to Mr. Evarts.
La Paz, February 24, 1881. (Received April 26.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the correspondence which has taken place between some Spanish subjects residing in La Paz and myself, upon the question of a war-tax levied upon the people of Bolivia by the late Congress and now about to be enforced.
You will perceive that I have refused to accommodate these gentlemen, for aside from the consideration that the request for my official interference should have come from the Spanish Government directly, or its minister at Lima, I consider the tax referred to not one of an extraordinary character as implied by the treaty mentioned in the petition, as it was decreed by a Congress and imposed upon all inhabitants of the republic in proportion to their property.
A question of this kind upon application of American citizens residing in Mexico was at the time decided by the then minister, Mr. Corwin, in the same spirit, and his action was approved by the Department, so that although my reply to this—a test petition, which was to have been followed by others—has obviated all further resistance on the part of other foreigners. I feel that in advising Americans, even, to pay, I have acted properly and in accordance with international comity.
I have, &c.,