Mr. Blaine to Mr. Lincoln.

No. 248.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 208, of the 5th instant, concerning the interview between yourself and the president of the British board of agriculture relative to the importation of cattle and sheep from the United States into Great Britain, I transmit you herewith a copy of a letter to this Department from the Secretary of Agriculture communicating the information asked for in your dispatch concerning certain topics.

You are at liberty to communicate the contents of the letter of the Secretary of Agriculture to Her Britannic Majesty’s Government in such form as you may deem best, and to ask at the same time for permission for the Department of Agriculture to station a chief veterinary inspector at London and subordinate inspectors at Liverpool and Glasgow to inspect the live stock arriving at those ports from this country. You will state to the foreign office that the object of this request is to enable this Government to promptly trace the origin of any disease which may be found among live stock imported into Great Britain from the United States.

I am, etc.,

James G. Blaine.
[Inclosure to No. 248.]

Mr. Rusk to Mr. Blaine.

Sir: Referring to your letter of the 19th instant, transmitting the dispatch of Mr. Lincoln concerning the restrictions imposed upon the importation of American live stock into Great Britain, I have the honor to state that at present there are no laws by which the requirements of the British Government can be complied with as regards the importation of sheep into the United States. There is a bill now before Congress which, if passed, will give the Secretary of Agriculture authority to make the necessary regulations.

As to the number of inspectors that will be required to represent this Department, it appears that a chief inspector at London, with one subordinate at Liverpool and another at Glasgow, will be sufficient, and I would therefore request that three inspectors be indicated as the number probably necessary to properly inspect the live stock arriving there from this country.

Concerning the continued discovery of disease among our cattle which is considered by the English veterinarians to be contagious pleuro-pneumonia, it may be said that such cases have recently been reported among cattle from Baltimore, and yet there has not been a case of this disease discovered in Maryland in nearly a year. During this period a quarantine has been maintained, all animals that died of disease have been examined, and all slaughtered at Baltimore have been inspected. So confident am I that the plague has been eradicated that the quarantine now in force there will be removed on the 1st of May next. The information now furnished this Department by its inspectors indicates most positively that the contagion of pleuro-pneumonia has been eradicated from this country, with the exception of a small area on Long Island, which is in strict quarantine, and where affected herds are slaughtered as soon as discovered. It is, therefore, inexplicable that cattle should be shipped from Baltimore affected with this disease.

These facts should, I think, be plainly presented to the British Government, for, even if they are unwilling to accept them as conclusive at present, it will prepare the way for a demonstration of our position when our inspectors are established at the ports of debarkation, and when each case can be critically examined.

Very respectfully,

J. M. Rusk, Secretary.