« ForrigeFortsett »
such as will require frequent decisions upon repre- desirable to render the proposal of the Government sentations from the Treasury Department. It is, free from all real objections; that which has been in every sense, proper, that the documents re- urged with the most force, arises from the redeemceived by the Commissioners, and their determi- able quality of the new stock. dations thereon, should be fully recorded, and The documents in the possession of the comcarefully preserved by some confidential person, mittee contain data upon which an opinion is now to be appointed by them. An annual provision expressed, that a renunciation of the right of reof a sum not exceeding two hundred and fifty dol- demption, until the year 1819, would be attended lars, for the services of a secretary, will be suffi- with no inconvenience to the United States, by cient for the object, and is advisable.
prolonging the existence of the Public Debt. It is already known to the committee, that the Considering the great amount of the debt in proposal for converting the Foreign Debt into a Holland, the unsettled state of that country, and funded domestic stock, has not been accepted by the extensive operations which either a re-loan or the creditors in Amsterdam and Antwerp. It direct reimbursement must occasion, it is conwas foreseen, that the trouble of maintaining a ceived to be advisable that a discretionary power distant correspondence, the necessity of employ- of appointing a commissioner or agent to superining agents in this country, the chances of exchange tend the foreign expenditures should be vested in and the charges of insurance and commissions, the President. would powerfully operate to deter the creditors Though it is not certain that such an appointfrom acceding to any commutation of their con ment will be necessary, yet there are sufficient tracts on the principles proposed. The additional grounds to recommend a provision for such a coninterest of one half per centum was intended to tingency. counterbalance these inconveniences, which were I have the honor to be, with perfect respect, sir, accordingly estimated on a scale liberal for the your most obedient servant, creditors; whether the allowance will be consi
OLIVER WOLCOTT, Jun., dered by them as an adequate compensation, is
Secretary of the Treasury. uncertain. As, in accomplishing the object of a The Hon. William SMITH, re-loan, the United States will necessarily have to Chairman of the Committee of Ways and oppose many interests and some prejudices, it is Means of the House of Representatives.
Statement exhibiting the operation of the act, entitled “ An act making further provision for the support of
Public Credit, and for the redemption of the Public Debt,” in respect to the reimbursement of the six per cent. stock, bearing a present interest.
use, anticipated estimates of what each of the
internal revenues might be expected to produce [Communicated to the House of Representatives, in the year 1796. March 7, 1796.]
Other letters, partially circular, have been TREASURY DEPARTMENT, March 5, 1796. transmitted, at different times, to those superte Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith sors who continued to be most in arrear as to certain statements, which have been prepared by special letters, as frequent, and in terms as urgent
these and their other returns. Besides which the Commissioner of the Revenue, in pursuance
as circumstances required and admitted, have of the resolutions of the House of Representatives, passed on the 2d day of March, 1795, and been addressed to some of the supervisors, and the 26th day of February, 1796, with a report ex- considerations of weight, cannot be instructed
indeed to other officers of the revenue, who, from planatory thereof, by that officer.
immediately from the Treasury on ordinary occaI have the honor to be, &c.,
But, although a perfect respect to the order of The SPEAKER of the House of Representatives.
the House, and the proper duties of this office, have produced these early and repeated commu.
