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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Osgood and Walter Livingston to Richard Caswell
Osgood, Samuel, 1748-1813; Livingston, Walter, 1740-1797
October 10, 1785
Volume 17, Pages 538-540

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Board of Treasury, Oct. 10th, 1785.


We have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency, for the consideration of the Legislature of the State in which you have the honor to preside, the requisition lately agreed to in Congress, for the support of the Federal Government.

The Estimate of expenditures has been made with the most vigorous exactitude; and the facilities furnished for the payment of the respective Quotas are as ample as possibly could have been admitted.

Your Excellency will see by the enclosed accounts between the United States and your State, what vast deficiencies there have been in the Specie payments required. Those deficiencies have been supplied from year to year by anticipations, and those anticipations

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supplied by the produce of foreign Loans. The foreign funds have therefore been hitherto the prop of public credit.

But now those funds are entirely consumed, and no well grounded hopes of success in attempting fresh loans if it was either wise or honorable to borrow Principals for the payment of old Interest. And it is our misfortune, to succeed to the administration, of the Finances of the United States under the disadvantage of accumulated anticipations and exhausted Funds. In this situation the sole reliance of the Federal Government is on the prompt and vigorous exertions of the several States, to answer the requisitions which it has pleased Congress to make.

This plain statement of the Finances will speak more powerfully than any arguments we can employ to urge a full and punctual compliance with the requisition; no hope, no resource, is now left, but the contributions of the States. Our character abroad, Our Union at home, must rest on this foundation. The Federal faith, dignity, operations, and existence, is suspended on the exertions of the respective States, to collect the arrearages of former requisitions and to comply with the present one.

Anticipations were they any longer to be pursued, are so ruinous in their consequences that nothing but the most indispensable necessity could warrant them. But the support of them existing no longer, they are impracticable; and the call for the full quota required, to meet the inevitable demands and engagements of the Federal Government, is absolute and indispensible.

In order that the Balance due from the State over which you preside, on the Requisitions of 4th September, 1782, and 27th April, 1784, may be better ascertained, we do ourselves the honor of transmitting you, an Abstract of the amount and Receipts of the above Requisitions. Your Excellency will observe, that the sum of 311,338 Dollars 45—90 is still due on the Requisition of 1784, and on the speedy paymant of the Balance into the Public Treasury; all our hope of answering the immediate and pressing demands of Government depends.

The lateness of the present Requisition which is calculated for the Disbursement, of this year debars all prospect of relief from its operation for several months, and we can with truth assure your Excellency, that unless the collection of Taxes goes on with greater

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vigor, than it has for many months past, the Treasury must soon be drained.

With respect to the balance due on the Requisition of the 4th September, 1782, which was expressly appropriated for the payment of the Interest of the Public Debt, we cannot ascertain from the books of the Treasury, whether it is exact, no Returns of payment under the Requisition having been made. We have, however, reason to suppose, that in most of the States, no payments have been made on it, and where they have been that a considerable balance is due.

The necessity of closing the outstanding Requisitions in order to prevent that confusion which inevitably arises from it, as well as justice to the public creditors, will, we trust, lead the Legislature of your State, at their ensuing Sessions, to complete its Quota of the Requisition.

Permit me, Sir, to hope that you will lay this Letter, and the papers which accompany it, before the Legislature of your State without delay, and that it will receive all the efficacy, which your weight and influence can give it. We are with the utmost respect,

Your Excellency's mo. ob. very humbl. Servts.,