« AnteriorContinuar »
H. or R.]
[APRIL 15, 1830.
· more agreeable at this moment; but believing that nothing let their parents educate them, and not the public Shall in our situation or in our relation with other powers, how we listen to the gentleman, or sball we listen to the voice ever pacific at this time, can give a certain assurance of of experience, which has taught us an effectual lesson on uninterrupted peace, a state which may exist in the ima- this subject ? gination of the poet, but which no nation has yet bad the Sir, we have tried the gentleman's plan. We did for. good fortune to enjoy, I have deemed it my duty to pre- merly appoint those who bad educated themselves, and sent that organization which will most effectually protect we found that their education, however good, was not a the country against the calamities and dangers of any fu- military education, and did not fit them for the wants of ture contest in which it may be our misfortune to be in the army. Nor is a military education to be obtained in volved.
any other way than at a military school. The gentleman Economy is certainly a very high political virtue, inti- has also expressed his regret that places in the army are mately connected with the power and the public virtue of given to the rich, and not to the poor; and yet he is for the community. In military operations, which, under the giving those places to such only as have been able to obbest management, are so expensive, it is of the utmost im- tain a good education for themselves. Does not the genportance; but, by no propriety of language can that ar- tleman see, and must not the House perceive, that the tenrangement be called economical, which, in order that our dency of his plan must effectually exclude the poor
3 military establishment in peace should be rather less ex. Should such a plan prevail, you must either put ignorance pensive, would, regardless of the purposes for which it in commission, or confine your commissions to the sons of ought to be maintained, render it unfit to meet the dangers the rich. The gentleman's plan is a plan pointed directincident to a state of war."
ly against the poor, but the existing system throws open Mr. TAYLOR resumed. Let it be remembered [said the military employments of the Government alike to poor he] that this was the language addressed to the House in and rich. Like the gentleman, I am not in favor of a pri1821, a period in which the condition of the country called vileged order, but I am equally opposed to making a prifor retrenchment quite as much, if not more, than it does at vileged order of the poor as of the rich. The son of a rich present. The pation, in that very year, had been compel- man has as good right to be admitted to the service of his led to borrow five millions to meet its current expenses. country as the son of a poor wan—as good, and no better. I, too, [said Mr.T.) am in favor of retrenchment, and when But let us lave po privileged order, either of rich or poor; the necessity of the country shall call for it, I shall ever be and I insist that there is no plan which can be devised, that prepared to reduce the public expenditure, wherever it is so truly and perfectly republican in its principle as that can with safety be reduced. But I am not for destroying: of our Military Academy. How is it supplied with its I am not for pulling down and laying waste what we have students ? Every congressional district in the United built up at so much labor and expense. To retrench use- States is or may he there represented by one cadet. That less expenses is one thing; to cut up the best defences of is the principle of the institution. There may at some the country, and wantonly destroy them, is another. Re- particular time be a slight departure from it, but that can trenchment was called for when this report was made and be oply because there have been no applications from paradopted, more than it is now. There is nothing in the ticular districts. There never bas been but one cadet educondition of the country at present, which requires us to cated at that institution from my district. He is now there, reduce its establishment yet further than in 1821—nor can and in the senior class; and, when appointed, there was no it be done without essential injury to the service. A re other candidate for appointment belonging to the district. mark was yesterday made by a gentleman from North Caro- Can the gentleman devise a system better calculated to lina (Mr. WILLIAMS) iu reference to the Military Academy spread its benefits equally over every part of the United at West Point. If I understood bim right, that gentleman States ? For my part, I cau conceive of none which said that the institutiou ought not to contain more than one provides such an entire exclusion of every thing like an hundred cadets ; that that number would be sufficient to aristocratic principle. But, sir, if there be abuse, such as meet all the wants of the army, and to provide as many the gentleman apprehends, it is not for us to correct itofficers as could be needed for the existing establishment. there is another and a bigher power, which will do that Sir, can the gentleman have forgotten the report which effectually. I refer to the sovereigo people at home, who was presented to us last session on this very point? The have both it and us in their hands. If a member of this report of the Secretary of war (which will be found in the House gets a warrant for his son or other relation, when second volume of Executive papers, second session twenti- there are more worthy applicants within his district, doubt eth Congress, number 41,) states that the number of cadets not that he will hear of it. The people who are the sovegraduated from that academy within eight years, was two reign depositaries of power, will take good care to tell hundred and eighty-seven; and a very singular fact was, bim of it, and that in a way that be will remember. We that precisely the same number of vacancies bad occurred need not trouble ourselves on the subject. There is a far in the army, so that the number supplied from that semi- more powerful principle that will regulate that matter. pary, was just sufficient to meet the actual wants of the Sir, the gentleman's plan of an army, with a reduced service--the corps of engineers having required eleven ap- number of officers, and with no major gene was bepointments, the artillery one hundred and ten, and the in- fore this House wben it gave the army its present organifantry one hundred and sixty-six,