nications to the supervisors, it is not intended to A report of the Commissioner of the Revenue, re-convey the idea, that they, or the other officers of quired by the order of the House of Representa- the revenue, have made less exertions than any tives of the 2d day of March, 1795, concerning other description of persons in the public service. the internal revenues of the United States. For, it is believed, that a comparative view of TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
their services and duties would produce different
impressions. It is, however, true, that the emRevenue Office, Feb. 29, 1796. barrassments and difficulties of the revenue busiThe order of the House of Representatives ness have been met by inadequate exertions in having been made at the expiration of its last some instances. These cases have been the subterm, a report could only be made to the presentjects of explicit communications with the proper House. On the day following the receipt of the officers. But it is doubted whether a complete order, circular letters, communicating the sub- remedy can be applied without transferring the stance thereof, were transmitted to the supervi- tax upon spirits to the stills. sors. These letters contained also explicit and When the order of the House was received at particular instructions, intended to insure the re- this office, the reflection occurred, that the first quisite attention to punctuality and to the neces- year of the five internal revenues established in sary details, as will appear from the annexed copy. 1794, would not terminate until the 30th of SepWith a view to expeditious and easy communi-tember, 1795; and that the revenues from both cations from the supervisors to the inspectors, kinds of domestic distilled spirits and from stills, printed copies were transmitted to the former, for would have their nearest annual period on the all of the inspectors of surveys as well as for 30th of June following the receipt of the order. themselves. As circumstances immediately pre- It was only on the same 30th of June that the ceding the order of the House had convinced existing arrangement of officers and compensathose who had to pay the tax, that the revenue tions would have been in operation for an entire laws would be executed in future, and had re-year in relation to all the revenues which are moved some of the difficulties which had impeded considered as parts of the system of internal taxand greatly disordered the antecedent business, ation. It appeared desirable, therefore, and init appeared expedient to reinforce, by the influence deed necessary, to make preparation for stateof this Legislative call, the injunctions which had ments, which should respectively terminate on been previously given to settle and return, as far those two days of June and September 1795, and as was then possible, all that remained in arrear. a return of officers and compensations, as of the To prevent inconvenience from accidents, and to first of those days being the middle of the year. increase impression, duplicates of those letters, When, however, it is remembered, that the statewere also transmitted.
ments of the familiar and unembarrassed busiOne of the acts concerning snuff and snuffness of the custems, concentrated as they are, in mills, requiring an annual report of the revenue each instance, ic a single port and post-town.canfrom that object to be made to Congress, a special not be conveniently made up at the Treasury, for circular letter upon that subject was transmitted any year, until near the close of the year followto the supervisors, shortly after the circular com- ing, much longer time will appear necessary in munication above mentioned, and nearly six the case of the internal revenues. Some of these months before the expiration of the first year of are new, one litigated, and the largest of them the operation of the snuff tax.
has been the subject of forcible opposition and Immediately before the time when the five new coercion. They are moreover so scattered, tbat duties would have existed an entire year, other one or the other of them accrues in every counletters were transmitted to the supervisors, calcu- ty, and in almost every township of the United lated to promote their attention to the objects re- States. quired by the House, and requesting them imme- The following statements, A, B, C, D, E, F, diately to furnish, for Legislative and Executive and G, contain an exhibition of all the returns,
whether formal or irregular, which have been yet have been actually made by the law of 1792. Inreceived at the Treasury. To those papers are stead of that sum, there can be no doubt, from added such supplementary estimates as we pos- the face of the statement A, that a larger amount sess materials to justify. The paper H contains has accrued and will be collected. And if the a list of the officers, with their compensations. statutes concerning this branch of the revenue The paper I is a copy of the act of the President, had not been greatly frustrated by the unavoidaestablishing those compensations. The paper K ble want of a law officer, to prosecute the pleas of is the general statement of those revenues, with the United States in a productive district, a conall the expenses of collection. The drawbacks fident belief is entertained, that it would have are inserted in the particular statements of the yielded a sum nearly one-third larger than the reseveral revenues, so far as they are ascertained. siduum above stated. These statements are accompanied with some re- To collect, with an effect really equal to premarks, which may contribute to place the subject vious estimates, so very small a revenue over the within the view of the Legislature.
face of an extensive and sparsely-peopled coun1. The gross revenue from spirits distilled from try, under the disadvantages of necessarily imdomestic materials and from stills appears, by perfect and untried laws, of prejudice, and even the accompanying statement and estimate A, to opposition, will be considered as favorable to the amount to 218,036 dollars and 164 cents, for one general character of the revenue officers in the year, ending on the 30th of June, 1795.
