COLLECTION GUIDES

1775-1789

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of Revolutionary War debt certificates issued by the original thirteen states and Vermont during and after the Revolutionary War.

Historical Sketch

This material consists of Revolutionary War debt certificates issued by individual states to help pay for costs incurred during the war. Although the Continental Congress took the lead in issuing currency and bills of credit to fund the war, many states preferred to borrow money on their own credit. Beginning in 1776, Massachusetts was the first state to issue loan certificates. By 1780, rampant inflation made it necessary for Massachusetts to pay her soldiers in commodity certificates, which stated that a nominal sum would be paid out in the equivalent cost of 5 bushels of corn, 68 and 4/7 pounds of beef, 10 pounds of sheep's wool, and 16 pounds of sole leather at the time of redemption. National and state lotteries were another fairly unproductive experiment in funding the war. The United States Board of Treasury established a national lottery in 1776, and in 1779 Massachusetts established her own lottery, paying out in Massachusetts Treasury lottery certificates at 6% interest, due in 1783. When the Congress assumed the national debt on August 4, 1790, the individual state debts were liquidated and sunk in that action.

Collection Description

This collection consists of fiscal paper issued by the individual state loan offices during the course of the Revolutionary War. Predominantly loan certificates for funds borrowed by the states to arm and provision their quota of the troops raised for the Continental Army, the collection also includes army certificates used to pay the troops, certificates of interest payments due on the loans, certificates issued to pay the states’ adjusted account of pay owed to the army, lottery certificates, and certificates of interest on the liquidated debt owed by individual states.

William G. Anderson assigned each note a reference number when he assembled his catalog of Revolutionary debt certificates.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Maryland

State of Maryland Army Certificate, 6% interest, "to settle and adjust the accounts of the troops of this state in the service of the United States" authorized 1 August 1780.

Box 1Folder 1MD-03
One certificate, serial no. 2583, issued to Lt. Robert Wilmott of the Maryland Artillery from the State of Maryland for the sum of seventy-seven pounds, five shillings and ten pence on 24 July 1782.
Box 1Folder 2MD-03
One certificate, serial no. 5587, issued to Lt. Robert Wilmott of the Maryland Artillery from the State of Maryland for the sum of sixty pounds, sixteen shillings and six pence on 10 November 1785.

II. Massachusetts

Colony of Massachusetts Bay indented loan certificate authorized in 1775 at 6% interest due 1777. Engraved by Paul Revere: codfish and King Phillip design.

Box 1Folder 3MA-01
One loan certificate, serial no. 3028, issued to Simon Stow for four pounds by the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay on 6 August 1775.
Box 1Folder 4MA-01
One loan certificate, serial no. 3547, issued to Stephen Sewall for one hundred pounds by the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay on 14 August 1775.
Box 1Folder 5MA-01
One loan certificate, serial no. 4222, issued to Ferderick Pope for eight pounds by the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay on 21 August 1775.
Box 1Folder 6MA-01
One loan certificate, serial no. 4225, issued to James Pery for nine pounds by the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay on 21 August 1775.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificates, 6% interest "comm'tee WAR" note, payable to Bearer. Authorized 2 Dec. 1776 and 20 Feb. 1778

Box 1Folder 7MA-04
One loan certificate, serial no. 800, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for ten pounds on 14 September 1778.
Box 1Folder 8MA-04
One loan certificate, serial no. 1230, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for ten pounds on 1 December 1778.
Box 1Folder 9MA-04
One loan certificate, serial no. 1765, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for twenty pounds on 17 February 1779.
Box 1Folder 10MA-04
One loan certificate, serial no. 5696, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for twenty pounds on 18 September 1777.

State of Massachusetts Bay, indented treasury certificate, 10 pounds, 6% interest "BOUNTY NOTE" payable to bearer. Authorized 6 Dec. 1776. Printed by Benjamin Edes

Box 1Folder 11MA-05
One loan certificate, serial no. 1305, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for twenty pounds on 2 January 1777.

