Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 16 June 1794

From William Ellery

[Newport, Rhode Island] June 16, 1794. “The Ship Fair American Benjamin Lee master bound from China to Newyork arrived here on the 12th of this month without a Manifest. I do not consider the Invoice exhibited a true copy of which goes with this Petition to be a manifest and thereby the master in my opinion has subjected himself to the Penalty in such case imposed by Law.1 He has petitioned the District Judge,2 and his Petition, with a Statement thereto annexed I am informed will be transmitted to you by this Post. I have read the Petition, and have no reason to doubt the truth of the allegations therein contained. Be pleased to make as early a decision on this case as may be convenient.…”

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1Section 9 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 and vessels” provided that “no goods, wares or merchandise shall be brought into the United States from any foreign port or place, in any ship or vessel belonging in the whole or in part to a citizen or citizens, inhabitants of the United States, unless the master or person having the charge or command of such ship or vessel shall have on board a manifest or manifests in writing, signed by such master or other persons, containing the name or names of the port or ports, place or places where the goods in such manifest or manifests mentioned, shall have been respectively taken on board, and the port or ports, place or places within the United States for which the same are respectively consigned or destined” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 155 [August 4, 1790]).

2Henry Marchant.

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