The Practice and Politics of Fiat Finance: North Carolina in the Confederation, 1783-1789

By James R. Morrill | Go to book overview

VII. Payment of the Continental Line

Among the public creditors whose allegiance Federalists hoped to obtain were the officers and men of the Continental Army. As in the case of public creditors generally, that allegiance would be directed, both Federalists and their opponents believed, toward that government which compensated them for their wartime contributions, and therefore the extent to which Congress or the individual states would assume responsibility for paying the Lines was far more than a matter of how simple justice to deserving patriots could most effectively be discharged. Thus, while Congress had been willing and desirous for the states to bear the expense of recruiting and equipping their respective Continental Lines, Congress had sought to retain sole responsibility for paying the army. That task had proved beyond the central government's capabilities, and, as we have seen, Congress in 1780 had felt compelled to ask the states to pay their respective Lines for arrearages of pay, current service, and depreciation of pay for the period before August 1, 1780. Pay for services performed from that date forward was to be discharged by Congress.1.

During the early years of the war North Carolina had not only issued copious quantities of certificates and fiat currency to recruit and equip its Line--expenditures facilitated by the

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1.
E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse: A History of American Public Finance, 1776-1790 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1961), pp. 50, 180. This congressional authorization meant that expenses incurred in paying the Line up to August 1, 1780, could be charged by a state against the United States in the final settlement of accounts. As revealed in the previous chapter, North Carolina encountered difficulty in gathering and presenting its claims for pay to the state's Line.

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The Practice and Politics of Fiat Finance: North Carolina in the Confederation, 1783-1789
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Part I North Carolina State Finance 1
  • I. the North Carolina Economy 3
  • Ii. the Domestic Debt 15
  • Iii. Emission of Currency 57
  • Iv. North Carolina's Foreign Debt: the Obligation to Martinique 100
  • Part II State-Federal Financial Relations 125
  • V. the Political Implications 127
  • Vi. Settlement of State and Individual Revolutionary Accounts 132
  • Vii. Payment of the Continental Line 169
  • Viii. Congressional Revenue 191
  • Ix. Conclusion 215
  • Selected Bibliography 221
  • Index 229
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