to Mr. Evarts.
St. Petersburg, October 12, 1877. (Received October 29.)
Sir: I have the honor to forward to you herewith a communication addressed to me by two American merchants residing at St. Petersburg, complaining of differential duties exacted against citizens of the United States upon the three articles of tools, sugars, and wine, and stating that in their belief this is contrary to the stipulations of the treaty of 1832.
You will observe that this differential duty is indirect, the Russian Government taxing certain articles imported by land less than those imported by sea.
I have had some conversation with the British ambassador upon this subject, and he tells me that the question was submitted to the law officers of the Crown, and that they advised Her Majesty’s Government that this differential duty was not one of which they could complain as contrary to their treaty stipulations.
I have also spoken to Mr. de Rentern, the able minister of finance, informally upon the subject, and have received from him a communication, of which I send you a copy and a translation. You will perceive that as regards sugars there is now no cause for complaint. As regards tools and wines, he takes the ground that there is no discrimination against any one nation, as all nations can send by land if so disposed.
I am farther informed, unofficially, that, as regards tools, this discrimination is simply a matter of protection to Russian manufactures, the manufacturers of Toula fearing the competition of American, English, and French tools, but having no fear of those produced in Germany and Austria.
I have the honor, also, to send you a copy of the Russian tariff translated into English. It is possible that the Treasury may not have a copy, and that it may be of service to the Secretary. It is recommended to me as a model of clear arrangement and classification.
I have the honor, &c.,