Mr. Crawford to Mr. Seward.

No. 17.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your circular, No. 30, making certain inquiries as to the mode of “passing goods across the national frontiers,” &c., &c.

All goods, with but few exceptions, pass through the kingdom of Belgium free of duty; but in order to protect the government against frauds, the following precautions are taken by the custom-house officers, during the passage of goods from one frontier to another, viz: All goods on entering, and during their transit through Belgium, are placed under seal, and a custom-house permit is forwarded with the goods, which must be presented at the frontier from which the goods are exported. If the permit is not returned within six months to the place of its issue, then the duties must be paid by the party who entered the same for transit. There is another mode of transit, called “direct transit,” under the immediate control of the custom-house authorities during their passage through Belgium. They are placed in a car, locked up by a custom-house officer, who retains the keys until they arrive at the national frontier. If this [Page 1366] mode is selected, then the custom-house authorities assume all responsibility, and the person sending the goods can under no circumstances be held responsible.

I have the honor to remain your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.