Mr. Williams to Mr. Seward

No. 8.]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose translation of a despatch received from the foreign office relating to the extension of the privilege accorded to vessels trading along the coast of China to those which ply between this country and [Page 474] Japan and Saigon, (the only port yet opened in French Annam,) of paying tonnage dues once in four months. The number of steamers now running regularly between Shanghai and Japanese ports is five, but the trade employs many more vessels; and this concession will be an advantage to a score or two of small craft plying between the two countries.

I forward you a synoptical report of the foreign trade with China during the year 1864, made out according to the instructions of the inspector general of customs, which, I have no doubt, gives a better idea of the commerce with this empire than has before been made.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

S. WELLS WILLIAMS, Chargé d’Affaires.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.



Prince Kung to Mr. Williams

Prince Kung, chief secretary of state for foreign affairs, herewith makes a communication:

I have recently consulted with M. de Bellouet, French chargé d’affaires, respecting a modification of that part of Article XXII of the treaty with France which relates to the levying of tonnage dues, and have settled the alterations to be made in it. I accordingly now enclose a copy of the amended portion of the article.

It has been decided that at Ningpo and all the open ports north of it the regulation shall come into effect on the 15th of October, and at Fuhchau and parts south of it on the 1st of November next.

His Excellency S. Wells Williams, United States Chargé d’ Affaires.

Alteration in Article XXII of the French Treaty with China.

After the expiration of the two days mentioned in Article XX, and before proceeding to discharge cargo, every French merchant vessel shall pay tonnage dues in the following manner: For vessels of 150 tons measurement and over, at the rate of four mace per ton; and for vessels under 150 tons measurement, at the rate of one mace per ton. Whenever a merchant vessel is about to leave one port in China to go to another to trade, or to that part of Annam now under French rule, or to any port in Japan, the master of the vessel shall report the same to the collector of customs, who shall issue a special certificate of the date of the clearance; and if within four months from the date the said vessel reaches any other port in China, she shall not be required to pay tonnage dues again; but after the expiration of the four months they shall be held to be due. Small boats and vessels under the French flag, whether they, are decked or not, under 150 tons burden, shall likewise pay tonnage dues once in four months, and the same rule shall apply to all Chinese vessels hired by French merchants from the natives.

The above shall be regarded as the authorized text of Article XXII of the French treaty, in all that relates to tonnage dues, and the original form shall henceforth be regarded as null.