Report on the Finances.

Levi Woodbury, Secretary of the Treasury
Treasury Department, December 3, 1838.

The undersigned respectfully submits the following report, in obedience to the "Act supplementary to the act to establish the Treasury Department:"

I.  OF THE REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES.

The balance in the Treasury on the 1st of January, 1839, which will then be available and applicable to public purposes, is estimated at ....$2,765,342.36

This result is derived from the following data:
On the 1st of January, 1837, the balance in the Treasury, exclusive of trust funds and those belonging to the Post Office, was ....$46,337,688.36

The receipts during that year, from all sources exclusive of the funds aforesaid, were 22,643,973.53

Viz:
Customs ....$11,169,290.39
Lands ............6,776,236.52
Miscellaneous .....1,705,457.47
Treasury notes ......2,992,989.15

These, with the balance last mentioned, constitute an aggregate of ......68,981,661.89

The expenditures during the same year, exclusive of the trust funds and those belonging to the Post Office, were 31,815,409.91

Viz:
Civil list, foreign intercourse, and miscellaneous ....$5,524,252.76

Military service, including fortifications, Indian affairs, pensions, arming the militia, the Florida war, removal of the Cherokees and Creeks, improvement of rivers and harbors, constructing roads, and building armories and arsenals. ......19,417,274.44

Naval service, including gradual improvement and exploring expedition ........6,852,059.80
Public debt ...........21,822.91

This left in the Treasury, on the 1st of January, 1838, a balance of. ....$37,166,251.98

The receipts during the first three quarters of 1838, with exceptions similar to those before named, are ascertained and estimated to have been .........$31,075,723.19

Viz:
Customs, including postponed bonds ....$12,228,770.56

[Of this sum, about $2,900,000, received in Treasury notes, cannot, until the settlements to which they belong shall be completed by the accounting officers, be entered upon the Register's books.  A part will be carried into the Treasury by warrant during the fourth quarter, and the remainder next year.]
Lands ......2,036,828.54
Miscellaneous .........238,431.85
Proceeds of third bond of United States Bank sold for ....2,254,871.38
Part of second bond ......1,600,000.00.
Issue of Treasury notes. ......12,716,820.86
The further receipts in the fourth quarter are estimated at .....7,052,230.84

Viz:
Customs, estimating the actual receipts during the quarter, and not the sums which may be formally carried upon the Register's books from former quarters .........$5,250,000.00
Lands .....1,100,000.00

[Including only a portion of the preemptions, and such of the sales as may be actually paid into the Treasury before the year expires.]

Miscellaneous ...........15,000.00
On second bond of United States Bank, due in September, 1838, and paid in part before and in part after that date ......687,230.84

These united make the aggregate of receipts for the year 1838, as ascertained and estimated ..........38,127,954.03

This, with the balance on the 1st of January last, would amount to ....$75,294,206.01

The expenditures during the first three quarters of 1838, with similar exceptions, were 28,427,218.68

Viz:
Civil list, &c .........$4,029,674.13
Military service, &c ...........15,731,323.62
Naval service, &c ...........4,325,563.21
Public debt ................1,217.08
Redemption of Treasury notes, including interest ..........4,339,440.64

The particulars are given in the document annexed (A.) The expenditures during the fourth quarter, including $1,000 interest on funded debt, and the redemption of $3,750,000 of Treasury notes, are estimated by the different Departments at $13,511,920.10.  But it is not expected that the redemption of all these notes will appear on the Register's books till next year.  Nor does the undersigned anticipate that the actual expenditures within this quarter, including the above notes redeemed, will exceed ......12,000,000.00

Making an aggregate of expenditures for the year 1838 of .....40,427,218.68

This computation would leave in the Treasury, on the 1st of January, 1839, a balance of ......$34,866,987.33

It is proper to ascertain, in the next place, how much of this balance is not immediately available and applicable to public purposes.

The sum of $28,101,644.97, which has been placed with the States for safe keeping, is a part of that balance, and cannot, by the provisions of the act of October 14, 1837, be made available till directed by Congress.

Another part is about $1,100,000.00, due chiefly from various insolvent banks on account of the money that before 1837 had been placed in their custody to the credit of the Treasurer, and still remains unpaid.

Another portion is near $2,400,000.00, which is due from banks that suspended specie payments in 1837, and will probably not be paid during the present year.

About $500,000 of the amount which has been placed in the Mint, for the specific purposes designated in the laws on that subject, is another part of that balance, which could not at once be made available for other objects without much public inconvenience.

The aggregate of these items, not immediately available and applicable to public purposes, is $32,101,644 97; and if deducted from the foregoing balance, it would leave on the 1st of January next, as stated in the commencement of this report, only the sum of $2,765,342 36 then available and applicable to those purposes.

