Oct 27, 2022 - Sale 2619

Sale 2619 - Lot 71

Price Realized: $ 5,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 12,000
PAYING IMPORT DUTIES FOR HIS CLOCK JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Document Signed, "Th:Jefferson," certifying the accuracy of the invoice [not present] which lists the cost of, and therefore duty paid for, a clock imported by Thomas Jefferson. Countersigned by Deputy Collector John Graff and Deputy Naval Officer Archibald Engle. 1 page, folio; complete separation at horizontal fold repaired verso with cello tape, few scattered fold reinforcements on verso with cello tape, some chipping at edges, colored pencil arrows at upper left and lower right recto, vertical fold through Jefferson signature (without loss), docketing on verso. [Philadelphia], circa 17 October 1791

Additional Details

"Imported in the Ship Minerva, Wood, from Havre, by Thomas Jefferson, a Box cont'g a Clock, Value 360 . . . . I [faded or blank] do solemnly swear to the best of my Knowledge & belief that the above entry is Just & true & contains as therein specified the whole of the Goods, Wares, & Merchandize Imported by, or to [faded or blank] consigned and that the Invoice produced is the true original one & contains the nett prime cost thereof & that if I shall hereafter discover or Know of any other Goods Wares or Merchandize belonging to or to [faded or blank] consigned I will forthwith make Known the same to the Collectors of the District of Pennsylvania for the time being in order to the due entry thereof and the paying or securing the duties thereupon."
On July 4, 1789, "An Act for laying a Duty on Goods, Wares and Merchandise Imported into the United States" was approved, becoming the first U.S. tariff act and only the second law passed under the new Constitution. The revenue generated was intended for, among other things, "the support of government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures," the most significant debt being that incurred from the Revolutionary War. A collector and Naval officer were appointed and stationed at what was deemed the nation's sole port of entry, Philadelphia. The highest duties were imposed on luxury goods, up to 15 percent for items such as carriages, and 10 percent for items such as the clock that Jefferson imported in the present document.