amount of one hundred and seventy-two thousand seven hundred and ninety-four pounds two shillings and three pence, including interest …” (Journal of the Senate. North-Carolina. At a General Assembly begun and held in the town of Newbern, on the fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, and of the independence of the United States of America the sixteenth: Being the first session of this Assembly [n.p., n.d.], 14–15).