to Mr. Langston
Washington , April 12, 1878.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 23, of the 24th ultimo, has been received. It is accompanied by the reply of the Haytian minister for foreign affairs to your note objecting to the consular tax of 1 per cent. on the value of merchandise exported from this country to Hayti. The reasons assigned by that functionary in defense of the policy of that tax are by no means deemed satisfactory.
It may be allowed that Hayti has a right to impose such duties upon importations from abroad as to her may seem expedient. Friendly nations which hold intercourse with her, however, also have reason to expect that this act of sovereignty will be exercised in her own dominions, and that the invidious character or degree of the charge will not be sought to be avoided by making her consuls in foreign countries tax-gatherers there.
You will consequently protest against the tax adverted to as decidedly offensive, at least in form, to this Government, and express a hope that the proper authority there may see the expediency of such further legislation as may obviate the objections adverted to.
The British Government has applied to us to join with them in protesting against the tax. It has not been thought advisable at present to accept the invitation. You may, however, confer freely upon the subject with the British representative there. Such conferences may make it more easy to compass the common object.