Subjoined is a condensed view of the receipts and means, as well as the expenditures for 1838, as ascertained and estimated; also the funds not available in that year.


Summary for 1838.—Receipts or Means.

Balance on the 1st of January, 1838 ........$37,166,251.98
Receipts from customs ..........17,478,770.56
Receipts from lands ...........3,136,828.54
Miscellaneous ...........253,431.85
Treasury notes issued .........12,716,820.86
Second and third bonds of Bank of the United States of Pennsylvania .........4,542,102.22
................................$75,294,206.01

Expenditures.

Civil and miscellaneous, first three quarters ...............$4,029,674.13
Military, first three quarters ..............15,731,323.62
Naval, first three quarters ...............4,325,563.21
Estimate of above expenditures for the fourth quarter ......8,249,000.00
Public debt for the year ...........2,217.08
Redemption of Treasury notes for the year .............8,089,440.64
Balance on the 31st of December, 1838 ...........34,866,987.33
.......................$75,294,206.01

Unavailable Funds in 1838.

Deposites with the States ...........$28,101,644.97
Due from insolvent banks before 1837 ..........1,100,000.00
Due from banks that suspended payment in 1837, and not payable till 1839 ...........2,400,000.00
Part of money in the Mint ..............500,000.00
Total ................32,101,644.97
From balance on the 31st December, 1838, being .........$34,866,987.33
Deduct total unavailable, as above .......32,101,644.97
Available balance remaining .............$2,765,342.36

II.  OF THE PUBLIC DEBT.

The payments on account of the funded and unfunded debt since the 1st December, 1837, have been as follows:

1.  On account of the principal and interest of the funded debt:
Principal ...............$215.27
Interest ..............2,001.81
.......................$2,217.08

Leaving unclaimed and undischarged ................$325,520.83

Viz:
Principal ................$75,954.47
Interest ....................249,566.36

2.  On account of the unfunded debt existing previous to 1837, including $1.08 interest on Treasury notes of 1815 ........$21.08

Leaving the amount of certificates and notes payable on presentation ....$36,913.40

Viz:
Certificates issued for claims during the revolutionary war, and registered prior to 1798 .................$27,293.31
Treasury notes issued during late war .............5,300.00
Certificates of Mississippi stock ...............4,320.09

In addition to the above, the United States, under the act of the 20th May, 1836, for the relief of the corporate cities of the District of Columbia, have assumed the following debts, bearing an interest of five per cent, exclusive of charges, viz:

Of the city of Washington ...........$1,000,000.00
Alexandria .............250,000.00
Georgetown ...........250,000.00
..............................$1,500,000.00

The payments for the year 1838, on account of the interest and charges on this debt, amount to .........$76,995.99


3. Statement in relation to the issue and redemption of Treasury Notes in 1837 and 1838.

Issued under the act of the 12th October, 1837 ................$10,000,000.00
Do. do. 21st May, 1838 .........5,709,810.01
..........................$15,709,810.01
Of this amount, $6,888,809 60 were at 6 per cent.
......................4,280,273.72 at 5%
......................2,784,844.73 at 2%
......................1,755,881.96 at 1 mill per cent.

The following amount has been redeemed:
There have been entered to the credit of the "account of redemption of Treasury notes" on the books of the Register ..........$5,063,197.41

And there have been cancelled and returned to the Treasury, and are now in the course of settlement, as appears from the records of the First Auditor and the Commissioner of the General Land Office ...............2,892,052.59
..........................$7,955,250.00
..........................$7,754,560.01




Report on the Finances

December 16th, 1844
Treasury Department
George M. Bibb, Secretary of the Treasury
[excerpt]

During the revolutionary war, and antecedently to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the thirteen United States had contracted debts to the sum of $75,416,476.52.

On the 1st January, 1790, the foreign debt, viz: to France, Spain, and to foreign officers, including interest for the year 1790, amounted to the sum of $12,656,871.28,
and the domestic debt to $60,219,022.44;
together amounting to the sum of $72,775,893.72.
The population of the United States then numbered 3,927,827 souls, according to the census of that year.

On the 1st January, 1800, the national debt amounted to $82,976,294.35;  and the population of the United States numbered 5,305,920 souls, according to the census of that year.

On the 1st January, 1810, the debt of the United States amounted to $53,173,217.52;  and the population numbered 7,239,614 souls, according to the census of that year.

On the 1st January, 1816, the public debt had increased to the sum of $127,334,933.74.

This great increase was caused by the war of 1812, terminated by the treaty of Ghent of 1815, for the expenditures of which the taxes had been increased;  the loans obtained amounted to the sum of $70,478,209.73, and Treasury notes were issued to the sum of $36,680,794;  together making $107,159,003.73.

