Bill Providing a Supply for the Public Exigencies
[20 May 1778]
Whereas in order to carry into effect the several acts passed at this present session of General assembly for raising a regiment of horse, for raising a battalion of infantry for garrison duty, for raising volunteers to join the grand army [for recruiting the continental army] and [other purposes therein mentioned, and the resolutions of the twenty ninth of May one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight, for making good the losses of certain sufferers in the town of Norfolk,]1 it will be necessary to make a further emission of <bills of credit> treasury notes and to provide for the redemption thereof; be it enacted by the General assembly that it shall be lawful for the Treasurer to issue treasury notes in dollars or parts of a dollar for any sum which may be requisite for the purposes aforesaid in addition to the sums issuable by former acts of assembly, so as the said sum to be issued by authority of this act do not exceed [six]2 hundred thousand dollars. And he shall cause the said notes to be engraved and printed in such manner and on such paper as he shall judge most likely to secure the same from being counterfeited, and shall appoint proper persons to overlook the press, and to number and sign the notes upon the best terms on which he can procure them.
And whereas there is reason to beleive that the taxes imposed by an act passed at the last session of General assembly for raising a supply of money for publick exigencies3 will be more than sufficient to answer the purposes expressed in the said act; be it further enacted that after the taxes which shall be levied by authority of the said act shall have effected the purposes to which they are appropriated by the said act, so much of what shall remain as shall be sufficient for the redemption of the notes to be issued by authority of this present act, shall be applied to that purpose, and if so much as shall be sufficient shall not remain, further provision shall be made by law for making good the deficiency and redeeming the whole before the first day of December which shall be in the year of our lord 1785.
If any person shall counterfeit, <or aid or abet in counterfeiting> any of the said treasury-notes issued by authority of this act or shall be accessory thereto, or shall pass any such counterfeited note <in paiment> knowing the same to be counterfeit, he shall on conviction thereof suffer death without benefit of clergy.4
MS (Vi); in TJ’s hand. Endorsed by him: “A Bill providing a supply for the publick exigencies.” Docketed in the hand of Edmund Randolph: “May 20. 1778. read first time May 21. 1778. read 2d. time to be <engrossed> committed.” Text of the Act as adopted (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 456–7) has been collated with MS. Accompanying this is a list of three amendments in Randolph’s hand; see notes 1 and 2, below.
On 16 May TJ was appointed member of a committee to bring in a supply bill; it was introduced by Carter on 20 May, read the second time on the 21st, amended by the House on the 29th, and passed on the 30th (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1778, 1827 edn., p. 10, 13, 15, 26, 28, 30). The Act was passed as TJ drew it, save as indicated in notes 1 and 2, below.
1. The passages in square brackets are supplied from the Act as adopted, spaces having been left blank in TJ’s MS of the Bill. Both were supplied by amendment. The Acts referred to in the preamble of this Bill are in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 445–56.
2. The word in square brackets supplied from the Act; see note 4.
3. See Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 349–68, for this Act of the preceding session levying various taxes and duties. TJ had been on the committee to draw up the bill for providing a supply that had been hotly debated during Jan. 1778 (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Oct. 1777, 1827 edn., p. 77–8, 105, 108, 112–20, 123, 126, 133).
4. This paragraph is written in TJ’s hand on a separate slip of paper. On it is written “600,000 D” in TJ’s hand, perhaps as a note of the decision taken by the House on the amount to be inserted in the blank he had left in MS. It is worth noting that, in the Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments (q.v., Bill No. 64, Report of the Committee of Revisors, 18 June 1779), counterfeiting was not made a capital offense. This would seem to indicate that that famous Bill was drawn sometime between 20 May 1778 and 1 Nov. 1778 (TJ to George Wythe, 1 Nov. 1778; but see Malone, i, 269).