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A BILL—examination of custom-houses, depositories, and other public offices; prohibited importations and other miscellaneous prorisions.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, as follows:
Section 1. The Secretary of the Treasury shall have power and authority to appoint agents to examine the mint of the United States and the branches thereof, and the assay office, and their books and money accounts; also the several collection districts and the books and accounts of the different, collectors ; also the office of the Treasurer of the United States and the offices of the assistant treasurer thereof; also the offices of the public depositaries of the United States and the offices of the receivers of moneys accruing from the sales of public lands, and their respective books, money accounts, and the manner in which these several officers discharge their duties; also for the detection of fraud on the public revenue, and for the arrest of public defaulters, and for the detection and arrest of counterfeiters of the coin of the United States ; and he may allow a compensation not exceeding six dollars per day and travelling expenses.
Sec. 2. Every collector, naval officer, and surveyor shall cause to be affixed and constantly kept in some public and conspicuous plac of his office, a fair table of the rates of fees demandable by law, and shall give a receipt for the fees he shall receive, specifying the particulars whenever required so to do; and in case of failure therein shall forfeit and pay one hundred dollars, to be recovered with costs in any proper court having cognizance thereof.
Sec. 3. No fees shall be charged or collected from any owner or master of a ship or vessel, or from the owner, importer, agent, or consignee of any goods, wares, or merchandise, by the collectors of the several collection districts, except such as are hereinafter enumerated, viz:
For receiving and recording every mortgage, lien, assignment, bill of sale, transfer, or other paper or document authorized by act of Congress to be recorded, one cent lor every ten words ; and for the certificate of the same, twenty-five cents. For every exemplication of such record, or for a copy of any paper filed in the office in relation thereto, one cent for every ten words; and for certifying the same, twenty-five cents.
Said fees shall be paid to the collector by the person for whom the services are rendered, and shall be paid into the treasury by the collector as other public moneys. All copies of papers or records in the office of the collectors required for the use of the party or parties demanding the same, not being officers of the government or for their use, shall be paid for at the same rate and in the same manner; and every collector shall be required to render to the Treasury Department, monthly, returns of the fees so received, setting forth the items and the names of the persons from whom received.
Sec. 4. All bonds to the United States required by law, executed by one member of a firm in the name of such firm, as principals, shall equally bind the partner or partners in trade as the person or persons by whom such bond shall have been executed; and no clerk or hired person in the employment of another shall became principal or surety to any bond to which his employer is a party. ■
Sec. 5. No bond required by law shall be accepted by any collector of the revenue, unless the principal be a resident of the United States, and the surety or sureties citizens thereof.
Sec. 6. Whenever an oath is required by law, persons conscientiously scrupulous shall be permitted to affirm.
Sec. 7. Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to exempt the masters or owners of vessels from making and subscribing any oaths or affirmations required by any laws of the United States, not immediately relating to the collection of the duties on the importation of goods, wares, and merchandise into the United States.
Sec. 8. Wherever the words "ship" or "vessel," without further designation, are used in any law of the United States, they shall each be construed to mean any ship or vessel, whether propelled by wind, steam, or otherwise.
