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mere discharging of any article irrespective of its value, or even if it should enter free of duty, the captain or supercargo will be tined $1,000, or else the goods will be contiscated together with the boats or lighters which may transport the same, should the amount of the duties to be assessed not exceed the sum of $200; but if they should exceed this sum the vessel will be confiscated.
14. No goods whatever, be the quantity large or small, can be transported from one vessel to another within the bay unless the necessary requisites of the custom-house have been complied with. A violation of this subjects the captains or supercargoes to the legal penalty.
15. Should a vessel discharge merchandise, be the quantity large or small, in a port not open to general commerce, said merchandise, as well as the vessel and all her appurtenances, will be confiscated.
16. If in consequence of the visit to the vessel by the custom-house officers before the captain has received his register an excess of cargo should be detected, such goods will be confiscated, and the captain will be fined in a sum equal to the value of the excess.
17. All goods, products, or any other article seized in the act of being fraudulently shipped shall likewise incur the penalty of a fine and confiscation.
18. If the captain or supercargo should be unable to pay the fines and costs imposed, the vessel will be held responsible, and seized unless the consignee assumes the fines.
19. The captain who does not declare the exact Spanish tonnage of his vessel will pay the cost of measuring, if the excess is over ten per cent.
20. Passenger luggage must be presented for inspection in the custom-house depot, and if there be found merchandise not exceeding $100 in value the passengers will pay the usual duties, presenting a note of the contents to the custom-house. If the value of said goods is more than $100, and less than $200, they will pay double duty; but if the value is more, the effects are liable to seizure, unless in either case the person interested has previously presented a list of said goods, in which case they will pay according to the tariff,
21. No manifest will be translated or permits be granted for discharging, unless the captain or consignees have previously presented the register of the vessel to the custom-honse.
This document in three languages, Spanish, English, and French, is given this day to captain, -, of the vessel
-- for his information, and he signs the receipt at — 186–..
[Signature of the administrator of the customs.)
Signature of the custom-house inspector.]
It may be said, in passing, that the only important difference between these rules and those issued in 1867, is in the requirements of the first rule concerning the specification of the goods. This difference is shown in the foot-note.
Rules of 1868. Número de fardos ó bultos y demás efec- Número de fardos 6 bultos y demás efectos de que se componga su cargamento, con tos de que se componga su cargamento, con expresion de sus números, marcas, nombre expresión de sus números, marcas, la clase genoérico de las mercaderias segun conoci- genérica de las mercaderias del contenido miento, y su peso bruto, &c., &c.
de los bultos, y su peso bruto, &c., &c.
FRENCH. Et le nombre de fardeaux, colis et autres Et le nombre de fardeaux, colis et efiets dont se compose le chargement, autres effets dont se compose le chargeavec les numéros, marques et noms des ment, avec les numéros et la classe générichargeurs et consignataires; manifestant que des marchandises et le contenu des également en numéros et lettres la quantité colis, marques et noms des chargeurs et de chaque article et le nom générique des consignataires; manifestant également en merchandises selon connaissement, et le numéros et lettres la quantité de chaque poids brut, &c., &c.
article et le nom générique des marchandises selon connaissement, et le poid brut, &c., &c.
On the 16th of May, 1870, the rules of 1868 were promulgated afresh in Cuba by the intendente general de hacienda, in a circular of which the following is the principal portion :
INTENDENCIA-GENERAL DE HACIENDA.
[Circular.] “On the 11th of October, 1868, a proclamation was made by the provisional government that the masters of vessels trading with this island should comply with certain rules indispensable for the customs service, relating to manifests, and especially to the declaration of the Spanish tonnage, constituting the burden.
“Upon assuming the duties of the intendency, I observed a non-compliance with these rules, as well as with many others; and as it is my chief duty to guard and have respected the directions of the government, I ordered that these and all other dispositions in force should be rigorously executed, without favoritism, exceptions, or tolerances of any kind, since all vessels are equal before the intendency, and likewise all
“When the administration of the customs began to comply with my instructions, they found themselves obliged to impose the fines which the law exacts upon the masters of many vessels who had relied upon their previous impunity, and, ignorant of my directions, neglected to comply with the laws.
“ This produced a multitude of solicitations from masters seeking condonation, and also representations from the consuls and commercial agents of various countries reclamations very appreciable by the intendency, whose primary duty is to facilitate commerce, the essential base to order and public prosperity.
“The intendency pondered over the subject, and determined to relieve from the penalty the masters of all vessels which had not entered the ports of the island since the 19th day of December, 1862, at which date his excellency, the superior political gorernor, confirmed the aforesaid order of the provisional government of the 11th of November of the same year, and this circumstance justifying the measure, and as was settled by the circular of the 22d February of this year, published in the Gazette by the central sections of the customs.
