Mr. Seward to Mr. Stoeckl

Sir: Referring to your note of the 20th of May (1st instant) relative to a decision of the council of the empire concerning vessels driven into the ports of Russia under stress, and to your inquiry whether a similar law exists in the United States, I have the honor to transmit herewith, for your information, a copy of a letter upon the subject, of the 6th instant, from Mr. Harrington, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, together with a copy of the act referred to, from which it will be seen that a similar exemption from navigation dues is extended, by existing laws, to all foreign vessels in ports of the United States. Accept, sir, the renewed assurance of my very high consideration.


Mr. Edward de Stoeckl, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Harrington to Mr. Seward

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, in which you submit for my consideration the proposition of the imperial government of Russia, as contained in a note from Mr. de Stoeckl, of 4th instant, concerning Russian vessels driven by stress into the ports of the United States.

The 60th section of the act of March 2, 1799, makes ample provision for all cases of vessels driven by stress into the ports of the United States, to which you are respectfully referred.

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It has been decided by this department that every such foreign vessel is not liable to tonnage dues, nor is the cargo liable to discriminating duties, but she is regarded as on her way to her port of destination.

With great respect,

GEO. HARRINGTON, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.