Mr. Westenberg to Mr. Fish.
Sir: In the note of February 19 with which I was honored, and which contained an answer to the claim presented by me for extension, to the Dutch line of steamers between Rotterdam and New York, of the exemption from tonnage duties in American ports, recently accorded to the steamers of the North German Lloyd, your excellency argued that the treaty of 1782 between the Netherlands and the United States was to be considered, for political reasons and events, as being no longer in force. In support of this opinion your excellency referred to a note of April 12, 1815, written by the Hon. James Monroe, Secretary of State, to. Mr. Changuion, then minister of the Netherlands in the United States.
In my reply which I had the honor to address to your excellency on March 8th, last, I explained the reasons why I could not agree to your opinion on these points—reasons based as well on considerations of international law as on my consideration of the said note of the Hon. James Monroe.
My attention has since been called to some questions that arose between the Netherlands and the United States about claims of various nature, all of them presented a few years after the note of Hon. James Monroe had been addressed to Mr. Changuion; and in the correspondence that took place, I found confirmed by the official American State Papers the following assertions from both sides, by which, I hope, it will be evident that, whatever may have been, in general, the opinions and intentions in 1815, mentioned by the honorable Secretary of State Monroe, the treaty of 1782 was still considered as to be and to have remained in full force, dejure as well as de facto. I take the liberty to present here, inclosed to your excellency, the passages concerning it. While submitting to you these declarations, declarations the more to be appreciated, [Page 719] as those from the American side were given by the United States Government itself by the Hon. John Quincy Adams, the justly celebrated statesman, and precisely when the Hon. James Motiroe was President, I hope, respectfully, that they may contribute to bring your excellency to the opinion of the permanent and still actual continuance of said treaty and its basis, and consequently to reconsider favorably the claim which I had the honor to present.