zation. A plan something like that did pass this House, The respectable gentleman from Tennessee says that he and was taken up in the Senate; there it was met by the will not consent to educate young men at the public ex- plan of the Secretary of War. That body compared the pense, to make them officers of the army. Sir, he can iwo, and after mature deliberation adopted his scheme in not help it. He must do it; he must educate them either preference to ours. It was sent back to this House in the as cadets, or as lieutenants. He has this choice, and this form of an amendment, sind bere it was long and gravely only. He must either educate them as cadets before they debated, and, notwithstanding the extreme pressure of the are commissioned in the army, or he must admit them ig: times, this House concurred in the judgment of the Senate, porant, and educate them in the army as lieutenants; and and fiually adopted the Secretary's scheme. In 1815, wben which plan is the cheapest ? To pay them as cadets, or to we were cheered with the news of peace, and were perpay them as lieutenants? Which method is most for the mitted to reduce the army, a question arose between the economy of the army? Will be put the public property two Houses as to the number to be retained in service. into the bands of men well disciplined and thoroughly in. This House passed the bill fixing the military peace esstructed in every part of their duty, or will be commit it tablishment at six thousand men, with one major general. to ignorant and undisciplined men The gentleman says, I The Senate amended it, by raising the number to fifteen
APRIL 15, 1830.)
Collection of the Imposts, &c.
[H. OF R.
thousand, with two major generals. This House disagreed must settle in his own bosom. Because he happens to be. to the amendments. T'he Senate insisted. The House in opposed in sentiment to the policy of that act, ought he, sisted on its disagreement, and asked a conference, which as a good citizen, as a member of Congress, entrusted by
was agreed to by the Senate. The brave and patriotic the people with the solemn duties of legislation, to withhold b
gentleman from Kentucky, who sits near me, [Col. Join his aid toward carrying the laws of the country into exesox) was a member of the committee of conference. That cution i I present this simple inquiry to every candid mind. committee agreed on the number of ten thousand, with The tariff of '28 was enacted for the protection of the dotwo major generals. Their report was confirmed by Con- mestic industry of the Union. Have not those for whose gress, and the peace establishment was fixed accordingly. benefit it was passed, a right to come to this House, and It continued thus until 1821, when it was reduced to six ask and demand of us that the faith of the Government thousand, with one major general
. If that number was shall not be violated, por its benefits lost, for want of our only adequate then, it is certainly not too large now. With vigilance and care! Is it not derogatory to the bouor, of 80 great a number of posts, and an army dispersed in sınall this Government, that it should pass an important law on detachments over so wide an extent of territory, it is in which the people have relied, as it was their duty to rely, dispensable that we should have a large number of officers. and then the law should be flagrantly violated, and that Let any gentleman deliberately weigh the reasoning of the the people, disappointed and deceived, shall ask in vain Secretary's report, and he must, I think, become satisfied that we will enforce our laws! I need not say that the that an army on the present system is better adapted to faith of the Government, that its dignity and honor, all the situation and wants of this country, than one either forbid such a disgraceful state of things. Would not the larger or smaller. I, for one, am prepared to be content- world declare it degrading for legislators to reply to such ed with whatever the House may finally conclude to du. a demand, that all that they have solemnly done means
It may, however, seem somewhat extraordinary that the nothing; that when they passed the law, they knew and inP gentleman from Kentueky, and his friends, should be entended that it should prove a delusion, that it should carry
deavoring to put down the strength of the army, when the appearance of doing something for the domestic industhey are in power, when I, who am considered as being try of the country, while the real purpose of those who opposed to the reigning administration, should be found passed it was to confer no benefit, but to practise a deluendeavoriog to sustain it; but it is with a view to the in- sion on our fellow-citizens! Sir, there is no man on the terests of the pation at large that I take the ground I at tloor of this House would dare utter such language to the present occupy. In a matter of such moment, we should people of this Union. They would teach him a lesson that all consider ourselves as called to act for a great people, he will not readily forget. But we have not yet arrived for this free and powerful pation ; and not for any partic. at such a crisis, and I trust we never shall. I have said ular administration, which may happen this day to be in that the tariff law is grossly violated; and the interposition power, and may lose it to-morrow. The great sovereign of this House is called for, to put a stop to its violation. I predomivating power is in the people themselves. It is acknowledge that it is incumbent on those who make this their interests, and not those of any administration, that assertion, to show that it is true. It is for them to prove we are sent here to sustain; and we ought to provide, ac- before this House that its laws are evaded and violated, cording to our best judgment, for their safety and happi- and that the evasion and violatiou can be prevented. I bess, without regard to any ephemeral fluctuation among place the cause of this bill on that ground; and if I cannot those who may chance to be in the possession of political make out such a case as will prove that this bill, or somepower. [Here the debate closed for this day.]
