Jacob Crowninshield to Joseph Story, March 23, 1804. Joseph Story Papers.
Washington 23d March 1804
Congress will rise on the 26th inst. I had counted on receiving another letter from you before I left Washington. We have passed several important bills within these few days past. The bill agreed to yesterday in our house further to protect the Commerce & Seamen of the U.S. in the Medeterrn. was brot in consequence of the Message from the Presidt communicating the news of the loss of the Phila [Philadelphia] by shipwreck near Tripoli. 2 vessels not to carry more than 16 guns are to be built or purchased & a million of Dolls. were appropriated to carry on the war with Tripoli or any other Barbary power which may commence hostilities against us and a new duty of 2 ½ perct imposed on all goods paying an ad valorem duty. The act to go into operation on the last day of June and to cease as soon as the war may be brot to a conclusion. I at first intended to have moved to amend the bill so as to lay the duty on all good generally but under all circumstances I found it best to take it as reported by the Committee. We have passed a bill in which foreign fish is to pay 50 cents per Quint with 5 addl. when imported in foreign vessels & to allow no part of the drawback
on importation. It paid before an ad valorem duty which Seldom exceeded 30 cents [per pound]. I thought the fishing towns in Masstt. particularly interested in this business and I hope the duty will give a decided preference to our own fish. The addl duty of “light money” on foreign vessels arriving in our ports will operate also as an indirect bounty on our fisheries, for the fish from Nova Scotia, of which upwards of 100,000 Quints were imported last year, are brot altogether in foreign vessels, our own being prohibited entry in the British settlements in Nova Scotia Newfoundland &c. In a bill for reducing the Salary and Commissions of the Collectors of the Customs reported by the Committee of Commerce & Manufactures, we have agreed to strike off from the Collectors of Salem & Newbury one eight perct. The compensation will be still very handsome. In all we have named 18 collectors & the saving will be abount 15,000 Dollars p.am. From what I had heard before I came on here I concluded that a Surveyor ought to be given to Marblehead and I took care to introduce it in the bill and it has passed our house & I expect will meet no opposition in the Senate. I shall request the Presidt. not to appoint this officer until I can ascertain who will be prefered by our friends in Marblehead. You will have the goodness to mention this, & when I have the pleasure of seeing you we will consult together on the Subject.
In haste Sincerely your friend
[To] Joseph Story Esq.
PS The Marbleh. & Gloucester Collt. are untouched as they wd not bear to be reduced.