Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Foster.

No. 906.]

Sir: Referring to your instructions numbered 969, of November 21, and to Mr. White’s dispatch No. 860, of December 6, 1892, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note which I have received from Lord Rosebery in reply to that which Mr. White addressed to his lordship on the 5th of December last, relative to the restrictions upon the importation of cattle from the United States to Great Britain, and of which a copy was transmitted to you in his dispatch aforesaid.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure to No. 906.]

The Earl of Rosebery to Mr. Lincoln.

Sir: With reference to my note of the 12th ultimo to Mr. White, I have now the honor to inclose a memorandum containing the observations of the board of agriculture in reply to Mr. White’s note of the 5th of December respecting the importation of cattle from the United States into this country.

In view of the facts set forth in this memorandum, the board feel it to be their duty to maintain the position which, as it seems to them, has been amply justified by the result of the systematic arrangements recently made for the examination of the lungs of the United States cattle after slaughter; and, with every desire to meet to the fullest possible extent the wishes of the United States Government, they feel that it is at present impossible for them, consistently with their public duty, to permit the free entry of cattle from the United States.

I have, etc.,

E. Grey
(For the Earl of Rosebery)
[Page 348]
[Subinclosure to No. 906.]

Memorandum of the hoard of agriculture.

The board have given very full consideration to the various matters to which Mr. White refers in his note of the 5th ultimo. They regret that the experts of the United States Department of Agriculture do not concur in the verdict pronounced by the veterinary advisers of this department with regard to the conclusion to be drawn from the appearance presented by the lungs of the diseased animal landed in this country from the steamship England, on the 7th of October last, but that case is by no means an isolated one; and in view of the fact that, since the 1st of October last, the veterinary advisers of the board have declared in the clearest and most distinct terms that in no fewer than thirty-two cases the lungs of cattle imported from the United States present the characteristic symptoms of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, the board are of opinion that they are bound, in fulfillment of their statutory obligations, to maintain in regard to cattle arriving from the United States the existing requirement of slaughter at the port of arrival.

In the foreign office note to Mr. White of the 30th November last, a list was given of six cargoes landed in this country subsequently to the arrival of the England, among which nine diseased animals were included, and the following further list is submitted of ten cargoes, comprising twenty-two animals, which proved on examination of the lungs to have been affected with pleuro-pneumonia:

Date of landing. Name of vessel. Port of shipment. Number of diseased cattle.
Nov. 13 Othello New York 3
20 Roman Boston 1
25 Montezuma New York 1
27 Ottoman Boston 6
Dec. 2 Michigan do 2
7 Angloman do 3
8 Sedgemore Baltimore 1
23 Massachusetts New York 1
25 Roman Boston 3
Jan. 8 Michigan Boston 1
Total 22

The suggestion is made in Mr. White’s note that the lesions detected are such as might be expected to result from an injury to the animal, or from exposure to drafts or changes of temperature on board ship. In this connection, the board observes that, in all the instances in which pleuro-pneumonia has been discovered in United States animals since the beginning of October, the animal showed no symptoms of illness upon landing. In ordinary cases of inflammation of the lungs, symptoms would be present which could not fail to attract attention, but it was not until the animals had actually been slaughtered and the lungs examined that any suspicion of the presence of pleuro-pneumonia existed.

Mr. White refers to the fact that the cattle landed from the England were traced back to certain farms in Cincinnati, and that all those farms were found free from disease. The board have no knowledge of the precise steps taken to ascertain that this was the case, but as Mr. White has already been made aware semiofficially, the board can not resist the conclusion from personal observation that there is a very considerable risk of error in the identification of a particular set of lungs with a particular hide, and consequently that information derived from a “tag” as to the place of origin of a diseased animal may be entirely fallacious. In any case, however, the board do not consider that the nondiscovery of disease in the reported place of origin would justify them in setting aside the conclusions drawn from actual examination of the lungs.

With regard to the fear expressed by Mr. White, that it may be necessary for his Government to enforce quarantine regulations in respect of animals imported into the United States from Canada, in consequence of the recent withdrawal of the privilege hitherto accorded of free entry into this country in the case of cattle arriving from the Dominion, the board point out that Mr. White is not accurate in supposing that Canada has been declared by the board to be a country infected with pleuro-pneumonia. The withdrawal of the privilege in question was rendered necessary by the arrival in this country from Montreal of three animals affected with pleuro-pneumonia, the board being bound to infer from this occurrence that either [Page 349]the laws of Canada relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction and spreading of disease therein, or the general sanitary condition of animals in that country, were not such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of diseased animals. The Canadian government, however, have stated in the strongest possible terms that pleuro-pneumonia does not exist in Canada; and, if this be the case, the conclusion must be that the disease was brought by some means or other across the Canadian frontier. The only fact that is within the absolute knowledge of this Department is that diseased animals were brought into this country from a Canadian port, and the board are not in a position to form—nor are they required to form—any opinion as to the place where the disease originated.

Mr. White refers in conclusion to the possible application by his Government of the same regulations with respect to cattle imported into the United States from Great Britain, as well as from its dependencies, as those which are now enforced in this country against cattle arriving at British ports from the United States and Canada. The board have never attempted to minimize the extent to which pleuro-pneumonia has prevailed in this country, but it may be observed that in the past, when the disease was very much more prevalent in this country than it now is, the imposition of the existing quarantine regulations was considered by the United States Government to afford an adequate measure of security, and it would be difficult to understand on what grounds it can be considered necessary to resort to still stronger measures at a time when pleuro-pneumonia in Great Britain has reached a point much lower than has ever before been recorded. The effective character of the contagious diseases (animals, pleuro-pneumonia) act of 1890 in suppressing this disease has been clearly shown. In the last complete year, before the act was passed, there were in the United Kingdom 582 outbreaks; in the year 1891 there were only 326, and in 1892 the number of outbreaks further fell to 126. In view of these figures the board feel that the imposition of stronger protective measures by the United States Government at the present moment can only be attributed to a desire to bring indirect pressure to bear upon the board to take a different view of their statutory duties than the facts above referred to clearly warrant.