Variation of MA-05 (serial number at top center instead of upper left)

Box 1Folder 12MA-06
One loan certificate, serial no. 6120, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for ten pounds on 2 January 1777. Endorsed by Henry Sewall on behalf of John Cocks
Box 1Folder 13MA-06
One loan certificate, serial no. 7160, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for ten pounds on 15 January 1777. Endorsed by D.W. to six ten pound notes belonging to the Mr. Mogridge estate.
Box 1Folder 14MA-06
One loan certificate, serial no. 11903, issued by the State of Massachusetts Bay for ten pounds on 30 January 1777. Endorsed by Noah Cross.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, 6% interest due 1780. Authorized 2 May 1777. Sword in hand patriot within rattlesnake circle engraved by Nathaniel Hurd

Box 1Folder 15MA-07
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 72, issued to Benjamin Greenleaf for ten pounds on 1 January 1777.

Variation of MA-07 ("Treasurer" printed instead of ms.).

Box 1Folder 16MA-08
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate. Blank

State of the Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, 6% interest due 1782, authorized 2 May 1777. Sword in hand of patriot within rattlesnake circle engraved by Nathaniel Hurd.

Box 1Folder 17MA-09
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 262, issued to [Lisa] Blake for thirty pounds on 25 September 1777. Endorsed by Ebenezer Tucker.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, 6% interest due 1781, authorized 2 May 1777. Sword in hand of patriot within rattlesnake circle engraved by Nathaniel Hurd.

Box 1Folder 18MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 262, issued to Ruth Jackson for sixty pounds ten shillings on 1 December 1777. Endorsed by William Dawes.
Box 1Folder 19MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 1144, issued to Ephraim Briggs for fifty-seven pounds on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 20MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 4088, issued to Jacob Sheafe for one hundred thirty six pounds four shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 21MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 4665, issued to Volantine Colby for twenty-nine pounds nineteen shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 22MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 4932, issued to Peleg Taber for twenty pounds sixteen shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 23MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 5135, issued to Edward Allen for ten pounds on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 24MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 5152, issued to Giles Hubbard for fourteen pounds twelve shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 25MA-10
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, serial no. 6423, issued to Nathaniel Southwick for twenty-three pounds twelve shillings on 1 December 1777.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, 6% interest due 1782, authorized 13 and 22 October 1777. Pine tree within rattlesnake circle.

Box 1Folder 26MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 698, issued to Benjamin Lincoln for eleven pounds seven shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 27MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 799, issued to Thomas Whitman for fifteen pounds four shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 28MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 811, issued to Benjamin Leonard for twenty-three pounds seven shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 29MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 823, issued to Nehemiah Allen for one hundred four pounds thirteen shillings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 30MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 1135, issued to Thankful Harding for thirteen pounds two shilllings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 31MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 1180, issued to Samuel Stevens for thirteen pounds two shilllings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 32MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 2054, issued to Jonathan Pierce for sixteen pounds on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 33MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 2471, issued to Hannah Harris for nineteen pounds four shilllings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 34MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 2583, issued to Samuel Aves for ninety-one pounds two shilllings on 1 December 1777.
Box 1Folder 35MA-12
State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury loan certificate, serial no. 2586, issued to Nathan Waterman for fifty-two pounds eighteen shillings on 1 December 1777.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, 6% interest due 1783, "Massachusetts State Lottery, Class the first," authorized 11 February 1779 to pay the winners in the state lottery.

Box 1Folder 36MA-13
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 653, issued for fifteen pounds on 18 January 1779.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, 6% interest due 1783, "Massachusetts State Lottery, Class the third," authorized 14 February 1779 to pay the winners in the state lottery.

Box 1Folder 37MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 521, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 38MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 579, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 39MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 783, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 40MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 922, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 41MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1211, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 42MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1212, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 43MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1213, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.
Box 1Folder 44MA-15
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1277, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate 6% interest due 1783, "Massachusetts State Lottery, Class the third," authorized 3 May 1780 to pay the winners in the state lottery.

Box 1Folder 46MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 179, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 February 1780.
Box 1Folder 47MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 302, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 July 1780.
Box 1Folder 48MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 687, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 February 1780.
Box 1Folder 49MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1099, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 February 1780.
Box 1Folder 50MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1199, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 February 1780.
Box 1Folder 51MA-16
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1375, issued for fifteen pounds on 5 February 1780.

Variation on MA-16

Box 1Folder 52MA-17
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 1762, issued for fifteen pounds on 1 June 1779.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate 6% interest due 1780, "Advance Pay to Officers, firt Moiety". authorized 23 April 1779.

