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ont waiting for such decision, has made arrangements to proceed to the collection of the after-payment of duties on the articles above referred to, so that by this operation the retail dealers are simply the losers of this additional duty of 15 per cent., as the contents of these boxes had been eaten up long ago. It is obvious that this arbitrary and unjustifiable increase of import duties on canned meats must work as a prohibitive clause, and such an interpretation of the tariff laws is in direct violation of international comity, and unjust in its application. As a result of such proceedings, the question may probably arise for consideration and legislation of the American Government, whether it be not time to devise retaliatory measures against any oppressive and unfair ruling, prejudi. cial to the interests of American commerce with Germany.

WOLFGANG SCHOENLE,

Consul. UNITED STATES CONSULATE,

Barmen, November 24, 1881.

CUSTOMS RULINGS BY WHICH THE CONTENTS ARE ASSESSED ACCORDING TO THE MATERIAL OF WHICH THE PACKAGES ARE COMPOSED.

REPORT BY OONSUL-GENERAL TOGELER, OF FRANKFORT-ON-THE-MAIN.

Considerable interest has lately been excited by the action of the German customs authorities with reference to the rate of import duty levied upon certain articles of foreign production and manufacture. Reports of changes in the assessment of import duties on American articles bave been made to the Department of State by consular officers of the United States from different points of the German Empire, accompanied by such comments and criticisms as the nature of these changes in each particular instance seemed to justify or require.

Without examining how far these comments or any of them were just, and without desiring in the least to criticise the reports of these consular officers, who deserve the commendation of the Department for their vigilance and zeal in the discharge of their oflicial duties, I desire to submit to the Department of State a general review of the whole question, and of the action of the German authorities with reference thereto, in order that the Department may be able to judge of these proceedings with all the light which it is possible at the present time to throw upon them.

The aim of the founders of the North German Confederation-the precursor of the German Empire-was so to coalesce by uniformity of laws and proceedings, of taxes and duties, of money, weights, and measures, and of postal, telegraph, and railroad arrangements, the different states and people composing the German nation, as that in case of an attack by a hostile neighbor the feeling of unity engendered by these powerful material agencies should be so spontaneous and strong among the people as to exclude the possibility of interual dissensions, or of a refusal on the part of any of the German states to aid in the common defense. How wisely the plan was conceived, how admirably carried out, and how fully vindicated when the shock of 1870 came, is a matter of history. It was a masterpiece of farseeing statesmanship.

But not only the political, but also the material, results, growing out of this commercial and financial consolidation of Germany, bave been, on the whole, beneficial. Obsolete internal customs regulations have been annulled, the multifarious weights, measures, and coins of more than 30 independent German principalities superseded by a uniform system of weights, measures, and money; in short, the thousand and one vexatious regulations which impeded the free and wholesome commercial intercourse between the people of the different German states have been abolished, and an era of greater commercial activity and enterprise inaugurated.

The German Customs Union—6 Deutsche Zollverein". - was one of the agencies put into operation to foster and strengthen the feeling of German unity. The agitation in favor of it antedates by many years the formation of the North German Confederation. The idea originated with Prussian statesmen, and was finally consuinmated through the influence of Prussian diplomacy on June 4, 1867. The first uniform tariff law was passed October 1, 1870. It was amended by the law of July 7, 1873. Finally, both these laws were repealed and superseded by the law of July 15, 1879. This is the tariff law now in force.

It was promulgated by the Emperor of Germany in the name of the German Empire, with the consent of the “Bundesrath” and “Reichstag." The Empire (Reich), it should be stated, had succeeded to the rights and duties of the Zoll Parliament. The law of July 15, 1879, took effect on January 1, 1880. It was the result of a radical change of policy on the part of the German Government with reference to the method of raising the revenues of the Empire. The policy of the Government had been, up to the year 1879, essentially a free-trade policy. The tariff of 1870, as amended in 1873, bad been very low. No protective power, or even intent, was claimed for it. Until the year 1879 it had not been thought expedient to raise any considerable portion of the revenues of the Em. pire by indirect methods of taxation. Direct taxes, enabling every citizen to calculate precisely what the protection of the Government cost him, had been the boast of the leading German state.

In 1879 all this was changed. By a skillful consolidation of different parties in the German Reichstag, brought about by means of political influences, a solid phalanx was formed in favor of a revision of the tariff, To this phalanx were added many members of other parties, representing constituencies interested in a high protective tariff, and thus the German chancellor succeeded in procuring the passage of a tariff law which, as compared with that of 1870, is, in its intent and operation, a protective tariff law. More than that, it is the declared purpose of the Imperial Government, as announced in imperial messages and ministerial speeches, to raise all or nearly all its revenues by duties on imports on the one hand and the proceeds resulting from the operation of the post, the telegraph, the railroads, the mines and forests, and the monopolized manufacture of tobacco and cigars on the other.

