Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.

No. 678.]

Sir: I have the honor, with further reference to your instruction No. 671, of January 18 last, to inclose a copy of a note, dated the 14th instant, which I have received from the Marquis of Salisbury, communicating the reply of the board of agriculture to the representations made in my note of February 16 last, a copy of which was inclosed in my dispatch No. 628 bis of February 27 last.

It will be observed that the board still refuse to admit cattle or swine [Page 327]free from slaughter, but offer to admit sheep under certain arrangements.

The board call attention to an inaccuracy in my note in stating that but two animals had been declared to be infected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia since the stationing here of our inspectors, and point out the cases of three others, as to two of which I might have been officially informed, the third being, it seems, a case under examination as I was writing. It is due to myself to state that my note was based upon the letter of the Secretary of Agriculture, inclosed in your above-mentioned instruction, No. 671.

I have acknowledged the receipt of Lord Salisbury’s note in a communication of this date, of which a copy is inclosed, and I deem it a proper occasion to recall the attention of the board of agriculture to the scientific opinions and facts, which in their view are not of sufficient weight to raise even a doubt of the correctness of the report of their own officers as to the two animals lauded in April, 1891.

My private information leads me to the conviction that these sporadic declarations of infection, touching, perhaps, 1 animal in 100,000 arrivals, will continue to be made and to be maintained, in spite of all representations as to their correctness.

Inasmuch as the Marquis of Salisbury made in his above-mentioned note no allusion to the matter of the quarantine enforced by the Dominion of Canada, I have recalled his attention to the subject in a note (of which I also inclose a copy) dated to-day.

I have, etc,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 1 to No. 678.]

Marquis of Salisbury to Mr. Lincoln.

Sir: With reference to my note of the 22d of February, I have the honor to inform you that I have now received a reply from the board of agriculture to your representations respecting the importation of live cattle from the United States into Great Britain.

The board having carefully considered those representations point out that the order providing for the slaughter of American cattle at the place of landing was issued in consequence of the arrival, in January, 1879, of cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia; and it would appear, from the statement annexed, that since that date no single year has passed without the detection of the disease in question among cattle brought from the United States.

Since August, 1890, when the United States veterinary inspectors were stationed at Deptford, Liverpool, and Glasgow, the disease has been detected on four separate occasions, namely:

Date. Name of ship. Port of departure. Number of cattle.
February 2, 1891 Sorrento New York 1
April 7, 1891 Parkmore Baltimore 2
December 26, 1891 Cranmore Boston 1
February 14, 1892 Queensmore Baltimore 1

It will be seen from the above statement that the observation made in your note that during the last eighteen months two animals only have been found to be affected by pleuro-pneumonia, does not accurately represent the circumstances of the case.

With reference to the observations made in that note as to the character of the disease, from which the two animals therein referred to were suffering, the board point out that they must obviously accept the opinions of their own veterinary advisers, rather than those of the American Government; and I beg to refer you to my note of June 18, 1890, in which I stated that the board, while assenting to the [Page 328]proposal of the United States Government to station veterinary inspectors of their own at ports in this country, reserve to itself the unfettered right of acting upon the opinion of its own officers, even though they should unfortunately differ from the views which might he entertained by the veterinary inspector of the United States. In each of the four cases in which pleuro-pneumonia has been discovered among cargoes of animals arriving in this country, the officers of this board have reported that the disease was contagious pleuro-pneumonia, and the board see no reason whatever to doubt the accuracy of the opinions thus expressed.

In these circumstances the board regret that they can come to no other conclusion than that the admission of cattle from the United States without any requirement of their slaughter at the port of landing would be fraught with danger to British stock, and that it ought not, therefore, to be assented to.

With regard to the proposal that cattle should be shipped from Chicago by the way of Portland, Boston, Baltimore, and Newport News the board think that it will be sufficient to point out that two of the vessels in which diseased animals have been detected since the commencement of 1891, have reached this country from Baltimore and that the third arrived from Boston.

With regard to the admission of swine, the information in the possession of the board of agriculture points to the fact that swine fever still prevails extensively in the United States of America, and the reason which led to the issue of the order providing for the slaughter of swine at the place of landing therefore holds good.

As regards sheep, the case is somewhat different from that of either cattle or swine, and the board see no reason to think that there is now any appreciable danger of the importation from the United States of any disease affecting those animals. The board would, therefore, be willing if the American Government desire it to admit sheep without necessarily subjecting them to slaughter at the place of landing; but it must be clearly understood that they would not be allowed to be landed with cattle or swine otherwise than for slaughter at any foreign animals’ wharf, and arrangements for their separate debarkation would therefore require to be made if it was desired that they should be moved from the landing place alive.

