The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917 Page: 318
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
necessities, such as breadstuffs, coffee, etc., the duties ranged
from 1 per cent to 10 per cent ad valorem. All unenumerated
articles were to pay duty at the rate of 25 per cent ad valorem.
This made the general average of duties about 25 per cent.
Other sections of the bill provided for tonnage duty of 25 cents
a ton on all vessels of ten tons or more; for the appointment of
proper officials for each district; for the payment of customs
dues in treasury notes if paid at once.8
The act of December 20, 1836, was to go into operation June
1, 1837. It made no provision for collection districts, however,
and no collectors had been appointed before that date.9 Before
it could become effective, however, the Congress was busy in the
preparation of another bill.
The general conditions of trade at that period are summed up
very well by Crawford, vice-consul of the British government,
in Galveston to O'Gorman, Consul-General in Mexico City. On
1May 13, 1837, he wrote as follows:
I endeavored to obtain returns of the Trade corresponding to
each port, but as they have had no Duties to collect till this time,
so they have had no Collectors nor port Officers to collect infor-
mation, and I am only enabled to form an estimate of what the
trade is at present, by what I have seen and conjecture that it will
increase proportionately with the population crowding in. At
present about 40 Vessels averaging 100 Tons ea[ch] carry on the
whole Commerce monthly which would give an aggregate of 48,000
Tons in the year, and they are all under the flag of the United
States, with the exception of two or three sailing under the single
star of Texas.
The appointment of the necessary Revenue Officers will no
doubt be made forthwith, but I have reason to think that a modifi-
cation of the Tariff will be carried by the present Congress to the
effect of authorizing the President to exempt from duty for one
year all articles for Agricultural use, provisions of all kinds, seeds
8Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 1286; Telegraph and Tewas Register, June
There are two insertions of this act in Gammel, Laws of Texas. The
first insertion gives the rate on unenumerated articles as 20 per cent, and
the second at 25 per cent ad valorem. The first is an error. In the Tele-
graph and Texas Register for June 3, 1837, there is a statement from the
chief clerk of the State Department saying that the act as passed provided
for a rate of 25 per cent ad valorem on all unenumerated articles.
'Crawford to O'Gorman, May 13, 1837, in Texas Historical Association,
TIHE QUARTERLY, XV, 208.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917, periodical, 1917; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/m1/324/: accessed July 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.