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I, the said James G. Tarr, am an American citizen, having been born in said Gloucester in 1830.
On the 12th day of July, 1887, the Schooner Argonaut sailed from the port of Gloucester on a voyage to the Gulf of St. Lawrence after mackerel under command of Benjamin F. Sprague as master. I instructed said master to comply strictly with the terms of the treaty and the customs regulations of Canada. On the morning of the 24th day of July, 1887, as I am informed and believe, and therefore aver, the said schooner cast her seine around a school of mackerel between four and five miles distant from the shore of Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that being the nearest land, and said schooner being at the time. off East Point, so called. At said time and place there was a fleet of fifty or more American fishing schooners. After casting said seine, a difficulty ensued in pursing it up, by which nearly an hour's time was exhausted before the fish were actually secured within the seine. During the unusual delay the tide swept the seine and the fish nearer to the shore. The Canadian Cutter Critic was about a mile distant from the boat and seine when the seine was pursed up. The Captain of the Schooner Argonaut became convinced that it was impossible in the strong tide to keep the deep seine full of fish from drifting in shore, and that the seine was likely to come within the three-mile limit before the fish could be secured and the seine taken on board. As he desired to avoid any possibility of trouble with the Canadian officials, he gave orders to his crew to take up the seine, turn out the fish, and take the seine into the boat. While the crew were doing this, releasing the fish alive and taking none of the fish from the water, except a few that were strongly meshed in the twine, the said Canadian Cutter Crific came up, seized said boat and seine, and arrested twelve members of the crew, all while the said boat and seine wero at a distance of more than three miles from the
boat and seine having drifted within three miles of the shore, were in violation of the Treaty of 1818.
I am further informed and believe, and therefore aver, that said boat, seines and men were not within the threemile limit at the time of seizure; that immediately after the seizure, the Captain of the Cutter endeavored to mark the spot by throwing over a piece of timber as a buoy which was immediately run under by the strength of the tide; that thereafter he attempted to mark the spot by putting over a small boat or dingy anchored by a ten-pound dipsey lead, which proved insufficient to withstand the strength of the tide: and that thereupon he placed a boy in the boat with oars to endeavor to keep the boat from dragging and drifting; that no attempt was made by the Captain of the Critic to measure the distance by taking bearings or by any other method until three hours afterward, he spending the intervening time in endeavoring to free the seine of the said Schooner Argonaut. At the end of three hours, I am informed and therefore aver, the Captain of the Critic stood in shore to a point which he estimated or supposed to be about one-half mile distant from the land, and then, without taking any measures to verify his estimate, stood about and run straight for his dingy or buoy. He threw over a taffrail log with which to measure the distance, and upon reaching the dingy declared the distance shown by the log to be two miles. I have had long experience of sixty-seven years in the fisheries. I sailed myself as master mariner out of Gloucester for a period of twenty years, am familiar with the workings of logs under all conditions and in all weathers, and know of my own knowledge that it is impossible for a taffrail log under such a light wind as prevailed on the day in question, to register distance with any degree of Furthermore, I know of my own knowledge that
Further, I am informed and believe, and therefore aver, that immediately after the said Schooner Argonaut abandoned her voyage, put out to sea and sailed for Gloucester, measures were taken by the Canadian authorities to seize said schooner. A Canadian Collector of Customs telegraphed the collectors of the various Canadian ports along the Straits of Canso to seize the Schooners Argonaut and French should they pass through. The Canadian steam cruiser Arcadia was immediately ordered to sea from Halifax, and made a circuit of Cape Breton Island searching for the escaped schooners. Later, Mr. Foster, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, gave public notice through the press and informed W. II. Phelan, Consul General of the United States at Halifax, N. S., that Canada had the undoubted right to capture the Schooners Argonaut and French anywhere on the high seas, as they had committed a forfeitable offence.
And I further depose and say that in consequence of said threats of seizure by the said authorities, and their lawless attitude in connection with said matter, it became impraeticable at any time thereafter to send her anywhere in the neighborhood of Canadian waters, not only because of the fear of seizure on the high seas, and the consequent loss, but also because in case of storm or accident it would be impossible for said vessel to make port for repairs or shelter without placing herself within the jurisdiction of Canada, a Power which was prepared to seize her and had made public announcement of its intention so to do.
And I further depose and say that on August 12, 1887, I filed with the Department of State at Washington, D. C., a memorial protesting against the action of the Canadian authorities, and filing therewith affidavits in support thereof. On September 19, 1887, proceedings were begun in the Vice-Admiralty Court of Prince Edward Island for the forfeiture of the boat and seine of said Schooner. Later, I caused to be filed through the Consul General of
against said proceedings, together with depositions of the master and crew in support of said protest. Later, in my behalf, request was made through the Consul General of the United States at Halifax for the dismissal of said case, and said request was refused.
On the 5th day of March, A. D. 1888, it was determined by the Court that no appearance had been filed for the respondents, and the case was set down for hearing on the 6th day of March, 1888. On said 6th day of March it was ordered by the Court that the said boat and seine be condemned as forfeited to Her Majesty for violation of the Treaty of 1818. On the 16th day of May, 1888, it was ordered by the Court that the boat and seine be sold, and on the 28th day of June, 1888, said boat and seine were sold by the marshal. And I further say that on April 13, April 14, April 24, and May 2, all in the year 1888, I received from the Deputy Minister of Fisheries of Canada letters in which it was stipulated that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries of Canada would agree that the judgment already obtained against said boat and its seine would be re-opened upon the filing by me, as owner of said Schooner, of a bond for securing costs. At this time, however, nearly twelve months after the event, it became evident upon investigation that my witnesses to the seizure who had signed affidavits were scattered and at sea, which made it impossible to obtain promptly the evidence which was obtainable during the fall and winter.
Furthermore, it appeared probable that the condition of the boat and seine, owing to the long delay and their storage under such conditions as would necessarily injure market. value, was such as not to warrant the expense involved in filing the necessary bond for costs. It is especially necessary that a seine shall be frequently tarred and aired in
strength or weakness of the evidence, would escape condemnation in the Canadian Court.
Furthermore, even if the bond for costs had been filed, the case re-opened, and the boat and seine been restored by order of the Court to me as owner, nevertheless the more serious and important part of the loss, namely the breaking up of the voyage of said schooner and the loss of her season's work, would still have been unprovided for. For these reasons it seemed best not to file the bond suggested by the said Minister of Fisheries, but to allow the whole matter to remain to be adjusted under our protest filed with the Department of State at Washington.
I claim that the loss to said Schooner Argonaut, including all the direct and consequential damages which resulted from the unwarranted seizure of her boat, seine, and men, from the breaking up of her voyage and the loss of her probable fare of mackerel, from the loss of the entire season's stock due to the vessel's exclusion from the fishing grounds. near Canadian waters during the year 1887, and also from the consequent depreciation in the vessel's market value, is as follows:
First, the fair market value of the property actually seized is $1.600, made up as follows:
Seine boat and fittings.
Second, the loss to the vessel's stock, resulting from the breaking up of this particular trip, I estimate to be at least $6,000.
Third, the loss to the vessel's stock during the balance of the mackerel season for the year 1887 I estimate to be $14,000 additional, making a total loss for the year of