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title:“A Bill for Establishing the Fund for the Purpose of Borrowing Money for the Use of the United States”
authors:George Mason
date written:1779-12-20

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:04 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 26, 2019, 9:28 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "A Bill for Establishing the Fund for the Purpose of Borrowing Money for the Use of the United States." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 607-12. Print.
Manuscript, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Va.

A Bill for Establishing the Fund for the Purpose of Borrowing Money for the Use of the United States (December 20, 1779)

[20 December 1779]
For establishing a fund, whereon to borrow a Sum of money for the use of the united States, and to give the lenders the fullest assurance of being paid the Interest thereof annually, and for making provision for repaying the Principal money so to be borrowed at the appointed time.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly that a tax of thirty pounds of inspected Tobacco in transfer Notes shall be paid on or before the first day of August next, and at (the same time,) in each of the next succeeding eleven years, by every tithable person in this Commonwealth, except free white Tithables between the Ages of Six teen and twenty one Years.
Five eighths of the nett Produce of the said tax shall be appropriated as a fund whereon the Treasurer of this Commonwealth for the time being may and he is hereby impowered and required to borrow a Sum not exceeding five millions of Pounds Current Money from any Person or Persons willing to lend, in sums not less than one thousand Pounds from one person at an interest of five per Centum per annum.
The interest to grow due on all sums so borrowed shall be regularly paid to the lenders respectively, or to their order as hereafter limited, at the Treasury annually as it shall become due, and the Surplus remaining after all such intere[st] shall be paid arising from the said five eighths of this tax, the Treasurer may and he is hereby empowered and required to pay to such of the said Public Creditors as may be willing to receive their Principal, giving Preference in such Payments to each Creditor as he or they may make application for the Same in priority of time until the Surplusage shall be paid away on each of the said Years.
And for fixing the nominal Sum of money, which every such Creditor shall receive, as interest and principal, agreeable to the directions of this Act, so as to Secure the Creditors on the one Hand from being losers by receiving less than the real Value of the Sum lent at the time of the Loan, and to guard the State on the other hand, from paying a greater Sum either as interest, or principal, than the real value of su[ch] interest at the time it shall become due, or the Principal was worth, at the time of the Loan. BE IT FARTHER ENACTED, that the Rule and Standard for fixing the value of all the money to be borrowed and of all interest and principal to be thereafter paid, in consequence of this Act shall be as followeth; For all Monies to be borrowed upon this fund between the first day of January next and the Sixth day of the next General Court, one hundred pounds of inspected nett crop Tobacco shall be held deemed and taken as the Standard and true value of thirty Pounds current money, and so in proportion for any greater or lesser Sum, which may be borrowed by that time:—and for all money to be borrowed after that day, Upon this fund and for fixing the Value of all interest accruing on all the money to be borrowed in consequence of this Act, the following Rules shall be observed:
The Judges of the General Court, at some day during the first six days of their Session in the month of March next, and at every Succeeding Session of that Court during the Continuance of this Act, shall, and they are hereby impowered and required to administer an Oath to the Grand Jury attending every Session of that Court, well and truly to estimate the true market Price of inspected Crop Tobacco according to the best of their Skill and Judgment at the time, taking for their guide neither the greatest or smallest, but the average market Price at the time of making the Estimate, which Estimate shall be entred upon record from time to time by the Clerk of the said Court and every such Estimate respectively shall be held deemed and taken as the true and only Standard and Measure thereafter to fix as well the Value of the money to be borrowed under this Act, as of the Interest accruing, or principal to be paid, between that and the next Succeeding Estimate.
The Treasurer for the time being, shall make out and deliver to every lender of money upon this fund, one or more indented certificates, signed by him, and countersigned by some one of the Auditors of publick accounts, or of their Clerks, to be appointed for this Special purpose, in the left hand Corner thereof, and entred in their Office to the debet of the Treasurer, expressing the Sum so borrowed, the rate of interest payable annually therefor, and the day of Payment, and also the last Estimate of money compared with Tobacco agreeable to the directions of this Act:—And every Such Creditor shall be intituled to demand and receive, so much money for interest, upon the money lent, as will purchase the same Quantity of Tobacco, at the time such interest shall become due, that the nominal Sum (then due for interst on the Principal) borrowed would have purchased at the time the money was lent, to be fixed by the certificate, in the (former), and by the (Estimate) of the Grand Jury as aforesaid, for that period of time in which such interest shall become due, (in the latter) instance.
On the Payment of all Sums due to any Creditor for principal money borrowed the same rule, standard and only Measure shall be observed between the State and the Creditor as is above directed for the payment of interest.
All Certificates to be issued for money borrowed by virtue of this Act shall be made payable to the lender, his Executors and Administrators, but such lender or his Executors or Administrators may by writing under his (her or their) hand and Seal, and attested by two Magistrates of this Commonwealth, or of any other of the united States, or by any officer of publick notoriety, in any other Country, assign and transfer any such Certificate; and an Assignment made agreeable to the directions of this Act shall intitle every such Assignee, his Executors and Administrators, and (every subsequent) Assignee of any Assignee, and the Executors and Administrators of every such Assignee to receive at the Treasury the interest and principal money due on every such Certificate, in the same manner, and at such time, as the lender would have been intituled to receive the same by virtue of this Act.
Every person who shall counterfeit alter or erase, any Certificate to be issued by virtue of this Act, or shall demand Payment of any money on any such Certificate knowing the same to be counterfeited altered or erased, or shall be aiding assisting or abetting in such forging or counterfeiting, altering or erasing shall be deemed and judged guilty of felony, and on being thereof legally convicted shall suffer Death, without Benefit of Clergy.
