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CONTINENTAL LOAN OFFICE/UNITED STATES LOAN OFFICE
On November 22, 1777, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution that recommended that state legislatures encourage subscriptions to be opened for the loan of monies to the Continental Treasury to help finance the war effort. The Delaware General Assembly recommended, on May 1, 1778 that three people in each county be appointed to help build local interest in these subscriptions, which would be certificates of investment administered through a Continental Loan Office. The Continental Treasury in June 1781 assigned Samuel Patterson to be the Loan Commissioner for the State of Delaware. In 1787, the Continental Loan Offices were renamed United States Loan Offices.
The funds received from the Continental Treasurer were in notes of the Bank of the United States and the states were charged interest on these funds. In turn, the Delaware office made loans to Delaware citizens, who used their property as collateral. The Loan Office also served as a conduit for monies to be invested in the U.S. Government by Delawareans willing to invest spare cash. This investment arrangement was very similar to U.S. Savings and Treasury Bonds available today.
Alexander Hamilton’s new economic initiatives in the late 18th century culminated in a congressional act of August 4, 1790 entitled “An act for the support of the public credit and for the redemption of the public debt,” which greatly expounded the loan program. The commissioners of loans were responsible for all loan administration and preparing periodic abstracts of stocks and loans to be reported to the Treasury. 1
With the war over and the economy expanding, another act of congress on December 22, 1817 abolished the position of Commissioner of Loans. Delaware’s financial ledgers were taken over by James M. Black, president of the Farmer’s Bank in January 1818.
It was further stipulated that all loans were to be paid off by April 1, 1832. No transfers of stock were permitted after March 1, 1832, and no interest was paid after March 31, 1832.
1 Richard S. Rodney; Colonial Finances in Delaware