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Among the modern institutions for the advantage of commerce, one of the most useful is that of Consuls, or persons residing in the large trading cities, and especially the seaports, of foreign countries, with a commission to watch over the rights and privileges of their nation and to decide disputes between her merchants there. When a nation trades largely with a country, it is requisite to have there a person charged with such a commission; and, as the state which allows of this commerce must naturally favour it-for the same reason, also, it must admit the Consul. But, there being no absolute and perfect'obligation to this, the nation that wishes to have a Consul, must procure this right by the commercial treaty itself.
The Consul being charged with the affairs of his Sovereign, and receiving his orders, continues his subject, and accountable to him for his actions. -Chitty's Vattel, Law of Nations.
COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES. As to Rate of Duty:-If any dispute arise as to the proper rate of duty payable in respect of any goods imported into the United Kingdom, and admissible for home consumption, the importer or consignee, or his agent, shall deposit in the hands of the collector of customs at the port of importation the amount of duty demanded by such collector ; and such deposit shall be deemed to be the proper duty payable in respect of such goods, unless an action or suit be brought or commenced by the importer of such goods within three months from the time of making such deposit in one of Her Majesty's courts at law, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any and what amount of duty is due and payable upon such goods; and, upon payment of such deposit, and passing a proper entry for such goods, by the importer, &c., such collector shall thereupon cause the said goods to be delivered in virtue of such entry. 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107, § 29. [Aug. 20, 1853.]
LONDON. How Commissioners may dispose of Disputes. If in the port of London any dispute arise between any masters or owners of ships, merchants, importers, consignees, shippers, or exporters of goods, or their agents, or licensed agents, and any officer of customs, with reference to the seizure or detention of any ship or goods, or to any apparently accidental omission, inadvertence, or noncompliance with the laws or regulations relating to the customs, or touching the withdrawal of agents' licences, it shall be lawful for the commissioners to dispose of or determine such dispute in such manner as they may deem just. § 31.
Penalties.-If upon consideration of the facts and circumstances out of which such dispute shall have arisen the Commissioners of Customs shall be of opinion that any penalty or forfeiture has been incurred by any such master, or person, the commissioners may, in case they shall be of opinion that the penalty ought to be remitted, remit and forego the same accordingly, or, in case they shall be of opinion that a mitigated penalty should be imposed and enforced, mitigate any such penalty or forfeiture to such amount as they may deem a sufficient satisfaction for the breach of law or regulation complained of. § 32.
Appeal to open Court.-In case any such person shall feel himself aggrieved by the determination of the Commissioners of Customs in any of the cases aforesaid, or have any ground of complaint against any officer of customs in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by such officer in or about the execution of his duty, the party so feeling himself aggrieved shall, upon an application in writing to the Commissioners of Customs, which application shall state the substance of his complaint, or the reasons of his dissatisfaction with such determination, be entitled to have the facts and circumstances of such complaint or determination inquired into by one of the said commissioners in the manner following: § 33.
Public Inquiry - Upon receipt of such application the Commissioners of Customs shall depute one of such commissioners to inquire into the subject matter of such application, for which purpose a suitable apartment* shall be provided, to which the parties complaining and the parties complained against, and their agents and witnesses, and all other
persons interested or desirous of attending, shall have free access ; and the commissioner so deputed shall receive the statement of the complainant or his agent or attorney, and hear any reasons which he or they may advance in support of his complaint, and the commissioner shall take or cause to be taken evidence on oath which the complainant may offer and adduce in support of his complaint, and write down or cause to be written down and report the substance of such evidence in a narrative form, and his opinion thereon and on the arguments, if any, adduced on the hearing of the case, for the information of the commissioners, and in like manner the commissioner shall take and write down or cause to be taken down and written, and report, for the information of the Commissioners of Customs, any evidence which may be offered in support of such determination of the commissioners, or in case of a complaint against an officer such exculpatory evidence as the officer complained against may offer or adduce; and the course of proceeding with respect to the taking of such evidence and the conduct of such inquiry shall be in as close conformity as the nature of such inquiry will admit with the practice adopted before justices on inquiries had before such justices. § 34.
