Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Benjamin Lincoln, 26 July 1792

From Benjamin Lincoln

[Boston] July 26, 1792. “A few days since the Brig Sally arrived here from Amsterdam with a quantity of Ginn on board part of which was in Keggs or Anchors as they are called. This was such an open violation of the Law,1 after full time had passed for the interested to have know their duty & interest if proper attention had been paid to them, that I could not persuade my self that I should be justified if I let the matter pass with impunity. Bonds have been given for the Vessel. A petition is going on for a remission of the Forfeiture.… One of our vessels which sailed for the Northwest Coast of America carried out a quantity of Merchandize imported here from a foreign port. As the duty thereon has been paid the exporter wishes to Avail himself of the drawback prior to the Ships return which probably will not be for two years to come. Untill Her return I cannot receive that evidence of the landing the Goods in a foreign port which the Law requires.2 What can be done?”

LC, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston; LC, RG 36, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letter Book, 1790–1797, National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Boston, National Archives.

1Section 33 of “An Act repealing, after the last day of June next, the duties hereto-fore laid upon Distilled Spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead; and also upon Spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same” reads in part as follows: “That after the last day of June next, no spirituous liquors except gin or cordials in cases, jugs or bottles, shall be brought from any foreign port or place, in casks of less capacity than fifty gallons at the least, on pain of forfeiting of the said spirits, and of the ship or vessel in which they shall be brought” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 207 [March 3, 1791]).

2Section 58 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” provides in part as follows: “That the said drawbacks or allowances shall not be paid until at least six months after the exportation of the said goods, and until the said exporter or exporters shall produce to the collector with whom such outward entry is made, a certificate in writing of two reputable merchants at the foreign port or place in which the same were landed, together with the oath of the master and mate of the vessel in which they were exported, certifying the delivery 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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