Mr. Smythe to Mr. Gresham.

No. 49.]

Sir: In my No. 19 I said that I had an assurance from the foreign secretary that reasonable propositions made by my Government in regard to the question of the detention of sailing vessels in Haitian ports would be favorably considered. I have to report that I find now that any change that seems practicable would inure to the injury of the sailing vessels, and in this opinion I am sustained by all the sailing masters who touch at this port. As I before observed (in former dispatches), only the vessel is held and the cargoes are discharged into the warehouses of the consignees, who as a rule endeavor to dispose of a [Page 355] portion of their goods to pay customs duties. If they were placed on the same footing as steamers this advantage would be lost to the sailing vessel, and merchants would order by the steam vessel to secure prompt delivery; The lines of steam vessels touching at these ports are principally under the protection of other powers, and inasmuch as the complaint originated with the sailing interest, which is almost entirely American and has been withdrawn (or abandoned), in the absence of any further instructions I will consider the matter closed.

I am, etc.,

Henry M. Smythe.