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October 10, 2013

A Federal tax on alcohol

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Oct. 9, 1813

Compiled, with comments



DISTILLER’S TAX. AN ACT, laying duties on licenses to distillers of spirituous liquors.

BE IT ENACTED...That every person who on the first day of January next, shall be the owner of any still or stills...used for the purpose of distilling spirituous liquors...shall apply for and obtain...a license....

The licenses aforesaid granted for and during the following terms....

For...stills solely employed in distilling spirits from domestic materials:....two weeks...nine cents per gallon of capacity...; one month...18 cents per gallon...; two months...32 cents per gallon...;three months...42 cents per gallon...; four months...52 cents per gallon...;six months...70 cents per gallon...; one year...108 cents per gallon....

Provided that...on each still employed wholly in the distillation of roots, but one half the rates of duties abovementioned....

For...stills employed in distilling spirits from foreign month...25 cents per gallon of capacity...; three months...60 cents per gallon...; six months...105 cents per gallon...; one year...135 cents per gallon.

And for every boiler...where wooden or other vessels are used instead of metal stills...double the amount....

...this act shall continue in force until the termination of the war to which the United States are now engaged...and for one year thereafter. July 24, 1812 ... JAMES MADISON.

COMMENT: On the same day, Madison signed a Carriage Tax law, imposing an annual tax ranging from two to twenty dollars per year on every carriage used for the transportation of people. The cost of the war with Britain was becoming increasingly heavy.

Albany Praises Commodore Perry

PATRIOTIC PROCEEDINGS ... City of Albany ... In Common Council, Sept. 27, 1813.

The EIGHTH VICTORY, achieved by our gallant Navy, under the command of Commodore Perry, having been OFFICIALLY announced to the American people ... Do Unanimously Resolve,

1. That the FREEDOM OF THE CITY be presented to Captain O.H. Perry in approbation of his gallant and splendid victory over the forces of the enemy.

2. That a SWORD, of elegant workmanship be likewise presented to Capt. Perry.

3.That a committee ... forward the same to Captain Perry, accompanied by a letter expressive of the sentiments of this board, and of the high opinion it entertains of the valor, skill and heroism of himself, his officers and crews.

4. That the Bells of this city be rung at 12 o’clock this day, and continue for one hour, and that a federal salute be fired at 12 o’clock.

5. That the masters and owners of vessels...[at Albany] be requested to manifest their joy by the usual marks and demonstrations on like occasions.

6. That the uniform companies be requested to perform such evolutions and firings as are agreeable to military usage. 

7. That ... a committee ... make the necessary arrangements for giving effect to the foregoing resolutions.

In pursuance of the above Resolutions, the Common Council, and a number of respectable citizens ... proceeded to the Capitol square, where a salute was fired by the artillery, amidst the applause of patriotic citizens, who CHEERED the occasion with those emotions, which are ever excited by illustrious and heroic deeds.

The unprecedented victory of Commodore Perry was announced at Baltimore by the firing of guns, and by a splendid illumination of the city. Similar demonstrations of joy were exhibited in Philadelphia, and New-York.

COMMENT: All this may have been rather self-serving, but it was at least in celebration of what was one of the most important American victories during the War of 1812. By giving America control of Lake Erie, Perry’s victory made possible the recovery of Detroit and the State of Michigan, and the successful invasion of the western portion of Upper Canada (Ontario). Nevertheless, these victories—though tactically important—were of little strategic importance, since British control of the main Canadian cities of Montreal and Quebec was unchanged. American attempts to capture those cities during the War of 1812 came to nothing.

Shoemakers Wanted

To Journeymen Shoemakers. WANTED immediately three or four Journeymen at the Boot & Shoemaking business, to whom ready pay and constant employment will be given by the subscribers, at their leather and shoe manufactory, Oaks Creek, four miles west of Cooperstown. SMITH & LENNELS. Sept. 27, 1813.

COMMENT: Journeymen were craftsmen who had presumably completed an apprenticeship, but did not yet have their own separate business. To what extent such traditional craft rules were still followed in Otsego County in 1813 is uncertain.


DIED—In this town, on the 2nd inst. [October] of the Typhus Fever, Capt. ROSWELL PEABODY; his loss will be severely felt by his friends and relatives.

COMMENT: Captain Peabody was born in Otsego on April 3, 1768, son of Aaron Peabody of Rhode Island and Lucy Fitch (1738-1774) of Connecticut. He had a tannery and shoe shop in Pierstown. Deaths from what was called typhus fever were epidemic at this time in much of New York State. Roswell married Edna Lee and they had one son Orra (1804-1878). His widow Edna was in 1816 made legal guardian of Orra.