The President, for the better security of the collection of import or tonnage duties on commercial vessels ami cargoes, causes the maintenance of as many revenue-cutters as may be necessary for the protection of the Government revenues, the expense of which is paid out of the sum annually appropriated by Congress for this service.

Duties Of Officers In This Service

The officers of the revenue-cutters are respectively deemed officers of the customs, and are subject to the direction of such collectors of the revenue, or other customs officers, as, from time to time, may be designated for that purpose. They are required to board all vessels arriving within the United States or within twelve miles of the United States coasts, if bound for United States ports, and search and examine every part of such vessels, and demand and receive and certify the manifests required to be on board of certain vessels; to affix and put proper fastenings on the hatches and other communications with the hold of such vessels, and remain on board such vessels until they arrive at the port or place of their destination.

How Revenue-Cutters Are Known

The revenue-cutters on the Northern and North western lakes are specially charged with the duty of aiding vessels in distress on the lakes.

Revenue-cutters are distinguished by a peculiar flag or ensign; and the officers are empowered to stop any vessel liable to seizure or examination by firing upon her after hoisting the revenue flag, if the merchant-vessel's officers refuse to let the revenue officers board her.