By an act of May 1777, the State of Virginia established a Loan Office in Williamsburg to borrow money for the prosecution of the Revolutionary War. The "Act for Sequestering British Property" was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and passed in early 1778.[1]

One provision of the act was part of an effort to stabilize currency and increase the flow of funds into the Loan Office. It allowed Virginia citizens to pay off their British debts in depreciated currency, with the state assuming responsibility for discharging the debt as if the payment had been made in hard currency. This provision was repealed in May 1780 and the Treaty of Paris and post-war court decisions made the payments into the Loan Office between 1778 and 1780 invalid as a discharge of British debts. The Virginia treasury eventually repaid the money, at its true hard currency value and with interest, to the original depositors.[2]Anchor

Primary Source References

1778 December 19. "Pd. into loan office according to the Sequestration law £291–12 = 972 D. to be applied to credit of John Randolph with Farrell [&] Jones as before."[3]

1779 April 16. "Recd. of Jas. Minor exr. of John Carr decd. for the children of Dab. Carr £319–10 to be put into loan office."[4]

1779 May 20. "Pd. into Loan office for chdr. of Dabney Carr £319–10."[5]

1779 June 25. (James Madison to James Madison, Sr.). "I have recd. from Mr. Hunter £2000. I shall not put it into the loan office as it is does not appear that Certificates will be taken in payment for land."[6]

1780 March 16. "Pd. into loan office for Philip Mazzei & took certificate £384–18."[7]

1780 June 12. "Pd. into loan office for A. S. Jefferson £1809–7. & took Certificate."[8]

1780 June 16. "Pd. into the loan office for A.S. Jefferson £2235 to be repaid in tobo."[9]Anchor

Further Sources

  • Hening, William Waller. Statutes at Large. Richmond: Printed for Samuel Pleasants, junior, printer to the commonwealth, 1810-1823. See pages 9:286-899:377-80.
  • Harrell, Isaac. Loyalism in Virginia. Durham: Duke University Press, 1926. See pages 80-83, 127-30, 171-73.


  1. ^ Bill for Sequestering British Property, [January 13, 1778], in PTJ, 2:168-71. Transcription and editorial note available at Founders Online.
  2. ^ MB, 1:474n27. Editorial note available at Founders Online.
  3. ^ MB, 1:474. Transcription available at Founders Online. See also MB, 2:1009. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  4. ^ MB, 1:477. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  5. ^ MB, 1:480, 1:480n44. Transcription and editorial note available at Founders Online.
  6. ^ The Papers of James Madison, eds. William T. Hutchinson and William M. E. Rachal (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), 1:298. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  7. ^ MB, 1:493. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  8. ^ MB, 1:497. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  9. ^ MB, 1:498, 1:498n79. Transcription and editorial note available at Founders Online.