Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.
Peking, November 2, 1893. (Received December 19.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I received, in August last, a dispatch from the consul at Hankow, presenting the case of Mr. Jenkins, an American merchant.
Mr. Jenkins had taken out at Hankow transit passes covering certain goods, to wit, kerosene, seaweed, cassia twigs, cassia lignea, cardamoms, and camphor, which he shipped into the interior. The kerosene constituted the bulk of the shipment.[Page 238]
At a place called Yoh-chow, on the “Yangtze, these goods were required to pay likin dues.
The 10th day of August last I addressed to the Tsungli Yamên a communication on this matter, of which a copy is inclosed. The Yamên replied, August 18, that the matter would be investigated.
The 24th ultimo I again addressed a communication on the subject to the Yamên, a copy whereof is inclosed.
The 29th ultimo the Yamên sent to me the communication of which a copy is inclosed.
The first day of the present month I addressed to the Yamên a communication, of which a copy is inclosed.
The Yamên admits that the collection of likin on kerosene was illegal, and these dues are ordered to be refunded. They claim, however, that some sort of discretion inheres in the likin officials by which they have the right to determine whether goods covered by a transit jiass are in reality imported goods or goods of native production and subject to pay likin dues. From my reply to the Yamên above mentioned it will be seen that I insist that the transit pass certificate issued by the collector must be held to be conclusive. As likin stations are found along all the channels of trade at close intervals, trade and commerce would be greatly impeded if transit passes could be disregarded by native officials.
I have, etc.,