Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Benjamin Lincoln, 20 August 1791

To Benjamin Lincoln

Treasury Department
August the 20th. 1791.


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 29th. Inst.1

In addition to the measures you have taken in the case you mention, I do not doubt you will also advert to the circumstance that the party who received the cotton is by the 26th. Section of the collection law liable to a penalty of four hundred dollars.2 A rigorous prosecution of the receivers of run goods may produce a desireable effect, and is perhaps even more necessary than that of the principals.

I am

L[S], RG 36, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letters from the Treasury, 1789–1818, Vol. 5, National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters to Collectors at Small Ports, “Set G,” National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters to the Collector at Boston, National Archives.

2Actually H is referring to Section 27 (rather than Section 26) 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 163 [August 4, 1790]). For an explanation of the confusion over the numbering of the sections of this act, see H to Richard Harison, April 26, 1791, note 2.

Section 27 prescribed the penalty for unloading goods without a permit and provided that “the master or person having the command or charge of such ship or vessel, and every other person who shall knowingly be concerned or aiding therein, or in removing, storing, or otherwise securing the said goods, wares or merchandise, shall forfeit and pay the sum of four hundred dollars for each offence.”

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