No. 358.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 127.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Second Chamber of the States General has commenced the discussion of the treaty concluded between Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands respecting the salmon fishery in the Rhine.

[Page 750]

This discussion will continue during the early part of the week.

After the vote upon the treaty has been taken, the Chamber will occupy itself with the project of law looking to a revision of the customs tariff of the East Indies.

Three important amendments to the ministerial project have been announced in the Second Chamber.

By the first of these amendments it is proposed to re-establish in the Indies the protection system by taxing foreign merchandise imported into the Indies double the duty levied upon similar articles imported from the mother country.

The object of the second amendment is to provide a system of customs union between the mother country and the Indies, the most important feature of which is its proposal to abolish all export duty on all India articles destined for the mother country except tin and birds’ nests.

It is proposed by the third amendment to abolish all export duties on all articles exported from the colonies, without regard to their destination, with the exception of tin and birds’ nests.

With regard to the feeling of the Chambers upon these amendments, it is claimed by those who are in a position to be well informed that it is quite likely that the first and second amendments will be rejected.

There seems to be a strong feeling against the re-establishment of the system of differential duties abolished in 1872.

Should the third amendment be adopted, which seems doubtful, it will abolish the export duties upon the following articles exported to the United States: Coffee, sugar, tobacco, indigo, and tea.

The ministerial project, which has been the subject of former correspondence, to levy an excise tax on petroleum imported into the colonies, will be discussed at the same time.

I will attend the sessions of the Chambers during the discussion of the latter project, and apprise you of the result.

I have, &c.,