or when the party interested is compelled to swear in his own case, has a most fatal tendency. This might be brought as a strong additional argument against the present system of valuation; but it appears to me that the custom-house oaths may now and should be altogether dispensed with. Since, according to the present regulations, the goods are appraised, at least in all doubtful cases, without regard to such oaths, why should these be required at all? The original invoices are one of the elements by which the appraisers are guided in valuing merchandise; and it seems sufficient for that purpose that such invoices should be delivered to them. I am under the impression that in England the right reserved by government to take the merchandise at the price stated in the invoice, with a certain addition per cent., has been found an efficient check against attempts to deceive.

On looking at the last statement in the documents accompanying the Secretary's report, which gives the annual amount of the gross and net revenue and of the expenses of collection for the years 1821 to 1815, I was astonished at the great increase of those expenses. Comparing the period of the eight years 1822 to 1829 with that of seven years and a half, 1st January, 1838, to 30th June, 1845, we have the following results :




Net. Collection. 8 years, 1822 to 1829, $27,037,000 $21,637 $827,000

1838 to 1845, 21,267,000 17,654 1,710,000

Ratio of Expenses of Collection to Gross. Net. 3.06 3.81 7.68 9.25

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Comparing these two periods, the positive increase of the annual expenses of collection is near nine hundred thousand dollars, and the increase of the ratio of those expenses to the net revenue is as 1 to 2.41. The most correct way of comparing the amount of business done in the custom-houses at different times appears, however, to be by adding for each period the aggregate amount of imports to that of foreign goods reexported. For as no duties are raised on domestic exports, the estimate of their value occupies comparatively but a short time. It appears, by the document N annexed to the Secretary's report, that this amount was nearly equal in the two periods of three years each of 1805 to 1807 and of 1835 to 1837. These, together with the corresponding expenses of collection taken from the official documents, are as follows:

1805 to 1807.

1835 to 1837. Aggregate of imports and foreign exports, $561,616,000 $541,970,000 Annual average of do.


187,205,000 181,657,000 Do. do. of expenses of collection,

593,000 1,392,000

Thus we find that, for transacting about the same mass of business, the positive annual increase of expenses is eight hundred thousand dollars, and that the ratio of expense to business has, within the same period of thirty years, increased at the rate of 1 to 2.43.

I am far from ascribing the whole of that increase to the present system of valuation and appraisement. Two other causes have had a much more powerful effect in producing that result. The first is the general and constant tendency of every department and branch of the government to enlarge the scale of expenditure with which it is connected. This is most strongly exhibited by the chiefs of bureaus and other similar subordinate officers, who never see or think of more than one single object; but it is visible everywhere, in the contingent expenses of Congress and others of a civil nature as well as in those of the military and naval departments. The Secretary of the Treasury, on whom devolves the task of devising means sufficient to defray the whole national expenditure, may be an exception; but he is powerless unless sustained by the President and by Congress; and the preceding statements show a great increase of expense in that branch which is under his immediate control.

The other general course to which I have alluded is the abuse of patronage, the system of political rotation and proscription applied to clerks and to the most subordinate officers, which, as it originates in the thirst for offices, cannot supply the appetite of the applicants without increasing the number of offices. Still, a certain portion of the increased expenditure incident to the collection of the revenue must be ascribed to the rigorous system of appraisement rendered necessary by an exaggerated tariff. And this is an additional argument in favor of specific duties, which, so far as they may be applied, lessen in the same proportion the expenses of collection. .

Viewing the subject under all its aspects, I would say that a general system of duties ad valorem may appear most convenient to the lawgiver, inasmuch as he has nothing more to do in that case than to decide on the rate of duty to be imposed on each species of merchandise. The substitution of specific duties requires considerable additional labor in order to ascertain the species of goods to which they may be applied and the proper equivalent for the duty to which such goods would be subject if this was laid according to their respective value; and I have no doubt that the specific duties now laid require in many instances modifications and corrections. But, on the other hand, after that labor shall have been performed and the law rendered as perfect as the nature of the case will admit, it appears to me, for the reasons which have been stated, that for all practical purposes, in reference to a faithful execution of the laws and to justice, specific duties should be preferred to those founded on a valuation of the article in all the cases where they may be properly applied. I may be permitted to add that, limited as is my intercourse with the world, I am assured that fair traders, engaged in the importation of certain descriptions of goods, declare that they cannot stand the double competition of underrated invoices and direct smuggling.

