Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 475.]

Sir: The Moniteur of this morning contains in the part headed “non-official” a communication, including several documents therein referred to, relating to the difficulties existing between this government and Mecklenburg-Schwerin, by reason of the non-payment by the latter of the quota ascribed to it in the capitalization and extinguishment of the Scheldt dues.

It may be remembered by the department that Mecklenburg did not take part in the treaty of 1863, and its vessels coming into Belgian ports have since, under the terms of the law of 13th June, 1863, authorizing the King to make the treaty, had an additional tax of five francs imposed upon them.

Long and fruitless negotiations have followed, during which Mecklenburg proposed to the equivalent of 600,000 francs net in lieu of the 1,036,320 francs established at the outset as its share on the basis paid by the other powers.

She has now become a member of the Germanic Confederation, and as such its ships bear its flag. They are, however, still subjected to verification and the payment of the tax in Belgian ports, and the subject has been brought before the German federal council by this government, and is still pending there, this government declaring that it cannot recognize the flag of the North German Confederation, save with the reserve of assuring itself that it does not cover Mecklenburg vessels. * *

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


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