Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jeremiah Olney, 16 July 1792

From Jeremiah Olney

Custom House
District of Providence 16 July 1792.


Messrs Clarke and Nightingale are about Exporting a Quantity of Brandy to Cape Francois—imported into this district in the Ship Lark in May last from Bourdeaux—and have applyed to me for information. Wheather said Brandy may not on Return of the Vessel be relanded here, (in case it cannot be Sold to advantage in the Cape) Free of duty and the Exportation Bond Cancelled without a Breach of Law, no fraud being intended; or, if they shall be Subject to pay the duties on relanding it, whether they will not be entitled to receive the Draw Back of the first duties when it becomes due, and on Producing a Certificate that said Brandy had been actually landed and delivered at the Cape their Bond shall not be cancelled? But as the 62 Section of the Collection law1 & 55 Section of the Excise Act2 seems so pointed against relanding any Goods Wares or Merchandize, intended for Exportation, with intent to draw back the duties, or to obtain any allowance given by law on the Exportation thereof, I have thought it my duty to decline giving them a Definitive answer, untill I should be favoured with your opinnion Relative to the Case.

I enclose my genl. Return of Exports for the last Quarter, amounting to 95,844 Dolls. and 3 Cents.

I have the Honor to be &c.

Jereh. Olney Collr.

Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.
Secretary of the Treasury.

ADfS, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence.

1For a similar problem which Olney had encountered with the Providence merchant and trading firm of John Clark and Joseph Nightingale under Section 60 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 145–78 [August 4, 1790]), see Olney to H, December 29, 1791, and H to Olney, January 8, 1792. Olney is mistaken; he is actually referring to Section 60 of this act.

2Section 55 of “An Act repealing, after the last day of June next, the duties hereto-fore laid upon Distilled Spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead; and also upon Spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same” provided that spirits shipped for exportation would be subject to forfeiture if relanded, except under necessity, distress, or a change of course while still within four leagues of the coast of the United States (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 212 [March 3, 1791]).

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