Francis Hopkinson to the American Commissioner or Commissioners4
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Philada. Novr. 19th. 1779
Since my last of Sept 8th5 the following Setts of Exchange have issued from my Office Vizt.
To the State of Connecticut
To the State of Rhode Island
To the State of New York
We have Reason to believe that the Continental Loan Office Bills Each have been counterfeited at New York.6 If any such should get to your Hands I hope you will be able to detect the Fraud by the Checks with which you are furnished. I have not yet seen any of those Counterfeits. As soon as it shall be in my Power I will give you an accurate Account of the Difference between the true & false Bills—
I have the Honour to be Your very hble serv
Fras Hopkinson Treas. of Loans
Addressed: (On public service) / To The Honourable / The Commissioner or Commissioners / of the United States of America / at / Paris / To be sunk if in Danger of falling into the Hands of the Enemy / (Quadruplicate)
4. For the past fourteen months Treasurer of Loans Hopkinson had been sending lists of valid loan office certificates to France so that counterfeit bills could be spotted: for examples see XXVII, 417–18; XXVIII, 68–9; XXIX, 49–50. His next list (87 sets from R.I. worth $5,850 and 35 sets from N.Y. worth $3,900) was sent on Jan. 14, 1780, to the same address; three ALS of it (marked “Original,” “Duplicate,” and “Triplicate”) are at the APS.
5. Discussed in XXX, 299n.
6. Elaborate measures were taken to prevent the counterfeiting of loan office certificates, such as printing them in various colors and with contrasting right-hand borders: William G. Anderson, The Price of Liberty: the Public Debt of the American Revolution (Charlottesville, Va., 1983), p. 7. It was a continuing problem, however, with both certificates and continental currency: JCC, XIII, 11; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XVII, 231.