Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison, 16 April 1784

To Benjamin Harrison

Annapolis Apr. 16. 1784.


I wrote you by the last post that some objections had been started in debate on the justice of that part of the national debt which consists in loan office certificates. The doubt was new to me. I had always considered this to be as honest a debt as any we owed: perhaps a more tender one in most cases, as being due to daughters, to younger children, to widows &c. It proved in event to be the doubt of only two or three individuals in Congress. Every state, and every other individual establishing the demand when put to the vote.—We have obtained a reduction of the general requisitions from about four millions and a half of dollars to about two and a half. The quota of Virginia stood at about 860,000; and now stands at about five hundred and sixty or seventy thousand dollars. (I mention round numbers, not having the exact sums in my possession at present.) I can assure you this was getting as low as could be proposed without professing a bankruptcy. I hope therefore our state, heavy as this demand is, will seriously encounter it. The report sent you will have informed you she is much in arrears. The idea of adjournment is at present for about the middle or end of May. We have no foreign intelligence. I have the honour to be with very great esteem Your Excellency’s Most obedt. humble servt.

Th: Jefferson

RC (CSt); addressed: “His Excellency Governor Harrison Richmond”; franked; endorsed.

By the last post: presumably TJ to Harrison, 9 Apr. 1784. For the debate in Congress over loan office certificates, see note to Report on Arrears of Interest on the National Debt, [5 Apr. 1784]. On 27 Apr. 1784 Congress formally approved a quota of 538,693.47 dollars as Virginia’s share of a requisition on the states to help pay interest arrearages on the national debt (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxvi, 309). report sent you: see the report cited above.

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