Sec. 9. The importation of all indecent or obscene articles, prints,
Saintings, lithographs, engravings, images, figures, transparencies, aguerreotypes, and photographs, is hereby prohibited; and no invoice or package whatever, or any part thereof, shall be admitted to entry in which any such articles are contained; and all invoices and packages whereof any such articles shall compose a part, are hereby declared to be liable to be proceeded against, seized, and forfeited, by due course of law, and the prohibited articles forthwith destroyed. Sec 10. If any person shall knowingly and willfully, with intent to defraud the revenue of the United States, smuggle, or clandestinely introduce into the United States, any goods, wares, or merchandise subject to duty by law, without paying or accounting for the duty thereon, or shall make out or pass, or attempt to pass, through the custom-house any false, forged, or fraudulent invoice, every such person, his, her, or their aiders and abettors, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum not exceeding five thousand dollars, or imprisoned for any term of time not exceeding two years, or both, at the discretion of the court. Sec. 11. If any officer of he customs, clerk, or any other person in the service of the United States under any officer of the customs, shall directly or indirectly take or receive any bribe, reward, or recompense for conniving, or shall connive at, or aid or abet in any way, any false entry of, or appertaining to any ship or vessel or its admeasurement, or of any goods, wares, or merchandise, or for the introduction or landing before entry, without the authority of the collector, of any merchandise, baggage, or luggage, or at the commission of any other act in violation of the revenue laws of the United States, or shall issue any false certificate or other document prescribed by law or Treasury regulations, and shall be convicted thereof, every such officer or other person shall forfeit and pay to the United States a sum not less than two hundred nor more than two thousand dollars for each offence; and any person giving or offering any bribe, recompense, or reward for any such issue, deception, collusion, or fraud, shall forfeit and pay to the United States two thousand dollars for each offence; and all gifts and donations shall be construed and held to be bribes, and punished as such. And in all cases where an oath or affirmation is required by any act of Congress from a master or other person having the command of a ship or vessel, or from any owner or consignee of any goods, wares or merchandise, his, her, or their factor or agent, and, generally, whenever an oath or affirmation is required from any person or persons whatsoever, under any act of Congress, if the person so swearing or affirming shall swear or affirm falsely, such person shall, on indictment and conviction thereof, be liable to the pains and penalties prescribed for persons convicted of willful and corrupt perjury.
Sec. 12. No officer of the customs, or other person employed under the authority of the United States in the collection of duties imposed by law on imports, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels, shall own, either in whole or in part, any ship or vessel, or act as agent, attorney, or consignee for the owner or owners of any ship or vessel, or of any cargo or lading on board the same; nor shall any officers of the customs, or other person employed in the collection of the duties aforesaid, import, or become concerned, directly or indirectly, in the importation of any goods, wares, or merchandise, or other thing, or the transportation of passengers or emigrants, into the United States, on penalty that every person so offending, and being thereof convicted, shall forfeit and pay to the United States the sum of five hundred dollars, and be dismissed from office.
Sec. 13. Every collector who shall knowingly make any registry of any ship or vessel, and every other officer or person, appointed by or under them, who shall make any registry, or grant any license or certificate, or other document whatever, contrary to law, or shall take any other or greater fees than allowed by law, or shall receive for any service performed pursuant to law, any reward or gratuity ; and every surveyor, or other person appointed to measure ships or vessels, who shall willfully deliver to any collector or naval officer a false description of any ship or vessel to be registered in pursuance of law, shall, upon conviction of any such offence, forfeit to the United States the sum of five hundred dollars, and be rendered incapable of serving in any office of trust or profit in the United States; and if any person authorized and required by law, in respect to his office, to perform any act or thing required bylaw, shall willfully neglect or refuse to do or perform the same according to law, such person, on being duly convicted thereof, if not subject to other penalty and disqualification, shall forfeit and pay to the United States the sum of five hundred dollars for the first offence, and a like sum for the second offence, and shall thenceforward be rendered incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under the United States.
Sec 14. Any person who shall, on the high seas, or on the lakes or navigable waters of the United States, extending to a port of entry or delivery, willfully, with intent to burn or destroy, set fire to any ship or other vessel, or otherwise attempt the destruction of such ship or other vessel, being the property of any citizen or citizens of the United States, or procure the same to be done, with the intent aforesaid, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall suffer imprisonment to hard labor for a term not exceeding ten years, nor less than three years, according to the aggravation of the offence.
Sec. 15. It shall not be lawful for any collector, receiver of pubiic money, or disbursing agent of the United States, or the disbursing agent of any department of the government, to withhold any portion of the public money in his hands, under pretence that he has been, or is liable to be, sued for and on account of any act or thing done by him officially, or on account of any moneys collected or received by him, or that he has a claim or claims for credits which have not been allowed him by the accounting officers, or equitable claim for credits which he designs to apply to Congress to allow; but in all such cases, such collector, receiver, or disbursing agent, shall forthwith pay such money into the treasury of the United States, upon the order of the Secretary of the Treasury; and if any such collector, receiver, or disbursing agent of the United States, or of any department thereof, shall fail or refuse to pay such money in accordance with the order of the Secretary of the Treasury, for the space of ten days, he shall be liable to a fine equal to one-half of the sum so withheld, and to be proceeded against under the provisions of the act "To provide for the better organization of the treasury, and for the collection, safe keeping, transfer and disbursement of the public money," approved sixth August, eighteen hundred and forty-six; and any person or persons, company or corporation, having such money in possession, and refusing to pay the same into the treasury of the United States, or to the order of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall be liable for the sum withheld, with the further penalty of fifty per cent, on the amount.