A characteristic feature of the German tariff law, the one which distinguishes it most widely from that of the United States, is the almost entire absence of all “ad valorem” duties. It is essentially a “tariff of weight.” Only a few articles, such as horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, &c., and some minor articles of manufacture, are assessed by the piece, while the only articles which pay an ad valorem duty are plain and uphol. stered railway carriages, the latter paying 6 and 10 per cent of their value, respectively. This fact should be borne in mind in order to apprehend the points hereinafter discussed. The tariff is fixed in marks, the monetary unit of Germany

(one mark equal to 23.8 cents of the money of the United States). The unit of weight, for purposes of the tariff, is 100 kilograms (one kilogram equal to 2.2 pounds of the weight of the United States).

Many natural products are free of duty; among these I mention raw metals (except iron); cord wood; raw skins and hides ; horse bair, camel hair; minerals; raw cotton, wool, and silk; coal, charcoal, and peat; pitch, tar, animal oil, &c. Others pay a low rate of duty ; timber, for example, pays 0.10 mark per 100 kilograms; barrel staves, 0.30 mark; tan bark, 0.50 mark; soda, 1.50 marks. Pig-iron pays 1 mark per 100 kilograms; petroleum, 6 marks ; meat, raw or preserved, is set down at 12 marks; preserved fruit at 60 marks. Cheese of all kinds pays 24 marks ; tine zinc ware and fine iron ware, 24 marks per 100 kilograms. My reason for setting down the amount of duty assessed on some of the articles mentioned will presently appear. Wheat is 1 mark per 100 kilograms; rye, the same; barley, 0.50 mark; rape, 0.30 mark; flour, 2 marks; even such articles as cutlery, furniture, perfumeries, millinery goods, umbrellas, embroideries, silk dresses, silk hats, &c., are assessed by the 100 kilograms. As a matter of curiosity, I may mention that the last-named article (silk hats) is set down at 600 marks per 100 kilograms, and the last but one (silk dresses) at 900 marks.

The desire of the German Government, frequently expressed, to obtain the highest possible amount of revenue, by indirect methods of taxation, bas already been referred to. There is no rotation in office in Germany. The tenure is a life tenure. Appointments to the higher offices are made after the completion of a course of study, prescribed by law, closed by thorough examination at the end of distinct curricula. Promotions are generally made very slowly and gradually, from place to place, as a reward for long and faithful service in the inferior posi. tion ; in rare instances only, rapid promotion takes place, as a recogni. tion of peculiar aptitude or superior qualification. The subordinate offices are given to subaltern army officers, who have served uninterruptedly for twelve years or more, and who desire to exchange the occupation of a drillmaster with that of a uniformed customs or intervalrevenue officer or the like. As a matter of course, the members of this entire organization are intensely loyal. They study and apprehend quickly the general tendencies of the Imperial Government. They seek in every way to respond, not only to the direct instructions, but also to the general policy and desire of the Government, as revealed to them by the utterances of the ministers and official press.

The custom-house regulations are prescribed by the “Bundesrath,” that body which represents the different German states, and therefore somewhat resembles our Senate, while the Reichstag, the principal leg. islative body, elected directly by the people by universal suffrage, corresponds more nearly to our House of Representatives. Subsequently to the law of 1870, and to carry out its provisions, viz, on the 19th day of November, 1871, the Reichstag passed a series of custom-house reg. ulations with reference to inclosures (tare) of different articles of export. Most of these regulations are still in force. The general rule as to inclosuro of goods (tare) is this: That on articles assessed at a rate not exceeding 6 marks per 100 kilograms, the duty is charged on the gross weight, while of those paying a higher rate than 6 marks, the net weight is ascertained and no charge maue for the tare.

There are, however, many exceptions to this rule. One of these exceptions was, and is (for the regulation is still in force), to this effect, viz : That if the inclosure (tare) of an article of import belongs to a class of articles on which a duty of 24 marks per 100 kilograms, or more, is assessed, while the article it incloses pays a duty of 12 marks or less,

then the duty shall be assessed on the joint weight of the inclosure and the article inclosed, at the rate of the duty on the inclosure (tare).

It is very evident that this regulation was directed against frauds on the revenue; that its aim was to prevent, for instance, the importation of a material taxed at 24 marks or more, by making it serve as an inclosure (tare) of an article, taxed at say 3 or 4 marks per 100 kilograms. If this does not appear from the wording of the regulation itself, it does appear from the reading of the law to which these regulations are simply executory.

But right here the desire of the customs officers to propitiate as much as possible the aims of the Government made itself felt. The regulation referred to was used to change the existing revenue law and materially to raise the rates of duty on many articles. Up to the year 1879 it had been entirely dormant; now it became at once a living law. The spirit was lost sight of—it was carried out according to the letter. No intention to discriminate against any particular country is apparent. Nothing but a desire to increase the revenues, and at the same time to protect honie production and industries, in defiance, it is true, of existing laws, can fairly be charged. But in the latter direction findings of fact are made, and decisions based thereon which stagger credulity. Americanpreserved meat, instead of being assessed at 12 marks per 100 kilograms, is admitted as “fine iron ware,” because contained in tin boxes, and a duty of 24 marks per 100 kilograms; emery, which is free, if packed in tin boxes, is made to pay 24 marks, on the same ground; cheese, instead of 20 marks, if wrapped in tinfoil pays 24 marks, and there liave been instances in which 200 marks were assessed, because, in the opinion of the custom-house officers, there was in the encasing an admixture of silver. Ink has been rated at 30 marks instead of 3 marks, because contained in what was declared to be “fine glassware." Well might a member of the Reichstag, commenting upon these absurd. ities, ask: "How else than in bottles was ink expected to be imported, when it was set down in the law at 3 marks per kilogram? Perhaps in sacks or blotting paper.” A merchant imported a number of empty champagne bottles, sealed and labeled, to make a display in his showwindow. The bottles were assessed at the custom-bouse at 30 marks per 100 kilograms, as “fine glassware," probably because they were lastefully labeled. Knit jackets and coats have been charged 300

