George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Copeland Parker, 18 July 1794

From Copeland Parker

Surveyors office Smithfd [Va.] July 18. 1794

Sir

By an Act of Last Session of Congress, I find your are Vested with power to make what additions you may think propper to the Sallaries of the different Officers,1 and as I have the honor of Holding two Offices, by your Commissions (rec’d) I beg leave to mention that I have never rec’d any Kind of Compensation for my Office as Inspector, as their is Seldom any Vessells that trade to forreign Ports from this place, and their is not a port in the State where Smugling has been Carried on with greater Success, My Office as Surveyor brings me only one hundred dollars per annum, and the Law Obliges me to live in Town and find an office Stationay &Ct. out of that Small Sum,2 I hope you will Excuse the Liberty; taken to make Known to you the particular Situation of my Offices, When you Consider that you alone Can redress Our Grieveances and Alter Our Situations with Convenience, notwithstanding if it does not appear reasonable to you, I am willing to Submit, and do my duty to the utmost of my Abilities, but I trust you will Allow me Something as Inspector Considering me as a publick Officer liable to Insult and Abuse for Serveing my Country. In the Interim I beg leave to Subscribe myself your Very Ob. Servant

Copeland Parker Survy. P. Smithd

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Parker may have been referring to section 10 of "An Act laying duties on property sold at Auction," 9 June 1794, which "empowered" the president "to make such allowances for compensations to the officers of inspection employed in the collection of the duties aforesaid, and for incidental expenses, as he shall judge reasonable, not exceeding in the whole, two and an half per centum of the total amount of the said duties collected," or to section 13 of "An Act making further provision for securing and collecting the Duties on foreign and domestic distilled Spirits, Stills, Wines and Teas," 5 June 1794, which empowered the President to "make such additional allowances, for the space of one year . . . to the inspectors and collectors of revenue from distilled spirits, for their respective services subsequent to the thirtieth day of June next, as he shall deem reasonable and proper, so as that the additions . . . shall not exceed, in the whole, the sums heretofore allowed, by more than one third" (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:380, 399).

2The relevant law was "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," 4 Aug. 1790 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:145-78). The first section of that act named Smithfield, Va., as a "port of delivery only" and directed the appointment of a surveyor "to reside at" that port. Section 54 of the act gave to the surveyor at Smithfield "in addition to the fees and emoluments" that he received for his specific duties, he would receive "the yearly sum of eighty dollars." A subsequent "Act relative to the compensations to certain officers employed in the collection of the duties of impost and tonnage," 8 May 1792, entitled the surveyor at Smithfield to an allowance of twenty dollars yearly (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:274-75). Each inspector was paid an allowance "for every day he shall be actually employed in aid of customs" (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:172).

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