Box 2Folder 1MA-18
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 17, issued for one hundred and fifty pounds on 26 April 1779.
Box 2Folder 2MA-18
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 418, issued for seventy-five pounds on 26 April 1779.

Treasury certificate 6% interest due 1780, "Advance Pay to Officers second Moiety". State of Massachusetts Bay authorized 23 April 1779.

Box 2Folder 3MA-19
State of Massachusetts Bay lottery certificate, serial no. 146, issued for seventy-five pounds on 20 July 1779.

Variation on MA-20, not issued.

Box 2Folder 4MA-19A
Blank note. Not issued.

State of Massachusetts Bay Treasury certificate, 6% interest due (ms. due date) "to be paid in the current Money...". Authorized 13 January 1780 to cover the depreciation of pay officers received while serving in the Continental Army. J.M. Funass eng.

Box 2Folder 5MA-20
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 5, issued to Luther Moore for two hundred forty six pounds on 1 January 1780.
Box 2Folder 6MA-20
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 1030, issued to Ebenzer Griffin for two hundred fifty three pounds four shillings on 1 January 1780.
Box 2Folder 7MA-20
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 2143, issued to John Cotton for eighty five pounds on 1 January 1780.

Variation on MA-20, with additional scrollwork added.

Box 2Folder 8MA-21
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate issued to Esop Jacobs for two hundred fifty six pounds on 1 January 1780.

Variation on MA-20, with engraver's name removed.

Box 2Folder 9MA-22
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 3579, issued to Ephraim Leonard for three hundred sixty five pounds on 1 January 1780.
Box 2Folder 10MA-22
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 3919, issued to Solomon White for three hundred forty three pounds on 1 January 1780.
Box 2Folder 11MA-22
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. [5959] issued to Thomas Obrian for four hundred ninety pounds on 1 January 1780.
Box 2Folder 12MA-22
State of Massachusetts Bay commodity certificate, serial no. 8228, issued to John Gorham for one hundred fifty pounds on 1 January 1780.

State of Massachusetts Bay intended Treasury certificate, 5% interest due to bearer "within three months," guaranteed by Congress 18 March 1780. Pine tree vignette.

Box 2Folder 13MA-23
State of Massachusetts Bay indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 145, issued for two hundred dollars on 24 December 1780.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, 5% interest due to bearer "within three months," guaranteed by Congress, 18 March 170. Pine tree vignette.

Box 2Folder 14MA-24
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 486, issued for one hundred dollars on 23 February 1781. Endorsed by Moses Gill.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate (ms. date), $4 Payable to Bearer in six months from issue.

Box 2Folder 15MA-25
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 55, issued for four dollars on 23 November 1781.
Box 2Folder 16MA-25
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 64, issued for four dollars on 23 November 1781.
Box 2Folder 17MA-25
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 74, issued for four dollars on 23 November 1781.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate (ms. date), 6% interest. "Borrowed and received of" bearer. Authorized 17 February and 15 May 1781, and 25 March 1783 to consolidate state debt.

Box 2Folder 18MA-30
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 2993. All other information is blank.

Variation of MA-30

Box 2Folder 19MA-31
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 1566, issued to Jesse Emery for nine pounds eighteen shillings and two pence on 1 January 1782.
Box 2Folder 20MA-31
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury certificate, serial no. 1710, issued to Asa Smith for six pounds four shillings and three pence on 1 January 1782.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate (ms. date), 6% interest, payable in 4 installments from date of issue in years 1785-1788. Authorized 17 February 1781 to borrow money and redeem oustanding securities.

Box 2Folder 21MA-34
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 6214, issued to Aaron Sewall for ninety pounds four shillings and six pence on 1 June 1782.
Box 2Folder 22MA-34
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 23276, issued to Thomas Mosley for four pounds sixteen shillings on 1 June 1785.
Box 2Folder 23MA-34
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 23616, issued to Calvin Partridge. Rest of certificate is blank.
Box 2Folder 24MA-34
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate issued to Nathaniel Sarlet for sixteen pounds six shillings and nine pence on 1 August 1782.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate "ARMY NOTE" 1 April 1786, "to be received in Payment for one-third of the Tax (No. 5) granted in March 1786" Issued to pay the consolidated army notes then falling due.

