No. 313.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Westenberg.

Sir: Your note of the 20th of last month was duly received. It claims for the steamers of the Dutch line between Rotterdam and New York the exemption from tonnage duties recently extended to those of the North German Lloyd between Bremen and ports of this country. In support of the claim you refer to Article II of the treaty of the 8th of October, 1782.

In reply, I have to state that that treaty is associated with reminiscences too important and grateful to every patriotic citizen of the United States to allow this Government to refuse any request which can justly be founded upon its stipulations.

Your application, however, assumes that the venerable instrument adverted to is still in full force. It is true that upon its face its duration is not limited. Its signers undoubtedly hoped, and probably believed, that it would last as long as either of the parties. In this forecast they certainly were as correct as their well-known sagacity gave occasion to anticipate. Pardon me, however, for referring to those events in the history of Europe, at the close of the last and the commencement of the present century, of which the identity and independence of our ancient [Page 716] friends, the Netherlands, was an unfortunate victim. Eesults of that character, involving as they do a release from obligations under treaties, are also, it is understood, deemed to involve a relinquishment of benefits claimed under similar instruments. In point of fact, it is believed that the general peace in Europe of 1815, the treaty of 1782 between the United States and the Netherlands was considered as at an end, and has never since been renewed. In proof of its having terminated, permit me to refer you to the note of the 12th of April, 1815, a copy of which is annexed, addressed by Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, to Mr. F. D. Ghanguion, then the minister of the Netherlands at Washington.

Accept, &c.,