Sec. 16. In order to prevent frauds arising from collusive transfers, it is hereby declared that all goods, wares, or merchandise imported into the United States shall, for all revenue purposes, be deemed and held to be the property of tbe persons to whom the said goods, wares, or merchandise may be consigned, any sale, transfer, or assignment, prior to the entry and payment, or securing the payment, of the duties on said goods, wares, or merchandise, to the contrary notwithstanding. Skc. 17. In all cases in which the invoice or entry shall not contain the weight or quantity or measure of goods, wares, or merchandise now weighed or measured or gauged, the same shall be weighed, gauged, or measured at the expense of the owner, agent or consignee. Sec. 18. No officer of the government whose compensation is derived or paid from commissions or per centage upon his disbursements, or from fees or salary, such compensation being limited to a maximum, shall be allowed in any case a greater than a pro rataot such maximum for the time he may actually serve, whether the same be more or less than a year, and whether it be under one or more appointments, or before or after confirmation.
Sec. 19. No officer or other person connected with the navy of the United States shall, under any pretence, import in any ship or vessel belonging to the navy of the United States, any goods, wares, or merchandise liable to the payment of any duty; and all such goods, wares, or merchandise so imported shall be forfeited to the United States. Sec. 20. The presentation by any person or persons, by themselves or agents, of any false or fraudulent voucher, with the intention of obtaining a credit in any settlement with the United States, exhibiting any claim or demand against the United States, or any officer or agent of the United States in his official capacity, shall constitute a felony, and on conviction thereof the person or persons so offending shall be subject to a fine of not exceeding the amount of the claim, credit, or demand, so falsely and fraudulently exhibited or demanded, and to an imprisonment tor a term of not less than one nor more than five years, at the discretion of the court.
Sec. 21. Any person, company, or corporation who may or shall obtain any money or material from the United States by means of any lake or fraudulent account or voucher, or shall obtain any credit with the United States by means of any false or fraudulent account or voucher, upon conviction thereof shall be held guilty of a felony and embezzlement, and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding the amount of said money or credit, or the value of said material, so falsely and fraudulently obtained, and the persons or officers of the company or corporation so offending shall be subject to an imprisonment for a term not less than one nor more than five years, at the discretion of the court.
Sec. 22. Any officer or agent of the United States required to account with the United States for money or property, who shall render a false and fraudulent account against the United States or claim false and fraudulent credits against the United States by means of false and fraudulent vouchers, or by means of false and fraudulent proof, with intent to cheat the United States or any officer thereof, shall be held guilty of felony, and, upon conviction or indictment before the proper court, shall be fined in a sum equal to the false and fraudulent amount rendered in the account, or the false and fraudulent credit claimed, and shall, moreover, be confined in the jail or penitentiary, at hard labor, for a period not less than five nor more than fifteen years, in the discretion of the court.
Sec. 23. Any officer or other person, whether in the employ of the United States or not, who shall take and carry from the State, Treasury, War, Navy, Interior, Attorney General's, or Postmaster General's departments, or any of the divisions of said departments, or from any custom-house, post office, or from any land office, or any other office of the United States government, or any officer thereof, any money, record, book, deed, lease, contract, account, voucher, or other paper or evidence of a claim against the United States, or for a credit against the United States, with intent to steal the same, or with intent to cheat the United States or any person, or to hinder, delay, or embarrass the United States or claimant in any settlement made, or to be made, shall be held guilty of felony, and upon conviction on indicts ment before the proper court, shall be fined in a sum not less than one hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars, and shall be sentenced to confinement in the jail or penitentiary, at hard labor, for a period not less than one nor more than ten years, in the discretion of the court.
Sec. 24. Any officer or agent of the United States who shall falsely or fraudulently contract to give more than the fair market price for