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panying papers on the aggressions alleged to have been committed by the citizens of the United States on our fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the coast of Newfoundland, and also the Queen's Advocate's opinion thereon.
Their Lordships in reply, direct me to request that you will inform Lord Palmerston that having pursuant to his Lordship's desire, at the Queen's Advocate's suggestion, perused the above mentioned documents, and having likewise communicated with various individuals. well acquainted with the matters in dispute, they have to offer the following observations thereon for his Lordship's consideration.— Their Lordships presume that after the opinion expressed by the Queen's Advocate upon the international rights of this Kingdom and the United States in respect to the fisheries in question, the recommendation of Lord Glenelg that the intervention of Her Majesty's Government should be employed for the protection of the British subjects engaged in such fisheries will be adopted-and that Her Majesty's Minister at Washington will be instructed by Lord Palmerston to come to a proper understanding with the Government of the United States upon the subject.
In the instructions that Lord Palmerston may give to Mr. Fox for this negotiation, their Lordships would suggest that his Excellency's attention should be drawn to the depositions of the witnesses attached to the Report of the Committee of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, as constituting in conjunction with the remarks of the Queen's Advocate, the case on which his application must be grounded. The case however may be brought within a more narrow compass than the colonists seem to apprehend, for the grievances of which they complain are in many instances in no degree imputable to the American Government; and consequently will not enter into the negotiation. That the Americans have succeeded in appropriating to themselves a very valuable portion of the fishing trade, to the serious prejudice of the colonists is unhappily an incontrovertible fact, but it should be borne in mind, that the above mentioned report admits the Americans concerned in the trade to abound in capital, enterprise and skill, whilst the colonial fishermen are usually poor, ill provided with vessels, and often following other pursuits besides fishing, which must cause them to be but moderately skilled fishermen, and as long as the competition is carried on upon such unequal terms, the superior prosperity of the fishermen of the United States, over our fishermen may be sufficiently explained, without resorting to the alleged violation of the Treaty by the former.-In fact the complaints made by the colonists against the Americans, are too much like those raised by our own fishermen at home against the French, which have so often been brought before the public and the Government without producing a satisfactory result.
The exclusion of the Americans from the Gut of Canso, might indeed be of great service to the colonists, but this has been pronounced by the Queen's Advocate to be impracticable.-The act of aggression with which the citizens of the United States are charged, will probably be disputed, but their Lordships do not entertain a doubt of their having been committed.-It may be presumed that if the French venture upon vexatious and fraudulent practices against our fishermen absolutely on our coasts, the citizens of the United States are not likely to pay scrupulous attention to the exclusive rights of
the Nova Scotia fishermen.-In the one case the remedy may be said to be in our hands, and to rest mainly with ourselves, but the same argument cannot be used in the other, for the distance of Nova Scotia from this country, and the long line of coast to be watched, makes it incumbent on a friendly Power such as the United States, considering their participation in the benefits of the fisheries, which is certainly a serious sacrifice on our part, to co-operate with us in putting down the offences in question, and for that purpose to give the Nova Scotia fishermen the benefit of a liberal construction of the treaty in their favour.-The points which Mr. Fox will have to establish are,
1st. The three marine miles within which the citizens of the United States are, by the Convention prohibited from fishing, must be calculated from the headlands of Novia Scotia, and not as the Americans contend, beyond a line curving and corresponding with the coast.
2d. The fishermen of the United States are to be restrained from setting their nets within the bays or harbours of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
3d. They are to be restricted from the use of jigs upon the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
4th. They are to be restrained from coming within the bays, or harbours of Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, the Magdalen Islands not excepted, for any other purpose than obtaining shelter or repairing damage, or purchasing wood, or procuring water, and the provision in the 1st. article of the Convention by which such limitation is expressed, should be strictly enforced.—
How these restrictions are to be carried into effect will be a most important subject of consideration, and one involved in much difficulty, but under the circumstances stated in the Report of the Committee above mentioned, their Lordships think that additional facilities should be required from the Government of the United States for the detection of offenders with perhaps a more summary mode of punishment than the Admiralty Court affords, but the negotiation will probably lead to the suggestion of measures for this purpose on which their Lordships will be ready to give an opinion when the same shall have been brought before this Board.
Their Lordships direct me further to enclose for Lord Palmerston's information, the opinion of the Queen's Advocate upon a case submitted to him by this Board with reference to some parts of the Report of the Committee which their Lordships had reason to believe might otherwise be supposed to have escaped his attention.— I am Sir Your most obedient servant
DENIS LE MARCHANT
J BACKHOUSE Esqr &c &c &c
P.S.-The Printed Report being in original is herewith returned.
117 No. 65.-1838, October 6: Letter from Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Fox (British Minister at Washington). FOREIGN OFFICE October. 6th 1838
(No. 16.) SIR, An Address of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of Nova Scotia having been transmitted to Her Majesty, com
plaining of the habitual encroachments of American citizens on British fishery ground in violation of existing Treaties between Great Britain and the United States, and praying that Her Majesty would be pleased to adopt measures for the protection of the commerce and fisheries of Her Majesty's subjects in that Colony; Her Majesty's Government have deemed it expedient to direct that some small vessels of war should be stationed on the coast of Nova Scotia for this purpose.
I have consequently to instruct you to give notice of this precautionary measure to the Government of the United States; and at the same time to invite that Government to take such steps on its part, as may be necessary to warn American citizens of the illegality of their proceedings in transgressing the bounds defined by Treaty.
The chief matter of complaint is, that American citizens in violation of the Convention of 1818, enter the gulfs, bays, harbours, creeks, narrow seas, and waters of the Colonies, and that they land on the shores of Prince Edward and the Magdalen Islands, and by force, aided by superior numbers, drive British fishermen from banks and fishing grounds solely and exclusively British.
