Mr. Stenersen to Mr. Fish.
Washington, June 22, 1874. (Received June 23.)
Mr. Secretary of State: The steam-corvette Balder, Captain Virgin, of the Royal Swedish navy, entered the port of New York, early in April last, and, on that occasion, Captain Virgin refused to accept the services of the first pilot who presented himself, although he subsequently accepted the services of another.
For this reason, the commissioners of pilots at New York demandeddouble pilotage of the said captain, basing their action upon the provisions of the law relating to merchant-vessels. Captain Virgin having been informed that American vessels of war are exempted from such payments in cases of this nature, and believing that a Swedish vessel of war might claim, in American waters, the same usage as American vessels of like character, only paid the second pilot, refusing to pay the first until it should be proved that he was legally obliged todo so.
The question having been laid before the government of the King, I have been instructed to address you, Mr. Secretary of State, for the purpose of inquiring—
- Whether American vessels of war are required, by the laws of this country, to paydouble pilotage in case of their having declined to accept the services of the first pilot who has presented himself, and of their having subsequently accepted those of another $ and
- Whether, in case this question is answered negatively, foreign vessels of wardo not enjoy, in America, in cases of this nature, the same usage as American vessels of war, according to the custom which prevails in the United Kingdoms and in other European countries.
I therefore have the honor to beg you, Mr. Secretary of State, to be pleased to send me an official reply to these two questions, and, meanwhile, I avail myself of this occasion to offer you, Mr. Secretary of State, the reiterated assurances of my highest consideration.