districts. It is, moreover, to be remembered, that The two earliest and largest estimates of that there are some occasional circumstances, which branch of the spirit tax, which were made in might have been expected to produce a defalcaDecember, 1790, resulted in a gross amount of tion of the duties upon spirits from domestic ma
$270,000 terials. The excessive prices of grain, of marketBut, since the passing of the
able and exportable fruit, and of cider, have delaw of 1791, which was pre
prived the distillers of a very large portion of the dicated on those estimates,
means to employ their stills. In all places, the the duty on spirits from do
inducements to distil have been greatly dimimestic materials has been re
nished by the increased competition of the miller duced from nine to seven
and merchant for every species of grain. It cents, being two-ninth parts
might have been supposed, too, that the great adof the whole; for which, of
ditional importations of foreign spirits*, of low course, there is to be de
priced wines, and of malt liquors, f with the mulducted from the estimate - $60,000
tiplication and extension of the manufactories of The yearly duty upon the ca
the latter, concurring with those circumstances, pacity of the still has also
would have reduced the revenue on spirits from been reduced from sixty to
domestic materials, far below all former expecta" fifty-four cents, since the pass
tion. Yet this does not appear to be the case. ing of the act of 1791. This
It is worthy of remark here, that, on a calculation difference, taken upon only
predicated upon the premised facts, the quantity one-fifth part of the whole
of spirits, from fruit and grain only, which have $270,000, gives the sum of 5,400
been subjected to the revenue in the United States Since that year, monthly li
in the reported year, appears to be greater than censes, not contemplated by
the average of the same branch in England during the estimates, have been al
the last thirty years, notwithstanding the more lowed by law, and an opin
strict and rigorous nature of their laws. If these ion is held at the Treasury,
objects have produced there a greater sum, it is grounded on a report made
because the duty is much higher. A comparison upon experiments by distil
with the same revenue, under the laws of certain lers, that, in consequence of
of the States, would be still more favorable to the that allowance, the duty, in
operation by the United States. Pennsylvania, the case of stills employed on
for example, collected in the year 1790, from an grain, may be easily reduced
excise of eight cents and eight ninths, upon fofrom seven cents to four cents
reign and domestic spirits and upon all kinds of and one-half, and in the case
wine, much less than is now collected from spirits of fruit, from seven cents to
made from domestic materials only, though her four cents per gallon. If this
territory is crowded with emigrants consuming her be taken at the minimum of
produce, and she contributed very largely to the two cents and one half per
supply of the Western and Militia armies out of gallon, it will justify a de
the crop of 1794. duction of
*The quantity of foreign distilled spirits, imported in the year ending on the 30th September, 1790, was 3,678,199 gallons. That
in 1794 was 5,699,369 gallops.. And the sum of
+The quantity of wines, other than those of Madeira, imported will be left as the just and true residuum, after gallons. That in 1794, was 1,336,076 gallons
in the year ending
on the 30th of September, 1790, was 607,561 thus deducting, from the original estimate, the The quantity of beer, ale, and porter, imported in the year aggregate of those excisions from this duty which lending
on the zinh September, 1790, was 70,564 gallong. That in 1794,
2. The tax upon spirits distilled from foreign the Legislature. On these five duties, the followmaterials appears, by the same accompanying ing observations occur: stateinent A, to amount to $141,989 15% for one 1. The auctioneer's tax, according to the stateyear, ending likewise on the 30th day of June, ment B, amounts to $31,593 234, and falls consi1795.
