No. 408.
Mr. Langston to Mr. Blaine .

No. 403.]

Sir: Referring to instruction No. 114, dated June 22, 1880, I have the honor to advise you that on the 27th ultimo, conjointly with my colleague, Maj. Robert Stuart, the representative of Her Britannic Majesty, I presented verbally, to the President of this republic, in a private audience held at the National Palace, the chief objections which exist against the law of this government regarding the levy and collection of light dues.

Subsequently on the 2d instant, in company with Major Stuart, I presented the same subject to Mr. Archin, the acting secretary of state of foreign affairs.

As we closed our interviews with the President and Mr. Archin, each requested me to furnish a memorandum of the objections which I had offered against the law, which I did.

Hereafter, a copy of such memorandum will be furnished the Department. It may suffice to state now, however, that in making my argument against the law and in favor of its modification or amendment, I dwelt upon the exorbitance of the tax; upon the discrimination made against foreign vessels, claiming that this was peculiarly remarkable as regards American vessels, in view of the treaty existing between our respective governments, and the fact that tonnage dues generally, including [Page 646] even charges for lights, where any exist, are made in our country upon the principle of entire impartiality; and finally, dwelling upon the reprehensible manner of levying and collecting such dues, that is upon the gross instead of the registered tonnage of vessels. It was claimed, also, that the rule of impartiality and equity had been adopted by England and other commercial nations, and, if accepted here must greatly advance the commercial interests of the country.

Such presentation of this subject seems to have produced an excellent effect; for I have learned from the honorable acting secretary, Mr. Archin, that his government has the subject under serious consideration, and hopes, at a day not distant during the present session of the legislature, to make such recommendations with regard thereto as to abrogate the obnoxious features of the law referred to.

I am, sir, &c.,