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

Treasury Bill [HR-9]

 June 4, 1789 

A Bill to establish an Executive Department , to be denominated the Treasury Department

[1] Be it enacted by the Congress of the United States ,11 That there shall be a department of Treasury, in which shall be the following officers, who shall reside at the seat of the Government of the United States,12 and be removable at the pleasure of the President;13 namely— Secretary of the Treasury,14 a Comptroller, an Auditor, a Treasurer, a Register, and an Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury.
[2] And be it further enacted , That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury, to digest and report15 plans for the improvement and management of the revenue, and for the support of public credit16— 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 conduct the sale of the lands belonging to the United States, in such manner as shall be by law directed17— To make report, and give information to either branch of the legislature, in person or in writing, (as he may be required)18 respecting all matters referred to him by the Senate or House of Representatives, or which shall appertain to his office, and generally to do and perform all such services, relative to the finances, as he shall be impowered or directed to do and 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 balances 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 of the manner and form of keeping and stating the accounts of the several persons employed therein: He shall moreover provide, that all monies when collected shall be paid into the public Treasury;19 and shall direct prosecutions when necessary, for all delinquencies of officers of the revenue, and for debts due to the United States.20
[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 indorsed 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 oftner if required) and shall transmit a copy thereof, when settled, to the Secretary of the Treasury.21 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 of22 with condition for the faithful performance of the duties of his office, and for the fidelity of the persons to be by him employed.23
[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 balance, 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 three 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 certify upon all warrants for the receipt or payment of monies at the Treasury, and to transmit to the Secretary of the Treasury copies of the certificates of balances of accounts adjusted as is herein directed.
[7] And be it further enacted , That the Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury shall be appointed by the President.
[8] And be it further enacted , That the salaries of the respective officers shall be as follows:
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury,
  • To the Comptroller,
  • To the Treasurer,
  • To the Auditor,
  • To the Register,
  • To the Assistant of the Secretary of the Treasury,
  • To the principal Clerk in the Office of the Comptroller,
  • To the principal Clerk in the Office of the Auditor,
  • To each of the other Clerks.24
Printed Bill, Wingate Collection, Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, N.H.
    11. On June 25, on a motion by Boudinot, the Committee of the Whole House struck out "CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES" and inserted "Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, June 26)
    12. On June 25, on a motion by Benson, the Committee of the Whole House struck out "who shall reside" through "United States." (Ibid.)
    13. On June 25, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to a motion by Page to strike out "and be removable" through "President." (Ibid.)
    14. On June 25, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to a motion by Benson to insert "to be the principal officer of the department" at this point. (Ibid.)
    15. On June 25, on a motion by Fitzsimons, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to strike out "report" and insert "prepare." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, June 27)
    16. On June 25, the Committee of the Whole House disagreed to a motion by Page to strike out "to digest and report" through "public credit." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, June 26, 27)
    17. On June 29, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to a motion by Vining to strike out "To conduct" through "law directed." Vining withdrew his motion to insert "to direct and devise means for bringing into the Treasury the money arising from the sale of the lands of the United States" in favor of a motion by Madison to insert "to execute such services respecting the sale of the lands of the United States as may by law be required of him," which was agreed to. (The [New York] Daily Advertiser , June 30)
    18. On June 29, the Committee of the Whole House disagreed to a motion by Benson to change "in person" through "required" to read "in writing or if required, verbally." (Ibid.)
    19. On June 29, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to a motion by Sedgwick to strike out "that all monies" through "public Treasury." Sedgwick's motion to insert "for the regular and punctual payment of all monies collected, and an account thereof entered on the books of the treasury" was altered to "for the regular and punctual payment of all money that shall be collected," and was agreed to. (Ibid.)
    20. On June 29, Madison made a motion, which he withdrew the next day, to insert "that the comptroller should hold office during years, unless sooner removed by the president" at this point. (The Congressional Register, June 29, 30) On July 1, the House disagreed to a motion by Madison to add a provision that "the under officers of the revenue, who should be prosecuted for neglecting to settle their accounts, should suffer both their own and the costs of prosecution." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, July 2)
    21. On June 30, the Committee of the Whole House inserted "That the Treasurer should on the day of every session of Congress, lay before the House, copies of all accounts settled with the Comptroller, also the state of the Treasury" at this point. (Gazette of the United States, July 1) On July 2, the House agreed to fill the blank with "third." (Gazette of the United States, July 4)
    22. On July 2, the House agreed to fill this blank with one hundred and fifty thousand dollars." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, July 3)
    23. On June 30, the Committee of the Whole House agreed to insert the following at this point: "Bonds, to be given by the several officers, are to be deposited in the Comptroller's office, and registered in the office of the supreme court of the United States." (Gazette of the United States, July 1)
    24. On June 30, in the Committee of the Whole House, Burke introduced and withdrew an additional clause providing "that none of the officers in this department, shall be concerned either directly, or indirectly, in trade or commerce, under loss of their places, and other heavy penalties." He had given notice of his intent to move the clause on the previous day. (Gazette of the United States, July 1) On July 1, in the House, Sherman moved that a clause be added to "prohibit any of the officers named in that bill from being either directly or indirectly concerned in trade or commerce." According to the The New York Daily Gazette, July 2, this motion was made by Burke. It was amended to extend the prohibition "to speculations in public securities of all kinds, or in public lands, & c.," and further amended by Fitzsimons to the effect that "these officers are not to exercise any other profession whatever, during the time they are in the said department." A motion by Gerry to commit the clause was disagreed to by a large majority. Sherman's motion was agreed to as amended. (Gazette of the United States, July 4) On July 2, the House set the penalty for the secretary at "five thousand dollars" and for the Comptroller, Register, and other officers at "two thousand dollars." (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, July 3)

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)]

Copyright 1988-1994. The Johns Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved.