Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to William Webb, [1791–1792]

To William Webb1

[1791–1792. The description of this letter in the dealer’s catalogue reads: “In regard to ‘expenses incurred in consequences of the action against Jonathan Williams.’”2 Letter not found.]

1LS, sold at Goodspeed’s Book Shop, Boston, Catalogue 174, Item 4819B. Webb was collector of customs at Bath, District of Maine.

2The “expenses” mentioned in the description printed above were the costs to the Federal Government in the case of The United States v Jonathan Williams. This case was first heard in the September, 1790, term of the United States District Court for Maine. The United States through William Webb sued Williams, who was a resident of Bowdoin in the District of Maine and the master of the schooner Hannah on a return voyage from St. Eustatius. Williams was charged with having unloaded from the Hannah at Bath on June 6, 1790, “five hogsheads of foreign Rum, five hogsheads of brown Sugar, & eight bags of Coffee” without having obtained a permit from the collector required by “An Act to regulate the Collection of the Duties imposed by law on the tonnage of ships or vessels, and on goods, wares and merchandises imported into the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 29–49 [July 31, 1789]). At the June, 1791, term of the same court a jury ruled in favor of the United States, and the court ordered the collector to “recover against the said Jonathan Williams, the sum of four hundred dollars debt or damage” (RG 21, Records of the United States District Court for Maine, Final Record Book, Vol. 1, National Archives).

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