. marks, instead of 100 marks, because they seemed to the zealous cus. tom-house officers to come under the head of “millinery goods.” I might continue the subject indefinitely. The German press is discuss. ing these eccentricities with much interest. The comic papers have a regular column for "custom-house curiosa"—travestying the decisions of custom-house officials by the most grotesque inventions.

The absurdity of the proceeding has been brought to the attention of the Government by numerous German importers. The director of customs, Dr. Burchardt, has been called upon by members of the Reichstag to explain these anomalies. In answer to the questions addressed to this highest executive officer of the customs department, he has simply pointed to the regulation quoted.

It is clear that this construction of the regulation in question is utterly repugnant to the tariff law itself. The tariff law was enacted, as I have stated, by the Reichstag, agreed to by the Bundesrath, and signed and promulgated by the Emperor as the law of the land. The supplementary regulations, necessary to carry out the provisions of the tariff law, fall within the province of the Bundesrath. That these regulations must conform to and be consonant with the law, which they are intended to

:

weight, for purposes of the tariff, is 100 kilograms (one kilogram equal to 2.2 pounds of the weight of the United States).

Many natural products are free of duty; among these I mention raw metals (except iron); cord wood ; raw skins and hides ; horse bair, camel hair; minerals; raw cotton, wool, and silk; coal, charcoal, and peat; pitch, tar, animal oil, &c. Others pay a low rate of duty ; timber, for example, pays 0.10 mark per 100 kilograms; barrel staves, 0.30 mark ;

; tan bark, 0,50 mark; soda, 1.50 marks. Pig.iron pays 1 mark per 100 kilograms; petroleum, 6 marks ; meat, raw or preserved, is set down at 12 marks; preserved fruit at 60 marks. Cheese of all kinds pays 24 marks; tine zinc ware and fine iron ware, 24 marks per 100 kilograms. My reason for setting down the amount of duty assessed on some of the articles mentioned will presently appear. Wheat is 1 mark per 100 kilograms; rye, the same ; barley, 0.50 mark; rape, 0.30 mark; flour, 2 marks; even such articles as cutlery, furniture, perfumeries, millinery goods, umbrellas, embroideries, silk dresses, silk hats, &c., are assessed by the 100 kilograms. As a matter of curiosity, I may mention that the last-named article (silk hats) is set down at 600 marks per 100 kilo. grams, and the last but one (silk dresses) at 900 marks.

The desire of the German Government, frequently expressed, to obtain the highest possible amount of revenue, by indirect methods of taxation, has already been referred to. There is no rotation in office in Germany. The tenure is a life tenure. Appointments to the higher offices are made after the completion of a course of study, prescribed by law, closed by thorough examination at the end of distinct curricula. Promotions are generally made very slowly and gradually, from place to place, as a reward for long and faithful service in the inferior position; in rare instances only, rapid promotion takes place, as a recogni. tion of peculiar aptitude or superior qualification. The subordinate offices are given to subaltern army officers, who have served uninterruptedly for twelve years or more, and who desire to exchange the occupation of a drillmaster with that of a uniformed customs or internal. revenue officer or the like. As a matter of course, the members of this entire organization are intensely loyal. They study and apprehend quickly the general tendencies of the Imperial Government. They seek in every way to respond, not only to the direct instructions, but also to the general policy and desire of the Government, as revealed to them by the utterances of the ministers and official press.

The custom-house regulations are prescribed by the “Bundesrath," that body which represents the different German states, and therefore somewhat resembles our Senate, while the Reichstag, the principal leg. islative body, elected directly by the people by universal suffrage, cor. responds more nearly to our House of Representatives. Subsequently to the law of 1870, and to carry out its provisions, viz, on the 19th day of November, 1871, the Reichstag passed a series of custom-house reg. ulations with reference to inclosures (tare) of different articles of export. Most of these regulations are still in force. The general rule as to inclosuro of goods (tare) is this: That on articles assessed at a rate not exceeding 6 marks per 100 kilograms, the duty is charged on the gross weight, while of those paying a higher rate than 6 marks, the net weight is ascertained and no charge mave for the tare.

There are, however, many exceptions to this rule. One of these excep. tions was, and is (for the regulation is still in force), to this effect, viz: That if the inclosure (tare) of an article of import belongs to a class of articles on which a duty of 24 marks per 100 kilograms, or more, is assessed, while the article it incloses pays a duty of 12 marks or less,

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