United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/1st Congress/2nd Session/Chapter 12

United States Statutes at Large, Volume 1
United States Congress
Public Acts of the First Congress, 2nd Session, Chapter 12

April 30, 1790.
Chap. XII.—An Act to provide for mitigating or remitting the forfeitures and penalties accruing under the revenue laws, in certain cases therein mentioned.

Act of March 3, 1797, ch. 13. Act of Feb. 11, 1800, ch. 6. Act of March 2, 1821, ch. 13, sec. 3. Act of March 1, 1823, ch. 21, sec. 8.Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever any person who now is, or hereafter shall be liable to a fine, penalty or forfeiture, or interested in any vessel, goods, wares or merchandise, or other thing which may be subject to seizure and forfeiture, by force of the laws of the United States now existing, or which may hereafter exist, for collecting duties of impost and tonnage, and for regulating the coasting trade,Mitigation or remission of penalties, &c. how to be applied for; and shall prefer his petition to the judge of the district in which such fine, penalty or forfeiture may have accrued, truly and particularly setting forth the circumstances of his case, and shall pray that the same may be mitigated or remitted; the said judge shall inquire in a summary manner into the circumstances of the case, first causing reasonable notice to be given to the person or persons claiming such fine, penalty or forfeiture, and to the attorney of the United States for such district, that each may have an opportunity of showing cause against the mitigation or remission thereof; and shall cause the facts which shall appear upon such inquiry, to be stated and annexed to the petition, and direct their transmission to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, who shall thereupon have powerby whom granted; to mitigate or remit such fine, penalty or forfeiture, or any part thereof, if in his opinion the same was incurred without wilful negligence or any intention of fraud, and to direct the prosecution, if any shall have been instituted for the recovery thereof, to cease and be discontinued, upon such terms or conditions as he may deem reasonable and just.[1] Provided,Not to affect cases of previous information. That nothing herein contained shall be construed to affect the right or claim of any person, to that part of any fine, penalty or forfeiture, incurred by breach of either of the laws aforesaid, which such person may be entitled to by virtue of the said laws, in cases where a prosecution has been commenced, or information has been given before the passing of this act; the amount of which right and claim shall be assessed and valued by the judge of the district, in a summary manner.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted,Continuance of the act. That this act shall continue and be in force until the end of the next session of Congress, and no longer.

Approved, May 26, 1790.

  1. The decisions of the courts of the United States upon this act, and on subsequent acts, in pari materia, have been: M‘Lean v. The United States, 6 Peters, 404. United States v. Morris, 10 Wheat. 246; 6 Cond. Rep. 90. Cross v. The United States, 1 Gallis’ C. C. R. 26. The Margaretta, 2 Gallis’ C. C. R. 515. The United States v. The Hunter, Peters’ C. C. R. 10. The United States v. Lancaster, 4 Wash. C. C. R. 64.