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least succeeded in putting on record, in the most formal and authoritative way, the opinion of three governments, of the executives of three nations, as to what constitutes a just and honorable, a fair and reasonable, settlement of the differences that have arisen between them. That cannot be left out of account in the future ; it must influence, and in the end it inust govern, the final disposal of the question. It is an element that I do not believe

any fair or reasonable man, either in Canada or in the United States, would desire to ignore.”

The policy of the present Administration on the question thus having been declared, and Mr. Chamberlain having announced that the rejected treaty “must influence and in the end must govern the final disposition of the question,” any consideration of our fisheries rights now, or hereafter, will be incomplete without an examination of the provisions of the rejected treaty.

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The rights of the United States in the North Atlantic Fisheries are in the nature of a joint ownership or tenancy in common with subjects of the British Crown, proprietary rights fully as great and the same as those of Canada itself, and they are rights existing in the United States without any corresponding right in British subjects on our coast.

By Article III. of the treaty of peace of 1783, by which England recognized the United States as “free, sovereign, and independent States," it was declared, as an incident of their separate sovereignty :

“That the people of the United States shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, the right to take fish of every kind on the Grand Bank and on all the other banks of Newfoundland; also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at all other places in the sea where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish ; and also that the inhabitants of the United States shall have the liberty to take fish of every kind on such part of the coast of Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use (but not to dry or cure the same on that island); and also on the coasts, bays, and creeks of all other of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America ; and that the American fishermen shall have liberty to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbors, and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen Islands, and Labrador so long as the same shall remain unsettled; but so soon as the same or either of them shall be settled it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settlement without a previous agreement for that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the ground.”

Continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take fish” and other explicit expressions in the treaty, the history of American rights in the fisheries, and of the negotiations of the treaty show that Article III. of the treaty of 1783 was a deliberate and express acknowledgment of existing rights, and not the grant of new ones.

In the debate on the treaty in the House of Lords the position taken by Lord Loughborough, that “the fishery on the shores retained by Britain is in the next article not ceded but recognized as a right inherent in the Americans, which, though no longer British subjects, they are to continue to enjoy unmolested—no right, on the other hand, being reserved to British subjects to approach their shores for the purpose of fishing, in this reciprocal treaty," was not denied.

Cobbett's Parliamentary History, vol. 23, page 428.

Whatever rights Canadian fishermen enjoy in the fisheries of the North Atlantic were won by the men of New England from the French in colonial days. While colonies of Great Britain "the Americans had hitherto almost alone engaged in the fisheries on the coast of Nova Scotia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The New England men had planned and had alone furnished land forces for the first reduction of Cape Breton, and had assisted in the acquisition of Nova Scotia and Canada. The men of Massachusetts therefore claimed the fisheries on their coasts as a perpetual joint property.”

Bancroft's History of the U. S., vol. 5, page 321;
Sabine's Report on the Fisheries, 185-196;
Winsor's Crit. & Nar. Hist. America, vol. 5, pages 147,


On April 4th, 1748, a committee of the House of Parliament adopted the following resolution :

' Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that the several provinces and colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island be reimbursed the expenses they have been at in taking and securing to the Crown of Great Britain the island of Cape Breton and its dependencies.”

Journal of the House, vol. xxv.

“ These expenses,” said Edmund Burke, in his speech on conciliation with America, "were immense for such colonies, They were above £200,000 sterling; money first raised and advanced on their public credit.”

The colonists of New England, at the Declaration of Independence, were enjoying equal rights and a joint ownership

with British fishermen in the North Atlantic fisheries, and as the United States were successful in maintaining their independence they insisted, in the negotiations for peace, that these rights were not lost to them by the severance of their relations with the British Crown and should be expressly recognized in the treaty of peace.

These rights had been confirmed and defined by the charters of New England, and when the British Parliament passed the act of March, 1775, to prohibit the colonies of New England from fishing on the banks of Newfoundland, sixteen peers, among them Lord Camden and Lord Rockingham, protested against the passage of the act, “because the people of New England, besides the natural claim of mankind to the gifts of Providence on their own coast, are specially entitled to the fishery by their charters, which have never been declared forfeited."

American Archives, 4th series, 1774-1775, vol. 1, page


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By the charter of Massachusetts Bay of 1691 the province of Maine and the territory of Acadia or Nova Scotia, with the lands (now New Brunswick) lying between Nova Scotia and Maine, were annexed to Massachusetts, and the northerly and easterly limits of the province of Massachusetts under that charter extended to the river St. Lawrence, and down the river St. Lawrence and along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia to the Gulf of St. Lawrence: Although in 1758 a separate constitution was granted to Nova Scotia the charter of Massachusetts Bay of 1691 continued in force, and Massachusetts and Maine remained under it and were entitled to the benefit of its provisions until the Revolution..

Charters of Massachusetts Bay of 1627 and 1691;

Charters and Constitutions of the U.S., part 1, pages

932-954; John Adams to Wm. Tudor. Adams' Works, vol. x.,

page 354;
Haliburton's Historical and Statistical Account of

Nova Scotia, vol. i., pages 73, 144, 210;
Winsor's Crit. & Nar. Hist. America, vol. 5, pages 91,


By the charter of 1691 it was expressly provided that the subjects of the British Crown

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“That they and every of them shall have full and free power and liberty to continue and use their said trade of fishing upon the said coasts, in any of the seas thereunto adjoining, or any arms of the said seas or salt-water rivers where they have been wont to fish, and to build and set upon the lands within our said province or colony lying waste and not then possessed by particular proprietors, such wharves, stages, and workhouses as shall be necessary for the salting, drying, keeping, and packing of their fish, to be taken or gotten upon that coast, and to cut down and take such trees and other materials there growing, or being or growing upon any parts or places lying waste and not then in possession of particular proprietors, as shall be needful for that purpose, and for all other necessary easements, helps, and advantages concerning the trade of fishing there, in such manner and form as they have been heretofore at any time accustomed to do, without making any willful waste or spoil anything, in these presents contained to the contrary notwithstanding.”'

The phrases "continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take fish,” and“ used at any time heretofore to fish,” in the Treaty of 1783, are only repetitions of the expressions "continue and use their said trade of fishing" "where they have been wont to fish,” and “

as they have been heretofore at any time accustomed to do,” in the charters of 1629 and 1691 ; and word “liberty” is found in the charters of 1627 and 1691 as well as in the Treaty of 1793. The Treaty of 1783 was little more than a confirmation of the ancient and chartered rights recognized in the charters of 1627 and 1691.

Down to the Revolution Nova Scotia was hardly known except for its fisheries. In 1793 a witness before a committee of Commons spoke of the island of Newfoundland great English ship moored near the banks during the fishing season for the convenience of English fishermen,” and that “the governor was considered the ship's captain, and all those concerned in the fishing business as his crew."

Sabine's Report on the Fisheries, pages 237–230;
Winsor's Crit. & Nar. Hist. America, vol. 5, page 407.

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The men and ships engaged in the fisheries were mainly from New England. In fact, the fisheries were almost, if not

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