PROPERTY OF A DIFFERENT OWNER
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the consent of Congress be, and is hereby granted and declared to the operation of an act of the General Assembly of Maryland, made and passed at a session begun and held at the city of Annapolis...intituled, "An act to empower the wardens of the port of Baltimore to levy and collect the duty therein mentioned," until the tenth day of January next, and from thence until the end of the then next session of Congress, and no longer."
The Constitution forbade the states from collecting duties on imports, exports, or vessel tonnage unless specifically authorized by Congress. This was consistent with Hamilton’s plan to fund the federal government. However, Congress regularly granted such permission to states when the proposed imposts or duties were to be used for the improvement of harbors and waterways. Here, Secretary of State Jefferson certifies a copy of the Congressional act that was constitutionally required for Maryland to levy tonnage duties to fund improvements to the port of Baltimore.
Few copies of any of the Acts Jefferson signed survive. This is the only Jefferson-signed copy known in private hands, with three in institutions (the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Library of Congress, and the New York Public Library).
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