THE UNITED STATES v. WORRALL
2 U.S. 384

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U.S. Supreme Court

THE UNITED STATES v. WORRALL, 2 U.S. 384 (1798)

2 U.S. 384 (F.Cas.) 2 Dall. 384

The United States
v.
Worrall

Circuit Court, Pennsylvania District

April Term, 1798

The defendant was charged with an attempt to bribe Tench Coxe, the Commissioner of the Revenue; and the indictment, containing two counts, set forth the case as follows:

    'The Grand Inquest of the United States of America, for the Pennsylvania District, upon their respective oaths and affirmations do present That whereas on the 13th day of May 1794, it was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled; 'that as soon as the jurisdiction of so much of the headland of Cape Hatteras, in the State of North Carolina, as the President of the United States shall deem sufficient and most proper for the convenience

    Page 2 U.S. 384, 385

    and accommodation of a light house, shall have been ceded to the United States, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide by contract, which shall be approved by the President of the United States, for building a light-house thereon of the first rate: And also, 'that the Secretary of the Treasury be authorized to provide by contract, which shall be approved by the President of the United States, for building on an island in the harbour of Occacock, called Shell Castle, a lighted beacon of a wooden frame, 55 feet high, to be 22 feet at the base, and to be reduced gradually to 12 feet at the top, exclusively of the lantern, which shall be made to contain one large lamp with four wicks, and for furnishing the same with all necessary supplies. Provided, that no such lighted beacon shall be erected, until a cession of a sufficient quantity of land on the said island shall be made to the United States by the consent of the Legislature of the State of North Carolina:' And whereas the Legislature of the State of North Carolina did, on the 17th day of July 1794, cede to the United States the jurisdiction of so much of the headland of Cape Hatteras in the same State, as the President of the said United States deemed sufficient and most proper for the convenience and accommodation of a light house, and also a sufficient quantity of land for building on the said island, in the harbour of Occacock, called Shell Castle, a beacon of the kind, descriptions, and dimensions aforesaid: And whereas, afterwards, to wit, on the 28th day of September 1797, at the District aforesaid, Tench Coxe, Esq. (he the said Tench Coxe, then and there being Commissioner of the Revenue, in the department of the Secretary of the Treasury,) then and there was appointed and instructed by the Secretary of the Treasury, by and with the authority of the President of the said United States, to receive proposals for building the light house aforesaid, and beacon aforesaid: Robert Worrall, late of the same District, yeoman, being an ill disposed person, and wickedly contriving and contending to bribe and seduce the said Tench Coxe, so being Commissioner of the Revenue, from the performance of the trust and duty so in him reposed, on the said 28th day of September 1797, at the District aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, wickedly, advisedly and corruptly, did compose, write, utter, and publish, and cause to be delivered to the said Tench Coxe, a letter, addressed to him the said Tench Coxe, in the words and figures following, that is to say: 'Dear Sir, 'Having had the honor of waiting on you, at different times, on the light-house business, and having delivered a fair, honest estimate, and I will be candid to declare, that with my diligent [2 U.S. 384, 386]


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