New York, Park Avenue
21 April 1997
HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, Secretary of the Treasury. Autograph manuscript signed ("A Hamilton"), [New York (?), c. 1798].
3 pages, 4to, 230 x 190 mm. (9 x 7½ in.), docketed on verso, paper watermarked 1798, a few tiny losses at folds, a 4-inch separation on second leaf (not affecting text).
ALEXANDER HAMILTON GIVES AN OPINION REGARDING AN INSURANCE CASE
A lengthy, carefully reasoned opinion from the former Secretary of the Treasury in a marine insurance case involving a vessel, the Swan, which (as the docket notes) "Found[er]d at Sea": "In the case of the Ship Swan, insurance on freight, it is agreed that there has been a total loss, and that there was full interest, and the only question is whether the Underwriters are liable for the gross or net freight; they claiming to deduct one third provisions, wages, etc...I can find no English decision which settles this point -- nor...any decision in our courts. Neither does it appear to me that there has been any fixed usage by which the matter can be supposed to have been ascertained. On principle, I am of opinion that the Underwriters are liable for the gross freight...Provisions which may have been...procured in the course of the voyage or wages...paid after the sailing have no connection with the insurance...these are chargeable to the Underwriters on the freight, not on the vessel...The indemnity therefore would not be complete if a deduction should be made from the gross freight...And though by not making the deduction there may be partly a double insurance yet this inconvenience ought rather to be submitted to than to reduce the indemnity below the proper standards...I hold that the gross and not the net freight is to be understood to be insured where the contrary is not expressed..."
Provenance: Enclosed in envelope inscribed: "Sent me by John C. Hamilton Esq."
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