From William Ellery
Newport [Rhode Island] January 9, 1792. “This will be accompd. by a Statement of the case of Josh. Elliott master of the Sloop Industry from St Martins and destined for the district of New Haven.… It appears to me … that it was the intention of the Legislature that the manifest should be made out before the vessels departure from a foreign port for the United States, but as this is not expressly required by Law,1 permit me to raise a question, and to ask of you a solution of it. Suppose that I should have sufficient evidence that a manifest produced to me was on board a vessel before She arrived within four leagues of the coast of the United States; but was not on board at the time of her departure from a foreign port or place for the United States, would it be proper that a prosecution should be commenced against the master of such vessel? …”2
LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.
1. Legislative requirements for ships’ manifests appear in Sections 9, 11, and 16 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 145–78 [August 4, 1790]).
2. Ellery endorsed this letter “Answered.” H’s reply has not been found.