I inclose for your information and guidance, in your communications with the American Government upon this subject, copies of a despatch from Sir Colin Campbell to Lord Glenelg, inclosing the Address of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of Nova Scotia; and also copies of two Reports from Her Majesty's Advocate General and of a letter from the Board of Trade, founded upon representations received from Nova Scotia last year, to the same effect as those now immediately under consideration.
If you should find the Government of the United States disposed to aid and cooperate with Her Majesty's Government in enforcing the observance of Treaties on the part of American citizens on the coasts in question, by affording greater facilities for the detection and punishment of offenders, or by the adoption of any mutual measures which might be suggested for the better attainment of the object in view, you will avail yourself of such disposition, to endeavour to come to some agreement upon this subject. You will observe that the points which Her Majesty's Government have to enforce are:
1st. That the three marine miles within which the citizens of the United States are by the Convention prohibited from fishing, must be calculated from the headlands of Nova Scotia, and not as the Americans contend, from a line curving and corresponding with the coast;
2nd. That the fishermen of the United States are to be restrained from setting their nets within the bays or harbours of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland;
3rd. That they are to be restricted from the use of jigs upon the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland;
4th. That they are to be restrained from coming within the bays or harbours of Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, the Magdalen Islands not excepted, for any other purposes than to obtain shelter, or to repair damage, or to purchase wood, or to procure water, agreeably to the provision of the Article of the convention.
You will report to me for the information of Her Majesty's Government any communications which you may have with the Government of the United States upon this subject. I am with great truth and regard, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant
HENRY STEPHEN FOX Esqre
&c &c &c
No. 66.-1839, July 15: Letter from Mr. James Primrose, United States Consul at Pictou, Nova Scotia, to Sir R. D. George, Provincial Secretary.
CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES, Pictou, Nova Scotia, July 15, 1839. SIR: I most respectfully beg leave to bring under the notice of the government the existing practice of collecting light-dues at the Strait of Canso.
American vessels bound to Pictou have this season been frequently fired at and brought to at that place, by an armed boat, and boarded by an officer, armed with a cutlass and a brace of pistols, who has enforced payment of light-dues. As but few of these vessels 118 were provided with funds, the masters have been subjected to great inconvenience by being compelled, in many instances, to part with portions of their cargoes or ship's stores, and to pursue other objectionable courses to enable them to meet the demand, which I respectfully submit might be collected here, where the consignees reside, with as much safety to the revenue, and, as you will perceive by the enclosed affidavits, with less danger to strangers, who are led to commit acts seriously affecting the safety of their vessels, through the misrepresentation of an officer claiming to be clothed with authority.
Will you do me the favour of informing me whether the collectors of light-dues at the Strait of Canso act under the authority of the government of this province, in levying that rate there on American vessels not bound to any port or place within the same?
The imposition of any tax by the province of Nova Scotia upon American vessels engaged in the prosecution of the fisheries using that passage in transitu, would appear to deprive it of the character of constituting a portion of the high seas.
With the greatest respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient and humble servant,
To the Honorable Sir RUPERT D. GEORGE,
Provincial Secretary, &c., Halifax.
No. 67.-1839, August 14: Extract from Report from United States Acting Secretary of State to the President of the United States.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, August 14, 1839.
In obedience to the directions of the President, received at the Department of State on the 9th instant, "to report to him the treaty
stipulations which bear upon the subject, (the seizure of American fishing vessels on the coast of Nova Scotia;) the conflicting questions of right, if any, which have arisen under them; and the nature and circumstances of the cases which have been presented to this Government by our citizens, as infractions of right on the part of the British authorities," the acting Secretary of State has the honor to
That the only existing treaty stipulations bearing upon the subject are to be found in the first article of the convention between the United States and Great Britain, signed at London on the 20th day of October, 1818, which is in the words following:
Under this article
1. American vessels are allowed, forever, to take, dry, and cure fish on and along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, within certain limits therein defined.
2. The United States renounce, forever, any liberty before enjoyed by their citizens to take fish within three marine miles of any coasts, bays, creeks or harbors of the British dominions in America, not included within the above limits, i. e. Newfoundland and Labrador.
3. American vessels retain the privilege (under necessary restrictions to prevent their taking fish) of entering the bays, creeks, and harbors of said possessions, for the purposes of shelter, repairing damages, purchasing wood and obtaining water, and for no other purpose whatever.
It does not appear that the stipulations in the article above quoted have, since the date of the convention, been the subject of conflicting questions of right between the two Governments. The rights of the respective parties are so clearly defined by the letter of the treaty, as scarcely to leave room for such questions of an abstract or general character. In their actual operation, however, inasmuch as their application on the part of Great Britain was to be subjected to local legislation, and committed to the hands of subordinate British agents, the provisions of the treaty might naturally be expected to give rise to difficulties growing out of individual acts on either side. The recent seizures appear to have had their origin in such causes, like other causes of anterior date, to which a brief allusion may here be useful.
In June, 1823, the Secretary of State addressed a note to the British Minister at Washington, complaining of the seizure of the schooner Charles, and demanding reparation for the indignity offered to the American flag. The answer of the British Government was, that the vessel had been found at anchor in a British harbor, which she had entered on a false pretence of avoiding a storm; and had been legally condemned by the vice admiralty court of New Brunswick, for a breach of the convention of 1818, and of the Act of Parliament to carry the same into effect. The vessel was subsequently restored.
In September. 1824, a complaint was made to the British chargé d'affaires that several citizens of the State of Maine had been inter
a For Article I see p. 30 of this Appendix.