William Heth to Alexander Campbell11
Bermuda Hundred [Virginia] Sept 14th 1792
Samuel Horton entered the Ship Abigail an American Bottom, yesterday as Master or Commander, with a very large Cargo from London, without reporting at Hampton or Norfolk agreeably to the fou[r]th Section of the Collection Law,12 tho he delivered his Letters to a very great number at the Post Office in the latter Port. The Manifest which he delivered, such as it is—was made at Sea. Besides being defective in point of form as required by the 9th 11th 12th & 16th Sections of the Collection Law,13 he has not inserted the Name of a single Consignee in the whole Manifest, so he will have now to make out another report or Manifest before I can possibly enter the Cargo in my Books. He is now in Port.
I am Sir &c.
Alex Campbell esq
11. Copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
12. “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]).
Section 4 of this act reads as follows: “And be it further enacted, That the master or commander of every ship or vessel, if bound to the district of Nottingham, shall, before he pass by the port of Town Creek, and immediately after his arrival, deposit with the surveyor of the said port, a true manifest of the cargo on board such ship or vessel: if bound to the district of Tappahannock, shall, before he pass by the port of Urbanna, and immediately after his arrival, deposit with the surveyor for that port a like manifest: if bound to the district of Bermuda Hundred or City Point, shall, before he pass by Elizabeth River, and immediately after his arrival, deposit with the collector of the port of Norfolk and Portsmouth, or with the collector of the port of Hampton, a like manifest: and if bound to the district of South Quay, shall, before he pass by the port of Edenton, and immediately after his arrival, deposit with the collector of the port of Edenton, a like manifest. And the said surveyors and collectors respectively, shall, after registering the manifest, transmit the same, duly certified to have been so deposited, to the officer with whom the entries are to be made. And if the master or commander of any ship or vessel shall neglect or omit to deposit a manifest in manner aforesaid, and as the case shall require, he shall forfeit and pay five hundred dollars, to be recovered with costs of suit, one half to the use of the officer with whom such manifest ought to have been deposited, and the other half to the use of the collector of the district to which the said ship or vessel may be bound: Provided, That if manifests shall have been in either of the said cases previously delivered to any officer of the customs, pursuant to the provision herein after to be made in that behalf, the depositing of a manifest as aforesaid shall not be necessary: And provided also, That no master of any ship or vessel which was absent from the United States on the first day of May last, and which hath not since returned within the same, or of any ship or vessel not owned wholly or in part by a citizen or inhabitant of the United States, shall incur the said penalty, if he shall make oath or affirmation that he had no knowledge of or information concerning the regulation herein contained, unless it can be otherwise proved that he had such knowledge or information” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 153).
13. These sections of the Collection Law concern the duties of masters of vessels on entering from a foreign port and the penalties for failure to have or produce a manifest or to make entry within twenty-four hours of their arrival within the United States (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 156–59).