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    [Samuel Houston] Message from the President of the Republic May 12, 1838 to the House of Representatives Giving his Reasons for Not Signing the Bill Entitled, "An Act to Define and Limit the Issue of Promissory Notes." Houston: Telegraph Press, Printed by order of the Senate, 1838. 8vo. 12pp. including four integral blanks. Paper wrappers; disbound. Light to moderate age toning throughout, else fine.

    On June 12, 1837, an act was passed that authorized the issue of $500,000 of promissory notes, the young Republic's first step in issuing paper money. President Sam Houston said the issue was necessary in order "to avoid the absolute dissolution of the Government." The first notes, printed in denominations of $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $500, appeared in the fall of 1837, bore 10 percent interest, and were payable twelve months from the date of issue. They were generally referred to as Star Money because of the small five-pointed star on the face of the note.

    In December 1837, an increase of $150,000 of the interest notes and an issue of $10,000 in non-interest bearing "change notes" of low denominations were authorized. Of interest then is this particular passage: "Be it therefore enacted...That the secretary of the treasury be, and he is hereby authorized and required to issue an amount of the promissory notes of this government of the new stamp sufficient to redeem those of the first stamp... provided that in no case shall the amount in circulation exceed one million of dollars." It is worth noting that a total of $1,165,139 in notes was issued in 1837 and 1838.

    Reference: Streeter 289 (five copies located, two in Texas). Sabin 95013.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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