Bill of credit

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Within the constitution of the United States, a paper issued by a State, on the mere faith and credit of the State, and designed to circulate as money. No State shall "emit bills of credit."
Among merchants, a letter sent by an agent or other person to a merchant, desiring him to give credit to the bearer for goods or money.
- U. S. Const.
See under Bill.

See also: Bill, Bill, Credit

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The present Congress can make requisitions to any amount they please, and the States are constitutionally bound to furnish them; they can emit bills of credit as long as they will pay for the paper; they can borrow, both abroad and at home, as long as a shilling will be lent.
Why, here were old provincial bills of credit, and treasury notes, and bills of land, banks, and all other bubbles of the sort, from the first issue, above a century and a half ago, down nearly to the Revolution.
Their evidence includes (1) the instrument's ban on state emission of bills of credit and on certain related actions, (26) (2) the Fifth Amendment Due Process (27) and Takings Clauses (28) (both designed to prevent expropriation of the kind historically associated with paper money), (29) (3) the Founders' general dislike of paper money, (30) and (4) proceedings at the federal Convention where delegates deleted from an earlier draft of the Constitution an enumerated congressional power to emit bills of credit.
On the other hand, those who argue that the original Constitution authorized paper currency observe that the Constitution's specific bans on bills of credit and tender laws apply only to the states, and therefore (expressio unius est exclusio alterius) those prohibitions do not apply to the federal government.
120) In 1690, Massachusetts issued the first government-sponsored American paper money in the form of 7000 [pounds sterling] in bills of credit.
153) For example, in 1749, when the British government shipped 183,000 [pounds sterling] in specie to Massachusetts to reimburse the colony for war expenses, Thomas Hutchinson, the conservative Speaker of the colony's House of Representatives, convinced the legislature to dedicate the specie to retire outstanding bills of credit.
In 1764, Parliament adopted an act addressing the colonies' paper bills of credit, now known as the Currency Act of 1764.
172) In fact, bills of credit constituted only the most important of several categories of American paper currency.
The "treasury notes" issued by Connecticut and Massachusetts after mid-century (176) were not legal tender, but they were bills of credit in all but name.
Both bills of credit and other forms of paper money could be secured or unsecured.
193) Currency, whether or not in the form of bills of credit, might or might not be legal tender.
The Continental Congress decided to issue bills of credit worth two million Spanish-milled dollars to finance the cause.