Petition of Merchants and Masters of Vessels
Trading from the City of Albany to the
City of New York1
[New York, January 1–19, 1796]
To the Congress of the United States
The Memorial & Petition of the Subscribers respectfully sheweth
That Your Memorialists are Owners or Masters or both of coasting vessels employed ordinarily and exclusively in transporting articles between the Cities of New York and Albany.
That by a late Act of Congress constituting the City of Hudson a Port of Entry2 the Port of Albany has been annexed to it as part of the same district and consequently severed from the District of New York.
That this arrangement subjects Your Memorialists to all the regulations of Vessels trading between different districts and to a variety of embarrassments and expences, in carrying on their business, very prejudicial to it, to which they were not before subject and which as they humbly apprehend can tend in no wise to the security or advantage of the United States their Revenue or Trade.
That while your Memorialists are disposed to see with pleasure any arrangement which accommodates their fellow Citizens of Hudson, they must unavoidably feel regret, if it must necessarily be at their expence—and if no expedient can be devised by which the evil to them can be remedied.
For though from Geographical position their annexation to Hudson may appear most natural; yet no connection can be more unnatural, when considered with reference to the Commercial relations of the two places. New York is at once the Market as well for the produce carried from Albany as for the supply to Albany & the Country connected with it of all the foreign and other articles of which they stand in need.
If it can appear expedient to Congress to reannex the port of Albany to the District of New York the inconvenie⟨nce⟩ under which Your Memorialists suffer will be removed—their business will return to its former situation—The City of Hudson will retain the convenience of being a port of Entry—all parties will be accommodated and no detriment as they with great deference conceive will ensue to the U States. In such an arrangement it will be of course necessary that the intermediate Waters should be common to the two Districts.
With this view Yr. Memoria[li]sts respectfully submit their case to the favourable consideration of Congress & pray that an Act may be passed accordingly.3
ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. On January 20, 1796, this petition was laid before the House and “referred to the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House” (Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826). description ends , II, 424). On March 24, 1796, the committee’s report was referred to a Committee of the Whole House (Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826). description ends , II, 480).
2. This is a reference to Section 4 of “An Act supplementary to the act, intituled “An act to provide more effectually for the collection of the Duties on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels.’” This section reads in part: “That from and after the last day of May next, there shall be established the following new districts and ports of delivery, to wit: In the state of New York, a district to be called the district of Hudson; which shall include the city of Hudson, and all the waters and shores northward of the said city on Hudson river, and the town of Catskill below the said city; and the said city of Hudson shall be the sole port of entry for the said district; to which shall be annexed the towns or landing-places of Catskill, Kinderhook and Albany, as ports of delivery only; and the collector for the said district shall reside at Hudson, and a surveyor to reside at Hudson, and another, at Albany, as is now by law established …” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 421 [February 26, 1795]).
3. Section 2 of “An Act in addition to an act intituled ‘An act supplementary to the act, intituled An act to provide more effectually for the Collection of the Duties on Goods, Wares and Merchandise imported into the United States, and on the Tonnage of Ships or Vessels’” reads in part: “That from and after the last day of June next, the district of Hudson, in the state of New York, shall be confined to the limits of the city of Hudson; and all other places, which were, by the act, intituled ‘An act supplementary to the act, intituled An act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels,’ included in the said district of Hudson, shall be annexed to the district of New York” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 476 [May 27, 1796]).