Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Benjamin Lincoln, 25 August 1790

From Benjamin Lincoln

Boston 25 August 1790.


Sometime since, a Cargo of Sugars were imported into this Town, among them, were two or three tons of the worst kind, indeed it could hardly be called Sugar; it sold for about 2/5ths of what the remainder of the Cargo sold for, can any allowance be made on account of the duty?

The British Consul1 arrived here a few days since, with his family, he has brought a quantity of household furniture. By a resolve of Congress,2 Consuls are not entitled to any peculiar advantages respecting the Duties on the articles they import. Is there any Law now in being which will justify me should I deliver the Furniture, without securing the Duties? I wish you would favour me with your ideas and direction on the subject.

I have the honour of being Sir, with perfect esteem   your obedient servant.

The honourable Secretary of the Treasury

Copy, RG 36, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letters from the Treasury, 1789–1807, Vol. 4, National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Boston, National Archives.

1The British consul for Boston was Thomas MacDonough.

2On September 28, 1787, Congress had resolved:

“Whereas doubts have in certain instances arisen whether foreign consuls residing in the United States, are entitled to an exemption from such legal imposts and duties on merchandizes by them imported for their own use, as are payable by other Subjects of their respective Nations.

Resolved That no consuls of any nation are entitled to such exemptions in the United States.” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1784–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXXIII, 552.)

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