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river and gulf of St. Lawrence, and of the injury thereby occasioned to the merchants and others engaged in that pursuit, I conceive it to be my duty to transmit for your information the enclosed copies of communications made to me by the officers of the customs here and at Gaspé upon this subject.

I beg leave, at the same time, to observe that I have forwarded similar copies to his Majesty's vice admiral, commanding on this station. I have the honor, &c.,

CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq., &c., &c., &c.


The sub-collector of customs at Gaspé to the collector and comptroller at Quebec.

CUSTOM HOUSE, Gaspé, September 12, 1835.

GENTLEMEN: I beg leave to acquaint you that for several years past numerous complaints have been made by those who carry on the fisheries on the shores of the river and gulf of the St. Lawrence, against American fishermen who frequent the fishing banks, for having from time to time encroached their limits, to the serious injury and prejudice of the British merchants or "planters," who have much capital involved in that precarious pursuit.

The circumstance of immense numbers of United States fishing smacks forming a line and ranging themselves on the banks where the codfish chiefly resort, has been often referred to as a principal cause why the fisheries have visibly retrograded, inasmuch as the waste is thrown overboard in the process of curing, deterring the fish from seeking food at their former summer resorts; but as the convention made in 1818, and ratified by the statute 59 George III., chapter 38, secures to the republican government of the United States certain privileges and limits, our merchants have suffered the obstruction without complaint.

The United States fishermen have not, however, remained content with ' the great indulgences afforded them by the treaty, but, under numerous pretexts, approach our shores in direct violation of its restrictions; and, for several years past, have had the temerity to take bait even on our beaches. But in order to elucidate and convey some idea in what manner their infringements can so materially affect the success of our fishermen, it may be desirable to explain, in brief terms, the nature of the process itself, as practised here.

At the commencement of the fishing, carly in May, an abundant supply of caflin and herring are obtained for bait, and when the influx of these ceases, mackerel make their appearance, and our fishermen, by putting out nets and moorings have, until lately, been amply supplied with that fish as a substitute to bait their hooks. But the United States fishermen having adopted a new system of mackerel fishing, by feeding them under their vessels, (large schooners of one hundred tons, and frequently fifteen to twenty men) not only take immense quantities, but by their proximity to the shores entertain the fish from being taken in the nets; and it has now become a universal practice with them to intrude wherever they please,

without reference to any given law or restriction; and I have detected, with various success, several of their vessels under such circumstances.

On a recent voyage in the custom-house boat, down the bay of Gaspé, I met three large schooners fishing for mackerel between the shores and the fishing barges, not two miles from land, and remonstrated with the master of one (the Bethel, of Provincetown.) They were all in the act of fishing, and although I advised the said master to go off, he declined doing so, offering nothing in vindication but scurrilous contempt, and my means were inadequate to enforce any measures of redress.

As each succeeding year renders the foregoing evils more manifest, coupled with reiterated complaints by the merchants engaged in the tradehere, and carrying on fishing, I have considered it my duty respectfully to draw your attention to the case, begging, in behalf of our enterprising settlers, that you will be pleased to lay the same before vice admiral the commander-in-chief, at Halifax.

For several years after my appointment to this survey, we were favored with at least annual visits of his Majesty's cruizers, and particularly during the commands of Admirals Griffith and Sir Charles Ogle, and a knowledge of this presence or vicinity was a salutary and efficient protection to the Gaspé fisheries, but for some time past scarce any ship of war has called here.

It is unnecessary to remark that the harbor of Gaspé, a harbor which may rank almost first in his Majesty's dominions, affords safe and convenient anchorage, easy of access, and capable of entertaining any ship of his Majesty's navy; and if the commander-in-chief would be pleased to direct a cruizer to be stationed during the summer months between Point Misco and the entrance of the river St. Lawrence, or so far as the island of Anticosti, including Gaspé bay, our fisheries would be very materially benefited, and a deserving community protected in their pursuits.