thing like this bill, is called for by the state of the counCOLLECTION OF THE IMPOSTS, &c.
try, let it be rejected. On that issue, I am content that
the question shall rest. But if I can and shall show that On motion of Mr. MALLARY, the several bills which the law is violated, violated grossly, openly, and in the by special order caine up for consideration to-day, were most shameful manner, then I appeal to gentlemen to postponed ; and
say whether they can reconcile to their sense of duty, renThe House went into Committee of the Whole on the dered doubly sacred by the bigh station they here occupy, state of the Union, Mr. Martin being called to the chair, to vote against a measure whose ouly object is to prevent and took up the bill reported by the Committee on Madu the most alarming evils. factures, "io alteration of the several acts laying duties I have alleged that one of the most important laws of on imports," (the more effectually to enforce the collec- the country is violated. To prove this, it may be
proper tion of the duties.
to show that both disposition and interest exist to do so, Mr. MALLARY, chairman of the Committee on Manu to show who they may be who have that interest and dis
factures, who reported the bill, rose to address the composition. On this point I will make a few brief observaj mittee in explanation and support of the bill.
tions. They allude, chiefly, to other pations. In this, it I will now, [said Mr. M.] with the permission of the com- is not my intention to examine minutely their domestic pomittee, endeavor to assign as briefly as I can those views licy, but shall refer to views and feelings which exist among which have been entertained by the committee who re. them in relation to the domestic policy of this country. ported the present bill. I am aware that the subject has If we look to France, we find her pursuing her own way an important relation to the policy of the country, but, as executing her own policy, undisturbed. She has taken a to the present bill, it does not involve any of the princi. firm stand for herself, and remains unmoved by the flatples or questions which grow out of what has been de- tery or menaces of any other nation. Her Government nominated the tariff policy. Its one object and only pur- and people allow others to do the same. This may be
pose is to provide a remedy against an abuse of the laws also said of Holland, of Prussia, of Russia. These pations i of the country. I shall not disguise the fact, that the undertake to judge for themselves of the best means to
principal object of the bill is intended to enforce the tariff promote their own interests. They are willing that all law of 1828'; but there is no need, in discussing it, to en others should enjoy the same privilege. They are not enter into the policy of that law. It has passed. "It has be. gaged in barassing all the world with their doctrines of come a law of the land. It has received the sanction of political economy. But can this be said of England ? this Government; and the question now is, sball it be car All know the course that nation has pursued towards ried into execution, or shall a law, thus solemnly and deli. this country, and all other countries, for the last twenty berately sanctioned, be suffered to be every day violated years, when the encouragement of domestic manufactures with impunity, when the Government which passed it is was discovered. When the United States were her coloaware of the violation? This question each gentleman nies, they furnished her with one of the best markets in
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Collection of the Imposts, &c.
