Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the Diario Official of the 4th instant, containing a decree issued by this government, establishing what is termed a municipal fund for this city.[Page 391]
By the terms of this decree, it appears that the old system of interior custom-houses is to be perpetuated, as a distinct tariff upon national and foreign effects is established for this city, the duties under which are to be collected by the federal custom-house of this capital for the benefit of the municipality.
Besides the objectionable feature, also, of the further additional duty which this decree creates, the duties levied are very high, for after having paid the duty of importation and all the various additional duties that foreign effects are subjected to, for account of the federal government, before reaching this city, they have now to pay, simply as a municipal charge, fifty cents a case on wine, beer, and spirits; two dollars and twenty-five cents per barrel on vinegar; four dollars and a half per barrel on wine, ale, and cider; forty cents per two hundred pounds on foreign groceries, and seventy-five cents per two hundred pounds on all other foreign effects except machinery, which is to pay twenty cents on every two hundred pounds.
With these multiplied and successive charges, and the requirement of such repeated custom house formalities, it would appear as if commerce was regarded as an enemy to be watched, and mistrusted, and restricted, rather than as a welcome friend whose presence scatters only mutual benefits.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.