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There was a similar provision in the passenger law of 1819, which seems to have been inadvertently repealed.
Chapter 10. “Concerning navigation, and for obtaining statements of foreign commerce of the United States."
This chapter contains all the provisions of the statistical law of 1820, with but a slight change in the arrangement, and such provisions of the navigation law of 1817 as are believed to be adapted to the present condition of our commerce.
It regulates our trade with foreign nations upon the principles of reciprocity, authorizes the masters of vessels to make up their crews without regard to nationality, but requires all the officers to be citizens of the United States. It continues the existing discriminating tonnage duties on foreign vessels not placed by treaty on a footing with our own, and on foreign vessels from ports with which vessels of the United States are not permitted to trade. It provides for the manner in which the annual statistical accounts of the foreign commerce of the United States shall be made up in order to be presented to Congress, embracing the imports, exports and tonnage.
In section 4, in this chapter, there is a new provision added to our present law. By the law as it now stands, a vessel of the United States, engaged in the foreign trade, is required to have two-thirds of her crew citizens of the United States, and three-fourths citizens if she is engaged in the coasting trade.
The difficulty of obtaining seamen, under this restriction, has been and is now severely felt, and the burden in the shape of foreign tounage duties imposed on our vessels for a non-compliance with the law, which circumstances render inevitable in many cases, has led to the proposed change, which it is believed will be found useful.
The nationality of the ship and the ship's crew is sufficiently protected by that of the flag, and the requirement that all her officers shall be citizens of the United States.
There is also a new provision in the 7th section. On the exportation of articles to foreign countries, the owner, shipper, or consignee, is required by our present law to present a manifest of the description and value of the merchandise, under oath, stating the destination also under oath. This must be done before a clearance can be granted. Cases have arisen where the exporter of a single article of trifling value, composing a part of the cargo of a vessel, has refused, upon some controversy with the master or owner, to make such oath or manifest, and thus prevented the clearance. This, of course, required a remedy; and it is provided in the 7th section, by imposing a fine on the owner or consignor who fails to present a manifest, and authorizing the collector to estimate the value and grant the clearance.
Chapter 11. “Regulating seizures, suits on duty bonds, prosecution for the recovery of fines, penalties and forfeitures, their distribution and remission."
This chapter, with some few additions and modifications, is the present law. It authorizes the customs officers to make searches and seizures, in cases of reasonable suspicion, for goods, the duties on which are sought to be evaded; providing for the officer's protection and the punishment for impeding or resisting the exercise of his authority. It
regulates the course of judicial proceedings in suits for duties and prosecutions for fines, penalties, and forfeitures, and their distribution and remission.
By this chapter is given to the Secretary of the Treasury the additional power of remitting fines, penalties, and forfeitures, on such proof as he may prescribe, of the absence of fraud or wilful neglect; or the facts may be ascertained, as required by the present law, by a summary judicial examination, or in other modes, to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The 20th section assigns to examiners in the appraiser's office certain portions of the additional duty imposed in consequence of certain errors or causes discovered and reporied by them. This is intended to stimulate and reward their vigilance.
Chapter 12. “Revenue cutters and their officers, and concerning pilots.”
This chapter is the present law, but with some important additions. It provides for the appointment of officers, their compensation and that of their crews, consisting of non-commissioned officers, gunners, and marines; the powers and duties of revenue cutter officers as officers of the customs in aiding the collection of the revenue and extending assistance to navigators in distress.
The scale of salaries, and the requirement of one year's service before the mast, and skill and proficiency in seamanship, as qualifications for officers, are important additions to the present law, and deemed material for the efficiency of the service.
Pilots, as now, are to be regulated by the laws of the States, until further legislation by Congress; and masters of vessels navigating waters that constitute the boundary between two States may employ pilots licensed by either of the States.
Chapter 13. “Respecting marine hospitals and health laws.”
In this chapter important changes have been made in the present law regulating marine hospital relief.
The marine hospital fund is now obtained (with occasional appropriations by Congress) from deductions from the wages of seamen of 20 cents per month. It is proposed to dispense with this tax, and levy, instead, a hospital duty of five cents per ton on the registry of the vessel, and each renewal of the registry, and on each steamship or other vessel, whether American or foreign, arriving in the United States, such duty, however, not to be collected of such vessel more than three times in any one calendar year. A similar duty is also to be assessed on vessels engaged in the coasting trade or fisheries, on each renewal of their registers. The moneys thus collected, countervailing and tonnage duties levied on ships or vessels, the five per cent. paid for registers for vessels sold to foreigners and afterwards repurchased by citizens of the United States, the portion of fines, penalties, and forfeitures accruing to the United States for violations of the revenue, registering, navigation, and passenger laws, and all fees paid for recording and copying bills of sale, mortgage, hypothecations, and conveyances of vessels, are to constitute the fund out of which relief is to be afforded to sick and disabled seamnen.
