Mr. Durham to Mr. Gresham.

No. 235.]

Sir: I beg leave to inclose the accompanying project, which has been presented in the chamber of deputies here for legal enaction. It is a discriminating tax against foreigners in Haiti engaged in any active employment, and so far as it would affect American citizens would seem to violate the treaty between Haiti and the United States.

The feeling of antipathy for foreigners which seems to animate this project has caused some alarm among the foreign merchants. To the inquiries of American citizens, I have replied that so long as the proposed law remains a mere communication from the Executive to the legislative branch of the Government, this legation can not officially take cognizance of its existence without previous instructions from the Department.

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Similar discriminations against foreigners have been attempted by nearly all the administrations during the past forty years; and even now foreigners suffer petty discriminations which are generally accepted as scarcely warranting protest. The last serious attempt to discriminate against foreigners was by the executive decree of President Dominque, which was reported at length by Mr. Bassett, then U. S. minister to Haiti, in dispatches to Mr. Fish, No. 426, January 28, 1876; No. 428, February 7, 1876; No. 443, April 10, 1876.

Mr. Fish’s instruction No. 261, of March 13, 1876, states clearly the Department’s views as to the purpose and extent of Article V of the treaty between Haiti and the United States.

I am inclined to think that the project will not pass both branches of Congress; but should it become a law and its application attempted, I shall be guided by the correspondence above quoted until I shall have received instructions from you.

I have, etc.,

John S. Durham.
[Inclosure in No. 235.—Translation.]

In view of article 69 of the constitution:

Considering that it is urgent to reestablish the equilibrium between public receipts and expenses; that it is conformable with justice and equity that the charges of state should be assessed on all those who dwell in the territory of the Republic, whatever may be their nationality;

Considering that experience has shown that the greater part of the impost is borne only by Haitian citizens; that it is the duty of the Government to devise the means to do away with this injustice in the assessment of the public contributions, and to determine the ratio of the foreign contributor in a manner proportionate to the ability of each one;

Upon the proposition of the secretary of state for finances, and according to the recommendation of the council of the secretaries of state the legislative corps has enacted the following law:

Art. 1. From the 1st of October, 1893, all foreigners dwelling in the territory of the Republic, with the exception of the diplomatic agents accredited near to the Government, outside of the license tax already established by law, shall pay a personal tax conformable to the tariff specified in article 8 of the present law.

Art. 2. This tax shall be paid into the public treasury by the debtor in virtue of the laws and regulations of the public administration conformable to the list which shall be drawn up to that effect by the competent authority.

Art. 3. The list above mentioned shall be drawn up by the chief administrators of finances from the necessary schedules and documents to be furnished by the communal magistrates with the assistance of the secretary of state for the interior to the secretary of state for finances and commerce.

The secretary of state for finances shall address himself directly to the communal magistrates for certain data when he shall deem such necessary.

Art. 4. The schedule of this personal tax shall be revised and regularly drawn up in the form that shall be adopted by the department of finances by the 1st of September of each year, beginning with current one.

Art. 5. No foreigner shall practise a trade or profession except by virtue of a license from the chief magistrate of the Republic. This license shall be issued only on a receipt from the national bank, countersigned by the chief administrator of finance at the place of his residence, certifying to the entire payment of the new tax into the treasury.

Art. 6. In regard to foreigners employed in the capacity of clerks, or under any other title, in the service of merchants, manufacturers, or artisans, either natives or foreigners, those who employ them are and remain responsible for the payment of the tax.

Art. 7. This personal tax shall be paid, so far as due, from the 1st of October to the 10th of November at the latest.

Any person who within the period above mentioned shall not have made his payments to the treasury, shall, on demand of the chief administrator of finance at the place of his residence and on the responsibility of the latter, be subject to the penalties and fines provided in article 18 of the law of October 24, 1876, governing the collection of direct taxes.

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Art. 8. The quota of this contribution is established as follows:


I. Foreign consignees engaged in the export trade or banking business, annually, and without distinction of class $300
II. Foreign consignees engaged in import trade, annually and without distinction of class 250
III. Foreign consignees engaged in banking, export and import trade 500
IV. Foreign clerks employed in banking or export houses 80
V. Foreign clerks employed in houses engaged in import trade 50
VI. Foreign clerks employed in houses engaged in banking, export and import trade 100
VII. Agents of lines of steamers in all the ports of the Republic 150
VIII. Apothecaries, druggists, and doctors 100
IX. Restaurant keepers who furnish meals and who keep an open house 100
X. Coffee-housekeepers 100
XI. Coffee-house keepers who have a billiard saloon annexed 150
XII: Architects engaged in all manner of building 80
XIII. Confectioners 100
XIV. Shoemakers who employ workmen 25
XV. Shoemakers working alone 5
XVI. Clock and watchmakers 20
XVII. Photographers having an establishment 50
XVIII. Carriage-makers, painters, gilders of carriages, etc 20
XIX. Tailors who employ workmen 30
XX. Merchant tailors 150
XXI. Journeymen tailors 5
XXII. Proprietors of livery stables and busses 100
XXIII. Drivers of carriages and busses to hire 10
XXIV. Drivers of private carriages or busses 5
XXV. Hair dressers and barbers having a saloon 25
XXVI. Hair dressers and barbers without saloons 5

In all the professions or industries not provided for in the present tariff and open to foreigners, foreigners shall pay twice the amount of the license tax paid by a Haitian, in virtue of the law of October 24, 1876, governing the collection of direct taxes.

Art. 9. The present law shall be published and executed by the secretaries of state for finance and commerce, and for the interior, each so far as concerns him.