Thomas Mann Randolph to Joseph C. Cabell
|Dr Sir,||Jany 31. 1822.|
I am glad to have an opportunity of consulting you on the subject of the report to the H. of D. about to be made on the present state of the claims of the Commth on the U. States for War expenditure on their account. Mr Selden the agent has not yet replied to my letter, and I allmost fear it may have miscarried. With respect to the claim for interest, I am ready to report, as allso the sum refunded, with dates; but the term “present state” requires information from the agent as to the ballance liquidated but unpaid as yet, which is pretty considerable, and, we believe, fully vouched; allthough in the dark as to its fate at the Treasury of the U. States. The amount of the claim for interest is certainly much smaller than is generally believed at this time, for we cannot hope to have more allowed than we actually did pay to the Two Banks. The loan from them, for purposes of the U. States, was discharged with money refunded by the U. States, as I understand, and we can have no pretension to interest after the transfer to the Literary Fund; allthough it has been constantly paid out of the Revenue at 7 prCent. since that period, while the principal has been gradually sinking. It is true, as I understand, that the sum of 313000 $ was paid on account of the Direct tax due the United states, out of the loan made at 7 prCent from the Banks. But they can claim no offset in the debt due us for interest upon that score; for the amount refunded shews that we were reduced to the necessity of borrowing to pay them that tax, because we had consumed our Revenue in advances on their account, which we were compelled to make, for their credit, more than our own safety, allready secured by the enthusiasm of our Citizens, whose Representatives wisely resolved that the charge should be defrayed by the state, and the indemnity procured consecrated1 to the encouragement of learning, transcendental, I trust, as well as elementary. The act of refunding acknowledges that we made advances for them, that of borrowing in conseque[nce] of having made such advances, proves that these advances cost us more by the interest we paid than the sum advanced; and why did we borrow? because it was more easy to us at the time than to them, who ought to have done it, and have furnished us with money for their purposes. Can one friend refuse to pay interest on loans made by another to support his credit? and can there be such a difference between Publick and private minds where both violence and cunning are unknown? and the reign of good faith at least avowed.
We are entitled to interest from the U. States for what has been paid to the Literary Fund for loans made, previous to the transfers, out of other funds of that institution.