Mr. Uhl to Mr. Muruaga.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury replying to the inquiries contained in your note of the 26th ultimo, regarding the interpretation given by the [Page 624] Treasury to section 165 of the recent tariff law in regard to lead and to duties to be levied on silver contained in lead ore, and the question whether the sworn declaration of shippers to the effect that lead shipped by them is not argentiferous will be accepted by the Treasury.

Accept, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl.

Mr. Carlisle to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th instant, transmitting a translation of a note from the Spanish minister at this Capital, asking for an interpretation “of paragraph 165 of the new tariff law in regard to lead.”

The minister states that “the paragraph establishes that argentiferous ore and all other ores that may contain lead shall pay three-fourths of a cent per pound on the lead contained in them, but it does not specify the duties to be levied on the silver contained in lead ores.”

The minister further states that he “would also desire the honorable Secretary of the Treasury to state whether the sworn declaration made by the consignee that the lead unshipped by him in the United States is not argentiferous will be sufficient, or whether, in spite of said declaration, the lead will have to undergo critical analysis at the customhouse on landing.”

In compliance with your request for such information as will enable your Department to reply to the minister’s note, I have to state that silver, as such, when contained in imported ores, is not subject to duty; that the rates of duty specified in paragraphs 165 and 166 of the act of August 28, 1894, are applicable only to merchandise not coming within the scope of the proviso to the latter paragraph, in virtue whereof the articles enumerated in either of the two paragraphs, when imported from a country imposing an export duty upon “lead ore or lead dross, or silver ore containing lead,” exported to the United States, remain subject to the rates of duty fixed by the act of October 1, 1890.

I have further to state that all lead ores, and silver ores containing lead, are sampled and assayed on importation independently of any statements of the consignor as to their contents, but that lead imported in pigs or bars, or as dross, is neither assayed nor analyzed.

Respectfully, yours,

J. G. Carlisle.