No. 45.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard.

No. 58.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to you that I have received a letter from an American merchant of Foochow, John P. Cowles, jr., in which he calls the attention of the legation to the fact that, desiring to export damaged brick tea, the customs had insisted on his paying the full export [Page 74] duty, after which he might move the authorities to get a refund proportionate to the deterioration.

Mr. Cowles contended that Article XLIV of the British treaty of Tientsin, which provides that “upon all damaged goods a fair reduction of duty shall be allowed proportionate to their deterioration,” applied alike to imports and exports. The Chinese customs, however, hold that imports alone are covered by the words “all damaged goods.”

On the 13th instant I addressed a communication to the Tsung-li Yamên on the subject, in which I quoted Article XLIV of the; British treaty of Tientsin, claimed its application to imports and exports, and requested that the commissioners of customs at the treaty ports be instructed to levy duties on damaged goods, imports and exports alike, on the value of the goods.

To this the Yamên replied, under date of the 18th instant, stating that Article XLIV of the British treaty of Tientsin can apply only to imports, as the long journey by sea to which foreign goods are subjected prior to their arrival in China exposes them to frequent deterioration, whereas exports being only conveyed a short distance before exportation do not suffer damage. On these grounds the Yamên refused to comply with the request made in my dispatph of the 13th.

Mr. Cowles desired that a general order be given which would relieve him from having to pay full duty on damaged exports if he should desire to export such a class of goods. Whenever, therefore, the request is made to this legation to obtain a refund of duties paid on damaged exports, I will again submit the whole question to the Tsung-li Yamên.

I have, &c.,