Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Sharp Delany, 12 December 1790

To Sharp Delany1

Treasury Department
December 12th. 1790.


I find it necessary to be more fully informed as to some particulars attending the case stated to me by Messrs. Warder & Co.2 on the 6th. Instant.3

It is said in your Notes and additions to their statement that the Teas were surveyed by the Wardens with the consent of the Collector. I wish to know, if the appointment was made by you according to the directions of the 16th. Section of the then collection Law4 and if the Surveyors were sworn by you. I also request a copy of the return, or if more convenient to you of the original.

The statement of the Importers declares the importation to have been made in December 1789, and altho’ the Bond remained unpaid the case was never made known at the Treasury till the 6th. Instant.

The credit must then have expired about six months. I request you will inform me if there were any circumstances attending this case which prevented as full and accurate a statement and as equitable an adjustment in May or June as can be made at this time.

I am, Sir,   Your Obedt. Servt.

A Hamilton

Sharp Delany Esqr.
collr Philadelphia.

LS, Mr. Ben Weisinger, New York City.

1This letter was written in response to an undated letter which Delany wrote to H and which in PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , VII, 398, has been dated “December, 1790.” The letter printed above makes it clear that a more appropriate date for Delany’s letter would be “November, 1790.” A second undated letter from Delany in PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , VII, 398–99, which has been dated “December, 1790,” is Delany’s reply to the letter printed above and should be dated “December 13–31, 1790.”

2John and Jeremiah Warder were Philadelphia merchants.

3Statement not found.

4Section 16 of “An Act to regulate the Collection of the Duties imposed by law on the tonnage of ships or vessels, and on goods, wares and merchandises imported into the United States” reads: “That if any goods, wares or merchandise, on which duties are payable, shall receive damage during the voyage, or shall not be accompanied with the original invoice of their cost, it shall be lawful for the collector to appoint one merchant, and the owner or consignee another, who being sworn or affirmed by the collector well and truly to appraise such goods, shall value them accordingly, and the duties upon such goods shall be estimated according to such valuation; and if any package, or any goods stowed in bulk, which shall have been entered as is herein before directed, shall not be duly delivered, or if any of the packages so entered shall not agree with the manifest, or if the manifest shall not agree with the delivery, in every such case the person having command shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred dollars, unless it shall appear that such disagreement was occasioned by unavoidable necessity or accident, and not with intention to defraud the revenue” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 41 [July 31, 1789]).

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