No. 409.
Mr. Langston to Mr. Blaine.

No. 414.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 389, dated June 18, 1881, I have the honor to advise you that on the 19th day of October last, the Corps Legislatif of this republic passed a law which abolishes the charges of visa abroad upon invoices of specie and merchandise shipped to this country, and establishes a duty of registry, of statistics, and of pre-emption, to be collected at the rate of one per cent. of the value of the invoice of merchandise and one per cent. of the value of specie on the arrival thereof in the ports of this republic.

This law is to take effect as provided in the first article on the 1st day of next month.

A copy of the act with the translation is herewith transmitted to the Department.

Upon examination it will be found that this law is arranged in two chapters.

The first chapter provides that from the first day of next December the consuls and commercial agents of this republic shall visé invoices of merchandise and specie shipped to Hayti, without charge; that where there is no Haytien consular officer declaration of the invoice shall be certified by a notary public; that in default of such visa or declaration a fine of $50 shall be imposed; that charges of visa of manifests, bills of health, passports, authentications of signatures, provisional certificates of naturalization, and of all other documents not provided for, shall be collected in accordance with the first article of the law of the 23d of August 1877; that consuls and agents shall have no right to make deduction of such charges of visa, but shall render account thereof to the secretary of state of finances and of commerce; and that for their services they shall receive the several amounts mentioned in the classification of allowances provided in the fifth article of the law.

For such principal places as Paris, Liverpool, New York, and Havre such classification provides $500 for each consular officer; while for such officers as reside at less important places the allowance runs from [Page 647] $400, as at Hamburg and Boston, down to $50, as at Nantes and Puerto Plata, per annum.

The second chapter of the law, after fixing the charge of one per cent. of the value of the invoice of merchandise and of specie as a duty of registry and of statistics, as already stated, and that this amount shall be collected according to the laws and decrees, the directions and circulars of the department of state of finances, defines the procedure to be had and the disposition to be made of the proceeds of sales in cases where merchandise found undervalued or falsely returned is seized by the government.

It is after no little effort certainly on the part of the representative of our own government at this capital, and of his colleague of Her Britannic Majesty, that the imposition and collection abroad of charges for consular visa of invoices of merchandise and specie shipped to this country have been discontinued and disallowed in the repeal of so much of the law of August 23, 1877, as is herein indicated; and it is to be hoped that my efforts in this behalf will meet the approval of the Department.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 414.—Translation.]

Law which abolishes charges of visa abroad, and which establishes a duty of registry, and of statistics, and of pre-emption.

Salomon, President of Hayti:

Whereas the law of the 23d of August 1877, which establishes charges of consular visa, has caused in practice certain difficulties which it is necessary to remove;

Upon the proposition of the secretary of state of finances, of commerce and of foreign relations, and upon the advice of the council of secretaries of state, has proposed, and the Corps Legislatif has enacted the following law:

Chapter I.

Article I. After the 1st day of December next the consuls and commercial agents of the Republic shall be required to visa gratuitously invoices of money as well as of merchandise destined to the ports of Hayti, without such visas may cease to be obligatory upon the triplicate copies of such invoices as has been provided in article 3 of the law of the 23d of August, 1877. The declaration certified before a notary public in foreign ports where Haytian agents are not found shall continue to be also obligatory.

Art. II. In default of the above visa or of the certified declaration there shall be imposed a fine fixed at the sum of $50.

Art. III. The charges of visa of manifests, of bills of health of ships, of passports, of authentication of signatures, of provisional certificates of naturalization and of all other documents not provided for shall continue to be collected according to Article I of the law of the 23d of August, 1877.

Art. IV. The consuls and agents shall have no right of deduction upon such charges of visa. They shall render account thereof to the secretary of state of finances and of commerce, who shall class such receipt according to Chapter III, section 1, of ways and means, which may be deducted from office charges accorded to such agents, orders of collection and payment having been duly arranged to such affect.