And that the lenders of money, upon the faith of this Act, may have the fullest Assurance of receiving the interest and principal of their respective debts, on the terms of this Act, and at the appointed times, BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, and it is hereby declared that the General Assembly will make good all Defeciencies which may happen in this fund, by either increasing the present tax, or substituting some other in aid thereof, that the publick faith hereby pledged may be preserved inviolate. t (See reference paper.)
The Clerk of the General Court, when any new estimate shall be made of Tobacco, agreeable to the directions of this Act, shall cause an attested Copy thereof to be published for two months successively in each of the Gazettes of this State, and the Treasurer moreover immediately after every June Court shall cause a Copy of the last Estimate so as aforesaid to be made, to be transmitted forthwith to every Sheriff and other Collector of the tax hereby imposed in this Commonwealth.
And for the better collection of the said taxes it is further enacted that the Sheriff or Collector of every County and Corporation in this State at the Court to be held for their respective Counties or Corporations in the Month of April in each year during the Continuance of this Act, or at the next succeeding Court, in Case no Court shall be held in that month, shall give Bond with good Security, to be approved by such Court in the sum of thirty thousand pounds, payable to the Governor for the time being and his Successors, for the use of the Commonwealth, conditioned, for the diligent and faithful Collection and Payment of this tax, to be levied collected Accounted for and settled with the Commissioners of the tax and paid into the Treasury in the same Manner, at the same time, and under the like forfeitures, as are appointed, prescribed and inflected in the Case of collecting the taxes upon Assessments (by one Act of Assembly intituled "An Act for raising a Supply of money for Publick Exigencies"). And the Sheriffs and other Collectors shall be allowed a Commission of three per Centum upon all Sums of money and quantities of Tobacco by them to be collected by Virtue of this Act, and a Credit for all real insolvencies to be settled by the Commissioners of the tax in each County and Corporation respectively.
And for the use and conveniency of the People in paying the said tax, be it farther enacted that the Sheriffs and other Collectors of this tax, shall cause a Copy of the Estimate to be made by the Grand Jury as aforesaid, at every June Court, to be set up at the doors of their respective Court Houses, two several Court days in the months of August and September, and also at the Door of every Church Chappel and meeting House in every such County and Corporation two several Sundays in the said two months, during the Continuance of this Act, and all persons liable to this tax may either pay the same in money at the price fixed by the Grand Jury in the preceding June Court, or in Tobo. agreeable to the directions of this Act, & the law which shall be then in force for regulating the inspection of Tobacco, deducting Six per Centum (for such price) for the difference between Crop and transfer Tobacco, Where the Payment shall be made in (Money).
All persons neglecting or refusing to pay the tax hereby imposed agreeable to the directions of this Act, may be proceeded against, and the Sheriff (or other Collector) may proceed against the said Delinquent and shall be intituled to the same Commission in Case of Distress, as (is provided) in Case of failing to pay County and Parish Levies.
And for preventing Sheriffs and other Collectors from withholding from the publick the Tobacco which shall be actually collected, it is farther enacted, that the several Collectors shall annually, during the Continuance of this Act, account & settle with the Commissioners of the Taxes upon Oath, which the said Commissioners are hereby impowered and required to administer, for all the Tobacco and money severally and actually by them received in discharge of this tax; AND the Commissioners, having allowed every Collector Credit for his Commissions on Collection, for all Sums paid or due to them, their Clerk, and to the Assessors for their respective Services, and for all real insolvencies, shall together with their Account of the other annual taxes transmit a Duplicate of every such Account, to the Auditors of publick Accounts noting the Numbers wei[ghts] and marks of all Crop Tobacco contained in such Collections.
Every such Sheriff or Collector previous to their making such Settlement, shall cause all the transfer Tobacco by them so collected to be prized and Croped agreeable to the direction of the Laws which may be at such time in force for regulating the inspection of Tobacco, and the Commissioners shall allow them a Credit in their Accounts of Six per Centum for Shrinkage prizing and Nails, and thirty pounds of Tobacco for each Cask, and where any Balance of Tobacco, not Sufficient to make a Hogshead shall remain in the hands of any Collector, such ballance or fraction, shall be accounted for by every such Collector, in his account for the Suceeding year, or shall be by them respectively paid to the suceeding Collectors.
The Assessors of every Hundred or district, shall in every year during the Continuance of this Act, at the time of making their Assessment demand an Account upon Oath or Affirmation, which they are hereby impowered and required to administer, of all Persons liable to this tax, an Account of all his her or their Tithables Subject thereto, or which are then resident in his her, or their family; and the Assessors, at the time of returning the accounts of their Assessments, shall also return lists of all the Tithables so by them to be taken; and the Commissioners of the Taxes shall cause Copies of the said Lists of tithables to be delivered to the several Sheriffs or Collectors at the time of delivring them the Accounts of Assessments, to enable them to collect the present tax.
Every person refusing to give in to the Assessors an account of his her or their Tithables as aforesaid, shall forfeit and pay treble the value of the tax upon every such tithable not given in to be recovered by Action of debt in any Court of record in the name of the Commissioners of the taxes for such County or Corporation.
Every person knowingly taking a false oath, or making a false affirmation in the premisses shall be subject to the like Pains and penalties as are inflicted in the Case of wilful and Corrupt Perjury.
(All the money to be borrowed upon this fund, shall be applied to payment of the Money required by Congress from this State, to such persons only as shall be authorised by Congress to receive the same, and upon Warrant from the Governor. And the Accounts of the Receipts & Payments in consequence of this Act shall be kept distinct and separate from all other Accounts whatsoever.) This Act shall continue and remain in force for and during the term of twelve years & no longer.

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