Изображения страниц

in casks of less capacity than is provided for by law, are subject to for feiture, then they shall be sold as forfeited, and no further litigation. is to follow. Your opinion, therefore, will be conclusive upon all the parties.

A case has this day occurred, which I beg leave also to submit. There is between the United States and the Hanseatic republic of Lubec, Bremen, and Hamburg, a reciprocal treaty of commerce and navigation, under which the ships of those cities claim an exemption from tonnage duties; and they are no doubt exempt, provided the vessels of the United States are not in their ports charged with like duties. But the act of Congress of the 31st of May, 1830, declares that the President of the United States must be satisfied that foreign nations do not require our ships to pay tonnage duties, before the ships of such foreign nation can claim this exemption. I am unadvised as to what nations this law applies to. It may include the ones referred to, and also others from whom the fees are exacted. Will you have the goodness to advise me. You will pardon the infliction of this long epistle. I am a young beginner, but desire to learn my duty. I send you herewith a monthly summary, commencing on the 12th instant, the day I assumed the duties of this office. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,"


Secretary of the Treasury.

J. COLLIER, Collector.

SAN FRANCISCO, November 14, 1849.

SIR: We propose to furnish the revenue cutter C. W. Lawrence with provisions for the rations as enumerated in your schedule, and subject to your approval, at the following prices, for one year:

Beef, per barrel, fifteen dollars.

Pork, per barrel, fifty dollars.

Flour, per barrel, thirty-five dollars.

Rice, per pound, twelve and one-half cents.

Raisins, per box, four dollars.

Dried apples or peaches, thirty-five cents per pound.

Pickles, per dozen, twenty dollars.

Cranberries, none in market.

Biscuit, per pound, twelve and one-half cents.

Sugar, per pound, twenty cents.

Tea, per pound, fifty cents.

Coffee, per pound, ten cents.

Cocoa, none.

Butter, per pound, one dollar.

Cheese, per pound, twenty-five cents.

Beans, per barrel, five dollars.

Molasses, per gallon, seventy-five cents.

Vinegar, per gallon, fifty cents.


Your obedient servants,

Collector of the port, San Francisco.




Bay of San Francisco, November 12, 1849.

SIR: Permit me to congratulate you on your safe arrival at your post-an event which I have anxiously looked for, both officially and individually; and to add, that at all times it will afford me pleasure to co-operate with you, should the naval authority be needed to aid you in the arduous duties of the office upon which you have just entered.

Mr. Harrison, your predecessor, will doubtless make you fully acquainted with all that has been done by the naval and military commanders on this station for the collection of duties, and for the relief of the suffering community, whose wants and necessities were of that urgent nature as to compel the ruling authorities to adopt their measures to meet the urgent wants of the in-pouring emigrants, rather than strict obedience to legislative enactment; this course has been fully approved by both the late and present administrations at Washington.

By the enclosed extract No. 1, you will perceive upon what grounds foreign-built boats and crafts were allowed to participate in the inland trade within the bay of San Francisco. From the daily applications, all of which are refused since June, and the still exorbitant high freights on the rivers, I cannot too earnestly recommend to you, as I have done to the Executive, to continue the licenses now in force, until Congress, by the passage of a law, shall legalize such licenses. Were the craft in question suddenly thrown out of the trade, not only would the owners thereof be great losers, but the now ill-supplied emigrants, and the population of the great valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin, would be subjected to the greatest extortion for all the necessaries of life, already frightfully deficient in the mining district.


I also enclose an extract from another of my letters to the honorable Secretary of the Navy, in reference to the non-payment of duties, encouraged by the transhipping of foreign goods from sea going vessels to river craft in the port of San Francisco. I have reason now to believe that the frauds thus practised on the revenue can only be prevented by manifesting and clearing each and every craft, and by the appointment of deputy collectors at each of the ports of Benicia, Sacramento city, and Stockton, where alone vessels should be allowed to discharge, except launches and small steamers plying between those towns and headwaters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

The accompanying extract No. 3, from one of the Secretary of the Navy's letters to me, will show in what light the Executive, at Washington, regards the interest and protection of the countless emigrants pouring into California by every avenue of approach.

I have the honor to be, &c., &c., &c., very respectfully,
Commander-in-Chief U. S. naval forces, Pacific ocean.

Collector of Customs, San Francisco.

[merged small][ocr errors]



San Francisco, November 15, 1849.

DEAR SIR: The pressure of business arising from the departure of the steamer will plead my excuse for not having more promptly acknowl. edged the receipt of your favor of the 12th instant. For the kindly feelings manifested towards myself personally, and for the generous offer to co-operate with me in the discharge of the important and responsible duties I have assumed as collector of this distriet, accept, I pray you, my sincere thanks. Much shall I stand in need of the counsel and advice of one whose large experience in the commercial concerns of the nations of the world has made him familiar with the various and important questions arising out of the execution and enforcement of the revenue laws of the country.

My worthy predecessor has made known to me what has been done by himself, under the advice of the military and naval commanders on this station, in relation to the granting of licenses to vessels, other than those built in the United States, to trade within the bay of San Francisco and its tributaries. I am aware also of the necessity which seemed to justify the exercise of that discretion. It must be admitted, however, that it was in violation of the revenue laws.

