The First Federal Congress Project
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress

Treasury Act [HR-9]

 September 2, 1789 

An Act to establish the Treasury Department

[1] Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled , that there shall be a department of Treasury, in which shall be the following officers, namely; a Secretary of the Treasury to be deemed head of the department, a Comptroller, an Auditor, a Treasurer, a Register, and an Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury; which assistant shall be appointed by the said Secretary.
[2] And be it further enacted , that it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to digest and prepare plans for the improvement and management of the revenue, and for the support of public credit; to prepare and report estimates of the public revenue, and the public expenditures; to superintend the collection of the revenue; to decide on the forms of keeping and stating accounts and making returns, and to grant, under the limitations herein established, or to be hereafter provided, all Warrants for monies to be issued from the Treasury, in pursuance of appropriations by law; to execute such services relative to the sale of the lands belonging to the United States, as may be by law required of him; to make report and give information to either branch of the Legislature, in person or in writing, (as he may be required) respecting all matters refered to him by the Senate or House of Representatives, or which shall appertain to his office; and generally to perform all such services, relative to the finances, as he shall be directed to perform.
[3] And be it further enacted , that it shall be the duty of the Comptroller to superintend the adjustment and preservation of the public accounts; to examine all accounts settled by the Auditor, and certify the ballances arising thereon to the Register; to countersign all warrants drawn by the Secretary of the Treasury, which shall be warranted by law; to report to the Secretary the official forms of all papers to be issued in the different offices for collecting the public revenue, and the manner and form of keeping and stating the accounts of the several persons employed therein; he shall moreover provide for the regular and punctual payment of all monies which may be collected, and shall direct prosecutions for all delinquencies of officers of the revenue, and for debts that are or shall be due to the United States.
[4] And be it further enacted , that it shall be the duty of the Treasurer, to receive and keep the monies of the United States, and to disburse the same upon Warrants drawn by the Secretary of the Treasury, countersigned by the Comptroller, recorded by the Register, and not otherwise; he shall take receipts for all monies paid by him, and all receipts for monies received by him shall be endorsed upon Warrants, signed by the Secretary of the Treasury, without which warrant so signed, no acknowledgment for money received into the public Treasury shall be valid: and the said Treasurer shall render his accounts to the Comptroller, quarterly, (or oftener if required) and shall transmit a copy thereof, when settled, to the Secretary of the Treasury, he shall moreover on the third day of every Session of Congress, lay before the Senate and House of Representatives fair and accurate copies of all accounts, by him from time rendered to, and settled with the Comptroller as aforesaid, as also a true and perfect account of the State of the Treasury; he shall at all times, submit to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Comptroller, or either of them, the inspection of the monies in his hands, and shall, prior to the entering upon the duties of his office, give bond with sufficient sureties, to be approved by the Secretary of the Treasury and Comptroller, in the sum of One hundred and fifty thousand dollars, payable to the United States, with condition for the faithful performance of the duties of his office, and for the fidelity of the persons to be by him employed, which bond shall be lodged in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States.
[5] And be it further enacted , that it shall be the duty of the Auditor, to receive all public accounts, and after examination to certify the ballance, and transmit the accounts, with the vouchers and certificate to the Comptroller for his decision thereon: Provided , that if any person whose account shall be so audited, be dissatisfied therewith, he may within six months, appeal to the Comptroller against such settlement.
[6] And be it further enacted , that it shall be the duty of the Register, to keep all accounts of the receipts and expenditures of the public money, and of all debts due to or from the United States; to receive from the Comptroller, the accounts which shall have been finally adjusted, and to preserve such accounts with their vouchers and certificates; to record all warrants for the receipt or payment of monies at the Treasury, certify the same thereon, and to transmit to the Secretary of the Treasury copies of the certificates of ballances of Accounts adjusted as is herein directed.
[7] And be it further enacted , that whenever the Secretary shall be removed from office by the President of the United States, or in any other case of vacancy in the office of Secretary, the Assistant shall during the vacancy, have the charge and custody of the records, books, and papers appertaining to the said office.
[8] And be it further enacted , that no person appointed to any office instituted by this Act, shall directly or indirectly be concerned or interested in carrying on the business of Trade or Commerce, or be owner in whole or in part of any Sea Vessel, or purchase by himself, or another in trust for him, any public lands or other public property, or be concerned in the purchase, or disposal, of any public securities of any State, or of the United States, or take or apply to his own use, any emolument or gain for negotiating or transacting any business in the said department other than what shall be allowed by law, and if any person shall offend against any of the prohibitions of this Act, he shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and forfeit to the United States the penalty of three thousand dollars, and shall upon conviction be removed from Office, and for ever thereafter incapable of holding any office under the United States: Provided that if any other person than a public prosecutor shall give information of any such offence, upon which a prosecution and conviction shall be had, one half the aforesaid penalty of three thousand dollars, when recovered, shall be for the use of the person giving such information.
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg
Speaker of the House of Representatives
John Adams
Vice-President of the United States, and
President of the Senate
Approved September the Second 1789
Go. Washington
President of the United States
I certify that this Act did originate in the House of Representatives.
John Beckley — — Clerk
Signed enrolled acts, RG11, National Archives.

Recommended citation: Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2002). XML version based on the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1986) Vol. 6, pp. 1975-1991; 2028-2032. http://adh.sc.edu [Accessed (supply date here)]

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