Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 14 October 1791

From William Ellery

Collector’s Office [Newport, Rhode Island]
Oct. 14th 1791

Sir

Inclosed is the form of the bond and oath given and taken by the Exporters of Distilled Spirits in this District. Please to revise, and correct them, and return them, or to furnish me with other forms as soon as may be convenient.

It is made a question whether by the addition to the provisions contained in the fortieth and forty-first Sects. of the Act intituled an Act to prove more effectually for the Collection of duties &c the privilege of giving bond with Condition for the payment of the duties on teas in two years from the date of the bond is extended to teas imported from Europe or from any other Country than China.1 An early solution of this question will greatly oblige &c.2

I am Sir Yr. most obedt: servant

Wm Ellery Collr

A Hamilton Esqr.
Secry Treasy.

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1This reference is actually to Sections 41 and 42 of “An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States and on the tonnage of ships or vessels” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 168–69 [August 4, 1790]). For the mistake in numbering the sections of the Collection Law, see H to Richard Harison, April 26, 1791, note 2. These two sections read in part as follows:

Sec. 41. And be it further enacted, That all duties on goods, wares and merchandise imported, shall be paid or secured to be paid, before a permit shall be granted for landing the same. And where the amount thereof on goods imported in any ship or vessel, on account of one person only, or of several persons jointly interested, shall not exceed fifty dollars, the same shall be immediately paid; but where the said amount shall exceed fifty dollars, the same may, at the option of the proprietor or proprietors, consignee or consignees, be either immediately paid or secured by bond, with condition for the payment thereof, if accruing upon articles of the produce of the West Indies, in four months; if accruing on Madeira wines, in twelve months; if accruing upon any other goods, wares or merchandise, other than teas imported from China, in six months.…

Sec. 42. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That all teas imported from China may, at the option of the proprietor or consignee thereof, be deposited in the custody of the collector with whom the same shall be entered, or the duties thereon secured by bond, with one or more sureties, to the satisfaction of the collector, with condition for the payment of such duties within twelve months; and in case of depositing such teas, they shall be kept at the charge of the person or persons depositing the same.…”

“An Act making farther provision for the collection of the duties by law imposed on Teas, and to prolong the term for the payment of the Duties on Wines,” in Section 1, provided in part that “in addition to the provisions contained in the fortieth and forty-first sections of the act, intituled ‘An act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels,’ as they regard the payment, or securing the payment of the duties on teas, it shall be lawful for every importer of teas, if he or she shall elect so to do, to give his or her bond to the collector of the district in which any of the said teas shall be landed, in double the amount of the duties thereupon, with condition for the payment of the said duties in two years from the date of such bond …” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 219 [March 3, 1791]).

2Ellery endorsed the letter book copy of this letter “Answd. Nov. 17.” H’s reply has not been found.

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