to Mr. Evarts.
New York , September 24, 1878. (Received September 26.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note which was addressed to me by Mr. Seward on the 17th of July last, and which did not reach me until the 21st instant, as your excellency has already been informed.
The subject of that note is a difference between the vice-consul of Brazil, at Richmond, and the collector of customs of that port, in reference to the manifest of the cargo which had been received by the bark “Annie’ Mark,” at New York for a Brazilian port, which appears from the correspondence of which a copy is inclosed with said note.
After having carefully persued that correspondence, and having made inquiry of the consul-general of the empire in the United States, I think that the regulations which govern the consulates of Brazil in similar cases can be easily harmonized with those of the custom-houses of the United States, and Mr. Hawley’s letter to your excellency points out means to avoid difficulties.
According to the regulations of the empire, all vessels that have received cargo in more than one port are to be provided with a number of manifests equal to that of the ports, and they may be cleared in each port, or only in the last; when in the last, the custom-house furnishes to the consular agent of Brazil the separate manifests of the cargo shipped in each port.
In the case of the “Annie Mark,” as in other similar ones, the consular agent of Brazil has no doubt that the manifest of the previous port is in the possession of the custom-house, because when a vessel is dispatched at a Brazilian consulate, that consulate requires a copy of the document, which is sent, duly authenticated and sworn to, to the proper Brazilian custom-house. If the Richmond custom-house would not detach the manifest of the “Annie Mark” from the other documents to which it was sealed, this is due to the fact that, it being the duty of the consul-general at New York to attach his certificate to the custom-house clearance, and that clearance being already attached to the manifests, the three documents were fastened together. That clearance is the document which it is indispensable should be in the hands of the captain. If, therefore, the manifest was not attached at the custom-house to the clearance, and was sent so that it could be detached at the next custom-house, or if there is a duplicate of it, the doubt will be settled, as Mr. Hawley remarks in his aforesaid communication to your excellency.
The communication of Mr. Charles S. Mills to the Secretary of the [Page 140] Treasury, which accompanied your excellency’s note, states that it is only since the appointment of the present vice-consul at Richmond that differences of this kind have occurred. I am informed, however, that there was previously some irregularity in the clearances of vessels from more than one port, the result of which was that several Brazilian captains were fined, and it was to prevent the occurrence of such cases that the consul-general of the Empire recently caused to be published in the newspapers a circular urging vice-consuls to comply exactly with the requirements of the imperial regulations, public notice being thus given to all the parties interested.
The papery of the bark “Annie Mark” are herewith returned.
I reiterate to your excellency the assurances of my highest esteem and consideration.