Art. V. In remuneration of their services, the consuls and commercial agents of the republic shall receive annually for all office expenses generally whatsoever the following allowances in the order of classing as follows:

For Paris, Liverpool, New York, Havre to each Agent $500
For Bordeaux and Marseilles 300
For Hamburg and Boston 400
For Wilmington, Bangor, Philadelphia, Kingston, St. Thomas, and Hanover 200
For St. Nazaire, London, and Antwerp 100
For Nantes, Nice, Rouen, Barcelona, Lisbon, Belfast, Queenstown, Dundee, Gibraltar, Bremen, Monrovia, Brussels, Ghent, Vienna, Naples, Genoa, Amsterdam, Christiania, Algiers, Philipville, Mastaganem, Oran, Halifax, Mobile, Curacoa, Santiago de Cuba, Mayaguez, Tuagua and Nassau, St. Domingo, Monte Christi, Puerto Plata, each 50

[Page 648]

Chapter II.

Art. VI. After completion of a ship’s manifest by the interpreter he shall send invoices visaed by him to the custom-house, and it before any verification of merchandise shall have prepared separately for each shipper a special memorandum of duty of registry and of statistics estimated and fixed at one per cent. of the value of the invoice of merchandise and of one per cent, of the value of specie.

Art. VII. This special memorandum shall follow the rule fixed by the laws and orders of finances, the directions and circulars of the department of state, that is to say, that it shall be collected, &c.; that the bank shall receive the amount thereof and shall transmit to the shipper the acknowledgment visaed by the administrator, stub detached, which shall serve him in taking his final release of the custom-house, and to verify his merchandise.

Art. VIII. As soon as the interpreter shall perceive that the value of merchandise declared is undervalued, and returned falsified upon the invoice presented to him, he shall give notice thereof to the director of the custom-house, who shall signify the fact to the administrator of finances of the district, who shall convoke in twenty-four hours a commission for the Capital composed of a member of the chamber of accounts, and of two merchants of the place; and for the other financial arrondissements, of the mayor, the justice of the peace, and of a merchant, who shall decide upon the fact, the proprietor of the merchandise having been duly notified. The neglect of the interpreter shall not prevent the director of the custom-house or the administrator himself from taking the initiative of the information.

Art. IX. If the value of the merchandise declared is undervalued, falsified, report signed by the members of the commission shall be arranged in duplicate, one copy of which shall remain with the administrator, and the other sent to the proprietor of the merchandise, who shall make acknowledgment of the receipt thereof to him. This report shall declare that the state retains on its account the merchandise declared, the value of which has been found undervalued, and falsified, provided that fifteen per cent. shall be accorded to the proprietor upon the amount of his declaration, all commissions, freight, charge of packing and all other whatsoever standing to his charge.

Art X. The proprietor of the merchandise shall make thereof then memorandum, which, after having been ordered to be paid by the administrator of finances, under the rubric of “expenses of the duty of pre-emption,” shall be paid to him without delay, the re-imbursement to take place only after the sale has been effected.

Art. XI. Such formalities accomplished, the administrator shall cause the merchandise retained, the value of which shall be collected under the rubric of “receipts of the duty of pre-emption” to be sold at public auction.

Art. XII. The invoices of specie or of merchandise which shall have paid abroad the charges of consular visa before the 1st of December, and which shall arrive in our ports after that date shall not be subject to the duty of registry and of statistics.

Art. XIII. The present law abrogates all laws and provisions of law which are contrary to it, and shall be executed at the instance of the secretary of state of finances, of commerce, and of foreign relations.

The president of the Senate:

The secretaries:

T. Dupuy, J. P. Lafontant.

Given at the Chamber of Representatives at Port au Prince, the 19th of October, 1881, seventy-eight year of the independence. The president of the Chamber:


The secretaries:

N. Leger, D. Theodore.

In the name of the republic.

The President of Hayti orders that the above law of the Corps Legislatif be stamped with the seal of the republic, printed, published and executed.


By the President:

The secretary of state of finances, of commerce, and of foreign relations.
B. St. Victor.