Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 21 April 1794

From William Ellery

Newport [Rhode Island] April 21, 1794. “By this Post the Judge of the District Court1 will transmit to you a Statement of the case of the Sloop Nancy under 20 tons & licensed for the Coasting trade and under the command of Elisha Casey. She cleared from this Port Nove. 26th. 1793 for Wilmington No. Carolina … was blown off the Coast to St. Martins, there took in a quantity of salt, and Sugar.… The Vessel and cargo are both I presume liable to forfeiture by the Coasting Act,2 and as she is under thirty Tons by the Collection Law3 also.… The Judge will also send you at the same time a Statement of the Case of Daniel Anthony, master of the Sloop Joanna of Newport, an enrolled and licensed Vessel, who some time ago left Baltimore and arrived in this Port with a Cargo consisting of Country produce, and a bag of foreign Cotton which Cotton he inadvertently as he says, and I believe truly forgot to insert in his Manifest. The Cotton which is in my custody is claimed by a Capt. Carr of Warren who says that he imported it into the Port of Baltimore from the West Indies, entered it there, and paid the duties thereof; but he has not discovered a disposition to procure a Certificate of the Entry of it there, conceiving that Capt. Anthony is answerable to him for the value of it as he took it in on freight. Anthony has sent to Baltimore for a Certificate; but has not yet recd. an answer to his letter.…”

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1Henry Marchant.

2Ellery is referring to “An Act for enrolling and licensing ships or vessels to be employed in the coasting trade and fisheries, and for regulating the same” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 305–18 [February 18, 1793]). Section 8 of this act provided that if any vessel enrolled or licensed for the coasting trade should “proceed on a foreign voyage, without first giving up her enrolment and license, to the collector of the district comprehending the port, from which she is about to proceed on such foreign voyage, and being duly registered by such collector, every such ship or vessel together with her tackle, apparel and furniture, and the goods, wares and merchandise, so imported therein, shall be liable to seizure and forfeiture.”

3Section 70 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 and vessels” provided in part that “no goods, wares or merchandise of foreign growth or manufacture, subject to the payment of duties, shall be brought into the United States from any foreign port or place in any other manner than by sea, nor in any ship or vessel of less than thirty tons burthen … under the penalty of seizure and forfeiture of all such vessels, and of the goods, wares or merchandise brought in” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 177 [August 4, 1790]).

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