Mr. Adee to Mr. Bayard.

No. 671.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction, No. 651, of the 5th instant, in regard to the treatment of men employed to care for cattle shipped on steamers plying between the United States and European ports, I inclose for your information a copy of a dispatch, No. 108, of the 3d instant, from the United States consul at Havre, France, reporting that he has dealt successfully with the question of destitute cattlemen by invoking the aid of the local authorities to force the ships to provide for them.

The Department hopes that it may be found practicable to adopt a similar remedy in British ports.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee,
Acting Secretary.
[Inclosure in No. 671.]

Mr. Chancellor to Mr. Uhl.

No. 108.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your dispatch No. 79, March 12, 1895, with inclosures from the Treasury Department, in reference to the evasion of quarantine laws by British ships leaving this port. There seems to have been some misunderstanding of my dispatch No. 100, December 20, 1894. It was the Manhanset which specifically formed the subject of my complaint and not the Chicago City, as written in your dispatch, though the latter vessel was incidentally mentioned as one of the delinquents. Surgeon-General Wyman is apparently in error [Page 731] and knew the force of my complaint when he says: “You are respectfully informed that the bill of health of the former (the Manhanset) has been examined and found to be an original one taken at the port of Bristol with a subsequent supplemental bill at the port of Swansea.” He must have confounded the Manhanset with the Micmac, otherwise I can not reconcile his statement with that of the commercial agent at Swansea, who, in letter herewith inclosed for your information, states with some detail of circumstance, that he granted the bill of health fow New York to the Manhanset at Swansea, to which port she had gone directly from Havre in order to take coals and freight before continuing her voyage to the United States, as stated in my dispatch.

The representations of the Swansea agent of the Manhanset to the effect that “at the time she sailed from Havre it was not decided she would go to New York,” appears to have been a pure fabrication, inasmuch as it has been stated that the vessel is in fact owned by New York parties, and was under contract to bring cattle to this port, as her final destination, and take back the cattlemen to New York. She manifestly began her journey to New York from this port, and should, under the provisions of article 1, bill of health, paragraph 1, of the Quarantine Regulations, issued by the Treasury Department, April 26, 1894, have taken the bill of health here, or I have misinterpreted the plain instructions therein given for the guidance of consuls.

The trouble with the Manhanset was, that like all other vessels bringing cattle to Europe, she wished to evade her contract to return the cattlemen, and accordingly her officers drove them destitute from the ship, with an offer of only $10 each to pay their transportation on some other vessel to the United States. The men applied to the consulate for protection, and were directed to return to the Manhanset and demand that the terms of the contract be complied with. They soon came back to the consulate and reported that the captain would not allow them to come on board, saying that unless they accepted the offer of $10 in lieu of passage they would get nothing, and “the United States consul might go to hell.” After this defiant message, I called on Mr. Nicolle, chief of the bureau of police and immigration, who has rendered me great service in dealing with cattle ships and cattlemen, and requested that the Manhanset be required to take the men from Havre, as they were practically paupers and I could not provide for them. In the meantime the ship had sailed to Swansea, leaving the men on my hands. The chief of the bureau of police and immigration, however, came to my assistance, and required the consignees to take care of the men and return them to their country.

I have had untold trouble with cattlemen and the British ships bringing them to this port, and turning them out penniless into the streets, or with only money enough to insure their getting drunk and misbehaving, which would be alleged as an excuse for leaving them. As these ships were for the most part in the New York trade and returned directly, or via some English port to the United States, I could, whether properly or not, bring the bill of health to bear as a means of requesting them to take the cattlemen back or provide for their transportation, and I must think, under such trying circumstances, the end abundantly justifies the means. I make no doubt the Manhanset would have complied with paragraph 1 of the Treasury Regulations and have taken her original bill of health here, except that she preferred to leave the cattlemen behind and defy consular authority, as a number of English ships did during the smallpox epidemic to avoid vaccination of the crews.

[Page 732]

I infer from Surgeon-General Wyman’s letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, a copy of which you inclosed to me, that no vessel leaving the port of Havre, whose ultimate destination is the United States, can be said to have “originally cleared from the port of Havre” or be required to take a bill of health at this port if she proposes to call en route by another foreign port for coals or freight, or to ship in part a new crew as the Manhanset did. Under this ruling a ship leaving Havre for New Orleans and calling at Vera Cruz for freight or coals, will not be considered as violating our quarantine laws and regulations by refusing an original bill of health here and taking it at the latter city.

Until the English shipmasters found they could with impunity avoid the vaccination of their crews during the epidemic of smallpox here by running across to England on one pretence or another, all vessels leaving Havre for the United States uniformly took their bills of health at this consulate and their supplemental bills at English ports. Now, no master will take a bill of health here unless it suits his fancy to do so, and never if there is a suspicion of sickness in this city, preferring the certainty of getting a clean bill at a healthy port in England. I mention these facts, not to gainsay the evidence of the Treasury Department’s decision in the case of the Manhanset, which I shall cheerfully abide by and follow in the future, but simply to show that great evils, in a sanitary point of view, may result from giving masters of vessels too much latitude in determining at what port they will take a bill of health.

I am, etc.,

C. W. Chancellor.
[Subinclosure 1.]

Mr. Davies to Mr. Chancellor.

Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 18th instant concerning the departure of the steamship Manhanset from Havre without your bill of health. The representations made to me by the Swansea agents of the Manhanset were to the effect that at the time she sailed from Havre it was not decided that she would go to New York from Swansea, and that the crew was shipped in this port. It was also stated that she took no cargo from any other port than Swansea, and that none of the cattlemen who arrived at Havre on the Manhanset would return to the States on her, all of them having been sent back by other vessels or paid off.

On the 20th, the day your letter reached me, I wrote the consul-general in London, placing the facts before him and saying that in the absence of telegraphic advice from him to the contrary I would issue a bill of health to the Manhanset at 3 o’clock the following day—the 21st. Receiving no word from the consul-general, I yesterday granted a bill of health for New York to the Manhanset.

I am, etc.,

David C. Davies,
United States Commercial Agent.
[Subinclosure 2.]

Mr. Davies to Mr. Chancellor.

Sir: Referring again to your favor of the 18th instant, concerning the departure of the steamship Manhanset from Havre without your bill of health, as to which I wrote you at some length on the 22d, I beg to say that in answer to my inquiries the consul-general in London wrote me as follows:

“I fully agree with you that the vessel clears from Swansea and is entitled to a bill of health. At the same time, if I were in your place, I should afford Consul Chancellor full information as to the vessel’s movements.”

[Page 733]

Since writing you before I have learned from the story of a cattleman, who said that he had been left behind at Havre by the British steamship Micmac, that the Micmac left Havre under apparently precisely similar circumstances, except that she went to Bristol before coming to Swansea. A bill of health for the Micmac from the United States consulate in Bristol was presented to me, and to this I attached my supplemental bill of health (Form No. 1931A½). I have no information as to where the crew of the Micmac was shipped or whether she took anything from Havre. She went to Boston, having left Havre shortly before the Manhanset did.

I am, etc.,

David C. Davies,
United States Commercial Agent.