30th March. I will, if I can, address you another letter on the subject of goods which may be imported free of duty. But you may perceive from the deficiencies and desultory tenor of the preceding observations that I am neither prepared nor able to treat the subject in a manner satisfactory to me or useful to the public. Such imperfect and vague suggestions are not worth the labor they cost me. I pray you to accept, &c.


NEW YORK, April 2, 1846. DEAR SIR, I have the honor to enclose a memorial of the

a American Ethnological Society respecting the publication of a cheap edition of the scientific volumes of the exploring expedition. The proposed publication by the society of that portion of Mr. Hale’s report which relates to the Oregon Indians would fill about one-half of our next volume; and I believe that a subscription or direct aid on the part of government of about two hundred dollars would be sufficient for that purpose. I will thank you to let me know as soon as convenient what may be the prospect on that point. Permit me to submit a further request of a personal nature.

I published ten years ago, in the Transactions of the Massachusetts Antiquarian Society, a “Synopsis of the Indian Tribes within the United States and the British Possessions east of the Rocky Mountains.” This work, of more than four hundred pages, of which more than one-third consists of vocabularies and grammatical forms, consumed in all about eighteen months of my time, and cost me a few hundred dollars in journeys and compensation to transcribers. I need not add that I never derived a single dollar from it; my reward was in the labor itself. The object of that essay, independent of some imperfect grammatical notices, was a classification of the Indian tribes according to their respective families of languages and distinct dialects. I succeeded so far as to reduce the number of languages east of the Stony Mountains to ten great families (Esquimaux, Athapascas, Algonkins, Iroquois, Sioux, Cherokees, Choctaws, Muskogees, Caddos, Pawnees), subdivided into more than fifty distinct dialects, and to six other totally distinct languages, spoken by as many tribes, which at this time do not embrace more than five or six thousand souls. I have since obtained complete vocabularies of three important tribes (Black Feet, Fall Indians, Crows), of which I had not been able to give more than speci

With the exception of the Indians of Texas or its borders, and of two or three other small tribes which are still doubtful, the classification in its general outlines is complete and certain. More extensive vocabularies, and, above all, a more profound investigation of the structure of those languages, are necessary, and form one of the principal objects of the Ethnological Society. For want of materials the country west of the Stony Mountains was almost entirely omitted in my essay. This chasm has now been filled to a considerable extent by the labors of Mr. Hale, who, as I understand, was eminently qualified for the task; and I feel very anxious to compare the Oregon languages with those of the Indians east of the Stony Mountains. Many men understand far better some of the Indian languages, and are in other respects better qualified to investigate their structure than I am ; but, from the more extensive views I have taken of the subject, which have been since extended to the Mexican nations, I have acquired some facility in discovering real analogies, and am willing and desirous to undertake the task. I am a very old man, and cannot wait for the intended cheap publication. On applying to the publishers in Philadelphia for Mr. Hale’s volume, I was informed that they could not dispose of a single copy without the permission of the Committee on the Library of Congress; and the favor I now respectfully ask is, that the committee might be pleased to direct the publishers, Messrs. Lea & Blanchard, to supply me at once with a copy of that volume.




NEW YORK, April 2, 1846. The American Ethnological Society begs leave to express respectfully its desire that the honorable Committee on the Library of Congress may be pleased to adopt and recommend such measures as may be necessary for publishing a cheap edition of the scientific volumes of the exploring expedition. It is believed that all the American literary and scientific societies and all the private individuals engaged in similar pursuits concur in that

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