Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Otho H. Williams, 27 August 1793

To Otho H. Williams

Treasury Department August 27th 1793


I enclose you the copy of a Petition from a Mr Salomon to the District Judge of maryland, respecting a certain quantity of Coffee, which has been seized in your Port.1

I request that you will state to me the appearance of the affair in your view and inform me at the same time if any thing has been done with the Schooner; in regard to which there is at least a strong presumption of improper intention; such as to render a strict investigation, and probably the enforcement of penalties necessary and proper.

with great consideration   I am Sir   Your obedient Servant

A Hamilton

Otho H. Williams Esqr
Collector Baltimore

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1This petition, addressed to William Paca and dated August 8, 1793, stated that Salomon, a former resident of Le Cap Français and a refugee from the revolution in Santo Domingo, had come to the United States in a ship “which arrived at Norfolk, that all the property he could save from the Conflagration of the Cape, consists of seven Barrels and one Bag of Coffee weighing about 1200 lb and as the intention of the Petitioner was to proceed his voyage immediately to some other place, and judging that Baltimore should offer more resource to his miserable situation he resolved to go there. Being totally ignorant of the law of the Country he made no declaration of his Coffee at Norfolk thinking at the same time it would answer the same purpose to pay the duty at Baltimore.… The Petitioner being a young man ignorant of the law of this Country and being willing to pay the duty which his property may be charged with, humbly demands of your Honor’s generosity to order said Property to be remitted to him after the duty on it shall be deducted …” (copy, Columbia University Libraries). Paca’s inquiry into the case generally confirmed Salomon’s contentions (copy, Columbia University Libraries).

According to Salomon’s petition, the captain of the ship which brought his coffee to Norfolk “being ignorant of the law of the Country as well as the petitioner made no difficulty to deliver to him the … coffee and he shipped it on board of a Schooner that was sailing for this Harbour [Baltimore] and took his passage in her. Being arrived your Petitioner asked the Captain of the Schooner to make the formalities which were necessary for his Coffee, the said Captain answered it did not regard him in the least.…”

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