On the 1st January, 1820, the public debt had been reduced to the sum of $91,015,566.15.  The population, as numbered by the census of that year, consisted of 9,638,131 souls.

On the 1st January, 1830, the public debt was reduced to the sum of $48,565,406.50.  The population numbered 12,866,020 souls, according to the census of that year.

On the 7th December, 1835, the President's [Andrew Jackson] message announced that "All the remains of the public debt have been redeemed, or money has been placed in deposite for this purpose whenever the creditors choose to receive it.  All the other pecuniary engagements have been promptly and honorably fulfilled, and there will be a balance in the Treasury at the close of the present year of about $19,000,000."  On the 6th february, 1836, the commissioners of the sinking fund, and the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, stated that all the debt had been paid, except the sum of $37,513.05 — which consisted of claims for services and supplies during the revolutionary war, $27,437.96;  Treasury notes issued during the war of 1812, $5,755;  Mississippi stock issued under the act of 3d March, 1815, $4,320.09;  and they renewed their recommendation that the sinking fund and the commissioners of the sinking fund be discontinued.

It may be presumed that those Treasury notes issued in the war of 1812, and not presented for payment, have been destroyed;  and that of the other sums so long due and unclaimed, only small part (if any) will ever be presented for payment.

From the 31st December, 1789, to the 31st December, 1835, the United States paid for interest on the public debt the sum of $157,629,950.69;
and for the principal the sum of $257,452,083.24;
together making the sum of $415,082,033.93.

The national income out of which that extraordinary sum of four hundred and fifteen millions of dollars was paid, over and above the ordinary annual expenditures, (which, during that period of forty-six years, exceeded five hundred millions of dollars,) was derived principally from the duties on imports and tonnage, and the sales of the public lands.  Direct taxes and intemal duties and excises were employed from and after the 8th day of May, 1792, until the 30th June, 1802, when they were repealed;  and again enacted in the year 1813, and repealed 31st December, 1817.  A system of direct taxes and internal duties has been resorted to only in emergencies, and has prevailed only for about fifteen years of the fifty-five which have elapsed since the Federal Constitution was adopted.

The moral power, courage, and capabilities by which a nation in its infancy, loaded with a debt of the revolutionary war of such magnitude, harassed by Indian wars, and encumbered by another debt of the war of 1812, terminated in 1815, discharged those debts faithfully — exhibiting to a gazing and astonished world the example of a nation which had exerted such energies, of a Government without a national debt, with an overflowing Treasury, and without direct taxes, internal duties, and excises — are to be looked for in the genius of the Government, the integrity of those who have been elected to administer it, the good sense, honesty, and enterprise of the citizens, and lastly, though not least, in the beneficent smiles of an all-wise and protecting Providence.



---[
Through patriotic and prudent management the debt of the Federal government was extinguished by 1835.  Not to worry; the members States went to work and some of them contracted more debt individually (for internal improvements) than the General government.  In 1841 Henry Clay, John Sergeant and the Whig crew swept into power and set upon the country in hot haste to change this deplorable situation —for "the day of judgment is come" thundered Mr. Clay (mentor of H.A. Lincoln).  They took out a 12million dollar federal loan to pay some of the debts of member States;  passed a law to distribute to member States the revenue from land sales.  The result: by 1844 the Federal government owed $20million, and the United States have NOT been debt-free since !!!
]


Statement of the Debt of the United States, December 1, 1844.


1.  Of the (old) funded debt, being unclaimed principal and interest returned from the late loan offices ................$156,174.51
2.  Outstanding certificates and interest to the 31st of December 1798, of the (old) unfunded debt .....22,003.56
3.  Treasury notes issued during the late war .....4,317.44
4.  Certificates of Mississippi stock. .......4,320.09
5.  Debts of the corporate cities of the District of Columbia, assumed by the United States, viz:
Of the city of Washington ......$840,000.00
Alexandria ......210,000.00
Georgetown .......210,000.00
.......................1,260,000.00

6.  Loans, viz:
Under the act of 21st July, 1841, redeemable January 1, 1845 .........5,143,020.88
Under the act of 15th April, 1848, redeemable January 1, 1863 ........8,343,886.03
Under the act of 3d March, 1843, redeemable July 1, 1853 .........7,004,231.36
.....................................20,491,144.26

7.  Outstanding Treasury notes, viz:
Of the several issues under the acts passed prior to the 3rd of July, 1843 .......626,063.17
Of notes issued under the act of 3d July, 1843 ........1,286,650.00
................................1,912,713.17
................................$23,850,673.03

Treasury Department,
Register's Office, November 30, 1844.
T.L. Smith, Register