No. 278.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Nelson.

No. 313.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of a communication of the 18th instant, addressed to this Department by the Secretary of the Navy. It relates to the exaction of a charge on the alleged exportation of specie from Mexican ports for current expenses of United States men-of-war. The duty on the exportation of bullion has for many years been levied in Mexico, but it has hitherto been understood to have been required only when the specie was going to foreign countries as freight. Though Mr. Mejia represents in his report that there is no precedent for the exemption, and that the general law applies to this particular case, it is apprehended that he must be mistaken in both particulars. This is believed to be the first instance in which any complaint on the subject has been made known to this Department, and it is not easy to see how an intelligent judge would construe as an exportation the act of placing an article on board of a man-of-war in a port for the purpose, in the main, of enabling the vessel to purchase supplies in that very port.

It is hoped that you may be able to induce the Mexican government to recede from its decision in this matter. If, however, it should be persisted in, you will give them to understand that it is expected that the law will be impartially executed, and that if the exemption is granted to the men-of-war of any foreign nation, it will, pursuant to the treaty, be required for those of the United States.

I am, &c.,

Hamilton Fish.