The new regulation, which is projected in consequence of the revision of the
system of admeasuring Belgian vessels, is but a simple conversion, without
any augmentation, of existing dues, and in no wise impairs the engagement
entered into with the powers that signed the treaty not to permit the
re-establishment of the local dues at Antwerp.
The Government of the King would be very glad to be made acquainted as
speedily as possible with the views of the Government of the United States
as regards the subject of this circular, to which are annexed—
I should therefore be very grateful to you, Mr. Secretary of State, if you
would cause these papers to receive as prompt attention as the convenience
of the Department will permit.
Accept, Mr. Secretary of State, the assurance of my very high
The governments represented at the International Conference, held at
Constantinople in 1873, recognized, in principle, the utility of the
adoption, by all maritime powers, of a uniform system of admeasurement
of sea-going vessels, and they came to an agreement, practically, on two
essential points, namely: the capacity of the standard ton (110 English
cubic feet) and the method of measuring the gross ton.
The Belgian Government, having decided to revise its own system of
admeasurement, has adopted, on these points, the unanimous views of the
members of the conference. It has also accepted the method recommended
by them for the measurement of the net tonnage of sail-vessels. As regards the computation of the net tonnage of
steam vessels, on which subject differences
of opinion prevailed among the members of the international assembly, it
has thought proper to pronounce in favor of the special deductions
allowed by the system of the sontes fixes.
The Government of the United States of America will become familiar with
the nature of the new Belgian system by perusing the accompanying
The change made in the capacity of the official ton in Belgium, as well
as in the method of admeasurement, rendered it necessary to remodel the
local dues at Antwerp, which are collected according to the tonnage of
the vessels. This revision was made by the government, with the
assistance of the communal administration of Antwerp.
Although the point in question is a simple conversion of dues, involving
no increase of those now collected, the Government of the King has
decided not to enforce the new regulations and the tariff arising
therefrom until after it shall have invited the States which signed the
treaty of July, 1863, for the redemption of the Scheldt dues, to examine
the perfect legality of the projected measure; its design has been
thereby to prevent any ulterior objection to the character of the
revision, and to give evidence of the strict good faith with which it
proposes to respect the engagement contracted by it towards the powers
in question, not to permit the re-establishment of the local dues at
The Government of the United States of America will therefore be pleased
to compare with the former text the new wording (inclosed) of articles
1, 4, and 10 of the regulations of June 22, 1861, relative to the
collection of navigation dues, and to notify, as speedily as possible,
the Government of the King of its adhesion to the proposed revision.
A communication identical with the present one is addressed to each one
of the States that have contributed to the redemption of the Scheldt
Those of them which have adopted or which propose to adopt the Moorsom
system of admeasurement will be pleased to observe that the enforcement
of the new regulations will enable the Belgian Government to dispense
with the remeasurement of such vessels as have been measured according
to this system in the country to which they belong.
revised articles of the
regulations of june 22, 1861, relative
to the collection of navigation-dues at antwerp.
Article 1. Sea-going sail-vessels and
steamers entering the basins or the canals shall pay a single duty
to the city, according to the following tariff:
|Tonnage of the vessels (tons of 2 m. cubic,
||Duty per ton
(not including the additional ones).
|85 tons and under
|86 to 128 tons
|129 to 171 tons
|172 to 214 tons
|215 to 257 tons
|258 tons and
Article 4. Sea-going steamers loading or
unloading in the harbor, at the docks or at a wharf in the river,
shall pay per ton—
|For each of the first ten voyages
|For each of the ten following
|For each subsequent voyage
To secure a diminution of dues, the voyages must take place within
the course of the year after the date of the first arrival.
Article 10. On payment of the dues required
for stay in the basins, vessels may remain there three months. After
that time they will pay six centimes per ton for each month. A month
begun shall be paid for in full.
Note.—The regulations for the admeasurement of
vessels are not printed, because they do not differ essentially from the
Moorsom system, which is found in the Revised Statutes of the United
States, and also in the customs regulations of the Treasury Department