Fiscal Documents: Connecticut Interest Certificates
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    Interest Certificates

    During the Revolutionary War the states regularly needed more money than they were able to collect from taxes in order to conduct the war. There was a continuous and immediate need to pay bounties in order to enlist new recruits and to pay soldiers, weapons and supplies also needed to be purchased and emergency relief was necessary devastated areas. For these and other expenses the states offered interest bearing loans. When the war ended in 1783 Connecticut, like the other states, had a large debt and owed a great deal of money just on the interest payments. The office of comptroller oversaw the state finances, trying to best allocate income to consolidate or pay off the loans as well as paying interest due. By January of 1790 Connecticut still owed $1,951,173. Relief was in sight when on August 4, 1790 the Congress passed a resolution to assume the state debts incurred during the war. Connecticut continued to pay off its debts and to pay interest due. When the federal government finished there official calculations in 1794 it was determined that Connecticut was due $1,600,000. However the state had done such a good job of paying off its loans that when the federal payment arrived in 1795 Connecticut was able to pay off its outstanding debt and retain $619,000 as a surplus.

    The indented interest certificates listed below were issued by the Comptroller's office from 1789-1792 to individuals who were due interest payments on outstanding state loans. They were to receive "Lawful Money, out of any Funds appropriated for the Payment of interest on the liquidated Debt of the State of Connecticut." The certificate was taken to the treasurer's office where it was turned in for payment. Upon redemption the certificates were usually hole cancelled although some were slashed cancelled.

    Certificates came in two varieties. One variety was for standard payments and had the amount of the payment printed on the certificate. Certificates were printed in denominations of 5s,10s, £1, £2, £5 and £10. The other variety had a blank space to be filled in with the specific amount required. Both types were made out to specific individuals and were numbered, dated and signed by the comptroller. They were printed by Hudson and Goodwin in Hartford on watermarked paper. Most of the paper was white but some has a greenish tint to it. The indented border reads: "INTEREST."

    See: Willian G. Anderson, The Price of Liberty: The Public Debt of the American Revolution, Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1983, pp 23-36 and118-119; Edwin J. Perkins, American Public Finance and Financial Services, Columbus: Ohio State, 1994, pp.169-171..

    Provenance: EANA lot, March 29, 1996.