DescriptionAlexander Hamilton Printed Treasury Department Circular Signed "A Hamilton." Three pages of a bifolium, folded to 7.5" x 9", Treasury Department, July 22, 1792. Issued to all collectors of customs, Alexander acknowledges the shortcomings of an earlier act issued regarding the collections of customs and the rules of importations and services. With great detail and care, he explains the process by which the decision was initially arrived at, cites the reaction of those it affected, and explains the process of his deliberations and the rationale employed in rescinding the original order.
"When an appeal was made to me by certain Officers of the Customs, respecting the fees to which they were entitled under the Coasting Act, I took the only method then in my power to aid my own judgment to a right decision. The Attorney General not being at the seat of Government, I applied to two of the most able Counsel in the city of New York, (one of whom is the Attorney of the United States for the District) for their opinions. I carefully examined the law myself, and agreeing with those gentlemen in the construction of it, I signified the result in a Circular communication.
It, however, has since appeared that the construction, then adopted, has been deemed by some of the Officers of the Customs so clearly unfounded as, in their opinion, to warrant a departure from the instruction given. And it has also appeared that respectable law opinions were opposed to those of the Gentlemen whom I had consulted."
Although Hamilton rescinds his initial decision, he makes clear in his closing paragraph that "the instruction meant to be rescinded is merely that which relates to the meaning of the following clause: -- 'For every entry of inward cargo directed to be made in conformity with this Act, and for receiving and qualifying to every manifest of vessels licensed to trade as aforesaid.'"
Boldly signed on page three, with a printed postscript. Docketed on the verso in an unknown hand. Professional restoration to a horizontal fold, not affecting any text.
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