Mr. Seward to Mr. Chase.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 20th instant, enclosing a report of the collector of customs of New York, in regard to the exemption from duty in the custom-houses of the United States of articles furnished to Bavarian consuls in this country by their own government for official use.

The suggestion which you make, that books, &c., sent by the government of the United States to an American consul would be exempted from duty if directed in the first instance to the resident minister of the United States in the country, is inapplicable to the case of Bavaria, as we have never been represented in that country by a diplomatic officer.

I beg leave to suggest for your consideration, whether it may not be advisable that books, stationery, and like articles, imported by foreign consuls resident in the United States, or sent to them by their respective governments, and intended solely and entirely for official use in their several consulates, be admitted free of duty; this is a privilege which, it is understood, is enjoyed in many instances, through courtesy, by United States consuls abroad.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury.