Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jeremiah Olney, 29 December 1791

From Jeremiah Olney

Custom House
Providence 29th. Decer. 1791.


The Brigantine Polly James Munro Jur. Master, the Property of Messrs. Clark & Nightingale1 Entered here the 27th Inst. from Charleston South Carolina. This Vessel Cleared at my office on the 24th August last for Port au Prince, but it appears from the Master that she arrived at the Cape, having on Board, when she cleared, Three hundred & Fourteen Barrels of salted Provisions One hundred & Twenty Barrels of Pickled Fish and Eleven Hhds. of Dryed Fish weighing Eighty Quintals one Quarter and 23 oz all duty entered for Exportation, but the Troubles at the Cape were such as entirely to prevent Trade, in consequence of which, the Master, after much Trouble and Solicitation obtained permission to Depart with Vessel and Cargo, and arrived on the latter Part of Octr. at Charles Ton where he says he landed and disposed of the Dryed Fish, Twenty & half Barrels salted Provisions and Forty five Barrels of Pickled Fish, having now on Board the Remainder of Said pickled Fish & Provisions: And as they cannot be Relanded by the 62nd Section of the Collection law,2 I am induced Sir, from the peculiar Circumstance of the Case and a fixed belief that no Fraud was intended against the Revenue, to ask your opinion whether said articles may not be relanded (and the Bond Cancelled) or at least untill the Vessel, which is now unfit to proceed on a Forreign Voyage, can be repaired and put in order to take them again onbd? Should this expedient be inadmissable with your Ideas of the law, I request Sir your Speedy Instructions as to the Stepts it may be proper for me Further, to persue in the present Case.

I am very Respectfully  Sir  your Most Obed. Hum. Servt.

Jereh. Olney Collr.

Alexander Hamilton Esqr.
Secretary of the Treasury

ADfS, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence.

1The Providence merchant and trading firm of John Clark and Joseph Nightingale.

2Olney is mistaken; he is actually referring to Section 60 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,” which reads: “And be it further enacted, That if any goods, wares or merchandise, entered for exportation, with intent to draw back the duties, or to obtain any allowance given by law on the exportation thereof, shall be landed in any port or place within the limits of the United States as aforesaid, all such goods, wares and merchandise, shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture, together with the ship or vessel from which such goods shall be landed, and the vessels or boats used in landing the same; and all persons concerned therein, shall on indictment and conviction thereof, suffer imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. And for discovery of frauds, and seizure of goods, wares and merchandise, relanded contrary to law, the several officers established by this act, shall have the same powers, and in case of seizure the same proceedings shall be had, as in the case of goods, wares and merchandise imported contrary to law: And for measuring, weighing or gauging goods for exportation, the same fees shall be allowed as in like cases upon the importation thereof” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 174 [August 4, 1790]).

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