[APRIL 15, 1830.
the world for her various manufactures; after the war of i It will be observed, and to this I would call the most the revolution, our markets were again thrown open to her steady attention of the committee, that on those goods trade. This continued until our late restrictions on com- which have not been appraised, no penalty is incurred, merce, and war closed our markets against her. In the if the entry were ever so fraudulent, were the law ever mean time, most of the great nations of Europe became so flagrantly violated. The committee are most respectdetermined to rely on their own resources, and sealed their fully requested to bear this in mind, as, by the practice markets against English manufactures. When our late at the most important custom-bouse in the United States, war had terminated, the market of the United States be it will be shown tbat the penalty can never reach any came doubly interesting to England. Her people poured goods except the package sent lo the appraisers' office. into this country their immense surplus of manufactured Here arises one of the great causes of complaint. It goods, which could find no other market in the world. would be inferred from the law itself, that the collector reShe discovered that our people and the Government show- tained the custody of all the goods contained in the entry ed strong determination to give aid and encouragement to until the appraisement was made. But this proves to be our domestic industry.
a mistake. Neither the collector nor any officer bas the She was alarmed, and we were soon overwhelmed with control of any except the package which has been sent her doctrines of free trade. Our policy is represented by to the appraisers. The penalty reaches these, and these Englishmen as absurd, old-fashioned, and that it would be alone. This will be more fully explained before I close monstrous_folly to continue it. It is denounced in every my remarks. corner of England, and its violation and evasion openly re I will now proceed to explain the proceedings at the commended in every town and city in the kingdom. It custom-house in New York. The information I possess seems as if all classes of her people considered they were is derived from the highest sources of respectability, and doing God's service to render ineffectual the protecting on which I feel coufident the fullest reliance may be laws of the United States, and prostrate all our manufac- placed. Indeed, it may be substantially obtained from puturing establisbments. Under such circumstances, influ- merous American merchants engaged in our European enced by the most powerful considerations of her mighty trade. That our laws are evaded, and the manner by interests, we can well comprehend the exertions her peo which it is done, are well understood by a vast propor. ple would make to accomplish the ruin of the rival indus- tion of the business men of New York. It is a common try of this nation.
remark—it is in the mouth of almost every one in that 'I shall now [said Mr. M.] proceed to examine some of city. But being in possession of full, ample, and aeeuthe provisions of the existing revenue laws, under which rate information, I will present such as the time and oethe alleged frauds are perpetrated. They have been casion may require for a full understanding of the subject. found, iu practice, to be wholly ineffectual. By the fif. It will not be required of me to give a bistory of a ves. teenth section of the act of 1823, “ the collectors of the sel from a foreign port, from the time she is first boarded revenue shall cause at least one package out of every in. by an officer of the customs, until the goods imported in voice, and one package at least out of every twenty pack- her are sent into the market. I will give all that is neages of each invoice of goods, &c. which package or pack- cessary to a full understanding of the subject. After the ages he shall have first designated on the invoice to be bond is given in an estimated amount of duties, an order opened and examined; and if the same be found not to cor. is made to send the designated packages to the appraisrespond with the invoice thereof, &c. a full inspection of ers' office, which is done ; a permit is then granted for all all such goods, &c. as may be included in the same entry, the goods not ordered for appraisement. Before the apsball be made; and in case such goods, &c. be subject to praisement is made, and before any fraud can, consead valorem duty, the same shall be appraised, and subject- quently, be detected, if any exists, I am well informed ed to the penalties provided in the tbirteenth section, in that most or all of the goods contained in the entry and inthe case of suspected or fraudulent invoices," &c. I am voice, except those in ihe public store, are sold, and dissensible, sir, that this is a dry subject, and somewhat diffi. tributed in the shops throughout the city, or sent in varicult to be understood by those who have not devoted to it ous directions out of the city, and, of course, out of the their particular attention. I will endeavor to make my control of the collector. It should also be observed that self understood as well as the occasion will permit. The a large amount of goods is imported into New York on collector designates one package of goods out of every in- account of houses in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, voice at least, and at least one package out of every twenty Albany, dc, and these are frequently taken directly packages of each invoice. These selected packages are from the vessel in which they were imported, in vessels sent to the office of the appraisers, for them to examine and destined for those respective places. So far have delays appraise, according to the provisions of the sixteenth sec- taken place in presenting invoices to the appraisers to have tion of the act of 1823. The collector, also, if fraud was sample packages examived, that instances have occurred of Buspected, might send all the goods to the appraisers on their being left for eight or nine months in the public tained in the same entry.
store before the appraisers were called upon to make the The appraisers are bound by law " diligently and faith- examination. It is also to be observed that the appraisers fully to examine and inspect such goods, &c. as the collec- make no examination until the invoice is presented to tor may direct, and truly to report, to their best know them, and that the final adjustment of duties cannot be ledge and belief, the true value thereof,” &c. On their re- made until they report to the collector the result of such port the duties are computed.
