Mr. Gresham to Mr. Smythe.

No. 8.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of letter, dated the 10th instant, from Messrs. Smith, Gregory & Winters, of New York, in which they inquire whether a vessel, which is exempted by concession from tonnage dues at one port of San Domingo, is subject to them at a second port, to which it goes to load a return cargo.

You are instructed to make inquiry on this subject, and report the facts ascertained to the Department. I am, sir, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.
[Inclosure in No. 8.]

Messrs. Smith, Gregory & Winters to Mr. Gresham.

Dear Sir: We have the American schooner Lavinia M. Snow chartered to merchants of New York to load a cargo from Brunswick to Samana Bay, San Domingo, at $5.25 per 1,000 feet of lumber (charterers paying the vessel’s foreign port charges). Please note this clause particularly.

This same vessel we have chartered to another merchant here to bring back from Macoris, San Domingo, a cargo of bag sugar to the United States.

We have lately been informed by other parties that the shippers of the outward cargo have received a concession from the San Domingo Government exempting from tonnage dues (which are extreme, being about $1.65 per registered ton) any vessel bringing the shippers’ cargo [Page 213]to San Domingo; but we are also informed if the vessel moves to any other San Domingo port to load a home cargo the Government will impose all of the duties at the second port from which the vessel was exempted at the first port.

We wish to ask you if this information is correct. It seems to us it must be erroneous, as it would be most unjust to impose inward charges at a second port which was released at the first port.

For your information, we beg to say that the vessels employed in this business are all small, moderate-sized vessels.

The ports are small ports, where they seldom, if ever, ship sufficient cargo to fill a vessel, and all charters are made giving the shippers the privilege of ordering the vessel to two or more ports to complete a cargo; the port charges, i. e., tonnage dues, etc., are paid by charterers at the first port. After that the vessel can move to any other port in San Domingo and not have to pay them a second time. This is where no concession has been made.

Kindly enlighten us to the best you can on this subject, and greatly oblige,

Yours, truly,

Smith, Gregory & Winters.