I should exceedingly regret that the strict enforcement of those laws should inflict injury upon any portion of my countrymen; but I am not vested with discretionary powers upon such subjects. I must abide by the law, whatever it may be. When those licenses were granted, no collection district had been created in California by act of Congress, and that discretion might be properly exercised by the then authorities. It may be, and no doubt is true, that freights must necessarily advance by the revoking of the licenses granted to foreign vessels to engage in the coasting trade. But, while I may lament that any portion of our countrymen who are engaged in the mining district should feel the effects in the increased price of provisions, we have, on the other hand, the satisfaction of knowing that another class, that of the American ship-builders and ship-owners, will enjoy that protection which the law intended to give them, that the great interests of our own commerce will be promoted, and that the law of the land is respected and maintained.

Entertaining these views, I must abide by the decision I have already made upon the subject. Congress will soon assemble, and to that tribunal must these questions be submitted.

With high regard, I am your obedient servant,

J. COLLIER, Collector.

[blocks in formation]


Valparaiso, December 8, 1848.

DEAR SIR: Understanding that our government has not provided you with the acts of Congress containing the treaties with foreign nations, I take the liberty of sending you the acts of the 23d Congress, which con

tain the treaty between the United States and Chili, and also with Russia. You will perceive that Chili has not a full and free treaty of commercial reciprocity. The conventions with Chili were officially ratified on the 29th April, 1844, and the 2d article of the first of these conventions provides, among other stipulations, that

"The United States of America and the republic of Chili, desiring to live in peace and harmony with all the other nations of the earth-by means of a policy frank and friendly with all-engage mutually not to grant any particular favor to other nations, in respect to commerce and navigation, which shall not immediately become common to the other party, who shall enjoy the same freely, if the concession were freely made, or on allowing the same compensation, if the concession were conditional, &c."

In somewhat more than two years after the ratification of the conventions with Chili, to wit: on the 21st of May, 1836, a treaty was ratified between the United States and Venezuela, the fourth article of which provides: "They likewise agree that whatever kind of produce, manufactures, or merchandise of any foreign country, can be, from time to time, lawfully imported into the United States in her own vessels, may be also imported in vessels of the republic of Venezuela, and that no higher or other duties upon the tonnage of the vessels and their cargoes shall be levied and collected, whether the importation be made in the vessels of the one country or of the other; and, in like manner, that whatever kind of produce, manufacture, or merchandise of any foreign country, can be, from time to time, lawfully imported into the republic of Venezuela in its own vessels, may be also imported in vessels of the United States, and that no other or higher duties upon the tonnage of their vessels and their cargoes shall be levied or collected, whether the importation be made in the vessels of one country or of the other; and they agree that, whatever may be lawfully exported or re-exported from the one country, in its own vessels, to any foreign country, may, in like manner, be exported or re-exported in the vessels of the other country. And the same bounties, duties, and drawbacks shall be collected, whether such exportation or reexportation be made in the vessels of the United States or of the republic of Venezuela."

Provisions, either exactly the same or of precisely similar import, are to be found in a number of the treaties made between the United States and other nations, at subsequent dates, as these references will show.

Under these references, the question-as far as Chili is interested-recurs: May Chili avail herself of the privileges and immunities which these treaties reciprocally confer on the contracting parties? Without a doubt she may, upon precisely the terms under which Venezuela and the other contracting parties enjoy the same; that is to say, by Chili's reciprocally conferring the like privileges and immunities upon the commerce and navigation of the United States in her ports. This is all that is exacted, and all that is conferred; and though the condition is not to be dispensed with, a compliance with its terms is all that can be required. The conditions which these treaties mutually impose upon the contracting parties thereto consist in the reciprocities they exact, in consideration of the advantages they bestow. Now, Chili has granted nothing to the flag of the United States which she withholds from that of any other nation upon

earth, and reserves to her own vessels the exclusive right of commerce at a fixed rate of duties. As, for instance, a vessel built in the United States, owned by a citizen of Chili, pays 10 per cent. more upon the duties than is charged to a vessel, owned by the same parties, built in Chili.

sel built in and owned by citizens of the United States is charged 20 per cent. upon the duties charged upon Chilian vessels. This, of course, is upon foreign products, and does not apply to American goods. It amounts to this: that our vessels employed in the China trade are required to pay 20 per cent. upon the duties charged to Chilian vessels employed in the same trade in the ports of Chili.

Therefore, I conclude that the Chilian flag is not entitled to any special privileges in the ports of the United States, and, if permitted to enter at all, should be subject to a discriminating duty; otherwise, those nations who concluded a perfect treaty of reciprocity with the United States would not be fairly treated.

I offer this for your consideration, and only regret that I am so much occupied that I could not go more into detail.

With sentiments of respect and esteem, I remain your obedient servant, WM. G. MOORHEAD, Consul of the United States of America.

Captain J. L. FOLSOM,

Collector of the port of San Francisco, &c.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »