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us 1675.32 1888, 24!.

Gift of
Hoon, é. A. Gregera,

of hesten.


Delimitation in this case means the establishment of the Headland Theory, which we nave always protested against, and gives up thousands of square miles of water which, under the treaty of 1783 and 1818, we had a right to use.

The Strait of Canso there is no contention about, for it has always been a free highway.

We receive under this treaty only humane privileges, such as all civilized or semi-barbarous nations grant to each other, even when there is no treaty to bind them. Canadian vessels have had full commercial privileges in our ports since 1830. If there is any doubt as to what privileges we have in Article XI there can be no doubt in Article XV as to what privileges we do not have or those which we can have when Canada can send fish free into our markets. To remove the duty on fish would be to sound the death-knell of the American fisheries. This is sought by Great Britain to destroy our marine power and to add to her strength, and give her colonies the monopoly of our fish markets.

The American fishermen decidedly object to having any disfiguring marks put upon their vessels, which are their pride, and say that the Stars and Stripes are sufficient marks for their identification.

The tonnage tax mentioned in the protocol is outrageous, and is intended to fix a value on privileges which are ours by right, but are WITHHELD by this treaty.

There is no word in the treaty which gives the least intimation that American fishermen would receive under it the least recompense for the outrageous and barbarous treatment to which they have been subjected by Canada during the past three years, nor for the illegal detention and seizure of vessels by Canada does the United States claim damages.

The contention of the United States is giving up, and, if this treaty is accepted, the world must hold that we have not been honest in asking for the rights which have always been held to be ours, but which this treaty surrenders, and its defenders try to show were merely false pretenses.

ITS TERMS DISCUSSED. The treaty recently concluded at Washington between Great Britain and the United States, and which is now receiving the consideration of the Senate, and the ratification of which has been asked for by the President, is a document which needs the careful consideration of those engaged in the fisheries and whose interests are to be affected by it; and particularly is it entitled to receive the greatest attention and consideration from those gentlemen who are intrusted with the important functions of legislating upon it. Before official action is taken by the Senate upon this treaty, it seems eminently desirable that an expression of opinion should be given by those interested in the fisheries, and that it should be viewed from the standpoint of the fishermen, so that the public may know whether, in the opinion of those whose interests are most affected, this document meets with their wishes and fulfills their requirements, or is stated in such a manner as to definitely and absolutely settle all questions of doubt. The fact that, though the treaty has been published only a few days, it has provoked an endless diversity of opinion and interpretation, seems to make it necessary to prepare this criticism and to state wherein its provisions may or may not be understood, and wherein it is believed that they are inimical to the best interests of American fishermen.

In considering the treaty just concluded, which has been quoted at length, it will be first seen that it purports to be a treaty for the special object of interpreting clearly article first of the convention of October 20, 1818, for the purposes “of removing all causes of misunderstanding in relation thereto, and of promoting friendly intercourse and good neighborhood between the United States and the possessions of her Majesty in North America”

It is doubtless a fact that the gentlemen who acted for the United States earnestly desired to conclude an arrangement which might prevent any misunderstanding in our future fishery relations with the British North American provinces. It is, however, unfortunate, both for them and those citizens of the United States whose interests are most directly affected by this treaty, that its provisions are stated in such ambiguous terms that its proper interpretation is apparently rendered impracticable. Not only is the fisherman, who is unused to the technicalities and construction of diplomatic phraseology, rendered unable to interpret this treaty in a practical manner, so that he

may avoid complications, but we find that men learned in law and experienced in diplomacy, men of rare scholarship and executive and legislative ability, find it is difficult to give it a correct interpretation.

It is somewhat noteworthy that this present treaty, which is supposed to take the place of the treaty of 1818, and to be a definition of article first of that convention, fails to specify, as does the treaty of 1818, the particular coasts upon which our fishermen still retain the right to fish in the littoral waters inside the limit. The failure to make this designation in plain and unequivocal language leaves it open to a doubt whether, if the present treaty is ratified, our fishermen may not be deprived of these ancient rights which they have been in possession of since the cenvention of 1818, or earlier.

Article first provides for the delimitation of British waters, bays, creeks, and harbors of the coasts of Canada and Newfoundland, as to which the United States renounce forever any liberty to dry nets or cure fish, but nothing is said in that article, nor is any mention made in any succeeding sections of the treaty, of any coasts in British North America where our fishermen still enjoy a right to the inshore fisheries. Presumably it was intended by those who drafted this treaty that no rights of this kind which Americans have heretofore enjoyed should be surrendered. But the fact that different constructions have already been put upon this matter, in the discussions which have appeared in the daily press, and the additional fact that those interested in the fisheries are entirely unable to definitely decide whether those rights have been surrendered or not, shows conclusively how desirable it might have been to place this matter beyond question.

In regard to the manner of delimitation, as provided for in this treaty, no special objection might be made, perhaps, were it not that the treatment received by the United States, in a similar controversy, in the appointment of members to the convention at Halifax, had made this system of settling our fishery troubles exceedingly odious to all who are interested in the fisheries. It is not yet forgotten how the United States was treated in that affair, and if justice and fair dealing were denied us then, have we any right to expect better treatment at the hands of Great Britain and her colonies at the present time?

In regard to the delimitation of bays, creeks, harbors, &c., it must be acknowledged that in accepting this treaty the United States would be surrendering the contention which she has always made, through her statesmen, in regard to the right of our fishermen tó pursue their calling anywhere outside of three miles of the coasts of the British North American possessions. If any advantage had been gained to our fishermen by this surrender, there might have been an excuse for it, but we certainly fail to see where any concession has been made by Canada which may be considered a fair equivalent for this arrangement, which prohibits our fishing vessels from entering bays beyond a certain limit. The assertion which has been made that these bays are not available to Americans as fishing grounds is not a defensible one. Even if this is granted, there can be no reason for surrendering rights which we have long possessed and which have always been claimed by the ablest statesmen of the United States, unless we obtain for these some equivalent which may be of value to our fishermen.

In this connection, it is proper to refer to Article IX, wherein the right of fishing vessels of the United States to navigate the Strait of Canso is affirmed. Although there has been some diplomatic discussion as to the right of American fishing vessels to navigate the Strait of Canso, it is beyond question that this strait has always been considered the highway of nations, and vessels of all classes have navigated it without restriction since the establishment of the

independence of the United States. It is true that the President states that: “ The uninterrupted navigation of the Strait of Canso is expressly and for the first time permitted.”. Well may the Hon. William H. Trescott ask: “Who has ever denied it?" And he continues : " What further or other affirmation do we need than that it is the necessary means of communication which, as an independent nation, we have used for a century, between the American waters, the right to navigate and fish in, which is ours by the treaties of 1783 and 1818."* He rightly believes that an English statesman would as soon think of closing the Strait of Gibraltar or restoring the dues at the Strait of Elsinore as he would of closing the Strait of Canso to navigation.

In making this new treaty, in which it is claimed there are important concessions for the fishermen of the United States, it is evident that the treaty of 1818 served as a basis for the present negotiations, and that the commercial arrangement between Great Britain and the United States in 1830 has been utterly ignored. When we see Canadian and Newfoundland vessels enjoying in our ports all the commercial rights which our own vessels have, and observe the fact that our Government is exceedingly solicitous to avoid giving these foreigners any trouble; and when it is clearly understood that by the acts and proclamations of 1830 our vessels are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and considerations in the ports of Canada that Canadian vessels receive in ours, it is certainly a matter of surprise that, in a formal treaty of this kind, privileges far more restricted and which fail to secure to our fishermen all that they should enjoy, are looked upon and mentioned as containing important concessions to the people of the United States—at least this is the construction put upon it in the President's message.