derably, short of the estimate referred to. It is The estimates of 1790, already referred to, re- conceived that the numerous and extensive ex. sulted, in regard to the tax on spirits from molas- emptions in the proviso to the first section of the ses, in the gross amount of - $385.000 00 law, the very increased agency of brokers instead But, since the passing of the first
of auctioneers, in the business of the sea port towns, law, in 1791, which was predicated
and the multiplication of the various objects which on those estimates, the duty on
now form our circulating medium, have greatly this kind of spirits has been re
affected this revenue. duced from eleven to nine cents
2. The taxes on spuff and snuff mills amount per gallon. Wherefore, there are
according to the statements C and D, to $9,511 to be deducted two-eleventh parts
8, and have proved apparently the leasi conformof $385,000, being
70,000 00 able with the Committee's estimate, though it is
not known what proportion they expected from
315,000 00 manufactured tobacco. This article, which is of Allowances for leakage and for
much greater consumption than snuff, was not prompt payment were also made,
subjected to duty, as proposed by the Committee. for both of which there is yet to
An opinion prevails, and it is believed on just be deducted about
6,662 50 grounds, that the existing law, relative to this
branch of the public revenues, is either construct$308,337 50 ed upon wrong principles, or is very defective in
its provisions. It is understood, also, that the proThe revenue from spirits distilled from foreign ductiveness of this tax has been diminisbed by exmaterials, in the year ending with June, 1795, traordinary, though very natural exertions of the was, according to statement and estimate A manufacturers of snuff
' to increase the stock on $141,989 15. The defalcation of this branch of hand before the operation of the duty; and it is the revenue appears, therefore, $166,348 35. But represented that, since the alteration of the printhe importation of molasses, in the year 1794, was ciple of the law, the larger mills, with great porless than that in 1791, by 3,700,000 gallons.' Al-ers of water and capital, have been epabled to lowing something extraordinary for the portion make snuff by license, so as to reduce the contriwhich would not have been used in distillation, bution on the pound of the manufactured comthe duties on the remainder, at nine cents per modity to a much less rate than eight cents. gallon, would more than counterbalance that 3. The refined sugar tax amounts to $34,527 sum. To this deficiency in the supply of molas- 86, and appears, also, by the statement E, to fall ses, it is probable that something might be added short of the original estimate; but additions will for the increased consumption of it in substance be made when all the returns shall be received. on account of the high price of sugar. These cir- The defalcation may be owing not more to the cumstances not only explain the defalcation of imperfection of the materials which the Committhe tax on spirits distilled in the United States tee could obtain to govern their opinions, than to from foreign materials, but afford ground of con- the increased use of the fine Muscovadoes, and of viction, that a great revenue from this source has the clayed and powdered white sugars, which are been prevented only by the extraordinary nature understood to have been imported in a greater deof the war in the West Indies. As to the future gree than formerly. These have facilitated a course of the business, there appears little uncer- prudent economy, to which the prices of many of tainty in the expectation that the restoration of the necessaries of life have invited the consumer. the molasses trade, the reduction of the prices of 4. The tax upon carriages for the conveyance grain abroad and at home, and the increase of of persons appears, by the statement F, to bare fruit, or even the two latter, should molasses con produced $41,421 17. The members of the Le tinue to fail, will render the revenue from domes-gislature are generally informed that a question tic spirits highly valuable, especially if further has been raised, in an extensive State, about the modified by the Legislature.
constitutionality of the law which imposes it. The estimates of the duties on sales at auction, That circumstance is conceived not orly to have snuff and snuff mills, refined sugar, carriages, and diminished the revenue in that district, but in licenses to retail wines and foreign distilled spirits, some other places. As it was, for obvious reasons, were formed upon grounds which are unknown highly desirable to have this point immediately at the Treasury, having been made by a commit- seitled, every exertion was made, short of precipitee of the House of Representatives. It appears tating the decision, to bring it early before the highly probable, however, that any information District Court
. The Judges of that tribunal were which could have been aitainable at that time, divided, and the case was carried by appeal to the must have been very imperfect and uncertain, Supreme Court of the United States. It was enand it is to be remembered, that alterations in deavored, on the part of the Government, to bave the bills which produced diminutions in the pro- the question finally argued in August last, but duct, were made during their passage through 'from circumstances on the side of the defendant,
it became necessary to acquiesce in a postpone- They are, however, not considerable. For the ment until the February term. It is understood important service of checking, on land, the great that the revenue of the current year will be fur-import duties on those three articles, these revenue ther diminished by the unavoidable delay of a de- officers receive no other than the very small allowcision.