"Doubts had arisen as to the proper method of putting the above into practice, and his excellency the superior political governor having heard in relation thereto the central office of the customs, the comptrollers of the treasury, the intendency, and the council of administration, it has pleased him to decide that this may be justified by certificates presented by the masters from any of the ports of entry of the island, certificates which the consignees of the ships must present within thirty days, counting from the day in which he is notified of the imposition of the fine, it being well understood that this penalty shall not attach to masters who protest in writing or personally against it, if sailing for the first time to these ports, provided that they give bond until the question is settled.
"The intendency already having had the honor to signify to the public the great trouble experienced, caused by finding itself in the painful position of being obliged to inflict severe penalties in order to execute the laws, and other provisions, the observance of which is committed to its jurisdiction, has given the necessary information to masters of vessels concerning customs dues. "In a word, besides publishing the regulations, hereto attached, which masters must observe, and their supercargoes, has also requested the government that, through the ministry of state, it would promulgate to all our consuls, in order that they can sufficiently inform the masters of all vessels sailing for this island, to the end that the intendency may have the satisfaction not to see itself obliged to impose any penalty.
“Also measures were taken to inform foreign governments, so that on their part they may remove the ignorance of masters of vessels, and the intendency invites the attention of consignees of vessels, that on their part they may call the atten
Number of bales, packages, and every Number of bales, packages, and every other article composing the cargo, with other article composing the cargo, with their respective marks, numbers, names of their respective marks, numbers, and the the shippers and consignees of the goods, class of the goods, the names of the shipexpressing also, both in figures and writing, pers and consignees of the goods, expressthe quantity of every article, and their ing also, both in figures and writing, the kind according to bill of lading; their quantity of every article, and their kind weight, &c., &c.
according to the bill of lading; their weight, &c., &c.
tion of their correspondents to this point, to the end that the intendency may not have to impose any fine, it being well understood that, if forced to impose it, it will exact it without partiality of any kind, for to all, whether natives or foreigners, the laws must be vindicated.
“ The intendency directs the central section of the customs to adopt the necessary measures so that the administrators may publish this resolution by all means possible, to meet the interests of all concerned, which has no other end than to avoid the imposition of pecuniary fines, and finally the good services of the public press, that it will lend its aid by giving publication to this circular.
“ Havana, i6th May, 1870.
“ J. EMILIO DE SANTOS.” In their practical operation these rules worked great injustice to foreign commerce, especially the commerce of the United States, and many representations were made concerning them. The provision requiring three manifests, and that requiring the tonnage to be expressed in Spanish measurement, proved to be especially onerous.
Mr. Seward, on the 1st of July, 1868, directed the American minister at Madrid to make such representations to the minister of foreign affairs as would bring about an inquiry into and a redress of these grievances, and Mr. Hale was informed, in reply to the representations made in compliance with the instructions, that the subject should be inquired into. But the seizures went on, and the complaints continued.
On the 9th of November, 1869, for instance, the consul of the United States at Matanzas made a return showing that one hundred and fifteen American vessels had been reported to that consulate alone, as having been fined at the custom-house at that port since December, 1867. Some extracts from this report will give an idea of the trivial and venal mistakes (rather than offenses) for which these vessels were fined :
" These fines are in most cases imposed for trivial omissions or discrepancies in no way implicating the good faith of the masters.
* The subject has been brought to the notice of the Department at different times, and by the Department to the notice of the Spanish government. (See Diplomatic Correspondence, 1868, part 2, page 8.) But it appears to have not yet attracted the attention of the Spanish government sufficiently to bring about a modification or repeal of the regulations in force.
*As examples of the pretexts upon which these fines are imposed, I will cite a few cases of which I have the evidence before me:
"The brig Amos M. Roberts, of Belfast, Maine, was in March, 1868, fined $25. The administrator of the custom-house, in reply to my inquiry as to the motives, states as follows: In the manifest which the captain of the Amos M. Roberts presented to the visiting officers on arrival, there is expressed the exact number of Spanish tons that the vessel measures, namely, 151.50 tons, but in the manifest which the captain presented to the Spanish consul at New Orleans he only declared 150.51 tons. This is the reason why he was fined fifty escudos.
* The brig Dexter Washburne, of Portland, was fined $100 in April of this year, beranse the Spanish consul at Charleston omitted to impress his seal on the vessel's manifest after verifying it. This is not, by any means, the only instance that our vessels have been subjected to fines in this port, for omissions of the Spanish consular officers.
* During the same and previous months the Henry P. Lord, George S. Berry, Ricardo Bartos, Arletta, Emma M. Wright, Coquett, and others, all' arriving in ballast, paid fines for alleged non-compliance with the eighth paragraph of Rule I of the Regulations of July 1, 1859, (put in force by decree of July 1, 1867,) which paragraph, up to that time, had only been applied to vessels bringing cargo, and, as far as I can learn, is only imposed in this port, even at present, on vessels coming in ballast.
