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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Hugh Williamson and William Blount to Alexander Martin
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819; Blount, William, 1749-1800
October 25, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 446-448

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, October 25th, 1782.

Dear Sir:

In our Letter to your Excellency of the 22nd Instant we transiently mentioned the Continental Money. On a review of what we then wrote the subject appears to deserve further explanation. The State of Massachusetts has not only collected by Taxes her full Quota of Continental Money, but she has a considerable balance in hand which she also requires that she may be allowed to pay into the Public Treasury at 40 for 1. As every State has been called upon to sink its quota of that paper which was expressly fixed at 40

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to 1 it seems that Massachusetts has an indubitable right to discount her Quota. She contends that if she did her duty when other States neglected theirs, it does not follow that she ought to suffer by her punctuality. We cannot, on principles of honor and good faith, dispute her claim, but we contend that Massachusetts shall not be allowed to pay in more than her Quota for two very plain reasons. The first is that the money is not worth the price that it will be valued at, and the other is, that if Massachusetts is permitted to pay more than its quota other States must be speculated upon, or, what is worse, they must make good their Quota by one Silver Dollar instead of 40 such Paper Dollars.

Virginia having called in large sums of paper has also applied to Congress that an Inspector be appointed in the State who shall examine the money, destroy Counterfeits & cut or deface the remainder to save the expence of sending the whole to Philadelphia to be examined. Other States have asked for the same indulgence. It appears that large sums are in the Treasuries of the different States. The Brokers are daily buying up Continental Money in the Town. One hard Dollar is current at 300 Continental Dollars. It may be purchased for 250. Recollecting the fate of our Law for collecting Continental Money and that the Suspension and subsequent repeal of that Law has left the accounts of every Collector and Treasurer open, we are under strong apprehensions that the State will be speculated upon and injured through that channel. It is certain that 900 State Dollars may be purchased for one hard Dollar. There is nothing to prevent any person from passing those State Dollars to any of our Treasuries in exchange for Continental Dollars. The profit is at least 200 per cent. This cannot long escape the notice of those Persons, who we observe in all Countries are too numerous, who are willing to make money at the risque of honor and expence of their Country. Might it not be proper for your Excellency forthwith to require the different Treasurers to deliver in upon Oath an Account of the Continental Money on hand. Or rather an Account of such may be required of the Continental Money they have received. It is very probable, or rather certain, that the Continental Paper Money will, on some future Day, become the subject of much Altercation. The newspapers will inform you of the great stir that is lately made in the behalf of Paper Creditors.

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It began in this City with Loan Office Certificates Holders; the disease proved infectious; it extended to all kinds of Paper. A considerable flame has been kindled, but the paper is not consumed. We are particularly informed that the State of New Hampshire has in her Treasury five Millions of Paper Continental Dollars above her Quota. We cannot learn what surplus is in the Treasury of Massachusetts. In mentioning the facts that have presented themselves and the speculations that may possibly be practiced upon the State, we have attempted to discharge our duty. We shall steadily endeavour to prevent any Resolutions by which our State may suffer. In the meanwhile your Excellency will be pleased to take any cautionary steps that you may apprehend the subject deserves.

We have the honor to be,
Yours, &c.,