Alexander Hamilton Papers
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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-16-02-0134

From Alexander Hamilton to John Lowell, 19 March 1794

To John Lowell

Treasury Department
March 19th. 1794

Sir

Inclosed I transmit a duplicate of my decision on the Petition of Henry Jackson Esqr.1

As it appears from the statement of facts annexed to the said Petition that there are doubts entertained whether the case would come within the provision of the act for remitting or mitigating the forfeitures and Penalties accruing under the revenue laws;2 and having decided on the case by virtue of that act, an explanation of my construction of it will be proper.

I have considered the regulation which subjects to forfeiture spirits imported in casks or vessels of less capacity than ninety Gallons, being manifestly designed to guard against an evasion of the duties on imported Spirits, by facilitating the clandestine landing of them, to be in fact and in construction of Law a regulation or law concerning the collection of duties of Impost and Tonnage—notwithstanding the title of the Act in which it is found.3 And I have thence concluded that the act of the 26th. of may 1790 continued in force by subsequent Acts, having an aspect to future as well as to the then existing laws, extends to the case in question.4

With great respect & esteem   I am sir   your obedient servant

Alexander Hamilton

John Lowell Esquire
Judge of the District of
Massachusetts

LS, Harvard College Library.

1At the December 3, 1793, session of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts Benjamin Lincoln, acting for the United States, filed a claim for seventy-four casks of brandy belonging to Jackson, who had infringed the revenue laws. Jackson filed a petition for remission of forfeiture, and at the March 4, 1794, session of the District Court it was noted that H had remitted the forfeiture (D, Records of the Massachusetts District Court, Federal Records Center, Boston).

21 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 122–23 (May 26, 1790). This act was continued in force by an act of May 8, 1792 (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 275).

3“An Act concerning the Duties on Spirits distilled within the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 267–71 [May 8, 1792]). H is referring to Section 10 of this act.

4H had also given this opinion in a Maryland case. See H to William Paca, March 5, 1794.

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