"In June last, the brig Novelty, of Boston, was fined $25 because, as the administrator informed me, the captain did not state in his manifest the Spanish tonnage of the Treeel; and also, because he did not comply with the eighth paragraph of Rule I of the Regulations of July 1, 1859.' This vessel was constructed at Boston for the purpose of carrying molasses in tanks. It was her first voyage from the United States; and as she had never before been in a Spanish port, it could not be expected that the master should manifest her Spanish tonnage. And, as she came in ballast, the paragraph referred to was not applicable to her case.
*Several other vessels, that had never been in a Spanish port, have been fined by this custom-house for not manifesting their Spanish tonnage.
*In September last, the bark Sarah B. Hale arrived at this port, and among her cargo was a consignment of hoops. Hitherto it had never occurred to any of our customhouse offieials that there could be any motive for requiring ship-masters to express the
kind' genero of that article, as it is well known that there is but one kind of hoops imported from the United States, and to require them to express that the hoops are of wood, would appear as unnecessary as to require it in any other articles of the same nature; such as sugar-box shooks, hogshead shooks, or empty casks. Neverthe-' less, the fine was exacted, and other vessels arriving since have also been fined for the same reason.
“I thought it my duty to bring to the notice of the administrator the case of a fine imposed on the brig Etta M. Tucker, and to remonstrate against its imposition. I accompany herewith copies of the correspondence, by which it will be seen that the matter has been referred to the superior authority at Havana.
“I earnestly request that you will bring the matter to the notice of the proper anthorities, in order that some remedy may be found for these great grievances of our ship-masters.
"In very many cases the masters of vessels are not notified of the imposition of fines until the day of clearance, and then there is little time left to either the master or consignee to make necessary explanations or rectify errors.
“It results, therefore, that very frequently, to avoid detention, the captain pays the fine, however unjust it may be."
Again, on the 19th of March, 1870, the American ship-masters laid their grievances before the Government of the United States. They said:
“It is never alleged that we desire to defraud the Spanish revenue. Irregularities of the most trifling character are the sole ground which are urged to defend the imposition and continuance of our burdens. So numerous are the requirements of the customhouse, so conflicting are the interpretations of the law, so various and variable are the customs prevailing at the different ports, that we find it impossible to draw up a manifest in which an expert may not pick a flaw, or one which may not offer some pretext for the imposition of a fine of from twenty-five to five hundred dollars. Vessels which have never been in a Spanish port, and vessels which may, at the time, be on their very first voyage, are fined because they do not express their Spanish tonnage. So multiform are the pretexts for fines that we dare not attempt to enumerate them all. We are fined for an absence of the name of the shipper of the goods and the consignee ; for a failure to express numbers, weights, and measures in letters and figures; for a failure to state after the enumeration of our cargo, that we carry nothing else, for a failure to make a similar statement when we arrive in ballast; for an absence of what is known as the asseveration, or the words. So help me God;' for neglecting to state, when we bring hoops, that they are of wood and not of metal; for the slightest error in converting American weights and measures into those of Spanish denominations; for omitting in the heading of the manifest the nationality, class, tonnage of the vessel, name of captain, place whence she comes and port whither bound; for consigning goods to order, though they may be so consigned in the bill of lading."
This document was signed by fifty-five American ship-masters in the port of Matanzas, and thirty-three American ship-masters in the port of Cuba.
On the 9th of June, 1870, the minister of ultramar at Madrid issued a decree
“ Ordering the remittance of all fines imposed in the island of ('uba for the nonpresentation of a third copy of the manifest, and that under no conception whatever, and as it is found provided in the legislation for that department, can the authorities of the provinces of ultramar alter, reform, or make additions to the legislation of the customs, which power is reserved exclusively to the supreme government of the nation, the same anthorities being personally responsible for whatever trangression of the law which they commit in this sense, and inserting in continuation the rules prescribed on the 1st of July, 1859, for the guidance of captains and supercargoes of Spanish vessels and those of other nations engaged in the import trade from foreign ports to those of the island of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the modifications afterward accorded, * * * * and ordering that against the resolutions that may cause lawsuits, by the intendents of the public treasury of the provinces of ultra mar in the matter of customs, a contentious demand may be made, by those who consider themselves injured in their rights, before the respective territorial courts, and in conformity to that prescribed by the decrees of the 7th of February and the 6th of April, 1869."
This decree was promulgated at Madrid on the 12th of June, and in Cuba on the 6th of July.
