Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.

No. 75.]

Sir: An importat step in the direction of commercial reform has been taken by this government in the appointment of a commission for the formation of a new tariff.

I inclose herewith a translation of the order from the treasury department, making the appointment, which at the. same time indicates the general basis of the reforms proposed.

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The simplification and unification of the tariff will, as I understand, be more especially sought than any general reduction of duties.

The commission has already commenced its labors, and it is probable a report will be prepared in time for the new tariff bill to be submitted by the executive at the next session of the congress, which commences on the 1st of April and terminates on the last day of May, and which, by the constitution, is to be dedicated in preference to the consideration of financial subjects.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.




The general ordinance of the maritime and frontier custom-houses of the republic of the 21st of January, 1856, which is that actually in force, has been so varied by different modifications which it has received from time to time, that there are very few of its provisions that are now considered as in force.

Besides, many of its provisions conflict with the letter and the spirit of the constitution, and for that reason should not longer be permitted to exist.

The modifications that have been made are already so numerous that the system of duties of importation upon foreign merchandise has become very complicated and difficult, which, besides occasioning inconvenience to commerce, produces difficulties and complications for the supreme government and its offices.

The citizen President desiring, therefore, that there shall be formed with all the study and care possible a new tariff, which shall be in accord with the spirit of the constitution and with the necessities of the country, and in which at the same time that the interests of the public treasury shall be protected, the labors of the merchants shall be simplified, has been pleased to direct that there shall be named a commission composed of yourself and Messrs. Jesus Castaneda, S. Castain A. Barcena, Julio Ulink, and Miguel Gutierrez, charged with forming, upon the basis herein indicated, a project of tariff which shall embrace so far as possible all of the conditions desired.


Mr. Ramon G. Guzman.