Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 20 September 1790

From William Ellery

Newport [Rhode Island] September 20, 1790. Wishes to suggest some changes in the provisions of the Coasting Act.1 Proposes that Section 11 be changed so that when a ship or vessel is sold or transferred “a production of such bill of sale to the Collector by the owner be made a condition of his receiving a new Certificate of Registry.” States: “By the 12th Sec: when the master of a registered Vessel is changed a memorandum of such change is to be endorsed on the Certificate of Registry &c. I have observed such memorandums on some Enrollments. Are they necessary?” Proposes that “every licenced vessel be her tonnage, her lading, her destination what it may, or wheresoever she may be employed, be obliged to enter and clear.”

LC, Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island.

1“An Act for Registering and Clearing Vessels, Regulating the Coasting Trade, and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 55–65 [September 1, 1789]). See also “Report on Defects in the Existing Laws of Revenue,” April 22, 1790 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , VI, 373–97). On July 22, 1790, a “bill for registering Ships or Vessels, for regulating those employed in the Coasting Trade and Fisheries, and for other purposes” was presented to the House of Representatives. On July 26, however, the House “Ordered, That the farther consideration of the bill … be postponed until the next session of Congress” (Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826). description ends , I, 275–76, 282). A new coasting bill was not passed until February 18, 1793 (“An Act for enrolling and licensing ships or vessels to be employed in the coasting trade and fisheries, and regulating the same” [1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 305–18]).

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