No. 433.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Boker.

No. 107.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 224, of the 12th instant, has been received. It is accompanied by a copy of the Russian tariff, which, it appears, discriminates in favor of the introduction of certain merchandise by land over similar articles imported by sea.

It seems that certain United States merchants at St. Petersburg complained to you of this discrimination as being against the 6th article of the treaty of 1832 between the United States and Russia.

You laid a brief of their complaint before the Russian minister of finance, who answered it in a note to you of the date of the dispatch.

It is agreeable to notice from the tenor of M. de Rentern’s note that the cause of complaint in regard to sugar has been removed. It appears, however, to be retained in respect of the other articles.

This decision may be regarded as a direct violation of that part of the article of the treaty which stipulates that no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the Empire of Russia, of any article the produce or manufacture of the United States than are or shall be payable on the like article being the produce or manufacture of any other foreign country.

It seems clear that this stipulation was not meant to reserve to Russia the privilege of charging a less duty upon importations by land than upon those by sea. The smaller duty required by the tariff upon articles carried by land plainly has the effect of a bounty upon importations from countries conterminous with Russia.

The discrimination adverted to may not be practically important, except, perhaps, against articles of American hardware, which, it is agreeable to learn, are coming into demand abroad. It involves a principle, however, and a construction of the treaty upon which we must insist. You will so apprise the proper authorities.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.