Mr. Gresham to Sir Julian Pauncefote.

No. 34.]

Excellency: Referring to your note of the 30th ultimo, relative to the question as to whether boom sticks and chains imported into the United States from Canada are subject to duty, and to the Department’s reply thereto of the 16th instant, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury from the [Page 699] Hon. T. A. E. Weadock, a Member of Congress from the State of Michigan, in regard to the assessment of duty by the Canadian Government on boom sticks and chains imported into Canada for use in towing logs and timber to the United States.

I have the honor to request that this matter may be brought to the attention of the Government of Canada, with a view to the establishment of a reciprocal arrangement in regard to the subject in question between the two countries.

I have, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.
[Inclosure in No. 34.]

Mr. Hamlin to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: Respectfully referring to your letter of the 6th instant, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a letter from Hon. T. A. E. Weadock, M. C., dated Bay City, Mich., the 8th instant, with inclosures in regard to the assessment of duty by the Canadian Government on boom sticks and chains imported into Canada for use in towing logs and timber to the United States.

Boom sticks and chains imported into the United States under similar circumstances are admitted to entry free of duty as stated in the Department letter to you of the 11th instant, and it is suggested that the inclosures hereof be brought to the attention of the British ambassador.

Respectfully, yours,

C. S. Hamlin,
Acting Secretary.
[Subinclosure A.]

Mr. Weadock to Mr. Hamlin.

Dear Sir: Referring to our conversation of several days ago on the subject of an export duty on Canadian logs, I beg leave to submit the inclosed correspondence.

I am personally acquainted with all these gentlemen, and their statements may be relied upon. I submit that any duty or toll, in whatever name levied by the Government, upon logs, or the appliances for handling them, which are exported from Canada to the United States, is, as a matter of fact, an export duty. These booms, consisting of round and unmanufactured timber, fastened by chains, which are taken off and not entered for consumption in Canada, it seems to me, are in no proper sense dutiable under the Canadian tariff act of 1894. The imposition of the duty on booms is simply an indirect way of collecting an export duty on logs, and I respectfully submit that the duty upon booms levied as above set forth is an export duty within the meaning of the Wilson tariff law.

Yours, truly,

Thomas A. E. Weadock, M. C.
[Subinclosure B.]

B. Boutell to S. C. Wilson, deputy collector of customs.

Dear Sir: We are engaged in the business of towing and rafting logs from the Georgian Bay country to the United States, and, being so engaged, use for that purpose large steam tugs, tow lines, and boom sticks, with which said boom sticks the [Page 700] logs towed from Canada are surrounded. In October of last year we were notified by the Canadian Government that duty must be paid before the booms would be allowed to be used in Canada, and that all booms used would be taken possession of by the Canadian Government, and unless the duty was paid the same would be sold; and we attach hereto a letter received from Thomas Flesher, esq., under date of October 15, 1894, informing us what his orders were as a customs official from the Canadian Government. We desire also to say that on or about the 6th day of October we received from the same Mr. Flesher, subcollector of customs, a letter in the words following, viz:

“To B. Boutell, Esq., Bay City, Mich.:

“Please, sir, I am requested by department of customs, Canada, to collect duty at 20 per cent if chain is five-sixteenths or over, and 27½ per cent ad valorem if under five-sixteenths, on all booms and chains of American manufacture now here (or in Canadian waters) liable to above rate of duty. I find you have 950 sticks, or more than five sets, here at this port now; and resection 15 of customs act and tariff item 319, you please according to law pay the duty on same, and arrange for duty to be paid on any or all booms and chains which may arrive hereafter belonging to you. (See section 14 of the tariff act.)

“Yours, respectfully,

Thos. Flesher, Subcollector.

That thereafter, and on or about the 6th day of November, 1894, the Canadian customs officials did levy upon 950 boom sticks, being more than five sets, and containing about 1,500,000 feet, and took steps to advertise the same for sale, when the matter was brought to the attention of the Canadian Government at Ottawa, and, upon request, the sale of said booms was postponed until we might have a hearing before the privy council of Canada.

Now, it is our judgment that, inasmuch as it is absolutely necessary to use booms for the purpose of towing logs from Canada to the United States, that to impose this duty is, in effect, an imposition of an export duty on logs, and we respectfully request a ruling upon this subject. The letter which is submitted herewith you will oblige us by returning when convenient, after the question involved has been properly determined. We understand that the Michigan Log Towing Company, a corporation engaged in the same business in which we are engaged, has been treated in a similar manner; and we earnestly solicit an early determination of the question on account of its great importance.

Respectfully, yours,

B. Boutell.
[Subinclosure C.]

Subcollector of Customs to Saginaw Salt and Lumber Company.

[Notice, etc., dutiable goods.]

Dear Sirs: I am instructed to collect duty on all American booms and chains in my port, and on any arriving hereafter, at 20 per cent ad valorem, if chains are five-sixteenths and over, and 27½ per cent if under five-sixteenths. I find Reliance, on 22d September, 1894, brought 300 M. L. T. your booms, on which you will please instruct your agent to enter and pay duty forthwith, and oblige,

Yours, respectfully,

Thos. Flesher,
Subcollector of Customs.
[Subinclosure D.]

Mr. Wilson to Mr. Boutell.

B. Boutell, Bay City, Mich.

Sir: Inclosed find ruling on the boom-stick question, from the main office of this district, with which opinion I fully concur; and it seems to me that no other construction can possibly be put upon it. It appears to me that it requires a considerable stretch of imagination to make manufactured timber out of a saw log by merely boring a hole through the end of it. It is certainly a saw log still, and can be converted into lumber.


Soloman C. Wilson,
Deputy Collector.
[Page 701]
[Subinclosure E.]

W. Springer to S. C. Wilson, deputy collector, Bay City, Mich.

Sir: Referring to your letter inclosing letter and other papers from B. Boutell (returned herewith), I have to say that boom sticks are classified by this office as “logs and round unmanufactured timber not specially enumerated or provided for in this act, paragraph 672,” and consequently are admitted the same as other logs, free of duty when imported into the United States. There is nothing in the tariff law which would authorize us to assess duty on such importations.


W. Springer,
Special Deputy Collector.