Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Otho H. Williams, 6 August 1791

To Otho H. Williams

Treasury Department,
Augt. 6th, 1791.


It has been represented to me by Messrs. Sherman & Procter of New Bedford, that some things which they deem improper have taken place. The Substance of the information is that their Brig Hawk, Hathaway Master, was remeasured in Baltimore altho she had been measured in New Bedford prior to her sailing [and was possessed of a Register of the U States]1 that she was registered anew in Baltimore, that they paid charges, which were beyond those authorized by law, particularly the Surveyors fees and the fee of entry.2 The enclosed papers are copies of the accounts of fees which they allege to have been paid at the Collectors and Surveyors offices.

Upon this Case I request to be informed what were the length and other demensions of the Brig Hawk, the circumstances that led to the remeasurement, whether she had a coasting licence, and whether any and what duties accrued upon the goods imported by her.

I also request to be furnished with the act or acts of the legislature of Maryland to which operation is given by the act of Congress of the 11th day of August 1790,3 under which I presume the port duty of 2 Cents per ton is charged.

I am with due consideration   Sir   Your obedt Servant

A. Hamilton

Otho H. Williams Esqr
Collr. of Baltimore

LS, Columbia University Libraries.

1The bracketed words are in H’s handwriting.

2Section 53 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” prescribed the fees which might be charged by surveyors for the admeasurement of vessels (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 171–72 [August 4, 1790]).

3“An Act declaring the assent of Congress to certain acts of the states of Maryland, Georgia, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 184–85) gave congressional consent to an act passed by “the General Assembly of the state of Maryland, at their session in April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, intituled ‘An act appointing wardens for the port of Baltimoretown in Baltimore county;’ as also, another act of the General Assembly of the same state, passed at their session in November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, intituled ‘A supplement to the act intituled, An act apppointing wardens for the port of Baltimore-town in Baltimore county.’”

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