The main thing contended for by American fishermen, since the abrogation (1885) of the fishery clauses of the treaty of 1871, has been for the enjoyment of those commercial rights in Canadian portsthe same rights, nothing more nor lesswhich Canadians enjoy in the United States. It has not been a matter of fishery rights for which they have contended, because they have distinctly stated and reiterated the statement, time and again, that Canada has no inshore fisheries for which they are disposed to treat or to accept, where an equivalent is demanded. The convention of 1818 produced a treaty which was a fishery treaty and nothing else. It gave us no commercial rights, nor had we enjoyed any commercial rights in the ports of British North America under previous treaties. †

*New York Herald, February 27, 1888.

† The treaties of 1854 and of 1871 were also fishery treaties. It was conceded at Halifax in 1877, by the Joint Commissioners, that the go-called Washington treaty gave no commercial rights to fishermen of the United States, and that they were not entitled, under the provisions of that treaty, to purchase bait, ice, or other commodities in Canadian ports. But although Americans were granted no commercial rights in these treaties, it is, nevertheless, a fact that since the reciprocal trade arrangement of 1830 the fishing-vessels of the United States have bought bait and other supplies in Canadian ports, where, also, they have shipped men and transhipped their cargoes; nor was the right to do these acts questioned until 1870, wben Canada was trying to coerce the United States into making a treaty whi.b would open our markets to her fishery products. Then sbe seized our vessels for buying bait, and refused commercial rights which we had previously enjoyed.


“The policy of Great Britain,” says Judge Charles Levi Woodbury, “ first expressed by the act of 12 Car. II., had been to prohibit foreign nations from intercourse by sea with her colonies, either to import into or export from them in their vessels. This policy was in force when the treaty of 1783 was made. The rights of the United States, therein acknowledged, to use the ports, creeks, and shores for the purpose of its fisheries, conferred no right to trade with British North America. In 1818 the laws of the United States also prohibited British vessels from importing from or exporting to the colonies, from the ports of the United States, and continued so to prohibit them, long after the treaty of 1818.”

Thus it will be seen that, in the treaty of 1818, the right to fish within the three-mile limit of certain parts of the coasts of the British Provinces was renounced by the United States, but the right was reserved to our fishermen to enter all bays and harbors within those limits for the purpose of shelter and repairs, and to procure wood and water, subject to regulations which should prevent them from abusing the privileges thus conferred upon them. The privileges thus given were not commercial in their nature; they concerned chieflyx the safety of fishing-vessels and their crews, and were granted as special rights to enable them to prosecute their voyages with greater safety and with the best assurance of success. These clauses in the treaty of 1818 made the fishing-vessels of the United States a specially privileged class at a time when, as we have seen, no other American vessels were permitted to hold intercourse with the British Provinces. These privileges and rights were not accorded to American fishermen from any generous spirit on the part of Great Britain, but because it was held by American statesmen, who had the moral support of the civilized world at that time, that these were rights that were held in common with the subjects of Great Britain, and that it was no concession on the part of the latter government that American fishermen should retain that which they had so long enjoyed. If this is true, and we believe there are none bold enough to deny it, then the treaty of 1818 should have a liberal construction so far as the rights of American fishermen are concerned. Viewed in this light, it certainly seems unreasonable that this class of men and vessels which were entitled to special rights and privileges prior to 1830 should now, or at any time since that date, he restricted in the enjoyment of privileges which are accorded to citizens of the United States engaged in other trades.

Now, under the provisions of this recent treaty, and notwithstanding the fact that the Canadian vessels are enjoying to-day all commercial rights in the ports of the United States, our fishing-vessels are deprived of commercial privileges in the provinces unless such may be accorded in case of shipwreck or disaster. Even the ordinary rights of humanity, which all civilized and even semi-barbarous nations grant to each other without treaty, are here put down as concessions which the fishermen of the United States are expected to value as important considerations.

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