Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jeremiah Olney, 21 June 1791

From Jeremiah Olney

Providence 21st. June 1791.


Mr. Welcome Arnold1 of this Town imported in the Ship Genl. Washington, which arrived and Entered here from Canton on the 7th instant, a quantity of Teas, which were deposited, and a Bond taken according to Law,2 for about 1,700 Dollars: Since which, on the 13th. instant, a Bond of his for upwards of 1,000 Dollars became payable, it was not discharged, and the next Day transmitted to the District Attorney,3 who has put it in Suit. A question now arrises, whether the Bonds directed to be taken by the Inspector of the Revenue for the ascertained Duties on Mr. Arnold’s Teas, are to be considered as an after Credit, or only a completion of the Bond first taken by me? He has applied to remove some of the Teas; as the point appeared doubtful, and as refusing Credit to a Merchant of considerable Eminence was a delicate Matter, I have advised the Inspector to permit him, for the present, to take out a small quantity, securing the Duties to his satisfaction. As he will probably wish to take out more in a short time, I beg leave Sir, to intreat your speedy reply to this Letter, with your Opinion upon the subject, and directions for the conduct of the Inspector relative to the remainder of Mr. Arnold’s Teas until his Bond shall be satisfied; which was put in Suit at the stated District Court in August, and the Execution returnable in November next.

I have the honor to be,   With great Respect, Sir,   Your Most Obedt. & Most Huml. Servt.

Jereh. Olney Collr.

Alexandr. Hamilton Esqr.
Secretary of the Treasury.

ADfS, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence; copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Providence, National Archives.

1Arnold was a wealthy merchant and Federalist politician.

2Olney is referring to Section 42 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 168 [August 4, 1790]), which governed the importation of tea from China.

3William Charming.

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