How Commissioners to Prosecute or Decide—How Award may be Enforced.—The Commissioners of Customs, upon the evidence so reported to them, shall either determine to prosecute, if they deem it a proper case for prosecution, or decide the case upon such evidence, and make their order thereon accordingly, which order shall be communicated by a Commissioner in open Court either on the same day or a future day to be appointed at the hearing for that purpose ; and every order of the Commissioners made upon consideration of the facts, so reported by the Commissioner by whom such inquiry shall have been holden, shall, in case any penalty or mitigated penalty or forfeiture be adjudged by such order to be paid or enforced, be of equal force, validity, and effect as any conviction for penalties which any justice or justices is or are now empowered by law to make, and upon the production of any such order under the hands of any two or more of the Commissioners of Customs to any justice of the peace it shall be lawful for such justice to enforce such order, in the same manner and by the like authority as such justice is now empowered to enforce orders unless the party against whom such order shall have been made, shall, within one week after the same shall have been communicated as aforesaid, give notice in writing to the Commissioners of Customs or to their solicitor that he refuses to abide by such order, in which case the Commissioners of Customs may direct such proceedings thereon as they may see fit, or the party against whom such order shall have been made shall have the same remedy by action in any court having jurisdiction, including the “Court of
• See Open COURT, at end of this Title.
Requests of the City of London and the Liberties thereof,” as if no such hearing or order had been made : provided always, that if any such master, owner, importer, shipper, exporter, or agent (not wishing to resort to such appeal as hereinbefore provided) be desirous of stating his case personally to one of the Commissioners of Customs, he shall be at liberty to do so on attending at the Custom House during the sitting of the
board on applying for that purpose. Power to keep Order.--The Commissioner of Customs so deputed to inquire, shall have and exercise, while engaged in the conduct of such inquiry, and to as full an extent as the same is now exercised by any justice in sessions, all necessary powers and authority to enforce order and propriety of conduct. S 36.
OUT PORTS. If at any of the outports any dispute shall arise between any master or owner of ships, merchants, importers, consignees, shippers, or exporters of goods, or their agents, and any officer of customs, with reference to the class of cases hereinbefore enumerated as arising or occurring in the port of London, the like inquiry shall be holden, the like course of proceeding adopted, the like mode of taking evidence pursued, the like accommodation for the parties concerned provided, the like authorities for maintaining order given, and, as nearly as may be, the like matters in every respect done, as hereinbefore provided for inquiry into and conduct of similar proceedings in the port of London, save and except that the duty herein before prescribed to be performed by one of the Commissioners of Customs deputed for that purpose shall be performed at such outports by the collector or comptroller or other officer of customs deputed for that purpose. $ 37.
Inquiries by Commissioners, Surveyors General, and other Officers— Oath.-In any of the foregoing cases, or whenever it shall be necessary for the Commissioners of Customs or their officers to institute any inquiry to ascertain the truth or facts with respect to any complaint or matter relating to any business under their management or control or incident thereto, or the conduct of officers or persons employed therein, such inquiries shall and may be made or conducted by the commissioners for the time being, or any one or more of them, or by any surveyor general, inspector general, collector, or comptroller, or other officer of customs, or by such persons as the Commissioners of Customs sha direct and appoint for that purpose ; and when upon any such inquiry proof on oath shall be required by the person so conducting the same, such person may administer such oath to any person attending before him as aforesaid ; and if any person so examined as a witness before such person shall be convicted of giving false evidence on his examination on oath before the person conducting such inquiry, every such person so convicted shall be deemed guilty of perjury and shall be liable to the pains and penalties thereof. $38.
Witnesses.- Upon any such inquiry or examination it shall be lawful for the Commissioners of Customs, or any one or more of them, or for any such surveyor general, inspector general, collector, comptroller, or other officer of customs, or person so authorized or directed by the Commissioners of Customs to conduct such inquiry or examination, to summon any person required as a witness to appear before the commissioners, inspector general, collector, comptroller, surveyor general, or other officer, or person authorized to conduct such inquiry or examination, as the case may be, to attend on the hearing thereof at the time and place to be specified in such summons, to give evidence upon oath of the truth of any facts appertaining to such inquiry, or any other matter relating thereto ; and every person so summoned, having his reasonable expenses for such attendance, if required, tendered to him at the time of service of such summons, who shall neglect or refuse to appear according to the exigency thereof, or who, having so appeared, shall refuse to take the oath, or shall refuse to give evidence, or to answer according to the best of his knowledge and belief any question when thereunto required, shall for every such default or offence forfeit 201. § 39.
