Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 25 July 1791

From William Ellery

Newport [Rhode Island] July 25, 1791. “… A person usually residing in this District, is in the District of Boston & Charlestown and there purchases a vessel; is he obliged to take the Oath or Affirmation, required by law previous to the making a Registry or granting a Certificate, before the Collector of this District omitting in said oath or affirmation and inserting what is to be omitted and inserted according to the Proviso in the 7th. Sec. of the Coasting Act,1 and to produce a Certificate thereof to the Collector of the District in which he and the vessel are, in order to obtain from him a Certificate of Registry for such vessel? Please to favour me with an answer to this question.…”

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1Section 7 of “An Act for Registering and Clearing Vessels, Regulating the Coasting Trade, and for other purposes” reads as follows: “Provided always, and be it further enacted, That whenever the owner or owners of such ship or vessel, usually resides or reside out of the district within which such ship or vessel may be at the time of granting the certificate of registry, that such owner, or where there are two or more owners, any one of them may take and subscribe the said oath or affirmation, before the collector of the district within which he usually resides, omitting in the said oath or affirmation the description of such ship or vessel, as expressed in the certificate of the surveyor, and inserting in lieu thereof, the name of the port and district within which such ship or vessel may then be; and the collector before whom such oath or affirmation may be taken and subscribed, shall transmit the same to the collector of the district where such ship or vessel may be, upon the receipt whereof the said collector shall proceed to register such ship or vessel, in like manner as though the usual and regular oath or affirmation had been taken and subscribed before him” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 56–57 [September 1, 1789]).

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