At this stage of the proceedings the United States invoked, diplomatically, through their minister at Madrid, the interposition of the Spanish government. On the 16th of July, 1870, General Sickles, the American minister at Madrid, addressed a note to Mr. Sagasta, the minister for foreign affairs, in which, after a concise recital of the material facts hereinbefore set forth, he continued as follows:
“The revenue laws of most countries provide a system of equitable and summary relief in cases where a fine or forfeiture may have been incurred by merchants or masters of vessels without culpable negligence or intention of fraud. In the t'nited States, for example, it is provided that in such cases an alleged offender desiring relief may present his petition to a magistrate, whose duty it is to hear the parties in a summary way, and make such recommendation to the principal officer of the Treasury as the circumstances of the case may suggest. This course of procedure has been followed
in the United States since 1797, and has been found entirely satisfactory to the persons concerned as well as to the Government.
"Without undertaking to enumerate all the unusual and severe exactions contained in the twenty-one articles of the circular of the intendente de hacienda, those mentioned as illustrations will be sufficient, I hope, to convince your excellency that these regulations should be revised, and so modified as to relieve foreign vessels trading with Cuba from burdens which cause serious inconvenience to commerce without corresponding advantage to the treasury.
“With regard to the clause requiring a foreign vessel to show its Spanish tonnage on its manifest, it must be always extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, for masters of vessels to comply with that regulation. I am not aware that any other nation has established a similar rule. It is certain that the United States have never required Spanish vessels entering their ports to show their American tonnage on their manifests. The measurement and tonnage of all American vessels appears on the ship's register. The measurement is made and the tonnage calculated according to the standard of the country to which the vessel belongs. And this is believed to be the common practice of nations. The United States take care, as it is presumed all governments do, that the certificate of registry delivered to the master of a vessel expresses her true dimensions and capacity for burden. It is easy, then, for the proper officer of the customs in any foreign port, taking the measurement found on the vessel's papers, to compute her Spanish tonnage, for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of tonnage-dues to be collected, or for any other purpose depending upon the capacity of the Tessel. And in any case in which there may be reason to doubt the correctness of the register, a new measurement may be made.
"It does not distinctly appear whether the gross weight of merchandise in bulk, which must also be stated on the manifest, is required to be given according to the Spanish standard. If that be the true interpretation of article 1 of the circular, then it imposes an additional hardship upon masters of vessels, which is believed to be equally without precedent. And if the weight of cargo in bulk is not to be stated according to the Spanish standard, but according to the standard of the country where the ressel was laden, then it is difficult to see why one rule should be applied to the statement in the manifest of the tonnage of the vessel, and another to the weight of her cargo in bulk. I am not informed whether these regulations are to be enforced in all the ports of Spain, or whether they relate only to the Spanish colonies; or whether, adhering to more convenient and reciprocal rules in the ports of the peninsula and of the other colonies, these regulations are confined to foreign vessels entering Cuban ports. If the same requirements are to be enforced in all Spanish ports, the question presented will all the more deserve the consideration of your excelleney, in view of the wider range of the embarrassments and losses to which foreign vessels engaged in trade with Spain will be subjected. But if the regulations are colonial only, or, haying a character yet more exceptional, are limited in their operations to Cuba, it may he fairly asked, why is it necessary for the manifest of a foreign vessel, entering a port in Cuba, to show her Spanish tonnage, when the same vessel may enter Spanish ports having her tonnage expressed on her papers in conformity with the standard of the country to which she belongs ?
*Moreover, fines have been imposed upon masters of vessels for irregularities in manifests authenticated by the Spanish consul at the port of departure. It is to be presuned that if the consuls of Spain residing in the United States had known that these regulations were in existence, those officers would not have approved the sufficiency and regularity of papers which did not meet the requirements of the authorities in Cuba. When a consul has given to a document the sanction of his signature and seal of office, it is certainly unjust for the authorities of his own country not only to reject the document as insufficient, but to impose a fine upon the ship-master who presents it in good faith. If, on the other hand, the consuls have been duly notified of these regulations, and fail to assure themselves that the manifests they certify are regular in shstance and in form, then the blame and the penalty should fall on the cousul so offending.
"By article 6 of the circular of the intendente it is required that masters of vessels shall have their documents certified by the Spanish consul at the port from which they sail, in default of which they are fined two hundred escudos. And surely it will be adınitted that when the master presents papers thus certified, they should be at least so far recognized by the customs authorities in Cuba as to exempt the innocent master ar merchant from penalties incurred through the fault of the consul, or because that officer was not informed of the regulations in force in the ports of the country he represents.
*Much inconvenience has been caused to the Spanish authorities, as well as loss to masters of foreign vessels, by the failure to give reasonable and customary notice of the establishment of these regulations. It is the usual practice of nations, whenever material changes are made in their laws or regulations affecting trade carried on in foreign vessels, to give timely notice of such changes to friendly Governments with