Box 2Folder 25MA-37
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 1572, issued to Abijah Mosher for three pounds two shillings on 1 April 1786.
Box 2Folder 26MA-37
Commonwealth of Massachusetts indented Treasury certificate, serial no. 2126, issued to W. Hay for five pounds on 1 April 1786.

Commonweath of Massachusetts Treasury tax collector's certificate, 1787. Issued to pay miscellaneous claims and interest on the public debt.

Box 2Folder 27MA-40
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury tax collector's certificate, serial no. 13178, issued to Caleb Emery for two pounds on 5 March 1787.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury collector of impost and Excise tax certificate, 1789.

Box 2Folder 28MA-44
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasury collector of impost and Excsise tax certificate, serial no. 11211, issued to Edmund Phinney for one pound sixteen shillings and four pence on 7 February 1789.

III. North Carolina

North Carolina Army certificate, unspecified interest, 1 May 1786. Authorized December 1785, these were excluded from the federal debt assumption plan in 1790 because of irregularities in their issue.

Box 2Folder 29NC-13
North Carolina Army certificate, serial no. 1600, issued to William Spinney for eighty pounds four shillings and one pence on 1 January 1786.
Box 2Folder 30NC-13
North Carolina Army certificate, serial no. 1611, issued to William Clifton for thirty one pounds six shillings and four pence on 1 January 1786.
Box 2Folder 31NC-13
North Carolina Army certificate, serial no. 1656, issued to John Jones for twenty-nine pounds eleven shillings and five pence on 1 January 1786.
Box 2Folder 32NC-13
North Carolina Army certificate, serial no. 1859, issued to Alexander Simmons for thirty-one pounds six shillings and four pence on 1 January 1786.
Box 2Folder 33NC-13
North Carolina Army certificate, serial no. 1994, issued to lt. Levi Rice for forty-six pounds two shillings and three pence on 1 January 1786.

IV. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Bill of Exchange, 4th of 4. Thirty days sight draft.

Box 2Folder 34PA
Pennsylvania Bill of Exchange issued to Jonathan Williams for ten thousand Tournois on 4 March 1779.
Box 2Folder 35PA
Pennsylvania Bill of Exchange issued to Jonathan Williams for three thousand Tournois on 18 August 1778 payable by Leroy du Chaumont in Paris, France.
Box 2Folder 36PA
Pennsylvania Bill of Exchange issued to Jonathan Williams for three thousand Tournois on 18 August 1778 payable by Leroy du Chaumont in Paris, France.
Box 2Folder 37PA
Pennsylvania Bill of Exchange issued to Jonathan Williams for four thousand Tournois on 18 August 1778 payable by Leroy du Chaumont in Paris, France.

V. Vermont

State of Vermont Loan certificate, 6% interest, authorized February 1783.

Box 2Folder 38VT-1
Vermont loan certificate, serial no. 1393, issued to Maj. Simeon Edwards for nine pounds fifteen shillings and two pence in February 1783.

State of Vermont Treasury certificate, Treasurer's Office, "receiveable for taxes," March 1784.

Box 2Folder 39VT-2
Fragment of a Vermont Treasury certificate, serial no. 2071..

VI. Virginia

Virginia Treasury certificate. Bounty notes payable at the end of the bearers military service.

Box 2Folder 40VA-5
Virginia Treasury certificate, serial no. 1217, signed by treasurer Geroge Brooks on 25 July 1780.

Preferred Citation

State Revolutionary War debt certificates, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Organizations:

Connecticut. Continental Loan Office.
Maryland. Continental Loan Office.
Massachusetts. Continental Loan Office.
North Carolina. Continental Loan Office.
Pennsylvania. Continental Loan Office.
Vermont. Continental Loan Office.
Virginia. Continental Loan Office.
United States. Continental Congress.

Subjects:

Debts, Public--Connecticut.
Debts, Public--Maryland.
Debts, Public--Massachusetts.
Debts, Public--North Carolina.
Debts, Public--Pennsylvania.
Debts, Public--Vermont.
Debts, Public--Virginia.
Debts, Public--United States.
Finance, Public--United States--History--1789-1801
United States--History--Revolutioin, 1775-1783--Finance.