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Report of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, [17 November 1792]

Report of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund

[17 Nov. 1792]

The Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate, The Chief Justice, The Secretary of State, The Secretary of the Treasury and The Attorney General respectfully report to The Congress as follows—

That pursuant to the Act intitled An Act making provision for the reduction of the Public Debt and in conformity to resolutions agreed upon by them and severally approved by the President of the United States they have since their last Report caused purchases of the said Debt to be made through the Agency of Samuel Meredith Treasurer of the United States and William Seton Cashier of the Bank of New York respectively to the amount of Three hundred and twenty five thousand three hundred and seventy eight dollars and sixty two Cents; for which there have been paid Two hundred and forty two thousand, six hundred and eighty eight dollars and thirty one Cents in Specie as will more particularly appear by the several documents herewith submitted marked a, b, c.

That pursuant to the Act intitled “An Act supplementary to the Act making provision for the Debt of the United States” and in conformity to resolutions agreed upon by them and severally approved by the President of the United States they have also caused purchases of the said debt to be made through the Agency of Samuel Meredith Treasurer of the United States to the amount of Thirty eight thousand seven hundred and fourteen dollars and fifty one Cents; for which there have been paid Twenty five thousand nine hundred and sixty nine dollars and ninety six Cents in specie as will more particularly appear by the document herewith submitted marked d:—

An Abstract of the whole of which purchases is contained in the Statement e, herewith also reported amounting to Three hundred and sixty four thousand and ninety three dollars and thirteen Cents; for which there have been paid Two hundred and sixty eight thousand six hundred and fifty eight dollars and twenty seven Cents in specie.

That the said several documents marked a, b, c, d (which are submitted as part of this report) shew in detail the places where, the times when, the prices at which, and the persons of whom the purchases aforesaid have been made.

That the purchases now and heretofore reported amount together to One Million, four hundred and ninety five thousand, four hundred and fifty seven dollars and eighty nine Cents; for which there have been paid Nine hundred and sixty seven thousand, eight hundred and twenty one dollars and sixty five Cents in specie; and for which credits have been passed on the books of the Treasury, as will be more particularly seen by the Certified Statement herewith also submitted marked f.

On behalf of the Board—
Th: Jefferson

MS (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 2d Cong., 2d sess.); undated; in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ. Enclosures: Twelve documents marked a-l relating to purchases of the public debt in 1792 by the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund (MSS of d-f in same, in a clerk’s hand signed by Register of the Treasury Joseph Nourse; Trs of a-c and g-l in same, certified by Nourse; all printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Finance, i, 163–71). Enclosed in TJ to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, 17 Nov. 1792.

Under the terms of the 1790 act for the reduction of the public debt, TJ in his capacity as Secretary of State was an ex officio Commissioner of the Sinking Fund. The Commissioners, who also included the President of the Senate, the Chief Justice, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General, were directed by this legislation to apply the surplus revenue from the import and tonnage duties to the purchase of the public debt. This act also required them to submit a report to Congress on such purchases within fourteen days of the beginning of each congressional session (Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title-page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , ii, 2369–70). In order to meet this deadline, TJ was obliged to transmit the above report to the presiding officers of the House and Senate this day, since Congress began its deliberations on 5 Nov. 1792 and the 18th of the month was a Sunday. The supplementary act of May 1792 placed the interest from the purchased or redeemed debt and debts paid into the Treasury, as well as the surplus of any sums appropriated for the payment of the interest on the debt, at the disposal of the Commissioners and required them to report to Congress on the purchases of the public debt made with these funds under the same conditions as the 1790 act (same, iii, 1381–3).

The report of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund printed above is the only one that TJ signed and submitted to Congress during his tenure as Secretary of State. John Adams, who was not in Philadelphia at this time, signed and transmitted the other three reports that the Commissioners submitted between 1790 and 1793 (Reports of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, 21 Dec. 1790, 7 Nov. 1791, 16 Dec. 1793, ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Finance, i, 81–2, 111–22, 252–70). The minutes of the meetings of the Commissioners attended by TJ are in same, 234–8; and Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xiv, 292–3. For a brief analysis of the work of the Commissioners, which emphasizes the leading role played by the Secretary of the Treasury, see White, Federalists, description begins Leonard White, The Federalists: A Study in Administrative History, New York, 1948 description ends 351–2.

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