Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Cyrus Griffin, 15 February 1791

To Cyrus Griffin1

[Philadelphia, February 15, 1791. “I am under the necessity of returning you the papers in the cases of Messrs. McRae and Morrison,2 which you will find enclosed. There is no legal proof that the goods have ever paid duty. The Collectors & Deputy Collectors of the customs are not vested with the general power of administring oaths. The Deposition of Mr. Fraser3 before the Deputy Collector of Baltimore4 however true it may be is not therefore legal testimony. The Deposition moreover should have been that the goods were the contents or part of the contents of certain specified packages under specified marks and Numbers imported in specified vessels the same on which the official documents shews the duties had been paid or secured, and should have been taken before a Magistrate or Judge authorized to administer Oaths. It is observable that the deposition and manifest given as it is presumed after the seizure do not say when the goods were shipt, and that there is no proof or statement of the time of said seizure.” Letter not found.]

Extract, Columbia University Libraries.

1Griffin was judge of the Federal District Court of Virginia.

2John McRae and John Morrison had applied to Griffin under the provisions of “An Act to provide for mitigating or remitting the forfeitures and penalties accruing under the revenue laws, in certain cases therein mentioned” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 122 [May 26, 1790]) for a remission of penalties on imported goods seized in Baltimore.

3Thomas Fraser, a Baltimore importer. See H to Otho H. Williams, June 4, 1791; Williams to H, June 10, 1791.

4Daniel Delozier.

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