Report on the Petition of Conyngham,
Nesbitt and Company, and James Crawford
March 2nd. 1791.
[Communicated on March 2, 1791]1
The Secretary of the Treasury, in obedience to the Order of the House of Representatives of the nineteenth Ultimo,2 relative to the petition of Conynghame, Nesbitt & Co.,3 and James Crawford, of the City of Philadelphia, Merchants;
That he has examined into the facts, stated in the said petition, and has had the same under consideration.
That it is admitted by the Collector of the District of Wilmington,4 that the Deputy-Collector had mistaken the time of enacting the Tonnage-law, of the fourth of August 1790, for the commencement of it’s operation, which was the first day of October.5 That in this interval, the several vessels, mentioned in the petition, arrived under orders to proceed to the District of Philadelphia, without stopping at New Castle, to land the passengers, with which they were principally occupied. That these orders had been given in consequence of their having been subjected to tonnage, both in Wilmington and Philadelphia in their former voyages. That they were induced by the acknowledged misinformation of the Deputy-Collector to enter in Delaware, and proceeded afterwards, without taking in any goods, to Philadelphia, where they were again subjected to tonnage.
On due consideration of these circumstances, which shew that the lawful intentions of the petitioners were frustrated by the oversight of the officer, the Secretary humbly conceives, that it will comport with the justice of the House, to authorize a return of the duties of tonnage, on the vessels specified in the petition, which were collected in the District of Wilmington.
All which is humbly submitted
Secretary of the Treasury.
Copy, RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1791–1792, Vol. II, National Archives.
2. On February 19, 1791, the House received “A petition of Coningham, Nesbitt and Company, and James Crawford, of the city of Philadelphia, praying to be relieved against the payment of second tonnage on certain vessels, the double entry of which was occasioned by the mistake of the Deputy Collector at New Castle.…
“Ordered, That the said [petition] be referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House.” (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826). description ends , 383.)
3. The firm of David H. Conyngham and John M. Nesbitt.
4. George Bush.
5. This date was specified in Section 74 of “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 178).