No. 259.
Mr. Evarts to Mr. Langston .

No. 4.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 16th October ultimo, addressed to the Department by A. Nones & Co., merchants of New York, in relation to the imposition and collection of a tax of 1 per cent. on the value of all consignments of merchandise from New York to Hayti, together with a copy of the formal protest of the merchants in question against the legality and justice of such imposition.

It appears from the protests of the merchants in question that the charge referred to is exacted under the guise of consular fees for certifying invoices. The amount of the charge thus made renders it at once manifest that such a pretense rests on no just foundation. The fees of a consul of this government in Hayti for certifying an invoice, no matter what may be the value of the consignment, is limited to $2.50; while at the rates exacted by the Haytian consul at New York upon a consignment of $50,000 (not an unusual occurrence), the consular charge for certifying the invoice would be $500.

[Page 411]

Such a charge cannot be received otherwise by this government than as the indirect levying of a discriminating import duty, imposed by Hayti on the commerce of the United States with that republic, and, as such, being in direct contravention of the spirit and letter of the treaty of November, 1864, between this government and that of Hayti.

It evinces, moreover, an absence on the part of Hayti of that feeling of reciprocity in the commercial relations between the two countries which it has been the special desire of this government to cultivate and encourage as alike advantageous to both nations, and especially calculated to illustrate the spirit of friendship which should characterize the relations of two neighboring republics. You will take an early opportunity to bring the matter to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and at the same time express to the minister the hope indulged by this Department that the necessary orders will be issued by his government for the discontinuance of the exaction, and provision made for refunding such amounts as may have been thus wrongfully collected. And you will, with as little delay as convenient, report the result of your proceedings to the Department.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 4.]

Messrs. A. Nones & Co. to the Secretary of State.

Honorable Sir: As established merchants in this city, doing business with the republic of Hayti, we have protested against the imposition of the one per cent. consular fees charged on the gross amount of invoices shipped by us to the said island of Hayti, and respectfully inclose a copy of the protest which we have lodged with the Haytian consul at New York.

Requesting your kind attention to the same, we are,

Your obedient servants,



State of New York,
City and County of New York, ss:

We, the subscribers, A. Nones & Co., of the said city of New York, merchants, have solemnly protested, and by these presents do hereby solemnly protest against any and all payment and payments of money arising from the imposed charge and payment of 1 per cent. on the gross amount of invoices demanded by the Haytian consul in New York City aforesaid, on any and all amounts of invoices of goods, wares, and merchandise already shipped by us, and that may hereafter be shipped by us here, to Hayti, by any vessels or steamers, commencing with the shipments made by us on the sixth day of October, 1877, per American schooner E. A. de Hart, bound hence to Aux Cayes, Hayti, and duly certified by the Haytian consul in New York.

We, claiming as the cause of this, our solemn protest, that the said Haytian consular charge of 1 per cent. on the gross amount of said invoices shipped to Hayti is excessive, unlawful, improper, and in direct contravention to the spirit and meaning of treaty stipulations between the United States of America and the Republic of Hayti, and that we have already paid and will continue to pay the amounts exacted of us as aforesaid, only to prevent complications on the arrival of the goods, wares, and merchandise which we have shipped and may ship hence to Hayti, within the jurisdiction of said Haytien Government, and we hereby give public notice for the benefit and account of whom it may concern, that we shall claim a refund of any and every excess so paid, over and above a reasonable amount and charge, for Haytian consular fees, and for the verification of all invoices by us so shipped as aforesaid to the island of Hayti.

Of and for the Firm of A. Nones & Co.

[Page 412]

United States of America, State of New York, ss:

By this public instrument be it known to all whom the same doth or may in anywise concern, that I, Joseph B. Nones, a notary public in and for the State of New York, by letters patent under the great seal of the said State, duly commissioned and sworn, dwelling in the city of New York, do hereby certify that on the day of the date hereof, before me personally appeared Alexander Nones, to me personally well known, and known to me to be a copartner of the within-named firm of A. Nones & Co., known to me to be the same persons described in, and who executed the annexed instrument of writing, and acknowledged to me that he had, voluntarily and freely, executed the same, for the uses and purposes therein stated, as the proper act and deed of his said firm and of himself as such copartner.

Notary Public of the State of New York, 91 Duane street.