CHAPTER XIX
"FUNDING AND ASSUMPTION"

AUGUST 28, 1789, a memorial and petition from public creditors in Pennsylvania praying that provision be made for the public debt was presented to Congress and referred to a committee of which Madison was chairman. September 10, he reported that it highly concerned the honour and integrity of the United States to make an early provision in favour of the creditors of the Union, and that the House ought to take the subject up early at its next session. September 21, the Secretary of the Treasury was requested to prepare a plan for supporting the public credit. The next session began January 4, and on January 14 Alexander Hamilton's great report was received. It treated the subject exhaustively and with consummate power. It recommended the funding of the domestic debt and the acceptance of the certificates of indebtedness issued by the old Government from those who held them, without reference to any equitable rights in their increased value by those to whom they had originally been issued and who had parted with them. The report provided for the assumption by the Federal Government of the debts contracted by the States during the Revolutionary War. A well-funded national debt was described as a desirable asset to government, as it served most of the purposes of money in exchanges and was an addition to the active capital of the nation. It had in addition a political virtue as its tendency was "to cement more closely the Union of the States."

The debt of the United States comprised the foreign debt, which with interest amounted to nearly $12,000,-

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