Mr. Stoeckl to Mr. Seward

Mr. Secretary: I hasten to inclose to you, for the information of the federal government, the copy of a regulation, sanctioned by his Majesty the Emperor, which completes one of the articles of the Russian Code of Commerce.

Please accept, Mr. Secretary of State, the assurance of my very high consideration.


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.


By a decree of the 5th of March of this year, published in the Law Bulletin, the senate directing, promulgates a decision of the council of the empire, sanctioned by his Majesty the Emperor, on the 5th of February last, which completes article 855 of the code of commerce, and supersedes article 20 of the regulation on Russian flags, sanctioned by his Majesty the Emperor, the 23d of June, 1865, and the observation appended to it, as well as article 1233 of the Penal Code, by the following dispositions:

1. By exception to the general rule laid down in article 855 of the Code of Commerce, (vol. XI of the Code of Lois,) it is allowed, till further orders, to keep on board Russian vessels not only foreign captains and. mates, but foreign sailors, without limit in number.

2. In order to increase the means of forming sailors in Russia, the owners of ships whose crews are composed of more than three-fourths foreigners shall be compelled to pay into the treasury annually, for the benefit of seamen, an annual duty of 25 rubles for each man over that proportion. This duty shall be paid at the custom-house, and where there is none, to the port warden, when the crew-list is handed to him.