No. 448.
Mr. Lowell to Mr. Evarts.

No. 25.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit a copy and translation of a note received on the 4th instant from the minister of state, with regard to the admeasurement of vessels.

As I was not quite sure about its precise intention, I preferred to defer forwarding it till after I should have had an interview with the minister of state. Yesterday, accordingly, I saw Mr. Silvela, who, frankly confessing that it was a matter about which he understood nothing, sent for one of the clerks in the ministry of marine, who assured me that the note intended to convey the acceptance, by Spain, of the offer of my government. To-day, consequently, I acknowledged the reception of the note in such a way as to admit no other understanding of its intent. A copy of my acknowledgment is subjoined for your further information.

It would seem that all question might be avoided in future, and that no remeasurement would be necessary on either side, if the papers issued to our ship captains expressed the net as well as the gross tonnage. This formality, I find, is complied with by some, at least, of the other powers with which Spain has an agreement on this point.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 25.—Translation.]

Mr. Silvela to Mr. Lowell.

Excellency: I have the honor to communicate to your excellency that as I am informed by the minister of marine, on examination of the Customs Regulations of the United States, which refer to the method of determining the burthen of vessels, it appears that the rates established in this respect by the country which your excellency so worthily represents are in accordance with those which govern in Spain; but, since, in the documents issued by the authorities of the United States, only the gross or what is called the regulations registered tonnage appears, when, according to the rules in force in our country, it is necessary to know the net tonnage of an American vessel which arrives at a Spanish port, it is indispensable to proceed to the measurement of the amount which, according as the vessel is a steamer or sailing-ship, it is proper to deduct from the total tonnage to obtain the net, in accordance with the provisions of the rule enforced in Spain.

This condition complied with, the Government of His Majesty is willing to stipulate with that of the United States for the reciprocal recognition of the measurement proposed by your legation on the 30th of June, 1876, first duly calling the attention of your excellency to the circumstance that as ail the certificates of measurement issued by the Spanish authorities since the 1st January, 1876, set forth the total tonnage of the vessel, it is proper that the Treasury Department at Washington instruct its officers that the said circumstance exempts Spanish vessels from measurement in the ports of the United States, if they are furnished with the document issued since the date mentioned, in order to avoid any interpretation to which the last article but one of the circular of the United States Treasury Department of 11th of July, 1876, might give rise.

I avail, &c.,

[Page 765]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 25.]

Mr. Lowell to Mr. Silvela.

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your excellency’s note of the 2d instant communicating the conclusion arrived at by his excellency the minister of marine, respecting the admeasurement of vessels.

As I understand this to be the practical adoption of the “Moorsom” system, as proposed by my government, I shall take pleasure in forwarding to Washington a copy of your excellency’s note, hoping that a difference which has caused so much inconvenience to both nations may be thus finally arranged to the satisfaction of both.

I gladly avail, &c.,