HAMILTON, Alexander (ca.1755-1804). Circular letter signed (“A. Hamilton”), as Secretary of the Treasury, Treasury Department, 27 January 1790. 1 page, 4to, blank integral leaf, contemporary docket on verso of blank leaf.
HAMILTON, Alexander (ca.1755-1804). Circular letter signed (“A. Hamilton”), as Secretary of the Treasury, Treasury Department, 27 January 1790. 1 page, 4to, blank integral leaf, contemporary docket on verso of blank leaf.

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HAMILTON, Alexander (ca.1755-1804). Circular letter signed (“A. Hamilton”), as Secretary of the Treasury, Treasury Department, 27 January 1790. 1 page, 4to, blank integral leaf, contemporary docket on verso of blank leaf.

"THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES BY THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA"

Hamilton addresses a Constitutional point, and a Treasury problem, occasioned by the 12th State’s adoption of the new Federal charter on 21 November 1790. Specifically, “the operation of the 39th Section of the Collection Bill and the 3d Section of the Act for suspending part of that Act…” This refers to the Tariff Bill of 1789, considered the first major piece of legislation passed by the First Congress. Section 39 of the bill stated that “all goods, wares and merchandise…which shall be imported from either of the” two remaining holdout States, North Carolina and Rhode Island, “shall be subject to the like duties, seizures and forfeitures, as goods, wares or merchandise imported from any State or country without the said limits.” Hamilton feels “those clauses were virtually repealed by” the State’s adoption of the Constitution. “Among other reasons for this opinion is that article of the Constitution, which declares that all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1). Not content to take Hamilton’s word for it, Congress followed up with its own 8 February 1790 Act specifically repealing Section 39 of the Tariff Bill. Rhode Island held out another year, but finally joined the Union in 1791. An important instance of Hamilton commenting on both the Constitution he helped create, and the fiscal policies he implemented to make the new nation a success.

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