examination. By the thirteenth section, the penalty is prescribed in To illustrate this subject still further, I will present still case goods are invoiced below their true value. It pro- further evidence, which I will read from the paper before vides that “if the value, at which the same shall be so ap. me. It is derived from a source on which I assure the praised, shall exceed, by twenty-five per centum, the incommittee, the fullest reliance may be placed. It is convoice value thereof, then, in addition to the ten or twenty tained in answers to questions proposed, in order to obper centum, as the case may be, laid upon correct and retain full and precise information. If, on examining the gular invoices, according to law, there shall be added fifty sample packages, the goods be found invoiced below their per centum on the appraised value," &c. By the tariff of value, can the collector order the other eighteen pack1828, the
erence tween the invoice price and ap. ages to be sent to the public store, they having beep boudpraised value, in order to incur the penalty, was ten per ed under the permit?" cent. But this seems to have been as inoperative as the This requires a word of explanation. The present coldifference of twenty-five per cent. in the act of 1823. llector, for a time, sept two packages out of twenty to the
appraisers for examinatimu. He was determined to exe-, whereas the whole package is charged with duty as liaving cute the law. He had reason to believe that frauds were cost ove dollar the square yard. The result is, that goods perpetrated, and he wished to use all reasonable means costing fifty-five or sixty cents, and legally chargeable to prevent them. He therefore sent two packages out with duty as having cost a dollar, are employed to bring of twenty, instead of one, as had been the practice before. down under the dollar minimum goods that should be But from the clamor of the importers, and under the ad- charged as buving cost two dollars and fifty cents. The vice of the Secretary of the Treasury, he had to return to evasion is so plain, that further comment is totally uppethe old practice.
cessary, [Mr. CAMBRELENG here interposed, and inquired on Q. What evidence does the sample package afford of what authority the evidence alluded to by Mr. MALLARY the quality and actual value of the other packages included rested.]
in the invoice ? Mr. MALLARY replied that the authority was of the A. Nope at all; nor does it afford any evidence of the most unquestionable respectability.
quantity beyond this—that if a map is found honest in Mr. DRAYTON made a question of order. The gentle one traňsaction, it is a fair presumption of bis integrity in man from Vermont was about to read a document to tbe others. House, of the most important character. When the au Q. Is there good ground to believe that invoices are thority is demanded on wbich it rests, the gentleman made out in fraud of law, by some agent of the owuer in pledges himself that it is good and respectable. I do not New York, without the direction or knowledge of the doubt that such is his opinion, but I have a right to doubt owner himself ? the aet; and I inquire of the Chair whether any member A. No doubt but that fraudulent invoices are made of this conimittee bas not a right to demand on what au- out in New York; they have been detected by the appearthority a paper rests, wbich is used for the purpose of ance of the writing, paper, &c. Latterly it bas become having an influence on the action of this committee more difficult to detect ihose cases from the appearance of
The CHAIRMAN decided that a member, while ad- the invoice, as the paper is sent out with the caption either 1 dressing the committee, might read in his place any pa- engraved or written in Europe.
per containing respectful language, and could not be re The committee (said Mr. M.] can at once see the operaquired to give up the authority ou which it was founded. tion of the existing laws, which I have presented, both on It was for the committee to judge of the value of what is revenue and manufactures. One package in twenty sent disclosed.
to the office of the appraisers, the officers of the GovernWell, [said Mr. M.] if the coast is clear, I will proceed. ment have no control over the remainder, but they are I stated that the authority on which the evidence is found- scattered to the four winds. They are beyond the reach ed, gentlemen might be assured, was of the highest cha- of Government. The duty is therefore paid on the nineracter. The subject was one to which I have paid the teen packages, according to the invoice price, let the enstrictest attention, and, for the present, my representa-try be ever so fraudulent. If the appraisers should find tions, it is presumed, may be sufficient. Now, sir, the that the sample package was invoiced at fifty per cent. answer to the question to which I referred some time ago, below actual cost, that single package alone can be made will be given:
subject to the pepalty. It is clear that this might be wholly Answer. They cannot; for the goods are uot ooder bis sacrificed, and the importer would still gain a profit. But, control, and no provisiou has been made by law for him, as I shall explain hereafter, that single package is in po in such case, to enter the warehouse of the merchant, and danger, according to the practice of the appraisers. It take away the goods to be appraised.
