No. 904.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. de Weckherlin.

Sir: Referring to your note of the 9th ultimo, in relation to the tonnage dues collected at New York in April last from the Dutch steamer Prins Maurits, I now have the honor to transmit to you for your information a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the subject.

Accept, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: Referring to the letter of the Acting Secretary dated the 15th instant, in regard to the steamer Prins Maurits, I have the honor to inclose herewith a communication from the Commissioner of Navigation of this date, furnishing the information requested by your Department upon the subject of the above-named vessel.

Respectfully yours,

C. S. Fairchild.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Morton to Mr. Fairchild.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of the Acting Secretary of State relative to tonnage dues stated to have been collected on the 25th of April last from the master of the Dutch steamer Prins Maurits, which vessel appears, from a statement by the Netherlands minister, to have arrived at New York from Amsterdam after having called successively at Paramaribo, Demerara, Trinidad, Carúpano, Cumaná La Guayra, Puerto Cabello, and Port au Prince.

In reply to the request that the Department of State be furnished information upon the subject of the above-named vessel, and of the law governing the case, I have to report that no communication in regard to the particular vessel named has been received from the customs officers. This office assumes, however, that she was entered at New York as being from some place not mentioned in any proclamation relating to the exemption of vessels from tonnage dues, and that the action of the collector of customs was in accordance with the practice obtaining in such cases under the provisions of section 11 of the act of June 19, 1886, amendatory of section 14 of the act of June 26, 1884.

These acts require the collector of customs to impose dues “at each entry” on all [Page 1344] vessels which shall he entered from a foreign port not specified in any proclamation suspending the dues. In the present case, if the vessel was entered, say from Paramaribo, dues accrued under the existing practice at the rate of 6 cents per ton, there being no suspension of the collection of such dues by the authority of the President on vessels entered from that port. Had she proceeded from Amsterdam and called at Port au Prince for ordinary commercial purposes, entry would have been made accordingly and dues levied at the minimum rate. On entry from Amsterdam with cargo or passengers from that port, she would have been exempt from dues under the President’s proclamation, unless also entered from some other foreign port, not Dutch or German. The acts cited have never been construed as intending to put vessels trading, for instance, between Amsterdam, Brazil, and the United States, on any better footing than vessels trading between Brazil and the United States.

If the persons concerned consider themselves aggrieved, in such cases, action can be taken by them as mentioned in section 2931, Revised Statutes, whereupon the collector’s decision will be fully considered and reversed if found erroneous.

It may be observed that each case must be decided upon its merits, and that in the present instance the nationality of the vessel has no bearing upon the action taken, which action would have been the same had the vessel belonged to the United States.

Respectfully, yours,

C. B. Morton.