Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 22 November 1790

From William Ellery

Newport [Rhode Island] November 22, 1790. “William Brightman Master of the Schooner Fly a British built vessel of the burthen of Twenty two tons & ¾ as measured by the Surveyor of this Port1 arrived here last tuesday and reported his vessel and Cargo consisting of about fifty Quintals of dried Codfish and ten Tons of Train Oil. Upon inquiry we found that he had no Register or any other shipping paper and that said vessel was purchased so lately as the first of last Oct, and not entitled to the Privileges of a vessel of the United States; and under the circumstances in which the fish were caught and the Oil extracted and imported, it became a question whether both vessel and cargo were not subject to seizure and forfeiture by the first clause in the 40th. page of the new Collecting Law;2 and if not so subject whether her cargo was not subject to the foreign duty.… Capt. Brightman has consented … to wait until I shall receive your Sentiments on this subject.…”3

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1Daniel Lyman.

2This is a reference to Section 70 of “An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of duties imposed by law on goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships and vessels” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 177 [August 4, 1790]).

3See Ellery to H, January 17, 1791 (printed in this volume).

Ellery endorsed this letter: “Answered Dece. 6th.” H’s reply has not been found.

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