Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Benjamin Lincoln, 9 March 1791

From Benjamin Lincoln

From the Collector of Boston
March 9th. 1791


By the 32nd. Section of the late Collection Act,1 no exporter of Goods, wares & merchandise imported could be allowed the Draw Back of Duties paid, unless the goods were exported in the same casks &c & from the Port or District into which they were originally imported, these restrictions very much embarrassed trade & were a source of daily complaints of the Merchants, especially that part, where the exportation must be from the Port or District into which the Goods were originally imported.

The existing law2 is penned differently, but how far, even in this the Merchant is relieved, I cannot determine; permit me Sir, to state to you a case. Suppose a Merchant of Salem comes into Boston & here purchases twenty chests of Tea, imported originally into this District, enters it here for exportation in the Ship America of Salem for London & complies in all respects with the Law. After this the Collector causes the Goods to be inspected & finding them to correspond with the notice & proof concerning the same, can a permit be granted for lading them and an officer be appointed to see them on board the Ship in Salem? If this cannot be done, can a Captain receive part of his Cargo in Salem & come into this District & complete his load? In short, is there any method whereby a Merchant loading his Cargo in one District can secure the Draw back on Good exported in the same Vessel which were imported into a different District.

To Secy of the Treasury.

Copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Boston, National Archives.

1“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” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 45–46 [July 31, 1789]).

2“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 145–78 [August 4, 1790]). Sections 57, 58, 59, 60, and 61 of this act describe the terms under which drawbacks may be paid.

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