bas seldom or never bappened that they bave made an apQ. May not the eighteen packages, as soon as they are praisement by which any penalty has been incurred. Such, landed, be sent by the consiguee to auction, und sold i sir, are the facilities which exist under our laws, for the
A. They not only may be, but frequently are, put on commission of fraud and evasion. The door is as wide board of packets or steamboats direct from the ship, avd open as the varmest advocates of free trade could desire. forwarded to the purchaser, owner, or ultimate consignee. It would be marvellous if they did not occasionally pasg
Q. What remedy has the Government other than by through it. addiog the penalty of fifty per cent, and that, too, though I shall now proceed to show that the facilities have been the goods are invoiced at one fourth of their value ? pointed out, have been well improved, and describe the
A. The Government has no remedy-not even that means which bave been employed. It cannot be expected which you seem to suppose it to have; for the fifty per that a full development of all the evasions can be made. cent. cannot be added until the goods are examined, ap- Those coucerned are not among the most ready to make praised, and declared to bave been iuvoiced below their disclosures. But I am in possession of some facts which true value.
most clearly show that fraud and evasion do exist, and how This answer has reference to the acts of Congress to they are managed. The ship Silas Richards entered New which I referred in the former part of my remarks. York last spring. It was believed that many of the goods
Q Does not each package of woollens usually contain imported in that vessel, as in all others, would be found goods of different qualities and value, often varying in the invoiced with a view to evade the legal duties. A rigid invoice price from fifty cents to two dollars and fifty cents examination was desired and allowed, and suspicions were or more, in the square yard ?
fully realized. I bave before me a letter addressed to the A. They do. of late, whole packages are frequently collector of New York, signed by several of the most rei invoiced, all at one price per yard.
spectable merchants of that city, which will explain the reOn this, (said Mr. M.] be would give a brief explanation sult of that examination. The names will be given to any as to the effects. By includiog in the same invoice dif- member of the committee who may desire to see them. I ferent qualities of cloths, and then making an average of will read what may be material. the price, the whole package is brought, for instance,
New YORK, 9th July, 1829. under the dollar minimum, and charged with duty as hav. ing cost a dollar the square yard. The effect is obvious. DEAR SIR: We were invited a few days since to examine By placing in a package a few pieces--five or six, costing at the public store, a quantity of broadcloths, just impot inore than fifty-five or sixty cents the square yard, ported in the ship Silas Richards, and which, we were inthe same package may be completed with goods which formed, were invoiced at less than one dollar per square cost above one dollar the square yard and legally charge- yard. After a careful examination of several bales of said able with duly as having cost two dollars and fifty cents goods, we are decidedly of the opinion, that, although a few
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[APRIL 15, 1830.
pieces in each bale might possibly, under the present ex- to ascertain the actual cost paid by the agent of the importtreme depression of trade, have been bought in Eng- er. The information returned was of the most positive land at a dollar per square yard, yet that the principal and unquestionable character. It stated, among several part of them could not have cost less than one dollar particulars of minor consideration, the time when the goods twenty-five, to one dollar and fifty cents per square yard. were bought, by whom, and of whom they were bought, We have been informed that these goods have been ad- and the exact nett price paid for them. The result was mitted to an entry with an addition of but nine per cent. to (as anticipated by judges) that they actually cost the imthe invoice, and that this addition will bring but a few porter twenty-five to thirty, per cent. more than he bad pieces of them over the minimum of a dollar per square paid duty op at the custom-bouse." yard. We are also informed, that, of the two appraisers “A merchant of this city bappened to go into the store called in to say what addition, if any, should be made to of an importer, who does the bulk of his business by aue. the invoice, one was an agent of the British manufacturers, tion, and, seeing a package of desirable goods, inquired who is constantly receiving and selling large quantities of the price of it. The invoice was exhibited, through a cloth at auction, the other an auctioneer, both of whom mistake of the importer. It bappened to be that by which have a strong interest in passing goods at the custom house the goods had been entered at the custom-bouse, and by at less than their value. Now, sir, as we are constantly which they bad paid the duty. It was at least thirty-five in the business, and have been for years past, of purchas- per cent. less than many other importers paid for the same ing in England for cash, on our own account, or of receiv- description of goods at the same time. As a proof of this, ing goods to sell on account of our friends, and feeling and to try whether the cost exhibited was fictitious, the confident, as we do, that the goods referred to were in- dealer offered to the importer twenty-five per cent profit voiced at from twenty to fifty per cent. below their value, on the cost exhibited. This was refused, with his assarwe cannot refrain from most respectfully inquiring if it be ance that at that rate he should lose money, which he could true that but nine per cent. has been added to the in- not afford to du. Had the custom-bouse invoice been the voice, thereby screening the owner from the penalty which real cost, would he have refused this enormous profit? This would bave been incurred had ten per cent. been added, act speaks for itself, and does not need further elucidaand still leave the consignee to pay a duty of but forty tion. cents per square yard on the principal part of these goods. " It is a common custom, and one well understood by If it be so, our friends and we must abandon the business merchants
