Alexander Hamilton Papers
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Report on the Petition of Pitman Collins, [21 November 1792]

Report on the Petition of Pitman Collins

[Philadelphia, November 21, 1792
Communicated on November 22, 1792]1

[To the Speaker of the House of Representatives]

The Secretary of the Treasury, to whom was referred, by the House of Representatives the petition of Pitman Collins,2 respectfully makes the following Report thereupon.

The petition seeks compensation for a vessel alleged to have been impressed into the service of the United States, during the late war, to have been wrecked on her voyage, and to have finally fallen into the hands of the enemy.

The circumstance of the impress, the essential ground of the claim, is supported by no other testimony, than the deposition of the petitioner, which, on general principles, it would be neither regular nor safe to admit.

The claim itself is barred by the Acts of limitation,3 and is exceptionable from long delay in preferring it; for which delay, no adequate cause is assigned.

On both which accounts, the Secretary respectfully submits an opinion, that the prayer of the petition ought not to be granted.

Alexander Hamilton,
Secretary of the Treasy.

Copy, RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.

1Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 625–26. The communicating letter, dated November 21, 1792, may be found in RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.

2On March 10, 1790, the House received a “petition of Pitman Collins, of the State of Connecticut, praying to be reimbursed the value of a vessel, the property of the petitioner, which was impressed for the service of the United States, and taken by the enemy during the late war” (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 172).

On March 11, 1790, the House, “Ordered, That the petition of Pitman Collins, which was presented yesterday, be referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House” (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 173).

3JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXIX, 866; XXXIII, 392. See also “Report on Sundry Petitions,” April 16, 1792.

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