Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Sharp Delany, 5 April 1791

To Sharp Delany

Treasury Department,
5 April 1791


The section of the collection law relative to the tares to be allowed at the Custom house upon the several species of goods therein mentioned1 appears to require that the allowance ⅌ Centum upon

Coffee in bags } be computed upon the hundred pounds,
do. in bales
do. in casks
pepper in bales
do. in casks

and that the allowance ⅌ centum upon sugars (other than loaf) in hogsheads & boxes be computed on the 112 pounds.

You will perceive that the above arrangement applies to articles, sold universally by the pound, the tare ⅌ 100 lbs, and that it applies to articles sold ⅌ the hundred weight, the tare ⅌ 112 lbs.

As I find the customs in trade in various parts of the United States differ considerably, I think it necessary to inform you that the above is only my present idea. I shall take measures to obtain that accurate Statement of facts which will be necessary to a confirmed & settled construction of the act.

I am, sir,   Your obedt Servant

Alex Hamilton

Sharp Delany Esqr.
Collr. Philadelphia

LS, Bureau of Customs, Philadelphia; copy, Office of the Secretary, United States Treasury Department; copy, RG 56, Circulars of the Office of the Secretary, “Set T,” National Archives.

1See Section 35 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 or vessels” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 166 [August 4, 1790]).

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