Under this provision foreign seamen, inasmuch as foreign vessels
are to pay hospital duty, will be entitled to relief as well as the seamen of the United States.
The provision in the 4th section of this chapter is also new and important. The scarcity of seamen has been, and is still, severely felt. It is proposed to encourage the employment of boys as apprentices, in certain proportions to tonnage, by relieving the vessels on which they are employed of one-half of the hospital duty.
The remaining provisions of this chapter are those of the quarantine and health laws now in force, and which it is not proposed to change. These recognise the quarantine and health laws of the States, and require them to be duly observed by collectors and other officers of the revenue, and make provisions for security of the revenue in cases of goods on board or unladen from vessels subject to quarantine.
Chapter 14. “Regulating the importations of drugs and medicines."
This chapter presents the law substantially as it now is, simplified in its arrangement, and provides for the appointment and payment of drug examiners at the principal ports, for the due examination by them of drugs, medicines, medicinal essential oils, and chemical preparations, with a view of ascertaining their quality, purity, strength, and fitness for medicinal purposes, with provisions for reëxamination and analysis, on appeal from the decision of the United States examiners, and the exportation and destruction of those rejected as deleterious or unfit for medicinal use.
It is now proposed to add coffee, imported in the grain or otherwise, to the list of articles subjected to examination, and if found so dam. aged, adulterated or deteriorated, as to be unfit for use, to place it on the footing of deleterious drugs and medicines, to be subjected to the same provisions, prohibitions and penalties.
Chapter 15. “Èxamination of custom houses, depositories and other public offices, prohibited importations, and other miscellaneous pro. visions.”
This chapter, the last in the code, is composed of provisions taken mainly from existing laws, and which could not be placed in the preceding chapters without impairing the simplicity of their arrangement.
It contains a provision authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to appoint and compensate agents to examine the mints, custom-houses and land offices, for the detection of fraud on the public revenue, and for the arrest of defaulters and counterfeiters of the coin of the United States; prohibits officers of the customs from owning vessels, or being concerned in importations of goods, or transportation of passengers; regulates the character and execution of custom-house and duty bonds; imposes a penalty for the fraudulent and clandestine introduction of dutiable goods, and for the withholding by collectors, receivers and disbursing agents, upon the allegation of a claim to credits, of balances of public money after the order of the Secretary of the Treasury for their payment into the treasury.
MARCH 3, 1855.
Mr. EDMUNDSON, from the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions,
made the following
The Committec on Revolutionary Pensions, to whom was referred the petition
of Elizabeth Bankstone, the widow of Elijah Bankstone, a soldier of the Revolution, late of Butts county, Georgia, now deceased, report:
That from an examination of the case, in which much documentary evidence is submitted, the said Elijah Bankstone, while in life, filed his application, in pursuance of the acts of Congress, to obtain a pension for services in the war of the revolution, and to sustain the same refers to many incidents of that war in which he participated; that he volunteered or entered the service in 1779, under the command of Colonel Elijah Clark, of the State of Georgia, who then commanded as colonel a regiment in that war, and that he was two years and four months in the service. He further declares that he made out his application, and with it sent the proof of his service to the proper department at Washington, and that, among other proof made, he sent the affidavit of David Madden, a citizen of Georgia, who commanded in the company as a lieutenant, in which the said Elijah volunteered and entered the service; that the said Lieutenant David Madden testified to the fact that he knew the said Elijah in the service during the revolution ; that he was under his command as stated, and that he knew the said Elijah Bankstone was in the service more than two years; and further, the said Elijah declares that his application, with the proof in his case, were lost in being transmitted in the mail; that he has made repeated application and could not find it. And during the time this inquiry was making for the lost papers the said David Madden died; and the said Elijah Bankstone further states that again
he filed bis application, and submits as proof the affidavit of James R. McCord, a judicial officer, before whom the affidavit of the said David Madden was taken ; and the said James R. McCord swears that the said Madden testified that he knew the said Elijah, that he was in a company in which he commanded as a lieutenant, and that he knew the said Elijah served more than two years in the revolution. And further proof is made by the affidavit of David J. Bailey, a member of this House, who states that he wrote the affidavit of the said David Madden, and he recollects that
said Madden identified the said Elijah Bankstone to have been in the war of the revolution as stated; that he sent the application as stated to the proper department at Washington ; that the same, with evidence in the case, was lost, he knows not when or where.
It further appears that the said Elijah Bankstone departed this life on the twenty-second day of February, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, leaving the said Elizabeth Bankstone, his widow, who now applies for relief by having her name placed upon the pension roll, to be entitled to all that should have been paid to her deceased husband. The committee deem it just and proper, in view of the fact that the evidence was sufficient to allow the said Elijah a pension, and as the lost papers have been, by the strictest rules of evidence, accounted for, the secondary evidence should be considered sufficient to allow her a pension, and to that end the committee herewith report a bill for the relief of the said Elizabeth Bankstone, and recommend its passage.