Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

not say that no man can afford to hold office at the present rate. The deputy ought to receive at least six thousand dollars per annum. No competent man can be found who will with integrity discharge its duties for a less sum. Upon this subject, however, I refer to the members of the Senate and House from this State. They are well advised as to the state of affairs here

Will you permit me to again urge upon your consideration the subject of warehouses, and the power to rent a sufficient number, and authorizing the construction of cast iron, as stipulated in the contract heretofore made for the one, and with the persons contracted with. They are, I think, entitled to the preference. The interest of the government will be, I think, amply protected by this arrangement, and it will be a source of revenue. But I must again say, so far as California is concerned, you must give the collector a large discretion. If you impose too many restrictions, or require him to postpone his appointments, or to await the approval of the department, the business of this office will be greatly embarrassed. I ask this for myself and for those who will come after me.

I have written, as usual, in great haste, and in the midst of constant interruption. My time, from early in the morning until midnight, has been occupied in the business of the office, and in the examination of various and important questions I have been called upon to investigate and determine.

Since writing the foregoing, I have felt constrained to trouble you still further, and to call your attention to another subject, which the growing importance of our commercial affairs in this quarter seems to require should be investigated by the government of the United States. We have with Chili a treaty of reciprocity, by the provisions of which I am to be governed, as it is the law between the two nations, and binding upon both. As collector of customs, I cannot take notice of any infractions of that treaty on the part of the government of Chili, that being the subject-matter of discussion and adjustment between the two powers; and yet I am ad. vised by the United States consul, Mr. Moorhead, resident at Valparaiso, that little or no regard is paid to it by the government of Chili. It is notorious that such is the fact here; and the merchants having knowledge that such is the fact, have inquired whether this office will still regard it (the treaty) as in full force. My answer has been in the affirmative, until otherwise directed. I am convinced that great injustice is being practised upon our commerce by the government of Chili in this particular. I submit the subject to your consideration. You will receive herewith a copy of a letter from Mr. Moorhead addressed to a former collector, marked C.

In relation to the brandy and other spirits which I have taken possession of, I desire to say that, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, and from the fact that this practice had obtained the approval of the mili: tary government, I have refrained from interfering with the vessel and the balance of the cargo, with the conviction that it would operate as a fraud upon the importer, were I to seize the ship and cargo. The importer, though he knew the law and was bound to know it, had knowl. edge also that the law was disregarded by the authorities here. I have, therefore, required that the spirits imported contrary to law should be placed in the custody of the collector. And it is stipulated that, should the Sec. retary decide that brandy and other spirits not entered for exportation, and in casks of less capacity than is provided for by law, are subject to forfeiture, that 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. 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 nation this law applies. 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,

J.' COLLIER, Collector. Hon. W.M. MEREDITH,

Secretary of the Treasury.

SAN FRANCISCO, November 14, 1849. Sır : 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,

BURGOYNE & CO.

. J. COLLIER, Esq., Collector of the port, San Francisco.

A.

FLAG-SHIP SAVANNAH,

Bay of San Francisco, November 12, 1849. Sır: 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 transshipping of foreign gouds 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 aud 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 Washing. ton, 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,

THOS. AP C. JONES, Commander-in-Chief U. S. naval forces, Pacific ocean. Col. COLLIER,

Collector of Customs, San Francisco.

B.

CUSTOM-HOUSE,

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 feel. ings manifested towards myself personally, and for the generous offer to co-operate with me in the discharge of the important and responsible du. ties 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 col. lection 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. Taos. Ap C. JONES,

Commander-in-Chief, &c.

CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Valparaiso, December 8, 1848. DEAR Sır: 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 cov

tains 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 ed 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 cominerce 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

« AnteriorContinuar »