In offering the foregoing imperfect detail, I do so as a duty devolving on me in my public capacity, with a hope that I may be excused, and under a conviction that the vice-admiral commander-in-chief, will be pleased to take the case into his high consideration. All of which is most respectfully submitted to him.

I have, &c.,


D. McCONNELL, Sub-Collector.

Of his Majesty's Customs, Quebec.

Collector and Comptroller of Customs to Lord Gosford.

CUSTOMS, QUEBEC, November 9, 1835.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY: We have the honor to transmit for your excellency's information, a copy of a letter just received from the subcollector of this department at Gaspé, with reference to certain complaints made against the United States fishermen for encroachment on the limits. and otherwise injuring the British fisheries carried on in the Gulf of St.

Lawrence, in order that your excellency may take such measures therein as the circumstances of the case may appear to your excellency to require. We have the honor, &c.,

HY. JESSOPP, Collector.
CHARLES G. STEWART, Comptroller.

His Excellency EARL OF GOSFORD,
Commander-in-chief, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Bankhead.


Washington, January 18, 1836.

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the note addressed to him on the 6th instant, by Mr. Bankhead, chargé d'affaires of his Britannic Majesty, with its enclosures, complaining of encroachments by the fishermen of the United States on the limits secured, by the convention of 1818, exclusively to British fishermen. Though the complaint thus preferred speaks of these encroachments as having been made from time to time, only one is specifically stated, viz: that of the schooner Bethel, of Provincetown. But the President, desirous of avoiding just ground of complaint on the part of the British government, on this subject, and preventing the injury which might result to American fishermen from trespassing on the acknowledged British fishing grounds, has, without waiting for an examination of the general complaint, or into that respecting the Bethel, directed the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the collectors to inform the masters, owners, and others engaged in the fisheries, that complaints have been made, and to enjoin upon those persons a strict observance of the limits assigned for taking, drying, and curing fish by the American fishermen, under the convention of 1818.

The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to offer to Mr. Bankhead the renewed assurance of his high consideration.


CHARLES BANKHEAD, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Forsyth.

WASHINGTON, January 19, 1836.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Forsyth's note of yesterday's date.

The undersigned cannot resist expressing to the Secretary of State his high sense of the prompt manner in which the President has been pleased to instruct the collectors of customs to enjoin upon the masters and others engaged in the American fisheries strictly to observe the limits assigned to them by the convention of 1818. It is a new proof of the friendly feeling entertained by the President towards the British government—a feeling fully reciprocated on their part.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Forsyth the assurance of his distinguished consideration.


The honorable JOHN FORSYTH, &c., &c., &c.

Acting Secretary of State to Mr. Fox.

Washington, July 10, 1839.

SIR: I have the honor to communicate to you copies of papers referred to this department by the Secretary of the Treasury, respecting the seizure of several fishing boats belonging to citizens of the United States, by the British government vessel "Victory," in the Bay of Fundy, on a charge of having been engaged in taking fish within British jurisdiction, contrary to existing treaty stipulations between the United States and Great Britain, and the laws of the Province of Nova Scotia.

You will perceive from these papers, that, in the opinion of the naval officer despatched by the collector of customs at Boston to inquire into the circumstances of the seizures, and of the consular agent of the United States at Yarmouth, who had been desired to furnish the information in his possession on the subject, some, at least, of those seizures were made for causes of a trivial character, and with a rigor not called for by circumstances. Not doubting that justice will ultimately be done to the sufferers by the colonial courts in which proceedings have been instituted against them, my object in addressing this communication to you is to invoke your good offices in calling the attention of her Majesty's provincial authorities to the ruinous consequences of those seizures to our fishermen, whatever may be the issue of the legal proceedings founded upon them, and to the consequent expediency of great caution and forbearance in future, in order that American citizens, not manifestly encroaching upon British rights, be not subjected to interruption in the lawful pursuit of their profession. I have the honor, &c.,

A. VAIL, Acting Secretary.

HENRY S. FOX, Esq., &c., &c.

