Mr. F. W. Seward to Mr. de Stoeckl

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter of yesterday addressed to this department by the Secretary of the Treasury, stating that it is contemplated soon to despatch a revenue cutter to the coast of Russian America, for various purposes, and requesting that application may be made to you for a communication to the imperial authorities in the territory, sanctioning the voyage. This department would consequently be obliged to you for the communication referred to, if you should deem yourself authorized to accede to the request,

Accept, sir, a renewed assurance of my highest consideration.

F.W. SEWARD, Acting Secretary.

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

Mr. McCulloch to Mr. Seward

Sir: I have the honor to enclose, for your information, a copy of further instructions regarding trade with Sitka, which it is proposed to forward by the next steamer to San Francisco. I shall be pleased to receive your suggestions upon it at an early day, as it is important that the instructions should be perfected before Thursday next.

Captain W. A. Howard, of the revenue cutter service, will proceed to San Francisco by the next steamer, and take charge of the steam-cutter Lincoln, which is preparing fora voyage to Sitka and the coast of the ceded territory, to gain information on various subjects, as to suitable sites for custom-houses, lights, beacons, and coaling stations, and, under guidance of officers of the Coast Survey, and directions from the Smithsonian, as to the contour of the coast, the location of fishing grounds, and the resources of the country in minerals, trees, plants, and animals.

In order to enable the expedition to accomplish the desired results, and to avoid any possible interference with the Russian authorities, it is thought best to request you to lay the matter before the Russian minister and obtain from him a communication to the Russian officers in the territory, sanctioning the exploration. This, too, I should be glad to have by Thursday, if practicable.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

H. McCULLOCH, Secretary of the Treasury.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Sir. On the 29th ultimo you were instructed to “clear for Sitka,” under certified manifests “countersigned by the Russian consul, domestic goods not taxable, and other foreign and domestic on which all duties and taxes have been paid, but no others, and no arms, ammunition, or ardent spirits,” and to send by first vessel “either Lieutenant Calvin L. Hooper, or Lieutenant George W. Moore, to remain at Sitka until relieved, and superintend discharge of cargoes.”

Previously, on the 22d and 25th of May, the Russian consul at San Francisco was instructed [Page 403] on the subject by the Russian minister here, also by telegraph. Copies of his telegrams are enclosed herein, together with another from the Department of State to Messrs. Conness and Holliday.

It will be your duty, accordingly, to permit merchandise of the nature specified to be shipped to Sitka until further orders, but to no other quarter of the Russian American possessions. You will be expected to adhere most rigidly to the rules laid down, both as to the character of the goods cleared, and as to the observance of every formality. Since the ceded territory is yet subject to the exclusive dominion of Russia, and the concessions made by the Russian minister in favor of the United States vessels, in anticipation of the final transfer of jurisdiction, are defined within precise limits, merchandise not coming within the exact range of the instructions cannot be landed there. Of the manifests, properly certified and countersigned, one will, of course, be retained at the custom-house and one will accompany the cargoes to be presented to the American agent at Sitka, These will be certified and countersigned in such manner that they cannot be altered or added to without detection. It will be the duty of the agent at Sitka to see that all cargoes are accompanied by the proper manifests duly verified, and to superintend the unloading thereof in person. He will see that no prohibited articles are landed, and after indorsing the manifests presented to him, he will preserve them to be compared, if necessary, with the retained copy at the port of shipment.

Should any vessel arrive from a foreign port, he will advise them that no portion of their cargoes can be landed until after having been entered at some port of the United States, and the duties paid, and in compliance with the regulations herein laid down.

If it is attempted to land merchandise in violation of these fules, he will advise the Russian commandant and request his interposition, but he is not authorized to interfere actively himself.

He will, of course, be expected to notify the department or its officers of anything that may come to his knowledge likely to operate injuriously to the revenue.

Copies of this letter and its enclosures are transmitted to be forwarded to the officer whom you have sent to Sitka, under my telegram of the 29th ultimo.

Very vespectfully,

_______ _______, Secretary of the Treasury.

The Collector of Customs, San Francisco, California.