[Circular No. 12.]

No. 1.
To the consular officers of the United States.

Gentlemen: The Secretary of the Treasury, under date of the 1st instant, has requested the Department to acquaint you that, since the promulgation of the instructions, of the 4th of October, 1878, which required that when charges are not expressly specified in an invoice of imported goods, and such goods are not therein described as being free of charges, it is the duty of the customs officer to add such charges for the purpose of ascertaining the dutiable value of the merchandise, it has been represented to that Department that their immediate strict enforcement would impose a hardship upon the merchants concerned. Further instructions have therefore been given to the collectors in the principal ports of the United States that such enforcement will not be insisted upon until the 1st of April next.

In the mean time, however, it is considered desirable that the purport of the instructions of October 4, 1878, should be brought to the notice of manufacturers, owners, and shippers of goods to be imported into the United States, and I therefore append hereto a copy of the decision referred to for that purpose. You are requested, therefore to take such measures in the premises as may seem to you to be required to accomplish the desired object.

I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

F. W. Seward,
Acting Secretary.