From William Constable
[New York] 14th Septr 1791
I have a Ship here lately arrived from Londo. particularly circumstanced, she is Eastern built as can be made appear & was seized some years ago at Tobago & condemned for Contraband, & has since been employed in the French Colony trade. She was sold at Londo. & purchased in the name of Captn. Jones the mr. an american, for his accot. Messrs. Hoffman & Sons1 & our house,2 & brot. out a Cargo of Goods on frt. We have been obliged to allow the importers the 10 ct. foreign Duty which she was liable to from not having an American Register.3 May I presume to ask your opinion whether a petition to Congress would probably obtain us a Register (the fact being fully ascertained that she is American built) & whether we might hope for a remission of the extra 10 pr. Cent. Mr. Langdon4 will be able I believe to identify the Ship. With sentiments of perfect respect I am
LC, William and James Constable Letter Book, 1791–1793, MS Division, New York Public Library.
1. Nicholas Hoffman and Son was a mercantile firm at 12 Little Dock Street in New York City.
2. William Constable and Company, merchants, was located at 89 Great Dock Street in New York City.
3. Section 5 of “An Act for laying a Duty on Goods, Wares, and Merchandises imported into the United States” reads: “That a discount of ten per cent. on all the duties imposed by this act, shall be allowed on such goods, wares and merchandises, as shall be imported in vessels built in the United States, and which shall be wholly the property of a citizen or citizens thereof, or in vessels built in foreign countries, and on the sixteenth day of May last, wholly the property of a citizen or citizens of the United States, and so continuing until the time of importation” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 27 [July 4, 1789]).
4. Presumably John Langdon, United States Senator from New Hampshire.