, that many foreign importers, resident in this of importing cloths, for we are paying a duty of one dol- country, and who do nearly all their business by auction, lar per square yard on the same quality of cloth, as a large are in the constant habit of receiving two invoices of each proportion of the goods in question are, while the foreign- parcel of goods. One of these is made out at a very low er is sending them in and paying but forty cents per square rate, and is used to enter the goods. The other contains yard. We deem it a duty we owe to our Government, as the actual cost. A foreign importer, by accident, sold a well as ourselves, most respectfully to protest agaiust such package of goods at a certain advance on the cost, and a course of business; a course which has driven many, aud this cost unfortunately happened to be that by which they will drive every honest mau, out of the importiug business, had been eutered and the duties paid. Shortly after anakand by which Government is deirauded of the revenue. ing the sale, he discovered that be bad sold the goods at SAMUEL SWARTWOUT, Esq.,
an advance on the fictitious cost, or, iu other words, on Collector, &c., New York."
the custom-house invoice. He therefore goes to the buy. I shall now proceed to give the committee a few in- er, and informs bim that he had made this mistake, and stances, out of hundreds I possess, of evasions of our insists that he should make up the difference between the laws, and the manner by which they are accomplished. actual and false cost. The buyer, who had got a good My authority is derived from most respectable merchants bargain, and was much surprised at the novelty of this re of New York. I shall not use their vames on this occasion, quest, refused to allow any thing, and informed bin that, in public debate. I see no necessity, at present, to make it be persisted in this claim, he would go to the collector the designation; yet they will not be withheld, on the ap- of the custoins and expose him. The importer was plication of any gentleman of the committee who desires prudent enough to pocket the affront, and went about his to see them. I shall read the printed statements which business." have been placed in my hands. The authenticity, I am The foreign importers of woollen goods drive an enorconfident, cnobut be depied. My authority, as I have be- mous trade by means of auctions. Indeed, they scarcely fore stated, is ready to be disclosed.
sell any thing at private sale. When they do so, their in"A denler of this city purchased at auction a case of voices are never shown. In a confidential conversation goods, which were sold entitled to debenture. Having (as regards dames) with a man of integrity, dependent on made previous purchases of the same kind of goods at pria clerk's salary for support, I obtained some insight into vate sale, and being thus acquainted with the original cost the mapper in which these woollen dealers manage their at the place of manufacture, he could judge, with consi: frauds. The common custom amongst this class of imderable accuracy, what amount of debenture they would porters is, to enter goods on an invoice made out expressly yield to him on their shipment to a foreign port. After for this purpose, and which is always much less than the inaking the necessary entries at the custom-bouse, for the actual cost." He assured me that he never made out a cuspurpose of shipment
, he was much surprised to find the tom-house evtry, but from an invoice of this description, amount of debenture so small; and on a further examina- during the time that he had been so employed. These intion, found that this was owing to the very low price at voices he believes to be thirty-three and a third per cent. which the goods bad been entered at the custom-house, at least under the real cost at the place of manufacture. It appeared strange to him that one foreign importer should “As a proof of this, and most conclusively proving that be able to buy the same article in the same market
thirty goods are entered at the custom-house on spurious into thirty-five per cent cheaper than another, both having voices, the following fact is given : received the same kind of goods by the same vessel. To " A piece of broadeloth, costing four to five sbillings test the matter, however, as to the actual cost of the goods per yard, as entered at the custom-bouse, and paying a in question, a pattern was cut from several of the pieces, duty of thirty per cent. under the old tariff
, would frespecifying the number and length, the vessel by which quently be bought in at auction, on account of the imthey had been received, &c. &c. These patterns were porter and owner, at two dollars and a quarter to two dolsent to Europe, to the place where the goods were made lars and a half per yard! Would not any person in his and purchased, and very particular directions were given sepses gladly sell at this price, if the piece of cloth did