Regulations for Conduct of Inquiries.—The Commissioners of Customs shall from time to time make such rules for the proper conduct of such inquiries as may be expedient, and as in their judgment shall be necessary or proper ; and such rules 'shall be observed on the conduct of such inquiries, until annulled or varied by the authority of the commissioners.
OPEN COURT OF COMMISSIONERS OF CUSTOMS.
By C. O., Nov. 26, 1853, the Commissioners of Customs have made the following rules as to complaints and disputes between merchants and others, and the officers of customs, the public investigation thereof, and inquiries touching matters relating to the customs, and the conduct of officers or others concerned therein :
1. A room on the ground floor, at the eastern end of the Custom House, London, shall be appropriated to the hearing of complaints and appeals under the Customs Consolidation Act, 1853.
2. One commissioner will sit in the court, at eleven o'clock, on Tuesdays and Fridays in every week, when necessary, to conduct such inquiries as may have been demanded, and on such other days as the Commissioners may appoint, on special application, in cases requiring more urgent dispatch.
3. In order to such inquiry it will be sufficient for the party requiring it to apply to the board by letter, addressed either to the commissioners or their secretary, stating his place of abode or business, the case to which he refers, and the substance of his complaint; or, if it have reference to any decision of the board, the reasons of his dissatisfaction with such determination.
4. On receipt of such application the case will be heard on the next possible open court day, without further notice to the party, who will be required to attend with his witnesses, if any, on such day, at eleven o'clock, unless in cases where on special application any earlier day is appointed, in which case he shall have notice thereof personally, if he attend for that purpose, or by letter addressed to him at the place of abode or business stated in his application.
5. Any party demanding such inquiry will be entitled to have a summons, requiring the attendance of any witnesses necessary to establish his case, on application to the board.
6. Any party feeling himself aggrieved, and who may be desirous of stating his case to one of the commissioners, instead of demanding an inquiry in open court, may do so on applying to the secretary of the board.
7. All parties concerned are referred to the provisions of the law in extenso, contained in sections 31 to 40 of the said Act.
8. With regard to the outports, the like rules are to be observed as far as practicable, the collector, comptroller, or other officer deputed for that purpose, presiding at the inquiry instead of a commissioner; and complaints may be made by letter addressed to the collector. But any complainant will be at liberty, and is requested, if time will admit, to address his application to the commissioners, in order that they may have the earliest intimation of the case, and issue any directions which may appear desirable for facilitating the inquiry.
PART THE TENT H.
E U R O P E.
“Far as the breeze can bear the billows' foam,
Survey our empire and behold our home!"
From the official accounts, in the year ended January 5, 1854, it appears that the number of vessels employed in the foreign trade of the United Kingdom was 35,303 ; the burden of these was 7,797,550 tons.
From the same source we find, that the gross amount of the customs duties on imports, for the year ended January 5, 1854, was 22,419,308l. : the exports of British and Irish produce and manufactures, in that year, were in value 87,357,3061. Can any other nation or people show us anything like this? Well may we say—“Her merchants are princes, her traffickers are the honourable of the earth.” The past history of mankind does not record an empire so extensive and so powerful, so wealthy and so great, as that of the United Kingdom. On her vast territories, during every season of the year, the sun never sets. As the evening rays forsake the groves of Honduras his morning beams strike the spires of Calcutta, and three hours before they sink from the population of Montreal and Jamaica—they gladden the British subjects on the western shores of New Holland. Can we then refrain from exclaiming in the language of Sir Walter Scott in the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel":
“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
POPULATION. The gross numbers of the population were contributed from the chief divigions of Great Britain as foīlow :—England, 16,921,888 ; Wales, 1,005,721 ; Scotland, 2,888,742 ; and the “Isles," 143,126 ; in addition to which it was computed that 162,490 were at sea or serving abroad in the army.--Census, 1851.