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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 16 July 2013
On this day in 1798, the Act for the Relief of Sick & Disabled Seamen was signed into law by President John Adams. The act directed that the master of any vessel arriving from foreign port to the U.S. pay the port collector twenty cents per month from each seaman on board, which could be withheld from each seaman’s wages. Licenses for the vessels would be prevented renewal if they did not comply with the act and had to pay a penalty. The funds collected were paid to the Secretary of the Treasury quarterly. The president had authorization to use the funds for the treatment of sick and disabled seamen in existing hospitals or to build additional hospitals at U.S. ports. He also was authorized to appoint directors for each port to oversee the use and collection of the funds. 1
In 1790 on this day, “An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent Seat of the Government of the United States,” otherwise called The Residence Act, was signed into law by President Washington. The act called for a “district of territory” no more than ten square miles be chosen for the capital. The president could appoint three commissioners to survey and define the territory to be established as well as have purchasing power of land. The commissioners would also “provide suitable buildings for the accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and for the public offices of the government of the United States.” The act declared Philadelphia would remain the home of Congress until December 1800, when the “seat of the government of the U.S.” would be transferred to the new district. 2
1 “An Act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen,” history.nih.gov/research/downloads/1StatL605.pdf
2 “An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent Seat of the Government of the United States, July 16, 1790,” The President’s House in Philadelphia, www.ushistory.org/presidentshouse/history/act1790.htm