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    Thomas Jefferson Printed Act of Congress Signed "Th:Jefferson"as Secretary of State, and IN TYPE "Jonathan Trumbull" as Speaker of the House of Representatives, "John Adams" as Vice-President of the United States and President of the Senate, and "Go: Washington" as President of the United States, three pages, 9.5" x 15", front and verso. [New York City], December 23, 1791. Boldly headed "SECOND CONGRESS," it is titled "An ACT making APPROPRIATIONS for the SUPPORT of GOVERNMENT for the Year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two." In the document, all numbers are in words; to save space, they are here listed numerically. The total amount allotted is $329,653.56. Some interesting appropriations: "For the compensations granted by law to the President of the United States, the Vice-President, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and Attorney General, $53,000...For the like compensations to the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the officers and attendants of the two Houses, estimated on a session of six months continuance, and including the traveling expenses of the members, $129,730...For the payment of the annual grant to Baron Steuben, pursuant to an act of Congress, $2500...For discharging a balance due on a liquidated claim of his most Christian Majesty against the United States, for supplies during the late war, $9,020.68...For payment of the principal and interest on a liquidated claim of Oliver Pollock, late commercial agent of the United States, at New-Orleans, for supplies of clothing, arms and military stores, during the late war, $108,605.02: Provided, That the said monies be not paid to the said Oliver Pollock, without the consent of the agents of the court of Spain...For the pay of the troops, $102,686...for defraying the expenses incurred in the defensive protection of the frontiers against the Indians, during the years 1790, and 1791...$37,339.48..."

    The bill was passed by the House on December 8, 1791. On December 19th, the Senate amend the bill by (1) adding $1,000 to the appropriation for "defraying all other incidental and contingent expenses of the civil list establishment" making it $21,555.83, (2) inserting that "the compensation to the door-keepers of the two Houses... shall be discharged out of the money hereinbefore appropriated for the contingent expenses of the two Houses of Congress," and (3) adding the provision requiring "the consent of the agents of the court of Spain" to the clause relating to the payment to Oliver Pollock. The House passed the amended bill on December 20th and it was signed into law by President Washington on December 23, 1791.

    The budget passed by Congress the following year was more specific in its appropriations, specifying exact amounts. While the President ($25,000), Vice President ($5,000), Chief Justice ($4,000), Associate Justices (five at $3,500 each) and cabinet members ($1,900 Attorney General; $3,500 State and Treasury; $3,000 War) received an annual salary, it is interesting to note that members of Congress received a daily salary ($6.00; $12.00 for the Speaker) and were only paid for the days Congress was in session, which was 119 days in the Second Session of the Second Congress ending March 3, 1793.
    During the American Revolution, Prussian Baron Frederick William de Steuben instilled in the Continental Army soldiers the essentials of military drill and discipline. He had volunteered his services, only asking that his living expenses be paid. Pursuant to a request from Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, on May 10, 1790, the House considered the bill "for finally adjusting and satisfying the claims of Frederick William de Steuben," which said, in part, "That, in order to make full and adequate compensation to Frederick William de Steuben, as well for the sacrifices and eminent services, made and rendered to the United States during the late war...there be paid to the said Frederick William de Steuben, the sum of $7000...and also an annuity of ___ dollars during life..." In the House, annuities of $2700, $2500, and $2420, were each defeated 25-30; $2000 was agreed to by a vote of 31-24 and the bill was passed, 34-21. On May 27th, the Senate disallowed the $7,000 payment and added $500 to Steuben's annuity which, on May 28th was agreed to by the House, 32-25. On June 4, 1790, President Washington signed the bill into law. This act allotted $2,500 annually to Baron Steuben; he died in 1794.
    It is ironic that the direct cause of the French Revolution was its financial crisis partially due to France's aid to the United States in the American Revolution. This increased its already large debt. After the Assembly of Notables (the privileged classes) refused to help by sharing in the financial burden, King Louis XVI was forced to give in to the demands of the Parliament of Paris and convene the Estates-General, an action that led directly to the outbreak of the Revolution. The $9,020.68 appropriated by this act was too little, too late. His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI of France reigned until August 10, 1792, just eight months after this act was signed. He was guillotined on January 21, 1793.
    In 1777, Irish-born Oliver Pollock was appointed commercial agent of the United States at New Orleans, governed by Spain. In 1778, Pollock borrowed $70,000 from Spain's royal treasury and used the funds to aid General George Rogers Clarke in his Illinois campaign and help pay for the defense of the frontier. Appointed U.S. agent at Havana in 1783, Pollock was imprisoned by Spain the following year for the debt owed by the United States, amounting to $150,000. He was released on parole in 1785 and returned to the United States. While Congress provided for payment of the debt to Spain by this act, Pollock was never paid for his services.

    Each page has three minor horizontal folds; one almost indiscernible fold passes through Jefferson's dark, bold signature. The document has a fresh appearance and is in very fine condition. Linking the names of our first three presidents, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, with the American Revolution (Steuben, Louis XVI, Oliver Pollock), it would make an exceptional addition to any presidential, financial, or American Revolution collection.


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    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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