ance which is just referred to. A puncheon of 5. The statement G exhibits the gross revenue spirits, worth one hundred dollars, yields to some from licenses to retail wines and foreign distilled one of them in a district, no more than two spirits, at $54,731 54, so far as returns have been cents and one-half; and a cask of wine, worth received at the Treasury. It was to be expected forty dollars, yields, in like manner, but a single that the amount would fall considerably below cent. The supervisors and inspectors' office rent, the original estimate, because the spirit licenses fuel and clerk hire, the value, or hire, of the colwere confined to the retailers of foreign spirits, lectors' horses and their keeping, together with contrary to what seems to have been the first in their own expenses when on the road, are deductention of the Committee. This not only dimi- tions from their emoluments. The postage of letnished greatly the number of licenses, but is sup-ters and packets, which greatly contribute to swell posed to have facilitated evasions of the law. It the incidental expenses, are all returned into the is not doubted, that the occurrence of the month public Treasury, except the allowances to the post of entry (September) so soon after passing the li- officers. Most of the supervisors, and several of cense act, may have prevented' that timely pro- the inspectors, perform necessary and important mulgation of it which was necessary to the per- duties, auxiliary to some of the officers of the sevefect collection of this tax. A similar reflection ral Executive Departments, on terms very far, arises with greater force in regard to the carriage indeed, below what would be accepted by any tax; and, indeed, the arrangements necessary to special agent, public or private. carry into execution the several laws concerning The statements and estimates accompanying the five new duties, required more time than inter- this report contain the substance of all the returns vened between the beginning of June and the and documents concerning the internal revenues month of September.
for the year to which they relate. Such papers The paper H contains the names of nearly all as may be received during the course of the sesthe officers employed in the business of the inter- sion, are proposed to be digested into a supplemennal revenues throughout the United States. Judg- tary statement. ing by a comparison with facis in the scene most
TENCH COXE, adjacent to the Seat of Government, these are
Commissioner of the Revenue. less numerous than the corresponding officers of the States. The collectors, alone, of the revenues of the State of Pennsylvania, all of which are
[CÁCULAR.] of course internal, are believed to be very many
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, more in number, as well in fact as in proportion
Revenue Office, May 16, 1795. to the respective aggregates of the taxes, than all GENTLEMEN: I have been obliged to postpone, the officers of every description employed in that until this day, a communication to you concerndistrict to superintend and collect the six duties of ing a resolution of the House of Representatives the United States, which are the subjects of this of the 2d of March last. It did not reach my communication. Throughout the Eastern parts of hands till yesterday afternoon. The resolution the Union, it is understood that there is a collector requires, that there be laid before the next Conof their taxes in every township, which must give gress " such a statement of the internal revenues a number greater, in that quarter alone, than that as will ascertain, with precision, the nett product of all the officers of the internal revenues of the thereof, and the expense of collection;" also," a United States. In the other parts of the Union, it list of all the officers employed in that service, is believed that there is considerably more than the and the compensation allowed to each of them.” proportion of one collector of State dues in each Completely to effect these several objects, and county, on a medium. It is certain that the in-as the basis of the relative observations and external revenue officers of every class, upon the planations which should accompany the stateFederal Establishment, are fewer in number, al- ments from the Treasury, it is necessary that early though one description of them (the auxiliary of- and particular attention be paid to the following ficers) has been appointed for the sole purpose of points: bringing conveniently near to the payers of certain 1. The completion of all the returns and abof the taxes, an office of entry and application. stracts relative to retailers' licenses, sales at auc
The apparent emoluments of the officers, and tion, carriages, refined sugar, and snuff and snuff the expenses of collection, though not higher than mills, until the 30th of September next, on which has been expected, if accurately considered, must day the first year of those revenues will end, be taken in conjunction with several connected 2. The completion of all the returns and abcircumstances.
stracts relative to the distillation in cities, towns, Some of the supervisors and inspectors have and villages, and from foreign materials, from the allowances for preparing or signing certificates for first day of July, 1791, until the 30th day of Sepforeign distilled spirits, wines, and teas, which, tember, 1795, the return for each quarter, now unnot being conveniently separable, appear, in their returned, to be transmitted to the Treasury, as general mass of charges, on the internal revenues. I soon as completed.