September 25, 2009

Archives obtains Hamilton tax letter

The U.S. National Archives in Washington said it has obtained a 219-year old Alexander Hamilton letter about alcohol tariffs.

The letter, which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives obtained 35 years ago, informs customs officials of hydrometers being sent to ports to calculate the alcohol content of imported spirits to properly tax them as part of a scheme to pay off Revolutionary War debts, CNN reported Friday.

In this circular letter, Hamilton attempts to provide customs officers with new tools to more efficiently do their jobs, said Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The National Archives said the document, which experts said could be damaged by prolonged exposure to light, will be protected in a locked stack area with temperature and humidity controls at its College Park, Md., facility.