Yarmouth, N. S., June 18, 1839.

SIR: At your request, I enclose to you an abridged statement of the depositions of the masters and crews of the four American fishing schooners lately seized by the commander of the British government vessel Victory, and now lying detained in this port; together with a succinct account of my proceedings upon the application to me for assistance by the masters of these vessels.

Upon the 27th day of May last, application was made to me, as the consular agent of the United States at this port, by William Burgess, master of the American fishing schooner " Independence," for advice and assistance, under the following circumstances: On Sunday, the 26th day of May last, while lying at anchor in the Tusket Islands, near the coast of this province, the said schooner was boarded, and, with her cargo and papers, seized and taken possession of by the commander and part of the crew of the British government vessel "Victory," for an alleged infraction, by the crew of the Independence," of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States, and the laws of this province for the protection of the British fisheries. The schooner was brought into this port stripped of her sails and part of

the rigging, and the master and crew obliged to leave her. Depositions of the master, William Burgess, and of the crew, Benjamin Sylvester, Samuel C. Mills, Ezekiel Burgess and Samuel Burgess, all of Vinalhaven, in the State of Maine, were taken to the above facts, and also to those which follow. They deposed that the schooner Independence, of the burden of thirty-one tons, or thereabouts, and belonging to Vinalhaven, was fitted out and cleared from that port on a fishing voyage into the Bay of Fundy, on the 10th day of April last; and that they continued to fish in the bay (never an any time at a less distance from the coast of Nova Scotia than fifteen miles) until about the last of April of the present year, when being in want of water, and it blowing very heavy, they stood in for the coast, and anchored in the Tusket Islands, where they remained about twenty-four hours.

At the expiration of that time they again put to sea, and remained upon the fishing-ground until the 25th day of May last, when, the compass having been accidentally broken, and there being no other on board, they again stood in for the coast, intending to make the port of Yarmouth, for the purpose of having the compass repaired, and of procuring a supply of water; but the wind being adverse and very violent, and the weather thick and hazy, they were unable to make that port, and were obliged to take shelter in the Tusket islands for the night, at which place they were seized the next day, as before mentioned.

The master and crew of this vessel deposed, most solemnly, that no fish, of any kind or description, had been taken or caught by them during the present season, or since their departure from port, either in the Tusket islands, or at any distance nearer to the coast of Nova Scotia, or of any of the British possessions in America, than fifteen miles; and that at no one time did they remain at anchor in the said islands, or in any port on the coast, for a longer space than twenty-four hours. They however admitted that, at the earnest solicitation of an inhabitant of the Tusket islands, (whose name was to them unknown,) they did for one night lend their nets to him, and that they received from him, on the following morning a few herrings. This occurred but once, and for one night only; they never having remained in the islands for two consecutive nights.

The master of the American fishing schooner Magnolia, seized at the same time and place, deposed, in substance, to the same effect as the foregoing, except that they had not lent or parted with their nets. They deny most positively having fished, or attempted to take or catch fish, within fifteen miles of the coast of this province during the present season. The Magnolia is of the burden of thirty-seven tons, or thereabouts; belongs to Vinalhaven, and was fitted out and cleared from that port on a fishing voyage into the Bay of Fundy: she sailed from that port on the 26th day of April last, and was twice in the Tusket islands for shelter and for wood and water during the present season. The master's name is George Poole; the names of the seamen are William S. Coombs and Samuel Clark, all residing at or near Vinalhaven, in the State of Maine.

The master of the schooner Java acknowledged that he and his crew had taken fish in the islands, and was aware that the fact of his having done so could be proved against him. We therefore declined to make any effort for his relief. The Java was fitted for a fishing voyage into the Bay of Fundy, and belonged to Vinalhaven ; and she was seized at the same time and place as were the other two vessels before mentioned. Isaac Burgess was mas

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