p.2 The Weather - (part) The steamer Watertown broke her way through the ice this morning to Wolfe Island but did not attempt to proceed to Cape Vincent, the American Channel being frozen sufficiently to impede navigation. It was with great difficulty that the Watertown made her way to Kingston from Cape Vincent last night. The ferry steamer Pierrepont made her last trip yesterday, and is now laid up for the season.
p.4 RIGHTS OF BRITISH VESSELS IN AMERICAN WATERS
(To the Editor of the N.Y. World)
Sir; - A question now before the Secretary of the Treasury will determine the privileges of vessels inward bound with foreign cargoes while in any ports of the United States. The case came up on the report of the Collector of Customs of Erie concerning the Canadian schooner Emery, which arrived at Erie in the first of the month, on her voyage from Toronto to Cleveland, with barley for the latter port. The captain informed the Collector that he intended wintering at Erie and completing his voyage to Cleveland in the spring, stating that if he proceeded further this season it would be at the hazard of vessel and cargo. He claimed the privilege of harbour as a right belonging to vessels owned by British subjects. The Collector conceded the right of shelter to the fullest extent claimed, but notified the captain that the presence of a dutiable cargo in its revenue jurisdiction gave our government the right of placing an inspection force on board at the expense of the vessel until the cargo reached its destination. To this action the captain objected as oppressive and unusual. The master insisted on remaining in port, and making no application for his hatches to be sealed, the Collector directed the commander of the revenue cutter to hold the vessel under surveillance without taking her into custody, and reported the case to the Secretary of the Treasury. At this stage the matter now rests. The Emery could not have been weather bound since the 1st of December, for the news despatches of last Friday report vessels still plying between Detroit and the Welland Canal, the track over which she would have passed to her destination, when her captain turned from his course to winter at Erie. But this objection is of small importance, as the collector admitted the right of shelter without question.
The point in dispute is whether, by such delay of voyage, foreign proprietors may run cargoes into American way ports instead of proceeding to their destination, and hold them there at their pleasure without paying or securing the duties or being subject to control or restriction by officers of the customs. The captain of the Emery is said to have stated that the owner of his cargo did not wish him to proceed to Cleveland this season, for he would then have to unload his cargo at that port; and that the same owner, by laying up a similar cargo last winter at one of the frontier ports, had cleared $2,000 by an advance in grain while it was stored in the vessel. This is simply warehousing foreign owned cargoes in our waters, and, if permitted in this case, it is feared, will bring a swarm of Canadian vessels into our frontier ports next season, which, under the pretext of being weather-bound, will avail themselves of the fluctuations of our markets between November and April, thereby enjoying the benefits of our warehouse system without submitting to any of the requirements of the warehouse laws. Under our present navigation law, a cargo is not liable for duties until the vessel reaches the port of destination, and unless the captain applies for his hatches to be sealed at the first port of arrival, the collector cannot compel him to proceed on his voyage or to discharge his cargo. The practice which the Emery is attempting has prevailed to some extent on the frontier, and has received its first check from the Collector at Erie.
Washington, Dec. 20th, 1870