The board further observe, that their first duty is to safeguard the stock owners of this country against the danger of infection, and having regard to the facts, to which they have above referred, they have no hesitation in saying that, at the present time, the removal of the regulations as regards American cattle and swine, against which the representations you did me the honor to make to me are directed, would be attended with considerable danger, and they much regret, therefore, that they are not able to give effect to the wishes of the United States Government in this matter.

I have, etc.,

James W. Lowther,
(For the Marquis of Salisbury.)
[Inclosure 2 to No. 678.]

Cases of pleuro-pneumonia detected among cattle from the United States of America landed in Great Britain from 1879 to 1892, inclusive.

1879.—One hundred and thirty-seven cattle, forming part of fifty-seven cargoes, were found affected with pleuro-pneumonia after being landed at the ports of London and Liverpool. The cargoes came from Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland.

1880.—Two hundred and twenty-nine cattle with pleuro-pneumonia landed from the United States at the ports of Liverpool, London, Hull, and Bristol. They were brought from New York, Boston, Baltimore, and Portland.

1881.—Thirty-nine cattle, forming part of fourteen cargoes, with pleuro-pneumonia, from United States, landed at Bristol, Liverpool, and London from Boston and New York.

1882.—Four cattle, forming part of three cargoes, affected with pleuro-pneumonia, were landed at Liverpool and London from New York.

1883.—Three cattle, forming part of three cargoes, affected with pleuro-pneumonia, were landed at Liverpool and London from Boston and New York.

1884.—Six cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia were landed in London from New York.

1895.—Seven cattle, forming part of five cargoes, affected with pleuro-pneumonia, were landed at Liverpool and London from Boston and New York.

1886.—Six cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia were landed at Liverpool from Baltimore, Boston, and New York.

1887.—Twenty-two cattle, from one cargo, affected with pleuro-pneumonia, were landed at London from Baltimore. One case discovered on landing; twenty-one others after slaughter.

[Page 329]

1888.—Twenty-one cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia were landed at Liverpool and London from Baltimore, Boston, and New York.

1889.—Forty-seven cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia were landed at Liverpool and London from Baltimore, Boston, Norfolk, and New York.

1890.—Fourteen cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia were landed at Liverpool and London from Baltimore, Boston, and New York.

1891.—Three cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia landed in London from Baltimore, Boston, and New York.

1892.—One in London from Baltimore.

[Inclosure 3 to No. 678.]

Mr. Lincoln to the Marquis of Salisbury.

My Lord: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship’s note of the 14th instant, communicating the views of the board of agriculture in respect to the admission into the United Kingdom, without slaughter, of cattle, swine, and sheep imported from the United States, which I shall at once transmit to my Government.

Pending its consideration I ought not to delay saying, in regard to one suggestion of the hoard, that in addressing your lordship on the 12th of June, 1891, with reference to two cases of contagious pleuro-pneumonia then recently alleged to have been found in a cargo of American cattle, I did not fail to recall that the board of agriculture had reserved to itself the unfettered right of acting upon the opinion of its own officers, in case their opinion should differ from that held by the veterinary inspectors of the United States in respect to the existence of contagious disease in any animal examined. I presented the opinion of the United States inspectors only as that of competent experts, and in argument to induce, if possible, a reconsideration of the views at first taken by the officers of the board; and it was presented not alone, but supported by that of a well-known veterinary expert of New York, and that of the Professors Williams, of Edinburgh, and in addition by a detailed history of two animals then under consideration, which in the opinion of the Department of Agriculture of the United States, demonstrated the great improbability, if not impossibility, of their having been exposed to infection.

In view of the great detriment caused to our trade by the existing restriction upon the entry of our live cattle, I cannot avoid expressing my regret that my presentation of the case failed to suggest to the board of agriculture, if I correctly apprehend the expression of their views, any reason whatever even to doubt the accuracy of the original adverse report of their officers.

I take this opportunity of saying that I am informed that the pathological indications in the five cases mentioned by the board as having been examined since August, 1890 (two of which were unknown to me when writing, on February 14 last, and one occurred, it seems, while I was writing), were essentially the same, and that it is well known to veterinary experts that the practically noncontagious character of the malady in which they appear has also been asserted by Professor Norcard, of the Alfort Veterinary School, as the result of investigation made by him, together with three other official veterinary surgeons last year, at the instance of the French Government.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 4 to No. 678.]

Mr. Lincoln to the Marquis of Salisbury.

My Lord: In my note of February 16 last, with special reference to the importation of live cattle from the United States into Great Britain, I had the honor to solicit your lordship’s good offices also in reference to the removal or modification of a quarantine restriction enforced by the Dominion of Canada against cattle imported from the United States, to which no allusion is made in your note of the 14th instant; and I venture, therefore, to ask whether your lordship is yet prepared to make any communication to me upon the subject.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.