• U.S. Treasury Commissioner Samuel Osgood Seeks Accounting Of New Hampshire's Revolutionary War Debt

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    When the new American government was formed in 1789 under the recently adopted U.S. Constitution, the settlement of Revolutionary War debt was a matter of prime importance. The first House of Representatives directed the first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, during the Presidential administration of George Washington, to draw up a plan for the support of public credit. The first Report on the Public Credit was issued January 19, 1790. The Funding Act of 1790 that followed was concerned primarily with funding the domestic debt held by the state.


    Offering a spectacular 7 ¾ x 9 ½, letter signed, Board of Treasury, February 7, 1790, by Samuel Osgood as Commissioner of the Treasury, to New Hampshire Commissioner of the Loan Office Nathaniel Gilman, being a circular letter, requesting details concerning the Revolutionary War debt of New Hampshire.  [Research indicates that New Hampshire’s war debt was $300,000.]. Also signed by Commissioner of the Treasury Walter Livingston.  Address panel on verso.  “As it will probably soon become necessary to ascertain the present amount of the debts contracted by the respective States during the late wars, you will be pleased to obtain and transmit to this Office as accurate a statement as possible of the debt of the State in which you act, together with a detail of the provision already made, or which is probably relied on for the payment of the same...”


    Folds, light toning.


    Osgood (February 3, 1747 – August 12, 1813) was an American merchant and statesman, born in Andover, MA. He served in the Massachusetts and New York legislatures, presented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress and was the fourth Postmaster General of the United States, the first under the new Constitution, serving during George Washington’s first term.  Osgood led a local company of minutemen into the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775. They followed the retreating British and became part of the Siege of Boston.  As more troops assembled, he was made Major of a brigade while serving at Cambridge.  Osgood became an aide to Gen. Artemas Ward and was promoted to Colonel. When the siege succeeded, Osgood left the army and returned to the Provincial Congress, where he was named to the Massachusetts Board of War.  Under the new Constitution, he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1780 and served two terms.  The new government named Osgood as one of their delegates to the Continental Congress. The Massachusetts governor appointed Osgood a judge in 1785 but he soon resigned when the National Congress made him a commissioner of the Treasury later than year.


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