Alexander Hamilton Provides Congress with Data on U.S. Exports – Including Slaves
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“Abstract of Goods, Wares and Merchandize Exported from the Several States from the 1st of October, 1791, to 30th September, 1792. Also, an Abstract of the Duties Arising on Goods, Wares and Merchandize Imported Into the United States from the 1st October, 1791, to 31st December, 1791, both included: Together With An Abstract of Duties Arising on the Tonnage of Vessels Entered into the United States from the 1st of October, 1791 to the 31st of December, 1791, both included.” ALEXANDER HAMILTON.
Printed Document, signed in type as Secretary of the Treasury, Abstract of Goods, Wares and Merchandize Exported from the Several States… [Philadelphia], Francis Childs and John Swaine, , 7 leaves, 5 of which fold out, 8 ¼ x 13 ½ in.
Alexander Hamilton’s transmittal letter to the Speaker of the House or Representatives introduces this report, which delivers extremely detailed economic data for one year. The report provides information on fisheries, grains, groceries, lead, iron, livestock, wood, wax, wines, whale oil, and many more products. Among the “Articles” tracked are 41 imported “Negroes.” Data is divided by State regarding goods exported, duties on goods imported, and duties arising from vessels entering the United States.
I have the honor to transmit to you an Abstract of the Goods, Wares and Merchandize exported from the United States, during one year, ending on the 30th day of September last, and exhibiting the precise quantity of each article thereof exported from each state.---Also two Returns of Impost and Tonnage to the end of the year 1791. A part of the necessary documents for the year 1792 have not yet been received from the customhouses.
I have the honor to be,
With perfect respect,
Your most obedient,
and most humble servant,
Secretary of the Treasury”
On December 5, 1791, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton presented his Report on Manufactures to Congress. It was the result of nearly two years of fact-finding and writing. Hamilton directed his undersecretary, Tench Coxe, to gather information regarding American industry from federal tariff collectors in January and May 1790. Nearly a year later, he took advantage of the new federal bureaucracy created by the Excise (Whiskey) Act and wrote requesting information from those agents in June 1791.
With this information, Hamilton sought to convince his countrymen that industrial growth and foreign trade with our traditional partner, England, were the sources of future prosperity. His proposed economic plan for the United States would put the young nation on a course towards an industrial future. It would also put Hamilton, Anglophiles, and northern interests on a collision course with southern and western farmers and supporters of France, America’s oldest Revolutionary ally. The resulting divisions led directly to the formation of the first political parties and fueled sectional debates that would ultimately end in the Civil War.
In 1793, Hamilton presented this abstracted economic data to Congress. Where his December 1791 Report on Manufactures assessed domestic production, this data instead illustrated the parameters of American foreign trade. For the year beginning October 1, 1791, Hamilton provided a picture of the entire American economy—both manufacturing and agricultural—as it related to goods exported and duties collected on imports. The information offered allowed Hamilton to accomplish two goals. First, he revealed a robust American export economy. Second, he quite clearly proved that Great Britain was our number one trading partner by several orders of magnitude as compared to other nations. Against this backdrop, Hamilton’s pro manufacturing, pro foreign trading, and pro England positions were thoroughly justified economically.
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804). American statesman. Born on the island of Nevis, in 1777, Hamilton became Washington’s aide-de-camp. After the war he studied law and became one of the most eminent lawyers in New York. In 1782 he was returned to Congress. In 1786, Hamilton took the leading part in the convention at Annapolis, which prepared the way for the great Constitutional Convention that met at Philadelphia in 1787. In the same year, he conceived the series of essays afterward collected as The Federalist, and wrote 51 of the 85 works himself. Upon the establishment of the new government in 1789, Hamilton was appointed Secretary of the Treasury and restored the country’s finances to a firm footing. In 1795 he resigned his office, but remained the actual leader of the Federalist Party until his death in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. He was at the forefront of political strife between the Federalists and the newly-formed Democratic-Republicans in 1801.
Stitched [stitching broken] and untrimmed, soil and light wear to blank fore-edge of one folding table, tear on last two (blank) pages.