San Francisco April 30th 1850
F. Curtis & Co.
Your Mr. J. S. Curtis in New York put in my charge to be transported to this place, a trunk containing merchandise. I arrived here with the trunk, per steamer Ravenna this day one week ago. Mr. Curtis omitted to procure me from the Custom House, New York, a manifest of the goods, and as all trunks arriving at this port from Panama have to undergo Custom House inspection, this omission occasioned me a great deal of trouble. On my arrival I was forbidden to take the trunk ashore without a Custom House permit. I came on shore and looked about for Mr. Geo. May, the consignee. I spent two days in making inquiries and looking him up, but entirely with out success. As it was necessary to have the trunk landed, I broke open the Consignees letter to look for an— page two —
invoice of the goods, which likewise Mr. Curtis omitted to furnish me. I had previously put a letter in the P. O. addressed to Mr. May requesting him to call upon me and get the goods, and I waited to hear from him till the very last moment that the goods were allowed to remain on board the steamer. On looking at the invoice I saw that the name of “Curtis, Randall & May,” and for this firm I have looked about and inquired, equally without success. As the last resort, and to prevent the goods being landed and stored at enormous expense, I undertook the Custom House formalities myself. They are these: I was obliged to give a bond in $180, to procure from the Collector at New York a manifest of the goods certifying that they are of American manufacturer &c, -- I got a friend of mine as a personal favor to go as my security on the bond, and upon this was allowed a permit to take them ashore. The manifest must be produced as this port in six months from the date pf the bond, April 18, or the bond is forfeit. You will please therefore take an inventory of the goods to the Collector in NY and— page three —
get the necessary document made out and forward it to me by the very next mail if possible. No trunks, whether containing baggage or merchandise are allowed to land in this port without inspection. I was therefore obliged to open the trunk to the Custom House Officer and cut the tin enclosure, to show him that the contents corresponded with the invoice. This exposure compelled me also to pay freight on the trunks to the steamer. I have done the best possible under the circumstances, and subjected myself to a great deal of trouble and expense, which I should have felt very unwilling to do but for my former acquaintance and friendship with your Mr. J. S. Curtis.
I have the trunk at present under a cheap storage, and shall continue so for a time till I become satisfied that your agents have “vamoosed,” which I think is most likely. Their names or either of them can be found in the directory, and some of our oldest merchants have not known anything of them. It must be three months before I can hear from you, and if I can not find the consignees, and I can make a profitable sale for you, I shall take the liberty of doing so for you.— page four —
I am in very great haste, and you must therefore excuse further from me at present
I am very truly
Your Obedt Sevt
H. P. Janes