From Benjamin Lincoln
Boston, September 17, 1790. “Your private letter of the 10th1 came by the post the last evening. I find by the collection act which authorizes the building ten cutters … the President is limited to ten thousand dollars.2 You will permit me to observe that although ten thousand dollars may be a fund sufficient to build ten boats or cutters of a size which may with safety act in the different part of the United States, Yet one thousand dollars will not pay the expence of a Cutter which can keep the offing from december to march, three or four months, the weather is commonly so inclement in those months that a cutter so small as she must be if her cost is not to exceed one thousand dollars. As much smaller boats or Cutters will do in the southern States I cannot but hope that the one which shall be assigned to this State may be so large as to embrace the objects intended.… From the best information I can obtain the Duck made here is superior to any imported … the imported duck is about 10 dollars peice.”
ADf, RG 36, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letters from the Treasury and Others, 1789–1818, Vol. 11, National Archives.
2. “An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 145–78 [August 4, 1790]). Lincoln is referring to Section 62 of this act (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 175).